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[dropcap]H[/dropcap]aving been to Singapore several times in the last 4 years, I’ve noticed one thing. And the thing is that with every visit I like Singapore more and more. It’s futuristic, it’s very safe and there are a lot of things to do in Singapore. Being the most developed country in the region it’s a true haven whenever you want take a break from the hustle and bustle of its neighbors and slow down for a while. While not losing the feeling that you are still in Asia.
Singapore is a tiny country. It’s a city-state, or we can also say a city, that’s slightly smaller than Berlin. Despite it being so tiny there are plenty of cool things you can do in Singapore. To help you prepare for your trip to Singapore I’ve made this list of my favorite Singapore tourist spots.
Plus at the end of this article you will also find a Singapore itinerary (24 hour and 3 day) and some of my best Singapore travel tips.
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Top Things to Do in Singapore
Here is a list of 23 interesting things to do and great places to visit in Singapore.
1. Marina Bay & Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Observation Deck
Marina Bay is the most popular neighbourhood in Singapore. It’s located in Central Singapore, and is built on reclaimed land. Marina Bay is adjacent to Central Business District, and is home to iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel.
At Marina Bay you’ll find several attractions and landmarks, such as ArtScience museum, Singapore Flyer, Helix Bridge, The Esplanade, etc. A statue of Merlion, the official mascot of Singapore, is located in Marina Bay, not too far away from Marina Bay Sands hotel.
Marina Bay is the most beautiful at night when it’s beautifully lit. Every evening Spectra, a light and fountain show, takes place at Marina Bay.
To see this beauty from above visit SkyPark Observation Deck on the 57th level of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
Observation deck entrance fee: 23 SGD.
Or get a combo online – SkyPark Observation Deck + Hop-on Hop-off Tour.
2. Gardens by the Bay + Cloud Forest & Flower Dome
Gardens by the Bay is a large, futuristic nature park in Central Singapore.
The garden consists of three areas: Bay Central Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay South Garden. Each of these three parts consist of smaller gardens, parks, walkways and paths. Supertree Grove, which is located in the Central Garden, undoubtedly dominates the landscape. The best view of the the city skyline is from the Bay East Garden.
Entrance to Gardens by the Bay (including the Supertree Grove) is free of charge.
Every evening Garden Rhapsody, a light and music show, takes place at the Supertree Grove.
There are also pay attractions – two conservatories (Flower Dome and Cloud Forest), and OCBC Skyway.
The Flower Dome is home to plants found in the Mediterranean, South Africa, as well as parts of Australia and South America. The Cloud Forest, however, features plants from tropical highlands of South-East Asia and Latin America. World’s tallest indoor waterfall is located in the Cloud Forest.
The OCBC Skyway is located between two of the larger Supertrees, and offers beautiful views of the Supertree Grove and the Gardens by the Bay.
Admission fee (Flower Dome + Cloud Forest): 28 SGD.
OCBC Skyway: 8 SGD.
3. MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Nature Trail & Treetop Walk
Singapore is one of the most modern cities in Asia. Yet it is surprisingly green, and it’s very easy to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
MacRitchie Reservoir is one of the best places where you can take a rest from the busy streets of Singapore. MacRitchie Reservoir boasts a reservoir, a large park with a 6.8 miles (11 km) long trail system and a 270 yard (250 meters) long treetop walk.
4. Singapore Botanic Gardens & National Orchid Garden
The Singapore Botanic Gardens – another great place where you can take a rest from the busy city. This tropical garden is located mere 4.3 miles (7 km) from the Marina Bay Sands hotel and Singapore’s busiest districts, and has an area of 74 hectares (182.86 acres).
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is one of the most popular parks not only in Singapore but in whole of Southeast Asia! Also, it’s the only tropical garden which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Just like in Gardens by the Bay, there are several sections in the Botanic Gardens.
The National Orchid Garden is located within the Singapore Botanic Gardens, and it houses large orchid collection – 1200 species and 2000 hybrids.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens has also a small rainforest and the Ginger Garden that houses plants from the ginger family.
Admission (Orchid Garden): 5 SGD.
5. Kampong Glam & Street Art at Haji Lane
Kampong Glam, Singapore’s Muslim neighbourhood, is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Singapore, and is home to Masjid Sultan, one of the largest mosques in Singapore, Middle Eastern restaurants, silk and perfume stores, and several arts centers.
