Singapore may be small, but there’s certainly no shortage of things to see and do in this ultra-modern city-state. You could spend days exploring the world-class museums, spectacular gardens, sandy beaches and heritage buildings in cultural enclaves. And that’s not even taking into account the fantastic food, nightlife and shopping. Whether you’re visiting on a holiday or business trip or living here and looking for something to do on your day off, these are some of Singapore’s must-visit attractions.
Get in Touch With Nature
Gardens by the Bay
Even if you’ve never been to Singapore before, you’ve probably already seen images of the iconic Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay. This impressive park has won numerous awards for its futuristic architecture and gorgeous gardens that range from tropical rainforests to temperate climates in glass domes. Visitors of all ages will love discovering thousands of trees, plants and flowers and exploring unique features like the Supertree Grove and soaring OCBC Skywalk.
Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953. p. +65 6420 6848. Open daily 9am – 9pm (conservatories and OCBC Skywalk), 5am – 2am (outdoor gardens)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Established in 1859, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is one of the oldest parks in the city and the only tropical botanic garden to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meander down the paved pathways and you’ll find over 10,000 species of plants and numerous areas dedicated to particular aspects of the plant world like the Ethnobotany Garden, Healing Garden, National Orchid Garden and the Ginger Garden.
Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569. p. 1 800 471 7300. Open daily 8am – 5:30pm
Learn Something New at a Museum
National Gallery Singapore
Out of all the museums in Singapore, the National Gallery is our favourite. Housed in two historic monuments that were once City Hall and the Supreme Court, this sprawling gallery boasts the biggest collection of modern art in Southeast Asia. We highly suggest downloading the free audio guide so you can get the full stories behind the architecture, art and rotating exhibitions. The museum is also home to a number of elegant dining and drinking venues.
National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957. p. +65 6271 7000. Open Sat – Thurs 10am – 7pm, Fri 10am – 9pm
National Museum of Singapore
If you want an in-depth glimpse into the history of Singapore and how it got to be the way it is today, the National Museum of Singapore is your spot. Originally opened in 1887 as the Raffles Library & Museum, this fascinating institution has permanent galleries with displays on everything from art to science, history and supernatural beliefs in Asia. There are also rotating exhibitions and programmes for all ages.
National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897. p. +65 6332 3659. Open daily 10am – 7pm
You can’t help but notice the striking lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum hovering over Marina Bay. Inside you’ll find 21 spacious galleries hosting rotating exhibitions that highlight some of the world’s best artists and various aspects of science like space exploration and virtual reality. Be sure to check their website for upcoming exhibitions because they always have something new and exciting going on.
ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Avenue, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (concierge at B2), Singapore 018974. p. +65 6688 8826. Open daily 10am – 7pm
Visit Iconic Landmarks
Since 1887, Raffles Hotel has been wowing visitors with its luxurious colonial design and five-star service. Currently undergoing restorations, the hotel will re-open in August 2019 with upgraded suites and the return of original features like antique furnishings and teakwood floors. Even if you’re not staying here, you can swing by the Long Bar for a Singapore Sling in its birthplace, indulge in a divine champagne brunch on the weekend or sample gourmet eats at dining concepts by world-renowned chefs.
Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673. p. +65 6337 1886
Marina Bay Sands
Although it only opened in 2010, Marina Bay Sands is an integral part of the Singapore skyline and experience. You could spend an entire day here perusing The Shoppes for designer fashion, wining and dining at celebrity chef restaurants, soaking up stupendous views from the rooftop bars, taking in exhibitions and shows at the museum and theatre, and partying at nightclubs Marquee and Avenue. Feeling lucky? Try your hand at the casino.
Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956. p. +65 6688 8868
It may sound odd to include an airport attraction in our must-visit list, but Jewel Changi Airport is a destination in itself. The complex has everything you need for a day out or to kill a few hours before a flight including shops sporting international brands, famous restaurant chains from around the world, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, art installations and a canopy park with kids play areas and a thrilling skywalk above the indoor rainforest.
Jewel Changi Airport, 78 Airport Blvd, Changi Airport (connected to Terminal 1) Singapore 819666.
Take a Trip to Sentosa Island
Even though it’s just a short drive or cable car trip from Singapore’s CBD, Sentosa seems like it’s a whole different world. Instead of skyscrapers you’ll find golden stretches of sand, lush golf courses and plenty of entertainment options including theme parks and adventure parks, a wax museum, aquarium and a 4D theatre. Gourmet restaurants can be found around the island and there are plenty of plush hotels overlooking the ocean.
Universal Studios Singapore
This is one of only two Universal Studios in Asia (the other is in Japan), and a must-do if you’re heading to Sentosa. The park has seven themed areas including Hollywood, Ancient Egypt and Sci-Fi City, each offering fun rides, shows and attractions. Kids will love the merry-go-rounds and live characters from their favourite movies, adults will love the exhilarating roller coasters and river rapids, and everyone can enjoy the themed restaurants and retail shops.
Universal Studios Singapore, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore 098269. Open Sun – Thurs 10am – 8pm, Fri – Sat 10am – 10pm
Eat Like a Local
If it’s authentic Singaporean food you’re after, the hawker centres are the places to go. These foodie havens feature numerous vendors under one roof serving everything from fried oyster omelettes to Hainanese chicken rice, steaming bowls of laksa and even fresh salads, juices and craft beers. The most popular hawker centres are Maxwell Food Court, Old Airport Road Food Centre, Newton Hawker Centre and La Pau Sat.
Singapore After Dark
When the sun starts to set, Keong Saik Road comes to life with buzzy restaurants and bars offering awesome vibes, a diverse mix of global cuisines and creative cocktails. You could start with a few drinks at award-winning The Old Man or the rooftop at Potato Head Singapore, then move on to artisan pastas at Bar Cicheti, Japanese bites at Neon Pigeon, modern Indian cuisine at Thevar or fine dining eats at Michelin-starred Meta. Whatever you’re into, chances are you’ll find it here.
One of the best places in Singapore to catch the sunset is Marina Barrage. This unique dam not only helps control flooding and supplies freshwater for the city, but it also functions as a recreational site with a calm reservoir and a huge rooftop covered with an expansive grassy lawn. Perfect for picnics on the grass, kite flying or a game of catch, this elevated park offers fab views of the Marina Channel, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and the city skyline.
One of the quintessential Singapore experiences is having drinks high above the city at a sleek rooftop bar. The most famous rooftop bars include Ce La Vi atop Marina Bay Sands, 1-Altitude, which is the world’s highest al fresco bar, and LeVel33, the world’s highest urban craft brewery. However, there are also tons of hidden gems where you can enjoy al fresco tipples along with great views. Click on the link above for our ultimate guide to Singapore’s rooftop bars.
Singapore Night Safari
Ever wondered what wild animals do after dark? Find out at the Singapore Night Safari, an unforgettable wildlife experience that takes you on a journey through six different geographical regions to see nocturnal animals like spotted hyenas, Indian wolves, white African lions and more. Along the way, your guide will give you the lowdown on all the animals and point out any hidden creatures you may have missed.
Singapore Night Safari, 80 Mandai Lake, Singapore 729826. p. +65 6269 3411. Open daily 7:15pm – 12am