Standing as a proud testimony to the harmonious blend of culture, technology, heritage, and innovation, Singapore – the Lion City – is a realm full of mesmerizing experiences that extend far beyond its iconic city skyline. This city-state on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula holds a unique allure. With its bustling hawker centers serving mouth-watering dishes, manicured green spaces offering tranquil respite from the urban pace, legendary shopping streets, and a vibrant nightlife that caters to all, Singapore is a world within a world, ready to captivate the heart of every traveler.
While this ultra-modern city is globally recognized for its futuristic architecture, sophisticated transportation, and luxury shopping malls, it retains an intimate connection with its colorful past. History buffs are treated to carefully preserved colonial buildings, fascinating museums, and heritage trails that narrate the tales of yesteryears. Nature enthusiasts aren’t left behind either – Singapore’s commitment to green urbanism has resulted in a multitude of parks, nature reserves, and lush landscapes that weave seamlessly into the city’s urban fabric.
For the culturally curious, Singapore presents a rich tapestry of diverse traditions and practices, beautifully reflected in its ethnic districts. From the lively streets of Little India and the colorful facades in Chinatown to the bohemian charm of Tiong Bahru and the vibrant textiles and cuisine of Arab Street, there’s a cultural journey waiting at every corner.
This list of 23 things to do in Singapore offers a balanced mix of the city’s most well-known sights and lesser-known experiences that lie off the beaten tourist trail. These curated experiences are designed to provide you with a rich, holistic appreciation of this unique city-state.
1. Visit Marina Bay Sands
Begin your journey at the world-renowned integrated resort, Marina Bay Sands. This awe-inspiring architectural masterpiece, designed by visionary architect Moshe Safdie, has transformed Singapore’s skyline since its opening in 2010. Its three towers are topped by a spectacular sky park, resembling a giant surfboard, that offers panoramic views of the city.
This integrated resort has become synonymous with Singapore’s futuristic vision, representing the country’s leap towards becoming a global city. However, the Marina Bay Sands is more than just a symbol – it offers an array of entertainment, dining, shopping, and accommodation options. The Marina Bay Sands Casino, the largest in the city-state, the luxury retail mall, and celebrity-chef restaurants, ensure that there is something for every taste and preference.
One of the key attractions at Marina Bay Sands is the breathtaking Infinity Pool, the world’s largest rooftop pool at 57 levels above the ground. It offers guests a chance to swim and relax amidst stunning skyline views. For art and science enthusiasts, the ArtScience Museum is a must-visit with its ever-changing line-up of innovative exhibitions.
At night, the Marina Bay Sands transforms into a dazzling spectacle with its light and water show, Spectra, which illuminates the bay area with a vibrant display of visual effects, water cannons, lasers, and a symphony of music.
Maximize your experience at Marina Bay Sands with these tips:
- Getting There: Marina Bay Sands is well connected by public transport. You can check the official Marina Bay Sands website for more information.
- Best Time to Visit: To avoid crowds, visit the SkyPark in the early morning. For dining and nightlife, evening hours are the most vibrant.
- Infinity Pool: Remember that the Infinity Pool is only accessible to hotel guests. Book a room for a chance to swim at the world’s highest infinity pool.
- Spectra Light Show: The show starts at 8pm and 9pm from Sunday to Thursday and has an extra 10pm show on Friday and Saturday. It’s free for everyone.
Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, a foodie, a shopaholic, or simply someone looking for incredible views, Marina Bay Sands offers a blend of unforgettable experiences that encapsulate the spirit of modern Singapore.
2. Explore Gardens by the Bay
Immerse yourself in the verdant landscapes of Gardens by the Bay, an award-winning horticultural spectacle spread over 101 hectares. This massive garden in the heart of the city is part of a strategy by the Singapore government to transform the “Garden City” into a “City in a Garden”, aiming to raise the quality of life by enhancing greenery and flora in the city.
From the waterfront promenade, you’ll spot the iconic Supertrees, which range from 25 to 50 meters in height. These tree-like structures are, in fact, vertical gardens covered in tropical flowering climbers, ferns, and bromeliads. At night, they come alive with an exhilarating display of lights and sounds known as the Garden Rhapsody.
Within the gardens, you’ll find two large conservatories, the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome. The Cloud Forest is a hill covered in lush vegetation, shrouding the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. The Flower Dome is the world’s largest greenhouse without columns and replicates cool-dry climates, featuring plants from Mediterranean and semi-arid regions. Together, these architectural marvels create a fascinating world of tropical plants and flowers.
The gardens are also home to themed gardens that celebrate the diversity of plant life on Earth. These include the World of Plants, Heritage Gardens, Dragonfly & Kingfisher Lakes, and the Children’s Garden with its treehouses and adventure trails.
Here are a few tips to enhance your visit to Gardens by the Bay:
- Getting There: The garden is well-connected by public transport. Visit the official Gardens by the Bay website for detailed directions.
- Timing Your Visit: Consider visiting the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest in the daytime and the Supertrees and outdoor gardens in the evening when they are beautifully illuminated.
- Guided Tours: There are complimentary guided tours available for the outdoor gardens. Check the schedule and gather at the meeting point on time.
- Pack Accordingly: Remember to bring a reusable water bottle and wear comfortable walking shoes. As the conservatories are air-conditioned, you may want to bring a light sweater.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a fan of stunning architecture, or simply in search of serenity, Gardens by the Bay offers a mesmerizing fusion of nature and technology that’s sure to leave you captivated.
