Your ULTIMATE guide to awesome things to do in Singapore, from comedy and craft beers to horse riding and hawker centres
Singapore is a popular choice for expats needing to do a visa run or travelers making a pit stop from or to Bali, so we thought we would put together a list of fun things to do in Singapore to make the most of your trip! This tiny fishing village has grown into a bustling, urban hub peppered with skyscrapers all around in just half a century, so it’s definately worth checking out properly. Here, we present you with a plethora of activities you can do on the sunny island.
1. Alternative shopping at flea markets
We know you ladies love a good bargain, so we scoured the island for some alternatives to the malls. Check out Fleawhere for regular updates on the best flea markets around town. Public Garden also organises flea markets for Singapore’s independent businesses and designers. We love their regular weekend flea where a mix of art and vintage treasures are offered. The unexpected array of unique crafts and trinkets gives us a pleasant surprise every time!
2. Appreciate art
Build up your creds as a connoisseur of fine art by trawling through all the quirky art offerings this year. Explore Southeast Asian artwork at the Singapore Biennale, or take a peek into art spaces at offbeat locales like Gillman Barracks. Up your ‘chic’ factor by installing a fancy (yet affordable) piece from the upcoming Affordable Art Fair in your bedroom.
3. Take in a (free) outdoor concert
Think afternoon picnic in the great outdoors with a side of groovy earworms. Pack your own munchies and head to Singapore Botanic Gardens for free music concerts on their Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage, or seek respite within the urban jungle at Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, where local emerging artists take to the stage on weekends.
4. Find the Seven Merlions in Singapore
Betcha didn’t know that Singapore has seven Merlions! That’s right, it has seven merlions, out of which two aren’t legally suppose to be there! Part-lion, part-fish, the iconic symbol represents Singapore’s original name Singapura (which stands for lion city) and her origin as a fishing village. Find them at Sentosa, Merlion Park, Ang Mo Kio, Tourism Court and Mount Faber!
5. Museum Hopping
Where to see (and feed your curious mind with) rare masterpieces, historical artefacts, revolutionary sculptures, thought-provoking paintings and cultural relics in Singapore? Then it’s time to head over to must-see art galleries, cultural attractions and historical exhibitions at the smorgasbord of museums on our sunny island. Our recommendation: either the Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris or National Gallery Singapore.
6. Tour Haw Par Villa
Step inside the whimsical world of Chinese legends, history and folklore at this bizarre mythological park. Created to showcase Chinese traditional values, Haw Par Villa has over 1,000 electric statues and 150 dioramas including the 10 courts of hell and the laughing Buddah. Expect a few eyebrows-raising moments on this fascinating tour.
7. Hit an adventure playground
Let loose and swing from the treetops at the Forest Adventure Course. While you can bring the little ones along, it’s honestly just an excuse for us to test ourselves and complete the 35 death-defying obstacles aross four sites. Set amongst the leafy surroundings of Bedok Reservoir Park, it’s also a great way to overcome your fear of heights and have a great laugh amongst friends.
8. Go trekking
Head off for a spot of fresh air at one of Singapore’s nature trails. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the diverse flora and fauna on the tiny island. Our top picks for immersing yourself in some tropical forest greenery: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the Treetop Walk and along the (defunct) KTM railway track.
9. Try exotic nose-to-tail dining
It’s no secret that Singa folk are real foodies – from all day breakfast, café-hopping, buffets, to late night suppers, the chow down never ends. Not only do we have a helluva appetite, our inquisitive palate is always open to trying new grub. This year, it’s time to go exotic with a host of hot new tables that are serving up unusual game. Tuck into kangaroo sliders and Tandoor-style croc skewers at Intrepid Gastro Bar.
10. Explore Coney Island
In our spare time between hanging out at cafes and shopping, locals love a good ol’ outdoors-y day out with leisurely cycling and picnics in Singapore’s gorgeous parks. Now at Coney Island, you have the chance to explore a gorgeous, rustic green space with the fam (and at little cost too – check out more of our fun, free activities in Singapore if you’re on a New Year’s spend cleanse too). Rent a couple of bikes, and took a trip around the park and its lovely Punggol surrounds. Tip: As the location is a little isolated, plan to at least spend half a day at Coney Island to make the most of your adventure!
