Updated as of January 2020
Summary: This blog details 10 of the best things to do around Singapore. All needed details for each top activity are laid out in the post including operating hours, location, entrance fee and information on how to get there. This Singapore blog is intended for DIY travelers on a shoestring budget, whether solo, family or traveling in a group.
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SINGAPORE ACTIVITIES AT A GLANCE
SINGAPORE is relatively small in size but big in tourist attractions. From heritage, art, food, nature to entertainment and fashion – it simply has everything! But with all this immensity, it is a common thing to get lost around if you don’t plan. So here is a list of top 14 things to see and do in Singapore to help travelers plan and sort out their itinerary.
How to get to Singapore?
- By plane, most major cities take flight to Changi Airport in Singapore whether direct or layover.
- By land, you can get on a bus from these areas in Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Genting Highlands, Ipoh and Penang; and in Hat Yai in Thailand.
Check for available transport or book online from your location to Singapore using the search box below:
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN SINGAPORE
These attractions are a mix of budget to luxurious, and can be applied for solo or group travelers or even for family with kids around.
Relish on some of local food favorites at a Hawker center.
The diaspora of ethnicity in Singapore is strongly resonated on its local cuisine: Chinese, Indian, Western, Malay – you name it; and there is no better place to try them out altogether than in a hawker center.
A hawker center is a large food court with stalls offering a wide range of good quality, cheap foods (around S$2-S$4) that extend from full meals to snacks. The mood around is mostly vibrant with its jam-packed of people. (So that is giving away that while you can get a proper meal, loitering around a hawker center is strongly discouraged.)
Hawker centers are mostly found in a shopping market. The popular among them are: Adam Road Food Center with most stalls serving Malay and Indian food, Chomp Chomp Food Center – the go-to place for late dinners and is notable for being the satay mecca in Singapore, and Lau Pa Sat Food Center – the biggest and the most ideal place to find all local food under one roof.
When in a hawker center, don’t miss out these local food favorites: bak kut yeh (pork ribs soup), char kway teow (noodle dish), chilli crab, Hainanese chicken rice, Hokkien ‘mee’ (noodles), and of course, the local ice cream! 😉
Enjoy the scenic spots at night.
Singapore is a glamorous, bustling city and its beauty blooms at night with its skyline all in glitz. Wander around the promenade of Bayfront to witness a magnificent landscape that stretches from Marina Bay Sands to Merlion Park.
If you fancy a perfect night photo on a different location, head out to these places which are all aglow after dark: Buddha Tooth Relic Temple at Maxwell road in Chinatown, Clarke Quay along the Singapore river, the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, Tanjung Rhu Suspension Bridge, Orchard Road, and Singapore harbor.
Take pleasure in the FREE light and water shows.
One of the finest forms of entertainment in Singapore is the light-and-water show which takes place early in the evening and is for free! As of late, there are four light and water shows happening simultaneously every night. Two at Bayfront and another two at Sentosa.
At Bayfront: The Garden Rhapsody at Gardens by the Bay makes use of the 12 man-made Supertrees to expose a dazzling presentation of multi-colored lights in the pattern of an accompanying beat. Showtime runs daily at 7:45PM and 8:45PM for 15 minutes; while the Spectra at Marina Bay Sands projects a visual feast from the top-of-the-line fountain jets and laser lights over the waters near promenade at the Event Plaza. The light show happens twice every night at 8PM and 9PM for 15 minutes. A special timing at 10PM is added on Fridays and Saturdays.
At Sentosa: The Crane Dance at Resorts World Sentosa unfolds the magical love story of two cranes through a groundbreaking audio and visual light display. Show starts at 8PM daily. On the other hand, the Merlion Magic Lights at Merlion Plaza showcases the astonishing 37-meter tall Merlion slowly dressed with lights glistening in shapes and patterns. Showtime is 4 times daily at a 30-minute interval from 7:45PM to 9:15PM. Take note that although these 2 attractions are for free, Sentosa Island admission fee still applies.
Step into the quirky space of hipsters.
The emergence of the artsy, quirky neighborhood has put the hipsters to the already diverse cultural map of Singapore. They now own a place to hangout, get together and freely express their unique outlook to life, which comes in a form of a stylish bookstore, artistic shophouse, indie cafe, and quaint bar. On the one hand, Tiong Bahru and Haji Lane have the most solid presence of hipsters among these neighborhood and are glorified for its striking art decorations. On the other, the Library at Orchard with a stylo bookshelves and cozy reading pods is slowly gaining traction of hippie visitors.
Indulge in a heart-racing fun at Universal Studios.
The Singapore Universal Studios takes the happy, adventure side of Singapore. Go on a full-day trip. Let loose and fall freely on your seat as you ride the hair-raising roller coasters and heart-pounding simulation rides! The experience is worth it. Adults can surely excite that kid inside, while at the same time, allow their own kids be kids. Catch the pharaoh of ancient Egypt, try the Jurassic Adventure rapids, take a photo op with some of the famous Hollywood characters, wander around the 7-themed zones in the Universal Studios. There is so much to do in a day! To end it right, make sure to stay until sundown for the Hollywood Dreams Parade and Lake Hollywood Spectacular which might happen on a weekend. (Check the Universal Studios calendar for the actual schedule.)
To get to Universal Studios on a train, alight at HarbourFront Station. Once there, ride on the Sentosa Express or RWS8 Bus or walk along the Sentosa Boardwalk. If on a taxi, stop at the Casino then take the escalator leading to the Universal Globe.
Tip: There is an express pass (not to be used as the entrance ticket) which will allow visitors to take the shorter queue for rides. Price starts at S$30 to 50. Visit the Universal Studios website for more information.
Fall in love with the sea with some of Sentosa Island attractions.