3. Venture to Sentosa Island
Set sail to Sentosa Island, Singapore’s premier island resort getaway. Home to thrilling attractions, pristine beaches, and world-class resorts, Sentosa offers a unique blend of leisure and adventure that caters to all ages and preferences.
One of the island’s main draws is the thrilling theme park, Universal Studios Singapore. Packed with 24 attractions, including a pair of dueling roller coasters, it is sure to ignite your adrenaline. Movie buffs will appreciate the park’s seven themed zones, each paying tribute to some of the most famous films in history.
For beach lovers, Sentosa doesn’t disappoint. Palawan Beach, Siloso Beach, and Tanjong Beach offer a relaxing seaside retreat where you can unwind under the sun or indulge in water sports. At Palawan Beach, don’t miss the suspension bridge that leads to a small islet that is, according to the local authorities, the southernmost point of continental Asia.
Another remarkable destination is the S.E.A. Aquarium, one of the world’s largest aquariums. Here, you can explore the marine habitats of more than 100,000 animals of over 1,000 species.
Other attractions include the adrenaline-pumping Mega Adventure Park, the immersive 4D AdventureLand, and the stunning Tiger Sky Tower, offering panoramic views of the island and beyond.
Make the most of your Sentosa Island experience with these tips:
- Getting There: You can reach Sentosa by the Sentosa Express, by cable car, or on foot via the Sentosa Boardwalk. Visit the official Sentosa website for more information.
- Island Pass: Consider buying a Sentosa Fun Pass if you plan to visit multiple attractions. It offers savings on admission fees.
- Pre-booking: For popular attractions like Universal Studios, it’s best to book your tickets in advance to avoid long queues.
- Staying Hydrated: Sentosa can be hot and humid, so be sure to carry a water bottle and stay hydrated.
- Sun Protection: If you’re planning on spending time at the beach, don’t forget to pack your sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat.
With its extensive array of attractions and activities, Sentosa Island provides a perfect escape, promising endless fun and excitement for everyone.
4. Discover Universal Studios Singapore
Get ready to unleash your inner thrill-seeker at Universal Studios Singapore. This movie-inspired theme park, located within Resorts World Sentosa, offers a captivating blend of exhilarating rides, captivating shows, and extraordinary attractions inspired by some of the greatest films in history.
The park is divided into seven movie-themed zones, each offering a unique immersion into the world of film. From the enchanting realm of Shrek in Far Far Away, the pulse-pounding thrill rides of Sci-Fi City, to the nostalgic charm of Hollywood and New York, every corner promises a unique adventure.
Adrenaline junkies won’t want to miss Battlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon, the world’s tallest dueling roller coaster. This thrilling ride takes riders on a heart-stopping journey full of twists, turns, and inversions. Meanwhile, TRANSFORMERS The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle takes you on an immersive 3D experience, combining high-tech simulation technology with Hollywood-style storytelling.
Universal Studios Singapore isn’t just about rides though. The park also offers a variety of live shows and street performances. Enjoy musicals at Pantages Hollywood Theater, watch Sesame Street characters come to life, or even meet your favorite characters, from the Minions to the Autobots.
To make the most of your visit to Universal Studios Singapore, consider these tips:
- Buying Tickets: It’s recommended to buy your tickets online before your visit. You can purchase them on the official website.
- Express Pass: Consider getting an Express Pass if you want to skip the lines at popular attractions, especially during peak season.
- Opening Hours: Check the park’s opening hours before your visit as they can vary.
- Plan Your Day: Plan your visit ahead of time to ensure you can experience all the attractions on your list.
- Dress Appropriately: Wear comfortable shoes and clothing as you’ll be on your feet most of the day.
Whether you’re a movie buff, a thrill-seeker, or a family looking for a fun day out, Universal Studios Singapore offers a unique and exciting journey into the world of film.
5. Soak in the View from Singapore Flyer
Embark on a mesmerizing journey into the skies aboard the Singapore Flyer. Standing proud at 165 meters, it holds the title of one of the world’s largest observation wheels. Its colossal structure against Singapore’s urban landscape makes for a stunning sight, but the real magic begins once you step into one of its spacious, air-conditioned capsules.
As the Singapore Flyer gently ascends, you’ll find the cityscape unfolding beneath you. Marvel at the panoramic vistas stretching up to 45 kilometers on a clear day, encompassing not just the island city-state, but parts of neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia. Take in the architectural marvels, glittering skyscrapers, historic districts, lush greenery, and azure waters of Marina Bay.
The Singapore Flyer offers more than just breathtaking views. Each rotation takes approximately 30 minutes, giving you ample time to indulge in the multimedia in-capsule experience. This digital journey dives into Singapore’s transformation from a sleepy fishing village to a dynamic global city.
Planning a special occasion? The Singapore Flyer also hosts unique experiences such as sky dining, where you can enjoy a luxurious four-course meal while admiring the city from great heights.
Here are some tips to enhance your visit to the Singapore Flyer:
- Book in Advance: Pre-book your tickets on the official website to avoid long queues.
- Timing: Aim for a ride at sunset or in the evening when the city lights add a dramatic touch to the panoramic views.
- Weather: Keep in mind that visibility will depend on the weather. Check the forecast before your visit.
- Special Packages: Explore the different packages available for a unique experience. Sky dining is especially popular among couples.
