What are some activities that you must not miss out on while in Singapore? Check out this list to make the most of your time!
TOP 1 Explore the Cultural Districts
Immerse yourself in local culture in the cultural districts of Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Little India and Joo Chiat. The cultural enclaves will give you a fast track in understanding the food, culture, and even the religion associated with the particular race. You will see well-preserved structures from the olden days such as the Peranakan shophouses in Joo Chiat, temples in Chinatown and the former house of Tan Teng Niah (a rich merchant) in Little India. Step into the heritage centres to learn more, keep a lookout for traditional businesses such as old school restaurants, bakeries and handicraft shops, and don’t forget to get a taste of the deluge of authentic local food while you’re there. Check out the top 10 things to do in Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Little India and Joo Chiat!
TOP 2 Take a Stroll by the Singapore River
The Singapore River has played an important role in Singapore’s history since time immemorial, and it has witnessed Singapore’s progression from a fishing village to a trading port to modern day Singapore. Today, it has become a hotspot with both tourists and locals alike with the multitude of landmarks, restaurants and bars spread out over its length of 3.2km. From the riverside restaurants and bars at Robertson Quay to the dynamic bars at Clarke Quay and landmarks such as the old parliament house, the Asian Civilisations Museum and the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles at Boat Quay, there’s plenty to explore along the river which eventually flows into the Marina Bay. Check out the top 10 things to do along the Singapore River!
TOP 3 Visit Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay needs no introduction. Directly linked to Marina Bay Sands and the Bayfront MRT Station, it is highly accessible and is a must-visit place for all tourists. The attractions here include the Supertrees that put on a light and music show every night, the Cloud Forest, the Flower Dome and the Bay East Garden which is lesser known but nonetheless good for relaxing stroll.
Be greeted by the sound of roaring water from the majestic 35-metre tall indoor waterfall as you step into the Cloud Forest. Take the elevator up to the top then slowly stroll down the surreal mist-filled Cloud Walk and Treetop Walk decked with vegetations from a tropical mountain such as orchid, pitcher plant and fern. The Flower Dome is the largest glass greenhouse in the world with an astounding collection of flowers and plants in its nine gardens. Breathe in the fresh air as you admire the sea of brightly coloured flowers of different shapes and sizes arranged in an ingenious way to showcase their beauty. The Flower Dome changes its themes in different seasons depending on the flowers that are in bloom. Some of the themes include the Tulip mania in April – June, Spring Surprise during Chinese New Year and the Poinsettia Wishes floral display this Christmas. As you walk among the flowers, don’t miss out the thousand-year-old olive trees and the unusual Baobabs too!
TOP 4 Spend a Day at Sentosa
Sentosa Island is home to a wealth of attractions that you should not miss. The Universal Studios is the hottest spot on the island with seven themed zones filled with rides, shows and attractions. Admire thousands of marine animals at the S.E.A. Aquarium, get some splashing fun at the Adventure Cove Waterpark and get up close with dolphins at the Dolphin Island. The Trick Eye Museum and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum are also must-visit attractions apart from chilling at the beautiful beaches such as Palawan Beach, Siloso Beach and Tanjong Beach. Check out the top 10 attractions on Sentosa Island here!
TOP 5 Savour Local Food at Hawker Centres
Hawker centres are treasure troves that hold some of the best local cuisines, hence it is no wonder that both locals and tourists flock there in search of cheap and authentic local food. They are present in every neighbourhood so it is likely that you will come across a hawker centre during your visit. There are three hawker centres in Chinatown, with the biggest being Chinatown Complex Food Centre at Smith Street. Here, you’ll be able to find not just a huge variety of food but also many old school stalls manned by elderly hawkers that offer a taste of the yesteryears. Other popular hawker centres that are worth a visit include Maxwell Food Centre, Old Airport Road Food Centre and Tekka Centre which has an array of Indian cuisine. Check out the top 10 hawker centres and what are some of the most popular hawker food!
TOP 6 Shop Your Heart Out at Orchard Road
One of the most well-known shopping destinations in Singapore, Orchard Road is lined with shopping malls on both sides over a long stretch of road that spans 3 MRT Stations (Orchard, Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut). Alight at any of these 3 stations, and you’ll find yourself at the doorstep of shopping malls that are directly linked to the MRT station via underground walkways. The underground system is so extensive that it links many malls together so that you won’t have to exit a mall to go to another. For example, ION Orchard which is right at the exit of Orchard MRT is linked to Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City via connected underground walkways. It is also linked to Wheelock Place on the other side of the road.
