In the last 20 years the island nation of Singapore has transformed itself from a bustling commercial city into a vibrant cultural centre – a leading city in Asia for art, music and design. It boasts remarkable museums and galleries, a vibrant performing arts scene, and an enigmatic outward looking culture.
On this 6-day tour we’ll explore the best of Singapore’s complex heritage, from contemporary architecture, historical museums, natural history spaces, visual arts and fine dining. It is timed to coincide with Singapore Art Week.
COVID-19? Book with confidence If Government imposed COVID-19 restrictions mean that we cannot run a tour, or that you cannot travel to join a tour, then you will be given a 100% refund of all monies paid to Academy Travel for your tour.
Vaccination requirements Academy Travel requires all participants on its tours to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. We reserve the right to inspect your digital vaccination certificate.
Traverse this eye-catching bridge, which provides a spectacular tree canopy walk through the Southern Ridges and creates a nine-kilometre-long greenspace to the west of the city centre.
Asian Civilisations Museum Learn about the diverse civilisations from which the ethnic groups of Singapore trace their ancestry in this museum, ranked among the top 10 in Asia.
National Gallery of Singapore
Tour the beautiful historical collections of the National Gallery; housed in the former Supreme Court and Municipal Building, it’s an excellent example of adaptive reuse of a colonial building.
Singapore Art Week
Explore the diverse exhibitions of contemporary art around the city and see why Singapore is rapidly becoming a major hub on the international art scene.
Natural History in Singapore Enjoy natural history in Singapore, including the wonderful Botanic Gardens and the second largest aquarium in the world, with exotic marine life from Africa to the Pacific.
Arrive in Singapore. Welcome drinks and canapes.
Heritage and art at the Asian Civilisations Museum, National Gallery, and the Marina Bay district.
Morning visit to Kampong Gelam followed by a tour of fabulous modern architecture in Singapore, which has transformed the city.
Stroll along Henderson Waves and then enjoy Singapore Art Week exhibitions ate the Singapore Art Museum and elsewhere in the city and its neighbourhoods.
Day 5: Natural history at the Botanic Gardens and the wonderful Aquarium, the second largest in the world.
Day 6: Visit Fort Canning Park and Bunker where the Allies surrendered, and the nearby National Museum. High Tea at the Fullerton.
For this tour we recommend Singapore Airlines who offer flights from most Australian cities. Please contact us for further information on competitive Economy, Business and
First Class airfares. Transfers between airport and hotel are included for all passengers booking their flights through Academy Travel. These may be group or individual transfers.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Tuesday 18 January – Arrive Singapore
Many day flights arrive from Australia in the late afternoon. At 6pm we meet in the hotel reception and head to a nearby venue for welcome drinks and finger food. (C)
Wednesday 19 January – Heritage and Art
We begin our program with the beautiful displays of the Asian Civilisations Museum, which survey the decorative arts of various South East Asian cultures. Next, we head to the National Gallery of Singapore for the first of two visits focused on the permanent collection located in the court buildings of the former Supreme Court. The collection includes paintings from the 18th -20th centuries and historical displays highlighting aspects of colonial Singapore. After lunch in the museum’s National Kitchen restaurant, we visit its rooftop installation, an art project by Charles Lim with more than 30 plant species. The evening is at leisure, and you may wish to join Robert for an optional stroll through the Marina Bay district. (B, L)
Thursday 20 January – Kampong Gelam and Modern Architecture
We start the day with an early morning visit to Kampong Gelam, a traditional district to the east of the city that is the centre of the Malay community. Here we stroll among colonial architecture, mosques and colourful shopfronts that are emblematic of Singapore’s thriving multicultural communities. We then tour Singapore’s wonderful modern architecture which has dramatically changed the skyline over the past 15 years with commercial and public buildings by architects including Sir Norman Foster, I. M. Pei, Zaha Hadid and Moshie Safdie. The late afternoon is at leisure. In the evening, we enjoy a performance, details of which will be announced when the performance program is finalised. (B)
Friday 21 January – Singapore Art Week
This morning there is an optional early morning visit to Henderson Waves, suspended 36 metres above parkland and forests in the southern ridges. After breakfast at the hotel, we explore exhibitions of contemporary art at the National Gallery and at the Singapore Art Museum. The afternoon is at leisure and you may wish to explore more of Singapore Art Week with Robert, visit Singapore’s other attractions, or simply relax. In the evening, there is an optional walking tour of Little India and the public art projects that take place there as part of Singapore Art Week. (B)
Saturday 22 January – Botanic Gardens and Singapore Aquarium
We start the day with an early morning visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, carved out of a remaining section of Malay forest not far from the city centre. After returning to the hotel and time to relax, we visit Singapore Aquarium, the second largest aquarium in the world, with a fantastic array of exotic marine life from the African coastlines, through the Andaman Sea and into the Pacific. In the early evening we enjoy dinner at the Michelin-starred Labyrinth restaurant. (B, D)
Sunday 23 January – WWII and the National Museum
This morning we visit Fort Canning Park and tour the Fort Canning Bunker. It was here in 1942 that the allies surrendered to the Japanese. The complex includes a telephone exchange, signals and operating rooms, sleeping quarters and a cipher room for decoding messages. After our tour, we then visit the National Museum of Singapore, whose exhibitions explore different aspects of the region’s history from prior to the creation of Singapore through to the present. The tour concludes with High Tea at Fullerton. (B, HT)
A cultural historian and founding director of Academy Travel, with a strong interest in visual arts, architecture and music.
