From a tourist’s perspective, what can be considered the ultimate things to do and see, and where are the ultimate places to go? I know Singapore very well, so allow me to give you a guide as to what are, in my opinion, the top 10 attractions in the country! Where available, click on the title of the attraction to view my full blog post!
10. During the day, Clarke Quay is a hive activity with small fairground rides, great restaurants, and street performers, but it is at night when this entertainment district beside the historic Singapore River really comes to life! There are bars and clubs galore around here, most of them have a particular theme, such as World War 2 bars, Irish pubs etc. For adults and backpackers of any age, Clarke Quay is a really nice place to sit back and relax in the sunshine by the river, down a few ice-cold Tiger Beers, and then maybe return in the evening to boogie the night away!
9. There are plenty of parks in Singapore, and if truth be told many of them could have been nominated in this list. However, Fort Canning Park, which sits on a large hill just across the road from Clarke Quay, is probably the most relaxing way to enjoy Singapore’s tropical flora. Fort Canning is so-called due to a fort from the second world war being located here. There are a few small ruins to explore, but the main point of being here is to enjoy a nice stroll through a calm and peaceful park, and the added bonus is that no monkeys live here!
8. Located quite far from the centre of Singapore, yet still a fairly short taxi ride away, Jurong Bird Park has a reputation for being the finest aviary in the world. There are many exhibits here, mainly of birds, but also some with reptiles and small amphibians. There are many photo opportunities with parrots, but the highlight of the park is certainly the Lorikeet Loft, which is a walk-in aviary full of rainbow lories, which can actually be fed sweet honey from your hand as you walk through! Other highlights include owls, birds of prey, birds of paradise, and flamingos! Jurong Bird Park is quite hilly in places, and this may cause you to sweat a bit in the humidity, but never fear as there is a monorail that takes you in a loop around the park if you don’t want to walk.
7. It requires a ferry to get to the outlying island of Pulau Ubin, which is a place where industry and even transport are nowhere to be seen! It is much like what you would expect a tropical island to look like before urbanisation, and in fact much of Singapore did look this way before the British colonised the area. Nowadays, Pulau Ubin is heralded as an interesting day trip from the ‘mainland’ with many hiking trails and wildlife viewing spots available. Just make sure you take some mosquito repellent!
6. Sentosa is known across Asia as Singapore’s playground; a leisure destination for all ages and budgets! It is also has a few great beaches which are free to use. While Sentosa is now also home to the upmarket Resorts World Sentosa complex, which has aquariums, theme parks, restaurants, and hotels, it is in fact the older parts of the island that many people come to see. There is a huge Merlion statue in the centre of Sentosa which is a great place to take some photos. There are tons of activities for small kids and families alike here, such as the Insect and Butterfly Kingdom, while thrill-seekers will be pleased to know there is zip-lining across the jungle canopy (and beach) and a giant observation deck called the Tiger Sky Tower! Other great attractions include the chance to swim with dolphins (and sharks) at Adventure Cove Water Park, the Trick Eye Museum, a Madame Tussauds waxwork museum, a golf course, and some of the finest fast food outlets in Singapore!
5. Gardens by the Bay is one of the newest attractions in Singapore, and certainly one of the finest! It is a modern alternative to the Botanic Gardens, and contains a cluster of huge ‘Super Trees’ as its centrepiece. At night, these ‘Super Trees’ are the focus of the night time entertainment. There are indoor sections at Gardens by the Bay, too, such as the Cloud Forest Dome, and the Flower Dome, both of which not only give great education to its visitors, but also provide much-needed respite from the glaring tropical sun! At the rear of the Gardens, you can find Satay by the Bay, which is a fantastic chance to try local Singaporean hawker food.
4. One of the finest zoos in the world, the Singapore Zoo is part of a complex snaking around the Seletar Reservoir area which also comprises the popular Night Safari and the River Safari. There are a lot of highlights here at the Zoo, though, in particular the three white tigers, Inuka the polar bear, the free-ranging Borneo Orangutans, and the wide variety of shows on offer throughout the day – including with the elephants! Kids will love the Singapore Zoo, which incidentally is a tropical rainforest zoo, which adds to the mystique if you are not from these parts of the world!
3. Universal Studios Singapore is known as the most popular theme park in south east Asia. It is also considered to be one of the finest theme parks in the world, with its immaculate theming and attention to detail. With world class rides and attractions such as the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, Transformers: The Ride, Revenge of the Mummy, and Madagascar: A Crate Escape, Universal Studios Singapore has something for everyone! A great tip for USS is that you can leave the park at any time of the day as long as you get your wrist infrared-stamped (no extra cost). This stamp will allow you to enter the park again at any time on the same day, and this could enable you to experience the morning in the park, maybe go the beach for the afternoon, but then return to USS for evening!
2. London has Regent Street, New York has Fifth Avenue, Los Angeles has Rodeo Drive – but Singapore has Orchard Road! Imagine a tropical palm tree-lined boulevard with department store after department store on either side of the road – well, that’s Orchard Road. Many upmarket hotels are in this area, too, making it a very popular choice to stay with travellers. But naturally, most people come here to eat, drink, and shop, shop, shop!
1. The home of the iconic Merlion, and perhaps the world’s most photographed building, the Marina Bay Sands hotel, Marina Bay is a real highlight of Singapore! Nothing quite beats a stroll around Marina Bay, taking in the sights and sounds as you go. The CBD, the classic Fullerton Bay hotel, the Esplanade theatres, the Singapore Flyer, and the Helix Bridge all provide ample photo opportunities, and at Marina Bay Sands itself there is a huge upscale shopping mall and even a casino! Pretty much everything you need is here at Marina Bay, and there are even piers where you can catch a ferry up the Singapore River!
I hope this gives you an idea of what you can do and see in Singapore! Let me know what your own personal favourite attractions are in the comments section below! For some additional reading, check out the 7 WONDERS OF SINGAPORE from Scarlet Scribbles, and 48 Hours with me in Singapore by BlueBalu!
Or if touristy things really are not your scene, then why not check out my list of off the beaten path adventures in Singapore!