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Top 10 Things to Do in Singapore

Heading to Singapore? Whether you can take a long layover or you have business or you’re just on vacation, here’s the Top 10 things we know you’ll love in Singapore!


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The city-state of Singapore is a fascinating mix of an old Victorian English territory and the mix of ethnic peoples that have lived there for centuries.  It’s one of those places that we keep visiting again and again. In fact, if you are new to traveling in Asia, Singapore is a great place to start!

An Introduction to Singapore

A mix of many cultures, you will find Malay, Chinese, Indian, and many more ethnicities living here. And not only does the religion, architecture and food reflect this, but so does the language. In Singapore, everyone learns English; it’s compulsory. 

It is also one of the cleanest countries you are going to find anywhere in this world. I never saw one piece of trash.  There are ample garbage cans, and people are given fines for doing things common in other Asian countries such as spitting.

The Singapore skyline.

Where to Stay

We like to get a hotel right in the middle of things and have stayed in Clarke Quay, the Muslim Quarter, and Chinatown. Singapore’s hotels are overall very nice, a higher quality than many places in the world, and their prices reflect it.

So, if you want luxury, you’ll get it. It’s a little harder to find really good budget deals, and that’s why even we stayed in a hostel or two as we stopped over in this amazing city.

Luxury

  • Marina Bay Sands – The most luxurious of hotels, but by staying here, you can experience the infinity pool with a view!
  • Hilton Singapore Orchard – Right in the middle of it all, this state-of-the-art hotel is a great place to stay during your time in Singapore.
  • Pan Pacific Singapore – In tropical Singapore, if you and your family likes to swim to cool off, there are so many great options here for kids and adults.

Mid-Range

  • Porcelain Hotel by JL Asia  – Location, location, location. This hotel is right in the middle of it all.
  • Peninsula Excelsior Hotel – A stylish hotel that is comfy and has plenty of relaxing areas, including a hot tub.
  • Hotel Boss – Located in one of the most fun sections of Singapore, its located minutes from the Malay Heritage Centre and the Sultan Mosque.

Budget

Compare Prices for All Singapore Hotels


Top 10 Sights in Singapore

A view of the Supertrees with the Singapore skyline behind them.

1. Gardens by the Bay

Hands down the Gardens by the Bay is the number one, unmissable, thing to do while you are visiting Singapore. In fact, it’s so unique, innovative, and fun, that if you are there long-term, we recommend you get a season pass.

The Gardens By the Bay, with its ecologically sustainable world plant bio-domes as well as their innovative vertical gardens called Supertrees is someplace everyone should visit. Full of information delivered in a multitude of ways, such as placards, films, interactive games, computers, and of course by guides and docents. Each time you go, you’re sure to learn something new, and the kids love it!

A mouse deer only comes out at night. That's why doing the Singapore Night Zoo is a must.
This mouse deer would usually be sleeping when you visit the zoo!

2. Singapore Zoo

The Singapore Zoo is a great outing for the kids, but don’t worry. Adults love it, too. One of the first zoos to open at night and introduce the “night safari,” the zoom makes it possible to see those nocturnal animals that are sleeping during the day.

Of course, you can go to the zoo during the day as well, and the exhibits are lush, and well-cared for. Some of my favorite things to do is see the shows and feed the animals. Habitats range from the African savannah to the rain forests and much in between.

You can buy a 1 Day ticket or your tickets for the Night Safari here.

Taking a bum boat river cruise through Singapore's waterways is fun for the whole family.

3. Bum Boat River Cruise

Ride a Bum Boat. What is a bum boat? It’s a traditional skiff that carries folks from one end of the quay to the other. Singapore has a system of water taxis, which are pretty luxurious as well as convenient and you can also use a bum boat for this purpose. 

However, most visitors like to get on a bum boat and take the river cruise, a narrated trip along the river.  A video plays throughout the ride recounting bits of history, both political and anecdotal of the region.

You can purchase you Bum Boat River Cruise ticket here.

Sipping on a Singapore Sling after a hard day of touring is always fun!

4. Drink a Singapore Sling

Visit the famous colonial Raffles Hotel and indulge in their signature cocktail, the Singapore Sling. Harkening back to the late 1800s, you feel like you are stepping into another century when you enter the impressive doors of the Raffles Hotel.

There’s plenty to do at the hotel, even if you’re not staying there. You can have Afternoon Tea, eat at one of the many restaurants, shop at one of 80 or so shops in the Arcade, and of course visit the Long Bar and have a drink.

Staying at the Raffles Hotel is stepping into pure luxury. With all the oppulence, your room comes with a huge bathtub, personal butler service, and plenty more amenities.

Singapore has many reasons to love being there at night, like this Marina Bay Sands Lightshow.

5. Enjoy Singapore at Night

Singapore comes alive at night! When the sun goes down, even though the temperature doesn’t really change, it’s more comfortable to walk around and enjoy the city.

One popular place to go is to see the Merlion and wander the surround eateries and shops.

You can also find a great bar with a view like at Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where you can sip cocktails on the 57th floor, watch its nightly light show, or shop, shop, shop! The famous light show is held every Friday and Saturday night at 8:00, 9:00, and 10:00 PM.