Head to Haji Lane to explore colorful murals un pretty historical buildings!
6. Beaches and Attractions on Sentosa Island
Sentosa is a resort island and a popular destination both for locals and tourists.
The island has a few beaches, a theme park (“Universal Studios”), an aquarium, a casino, and a couple of golf courses, as well as several hotels.
How much time do you want to spend on Sentosa? It’s up to you. Only a couple of hours on one of Sentosa’s beaches, or a whole day enjoying amazing attractions of the island, such as the theme park and aquarium?
7. Crane Dance on Sentosa Island
Crane Dance is a spectacular light, water and music show that takes place every evening on Sentosa island.
Crane Dance show is one of the best things to see in Singapore, and undoubtedly it’s one of the top things to do in Singapore at night. Speaking of what to do in Singapore at night, simply wandering around the area of Marina Bay Sands after the midnight is a nice experience as well. If you want to experience a much quiter Singapore.
The main object is a pair of mechanical “dancing” cranes which are lit and illustrated with light and water effects.
8. Try Indian Food in Little India
Little India, Singapore’s Indian neighbourhood, is one of the historical neighbourhoods in Singapore.
It’s home to colorful Hindu and Buddhist temples, as well as a couple of mosques.
In Little India you’ll also find traditional eateries and restaurants that sell delicious Indian food. Definitely try South Indian thali, chicken biryani, masala dosa, tandoori chicken, chicken masala and other famous Indian dishes!
Wanna do some shopping?
Little India is a good place for it. There are supermarkets and minimarts that sell goods imported from India, jewellery shops, textile and clothing stores. Serangoon road is the main shopping street in Little India.
9. Visit Chinatown
And don’t miss the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
Just like Little India and Kampong Glam neighbourhoods, Chinatown is one of Singapore’s historical neighbourhoods. Nowadays Chinatown is very popular with tourists because of its food street (Chinatown Food Street), cheap Michelin restaurants (yes, such a thing exists; see below) and countless souvenir shops.
But it’s actually more than just shopping and food. Chinatown also is a home to a grand Buddhist temple – Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple also houses a museum that holds various sacred artefacts of the Buddha, including The Buddha Tooth Relic which is housed in a large stupa.
In Chinatown you’ll also find old shophouses and traditional Chinese medicine shops.
You might be surprised but Chinatown is home to Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, Sri Mariamman.
10. Head to Geylang to Try Frog Porridge
Geylang, a historical neighbourhood, is infamous red light district of Singapore.
But the reason why I like it so much is – its Chinese restaurants that sell frog dishes, such as frog porridge. Frog’s meat is light and tasty, and somewhat resembles chicken meat. Frog porridge is a unique dish you must try when in Singapore.
Just like in any other historical neighbourhood in Singapore, in Geylang you’ll see historical buildings, traditional shophouses and lots of local restaurants.
11. Try Delicious Food at Lau Pa Sat Hawker Center
Eating local food – for me it’s clearly one of the top things to do in Singapore.
To try authentic Asian food you don’t have to venture far from the city center and business district. Lau Pa Sat hawker center, one of Singapore’s most popular food markets, is conveniently located just a few minute walk away from the Downtown MRT station.
The hawker center has various stalls that sell authentic Asian dishes. There you can try anything from light snacks to seafood!
Different food stalls are open through the day. It’s possible to have breakfast, lunch and dinner there.
The best time, however, is to go during the evening (after 7 PM) when the satay stalls are open. Satay are small pieces of meat on skewers, served with peanut sauce. It’s a very simple, yet delicious dish that’s very popular in Malaysia.
12. Dine at Cheap Michelin Restaurants
Have you ever wanted to dine in a Michelin starred restaurant but can’t really afford it? This is your chance.
There are two cheap Michelin restaurants in Singapore where a meal can cost even less than 5 EUR.
Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, location – Chinatown, 78 Smith Street.
The restaurant serves chicken / pork rice or noodles.
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, location – Kallang, 466 Crawford Ln.
They serve bak chor mee (minced pork noodles).
13. Durian Stalls in Chinatown or Geylang
Have you ever heard of durian, the King of Fruits? No?
It’s a unique fruit that is very popular in Southeast Asia. Since it’s regarded as the King of Fruits you might think that it’s super tasty and has a wonderful smell. No, it doesn’t, at least in my view. I would say that durian smells like rotten meat and tastes like creamy, rotten meat, and has a faint onion flavour. But the locals love it.