- Accessibility: The Singapore Flyer is wheelchair accessible, ensuring everyone can enjoy the experience.
Whether it’s to take in the sweeping city views, learn about Singapore’s history, or to celebrate a special moment, a ride on the Singapore Flyer promises a captivating and unforgettable experience.
6. Visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Steeped in tranquillity and a deep sense of spirituality, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is an imposing figure in the heart of Chinatown. This four-story Buddhist temple is an architectural marvel, showcasing the rich style of the Tang dynasty, and is an important place of worship for Singapore’s Buddhist community.
True to its name, the temple houses what is believed to be a tooth relic of Buddha, kept in a grand stupa made of 320 kilograms of gold. The relic is housed on the fourth floor, a sanctum filled with an aura of reverence and deep respect. Here, the faithful and curious alike can catch a glimpse of the relic from the public viewing area.
Beyond the relic, the temple also houses a museum showcasing Buddhist art and history across Asia. Explore the exhibits displaying an array of artifacts, scriptures, and rock carvings, offering an immersive journey into Buddhism’s heritage.
The temple’s atmosphere is one of serenity, with chants often echoing in its halls. The rooftop garden, adorned with Buddha images and a prayer wheel, provides a peaceful retreat amid the hustle and bustle of Chinatown. Regardless of faith, visitors find the temple a calming sanctuary.
Consider the following tips when planning a visit to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple:
- Etiquette: As a place of worship, respectful behavior is expected. Dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees, and speak softly within the temple.
- Guided Tours: Free guided tours are offered, providing insight into the temple’s history and practices. You can find more information on their official website.
- Best Time to Visit: The temple is usually less crowded during weekdays. If you want to witness a service, check the temple’s schedule.
- Cultural Immersion: Spend some time exploring the surrounding Chinatown after your temple visit. Its vibrant streets, lined with traditional shops and eateries, offer a colorful cultural experience.
From its captivating architecture to its spiritual ambiance, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is more than a religious site—it’s a testament to Singapore’s diverse cultural tapestry.
7. Tour the National Museum of Singapore
Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Singapore’s history at the National Museum of Singapore. As the nation’s oldest museum, it is a cultural and architectural landmark that brilliantly tells the story of Singapore from its earliest days to the vibrant metropolis it is today.
The museum’s neoclassical facade houses a treasure trove of stories. Its galleries host a wealth of exhibits, each offering fascinating insights into the country’s past. The Singapore History Gallery, a must-visit, takes you on an interactive journey through the island’s evolution, incorporating first-hand accounts, historical artefacts, and multimedia presentations.
Aside from history, the museum also celebrates the arts. It frequently hosts film screenings, art installations, and performances that reflect Singapore’s diverse cultural identity. The museum’s innovative blend of history, culture, and technology offers an enlightening and engaging experience.
The building itself is a spectacle, seamlessly integrating the old and the new. The original neoclassical structure beautifully contrasts with the glass-and-metal modern extension, symbolic of Singapore’s own balance between preserving its past and embracing the future.
To enhance your experience at the National Museum of Singapore, consider these tips:
- Plan Ahead: Check out the museum’s official website to learn about current exhibits and events. It helps to plan your visit around the exhibits that interest you the most.
- Guided Tours: Opt for a guided tour. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who provide in-depth information and answer any questions you might have.
- Accessibility: The museum is fully accessible to wheelchair users and those with mobility issues.
- Nearby Attractions: After your visit, consider exploring nearby attractions like the Fort Canning Park or the Singapore Art Museum.
The National Museum of Singapore isn’t just a museum—it’s a captivating storyteller weaving tales of Singapore’s past, mirroring its present, and hinting at its future.
8. Roam Tiong Bahru’s Hipster Streets
Get a taste of local life by exploring Tiong Bahru, one of Singapore’s most charismatic neighborhoods. It’s a compelling mix of old and new, where 1930s art deco apartments sit alongside contemporary design studios, indie bookshops, and trendy cafes. Its unique blend of history, culture, and cool has earned Tiong Bahru the title of one of the city’s hippest districts.
Start your day by wandering through the heritage-rich streets, admiring the distinctive architecture that sets Tiong Bahru apart. The low-rise buildings are an architectural treat, featuring rounded balconies, spiral staircases, and flat rooftops — a stark contrast to the city’s ubiquitous high-rises.
Make your way to the bustling Tiong Bahru Market, a local hotspot for fresh produce, traditional street food, and local crafts. Enjoy the wide array of hawker stalls, offering local favorites like chwee kueh (water rice cake) and Hainanese chicken rice. It’s the perfect place to sample Singapore’s vibrant culinary scene.
After satiating your palate, indulge in some retail therapy at the quaint boutiques offering a selection of local and international design goods. Then, end your day with a relaxing visit to one of the neighborhood’s chic coffee shops, each offering its unique blend of beans and ambiance.
Make the most of your visit to Tiong Bahru with these helpful tips:
- Heritage Trail: Follow the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail for a comprehensive tour of the district’s historic sites.
- Bookstore Visit: Don’t miss BooksActually, a renowned independent bookstore that houses a variety of literature, including works by Singaporean authors.
- Art Appreciation: Visit the various art galleries dotted around the district for a taste of the local art scene.
- Cafe Hopping: Tiong Bahru is known for its thriving cafe culture. Try to visit a few to experience the variety and quality of coffee they offer.
