Home to traditional shop houses, temples and cultural heritage, Singapore Chinatown is a must see for most visitors. From the rooftop dragons of the Thian Hock Keng Temple, the festively gaudy Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple to the outdoor eating area of Smith Street. Chinatown has something for everyone.
Singapore Zoo Night Safari, Winner of the Singapore Tourism Awards Best Leisure Attraction Experience, is the world's first tour of its kind. On an open tram you'll explore 40 hectares of jungle adjoining the zoo, passing a large reservoir and weaving through habitats specially designed to replicate the Himalayan foothills, Southeast Asian rainforest and Indian subcontinent. Enjoy spotting animals in their natural environments on this unique night tour!
The Raffles Landing site in the Boat Quay area of downtown Singapore is the apparent location of the landing place for Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 when he signed a treaty that established modern day Singapore. Marked by a white marble statue about 20 feet, or about 6 meters tall, the statue depiction of the father of Singapore is dwarfed by the surrounding office towers that now exist in the area, but nonetheless tells a historic tale of the founding of the country.
As the landing site is believed to be along the banks of the Singapore River, it is said that Raffles was able to establish a treaty with the local rulers within ten days of arriving that would pave the way for the construction of the city’s sprawling metropolis. History aside, the statue is located in an open outdoor space that provides a great view of the buildings located in the opposite southern banks as well as an opportunity to take a quiet walk and relax.
For sub-continental color, cuisine, atmosphere and bustle, head to Singapore’s Little India, one of the island’s most vibrant and authentic precincts. Shops, restaurants and colorful Hindu temples line the streets of Little India, and the best thing to do here is to just take a walk and drink it all in.
The Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is dedicated to the bloodthirsty god Kali, Sri Srnivasa Perumal is dedicated to the more peaceful Vishnu, the Taoist Leong San See Temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, and the Temple of 1000 Lights features a gaudily lit Buddha.
Come to Little India to sample terrific curries, dosas and banana-leaf thalis at restaurants, street stalls and cafes. Shop for everything from incense to saris, and lose yourself in the interestingly named Thieves Market, where anything and everything is for sale.
Visit the world class Singapore Zoo where you will see Singapore’s orangutans and exotic imports like tigers, sea lions, baboons and giraffes. With areas dedicated to the Lush rainforest, Wild Africa and Australian outback the zoo is a delight to all. The separate Night Safari attraction provides night-time viewing of nocturnal animals at play from the vantage point of a safari-style tram.
As Southeast Asia’s first ever movie theme park, Universal Studios Singapore® contains 20 fun rides, including five large roller coasters and two water-based rides. The park was first opened in 2011 after mega-director Steven Spielberg signed on as a creative consultant to aid with its layout.
The family-oriented park offers a slew of exciting attractions that includes a festive walk, water park, marine life park and maritime experiential museum and aquarium. The area also includes some of internationally recognized accommodations such as the Hard Rock and Equaius hotels.
In all, Universal Studios Singapore, which is located on Sentosa Island, covers just over 20 hectares, or 49 acres, of space and features rides from some of the most famous movies ever produced, including the Transformers, Madagascar and The Lost World. The park even manages to accurately mimic the streets of New York, Hollywood and ancient Egypt in separate themed zones.
Lining the Singapore River, the renovated riverside warehouses and ‘godown’ shophouses of historic Clarke Quay make up one of Singapore’s major wining and dining precincts.
Now pedestrianised and home to shops, restaurants, nightclubs, river cruise bumboats and floating cafes, the precinct pays homage to Singapore’s river trade and colonial history.
Clarke Quay is a good place to look for varied cuisines, from Italian to brewhouse and fine French, and relaxed outdoor bars with riverfront views. It’s also where you’ll find Singapore’s wild Reverse Bungy adventure ride.
Singapore Zoo, located in the north of the island at Mandai, has the world's most successful orangutan-breeding program, and the largest social colony of these highly intelligent primates. Don't miss the opportunity to photograph and interact with the orangutans as they swing and climb in their naturalistic enclosure. You'll also have the chance to breakfast with these lively primates - truly an experience you'll never forget!
Merlion Park is not as much a park as it is a standing symbol for all of Singapore. Spread out over 2,500 square meters, or about 27,000 square feet, the park is perhaps most famously known for its centerpiece, a 2 meter tall, or seven foot, Merlion cub fountain at the center.
Because of the great city view from the park, which extends out to the Marina Day Sands , the waterfront park has become a busy destination around clock, with access open 24 hours a day. The park is centrally located on One Fullerton near to the busy Central Business District.
