There aren’t a lot of cities that occupy the largest part of the country or have the same name as the country it’s in. Singapore is one of those cities and it’s a clean and modern haven in Asia. Perfect for a quick visa run if you want to extend your stay in the surrounding countries.
Singapore is a modern city with a lot of greenery. What surprised us the most was the cleanliness everywhere. Don’t make the mistake of chewing gum because it’s forbidden in a lot of places. Public transport is well arranged and there is a lot to see and do during the day as well as at night.
We collected our 10 favorite things to do in Singapore to help you plan your trip. Visit one of the parks or amusement parks, dive into Chinatown or Little India, and don’t forget to try the local food at one of the hawker centers spread out throughout the city.
1. Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is one of those attractions that are hard to miss. The giant trees (Supertree Grove) rise above the city skyline with their futuristic look and feel. At night they light up making them stand out even more. A big part of the gardens is free, you only pay an entrance fee for the two domes that are located in the heart of the park.
Gardens by the Bay spans over 101 hectares of land in central Singapore. The park features two cooled conservatories (the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest), multiple outdoor gardens, and several themed pavilions. The park also offers stunning views of the Marina Bay skyline.
One of the things that surprised us is the effort to incorporate all kinds of energy-saving measures to be self-sufficient. Gardens by the Bay showcases innovative sustainable design and technology, such as the use of solar power and recycled rainwater.
2. Light & Sound Show
The light and sound show at Gardens by the Bay is a popular nightly attraction that takes place in Supertree Grove. The show features synchronized lighting and music displays that enhance the beauty of the Supertrees and surrounding gardens. The performance usually lasts for about 15 minutes and showcases a range of colors and effects that change with the music. The light and sound show is free.
Just grab a blanket and sit down somewhere on the lawn to enjoy the trees changing color to the rhythm of the music. Although it’s a short show it’s a lot of fun to watch and listen to the music. The best part is the views of the city that’s lit up.
Although Gardens by the Bay is pretty big, this show is quite popular and everybody leaves the park at the same time via a couple of exits. It might take a while to reach a subway or taxi to head back to your accommodation.
3. Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands is a world-renowned integrated resort located in Singapore’s Marina Bay area. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in the country and is famous for its unique architecture, luxury amenities, and stunning views of the city skyline.
The resort features three 55-story hotel towers, each with over 2,500 rooms and suites. One of the main attractions of Marina Bay Sands is its rooftop infinity pool, which is located on the 57th floor and offers breathtaking views of the city.
Marina Bay Sands also features a world-class shopping mall, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. The mall also features a range of dining options. Marina Bay Sands also offers a range of entertainment options, including a casino, a theater, and a museum. The ArtScience Museum is an innovative and interactive museum that showcases a range of exhibitions on art, science, and technology.
Just like a lot of big cities, Singapore has a Chinatown. The first time we found a hostel right in the heart of Chinatown which was really convenient. We were surrounded by yellow and red, lanterns and Chinese products. The smell of Chinese food and the endless stalls with souvenirs completed the experience.
One of the main attractions in Chinatown is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, which is a large four-story Buddhist temple that houses what is believed to be the tooth relic of the Buddha. Other popular sites in Chinatown include the Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, and the Chinatown Heritage Centre, which is a museum that showcases the lives of early Chinese immigrants in Singapore.
Chinatown is famous for its street markets, which are filled with vendors selling everything from souvenirs and clothing to food and drinks. Some of the must-visit markets in Chinatown include the Chinatown Complex Food Centre, the Maxwell Food Centre, and the Smith Street Market.
5. Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Opened in 1859, the park has played an important role in the development of rubber extractions from trees. The area of the Botanic Gardens is 82 hectares and contains more than 10.000 species of plants, trees, and flowers.
The gardens feature several themed sections such as the National Orchid Garden, which is home to over 60,000 orchids, and the Evolution Garden, which showcases the evolution of plants over millions of years. The Foliage Garden reminded us of a Garden Center except these plants grow outside and we buy them to use indoors.
