The Top 50 Best Places to Visit in Singapore
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.
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 stands looking seaward at the Marina Bay waterfront.
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.
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.
4. Esplanade Theatre
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.
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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Vivo City
Vivo City is the largest shopping mall in HarbourFront, a waterfront district in southern Singapore. It is a shoppers' paradise with hundreds of shops, restaurants and entertainment centres.
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.
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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
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.
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 Malaysian items and restaurants with halal food.
16. Mount Faber
Travel by cable car to Mount Faber from the HarbourFront MTR Station or Sentosa MTR 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.
17. Downtown East
At Downtown East, 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.
18. St James Power Station
This is a one-stop music and entertainment hub at the HarbourFront. It has about a dozen nightclubs with live entertainment, most of which stay open until the wee hours of the morning.
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.
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.
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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
Note: Voyagin is only online travel agency that offers discounted Universal Studio Singapore Express Passes. This site also has discounts for other Sentosa attractions.
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.
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.
29. Helix Bridge
This pedestrian bridge links Marina South to Marina Centre. The bridge is lit up at night with special lighting effects that highlight its double helix structure.
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.
31. Gardens on the Bay
Not far from the Marina Barrage is a public park called Gardens on 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, and the giant tree-like structures called Supertrees. Visitors can stroll along an elevated walkway between the Supertrees.
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.
33. Lau Pa Sat
Lau Pa Sat is situated right next to Shenton Way in the heart of Singapore's CBD. This is Singapore's first market and was just a wooden building when it was built 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Underwater World
- Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum
- Universal Studios
- Wings of Time
- Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom
- Resorts World Sentosa
Sentosa is accessible by public buses, cable cars, taxis, and trains.
38. 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.
39. Singapore Crocodile Farm
The Crocodile Farm is located on Upper Serangoon Road and is open to the public. The farm conducts educational tours of the farm for school children.
40. The Singapore Crocodilarium
The Singapore Crocodilarium is in East Coast Parkway and has over 1,000 varieties of reptiles of different species, including crocodiles. The crocodiles here are reared for their skins, which are used to make fashion accessories.
41. Jurong Reptile Park
The Jurong Reptile Park is located opposite the Jurong Bird Park. It has over 50 species of reptiles and hundreds of crocodiles. There are also feeding sessions and live shows for visitors to the park.
42. East Coast Park
A popular picnic place among local Singaporeans, the 185-hectare East Coast Park is the largest park in the city. It has facilities for cycling, squash, water sports, rollerblading, swimming, and barbeque pits for picnics.
43. Science Centre Singapore
The Science Centre is a great and educational place for children. It has hundreds of science and technology exhibits.There are also an Omni Theatre, Snow City, and Observatory in the area.
44. Singapore Zoo
The Singapore Zoo has an open concept, displaying the animals in naturalistic environments. Visitors and animals are separated by moats and low shrubs to create the maximum viewing experience. Only the dangerous animals are kept in glass enclosures. There are animal shows during the day, and visitors can ride the tram that goes around the zoo.
45. Night Safari
The Night Safari is the world's first nocturnal zoo and has over 1,000 nocturnal animals on display. It is an open-air zoo and only opens at night. There are also performances with the zoo animals.
46. Dream Fish Arowana Farm
This is the largest arowana breeding farm in Lim Chu Kang. With dozens of fish ponds on the farm, this is a paradise for arowana lovers.
47. MacRitchie Nature Trail
Enjoy a stroll on the MacRitchie Nature Trail and see the rubber trees, tropical rainforests, and vegetation. This is a popular place for nature lovers and fitness-conscious people who enjoy working out or jogging.
48. The Civilian War Memorial
This memorial was built in memory of civilians who were killed in World War II. Located in a park near City Hall MTR Station, it is said that the remains of some of the unidentified civilians are buried under the monument.
The largest orchid farm in Singapore, Orchidville has a wide selection of exotic and rare orchids. The orchids are grown on the premises and are available for export and retail sales.
The orchid is the national flower of Singapore.
50. Madame Tussauds Singapore
Located on Sentosa Island, Madame Tussauds Singapore is worth a visit if you wish to experience close encounters with your favourite celebrities, world leaders, and other heroes. Don't forget to take lots of selfies with Johnny Depp, Nicole Kidman, Jacky Chan, David Beckham, Brad Pitt, and more. With over 60 life-sized figures on display, you will be totally star-struck in no time! Visitors can also walk the green carpet with Bollywood stars or get an adrenaline rush driving Formula One cars on full-sized virtual reality simulators. If that sounds a little too exciting, take a relaxing fantasy boat ride on the ‘Spirit of Singapore.’
While you are there, take a look at the history of Singapore by visiting Images of Singapore LIVE.
Kusu Island (also known as Tortoise Island) is accessible by ferry from Marina South Pier. It is located about 6km from Singapore. On the island, there is a Chinese temple, several shrines, a wishing well, and a Tortoise Sanctuary.
Pulau Hantu means Ghost Island. Despite its name, Pulau Hantu is a popular destination for outdoor adventures like swimming, fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling, as a wide variety of marine creatures live in its waters.
Pulau Ubin is another island off Singapore and is a great place for cycling and outdoor activities. You can travel there by bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Explore the beaches and mangrove areas on your own, or take a guided tour of the island. This island is unique because it is home to animals and plants that are already extinct in many parts of the world.
There are two islands located south of Singapore called Big Sister's Island and Little Sister's Island, separated from each other by a narrow but dangerous channel. The islands are popular places for picnicking, snorkeling, and camping.
Singapore Is a Fine City in More Ways Than One
To keep the country clean and tidy, there are rules everywhere, including:
- No Littering
- No Spitting on the Ground
- No Jaywalking
- No Food Consumption on Public Transportation
- No Urinating in Lifts
Offenders will have to pay heavy fines, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the city's rules before you go. Another penalty is the Corrective Work Order (CWO), which requires offenders to wear luminous work clothes embossed with the letters CWO and then clean up public areas. The punishment obviously works. Who in their right mind would want to be named and shamed in public?
Singapore and Sentosa
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