Whether you’re after tourist attractions, history, family days out or jungle walks, there’s something for everyone in this tiny island
There’s no excuse to ever be bored in Singapore! After all, this Little Red Dot may be small in stature, but is chock-full of awesome things to do that’ll keep you entertained all day long. Don’t believe us? Then check out our handy guide of top 10 must-dos in Singapore below for inspiration on how to have serious island fun!
1. Cruise down Singapore River
Jump aboard the Singapore River Cruise for a scenic ride down the river, hitting all the hottest riverside spots like Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, Esplanade, and Bayfront South.
Singapore River, various locations.
2. Commune with nature at Gardens By The Bay
Take a walk 22 metres above ground at the Supertrees vertical gardens or marvel at the world’s tallest indoor waterfalls in the Cloud Forest at this award-winning horticultural park.
Gardens By The Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953, p. 6420 6848. Open 5am-2am daily.
3. Experience island life in Sentosa
Have a ball hitting the surf at Siloso Beach, going on thrilling rides at Universal Studios Singapore®, flowboarding at Wave House Sentosa, and finally, relaxing by the shore with cocktails at Tanjong Beach Club.
Sentosa, p. 6736 8672.
4. Spend a day in Pulau Ubin
Hop on a bumboat and head to the neighbouring island of Pulau Ubin. Admire abundant wildlife at the Chek Jawa Wetlands, and step back in time to spot Singapore’s last remaining kampongs (Malay hamlets or villages).
5. Have a sundowner at CÉ LA VIE
For unbeatable 360° views of the city, take to the skies at CÉ LA VIE. Perched atop Marina Bay Sands on the 57th floor, the ultra luxe restaurant-cum-lounge is the place to see and be seen – with a cocktail in hand, of course.
CÉ LA VIE, SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands, Tower 3, 1 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018971, p. 6688 7688. Open 11am-late.
6. Go museum-hopping
You don’t have to be a culture vulture to appreciate Singapore’s rich history and flourishing art scene. Spend a day in the company of rare artifacts and the finest contemporary art by touring the National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum, and ArtScience Museum.Also, take a tour of the two latest additions to Singapore’s art scene; the National Gallery Singapore (NGS) and Singapore Pinacothèque De Paris (SPDP). Be sure to get on board the free museum shuttle bus service in the Civic District or Bras Basah for a ride to the SPDP!
7. Explore the sights and sounds of Little India
With thronging crowds and a frenetic buzz, nowhere else makes you feel more alive than Little India. Tuck into tasty Indian cuisine at Muthu’s Curry, visit Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, and shop at Mustafa Centre 24/7!
Little India, various locations.
8. Catch a show at Esplanade
Be spoilt for choice at this world-class performing arts centre, which has a year- round lineup of impressive international music acts, festivals, and theatre productions.
Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981, p. 6828 8377.
9. Walk on the wild side
Get up close and personal with the animal kingdom at The Singapore Zoo and River Safari. Cosy up to resident giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia by day, then hit the Night Safari when dusk falls to see nocturnal creatures in action.
Singapore Zoo, River Safari, and Night Safari, 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826, p. 6269 3411.
10. Go cafe-hopping
Hipster ‘hood Tiong Bahru is home to some of the most happening cafés on the island – perfect for leisurely brunches and coffee dates on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Places on your must-visit list include Tiong Bahru Bakery, PS Café Petit, Forty Hands, and Plain Vanilla Bakery.
11. Spend a day at Sentosa
Experience island life at its best with world-class entertainment options like Madame Tussauds Singapore, S.E.A Aquarium, and Adventure Cove Waterpark. Cap off your day with a sundowner by the shore at Tanjong Beach Club or Coastes.
Sentosa Island, p. (65) 1800-SENTOSA
12. Jump on board the Singapore Flyer
Take to the skies aboard the world’s second tallest observation wheel for scenic views of Marina Bay, the Central Business District, and beyond.
Singapore Flyer, 30 Raffles Avenue, p .(65) 6333 3311
13. Embark on a heritage trail
Go off the beaten path and discover Singapore through the National Heritage Board’s series of self-guided heritage trails, which spotlights neighbourhoods like Toa Payoh, Ang Mo Kio and Kampong Glam.
Various locations, Website
14. Art-hop at Gillman Barracks
The former British military camp is now a bustling arts cluster, housing renowned contemporary art galleries and public museums.
Gillman Barracks, 9 Lock Road
15. Eat at a hawker centre
Experience Singapore through your tastebuds by trying local dishes like chicken rice and fried carrot cake, at various hawker centres including Maxwell Food Centre, Lau Pa Sat, and Chomp Chomp Food Centre.
16. Go on a treetop walk
Marvel at the flora and fauna as you walk the 250-metre long freestanding suspension bridge, which offers a captivating bird’s eye view at 25 metres above the treetops.
TreeTop Walk, MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Lornie Road
17. Explore Chinatown
This buzzing ethnic Chinese enclave is where to do it all: sight-seeing at Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, dim sum tasting at Red Star Restaurant, souvenir shopping at Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium, and cocktail imbibing at the area’s coolest bars.
Various locations, website
18. Go shopping at Orchard Road
Shopaholics, welcome to your heaven. From high-end to high street, designer to discount finds, there is something for everyone on Orchard Road. Places to hit up include ION Orchard, Robinsons The Heeren, and TANGS.
