| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Singapore for families

Looking for an action-packed family break, Singapore offers Karen Iley and her three- year-old daughter a total change of scene

Families can’t go wrong in Singapore. What’s not to like? Asia’s pristine city state is a perfect combo of urban and natural jungle, with an abundance of top-notch attractions, superb food, cultural sights and cheesy shows to delight kids and adults in equal measure. I took my daughter, Rose, to visit friends and we had such a great time, we thought we’d share our travel diary with you:

Day 1 Chinatown & Night Safari

Touchdown! Arrive at Changi Airport early morning to the delicious scent of the tropics, a humid hug and the sight of glorious greenery, which sparks a spontaneous jungle jig. We’re still pretty sleepy, so excitement is put on the back burner and we force ourselves to have a nap at Aunty Niecey’s house before hitting Chinatown. We share a plate of Hainanese chicken rice, which Rose declares ‘Yummy scrummy’ – high praise indeed.

Time for a mooch! The multi-coloured stalls are full of what some people might call ‘tat’, but we revel in the dragon puppets, Chinese lanterns and lucky charms. Frankly, we go a bit mad and stock up on Cheong-sams (traditional Chinese dresses) for dressing up time, beach dresses for me, a pink parasol for Aunty and some lovely, juicy mangoes for all. After a cursory glance at the Sri Mariamman temple and a reviving lime juice, giddy anticipation of our first day’s high- light kicks in. ‘Plee-ase can we go to the jungle now?’ becomes Rose’s (slightly whining) lament.

I’ve foolishly built up the famous Night Safari (www.nightsafari.com) for weeks, so it’s no surprise our excited little explorer has ants in her pants. Until, that is, we venture into the loos where, thanks to an alarmingly realistic simulated jungle roar, her lily-livered tendencies are rapidly revealed. Not to worry, a bongo burger and a seat with a view of the ethnic dancing and fire eating puts us on more intrepid footing and we’re off on the tram to spot some of the 120 species, including tigers, lions, crocodiles and bats who’ve made their home in this vast nature park. We’re back in time for the Creatures of the Night show, a delightful half-hour performance featuring somersaulting hyenas and balancing binturongs (a bearish-looking fella). We try to get our tongues around ‘one-horned rhinocerous’ (not easy when you’re three, or in your thirties for that matter) before collapsing into bed exhausted.

Time Out Dubai,

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