The island resort of Sentosa is home to the beautiful wonders of the sea. Find yourself frolicking around the white sand beaches of Palawan, Siloso and Tanjong. Socialize and learn more about marine mammals at the Dolphin Island. Explore the vastness of SEA Aquarium and interact with 100,000 marine animals into their designated habitat. Surf the big swells of Wave House Sentosa. The island resort is the perfect blend of entertainment that caters across all ages!
To get to Sentosa via public transport, head out to HarbourFront station using the North East or Circle Line. At the station, take the Sentosa Express at the 3rd level of Vivo city or walk along Sentosa boardwalk into the island resort.
For further details and to better plan your stay, visit their homepage: at www.sentosa.com.
Soak up in the finest art scenes.
Despite losing ground due to the absence of new commercial galleries, the art scene in Singapore has maintained its strong appeal to travelers over the years. Thanks to the growing communities of artsy hipsters at the enclaves of Kampong Glam and Tiong Bahru and the determined efforts of the government to sustain the National Gallery. More to that, the admiration of kids to the onscreen exhibitions in ArtScience Museum has add up to the overall sustenance of the art market in the island city-state.
Singapore has a long history in the field of art. It is what its culture and heritage are made of. It is what helps shape its society. Missing out its eclectic collection that transcends a wide variety of art media is a total down in the mouth.
Board a bumboat on a river cruise.
Go on a bumboat river cruise and be treated to the iconic structures of Singapore in a sweeping expanse that begins at the colorful bars of Clarke Quay; the tall buildings of Fullerton Bay Hotel, Republic Plaza and One Raffles Place; the towering Marina Bay Sands; to the impressive Esplanade and Singapore Flyer.
Bumboats are small vessels that work as a water taxi. It is prominent among locals and travelers as it makes for a quick transport to go around downtown Singapore. A one trip stop costs around S$3 while a 40-minute tour is priced at S$25 per passenger.
Take the river cruise during sunset or early in the evening to get the best view of the waterfronts of Singapore and a chance to catch the majestic Spectra light show.
Wallow in the beauty of wildlife and nature.
Singapore is urbanization at best, but its effort to protect nature and wildlife is unswerving. In fact, it works heavily towards retaining its solid position being a City in a Garden. Head out to the 82-hectare Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site which prides of its wide range of flora and fauna or to the 26-hectare Singapore Zoo, a wildlife park that nurtures different species of mammals, birds and reptiles.
These 2 locations are excellent for a traveling family. It’s safe, chill and fun. Entrance to Botanic Gardens is free while to Singapore Zoo ranges from S$21 to 35. Check out their website for the latest deals and further details.
Set out to a heritage trail at the historic districts.
The island city-state of Singapore is a lovely marriage of old and new. The old is well-represented by its historic districts that are spread out across the metropolis. There is a distinct charm of Chinese heritage at Chinatown, a gold mine of Malay enclave and Muslim culture at Kampong Glam, a wealthy source of Indian tradition at Little India – these fascinating places provide a glimpse of the early life in Singapore and getting around them is simply an opportunity you cannot lose out!
Go hunt the Merlion statues.
A Merlion hunt is a fun way to spend a day in Singapore. Strike a pose for each one and take pride for having it! It’s exhilarating doing it, you know!
The Merlion is the national symbol of Singapore. It’s a half lion (which pays tribute to the Malay name of the city: Singapura, meaning a Lion City) and a half fish (which represents the humble beginnings of Singapore as a fishing village).
You can find the 5 official Merlions at the Merlion Plaza near Fullerton Hotel, at Sentosa Island Resort, at the Tourism court near the taxi drop-off point, at the Faber point at Mount Faber, and lastly at the car park entrance of Ang Mo Kio Avenue. The first 2 are the biggest among the 5, while the third one is the skinniest.
Get lost around Changi Airport.
You can spend your entire stay in Singapore at its airport and it would still be worth the trip. Such is the hallmark of Changi airport which has bested all other airports in the world for the last 6 years. Its beautiful gardens on each of the 4 terminals are a total come on. Not to mention the exquisite seats that array in all corners, the polished copper raindrops and other handcrafted sculptures that are suspended high at the public areas, the kids play area, the free amenities, movie theater and the list goes on.
With all these attractions at an arm’s length, getting lost around won’t surely be a waste of time.
Shop ’till you drop at the fashion junctions in the city.
Want it cheap? Or perhaps, wishing to step out in a luxurious fashion style? Singapore has the right wardrobe for you. Explore Orchard Road and shop for a coveted pair of stilettos, high-end brand of clothes, fancy cosmetics and one-of-a-kind accessories. If that doesn’t suit your taste, better yet, indulge in an occasional bargaining fun at Mustafa center, Bugis street or Lucky Plaza and discover affordable yet trendy apparels, cheap beauty service stores, and wallet-friendly jewelries.
Singapore is a haven for retail therapy. Go out and about as the fashionista that you are!
Wander the vastness of Gardens by the Bay.
It occupies 102 hectares in Central Singapore! Such vastness which hosts a variety of plants that seem stitched everywhere; from the stomping grounds, to the towering walls and high ceilings. Gardens by the Bay is the one attraction you cannot pass up. It’s grand, beautiful and free – well, for most of its areas. 😉
The Flower Dome and Cloud Forest are two most visited places that charge an entrance fee of about S$28 for both. But going inside merits a great deal of exploring. The Flower Dome is the largest greenhouse in the world – futuristic and innovative. It’s an endless display of flowers in bloom. On the other hand, the Cloud Forest is a garden of diverse vegetation spruced up with a stunning architecture that includes a huge pane of glass and massive steel grids.
For all else that you see in the garden, it’s free of charge. So take a breeze at wandering around. For more information, visit their homepage through this link.
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