With such connectivity, you will be able to access a huge range of shopping, food and even recreation option (such as cinemas and ktvs) all without having to go out of the malls. Read about the top 10 shopping malls in Orchard Road here!
TOP 7 Rejuvenate at the Parks
Singapore’s public parks are an oasis in the midst of the concrete jungle. All of the parks are well-maintained by the National Parks Board and have a variety of facilities for recreation, exercise and even sightseeing. Many of the parks are also located at scenic locations or waterfronts such as Punggol Waterway Park (pictured above), Woodlands Waterfront Park and East Coast Park which has kilometres after kilometres of running, cycling and rollerblading tracks that run along the coastline. Fort Canning Park is not just a place for recreation. It is also steep in history and has many historical gardens along with the Battlebox which was the Underground Far East Command Centre of the British Army during World War II. Last but not least, pay a visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens which is a 160-year-old tropical garden that has been awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Read about the top 10 parks in Singapore here!
TOP 8 Go Museum Hopping
Singapore has no shortage of well-curated and well-maintained museums with a vast amount of exhibits. Many of them are housed in historical buildings, which adds to their charm. Step in and be drawn into a world lost in time! It is certainly not easy to choose which museum to go to, so why not go to a few?
Located a stone’s throw away from Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station and Fort Canning Park, the National Museum of Singapore is Singapore’s oldest museum with history that dates back to 1849. National Gallery Singapore is housed in two national monuments – the former Supreme Court and City Hall, so you can get up close with the city hall chamber and the various features of the former Supreme Court such as the rotunda, the foyer, the historical lobby, the balcony and the terrace. The Asian Civilisations Museum sits by the shores of the Singapore River, in the former Empress Place Building which housed government offices during the British colonial rule. Art enthusiasts must not miss out the Singapore Art Museum and ArtScience Museum. There are also many other museums that are more niche such as the Singapore Philatelic Museum, Mint Museum of Toys and the Singapore Musical Box Museum. Read about some of the museums here!
TOP 9 Be Captivated by Jewel Changi Airport
Newly opened in early 2019, Jewel Changi Airport has fast become a hot favourite among locals and tourists alike with its iconic design, hedge maze, canopy park, canopy bridge and indoor waterfall which is the tallest indoor waterfall in the world at a height of 40 metres. The light shows at the waterfall is a feast for the eyes and discharge of mist at the waterfall surrounded by copious trees and plants gives a surreal impression that you’re in a rainforest.
Its tenant mix is no less impressive with unique stores like Singapore’s first Pokemon centre, Shake Shack, Burger and Lobster, A&W and the largest Nike store in South East Asia. Plenty of local food stores that are very popular among Singaporeans have also set up shop here so you can taste the best of Singapore food without even leaving the airport! These shops include Rich and Good cake shop which specializes in Swiss rolls, and Birds of Paradise which is a specialty ice cream shop with freshly-made thyme-infused cones and exquisite ice cream flavours made of herbs, spices and flowers.
Address: 78 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819666
Opening hours: Most shops are opened from 10am to midnight
TOP 10 Relax with a Book in Hand at a Library
Bright spaces, comfortable seats, sparkling clean interior, rows of neatly arranged books and vast selections of books, magazines and audio-visual materials. This is what you can expect in Singapore’s public libraries. Some libraries have unique features which distinguishes them from other libraries. The National Library (located at Bugis) houses the Central Library, the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library and a digital library in its almost entirely glass exterior. The upper floors gives you a beautiful view of the city. You can also relax in its outdoor garden, or pick up a newspaper from its astounding selection of not just local newspapers but also foreign newspapers. The library@harbourfront is the newest library which gives you a scenic view of Sentosa, while the library@esplanade is a performing arts library with an impressive collection of all things performing arts. Read about the top 10 libraries in Singapore here!
Photos are taken from Alamy/South China Morning Post, Wikimedia Commons/Erwin Soo, singapore-tourist-info.com, The Food Scout, Traveloka, Punggol Waterway Park, Tickikids, Jewel Changi Airport, National Library Board
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