Don’t forget to visit Symphony Lake to watch turtles enjoy themselves in and around the water. The Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage is where concerts and other events are held throughout the year. The building itself is worth a visit as well. It’s surrounded by Lilly pads.
6. Singapore Changi Airport
Even if you don’t have time to visit Singapore, a layover at Singapore Changi Airport will keep you occupied for a couple of hours as well. This is one of the best airports in the world with a huge fountain, pool, movie theatre, and enough shops and eateries to kill time.
The different art installations in each terminal are worth a visit as well. We watched Kinetic Rain for a while and kept seeing something else. Make sure to check what terminal you’re in and where you can go from there. And don’t forget to check the opening hours for activities.
If you’re done with all the activities find a quiet spot to kill the time and enjoy the free Wi-Fi. Read a book, watch the people go by, or enjoy a beverage before heading elsewhere.
7. Hawker Centers
Hawker centers are a unique and essential part of Singapore’s food culture. These are large open-air food courts that offer a wide variety of affordable, delicious, and authentic local food.
Hawker centers typically consist of dozens of stalls or food stands, each specializing in a particular type of cuisine or dish. Some of the most popular dishes include Hainanese chicken rice, laksa, satay, char kway teow, rojak, and many more. Hawker centers are known for their affordable prices, with most dishes costing between SGD 3 to 6.
Some of the most famous hawker centers in Singapore include Maxwell Food Centre, Chinatown Complex Food Centre, Tiong Bahru Market, and Old Airport Road Food Centre. Each hawker center has its unique offerings and atmosphere, and it’s worth visiting several to experience the full range of local food.
8. Sentosa Island
Sentosa Island is a popular resort island located off the southern coast of Singapore. The island is known for its beaches, attractions, and scenery. There are several amusement parks at Sentosa Island: Universal Studios, S.E.A. Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark, and Sentosa Merlion.
You can reach this island in different ways. There is a cable car, you can take the Sentosa Express Monorail or you can walk there via the boardwalk. We decided to walk there but after we visited Universal Studios, we were exhausted and opted for the Monorail.
You will also find a ton of museums at Sentosa Island, there is a zipline adventure and a fort. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to complement your day at Sentosa Island.
9. Universal Studios
There are a couple of amusement parks in Singapore and they are clustered at Sentosa Island. We visited Universal Studios which was a lot of fun. We spent the entire day exploring the park and its rides and shows. Don’t worry about food because there are plenty of restaurants in the park.
To save time you can buy your tickets online, which we recommend because the line to buy tickets at the park was pretty long. Universal Studios is divided into 6 Themed Zones: Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, and Far Far Away. Each zone is decorated according to the theme which makes it easy to navigate the park.
The most surprising ride was Revenge of the Mummy, but we loved the other roller coasters as well. Don’t forget to visit one of the shows. We watched Waterworld which was pretty spectacular and Donkey Live which was really funny.
10. Orchard Road
Orchard Road is a famous and iconic shopping district located in the heart of Singapore. It is a 2.2-kilometer-long boulevard that is lined with a wide variety of shopping malls, luxury boutiques, department stores, restaurants, and cafes.
The area is named after the orchard plantations that used to exist in the area, and it has a long history dating back to the early 19th century. Throughout the year, Orchard Road is decorated with festive lights and decorations.
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Share your favorite things to do in Singapore
That concludes our 10 things to do in Singapore. There is so much more to do in this city. Stay at least a day or 2-3 in this city to get a good feel of what’s happening and don’t rush yourself. Singapore isn’t cheap like the rest of Asia, so keep this in mind when planning your trip.
Since Singapore is central and a lot of flights offer a layover in Singapore it’s easy to visit the city for a couple of short stays. If you plan ahead you get a better price for accommodations so this is worth it as well. Try to buy tickets for things you want to do online to avoid lines.
Have you been to Singapore? Share your favorite thing to do in the comments below this article. We’d love to hear about your favorite restaurants, cafes, and hotels.
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