Exploring Tiong Bahru is like flipping through a well-loved book, each page a delightful blend of nostalgia and novelty, offering something unique at every turn.
9. Stroll Along Orchard Road
Prepare to be swept up in a whirlwind of retail therapy at Orchard Road, Singapore’s most iconic shopping district. Stretching over 2.2 kilometers, this bustling boulevard is home to a dizzying array of shopping malls, luxury boutiques, and flagship stores, catering to all tastes and budgets. Whether you’re hunting for high-street fashion, international brands, local designers, or unique souvenirs, Orchard Road promises a shopping experience like no other.
Start your shopping spree at ION Orchard, one of the most glamorous shopping complexes in the city. This futuristic-looking mall houses a mixture of high-end retailers and affordable brands, offering a diverse selection for discerning shoppers. Venture a little further to discover Takashimaya, an expansive Japanese department store, and Paragon, renowned for its luxury fashion brands.
Beyond shopping, Orchard Road also offers a thriving food scene, from fancy restaurants to casual eateries and food courts, providing a welcome break for refueling between your shopping ventures. The district also comes alive with street performances and festive decorations during the holiday season, making it a must-visit location throughout the year.
Maximize your Orchard Road experience with these tips:
- Early Start: Start your shopping spree early to avoid the afternoon crowds. Malls usually open from 10 am.
- Tourist Privileges: Many shopping malls offer special discounts for tourists. Check out the official Orchard Road website for more information.
- Food Courts: If you’re on a budget, try the food courts in various malls for a wide array of affordable and delicious local food.
- Comfortable Footwear: With so many malls and shops to explore, make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Whether you’re a die-hard shopaholic or just a casual browser, Orchard Road offers a diverse shopping and cultural experience, serving as a shining testament to Singapore’s reputation as a shopper’s paradise.
10. Experience the Night Safari
Experience wildlife like never before as you embark on a nocturnal adventure at the Night Safari, the world’s first zoo designed specifically for nighttime exploration. Set within a lush secondary rainforest, this 35-hectare park provides an unusual and thrilling opportunity to see over 2,500 animals representing 130 species, many of which are rare and endangered, in their naturalistic nighttime habitats.
The Night Safari is divided into four walking trails and a tram route which you can explore at your own pace. The four trails, namely the Fishing Cat Trail, Leopard Trail, East Lodge Trail, and Wallaby Trail each highlight a unique habitat and its inhabitants. However, for a broader overview of the different geographical zones of the park, take the 40-minute tram ride which meanders through the Himalayan Foothills, Indian Subcontinent, Equatorial Africa, Indo-Malayan Region, and the Burmese Hillside.
Apart from observing nocturnal animals in their naturalistic habitats, visitors can also enjoy immersive shows like the Creatures of the Night, a 20-minute interactive show that introduces you to a variety of night creatures, from raccoons to hyenas.
Make your Night Safari visit memorable with these tips:
- Arriving: The Night Safari is a bit out of the city center, so plan your trip accordingly. Check out the official Night Safari website for more information on how to get there.
- Best Time to Visit: Animals are most active during feeding times, so aim to visit then. Timings can be found on the park’s official website.
- Repellent and Clothing: The park is in a rainforest area. Wear light, comfortable clothing and bring insect repellent.
- Flash Photography: To not disturb the animals, flash photography is not allowed. Learn to take photos in low light or just enjoy the experience without a camera.
With its unique concept and commitment to conservation, the Night Safari offers an unforgettable nocturnal adventure that will deepen your appreciation for wildlife.
11. Visit the Raffles Hotel
Immerse yourself in a quintessential Singaporean experience as you sip on the iconic Singapore Sling at the legendary Raffles Hotel. This colonial-style luxury hotel, established in 1887, has become a national monument and is synonymous with exquisite service and old-world charm.
The Singapore Sling, a gin-based cocktail, was first created in 1915 at the hotel’s Long Bar by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. Designed as a ladylike drink that women could enjoy in public, the cocktail quickly gained popularity among the high-society clientele of the hotel. With its unique blend of gin, cherry brandy, Cointreau, Bénédictine, grenadine, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, and a dash of Angostura bitters, the Singapore Sling has since become a symbol of Singapore’s rich heritage and the Raffles Hotel.
As you step into the Long Bar, you’ll be transported back in time with its colonial decor and old-world atmosphere. The tradition of throwing peanut shells on the floor, as a symbol of the colonial-era disregard for stuffiness, is still upheld today, adding a playful charm to the experience. The Long Bar is not just about its signature cocktail; it also offers a variety of other concoctions, each with their unique story, making this destination more than just a bar, but a journey through time.
For a memorable visit to the Raffles Hotel and the Long Bar, consider these tips:
- Dress Code: Casual chic is the dress code for the Long Bar. Dress respectfully, as it’s not just a bar but a part of Singapore’s history. Check Raffles Hotel’s official website for more details.
- Peak Hours: The bar can get quite crowded in the evenings and on weekends. Consider visiting during off-peak hours for a more relaxed experience.
- Try Other Cocktails: While the Singapore Sling is the star, the bar serves a range of other cocktails, each with a unique story. Explore them for a comprehensive experience.
Drinking a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar is more than just enjoying a cocktail; it’s indulging in a slice of Singapore’s colonial past and its vibrant present.
