With a patchwork of gleaming skyscrapers and modern businesses, it’s easy to see Singapore as a futuristic metropolis that hugely differs from its fellow Southeast Asian neighbours. But scratch beneath the surface, and you’ll quickly realise that there’s more to this island city-state than being the next big tech hub. In fact, whether you’re into culture, nature, history or just relaxing, there are plenty of things to see and do in Singapore. Here are six ideas to get you started:
Visit the Gardens by the Bay
The Gardens by the Bay is the perfect example of the Lion City’s continuing ability to innovate. Here, nearly 250 acres of reclaimed land has been transformed into a stunning nature park, complete with huge greenhouses and lakes. Be sure to explore the two conservatories, the springtime-inspired Flower Dome and the misty mountain outlook of the Cloud Forest, as well as one of Singapore’s best-known landmarks: Supertree Grove. You can stroll along the 22m-high OCBC Skyway, an aerial walkway that connects the trees – the tallest of which is a staggering 16 storeys high – or be dwarfed by them as you wander below.
How to do it: Visit in the afternoon, as the city begins to cool, starting with the conservatories and making your way to Supertree Grove at dusk. Here there are two nightly shows, each one showcasing the lights of the trees set to music.
Shop ‘til you drop
On par with its love of food, Singapore adores shopping. In fact, it has multiple retail districts to choose from – you can explore more than 20 shopping centres in Orchard Road, go boutique in Haji Lane, or hunt for hidden treasures in Little India. And you don’t need to worry about bringing your carrier bags either, there’s no 5p charge here.
How to do it: Dive in headfirst at Orchard Road to truly immerse yourself in the Singaporean shopping experience. It’s a tad overwhelming, we won’t lie, but if you embrace the madness you’ll soon feel right at home.
Sip a Singapore Sling
A pink bubblegum-hued, gin-based, long drink, the Singapore Sling is regarded as the national drink of the country. No doubt you’ll have heard of it, and its cherry brandy infusions, but might not have tried one. If that's the case, you’re missing out. They’re delicious and, if it’s possible, they taste ever better in their home country.
How to do it: This signature cocktail was created by a bartender called Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915 at the Raffles Singapore – so where better to pull up a stool and take a sip? Visiting this iconic hotel and its two-storey bar is a rite of passage.
Browse the temples of Chinatown
Chinese and Singaporean cultures fuse together in Chinatown – you can eat satay and char kway teow (stir-fried noodles) by the bucket load, wander the colourful streets of historic Katong, or shop in a family-run goldsmiths. But what we go for is the places of worship. Hindu mosques and Chinese temples sit side by side; be sure to visit the Sri Mariamman Temple, Jamae Mosque and the famous Buddha Tooth Relic Temple – all in Chinatown's South Bridge Road.
How to do it: Explore Chinatown and its temples on foot. In fact, there are several free walking tours you can join – ask one of our Travel Experts for advice.
Indulge at the Marina Bay Sands
More micro city than hotel, the Marina Bay Sands is easily one of the most spectacular places to stay in the world. It has the usual offering – beautiful rooms, heaps of entertainment and shops and restaurant aplenty – but it also has some impressive attractions too at the ‘SkyPark’. Here you can gaze out across the city from the Observation Deck or, perhaps more luxuriously, from the world’s largest infinity pool, which towers 57 levels above the city below.
How to do it: Make an appointment with one of our Travel Experts to chat about Singapore, and how you can book your stay at the Marina Bay Sands.
Eat at Lau Pa Sat
First conceived in the 19th century and still filled with old-world charm, Lau Pa Sat market is a Singaporean institution. Navigate strings of hawker stalls and you’ll easily find the best local cuisine here, not to mention a great atmospheric setting in which to eat it.
How to do it: Lau Pa Sat is open 24 hours a day, so visit whenever your taste buds require. If you’re not sure what to try, we recommend the Hainanese chicken rice followed by a chilled bottle of Tiger Beer to wash it down.
To start planning your next trip to Singapore, talk a look at our Singapore Holidays.