Singapore was described as a playground for the rich, truth to be told, the small city-state does have a sheen of wealth. However, this Southeast Asian country offers more than just a luxurious lifestyle, high-end shopping malls, and also hotels. There is also a vibrant history and diverse ethnic quarters to discover and learn along with its family-friendly attractions and amazing public spaces that make exploring of this futuristic city valuable. And for those who are on a budget, Singapore also has something in store for you. The city is a food haven and shoppers’ paradise. Aside from branded items, there are several various bargain stores that offer fashion items at much lower prices and it brings out the inner foodie in you with its hawker centers, food courts, cafes, and restaurants.
Singapore has an outstanding transportation system that offers its locals and tourists the convenience of getting around easily and comfortably. The cheapest and fastest way to get around Singapore is by traveling through MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), which is a public railway system. Their system is highly efficient, fast, and convenient. All MRT stations have ticketing counters and self-service ticketing machines for purchasing the EZlink card that can be used on buses and trains. Once you have gotten a sense of the metro’s map, you will find zipping from one part of the town to the next is pretty easy even with your eyes closed. Singapore is full of natural attractions and cultural heritage sites, from botanical gardens and nature parks to temples and museums. Roaming around the city is effortless because English is spoken everywhere and signages are written in English as well, in fact, Singapore is one of the easiest countries to navigate in the Southeast Asian region.
For ideas on things to see and do, read our list of the top attractions in the progressive country, Singapore.
Marina Bay Sands
The lavish Marina Bay Sands resort complex includes a high-end luxury hotel, a mall with a canal running through it, the ArtScience Museum, and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck are vantage point for taking in the entire city. The Skypark’s viewing deck and infinity pool are found in the ship (yes, you read it right… it’s a ship) that tops the hotel. Only hotel guests are allowed to use the infinity pool but the observation deck is open to the public.
From the Skypark, you can see the innovative double helix bridge, the port, the impressive skyline, and the 100-hectare land of Gardens by the Bay that is converted into waterfront gardens.
While guests are on the top of the city, they can also pick up some keepsakes from the souvenir island, or just grab a snack or coffee from the rooftop restaurant. If you don’t have a camera handy, you can purchase a photo of yourself green-screened in front of the massive hotel as it’s all lit up at night. The elegance of the area exemplifies Singapore’s style as a major international city in Asia.
Gardens by the Bay
Once you take a peek of this beautifully designed lawn, you won’t get enough of it. Wander around the Bay East Garden and you will perfectly enjoy its vibrant plant life with a quick escape in the busy streets of Singapore.
You’ll surely don’t want to miss Supertree Grove, this is where you will find a cluster of the iconic and futuristic designed structures to serve as environmentally sustainable functions. You can head to Cloud Forest Dome after to witness the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and learn something about biodiversity.
As a clarification, Botanic Gardens is different from Gardens on the bay. Singapore received its first UNESCO World Heritage nomination for its botanical gardens. When you somehow feel that the city is a concrete jungle and even though clean and comfortable, its botanic gardens preserve pieces of the country’s wild heritage.
A walking trail in this area will lead you to the garden’s heritage trees, which are conserved as part of the city’s effort to protect the mature tree species. If you have more time to stroll, you can also visit the eco-garden, eco-lake, bonsai garden, and sculptures.
It bills itself as the world’s best rainforest zoo, the Singapore Zoo is a pretty impressive place. Its facilities are clean and inviting with animals that appear to be well treated, with plenty of lush vegetation and habitat space. Guests can observe feedings for some of the zoo animals which will take you an estimated three hours to make your way around the zoo.
If you want to witness and get more close to Singapore’s wildlife, there is also the Night Safari, RiverSafari, and the Jurong Bird Park. If you plan to visit more than one wildlife park, Park Hopper passes are available for purchase.
This is a great place to start your shopping spree, as there are stores in every turn. You’d expect nothing less from a neighborhood that boasts 22 malls and six department stores. There are also establishments for leisure like movie theaters that include IMAX cinema and KTV bars. If you got hungry because of your non-stop shopping, there are plenty of eateries and restaurants in the area that serves international cuisines.
The world’s largest observation wheel can be spotted at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore where each flight lasts for 30 minutes and runs from early in the morning until late nights. Singapore Flyer offers several different packages that allow you to be served and be pampered while enjoying a view that encompasses not only the Singapore skyline but as far away as Indonesia’s Spice Islands and Straights of Johor in Malaysia. Each ticket packages includes access to the multimedia Journey of Dreams exhibit that delves into Singapore’s history and creation of the Flyer.
Raffles Hotel Singapore
This colonial building is one
of the world’s last grand 19th-century hotels that was once visited
by literary luminaries like Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, and the famous
movie star, Charlie Chaplin. This structure was built in 1887 and it served as
the city’s landmark for over a century and continues to live up to its
reputation with excellence in foods and services. Its classical architecture
and tropical garden provide a refined setting and represent another facet of
Singapore’s varied and rich history.
Raffles Hotel is located in the city’s colonial district, which is also home to several historic spots, and a good place to base yourself in the city. This is also where you will find the Raffles Landing Site where Sir Stamford Raffles, Singapore’s founder is said to have stepped ashore in 1819. His story started when he saw the small fishing village but recognized its potential as a port, he later bought the island from the Sultan of Johor and invited the Chinese and Indian immigrants to move here, and that started Singapore’s multi-ethnic identity.
