Lady Rain lives in Australia and enjoys writing about travels, crafts and historical events.
Singapore: Home to Everyone's Dreams
Singapore is one of the cleanest and most orderly cities in the world, so much so that even the trees lining the main roads are planted at precise twenty-foot intervals. It is also one of the safest cities in the world, thanks in part to the top two local pastimes—shopping and eating. It is quite safe to walk the city's streets after dark because they are well-lit and busy with shoppers and diners at all hours.
This city is a shoppers' paradise, where you can find fashion items ranging from small store bargains to pricey brand merchandise. For those who are crazy about cool gadgets and cutting-edge technology, there are heaps of shops selling all the best electronics.
Singapore is also a food lover's dream. Rest assured, you will not go hungry here. There are restaurants, cafes, food courts, and hawker centres full of food stalls everywhere—many of which are open 24 hours a day—so you can find a darn good place to eat even at three in the morning.
Still, shopping and eating aren't all this city has to offer. Singapore is also full of natural attractions and cultural heritage sites, from botanic gardens and nature parks to temples and museums.
Getting Around Singapore
The cheapest and fastest way to get around Singapore is by travelling on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) which is the public railway system. The system is highly efficient, fast and convenient. All MRT stations have ticketing counters and self-serviced ticketing machines for purchasing the EZlink card that can be used on buses and trains.
For tourists who are visiting Singapore for a few days, I recommend getting the Singapore Tourist Pass EZlink that gives you unlimited travel on public buses and MRT trains for up to 3 consecutive days for just $30. A $10 deposit for the card is inclusive of the price and totally refundable unless you decide to keep the card as a souvenir.
Price for Singapore Tourist Pass as of March 2019:
- 1-Day Pass : $20 (covers usage until 11.59pm on same day)
- 2-Day Pass : $26 (must be used on 2 consecutive days)
- 3-Day Pass : $30 (must be used on 3 consecutive days)
As an example, if you begin first usage of a 3-day pass at anytime on Thursday, you can get unlimited travel with the pass until 11.59pm on Saturday.
The Singapore Tourist Pass can be bought one day before you use the card.
That being said, recently I made a short trip to Singapore, arrived around midday on a Tuesday and a grouchy ticketing lady at Changi Airport MRT station refused to let me buy a pass to use from Wednesday onwards. I was told the card had to be used from the day of purchase. Feeling tired after a long flight, with half of Tuesday already gone and I had yet to check in at the hotel in the city, I decided not to get the tourist pass at the Changi Airport ticketing office. What a shame, considering the airport is the starting point where most tourists get their first impressions of Singapore. Later that day, I was able to buy the Singapore Tourist Pass for Wednesday at City Hall MRT station without any hassle. I am still puzzled as to why I could not buy the pass one day ahead at Changi Airport MRT station. Please leave a comment below if you have any suggestions.
Read More from WanderWisdom
Here is my list of the 50 best places to visit in Singapore.
1. The Merlion
The Merlion is a mystical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a mermaid and is one of the symbols of Singapore. This 8.6-metre merlion statue used to be located at the mouth of the Singapore River. The Merlion is now located at Merlion Park near a cluster of stylish restaurants at One Fullerton and can be seen from the surrounding areas on the Marina Bay waterfront.
A merlion cub statue has been added to this new Merlion Park in recent years, the two statues are metres apart from each other.
Nearest MRT station : Raffles Place
2. Changi International Airport
Changi International Airport is one of the best airports in the world and has hundreds of awards under its belt. It has full facilities for every kind of traveller, from babies to adults with special needs. Here are some of the airport's top amenities:
- Children's Playground
- Several Open-Air Gardens
- Fitness and Spa Centres
- Transit Hotel
- Internet Services
- Post Office
- Medical Clinics and Pharmacies
- Swimming Pool
- Napping Areas
- Free Skytrain to Transport Passengers Between Terminals
Passengers with layovers longer than 5 hours can even register for a free tour of the city! Mass rapid transit trains (MRT), public buses, taxis, and free shuttle buses are all easily accessible to transport visitors to and from the airport.
Visitors in transit at the airport can try local delights at the Singapore Food Street in Terminal 3, though in my opinion, the food here is not quite up to standard. First of all, you will need to buy a food card at the entrance booth before using the card to pay for food. First-timers will find this system weird, but it actually prevents food vendors from overcharging customers or avoid paying their taxes!
3. Orchard Road
For first-time visitors to Singapore, one of the first places to go is Orchard Road. This is an absolute must. There used to be spice and fruit plantations here in the mid-1800s, but in the 1970s, commercial development began with the emergence of major shopping malls and entertainment centres. It is now a popular shopping precinct for locals, expatriates, and tourists.
Nearest MRT stations : Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut.
