Singapore is one of the most visited countries in Asia. More than 12 million visitors visited the city State in the year 2015 alone! Singapore has long been hailed as a lavish holiday destination for people who like luxury and riches. However, there is so much more to the beautiful country of Singapore than just lavish hotels and gigantic shopping malls. The country has a rich, vibrant and welcoming culture and there are literally a ton of things to do if you are in the mood of taking a break from indulging yourself!
Singapore is hands down one of the most tourist friendly countries in the world. The robust, efficient and comfortable public transportation system makes traveling fun and easy. As Singapore is just one big city, once you get down the metro route, you’ll have no problems exploring the county at all. The other great thing about the country is the fact that English is one of the official languages and is spoken widely. So, you will have no problems whatsoever reading the signs or asking for directions from the friendly, welcoming locals.
So, let’s get started and see what this small but incredibly beautiful country has to offer.
10. Little India and the Arab Street
Singapore is a unique country with respect to the ethnic diversity it has to offer. There are many parts of the city where people from different cultural backgrounds have successfully kept their culture alive. Sure, there are a lot of huge shopping malls in the country but, places like little India and Arab street represent a unique interpretation of Indian and Arabic culture in Singapore.
The Indian community in Singapore has a long history of more than 200 years. As a matter of fact, the word Singapore itself is derived from the Sanskrit word for ‘Lion City’. The Veeramakaliamman Temple is a cultural hub of the community and warrants a visit. You can purchase many Indian items and indulge your taste buds feasting on a unique Indo-Singaporean cuisine.
In the Arabic section, the historic Sultan Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in entire southeast Asia. As soon as you enter this part of town, you will find all your senses come to life! The bustle of an Arabic ‘bazaar’ and the aromas from numerous restaurants will entice you right into the thick of the things!
9. The Raffles Hotel
Singapore was colonized by the British and the influence of colonial architecture can be seen almost all over the country. However, one of the most stunning examples of the majestic victorian era architecture is the Raffles. It is one of the very few and largest 19th-century hotels. The hotel itself is a historic landmark with the list of guests over the years that include dignitaries like Rudyard Kipling and Charlie Chaplin. The hotel is located in the very popular Colonial district of the country and is said to stand on the very grounds where Sir Stamford Raffles set the foundation of the country itself.
The luxurious experience in the hotel will surely transcend you to the royal British era of opulence and elegance. It is certainly one of my favorite hotels not only in Singapore but in the world!
8. The Singapore Zoo
The Singapore Zoo is arguably one of the best rainforest zoos in the entire world. Unlike many zoos that struggle to maintain a clean and inviting environment, the Singapore Zoo exiles in both. There is an impeccable level of cleanliness and the animals are offered world class care and facilities. There are stretches of lush green spaces that emulate the natural habitat of the housed animals as closely as possible.
There are a number of exotic animals in the zoo. The orangutans of the Singapore Zoo, however, are the star attraction. Apart from the Orangutans, the zoo houses plenty of other animals including the majestic white tigers!
If you are traveling with children, they will be thrilled to visit this zoo. Be prepared to spend long hours gazing at the animals in amazement!
7. Sentosa Island
Although there is a lot of coastline in Singapore, it is not famous for its pristine beaches. However, if you feel like going to a world class beach that will rival even the most famous beaches, you can travel to the Sentosa Island. The Simoso Beach of the island is one of the best beaches you will visit.
The white sand beach offers a ton of activities to do from kayaking to volleyball. Apart from the beach itself, there is a world-class Underwater Aquarium that houses a host of marine life. You can even swim with the dolphins in the aquarium!
6. Botanical Gardens
Although most of Singapore is heavily urbanized and is filled with concrete structures, the Botanical Gardens offer a respite from the concrete jungle. The gardens received Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Center nomination.
Before all the urbanization, Singapore was covered with a thick blanket of greenery that is preserved in the gardens. Once you visit the garden, you will be pleased to see how carefully the natural flora is preserved. Make sure that you visit the National Orchid Garden before you leave, though. It is one of the most impressive Orchid gardens that you’ll ever see!
Some other very popular attractions include the bonsai garden, beautiful sculptures, and a unique eco-garden as well!
The influence of Chinese culture in Singapore is undeniable. With as many as 75% people having a Chinese ancestry, it is understandable that the Chinese culture plays a huge role in shaping Singapore. The China town of Singapore is like a little China right in the heart of Singapore. There is a ton of things to see and do in Chinatown. There is no shortage of traditional Chinese mom and pop stores, authentic Chinese restaurants and a lot of Chinese culture to soak in. The streets of Chinatown are always bustling with people and there is an excitement all around.
The Chinese heritage center offers all the information about Chinese culture and Buddhism. The Buddha Tooth Relic temple is one of the most visited sites in Singapore.
There our heritage markers all throughout the town marking historically significant places. The trendy Ann Siang Hill Area of the town is one of the most upscale locales of the country. There are free Wi-Fi and all modern amenities!
4 Gardens by the Bay
Heralded as the crown jewel of Singapore, the gardens by the Bay represent a fascinating amalgamation of modern architecture and nature. One glimpse of this Majestic Garden will you leave you wanting more. The garden is located away from the bustling streets of the city. The futuristic and environmentally sustainable design of the Garden makes it one of a unique Gardens in the world.
The cloud forest dome located in the garden houses the words tallest indoor waterfall. One of the most famous attractions of the garden includes the Supertree Grove. It contains many futuristic looking structures that amalgamate Science with nature. There is a lot to be learned as well. You can learn about biodiversity and plant life in general.
3 The Singapore flyer
Modeled after the London eye, the Singapore flyer is the world’s largest giant observation wheel. There are a lot of packages available that range from simply viewing the Singapore skyline to a royal treatment. At the end of the ride, you can see a multimedia presentation about Singapore’s history and the creation of the flyer itself.
The rides, or flights as they’re called typically last 30 minutes and are operated throughout the day. However, if you really want to see the beauty of Singapore, book a flight late at night. The view of the lit city in the dark is just breathtaking.
2 Fort Canning Park
The fort was built in 1859 and stood as a symbol of Singapore’s military prowess. Although, in the peacetime, the fort has transformed into a prime spot for family picnics, performing arts and other events.
The park built around the Fort itself has many attractions including exhibits from the early history of the country. One of the most popular attractions in the park is Sir Raffles’ personal Bungalow which he used to reside in. The visitors are also treated to guided tours of the historic spice markets of early 19th century.
1. Marina Bay
The Marina Bay Sands resort is one of the most famous attractions in Singapore. It is the quintessential representation of the opulence and luxury; the country is often associated with. The Resort is a huge complex that houses a number of malls, museums and even parks.
The ArtScience museum is also one of the most visited sites in Singapore. However, the best part of the resort is the Marina Bay Sands Skypark. It offers a unique vantage point that you can see the entire country from. It is also the home of the famous infinity pool that is quite well known. You can soak in the beauty of urban Singapore from the Skypark as you stare in amazement at the double helix bridge and the Gardens by the Bay.
Singapore is one of the most tourist friendly countries in the world. There is a ton of things to do and many sights to see. The cultural and ethnic diversity of Singapore makes it one of the best places to explore on the planet.
Although Singapore is painted with a broad brush as a country that is heavily urbanized, there are a lot of places that you can escape to if you want to get the feel of the real Singapore. We hope that this short guide will help you explore the country and see it the way it deserves to be seen! Till next time!