Various locations, website
19. Frolick in Singapore Botanic Gardens
This lush tropical oasis is located in the city centre but feels like a world away. Highlight attractions worth visiting include the National Orchid Garden and Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.
Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, p. (65) 6471 7361
20. Visit Singapore’s oldest HDB estate
Get a glimpse of Singapore’s past by exploring the heritage-rich Queenstown. Christened after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 1953, the neighbourhood is the city’s first satellite town and public housing estate. For a taste of all the best places in Queenstown to eat, shop, play, and learn, read our neighbourhood guide here!
21. Immerse yourself in Singapore’s history
Go back in time 700 years and live through our island’s early years at the National Museum of Singapore’s ongoing exhibit, Singapura: 700 Years, which runs until 10 August 2015.
National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897, p. 6332 3659.
22. Have cocktails by the river
Clarke Quay is home to some of the city coolest bars and restaurants, such as Fern & Kiwi and Tong Kang Colonial Bar & Restaurant – making it the perfect destination to wind down after a long day.
23. Catch a game
Forget about the Sports Hub – hit up a local kopitiam (coffee shops or hawker centres) around Singapore instead and watch live screenings of football matches over cups of strong kopi or beer with other die-hard fans for a truly local experience.
24. Check out a new museum
Heads up, art aficionados: recently opened at Fort Canning, Singapore Pinacothèque De Paris consists of three main galleries – The Collections is a permanent exhibition of 40 to 50 rarely-seen masterpieces from private collections; The Features for rotating showcases; and the Heritage Gallery, which highlights the historical significance of Fort Canning. Keen on a museum-hopping adventure? Good news: There’s free looping shuttle bus service with drop-off locations near Singapore Art Museum, National Museum of Singapore, and Singapore Pinacothèque De Paris.
Singapore Pinacothèque De Paris, 5 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179620, p. 6883 1588.
25. Put your Science caps on
As Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad once said – “Yeah, Science!”. Share his enthusiasm at the Science Centre Singapore, where you can solve the mysteries of the universe with Science. Partake in family-fun experiments, fiddle with magnets and electricity, boggle your mind with illusions and even witness a fire tornado.
Science Centre Singapore, 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081, p. 6425 2500.
26. Shop after hours
Mustafa Centre, a sprawling 24-hour department store in Little India, is where you can shop for everything – we’re talking groceries, clothing, fine jewellery, electronic, gadgets, and anything else you can imagine at oh-so affordable prices.
Mustafa Centre, 145 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207704, p. 6295 5855.
27. Order a Singapore Sling
There’s no better place to try the world-famous cocktail than at the very spot where it all began: Raffles Hotel’s iconic watering hole, Long Bar.
Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673, p. 6412 1230.
28. Hop on a trishaw ride
Take a leisurely ride around Singapore and hit the scenic streets of Bugis, Little India, and along the Singapore River on board a three-wheeled trishaw.
Albert Mall Trishaw Park, Queen Street, p. 6337 7111.
29. Make a date with the Merlion
Here’s a little-known fact: there are actually seven Merlion statues in Singapore. But the tallest one stands at an impressive 37 metres and holds court in Sentosa.
Sentosa Island, p. 1800-SENTOSA.
30. Go on a food trial
Go on a culinary journey with Food Prowlers and sample a smorgasbord of tempting local delights! Armed with insider info on where to go for the city’s finest street grub, Food Prowlers specialise in guided tours that combine history, culture, art, architecture, food, and even current affairs into a three hour long walkabout around Singapore’s iconic and under-the radar sites.
Food Prowlers, p. 8268 1933.
31. Chill out at Quayside Isle
Situated in the exclusive Sentosa Cove, this luxury waterfront arcade is where you can take a breather from the bustle of the city and enjoy world-class dining at Saint Pierre, Blue Lotus, and Sabio By The Sea.
Quayside Isle, p. 6887 3502
32. Sail to the offshore islands
Hop on a boat and head out to sea to explore the pristine, unspoilt beaches of the neighbouring Lazarus, Saint John’s, Kusu, and Sister’s Islands. Ferry cruises to these destinations in the south of Singapore are available from Marina South Pier.
Singapore Island Cruise, p. 6534 9339
33. Discover Peranakan Culture
Get acquainted with the fascinating culture of Singapore’s Straits Chinese immigrants – their origins, language, customs, and rituals – at the heritage-rich Baba House, Katong Antique House, and the Peranakan Museum.
34. Explore Kampong Glam
Spend the day delving into the historic ins and outs of this bustling ethnic enclave – from the 191 year-old Sultan Mosque to the Malay Heritage Centre, plus the quirky boutiques along Haji Lane.
35. Indoor Skydiving At iFLY Singapore
With wind speeds of up to 300km/hour, experience the thrill of indoor skydiving at the world’s first and largest wind tunnel.
iFLY Singapore, p. 6571 0000.
Singapore Insider is published quarterly, in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board. Pick up the printed edition for free at Singapore Visitor Centres island-wide, including Orchard (junction of Cairnhill Road and Orchard Road), orchardgateway, ION Orchard (Level 1 Concierge), and Chinatown Visitor Centre (2 Banda Street), or download the digital version.