4. Esplanade Theatres On The Bay
Nicknamed "The Durian" because of its resemblance to the smelly fruit, the Esplanade is a performing arts centre with all kinds of events and happenings. It contains theatres, a library, and various art galleries.
Nearest MRT station : Esplanade
5. Singapore River
Take a river taxi cruise along the Singapore River for some spectacular views of the city's skyline. You'll pass by the Merlion, Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, Robertson Quay, and Marina Bay. This is a great way to see the contrast between Singapore's rejuvenated colonial buildings along the riverside and its modern skyscrapers in the background.
Nearest MRT station : Clarke Quay
6. Clarke Quay and Boat Quay
These two attractions are built around the Singapore River and are great places to hang out at night. They are composed of several blocks of restored warehouse buildings that have been converted into entertainment spots, retail shops, restaurants, wine bars, and nightclubs.
Nearest MRT station : Clarke Quay
7. Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles
Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore on January 29, 1819, immediately placing the city under colonial rule, where it remained until gaining independence on August 9, 1965. This statue in Boat Quay denotes the site where Sir Stamford Raffles first came ashore.
Nearest MRT station : Clarke Quay
8. Vivo City
Vivo City is claimed to be the largest shopping mall in Singapore. It is located at the former World Trade Centre site, now known as HarbourFront. The shopping centre is a shoppers' paradise with hundreds of shops, restaurants and entertainment centres.
Vivo City is also a gateway to Sentosa Island. Visitors can get on the Sentosa Express monorail train that runs across the bridge to Sentosa in under 10 minutes.
Nearest MRT station : HarbourFront
9. Kampong Glam
Kampong Glam is home to the city's largest mosque—the Sultan Mosque—which was constructed in 1928. You will also find the Istana Kampong Glam there, which was converted to the Malay Heritage Park.
Nearest MRT station : Bugis
10. Sim Lim Square
Sim Lim Square is the best place to shop for home theatres, cameras, computers, laptops, iPods, and anything else related to electronics and IT. Another shopping centre called Funan Centre also has plenty of these items. (Update: Funan Centre is currently closed and undergoing redevelopment).
Nearest MRT station : Rochor
11. Suntec City
Suntec City Mall was the largest shopping centre in Singapore until Vivo City opened for business in 2006. There is an international convention and exhibition centre within Suntec City, several foreign embassy offices, entertainment centres and food outlets. Together with Marina Square and a few luxury hotel buildings, they are part of the Marina Centre in new Downtown Singapore.
Nearest MRT station : Promenade and Esplanade.
12. Fountain of Wealth
The Fountain of Wealth at Suntec City is one of the world’s largest fountains. There is a laser show each night in which it is lit up with dazzling displays of lights.
Nearest MRT station : Promenade
13. Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
Built in 1846, the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is located in the heart of the city on Queen Street. The cathedral has undergone numerous renovations over the years, and it is a popular place for Catholic worshippers in the city. Major restoration works were completed in 2016 and the cathedral now boasts a modern facade.
Two other catholic churches in the vicinity are Church of Saints Peter and Paul (Queen Street), and Saint Joseph's Church (Victoria Street).
Nearest MRT station : City Hall and Bencoolen
14. Singapore Botanic Gardens
Enjoy a leisurely morning stroll at the Botanic Gardens. It was built on 52 hectares of land, and many gorgeous floral specimens can be found in its nicely manicured gardens.
There are many attractions within the gardens that are worth visiting including the following:
- National Orchid Garden
- Ginger Garden
- Bonsai Garden
- Swan Lake
- Botany Centre
- Heritage Museum
- Healing Garden
- Evolution Garden
Nearest MRT station : Botanic Gardens
15. Geylang Serai
Members of Singapore's Malay community like to hang out in Geylang Serai. Come visit this cheerful place lined with shops selling traditional Malay items and restaurants with halal food.
Nearest MRT station : Paya Lebar
16. Mount Faber
Travel by cable car to Mount Faber from the HarbourFront MRT Station or Sentosa MRT Station. You will see panoramic views of the harbour, Sentosa Island, and other islands from the top of Mount Faber. For those who want to enjoy views of the surrounding areas at night, the cable car service also runs in the evening.
Nearest MRT station : HarbourFront, then take cable car.
17. Downtown East
Downtown East is located in the Pasir Ris area. There is plenty of entertainment for everyone, with theme parks, resorts, food outlets, shops, and gaming zones galore. Singapore's largest water park, Wild Wild Wet, is also located here. The arcades and gaming centres are great entertainment areas for children. Another great location to indulge in the local foods.