If you really want to indulge yourself and swim in the infinity pool (on the 57th floor), you must stay at least one night. The Marina Bay Sands is one of those bucket list items that everyone should check off at some time.

The Sultan Mosque is one of the many cultural sites well worth seeing in Singapore.

6. Enjoy some Culture

Singapore is one of the most diverse Asian cities. It’s easy to find cultural places to visit, especially religious buildings and heritage centers.

Some popular cultural places to visit in Singapore are:

The Science Museum is one of many to visit in Singapore.

7. Check Out an Illuminating Museum

Singapore is full of interesting museums.  There’s probably too many to do in the time you’ve allotted, but just pick out some of the best ones. Our favorite was the Peranakan Museum with its display of mixed cultural life throughout history of the country.

Some other Singaporean museums to visit are:

  • National Museum of Singapore
  • National Gallery
  • Singapore Art Museum
  • Art/Science Museum
  • Fort Siloso
  • Maritime Experiential Museum
Eating at one of the many Hawker Centres in Singapore is a great way to say money and have some authentic dishes.

8. Eat Some Amazing Food

Whenever we think of Singapore, we think of the amazing food. With so much diversity, the food on offer is fresh and delicious.

Some foods you must try while you are in Singapore include:

  • Chili Crab – Singapore’ signature dish, and oh how yummy it is!
  • Durian (the stinky fruit)- if you are brave.
  • Bak Kut Teh – a scrumptious beef bone soup.

There’s so much to try, and of course there are plenty of great restaurants as well. However, if you want to save money and eat like the locals, you’ll want to try out one of the many Hawker Centres that Singapore is famous for. We love them and probably eat the majority of our meals at one, because everyone can get something different to share.

Shopping is so much fun in Chinatown and many of the other Singaporean neighborhoods.

9. Shop! Shop! Shop!

One of the best things to do in Singapore is find that special souvenir. With so many ethnic neighborhoods to wander, you can find some real treasures.

Places to do the best souvenir shopping in Singapore:

  • Orchard Street
  • Little India
  • Kampong Glam
  • Chinatown
Singapore's Chiangi Airport is a great place to spend a few hours.

10. Enjoy the Changi Airport

In our opinion, you could spend a whole day in Changi Airport, and you don’t even have to be flying anywhere. It’s one of the best shopping malls in the city, but it also has a number of other things to keep you entertained.

Some things you can do at Changi Airport include:

  • Visiting the many gardens, like the Orchid Garden.
  • Seeing the butterflies in their own enclosure.
  • Play video games or listen to music.
  • Go to a movie.
  • Take a refreshing swim in the pool.
Public transportation is easy and clean in Singapore. We love taking the bus.

Getting Around Singapore

Take public transportation; it’s the cleanest in the world. The bus and metro system are so easy to use. The entire city is well-covered, you’ll be able to find a bus stop or metro stop within one or two blocks max.

Riding a bus through the city, even with no real destination, is a cheap and easy way to get the lay of the land, and the bus drivers are some of the most helpful.

Conclusion

For travelers heading to Asia for their first time, Singapore is a must.  It deftly bridges the western and eastern cultures and it provides a rich mixture of sights, foods, and things to do.  There really is something for everyone, even the kids will love activities like taking this tree top walk in beautiful nature.

 Have you been to Singapore?  If so, what was your favorite thing to do there?  What would be your top 10 Singapore?

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

Top 10 Singapore
Top 10 Singapore

Andrew Darwitan

Wednesday 21st of October 2020

Some really solid suggestions. I'd probably just add that Singapore hides surprisingly charming little-known sights.

There's a common myth that Singapore is an island nation, but less known is that the country actually comprises of 63 different islands. These islands hide pockets of rural Singapore which allows us to reimagine a different time when Singapore was just a fishing village.

I have visited the islands of Kusu, St. John, Lazarus and Ubin before, they are all quite impressive and show a rural, countryside faces of Singapore!

day chuyen thu hoach

Wednesday 3rd of May 2017

I am a traveler who loves traveling and exploring. If I go to singapore, I like to take a boat trip, take a stroll around the hotel, enjoy good food, try the subway and public transport here. Surely these are the best fit. Thank you for introducing.

Corinne Vail

Wednesday 3rd of May 2017

I agree. Getting to know the area and taking all kinds of transportation to get around is the perfect start to visiting Singapore.

Lisa Goodmurphy

Saturday 20th of September 2014

I have wanted to go to Singapore for quite some time but every time I have brought it up my husband would ask why and I didn't really have an answer - now I do!! Thank you!! :)

Corinne Vail

Saturday 20th of September 2014

Lisa, I hope you make it there. There's plenty to do and see!

Freya

Sunday 17th of August 2014

I have been to Singapore quite a few times. It is indeed a great city. I did most things on your list during my past visit. Getting out of the city to one of the little islands is something I also always enjoy.

Corinne Vail

Sunday 17th of August 2014

Freya, I really think it's a beautiful city with a lot going on. We enjoy it!

Jess @UsedYorkCity

Friday 15th of August 2014

I LOVED sipping Singapore Slings at Raffles, one of my favorite Singapore memories! We were only there for 24 hours for a layover, but next time would love to check out the hotel with the pool on top, for sure!

Corinne Vail

Friday 15th of August 2014

Jess, It's a beautiful hotel!