Supertrees at the spectacular Gardens by the Bay, where the congress party will be held. Picture: iStock
Supertrees at the spectacular Gardens by the Bay, where the congress party will be held. Picture: iStock

Ten reasons to visit Singapore in 2015

In case you didn’t know, the WCPT Congress is being held in Singapore in May this year – the first time the Confederation has held its flagship event in the Asia Western Pacific Region since 1999. If you still haven’t registered, here are ten reasons why booking a trip to Singapore might be a very good move. And if you have... you have plenty to look forward to.

Singapore is celebrating

The city-state, which gained its independence from Britain in 1965, will be in the midst of its golden jubilee celebrations in May 2015. Among the anniversary attractions is the Jubilee Walk – a new trail taking people through historic sites in the civic district and Marina Bay areas of the city, incorporating four art installations and a new pedestrian bridge from Merlion Park to Marina Promenade.

The food

Singaporeans are rightly proud of the diversity and quality of their food – the Singapore Tourism Board says it has “sacred status”. Celia Tan, President of the Singapore Physiotherapy Association, says the Singapore speciality chilli crab is unmissable: it was rated number 35 in CNN’s world’s most delicious foods. The main cuisines are Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan. Other signature dishes include Hainanese Chicken Rice, Nasi Lemak, Fish Head Curry and Ayam Buah Keluak.

The Gardens by the Bay

Rated one of the world’s best indoor gardens, the Gardens by the Bay house over 500,000 plants from every continent except Antarctica. They are displayed in two spectacular cooled conservatories – the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. The Supertree Grove is a spectacular vertical garden extending 50 metres into the sky. The Gardens by the Bay are the venue for the WCPT Congress party night.

The diversity

Singapore is a multi-racial society, and a collage of different communities, cultures and religions, each with a long and rich heritage and all living respectfully alongside each other. The city’s different ethnic quarters – for example Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Little India, Joo Chiat and Katong – provide a feast for the senses.

Fish and dinosaurs

A visit to Universal Studios’ movie theme park provides the opportunity to meet the Minions from Despicable Me, go on the Transformers ride and enter the primeval world of Jurassic Park. Universal Studios is part of the massive Resorts World Sentosa entertainment complex, which includes a water park and the world’s largest aquarium.

Lessons in good health

Singapore comes first in Bloomberg’s World’s Healthiest Countries rankings, and another Bloomberg report ranked Singapore as having the most efficient health care system in the world. According to Celia Tan, SPA President, high standards of living, education and a focus on preventive medicine have had a positive impact – only one in five has a BMI of over 25 and the average life expectancy is 82. “It has been a steep learning experience for us to arrive at this level, and there are lessons that we can share with you,” she says.

Shopping

Singapore is famous for its shopping experience, and the main retail street is Orchard Road – a one-way boulevard set among a lush, tropical landscape and flanked by 800,000 square metres of shopping malls, restaurants, entertainments and hotels. The districts of Kampong Glam, Little India and Chinatown provide a treasure trove of ethnic products, jewellery, textiles and antiques.

Cocktails at Raffles

Raffles Hotel, first opened in 1887, rapidly became the place to stay in Singapore – with writers Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham and Ernest Hemingway among its visitors. It has 15 restaurants and bars, including the Long Bar where the Singapore Sling cocktail was invented. The lobby of the main building is open to the public and there is a hotel museum on the third floor.

Nature up close

The renowned Singapore Botanic Gardens provide a contrast to the hustle-bustle of the city, and Singapore has a number of nature reserves and zoos. You can explore primary rainforest at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve or encounter nocturnal animals in the world’s first wildlife night park.

The WCPT Congress

For a physical therapist, there is no better time to visit this hub of South East Asia. The WCPT Congress is the world’s biggest and most significant gathering of physical therapists, and once you’ve invigorated yourself professionally, Singapore is the perfect gateway to explore other treasures in the region.

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