Nearest MRT station : Pasir Ris
In the 19th century, the water supply in Chinatown was transported by animal driven carts. Hence, one of Chinatown's old names was Kereta Ayer (in Malay) meaning water cart. Two major roads runs through Chinatown - Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road. Outram Park MRT station used to be the closest station to Chinatown. With the addition of Clarke Quay and Chinatown stations, commuters now have easy access to the heart of Chinatown. There are many food stalls, souvenir shops and interesting historical buildings that were built during the colonial times.
Nearest MRT station : Chinatown, Outram Park
19. Chinatown Heritage Centre
The Chinatown Heritage Centre occupies three restored shophouses on Pagoda Street. This museum reveals the lives of early Chinese immigrants to Singapore who settled in Chinatown.
Interestingly, Pagoda Street used to house opium smoking dens and coolies in the 1800s.
Nearest MRT station : Chinatown
20. Little India
Little India lies along Serangoon Road. Here, you will find many members of Singapore's vast community of Tamils. There are several Hindu temples, mosques, and churches in Little India, another reflection of Singapore's multiculturalism.
Nearest MRT station : Little India
Chijmes was a Catholic convent when it was built in 1840. It has since been restored and converted to a commercial building. The chapel is now a function hall, and the other parts of the complex have been made into shops and restaurants. This is a lovely spot to have a drink and chat.
Nearest MRT station : Bras Basah and City Hall
22. Fullerton Building
The Fullerton Building was built as a fort in 1829 with barracks for the soldiers who were guarding the entrance of the Singapore River. In 1874, the fort became the first General Post Office and Exchange building. During World War II, it was converted to a hospital for wounded soldiers. In 2001, the building was refurbished into a five-star hotel with 400 rooms, now known as the Fullerton Hotel.
Nearest MRT station : Raffles Place, and follow the signs for Battery Road.
23. Chinese Garden
This park is located right at the Chinese Garden MRT Station exit. The concept of this park is based on Chinese arts and designs. Some of the attractions at the park include pagodas, a bonsai garden, bridges, and a tortoise museum.
Nearest MRT station : Chinese Garden
24. Empress Place Building
This beautiful, historic building is situated on the northern bank of the Singapore River. It housed government offices during colonial times but is now a museum and one of the city's major landmarks.
Nearest MRT station : Raffles Place
25. Sri Mariamman Temple
The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore's oldest Hindu temple, situated on South Bridge Road. It was first set up in 1827 and has a huge variety of Indian deities carved on its walls and rooftop. Every year there is a fire-walking festival at the temple, and the event attracts hundreds of visitors.
Nearest MRT station : Chinatown
26. Haw Par Villa
The Haw Par Villa theme park features thousands of statues from Chinese folklore, history, and legends. Visitors can also view live acrobatic shows and puppet shows based on Chinese folklore. Haw Par Villa was originally called Tiger Balm Gardens because it was built by the founders of the Tiger Balm company.
Nearest MRT station : Haw Par Villa
27. Marina Bay Sands
You can't miss the three monstrous towers of Marina Bay Sands which stand at the Marina Bay waterfront. Apart from the casino, the Marina Bay Sands also has a shopping mall, resorts, museums, theatres, an ice skating rink, and a Skydeck with an infinity pool.
Nearest MRT station : Bayfront
28. The Singapore Flyer
Enjoy breathtaking views of the Marina Bay on the Singapore Flyer, the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. It stands at the Marina Promenade, which is part of the reclaimed land in Singapore.
Nearest MRT station : Promenade
29. Helix Bridge
This pedestrian bridge links Marina Centre to Marina South. The bridge is lit up at night with special lighting effects that highlight its double helix structure. It is refreshing to take a walk along the bridge in the evening and breathe in some cool sea breeze after a warm and humid day. Visitors can enjoy the city's skyline all around while on the bridge. The bridge leads you to the huge Marina Bay Sands building.
Nearest MRT station : Bayfront, Promenade and Esplanade
30. Marina Barrage
The Marina Barrage is a dam in the city that was constructed to control the water supply in the catchment area in the Marina Bay. As with many man-made structures in Singapore, the Marina Barrage is a tourist attraction and is open to the public for tours and viewing.
Nearest MRT station : Bayfront, and walk!
31. Gardens by the Bay
Not far from the Marina Barrage is a public park called Gardens by the Bay. The construction of the park was based on sustainability and the conservation of the environment. The garden's main attractions are its different species of tropical plants, multiple conservatories, an artificial lake and the giant tree-like structures called Supertrees. For a nominal fee, visitors can stroll along the OCBC Skyway, a 128-metre long walkway that is elevated 22 metres above the ground. The skyway is suspended between two Supertrees on both ends. Visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the city and surrounding bay areas.
Other areas of interest at the gardens include the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, Dragonfly Lake, Silver Garden and Supertree Grove. Many species of international exotic plants are displayed at the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. There is a huge indoor waterfall at Cloud Forest that mimicks a real forest with hills and valleys to explore. Admission fees are required to enter the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.