12. Take a Bumboat Ride along Singapore River
Embrace a unique perspective of the city as you enjoy a traditional bumboat ride along the Singapore River. As a historic mode of transport that was once the lifeline of trade in the city, these charming vessels now serve as leisure cruisers, offering visitors an intimate look at Singapore’s blend of old and new.
The river is the historic heart of Singapore, with the city having evolved from a humble fishing village to a bustling metropolis around its banks. As you float along the waterway, you’ll witness the contrast between the historic quays—Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, and Robertson Quay—and the gleaming skyscrapers of the city’s skyline. Each quay has its unique appeal, from Boat Quay’s conserved shophouses and historic trading hub atmosphere to Clarke Quay’s vibrant nightlife and Robertson Quay’s tranquil ambience.
The bumboat ride also offers stunning views of iconic landmarks, including the Merlion, Marina Bay Sands, and the Esplanade. With each twist and turn of the river, a new chapter of Singapore’s rich history and dynamic future unfolds, making this ride a must-do activity for any visitor to the city.
For a captivating bumboat ride along the Singapore River, consider these tips:
- Timing: While the ride is enjoyable at any time, opt for an evening cruise for stunning views of the illuminated cityscape. Check the official website for operational hours and ticket prices.
- Weather: Singapore’s tropical climate can be unpredictable. Carry an umbrella or raincoat in case of sudden showers.
- Audio Guide: Most bumboats offer audio guides. Listen to them for an insightful narration of the landmarks and their significance.
A bumboat ride on the Singapore River isn’t just a sightseeing activity; it’s an immersive journey through Singapore’s past, present, and future.
13. Try Local Delicacies at Hawker Centres
Embark on a mouthwatering journey through Singapore’s culinary landscape at its bustling Hawker Centres. Unassuming at first glance, these food courts are the heart and soul of the city’s food scene, where a melting pot of cultures converges in a symphony of flavors. Prime examples include the renowned Maxwell Road Hawker Centre and Lau Pa Sat.
Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, located in Chinatown, is famed for housing some of Singapore’s most coveted food stalls. It presents an opportunity to indulge in local dishes like Hainanese chicken rice, laksa, and char kway teow. One must-try here is Tian Tian Chicken Rice, a stall praised even by celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay.
In the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District, you’ll find Lau Pa Sat, also known as Telok Ayer Market. Housed in a beautiful Victorian-style cast-iron structure dating back to the 19th century, it offers a variety of dishes that reflect the city’s multicultural roots. Don’t miss out on the satay street—Boon Tat Street next to the centre that transforms into a vibrant satay hot spot come evening.
To make the most of your culinary expedition at Singapore’s hawker centres, consider the following tips:
- Peak Hours: To avoid queues, visit before 12pm or after 2pm. However, the energy during peak hours is quite the experience in itself.
- Payment: Most stalls still operate on a cash-only basis, so make sure to have local currency on hand.
- Hygiene: Food stalls are rated based on hygiene standards, from A to D, with A being the best. Look for these ratings displayed at each stall.
- Exploring: Try out different dishes from various stalls. This is the charm of Singapore’s hawker centres. For inspiration, visit the official Visit Singapore website.
A visit to the hawker centres is more than a dining experience—it’s a delightful immersion into Singapore’s diverse culinary culture.
14. Explore the ArtScience Museum
Experience the confluence of art, science, design, and technology at the awe-inspiring ArtScience Museum. This iconic museum, with its distinct lotus flower-inspired architecture, sits majestically at the heart of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands complex.
The ArtScience Museum houses 21 gallery spaces that serve as a canvas for a rotating roster of exhibitions, meticulously curated to invoke thought, provoke discussion, and inspire learning. Past exhibitions have explored everything from virtual reality and digital media to natural history, marine biology, and even the art of filmmaking.
One of the museum’s highlights is its permanent exhibition, Future World: Where Art Meets Science. This groundbreaking, immersive installation showcases interactive high-tech displays that blend art, science, and technology in a breathtaking visual spectacle. Expect to journey through mesmerizing digital installations including a crystal universe of light, a whimsical park of musical animals, and an interactive, blossoming garden of digital flora.
For a seamless and enriching visit to the ArtScience Museum, consider the following tips:
- Book in Advance: Purchase tickets online in advance to ensure a smooth entry and to stay updated about any schedule changes. Tickets can be booked on the official Marina Bay Sands website.
- Plan Your Time: Allocate at least 2-3 hours to fully appreciate the exhibitions.
- Photography: Non-flash photography is allowed in most areas, making it a great place for capturing unique photos.
- Stay Informed: Interactive guides and headsets are provided to offer insights about exhibits. You can also download the ArtScience Museum app for an augmented reality experience.
With its vibrant fusion of creative expressions and pioneering technologies, the ArtScience Museum delivers an illuminating journey into the potential of the human imagination.
15. Discover the Southern Ridges
Embark on a serene escape from the urban sprawl by hiking the scenic trails of the Southern Ridges. Stretching over 10 kilometers, this green oasis serves as a sanctuary for nature lovers and a respite for those seeking tranquility amidst Singapore’s bustling city life.
The Southern Ridges is a network of nature trails connecting some of Singapore’s most beautiful parks and gardens. As you tread along these paths, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery, unique wildlife, and exceptional views of the city, the harbor, and the Southern Islands.
A standout feature of the Southern Ridges is the Henderson Waves, Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge. With its distinctive wave-like architecture made of balau wood slats, the bridge offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city skyline.