11. Have fun along Singapore’s most iconic railway track
If you’re looking for a little respite from urban living, take note! New York’s revolutionary High Line, an artificial park built on a derelict section of elevated railway tracks, has inspired a similar venture in Singapore, only one that’s ten times longer! Singapore’s take on this unique park system will utilise the green spaces along the tracks to build a chain of interconnected parks along the 24km-long Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) railway line.
12. Spend a day at Sentosa
We know 24 hours just isn’t enough to cover all that this beach paradise has to offer, but here’s one possible itinerary: Start the day with brunch and a massage at the Capella. Then take it to Adventure Cove Waterpark (or Port of Lost Wonder for those with kids) or maybe take a few thrill rides on the Luge to get your heart started again. Stroll through the S.E.A. Aquarium before relaxing with a sunset cocktail or two at Coastes; followed by dinner at Quayside Isle. Save the entire next day for Universal Studios Singapore. Or perhaps do it the other way around!
13. Commune with the animals
Singapore might be known as a concrete city, but that doesn’t mean we lack cute, furry animals to cuddle or coo over. Spend a day with giraffes and white tigers at the Singapore Zoo, and watch out for flying squirrels at the Night Safari. Go ga-ga over the adorable kitties at Singapore’s first cat café, Neko No Niwa, or if you’re into dogs, then the cosy We Are The Furballs (WTF) cafe is the place for you.
14. Explore the heartland neighbourhoods
They say you haven’t really been to Singapore until you’ve explored the treasures the heartlands have to offer. Take a bus or train, and explore heartland neighbourhoods like Tiong Bahru, Toa Payoh, Jurong and Bedok. Make friends with the aunties and uncles at the wet markets early in the morning as you do some fresh grocery shopping and be sure to dig into some of the most authentic local fare like chicken rice and Nasi Lemak! This can be quite an experience if you have kids in tow – it will open their little urban minds to life beyond cold storage!
15. Relax at Singapore’s last hot spring
Surprise, surprise – this city filled with high-rise buildings and malls has a natural hot spring! Slightly alkaline due to natural minerals, locals believe that the spring water helps alleviate arthritis, rheumatism,and even most skin conditions like acne. Be careful though, at 70 degree celsius the water can scald!
16. Sign up for cultural tours
Singapore isn’t all about towering skyscrapers and the concrete jungle. Discover hidden historical gems by visiting the ethnic enclaves around the island. Hop onto a trishaw for a ride around Chinatown’s main attractions like the Thian Hock Keng Temple and Heritage Museum. Drop by the Malay Heritage Centre (the former palace of Sultan Hussein Shah) in Kampong Glam for exhibitions, tours, and workshops on the Malay culture in Singapore. Revel in the bustling atmosphere of Little India and get your taste buds tingling with a hearty South Indian meal of thosai and masala chai at the famous Komala Villas eatery.
17. Spend a day at a CBD spa
Looking for a convenient way to refresh dull, tired skin or soothe those aching back muscles? Don’t look too far: you’ve got plenty of options right smack in the heart of Singapore’s CBD! Pop by any one of these spas in the city for some much-needed R&R (yes, you do deserve it).
18. Drive like a race star
Vroom Vroom! Speed away like Lewis Hamilton (sorta) on the F1 race track with Ultimate Drive, where you get to choose between a sexy Ferrari F430 F1 Spider or the slick Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. If you don’t have a license, it’s okay – you can hire a driver and still get the thrill of your lifetime. Or if you prefer a challenge, race and compete with your pals too at Karting Speedway, a premier go kart facility that will satisfy your inner speed demon.
19. Go prawning
Want a taste of fishing without having to go out to sea? Give prawning a try! Our favourite’s got to be East Coast Prawning at East Coast Park. Its beachy vibe puts us in the mood to chill and relax as we put our baits to work. For a more heartland experience, try Hai Bin Prawning’s outlets at Punggol and Jurong. We love that there’s a beer garden right next to these areas for a good chug that won’t break the bank. But here’s our favourite part – having seafood on the barbie at the end of our prawning sessions. Yup, grilling pits are available!
20. Go on the Singapore River Cruise
Take a 40-minute river cruise on one of Singapore’s iconic bumboats and treat yourself to a tour of some of Singapore’s best dining and entertainment spots along Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. We recommend taking the cruise after sunset; the night view of Singapore’s skyline is absolutely breathtaking!