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One City, Five Hours: Singapore

On the prowl in the Lion City

Author Laura Dozier

1 Start your Singapore sprint with a glass of well-priced Moët at the New Asia Bar (2 Stamford Rd.; www.swissotel.com). Located on the 71st floor of the Swissotel, it’s the highest bar in Singapore and has a view worth toasting. ( 0:30 )

2 Take a walk to the river for some historical perspective. Admire the waterfront statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, the man who founded Britain’s settlement in 1819, and pop into the Asian Civilisations Museum (1 Empress Pl.; www.acm.org.sg) to learn about those who inhabited the island before Raffles arrived. ( 1:10 )

3 Catch a taxi to the bustling Lau Pa Sat (Boon Tat St. at Shenton Way; laupasat.biz) market to taste Singapore’s wonderfully jumbled cuisine, which borrows from Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian and Western cooking. Loosen your belt for a smorgasbord of cheap-as-chips favorites, like Hainanese chicken rice, fresh spring rolls and “carrot cake,” which is actually made from radish and fried egg. What’s up, doc? ( 1:50 )

4 Scurry over to trendy Club Street and catch your breath in the Screening Room’s rooftop bar, which overlooks Chinatown’s quaint shop houses. Then think ahead and grab some inflight reading at Books Actually (5 Ann Siang Rd.; www.booksactually.com). ( 2:20 )

5 You’re in prime souvenir-hunting territory now. Wander down Pagoda and Terengganu Streets and haggle for a tea set and Merlion T-shirt (the fish/lion icon of Singapore). Then check out the impressive Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (288 South Bridge Rd.; www.btrts.org.sg). Holy molar! ( 3:00 )

6 Slip off your sandals and enter the nearby Hindu temple, Sri Mariamman (244 South Bridge Rd.), home to an annual fire-walking festival. There’s just enough time to make an offering to appease the resident goddess of disease and rain, as you hope both will hold off for the next two hours. ( 3:15 )

7 Take a taxi to the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel (1 Beach Rd.; www.raffles.com), and slurp down a Singapore Sling. Countless tourists make this pilgrimage to revel in colonial grandeur and drink the cocktail in its birthplace. Who are you to argue? ( 4:00 )

8 End your trip where so many before you have ended theirs: the red-light district. Hail a cab to No Signboard Seafood (414 Geylang; www.nosignboardseafood.com) and soak up the gritty atmosphere, along with plenty of spicy-sweet sauce with fried bread. Finish up with some love-it-or-hate-it durian from a nearby vendor, and find out why, by law, this pungent fruit is not allowed on city buses. ( 5:00 )

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