Robert Veel is a cultural historian with over 20 years’ experience leading tours to Italy, the USA, Scandinavia and Turkey. He has a strong personal interest in the visual arts, architecture and music, and is a founding director of Academy Travel.
Robert holds a BA, Dip. Ed and M.Ed, all from the University of Sydney. He worked as a lecturer at the University of Sydney before a long stint at the University’s Centre for Continuing Education, lecturing in Italian history and culture and working as Assistant Director. Robert continues to teach occasionally in Continuing Education courses.
Robert’s historical and artistic knowledge stretches from the Middle Ages through the early 20th century. In Italy he has led many tours focusing on the Medieval and Renaissance periods. In the United States he likes to focus on the founding of the Republic and the Gilded Age of the early 20th century. In Scandinavia he is particularly interested in national identity and its role in Scandinavian literature, design and architecture. Robert speaks fluent Italian.
Robert led his first tour to Italy in 1990 and has not looked back! He has led more than 50 tours and designed many of Academy Travel’s most popular tours, including Sicily, New York, Rome and Venice residential tours, and our Scandinavia tours. More recently Robert led the first offering of Academy Travel’s tours to Tasmania and New Zealand.
We asked Robert, what do you enjoy most about leading tours?
“I really enjoy travelling with like-minded, interested travellers who are up for a bit of an intellectual adventure. It’s often the unexpected things that create the ‘shared joy’ of group travel”, says Robert “a wonderful, but little-known painting, a great performance or a fabulous meal. These are the things we travel for.”
“Over the years travellers have commented on my seemingly boundless enthusiasm. It’s true that I am curious about most things – people, places, history and artistic expression. There’s a kind of alchemy when this enthusiasm rubs off on others – hopefully with a bit of useful information as well!”
The Fullerton Hotel, Canberra (5 nights) For the duration of the tour, we stay at the five-star Fullerton Hotel, which is within walking distance of major galleries and museums. The hotel has numerous cafes, bars and restaurants as well as an outdoor pool, fitness centre and spa.
What is included in the tour price?
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
All accommodation at properties mentioned in the itinerary
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Taxis may also be used for short trips on some tours. Some city stay tours may involve local transport
Lunches and dinners indicated with the letters L and D in the itinerary
Beer, wine and soft drinks at sit-down lunches and dinners. Picnic and light lunches may not include alcoholic drinks
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
All tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
On international tours only
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required, and when stated as included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Some trips may be made by public transport such as high-speed train and subway
What is not included in the tour price?
Our tours do not include the following:
Air or land travel from your home city to the tour start/end points
Local taxes and airport levies that we are not able to prepay on your behalf. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Lunches and dinners not specifically indicated with the letters L or D in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as passports, laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
Airport Transfers on international tours
Tours may begin at either the arrival airport or the first hotel. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel, and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
We require all tour participants to have adequate insurance coverage.
For domestic tours, Medicare and your private medical insurance should be used to cover any medical expenses.
Domestic travel insurance is available and strongly recommended to cover non-medical expenses such as cancellation.
For international tours, we require you to have comprehensive travel insurance. Prices vary according to your age, your pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the length of your journey abroad.