Durian, in fact, is so smelly that is banned from hotels, planes and public transportation.
Sounds disgusting? Still, I recommend you to try it! It’s definitely an interesting experience.
Where else you’ll taste something that is so weird?
One of the places where to try durian in Singapore: 101 Durian, 335 Smith Street Chinatown Complex.
14. Try Ice Cream Sandwich on Orchard Road
Another awesome thing to try in Singapore is Uncle’s ice cream sandwich.
It’s a chunk of ice cream served in sweet sandwich bread. Many different flavours are available. If you don’t fancy a sandwich bread ice cream, you can get an ice cream served between two waffles.
Location: 270 Orchard Rd (right across the street from the Apple Store).
15. DC Comics Super Heroes Cafe in the Shoppes
Are you a fan of comics? Then definitely check out this cafe!
It’s actually a nice place to have a slice of cake and a cup of coffee even if you are not a fan of comics. They have a variety of awesome cakes and both hot & cold drinks.
The cafe is inside The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
16. Visit National Museum of Singapore
Head to Singapore’s oldest museum, National Museum of Singapore, to learn more about culture and history of Singapore.
Built in late 19th century, the museum building itself is beautiful. The building underwent a three-and-a-half-year restoration and reopened in late 2006.
The museum has a large of collection of artefacts that date back to the 14th century.
See the list of exibitions, opening times and entry fees.
17. ArtScience Museum
Another great museum to visit during your stay in Singapore, is ArtScience Museum.
It’s a futuristic museum that houses amazing exhibitions, as well as hosts interesting touring exhibitions.
The museum has several permanent exhibitions, but my favorite is Future World which features high-tech interactive artworks and digital art installations, like the one you see in my photo above.
Admission fee varies, based on what exactly you want to visit.
18. Sim Lim Square
Sim Lim Square – a large shopping mall that specialises in electronics.
8 floors of electronics, and only electronics. Desktop computers, laptops, computer and laptop parts, smartphones, tablet computers, sound systems, cameras, accessories, and so much more!
Sim Lim Square is easily accessible – it is located near Little India, and close to several metro stations.
19. Spectra Show at Marina Bay & Garden Rhapsody Show at Gardens by the Bay
Singapore’s free light shows are clearly among the best things to do in Singapore.
Shortly before 8 PM head to Marina Bay Sands to watch a free world-class fountain show (“Spectra”), happening every evening in front of Marina Bay Sands. It’s a 15-minute long show. There is one show at 8 PM and another at 9 PM.
When it’s over, head right to the Gardens by the Bay. Because at 8:45 there you can see another free light show (“Garden Rhapsody”). That one takes place daily at 7:45 PM and 8:45 PM.
Afterwards or before this you can go for a stroll around the Singapore Central Business District.
20. Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin is an island northeast of mainland Singapore.
It’s the last village in Singapore. As soon as you step off the ferry you’ll feel like you have gone back in time – back in the 1960’s.
Cycling is a good way to explore the island. Bicycles can be rented on the island.
The roads on the island are well-marked, and there are plenty of trails.
Head there to take a rest from the hustle and bustle of the city!
21. MINT Museum of Toys
MINT Museum of Toys is an unusual museum perfect for those who want to have fun at the museum rather than an educational tour!
The museum is home to a large collection of vintage toys, souvenirs and collectables from all around the world.
22. Take a Look at Singapore Skyline from Marina Barrage
Just behind the Gardens by the Bay, only a 10-minute walk away from the Supertree Grove, is a place called Marina Barrage.
It’s a dam, but it doesn’t really matter. Go there for a great view of Singapore’s ever-growing skyline. The view from there is nice both during the day and also after the midnight.
23. Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore Changi Airport is a city within a city.
For a few years already it has been the best airport in the world, and and deservedly so.
Changi airport is a very modern airport housing not only gates, planes, airport lounges, check in desks but also several interesting attractions!
You will find several gardens in the airport, such as cacti garden, water lily garden, orchid garden, sunflower garden, piazza garden, butterfly garden and interactive Enchanted Garden with light and sound effects. Interesting fact is that Changi’s Butterfly garden is world’s first butterfly garden in an airport.
Where to go in Singapore if you have just a day?