Other notable spots along the route include the Forest Walk and Canopy Walk—elevated walkways that bring you eye-level with the forest canopy—along with Mount Faber Park and the unique horticultural displays at HortPark.
To ensure an enjoyable and rewarding visit to the Southern Ridges, consider the following tips:
- Wear Comfortable Shoes: Given the length and nature of the trails, wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes to ensure a pleasant experience.
- Stay Hydrated: Bring enough water with you, as it can get quite humid and there are limited facilities along the trail.
- Use the Map: Use the official Southern Ridges Map to navigate the trails and identify the key attractions.
- Choose Your Timing: Early morning or late afternoon are the most comfortable times to hike due to Singapore’s tropical climate. The views at sunset from the Henderson Waves are particularly stunning.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an avid hiker, or simply someone looking to unwind, the Southern Ridges provides a unique opportunity to explore Singapore’s rich natural heritage.
16. Visit the East Coast Park
Relish the breezy, relaxed vibe of Singapore’s coastline by heading to East Coast Park, a stunning beach park that stretches over 15 kilometers. Known as the city’s playground for outdoor activities, East Coast Park is the perfect place to enjoy Singapore’s beach life, engage in a myriad of water sports, and savor local seafood delicacies.
East Coast Park is brimming with a wide range of amenities. You can rent bicycles or rollerblades and glide down the park’s extensive network of tracks, or delve into the waters with a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. If you’re in the mood for relaxation, you can simply lounge on the sandy beach, have a picnic under a palm tree, or enjoy a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk.
Aside from the recreational pursuits, East Coast Park is also a haven for seafood lovers. A culinary highlight is the East Coast Lagoon Food Village, known for its delicious array of local seafood. Here, you can dig into chilli crab, barbecued stingray, and other mouth-watering dishes that epitomize Singapore’s vibrant food culture.
Here are some tips to enhance your experience at East Coast Park:
- Transportation: There are multiple entrances to the park. Bus services 401 and 196 stop near the East Coast Lagoon Food Village. Check the official website for detailed directions.
- Rentals: You can rent bicycles, rollerblades, and water sports equipment from various outlets in the park. It is advisable to book in advance during weekends and public holidays.
- Seafood Feast: Visit the East Coast Lagoon Food Village for a seafood extravaganza. The stalls usually open from late afternoon till late night. Bring cash as not all vendors accept card payments.
- Stay Sun-Safe: Singapore’s sun can be intense. Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and stay hydrated, especially if you plan to participate in outdoor activities.
Whether you’re an adventure-seeker, a foodie, or a beach lover, East Coast Park offers a delightful blend of activities that let you experience Singapore’s beach life at its best.
17. Tour the Peranakan Museum
Step into the vibrant world of the Peranakans, a significant community in Singapore’s multicultural tapestry, at the Peranakan Museum. Housed in a beautifully restored school building, this specialty museum is dedicated to celebrating the rich culture, traditions, and history of the Peranakan, or Straits Chinese, community.
The Peranakans are descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago between the 15th and 17th centuries. They developed a unique culture, integrating elements of Chinese, Malay, and Indonesian traditions, which is vividly reflected in their distinctive cuisine, clothing, language, and architecture.
At the Peranakan Museum, explore ten permanent galleries spread over three floors. Each gallery offers a thematic exploration of Peranakan life, from intricate wedding rituals and traditional fashion to antique furniture and vibrant ceramics. Highlights include the extensive collection of ‘kebayas’ (traditional blouses), ornate beaded slippers, and exquisitely crafted Peranakan jewelry.
The museum also hosts a variety of engaging programs such as curator tours, workshops, and performances that offer deeper insights into Peranakan culture.
Consider the following tips to enhance your visit to the Peranakan Museum:
- Getting There: The museum is located in the Civic District and can be easily reached by public transportation. The nearest MRT station is Bras Basah. More information can be found on the museum’s official website.
- Tours: To get the most out of your visit, join one of the guided tours offered by the museum. These are often included with admission and provide a wealth of information about Peranakan culture and history.
- Interactive Exhibits: Many displays are interactive, making the museum particularly engaging for younger visitors. Let children try on traditional Peranakan costumes or participate in interactive storytelling sessions.
- Plan Your Time: Allocate at least 2 hours to fully appreciate the exhibits. The museum has several floors, each with its own focus on Peranakan culture, from food and fashion to religion and ceremony.
A visit to the Peranakan Museum is not just about viewing artifacts, but an immersive journey into Singapore’s unique Peranakan heritage, providing a deeper understanding of the city’s multicultural past and present.
18. Wander Around Arab Street
Steep yourself in the rich heritage and culture of the Arab diaspora in Singapore at the bustling and vibrant Arab Street. Known for its colorful shophouses, aromatic cuisine, and lively atmosphere, this historic district is a feast for the senses and a must-visit destination in Singapore.
Arab Street is not just a single road, but a neighborhood that includes Haji Lane, Bali Lane, and Muscat Street. Established by the Arab merchant Syed Ali bin Mohamed Al Junied, it became a hub for textile and carpet businesses, a legacy that thrives today with stores offering a vast array of fabrics from silk to batik, alongside a selection of intricately woven Persian rugs.
Aside from textiles, the area is a melting pot of culture. Its beating heart is the majestic Sultan Mosque, a significant Islamic landmark with a massive golden dome and tall minarets. Around the mosque, you’ll find a rich tapestry of Middle Eastern and Malay culture, from shops selling traditional wares like rattan baskets and essential oils to restaurants serving up aromatic Middle Eastern and Malay dishes.
