Singapore today is anything but boring, with some of the most cutting-edge green areas, hippest clubs, world-class museums, and top-notch hawker food.
A modern skyline towers over Singapore, a renowned clean and becoming more and more green city-state whose vibrant food courts, incense-scented temples, and heritage shophouse-lined streets exude history and culture. Additionally, travelling throughout the city is simple because of the well-organised public transportation infrastructure. The best activities during your visit are listed here.
1) Iconic Gardens
In Singapore, there are many beautiful parks and gardens to visit. You should at the very least include the two most famous places on your trip. The 82-hectare Singapore Botanic Gardens, which opened its doors in 1860, is a Unesco-listed tropical wonderland full of lush-themed gardens, including one featuring more than 550 types of ginger. Don’t miss the complex’s magnificent National Orchid Garden or the Gallop Extension, which has a wonderful collection of botanical art.
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Gardens by the Bay, located in Marina Bay across town, is a huge fantasy landscape with hazy biodomes, cutting-edge Supertrees, and whimsical sculptures. Twice daily, the Supertrees light up for the Garden Rhapsody show.
2) Hawker centres
Hungry? When you visit this centre of Southeast Asian cuisine, you’ll want to be. Singapore is home to numerous excellent restaurants, but its hawker centres are legendary. The hawker culture is so essential to Singaporean culture that it was added to the 2020 Unesco Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Indulging in a plate of fiery laksa, flaky murtabak (stuffed savoury pancake), nutty satay, or BBQ stingray, to mention just a few of the wonderful foods on sale at the 100 or so hawker centres sprinkled around the island nation, is the best way to understand Singaporean culture.
Singapore’s ever-growing collection of cutting-edge cultural institutions now puts it on par with the greatest museum cities in the world. Popular attractions include the National Museum Singapore, which chronicles Singapore’s history, the Asian Civilizations Museum, an engrossing tribute to Asia’s intercultural connections, and the National Gallery Singapore, which houses the largest public collection of Southeast Asian and Singaporean art in the world.
The Peranakan Museum, which honours the vibrant culture of the distinct ethnic group that resulted from the blending of the Chinese and Malay peoples, and the Changi Museum & Chapel, which highlights the tales of the POWs and civilians interned in Changi Prison during the Japanese occupation of Singapore, are just two of the smaller, more eccentric museums to explore.
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4) Green Spaces
There are more than 350 parks and gardens strewn across the lush city-state, in addition to Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Botanic Gardens. Five of them are connected by the Southern Ridges, a magnificent 10-kilometre (6-mile) trail that includes Singapore’s tallest pedestrian bridge. In addition, you can go to Singapore’s highest peak in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and enjoy a treetop walk at MacRitchie Reservoir. And that’s only the beginning.
5) Historic Neighborhoods
The early history of the island nation is fascinatingly revealed by Singapore’s historic districts. Start in evocative Little India, where shophouse boutiques overflow with vibrant saris and fragrant spices. In vibrant Chinatown, serene temples coexist with trendy cafes and eateries, while the Colonial District is teeming with impressive structures built during British rule.
The recently renovated east coast village of Katong, which served as the residence of the wealthy elite from the late 19th to the middle of the 20th century, is home to some of the city’s prettiest shophouses, while the 1920s housing estate of Tiong Bahru, tucked behind Chinatown, is now a hipster haven of boutiques and cafes. Beyond that, there is a tonne of intriguing neighbourhoods to explore.
From seductive rooftop bars to melancholy secret speakeasies, throbbing nightclubs to laid-back craft beer bars, Singapore’s ever-expanding array of nightlife options make it a terrific location to hit the town. This is further helped by the city’s warm weather all year round. The best bars in Singapore can be found all around the city, but with a big concentration in Chinatown, here is where you should start your evening. And if you haven’t tried a Singapore Sling in the storied Long Bar at Raffles, have you ever gone to Singapore? The national beverage’s recipe was revised in 2019 to reflect modern preferences, which most people will agree is an improvement over the old recipe’s extreme sweetness.
7) Pulau Ubin Island
This undeveloped island retreat, which is tucked away between Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore’s mainland, provides a window into Singapore’s past kampong (village) life. Take a bumboat (motorised sampan) from Changi to Pulau Ubin, where you may rent a bike and explore the tranquil island. The trip takes 15 minutes. Cycling through ancient mangrove swamps, lotus-covered lakes, tin-roofed shacks, and dilapidated temples is followed by a straightforward seafood lunch by the water.
8) Sentosa Island
Sentosa Island, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge, is one of the best getaway locations in Singapore. It’s a sprawl of theme parks, opulent resorts, beach bars, and even an underground casino. It’s an all-ages playground. At Universal Studios, there are rides and shows; at the SEA Aquarium, there are enormous tanks filled with marine life (guaranteed to be popular with kids); and at Fort Siloso, there is WWII history. The greatest beaches in Singapore are bordered by bars with palm trees, while the best restaurants have views of opulent ships.
9) Luxury Hotel
Singapore is home to some of the most recognisable luxury hotels in the world, from opulent historical inns to cutting-edge architectural marvels like the Marina Bay Sands hotel, which has the largest rooftop infinity pool in the world. So if you’re searching for a special place to indulge, this is it.
Raffles Singapore reopened in 2019 after a protracted makeover, fusing the glitz of 19th-century Singapore with 21st-century conveniences. The Parkroyal on Pickering combines luxury and nature with cutting-edge ecological initiatives, while The Warehouse Hotel reinvents a historic riverbank warehouse for the experiential modern traveller.
Although nothing compares to seeing animals in their natural habitat, Singapore Zoo’s lush, open-air enclosures are a close second, and this zoo is renowned for its conservation initiatives. It is one of the rare locations outside of Borneo or Sumatra where you may stand beneath the shade of the trees while orangutans swing above your head.
Along with River Wonders, which features more than 11,000 aquatic and land creatures, and the nocturnal wildlife-based Night Safari, Singapore Zoo is one of the wildlife attractions that makes up the Mandai Wildlife Reserve in the island’s central north. In 2023, the current Jurong Bird Park will merge with the Mandai Wildlife Reserve.
11) Orchard Road
Orchard Road, a 2.5km (1.5 miles) stretch of spectacular malls, department stores, and speciality shops, is Singapore’s very own shopping paradise. Within its pleasantly air-conditioned maze of shops, you’ll discover every brand imaginable, from up-and-coming local designers to major international high-street names and European couture. However, Orchard Road offers more than just retail therapy. Some of the top dining establishments in the area can be found there, including modern European favourites Buona Terra and Michelin-starred Iggy’s.
12) Singapore’s quirky side
Singapore has a reputation for being quite formal, but once you look closer, you’ll find it’s full of eccentricities. The Chinese mythology theme park known as Haw Par Villa is located on the west coast and maybe the wackiest amusement facility you’ve ever visited. In Kampong Glam, Singapore’s vibrant Muslim Quarter, there is a whole museum devoted to old cameras to explore, and there is a tonne of bright street art to find all across the city.