Singapore’s Chinatown will bring you excitement with its authentic Chinese food and bright lanterns that are usually in the streets of China. While you are in the area, you can visit the Chinese Heritage Center and check out the impressive and beautiful Sri Mariamman Hindu temple and Buddha Tooth Relic temple.
Heritage markers have been installed throughout the neighborhood in Simplified Chinese, Japanese, and English subs so visitors can better understand the significance of the area. However, this neighborhood is not only a testament of Chinese influence in the country but is also a progressive neighborhood that is home to the trendy Ann Siang Hill area, where the quaint bistros and upscale boutiques could be at home in any Western city.
Singapore is not famous as a beach destination but if you are up for a fun in the sun, Sentosa Island is your go-to place. Siloso Beach is a good spot for getting sun-kissed coloured skin where its visitors can go kayaking, skimboarding, or play volleyball on the place’s free courts. If you are going to explore the beach’s other attractions, they have an Underwater World aquarium where you can experience swimming with the dolphins.
Another attraction on the island is Singapore’s famous Merlion statue that has the head of a lion with a fish’s body. You can take the escalator on your way up of the statue to enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding area. For the adventure seekers, they can check out The Flying Trapeze and the SeaBreeze Water-Sports at Wave House, where you can try your hand at flying strapped to a water-propelled jet pack.
This is Singapore’s center of commerce during the 19th Century. Clarke Quay lives up to its legacy as a busy hub. Currently, this area has a more polished seen that after a long day of shopping in Orchard Road, tourists can head to Clarke Quay for an evening waterfront dining and entertainment. This is also where river taxis and cruises depart from that gives visitors the chance to admire some of the country’s historic bridges and a glimpse of the city landmarks. Quay’s bungee-jumping attraction is famous among the younger market since this ride is packed with a thrill that gives them an adrenaline rush.
This famous theme park occupies 49 acres of Resorts World Sentosa. It was arranged thematically, with each area pays tribute to a location, television show, or blockbuster film. The park has several rides that range from kiddie-friendly to daredevil, it also has diverse dining options, shopping and non-stop live shows from day till night.
This attraction has put a new twist on the traditional zoo experience by introducing their visitors to the nocturnal lives of its locals. The park’s habitats are divided into four parts with their own trails that will let you observe these elusive creatures as they go about their day.
The Fishing Cat Trail is a tour of the habitats of the animals in native Singapore that includes fish-loving felines, pangolin, binturong, and other species that are both common and endangered. On the East Lodge Trail features Malayan tigers and spotted hyenas. Wallaby Tours, on the other hand, introduces their guests to the marsupials of Australia while the Leopard Trail is an encounter with leopards, lions, flying foxes, civets, and porcupines among many others.
Private Tours are also offered for a group of tourists that includes an enjoyable buggy ride, educational sessions, and a possible once in a lifetime experience of Asian elephant feeding sessions.
Singapore’s Merlion is a mythical creature that has the head of a lion with a body and tail of a fish. This creature represents the city’s humble beginnings as a fishing village that is combined with its traditional Malay name Singapura, a “lion city”. The famous statue was relocated in the Merlion Park in 2002 that overlooks Marina Bay, weighing 70 tons and stands 8.6 meters tall with spouting water from its mouth in a mountain. The famous structure also has a Merlion Cub that sits nearby with only two meters tall but is hefty three tons.
This Park is an ideal spot for photo-ops that is perfect for capturing magnificent views from the park or taking a selfie.
This is both an outdoor and indoor museum that is located right on the water and is also a great way to explore Singapore’s maritime history through their fun and interactive exhibits. Upon entering their building, several ships anchored in the area will welcome you before you witness the highlights of this place which locates itself inside the museum. When you enter the vicinity, Jewel of Muscat gets the spotlight; it is a replica of a sailing vessel thank sank in 830 CE while it travels between Africa and China. As you stroll around, you will see large models of trading ships that sailed the Silk Route, learn navigation skills and how to read nautical charts, and experience a 9th-century shipwreck at Typhoon Theater in a special effects simulation.
This is the only preserved fort and military museum in the country and is located in Sentosa Island. You can reach this place via the Fort Siloso Skywalk trail, a massive steel bridge towering 11 stories up. This place was surrounded by a lush tropical canopy and its bridges can be accessed by either glass elevator or by simply taking the stairs – though taking the elevator means sweeping open views of the Keppel Harbor, which you can’t see if you choose to walk your way up. The 181-meter long bridge offers great views of the nearby islands, as well as the jungle floor below.
The highlights of the fort include massive canons on display, its three tunnel systems used to move ammunition around, and special exhibits that showcases the daily lives of the soldiers in the fort during the 1800s.
Pulau Ubin (Granite Island)
If you want an impression of what life in Singapore was like before it was all about glamour and skyscrapers, you can visit the small island of Pulau Ubin, where less than 100 locals are still living the simple ways as they did during the 1960s. The island’s name derives from a Malay word meaning “Granite Island”, a moniker given due to its past prominence as a quarry town. This peaceful and rustic place is where tourists can enjoy exploring its unspoiled forests and diverse wildlife. This island is also home to the Chek Jawa Wetlands, which contains coral reef teeming with sea life.