Once dismissed as a sterile stop-over Singapore has been busy reinventing itself as a hot-list destination in its own right. We had the chance to check it out on a recent 5 day city break travelling between Bali and Malaysia.

Clean, green and gleamingly modern; it is certainly the most family-friendly destination, we’ve visited on our trip so far. Everything from the immaculate, buggy-friendly pavements to the super accessible MRT makes travelling with kids easy peasy. After 6 months in the "rustic" rice paddies of Bali we ooooohhhheed and arrrrhed over how clean and shiny everything was and marvelled out how organised and efficient it is to do things!

Singapore is also well known as one of the most expensive cities in South East Asia. Luckily we found plenty of family friendly activities that don’t cost a fortune. Singapore with kids: here’s our pick of our favourites:

Singapore Zoo

One of the world's best, Singapore Zoo is a lush wonderland of space, natural enclosures and freely roaming animals. Set in a rainforest environment, it’s is home to over 2,800 animals from over 300 species of mammals, birds and reptiles. The park also boasts the world’s first free-ranging orangutan habitat in a zoo; literally swinging above your heads as you wander past. Jam packed with kid-friendly shows, activities and play areas it's a brilliant spot for a family day out - read our full review here.

Parks

Singapore is blessed with lots of lush, beautiful green spaces for little ones to play, explore and let off some steam between sightseeing.

Our favourite spot was the stunning Gardens by the Bay - jam packed with fantastic play areas, trails and mazes. The girls loved marvelling at the massive biodomes and peering up at the towering Supertrees. Highly recommended for a day out - read our full review of the Gardens here.

We also stayed a stones throw from Fort Canning Park one of Singapore's most historic landmarks. With lush greenery and expansive lawns, it’s dotted with memorials from Singapore's colourful history. There are plenty of winding paths to explore and staircases to climb on. The Chinese Garden also has tons of picnic space where you can fly kites, feed the fish in the lake and enjoy the view of the classical Chinese pagodas.

The lush grounds of Singapore’s Botanic Gardens are a wonderful haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This is also where you can find Asia’s first children’s combining fun with an opportunity to learn all about the plants and the environment. With a sand play area, water fountains to cool off, a garden maze, suspension bridge and tree house with slides there’s plenty to stimulate their senses. The Kidz Café is handy if you need snacks, drinks or an ice-cream afterwards.

Ethnic Quarters

If anywhere in the World lives up to the cliche of “cultural melting pot” it’s Singapore. The fusion of Indian, Chinese and Malay cultures is striking and the people are super-friendly. Over the centuries migrants and merchants from all over Asia have settled here bringing with them their languages, customs, festivals, food and architecture. The city as a whole is a vibrant, eclectic mix of the best bits of Asia. A wander round Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam (the Malay quarter, originally home to the Muslims and Arabs) is a great way to experience the individual cultural influences each culture brings.

Chinatown is packed with furniture and antiques shops and the kids will love the traditional shop houses that have been painted in a riot of different colours. You can enjoy the best teas in town at one of the traditional tea-shops in the Tanjong Pagar area. Visit the kite makers, try on a painted mask or purchase trinkets, crafts and nick-nacks from all over Asia. If you're after a bargain walk over to Smith, Trengganu, Temple and Pagoda Streets.

Little India is a bustling hive of sights, sounds and aromas. An explosion of colour from the twinkling Deepavali lights, rainbow coloured saris to rows and rows of stalls selling gold and jewels. Serangoon Road is home to the spice mill where you can enjoy the aromas and reds and golds of spices laid out in sacks. Bussorah Street in Kampong Glam is packed with shops selling a range of curiosities, including wind-up toys and old telephones that will fascinate little ones.

We indulged our tastebuds with a visit to a traditional curry house. Fiery curries, piles of rice, poppadoms and plenty of chutneys were served up on a banana leaf. They are traditionally scooped up and eaten with your hands but we opted for the cutlery that was available.

Sentosa

Our little ones were a bit too small this trip to make the most of all Sentosa has to offer. But if you are visiting Singapore with bigger kids then this previously deserted tropical island is an absolute must do for an action packed day out.

Even getting there is an adventure – hop aboard your very own cable car and be treated to 360 picturesque views of the city. Once on Sentosa, there are loads of different attractions on offer so you could easily spend a few days on the island.

Marvel at the hundreds of colourful fish in the vast aquarium or play with pink dolphins in the Dolphin Lagoon. Cool off in Fantasy Land, a water park filled to the brim with slides and rides. Thrill-seekers and movie buffs alike can get their kicks at Universal Studios Singapore. The world famous Madame Tussauds is the newest addition to the Sentosa scene; come face to face with international icons and get ready to pose with your favourite A-listers. There is serious fun to be had here and we’ll definitely be back when the girls are bigger.

Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands is the worlds most expensive building and its iconic design has seriously transformed the Singapore skyline. The three 55 story towers are capped by the famous infinity pool - the highest and largest swimming pool in the World. As well as the luxurious Marina Bay Sands hotel, the complex is home to a huge variety of things to eat, do and see and is really worth a visit. Read our full review here.

Shopping

Shopping is a national pastime in Singapore. You can't visit the city without paying at least one trip to a super shiny, enormous mega-mall. They are a great place to indulge in some retail therapy and cool off from the heat of the day - most come with great, free play areas for the little ones.

When we needed to hit the shops we headed to Vivocity - Singapore’s largest shopping mall. This giant complex was packed full of our favourite brands from the UK including Marks & Spencer, Gap & H&M. When the girls got bored of shopping we headed to the open air playground and explored the landscaped rooftop water feature in the Sky Park. If that's not enough, your little ones can run amok in soft play heaven at Polliwogs indoor play area. The giant food court was also a great option for lunch - jam packed with choices and affordable dishes to suit everyone.

The newly opened Westgate Wonderland at Jurong is another fantastic shopping option. Offering the largest rooftop playground in Singapore - it’s a fabulously colourful space with giant insects, flowers and plants in keeping with the wonderland theme. With a 10-metre tall tree house, climbing frames, slides and a water play area the kids will be kept very happy.

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