TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN SINGAPORE
Explore the city’s highlights with our 10 things to do in Singapore
Welcome to a diverse melting pot of cultures and races; a futuristic metropolis with impressive skyscrapers and sights. This small city state with a population of 5.6 million people offers everything city lovers are looking for. With our 10 things to do in Singapore we want to give you an overview of the highlights and attractions you should not miss while visiting this fascinating city.
1. Gardens by the Bay
Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay is our personal #1 of the best 10 things to do in Singapore. Why? Because there is just so much to see and do and you can easily spend a whole day in the gardens at the Marina Bay without getting bored. Let’s have a look at the garden’s highlights:
First, there is the Cloud Forest. Under its 58 meters high glass roof it features a 35-metre-tall man-made mountain and a giant waterfall. The mountain is an artificial, vertical forest that is covered with more than 130,000 plants. Walk along the skywalks which offer great views of the diverse vegetation zones. It’s an impressive artificial world!
Right next to the Cloud Forest is the Flower Dome where you get to see colorful plants from all over the word. You can stroll through an Australian Garden, a South African Garden, a South American Garden and a Mediterranean Garden. Depending on the season the Flower Dome showcases changing floral displays with thousands of blooming flowers. Don’t be skeptical cowboys; it’s also something for you.
The garden’s most famous highlight is the Super Trees, the up to 50 meters high giant vertical gardens. The tree-like shaped constructions are covered with over 162,900 plants and especially at night these giants look magical.
Read more about Singapore’s #1 attraction in our Gardens by the Bay post.
2. Singapore Flyer
Singapore offers different options to see the city from a bird’s perspective. One of it is the Singapore Flyer, Asia’s largest observation wheel. Step into one of the gondolas and enjoy a 30-minute ride with spectacular views of Singapore. While the observation wheel is moving slowly you get to see the Formula 1 pit lane, Singapore’s skyline, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Marina Bay and a lot more; as far as your eyes can see.
Read more about our ride with the observation wheel after a terrible thunderstorm in our Singapore Flyer post.
3. Orchid Garden & Botanic Gardens
Yes, you read it correct, number 3 of the best things to do in Singapore is another garden. Usually every metropolis has a Botanic Garden where you can escape hectic city life. It’s the same with Singapore’s Botanic Gardens; it’s perfect for picnics, workouts and relaxation.
But what we loved most about the Gardens was the National Orchid Garden which boasts the world’s largest orchid display, with over 60,000 plants and orchids. Trust me, you don’t need to be an orchid or flower lover (if you are, you won’t want to leave again) to enjoy this place. Everywhere you are surrounded by the most beautiful colors and shapes of orchids. In the VIP Garden you get to see all the orchids that were named after famous persons like Princess Diana or Nelson Mandela.
Read more about Singapore’s world of orchids in our National Orchid Garden post including many pictures.
4. Singapore Zoo
When was the last time you visited a zoo? It’s been a long time? Why not saying “hello!” to the 2,800 animals of Singapore Zoo? Travel from the Frozen Tundra via Wild Africa and the Tropics to the Australian Outback and be amazed by over 300 different species. See giraffes, hippos, rhinoceros, kangaroos, boas, crocodiles, unique monkeys, elephants, zebras, giant tortoises, a white tiger, a leopard and many many animals more.
Don’t miss the great animal shows with elephants and many other lovely and fascinating creatures. These shows are entertaining but also very interesting and informative.
Read more about a day trip to Singapore Zoo in our post.
5. Marina Bay Sands’s Observation Deck & Infinity pool
I am pretty sure that the three towers and the giant roof of Marina Bay Sands is one of the first pictures you have in mind when thinking of Singapore. Am I right?
The complex of Marina Bay Sands is incredibly large and features just everything: a hotel, a casino, a convention-exhibition centre, a shopping mall, a museum, two theatres, many restaurants and an ice skating rink.
For all those you cannot or don’t want to afford a hotel room at Marina Bay Sands, still have the great opportunity to take a lift up to level 57, the top level, and to enjoy the incredible view of Singapore from the hotel’s Observation Deck. At 200 meters above ground you can look as far as the southern end of Malaysia.