Don’t miss Haji Lane, known for its hip vibe, street art, boutiques, and cafes – it’s a delight for the trendy and the bohemian.
For a fulfilling visit to Arab Street, consider these tips:
- Getting There: Arab Street is accessible via Bugis MRT station. You can plan your journey using the Singapore MRT map.
- Food Choices: Don’t miss out on the culinary delights! Try Nasi Padang, a traditional Malay dish, or the Arabic Shawarma. For a sweet treat, indulge in the local gelato flavors at one of the many cafes.
- Shopping: Arab Street is famous for its textiles, carpets, and rattan products. Negotiation is often expected and accepted here, so don’t shy away from haggling to get the best price.
- Respecting Culture: Remember, Arab Street is a cultural and religious hub. Dress modestly, especially when visiting the Sultan Mosque or other religious sites.
Arab Street offers an intriguing blend of history, culture, shopping, and dining experiences that let visitors immerse themselves in the rich Arabic and Malay traditions that have shaped Singapore’s multicultural landscape.
19. Explore Pulau Ubin Island
For those yearning for a nostalgic escape from the urban landscape of Singapore, consider taking a journey to Pulau Ubin, a small island northeast of mainland Singapore. It provides a captivating glimpse of Singapore in the 1960s, with its untouched nature, rustic villages, and slow-paced lifestyle reminiscent of a bygone era.
Pulau Ubin is a haven for nature and outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of activities such as hiking, bird-watching, and biking. The Chek Jawa Wetlands, a unique natural area on the island, showcases six different ecosystems, including coastal forests, mangroves, and coral rubble. Here, you can walk along the boardwalk to witness a diverse array of fauna and flora, including fiddler crabs, wild boars, and monitor lizards.
The best way to explore Pulau Ubin is by renting a bike. Cycle your way through the island’s rugged trails, past old kampongs (villages), fruit plantations, and serene lakes. Make sure to pedal to the top of Puaka Hill for a breathtaking panoramic view of the island.
While on the island, immerse yourself in the local culture by interacting with the villagers who continue to live here. Their simple, traditional lifestyle offers a stark contrast to the fast-paced city life of mainland Singapore.
To ensure a pleasant visit to Pulau Ubin, consider these tips:
- Getting There: The island is accessible by a 10-minute bumboat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. You can check the National Parks website for more details.
- Rent a Bike: There are several bike rental shops near the island’s jetty. Helmets and locks are usually included in the rental.
- Be Prepared: As Pulau Ubin is largely undeveloped, bring essentials like bottled water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and snacks. Also, ensure your phone is fully charged as electricity is limited on the island.
- Respect Wildlife: Do not feed or disturb the wildlife. Take only photos and leave only footprints.
A trip to Pulau Ubin promises an enriching experience. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with nature, appreciate simple village life, and learn more about Singapore’s history and biodiversity.
20. Visit the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Hidden away from Singapore’s bustling cityscape, you’ll discover a world brimming with biodiversity at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. This ecological jewel, sprawled across 202 hectares of mangroves, ponds, and forests, is an important stopover point for migratory birds, earning it international recognition as an ASEAN Heritage Park.
Immerse yourself in this serene sanctuary by traversing the reserve’s network of trails and hides. The various routes take you through diverse landscapes where you might encounter a rich variety of wildlife, such as mudskippers, monitor lizards, otters, and even saltwater crocodiles. The reserve’s Wetland Centre provides panoramic views of the landscape and is a starting point for various trails.
Sungei Buloh is particularly popular with bird-watchers as it hosts a plethora of bird species, especially during the migratory season from September to March. From the Heron and Kingfisher trails, you may spot species like the Milky Stork or the Black-tailed Godwit. The Migratory Bird Trail offers interpretation boards to help visitors understand and identify the various migratory birds.
For an in-depth experience, consider joining one of the free guided walks offered by the reserve. You’ll learn more about the flora and fauna from knowledgeable guides.
To maximize your visit to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, consider these tips:
- Getting There: You can reach the reserve by public transport or car. Detailed directions can be found on the National Parks website.
- What to Wear: Opt for comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for walking. Light colors are less likely to attract insects.
- What to Bring: Carry a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, water, and a pair of binoculars for a closer look at the wildlife.
- Observe Guidelines: Stay on designated paths, do not feed or disturb the wildlife, and remember to leave no trace behind.
A visit to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve offers a truly immersive nature experience. As you explore this tranquil reserve, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation of Singapore’s remarkable biodiversity and the importance of conserving these valuable ecosystems.
21. Marvel at the Sri Mariamman Temple
Stepping into the Sri Mariamman Temple, you enter a world steeped in spiritual and architectural significance. Situated in Chinatown, this vibrant Hindu temple is Singapore’s oldest, established in 1827. It serves as a crucial spiritual refuge for the Tamil community and stands as a testament to Singapore’s multi-cultural heritage.
The temple, dedicated to Goddess Mariamman – known for her healing powers, features Dravidian architecture typical of South India. The ‘gopuram’ or entrance tower is an impressive sight, adorned with vividly colored sculptures of Hindu deities, mythical creatures, and other motifs. Inside, the sacred sanctum houses the main deity, while smaller shrines dedicated to other deities surround it.