To see all the things and places mentioned above you’ll need more than 3 days.
As Singapore is just a stopover for many people, I have created 1 and 3 day itineraries.
24 hours in Singapore
To make the most of your day follow my Singapore 1 day itinerary. Or take an inexpensive private tour.
- Visit the Central Business District, Marina Bay and Merlion park. Head to Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Observation Deck to see the city from above.
- Explore Gardens by the Bay, Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.
- Have lunch at Lau Pa Sat hawker center.
- Visit historical neighbourhoods. If you have time go both for Little India and Geylang. Explore Orchard road – shopping belt of Singapore. Singapore is small, and transport, especially metro, is effective and fast.
- Visit Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (closes at 7 PM) and have dinner in Chinatown. Try durian.
- Enjoy light and fountain show “Spectra” in Marina Bay (8 PM). A great place to watch it from – wooden platfrom next to Louis Vuitton shop. The same platform you see in the next photo. Then head to the Gardens by the Bay to see the “Garden Rhapsody” light and music show (8:45 PM).
- Have a drink at some bar on Fullerton Road.
What to Do in Singapore for 3 Days
See above – 24 hours in Singapore.
- Start your day early with a sunrise at Marina Bay.
- Relax on the beaches of Sentosa island for a couple of hours.
- Have fun at “Universal Studios” and / or S.E.A. Aquarium.
- Enjoy light and fountain show “Crane Dance”.
- Visit National Museum of Singapore.
- Have lunch at one of the cheap Michelin restaurants (Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle or Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle).
- Enjoy amazing and futuristic exhibitions at ArtScience Museum.
- Shop for electronics (or just walk around!) at Sim Lim Square.
- Have dinner in Little India.
Where to Stay in Singapore – Our Recommendations
Backpackers Hostel – RedDoorz Hostel @ Kallang MRT (former Coziee Lodge)
A cheap hostel in Kallang, close to the MRT station. Downtown is just a 15 minute-ride away from the hostel.
Dorm bed starts at 20 SGD. Check prices and availability.
Cheap Hotel – Hotel 81 Premier Star
A cheap but decent hotel in Geyland, a few minute walk away from the metro station. Downtown is just 20 minute-ride away form the hotel.
Double room starts at 57 SGD. Check prices and availability.
Mid-Range – Hilton Garden Inn Singapore Serangoon
A good 4 star hotel located in Little India, just a couple of minute walk away from the nearest metro station. Downtown is just 20 minute-ride away form the hotel.
Double room starts at 149 SGD. Check prices and availability.
Luxury – Parkroyal on Pickering
Everyone traveling to Singapore knows Marina Bay Sands hotel. So, I won’t mention it.
Another great option for a luxury stay is Parkroyal on Pickering. It’s a 5-star hotel located in Chinatown. Hotel has a nice pool and a gym. Both of them offer beautiful views of the city.
Double room starts at 250 SGD. Check prices and availability.
Singapore Travel Tips
- Singapore visa. Citizens of most countries don’t require a visa to travel to Singapore. Europeans, Australians, and Americans are even allowed to stay for 90 days visa-free.
- MRT (metro / underground) is the best way to travel around Singapore. It’s cheap, fast and reliable. You can use MRT to get to Sentosa island as well.
- Bike sharing. Another great way to travel around Singapore is by bicycle. Where to get a bike? Bicycle sharing services are available in Singapore. This service is really easy to use – you can rent and park the bike using an app. The bikes usually can be found at or near MRT stations. Ofo and Mobike are two of the largest companies operating bike-sharing services in Singapore. A refundable deposit (around 49 SGD) is required to use bike sharing apps. A trip costs around 1 SGD for every 20 or 30 minutes. Passes are available, too.
- How to save money on food? Eat at Indian eateries and local hawker centers. To give you an idea of how much does it cost, here is one example – a plate of chicken rice in these places costs around 5 SGD.
- Singapore – fine city. Singapore is known for its strict laws. Littering and spitting in public places, as well as eating in public transport – a punishable offence. And the fines are very high – often starting at 500 SGD. Take this into account.
- Alcohol and tobacco are taxable. You can bring in only one opened packet of cigarettes but you have to pay import taxes if you have more cigarettes and alcohol.
If you’ll be traveling around in Asia, book your tickets online:
Have you been to Singapore? What are your favorite places?