Nearest MRT station : Bayfront
32. Fort Canning Park
Fort Canning Park is a hill within the CBD of Singapore which is often used as a venue for outdoor concerts. There are several areas of interest at the park, including some historical structures from colonial times. The Hotel Fort Canning was formerly a military headquarters. Other structures in the area include a memorial, gothic gates, and cannons.
Nearest MRT station : Dhoby Ghaut and Bencoolen
33. Lau Pa Sat
Also known as Telok Ayer Market and affectionally referred to as Lau Pa Sat (meaning "old market") by the locals, this landmark is situated right next to Shenton Way in the heart of Singapore's CBD. This is Singapore's first fish market and was just a wooden building when it was built on the banks of the Singapore River in the early 19th century. It has since been rebuilt and is now a food court area with a variety of food stalls serving thousands of people working in the nearby offices. The intricate structure of the building's interior still retains its Victorian design from colonial times.
Nearest MRT station : Telok Ayer and Downtown
34. Singapore Art Museum
The Singapore Art Museum used to be St. Joseph's Institution, a Catholic school run by the La Salle Brothers. It was built in 1867 and designed by a French priest. The former classrooms of this old school have been converted into galleries. Though the chapel is now an auditorium, most of its original elements still remain.
Nearest MRT station : Bras Basah and Bencoolen
35. Bukit Batok Nature Park
This nature park lies across from the new housing estates in Bukit Batok New Town in what used to be a quarry site. The excavated granite surface and quarry lake are now features of the park where visitors can see exotic wildlife and marine animals.
Nearest MRT station : Bukit Batok
36. Eurasian Heritage Centre
Singapore has a multicultural population which includes a community of Eurasians descended from the Europeans who came to the region between the 16th and 18th centuries. The main groups of Europeans were comprised of Portuguese, Dutch, and British people who later settled in the area and married the local people. The Eurasian Heritage Centre situated in Katong provides interesting insights into the Eurasian people and culture in Singapore.
Nearest MRT station :Dakota
37. Sentosa Island
Sentosa's old name, Pulau Blakang Mati, meant Island of the Dead Behind. Since the 1980s, Sentosa Island has developed rapidly into a tourist area with many man-made attractions. Here are the top attractions on Sentosa:
- S.E.A. Aquarium
- Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum
- Universal Studios Singapore
- Wings of Time
- Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom
- Resorts World Sentosa
- Maritime Museum
- Trick Eye Museum
- Adventure Cove Waterpark
- Lake of Dreams
- Fort Siloso
Sentosa is accessible by public buses, cable cars, taxis, and trains. There is a free shuttle bus service from Beach Station that runs regularly to all the attractions during opening hours. The Sentosa Express train (Sentosa Station) from Vivo City stops at Waterfront, Imbiah and Beach Stations on Sentosa. The Sentosa Express ticketing office is on Level 3 of Vivo City. Train ticket is $4.
Alternatively, there is a bus service RWS8 in front of Vivo City to Sentosa (bus fare is $1), and cable car service at Cable Car Tower (next building). Tickets for cable car rides are around $35.
38. Palawan Beach
Located on the southernmost point on Sentosa Island, this lovely scenic beach is worth a visit. There is a children's playground, bar and restaurant nearby. Accessible by free shuttle bus service from Beach Station on Sentosa.
39. Resorts World Sentosa
Singapore did not have a casino until February of 2010, when the casino at Resorts World Sentosa opened in spite of the concern and disapproval of many locals. A few months later, another casino at the Marina Bay Sands opened, and Singapore now has two casinos within kilometres of each other.
Nearest MRT station : HarbourFront, then take Sentosa Express, shuttle bus RWS8 or cable car.
40. Universal Studios Singapore
Officially opened in 2011, this is the second Universal Studios theme park to open in Asia. It occupies an area of 20 hectares and is part of Resorts World Sentosa. There are seven theme zones, each with its own attractions. Visitors can enjoy rides, movies, live shows, and other entertainment at the theme park.
41. Jurong Bird Park
There are several thousand birds of over 300 species at the Jurong Bird Park. Visitors can use the monorail to go around the park and view the many displays. There are also special bird exhibits and daily live shows at the park.
Nearest MRT station : Boon Lay, then take bus 194.
42. Armenian Street
Armenian merchants were some of the early settlers in Singapore in the 1800s, and the oldest Armenian Church was built on the nearby Hill Street. There is a small community of Armenians in Singapore until this day.
There are a few notable landmarks along Armenian Street including The Substation which is a contemporary arts centre. The street used to be open to traffic but it is now a paved pedestrian walkway with box planters and warm street lightings.
Nearest MRT station : City Hall