Drawing over a million visitors each year, the park’s Merlion cub was first unveiled to the public in 1972. A large public event was recently held for the 40th year anniversary of the occasion.
Asia's most iconic architectural and engineering marvel, the Singapore Flyer towers 165 meters above Singapore, making it the world's largest observation wheel. (It's 30 meters higher than the famed London Eye.) During your 30-minute flight enjoy the views of the Singapore River, Marina Bay, Changi Airport, Sentosa Island and even parts of neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia.
One of the more famous neighborhoods in Singapore, Kampong Glam is a preserved town once home to the Malay and Muslim elite that inhabited it prior to British colonization in the early 19th century. Although the town was comprised of a multitude of ethnic groups over the last few hundred years, much of this pristine town has been restored to its former beauty, with strips of colorful shop houses now home to modern businesses.
Among some of its other key features includes one of the most important mosques in the country, the Sultan Mosque. It also has a peaceful pedestrian walk called the Bussorah Mall as well as the recently opened Malay Heritage Center, which contains loads of cultural pieces and history showcasing the lives of Malay Singaporeans. As a destination for foreign visitors, the town itself now has several local restaurants as well as art galleries textile and carpet shops to peruse.
There’s a lot you can do with $8 billion, and the Marina Bay Sands may have just done them all. Touted as the world’s most expensive casino this 2,561 room integrated resort lavishly offers nearly anything that a visitor could ever need on their stay in Singapore. In addition to the 500 tables and 1,600 slots which comprise the atrium casino, the Marina Bay Sands has also opted to include an ice-skating rink, two entertainment theatres, the 300-store Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands shopping mall, an art science museum and a full range of evening entertainment and shows.
There is also an impressive, 478 foot (145.7 meter) long infinity swimming pool which gazes out over the Singapore skyline at the aptly named SkyPark—an observation deck which stretches longer than the Eiffel Tower were it laid down. Swimmers with a fear of heights beware: the “infinity” edge looks out over a 55-story drop to the street level below.
Home to the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay offers travelers access to incredible indoor mountains that climb high into veils of cloudy mist. Visitors can explore tropical canopies and rainforest vegetation while wandering along bridges that crisscross through nine vastly different zones.
Crystal clear glass panes hang high above the forest floor. The start contrast between breathtaking Mother Nature and the city skyline beyond the dome is just one of the reasons a visit to Singapore’s Cloud Forest is not to be missed.
Sipping a Singapore Sling cocktail in the wicker and palm ambiance of Raffles Hotel is a Singapore must-do experience. With its tropical garden courtyard and elegant galleried architecture, the terracotta-roofed white hotel has been a byword for colonial elegance since 1887. It was named after the founder of Singapore, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.
Swags of famous names from Noël Coward to Somerset Maugham have stayed here, along with more recent stars like Michael Jackson and Beyoncé. You can learn more about the building’s history and see fascinating ephemera at the on-site Raffles Museum. If you’re not staying here, dress up to experience high tea in the Tiffin Room, or order that Singapore Sling in the Long Bar. The hotel has a swag of other upmarket restaurants, cafes and watering holes.
Located on the left bank of the Singapore River, the Padang (Malay for field or open ground) represents the very essence of colonial Singapore. It was selected by the founder of modern Singapore, Sir Raffles, as a recreation area when he laid out the plans for the city and is surrounded by some striking colonial architecture.
A long stretch of flat green land, the Padang was the hub of colonial life, used primarily for sporting events and recreational activities. In 1834, the Europeans began hosting a New Year Regatta at the Padang, which soon expanded into an annual sports day.
Today the Padang is the site of the Singapore Cricket Club and the Singapore Recreation Club. It’s a place where the locals still gather to walk and socialise together and where sporting and social events take place.
Mount Faber Park, one of the oldest green spaces in Singapore, is also one of the best places to go for views over the city and Singapore Harbour. More of a large hill than a mountain, the slopes of Mount Faber are covered in lush rainforest, and if you want to get to the top, you have two options.
Budget travelers looking for something free to do can hike to the peak. The path is paved the entire way up and shaded for most of the way, but bring plenty of water, as Singapore can get hot and humid. If you’d rather save your energy, you can ride the Singapore Cable Car to the top.
No matter how you get to the summit, set aside some time to wander the gardens and take in the views from several lookout points. Mount Faber is also home to the Jewel Box, a shopping, dining and entertainment venue and one of the most romantic spots in the city for dinner.