Singapore is an island city-state off the coast of Malaysia in Southeast Asia. It was originally founded as part of the British Empire, but became a sovereign nation in the mid-1960’s and has since become a global commerce, finance and transport hub.
This surge in financial success and relatively lax visa requirements have made Singapore a tourism destination in Southeast Asia, with some calling it the “Las Vegas of Southeast Asia.” We have provided the below list of fun things to do for everyone, from families to couples to singles and everyone inbetween!
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Most visitors will arrive to Singapore through Changi Airport, which is so immense and luxurious, it has become a destination of its own! Regularly touted as the best airport for a long layover, you’ll find hours of entertainment in Changi Airport! You will find gardens, play areas, swimming pools, a movie theater, art exhibits and more! Be sure to leave some extra time before your departure to explore this unique airport!
Gardens By the Bay
You’ve undoubtedly seen pictures from Gardens by the Bay, perhaps wondering what those weird trees are. Gardens by the Bay is a nature park in the heart of Singapore, covering over 100 acres and includes the “Insta-famous” Supertree Grove, a collection of tree-like vertical garden that provide shade in the daytime and put on a light-show in the evenings. There is also a cloud forest, children’s garden, art sculptures and so much more. You easily spend 1/2 a day to a full day exploring Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.
Resorts World Sentosa
On Sentosa Island, you’ll find Resorts World Sentosa, an upscale Western-style resort featuring hotels, attractions and entertainment. There are 6 themed hotels, including Hard Rock Hotel Singapore and unique options such as the Ocean Suite or the Tree Top Loft. Attractions include Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove waterpark, S.E.A. Aquarium and the Maritime Experiential Museum. Resorts World Sentosa also has the most number of Michelin-starred celebrity chef restaurants. Clearly, Resorts World Sentosa is a destination all on it’s own!
Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands hotel is another iconic location in Singapore. This integrated resort is best known for the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, looming 57 stories over Singapore. As an integrated resort, Marina Bay Sands also includes a casino, upscale shopping, ArtScience museum, performance theaters and many restaurants. This is a Vegas-style hotel in the heart of Singapore. This may be Southeast Asia, but you’ll pay luxury prices to stay here. Rooms start at $300/night.
Another destination hotel in Singapore is the Raffles Hotel. You may have seen the Raffles brand in other Southeast Asian locations, such as Cambodia, but the Singapore hotel is the flagship property of Raffles Resorts & Hotels. The Raffles Hotel Singapore is a luxury colonial-style hotel that was established in 1887. The hotel has a wealth of history, and even if you’re not staying, stop by for a drink at the bar. (Note: The hotel is currently closed for extensive renovations and will re-open in the latter half of 2018.)
Orchard Road is Singapore’s luxury shopping destination! Stretching over 2km through the heart of Singapore, Orchard Road is the place to go if you’re looking for high-end retailers like Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Not sporting the AMEX Black card? Not to worry, there’s something for everyone at Orchard Road as you’ll also find stores like H&M and Aldo. Of course, this is Singapore, so there’s way more than just shopping! Orchard Road also has endless dining choices, a cinema, nightclubs and art galleries.
Night Safari is the world’s first nocturnal zoo, and has become one of Singapore’s most popular tourist attractions. There are seven geographical zones such as “Himalayan Foothills” or “Equatorial Africa”, which visitors can explore on foot or by tram. You can upgrade your visit with a show, feeding demonstration or special dining experience. The park is only open in the evening, and closes at midnight.
In addition to the night safari, Singapore also has a more traditional zoo. The Singapore Zoo calls itself the world’s best rainforest zoo. The zoo has over 2,800 animals from more than 300 species, roaming freely in naturalistic habitats. There are many special exhibits and attractions, like a Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife, so you’ll want to plan ahead for your visit. The Singapore Zoo is part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, and you can purchase bundled tickets to include the Night Safari, a River Safari and Jurong Bird Park.
Mega-ferris wheels seem to be all the rage in cities, and Singapore is no exception! The Singapore Flyer is a giant ferris wheel offering a birds-eye view of the entire island city. The flyer has 28 air-conditioned compartments ready to whisk you over 40 stories into the air. On a clear day, you might even see into Indonesia! Of course, there are plenty of dining and entertainment options in the immediate area of the Singapore Flyer.
Singapore Night Markets
While Singapore may feel very modern and flashy, like Las Vegas, it’s still in Asia, so of course there are night markets to visit! Most are located near the city center, but each ethnic area also will have their version of a night market. Bugis Street is one of the more well-known night markets on one of Singapore’s busiest street for shopping. At Singapore’s night markets you’ll find everything from tech accessories, clothing, $1 souvenirs, and all kinds of food to try.
Yes, Singapore has a Chinatown and it’s worth a visit for temple, museums, street food and markets. The street markets are the main draw to Singapore’s Chinatown, and there is a bustling night market rife with the scents of street food being sold in every direction.
Like Chinatown, Little India is another ethnic neighborhood of Singapore, showcasing Singapore’s Indian community. Little India houses many temples and storefronts selling Indian goods as well as clothing and souvenirs. Of course, Little India is the place to go for Indian food, and you can sample many curries, including Singapore’s most popular curry dish, Fish Head Curry. Don’t miss the 24-hour shopping mall, Mustafa Centre!
Care for a more relaxed tourist destination? Consider a day trip to Pulau Ubin, or Granite Island, named as it once housed granite quarries. This island northeast of Singapore is sometimes considered the last “village” of Singapore. Here you’ll see a slower pace than the big city, and you can explore it through miles of nature trails, either by foot or by bicycle. If you really want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can even reserve a campsite and stay overnight on Granite Island. Granite Island is easily reached by water taxis departing from the ferry terminal.
Another way to escape the city is to get out in the water. Nearby Pulau Redang offers world-class dive sites including some of the best coral reefs in the world, plus incredible marine life including turtles, anemone, fish, stingrays and seahorses. Pulau Redang is best reached via 80-minute flight from Singapore, but there are also bus and ferry options for the budget-minded traveler.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens are over 150 years old and the only tropical garden to be honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens are open from 5 a.m. to midnight every day of the year and are free to enter, with the exception of the National Orchid Garden. Take your time exploring the gardens’ 10,000 species of flora. You’ll find many gardens within the garden, including a rainforest and a children’s garden.
The Changi Museum showcases Singapore’s history during the Second World War, including the Japanese occupation of Singapore during that time. Many Prisoners-of-War and civilians were interned at the Changi Prison and the museum serves as a reminder of this dark time.
Fort Canning Park
Another historical attraction in Singapore, Fort Canning Park served as the headquarters for the British Army in the 1920’s, which has now been turned into a green space for visitors to enjoy. There are concert venues, a spice garden, nature walks and historical displays. Check the calendar of events to see what’s happening when you visit. With any luck, you’ll catch a festival like Shakespeare in the Park or Ballet Under the Stars.
As the name implies, Clarke Quay is a waterfront historical landmark along the Singapore River. This district features 5 blocks of restored shophouses and warehouses, which now house restaurants, bars and entertainment. Clarke Quay is a drinking and dining destination and good choice for anyone looking for a party scene in Singapore.
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