If you decide to treat yourself with an overnight stay at the hotel, you will be privileged to take a swim in the world’s highest Infinity Pool. If you can afford it, don’t miss this unique experience.
Curious? Find more pictures and information in our post Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck & Infinity Pool – Stunning views of Singapore from level 57
Singapore is an impressive melting pot of different cultures and races. It is not just the modern architecture and lifestyle that makes Singapore so famous, it is also the contrast with tradition and rites that makes the city incredibly interesting.
The perfect way to explore Chinatown is by strolling along Pagoda Street, a pedestrian precinct, which is lined with shops selling all kinds of things. Besides many useless things you might be lucky and find some hidden treasures. Some shops are fascinatingly crammed with traditional Chinese decoration such as paper lanterns, traditional fans, lucky knots, paper dragons that the whole store appears in intense shades of red and gold.
At one end of Pagoda Street you find the popular Hindu temple Sri Mariamman Temple and just two blocks further the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple; both temples are worth a visit. We were surprised when we heard that the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was opened in 2007 although the temple looks very traditional and much older. You can visit different levels of the temple while the Sacred Relic Chamber is situated on the Third Floor.
Three other interesting buildings in Chinatown is the Muslim shrine Nagore Durgha Shrine, one of the oldest and most important Chinese temples; the Thian Hock Keng Temple; and the Al Abrar Mosque, one of the earliest mosques in Singapore.
By the way, only get to Chinatown when you are hungry; the many restaurants will be heaven for your taste buds.
For more information on Chinatown have a look here.
7. Little India
Garlands of flags decorate the streets, women in beautiful saris walk side by side with their husbands, and religious sounds of colorful temples fill the air… This is Singapore’s Little India.
Little India is best explored in the morning from 7am till 12 pm or in the evening from 6pm till 9pm. During these times all Hindu temples are open for prayers. Especially in the evening, when the Indians finish work and walk with their families to the temples there is a great atmosphere in Little India’s streets.
Put on pants and take off your shoes, watch the Indians doing their prayers and worship and, while enjoying the ceremonies in silence, you get a small glimpse of the fascinating Hindu religion. The best Hindu temples to visit in Little India are Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple.
If this is not enough and you want to see another beautiful Hindu temple, you should visit the beautiful Sri Shivan Temple. However, this one is located in the district of Geylang, not in Little India. It is a 5-minute walk from the Paya Lebar MRT station on the circle line.
8. The Arab Quarter
Travel to the Arabian world of mosques, silk, jewelry and spices. Alight at Bugis MRT Station and follow the golden dome of Singapore’s Arab Quarter centerpiece; the Masjid Sultan Mosque. It is widely acclaimed the Grand Mosque of Singapore. The 2 storey mosque with its large domes, minarets and a high ceiling prayer hall can accommodate about 5,000 worshippers. If you are not dressed appropriately but would like to enter the mosque, there are cloaks available free of charge.
After visiting the Masjid Sultan Mosque you can explore the different streets of the Arab Quarter. Textile stores and outlets selling Persian carpets are the most prominent, but you’ll also see leather, perfumes, jewelry and baskets. Walk along Bussorah Street, which has been turned into a pedestrian thoroughfare, Baghdad and Kandahar Street and see the rows of conserved antique stores, spice stalls and shops selling traditional clothing, jewelry and handicrafts, painted in vibrant colors.
Don’t forget Haji Lane, an alley that’s home to trendy boutiques, and Arab Street which was well known as a textile haven in the 1950s and 1960s.
9. Merlion – Singapore’s icon
Merlion is the icon of Singapore that is half-fish and half-lion. It is not a jaw-dropping experience to visit this over 8 meters high statute with a lion’s head and a fish’s body, but when in Singapore you have to take a picture of you with the Merlion in the background. Many tourists love to play with perspectives and catch the Merlion’s jet of water with their mouth.
You can find this statue that weights 70 tons in front of Fullerton Hotel, overlooking the Marina Bay. That being said, you can enjoy a fantastic view of Singapore’s skyline and Marina Bay Sands from this side of the Marina Bay.
