The small city-state of Singapore has been called a playground for the wealthy, and it’s true that it does have a certain gloss of riches. However, Singapore has more to offer than just upscale shopping centres, five-star hotels, and exquisite restaurants (although it’s worth treating yourself a little to those, if you can). In addition, there are many family-friendly attractions and beautiful public spaces that make exploring this slightly futuristic city worthwhile. There are also a rich history and varied ethnic neighbourhoods to uncover.
Singapore offers a first-rate public transit system that makes exploring the city simple and convenient. You won’t have any trouble hopping from one area of the city to another after you’ve developed a sense of the metro map. English is widely spoken, and signs are also written in English. Singapore is among Southeast Asia’s easiest and most comfortable countries to travel through. You’re in for a great vacation as long as you’re not comparing pricing to neighbouring Thailand or Vietnam.
1. Marina Bay Sands
A high-end luxury hotel, a shopping centre with a canal flowing through it, the ArtScience Museum, and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck—a vantage point for viewing the entire city—are all part of the magnificent Marina Bay Sands resort complex. The ship—yes, a ship—that sits atop the hotel is home to the Skypark’s viewing deck and infinity pool. The infinity pool is only accessible to hotel guests, although anybody may visit the observation deck.
The spectacular skyline, the harbour, the double helix bridge, and the Gardens by the Bay (101 hectares of land transformed into waterfront gardens) can all be seen from the Skypark.
While perched atop the city, visitors can stop by the rooftop café for a snack or a coffee and pick up some keepsakes from the gift shop. You can pay $50 Singapore dollars to have a green-screened picture taken of you in front of the enormous hotel while it is all lit up at night, but it would be wiser to ask a fellow traveller to take the picture instead. The Marina Bay Sands’ beautiful grandeur perfectly captures Singapore’s style and place as a prominent international city in Southeast Asia.
2. Gardens by the Bay
You won’t be able to resist visiting this exquisitely planned green space once you see it (perhaps from the top of the Marina Bay Sands). Take a stroll through the Bay East Garden to take in the colourful plant life and temporarily escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Supertree Grove is a collection of spectacular, futuristic buildings created to serve environmentally friendly purposes. You won’t want to miss it. After that, proceed to the Cloud Forest Dome to view the tallest indoor waterfall in the world and discover a little bit about biodiversity. For information about tour times and ticket rates, see the website.
3. Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens, not to be confused with the Gardens on the Bay, are well worthwhile a visit. For its botanical gardens, Singapore got its first submission for the UNESCO World Heritage List. Despite being clean and pleasant, the city might occasionally feel like a concrete jungle, yet Singapore’s wilder past is preserved in the botanic gardens.
Here, a strolling path leads to the gardens’ historic trees, which are preserved as part of a campaign to safeguard the mature tree species of the city. Don’t forget to check out the magnificent National Orchid Garden as well.
Visits to the eco-garden, eco-lake, bonsai garden, sculptures, and several other formal gardens are also popular activities.
4. Singapore Zoo
The Singapore Zoo, which calls itself the best rainforest zoo in the world, is a very spectacular facility. The facility is pristine and welcoming, and the animals seem to be in good hands thanks to the abundance of lush foliage and habitat area.
Visitors can witness newborns and adults alike swing high over their platforms and munch on fruits while viewing the orangutans, which are particularly amazing. In addition, there are numerous more animals, including a sizable chimpanzee family, zebras, meerkats, a komodo dragon, mole rats, white tigers, and kangaroos.
Some of the animals’ feedings are visible to visitors. Give yourself at least three hours to explore the zoo.
There is also a gigantic panda forest on the River Safari, Night Safari, and Jurong Bird Park if the zoo doesn’t meet your demand to be up close to animals. If you want to visit more than one wildlife park, park hopper passes are offered.
Try the Breakfast with the Orangutans event at the Singapore Zoo for a special and intimate wildlife encounter. This hassle-free tour offers transportation to and from your accommodation, a half-day of zoo exploration, plus an upgrade option for breakfast with the zoo’s beloved orangutans.
5. Orchard Road
Singapore is a world-class city for style and designer flair, so one could be excused for only shopping when visiting. Due to the abundance of upscale shops there, the Orchard Road neighbourhood is an excellent site to start a shopping expedition. Nothing less would be expected from a neighbourhood that has six department stores and 22 malls. Additionally, there are four movie theatres, including an IMAX theatre, and a KTV karaoke venue.
There are many restaurants serving international cuisine in the area if you feel hungry while spending all that money.
6. Singapore Flyer
Try enjoying high tea while taking in city views from the Singapore Flyer, the largest gigantic observation wheel in the world, if the Marina Bay Sands observation deck isn’t quite your thing. Choose from a variety of packages to be served and pampered while taking in a vista that includes not only the Singapore skyline but also as far away as Malaysia’s Straits of Johor and Indonesia’s Spice Islands.
The multimedia Journey of Dreams exhibit, which explores Singapore’s history and the development of the Singapore Flyer, is accessible with each of the many ticket packages available.
Flights are 30 minutes long and depart from early in the morning until late at night, so you can choose whether you want to see Singapore at the start of another busy day or when it is illuminated at night.
7. Raffles Hotel Singapore
One of the few big hotels from the 19th century, this colonial structure formerly hosted literary greats like Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad as well as film icon Charlie Chaplin.
The establishment, which was constructed in 1887 and has been a municipal landmark for more than a century, continues to uphold its upscale status by providing exceptional food and service. The opulent surroundings and further facets of Singapore’s rich and varied history are represented by the classical architecture and tropical gardens.
The Colonial District of the city, where the Raffles Hotel Singapore is situated, is also home to a number of other historic monuments, making it a good place to base yourself while visiting the area. The Raffles Landing Site is where Sir Stamford Raffles, the man who founded Singapore, is reputed to have set foot on land in 1819. According to the legend, he visited a little fishing community and realised its potential as a port. As a result, he bought the property from the Sultan of Johor and invited Chinese and Indian immigrants to settle here. Thus, the foundations of Singapore’s multicultural character were laid.
The Chinatown area of Singapore will instantly transport you back to China if you’ve ever been there. This neighbourhood is bustling with activity, from the little mom-and-pop shops and real Chinese restaurants to the beautiful red lanterns. The majestic and lovely Sri Mariamman Hindu temple is located in the Chinese Heritage Center.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is an additional temple well worth visiting. The morning drum ritual can be heard if you get up early enough (4 am, for example). After seeing the artefact, you might also just attend the evening’s closing ceremony.
English, Japanese, and simplified Chinese heritage signs have been placed all over the neighbourhood so that tourists can better comprehend the significance of the place. However, this area represents more than just a reminder of the Chinese people’s historical importance in Singapore. The trendy Ann Siang Hill neighbourhood is located in this progressive neighbourhood (which offers free Wi-Fi to all residents), and the quaint bistros and posh shops there might be found in any Western metropolis.
10. Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay, which was the “heart of commerce during the 19th century,” continues to be a bustling metropolis. After a long day of shopping on Orchard Road, visitors can cheerfully make their way to Clarke Quay for an evening of waterfront food and entertainment because it now has a more polished sheen.
Also leaving from here are river taxis and cruises that allow visitors to enjoy some of the city’s ancient bridges and take in sites like the Merlion from the water. The Quay’s largest draw for younger visitors is a massive bungee-jumping facility that is a heart-pounding thrill trip.
The Asian Civilization Museum, the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery, which is housed in Singapore’s oldest fire station, and the Hong San See Temple, a beautiful century-old Buddhist temple, are also nearby attractions.