One of the temple’s significant events is the annual Thimithi festival, typically held in October or November. The festival draws crowds of devotees who demonstrate their faith and endurance by walking barefoot over a pit of burning coal. It’s a unique cultural experience if your visit coincides with this period.
Although an active place of worship, the temple warmly welcomes visitors interested in its history, architecture, or Hindu rituals. Be respectful, dress appropriately, and avoid visiting during prayer times for the best experience.
Make the most of your visit to Sri Mariamman Temple with these tips:
- Getting There: The temple is easily accessible by public transport. Detailed directions can be found on the temple’s official website.
- Dress Appropriately: Visitors should have their shoulders and knees covered. You will need to remove your shoes before entering.
- Photography: You can take photos, but refrain from capturing images during prayer sessions. Always be respectful.
- Donations: There’s no entrance fee, but consider making a donation to support the temple’s upkeep.
The Sri Mariamman Temple offers a unique opportunity to explore Singapore’s cultural diversity and historical depth. By experiencing this sacred space, you’ll gain insights into the Hindu traditions that have been an integral part of Singapore’s rich tapestry for nearly two centuries.
22. Stroll Around the Botanic Gardens
Escape the urban hustle and bask in the serene beauty of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. A lush 82-hectare oasis right in the heart of the city, it’s not just a verdant retreat, but also a UNESCO World Heritage site – the first and only tropical botanic garden on the prestigious list.
Founded in 1859, the garden has played a pivotal role in Singapore’s transformation into a garden city. Its expansive grounds are home to thousands of plant species, curated into different zones and specialized gardens. The most renowned among them is the National Orchid Garden, showcasing a vibrant and diverse collection of over 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids.
Visitors can also wander through the Rainforest, a 6-hectare slice of primeval tropical forest, the Evolution Garden which narrates the story of plant life on Earth, and the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden – a fun, educational space for young ones. The Symphony Lake offers splendid performances at the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage, with the soothing backdrop of water and foliage.
The Botanic Gardens isn’t just about flora; it’s a habitat for diverse fauna too. As you stroll along the trails, expect encounters with a variety of bird species, turtles, and even monitor lizards.
To make the most of your visit, here are some tips:
- Getting There: Reach the gardens easily by public transport. Visit the official website for detailed instructions.
- Timing: The gardens open as early as 5 am, perfect for a sunrise walk. The National Orchid Garden, however, opens from 8.30 am.
- Hydrate: Carry water and sun protection, especially if you plan to walk extensively.
- Events: Check the official website for scheduled events, especially free concerts at the Symphony Stage.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a fitness enthusiast, or someone seeking a tranquil escape, the Singapore Botanic Gardens offers a refreshing experience amidst Singapore’s bustling cityscape.
23. Explore Little India
Dive into the bustling streets of Little India, a vibrant district that radiates the rich cultural heritage of the Indian community in Singapore. As you explore its narrow lanes, you’ll find yourself enveloped in a sensory feast of colors, sounds, and smells, each offering an authentic slice of India in the heart of this cosmopolitan city.
The district’s history traces back to the early 19th century when Indian migrants came to work at the nearby cattle farms. Now, it’s a melting pot of traditions, cultures, and delicious cuisines. Venture into the many shops selling colorful textiles, intricate jewelry, traditional Indian wear, and handicrafts. The cacophony of Bollywood music, interspersed with the fragrance of incense and spices, adds a distinct charm to this vibrant enclave.
Must-visit landmarks include the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, one of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples, and the Abdul Gaffoor Mosque, showcasing unique Moorish and Roman architectural influences. Tekka Market is a paradise for food lovers, with numerous stalls serving delectable Indian street food. Be sure to try out dosas, biryanis, and sweet lassis.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Little India during Deepavali (Diwali), the Indian festival of lights. The streets come alive with sparkling decorations, cultural performances, and festive markets.
For an enriching visit to Little India, consider these tips:
- Getting There: Little India is well connected by MRT and buses. The Little India MRT station is a convenient starting point.
- Best Time to Visit: Weekday mornings are less crowded. For an immersive experience, visit during Diwali.
- Shopping: Bargaining is common in the street shops. Always compare prices before making a purchase.
- Guided Tours: Consider joining a guided walking tour for a deeper understanding of the area’s history and culture.
Experience the energy, colors, and flavors of India without leaving Singapore – Little India offers a cultural immersion that leaves a lasting impression.
In a city as dynamic and multi-faceted as Singapore, every visit offers a new perspective, a new discovery, a new story. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler returning for more, the Lion City never fails to surprise and captivate with its ceaseless innovation and deep respect for its heritage.
Every journey through these 23 things to do in Singapore promises to be a voyage of discovery. From the globally recognized marvels of Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, to the hidden cultural jewels nestled in the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, each experience is a chapter in the city’s rich narrative. The intricate balance of modernity and tradition, nature and architecture, as well as eastern and western influences, paints a vibrant tableau that exemplifies the city’s spirit.
Singapore, with its diverse offerings, embodies the essence of exploration and discovery. Whether you’re sampling authentic local cuisine at bustling hawker centres, shopping at glamorous retail hubs, immersing yourself in its green landscapes, or venturing off the beaten path to explore its heritage trails, there’s something for everyone in this island city-state. So pack your bags, gear up for an unforgettable adventure, and experience the exhilarating blend of excitement and charm that makes up the essence of Singapore.