Did you know that there are seven approved Merlion statues in Singapore? There is also a giant statue on Sentosa, one at Tourism Court near Grange Road and another at Mount Faber.
Singaporeans love to shop. The city center is overloaded with shopping malls and shopping streets. There is probably no famous brand in the world that cannot be found in Singapore. It is not only a shopping heaven for women also for men it’s hard to resist spending hundreds of dollars (probably more).
I can only mention some of the best shopping places otherwise this post would be endless:
Mustafa Centre in Little India is Singapore’s only 24-hour shopping centre; Bugis Street, Lucky Plaza and Far East Plaza for budget shopping; Orchard Road, a one-way boulevard flanked by distinctive and iconic shopping malls, restaurants and hotels; and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, one of Singapore’s largest luxury shopping malls.
Don’t forget your sneakers! Your feet will be thankful after a shopping day in Singapore.
+ EXTRA: Singapore at night
Singapore is a stunning city at daytime but wait until it gets dark, then it gets even better. We loved the moment when the sun slowly set behind the city’s skyscrapers, lights were switched on in the offices and apartments, the temperatures got milder and Singapore’s streets were filled with people enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of the night.
But Singapore would not be Singapore if there wasn’t anything special going on at night. On every night of the week the city amazes its inhabitants and tourists with different light shows that you MUST SEE!
Marina Bay Sands
‘Wonder Full’ is an amazing convergence of light, music and sound at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Take a seat on the wooden deck at Marina Bay in front of The Shoppes mall and witness a 13-minute water show displaying a mixture of projected pictures in the water of fountains, laser beams shining down from the Marina Bay Sands roof and bubbles flying through the air. If you have the chance to visit this light and sound show on two nights, try also to watch the show from the perspective of the Merlion; on the opposite shore of Marina Bay. Over there the music is much quieter but you can see the laser beams much better.
By the way, it took three years and 100 architectural, design, creative, musical, engineering, technical and it specialists to develop this show.
Show times: Sunday – Thursday: 8:00pm, 9:30pm / Friday: 8:00pm, 9:30pm, 11:00pm / Saturday: 9:00pm, 9:30pm, 11:00pm
Super Trees at Gardens by the Bay
But this is not all Singapore has to offer at night. The Super Trees at Gardens by the Bay come alive in a nightly light and sound show. It is a dazzling myriad of light displays bursting across the sky. While listening to famous music the trees change from vibrant reds, browns and oranges to a cooler silver and pink scheme.
Show times: every night at 7.45pm and 8.45 pm (12-minute show)
More pictures of the magical Super Trees at night: Singapore’s incredible Gardens by the Bay
How to get around in Singapore
In Singapore you don’t have to worry about how to get from one spot to another. It is probably the safest city on our planet and even women walking through the streets at night don’t have to worry about anything. I know that it’s hard to believe but it’s true. Such a place really exists.
Singapore’s MRT connects the most important places you should visit. The ticket kiosks at the MRT stations are easy to use and accept coins, bills and credit cards. Depending on the length of the ride the price is between S$1.50 to S$2.60 per ride. Check out this website to calculate your MRT fare.
Singapore also offers a Tourist Pass for 1, 2 or 3 days and unlimited rides for busses and train. If you plan to use the MRT a lot during the day, this pass might be a good choice. However, we experienced one downside to it. You only get the pass at certain locations which opening hours are sometimes not really helpful. Some of the Singapore Pass Counters do not open before 12pm which is pretty weird. Also, you have to pay a deposit of S$ 10 for the card which will be refunded when you return the card within 5 days after the day of purchase. That means that the pass gets expensive when you forget to return it or you cannot return it because the counter is already closed, the night before you leave the city.
Many attractions in Singapore can be easily explored by foot and usually you don’t spend more than S$10 per day. You cannot share the Tourist Pass with other people and you get no refund on the value. Find more information about the Singapore Tourist Pass here.
As you can see, Singapore offers something for everyone. Give yourself at least three days to explore this incredible city to fully experience its atmosphere of contrasts.
Have you ever been to Singapore? What was your personal highlight? Which things to do in Singapore would you recommend to other travelers? Leave a comment below!
Thanks for reading and safe travels,