Visit Singapore: top 12 must-do activities
Do you want to get away from it all and are you planning to go to Singapore? This city-state in southern Malaysia is known for its very modern neighborhoods, but many people underestimate the variety of things it has to offer. Architectural marvels, picturesque districts, cultural sites, shopping, nightlife… in this post, I take you on a discovery of the best things to do and see in Singapore. And if you don’t know where to sleep in Singapore, my article can help you.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is probably the most popular tourist spot in all of Singapore. This large park of more than 100 hectares located in the heart of the city attracts more than 5 million visitors every year.
This is where the Supertrees are located, large metal trees over 20 meters high that have today become true emblems of the city. They are completely covered with LEDs and light up at night to offer an amazing spectacle. Walkways are located at the top of these structures, to allow visitors to enjoy superb views of the garden and Singapore.
It is a great place to take a memorable ride, and you can also find plenty of facilities, playgrounds, food stalls, cafes and restaurants here.
Gardens by the Bay also consists of two other areas that are located under very large domes: the Cloud Forest and its incredible artificial waterfall, and the Flower Dome, a botanical garden where you can see a wide variety of floral species from Many countries.
This is Singapore’s most famous landmark. The Sentosa Merlion is a nearly 40-meter-long statue of a merlion, an animal with a lion’s head and a fish’s body, the symbol of the city-state of Singapore. Originally, “Singapore” means “the city of the lion”, and the presence of a fish body reminds us that this city was mainly developed around the activity of fishing.
This statue made in 1964 is in the park of the same name, at the mouth of the river. Along with the Supertrees, it is the most photographed site in Singapore. From this esplanade, in addition to discovering an emblematic monument, you can enjoy a superb view of Singapore Bay and the famous hotel located there. Do not hesitate to go there at the end of the day to admire a very pretty sunset.
The Marina Bay Sands
The Marina Bay Sands is one of the most famous hotels in the world, to the point of having also become one of the great symbols of Singapore. In many ways it is comparable to the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. More than a 5-star hotel, it is also a real architectural feat that has made this city famous throughout the world.
This incredible complex made up of three large towers is home to:
More than 2500 luxury rooms
A panoramic observation station
An open-air park of more than one hectare located on the 57th floor and which connects the three towers practically at their top.
The Infinity Pool, perhaps the most beautiful infinity pool in the world, located 200 meters above sea level and 146 meters long
A huge Casino which was the very first in Singapore
A shopping center that is one of the largest and most modern in the world
The Artscience Museum, a museum where many temporary exhibitions on art, science and culture are organized.
Today, nearly three-quarters of Singaporeans are of Chinese descent. But the first Chinese settlers arrived in Singapore at the beginning of the 19th century, and it was here that they settled, near the south bank of the river. Even if this district bears the nickname of Chinatown, like this island state, it is a particularly cosmopolitan place, which shelters for example two mosques, the Al Abrar mosque and the Jamae mosque, but also the Hindu temple Sri Mariamman or even Taoist and Buddhist temples.
By visiting this essential district of the city, you will inevitably be seduced by the unique atmosphere and the beauty of the architecture of the buildings. Of course, as in any self-respecting Chinatown, you will also find here a lot of souvenir shops, fabrics, clothes and handicrafts, and above all a good number of very good restaurants.
In the liveliest streets (Club Street and Duxton Hill), there are also plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs.
During your discovery of this district, you will also have the opportunity to visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre, a museum housed in a historic building that traces the history of the first Chinese settlers in Singapore.
Along with the city center and Marina Bay, Chinatown is one of the best places to stay in Singapore.
This is the Indian district of Singapore. This is probably the most colorful place in the city, which is home to many colorful houses like the famous Tan Teng Niah House. Little India is one of the most exotic places in Singapore, spending a moment at the Tekka Center, you will feel like you have traveled to India. Finding such an authentic covered market is almost amazing in a place as modern as Singapore. There is also a museum here that allows you to learn a lot about the history of the district, the Indian Heritage Center.
Little India is also an area that is also home to many shops, especially in the Little Indian Arcade where many shops of all kinds gather.
In this district, you can also discover magnificent Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries:
The Sri Veeramakaliamman, a temple dedicated to the goddess Kali
The Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya, a small monastery nicknamed the “temple of 1000 lights” where there is a Buddha statue of 300 tons and 15 meters high.
The Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, a building dedicated to Vishnu which is one of the oldest temples in Singapore. Its imposing entrance tower is decorated with many sculptures of Vishnu incarnations.
Little India is definitely an area not to be missed during your trip to Singapore, and if you have a fairly tight budget, you can even find hostels or hotels there that are more affordable than elsewhere.
After discovering the Chinese quarter and the Indian quarter, head for the Malay quarter of Singapore. Here, you will be able to discover the Muslim culture and see in particular the superb Sultan Mosque, with its impressive golden dome. In the streets of this district, you can make beautiful cultural discoveries, see works of street art, taste local culinary specialties and enjoy a mint tea.
One of the attractions of this area is Haji Lane. It is not a very large avenue, quite the contrary, but it is undoubtedly one of the busiest streets in Singapore. This very colorful and lively street is a place with an alternative atmosphere, where many artists have taken up residence.
During the day, it is one of the best places to go shopping, you can find many often very original shops there. This street is also home to some upscale restaurants, and after dark, this is the place to go if you want to party and enjoy Singapore nightlife in trendy bars.
In Kampong Glam, you can also visit the Malay Heritage Center, a museum located in one of the former royal palaces and which is dedicated to the history of Singapore and the culture of the inhabitants of the city for more than a millennium.
The Singapore Flyer
The Singapore Flyer is simply the tallest Ferris wheel in Asia. In fact, it rises to 165 meters from the ground and was even for a period the highest in the world, before being exceeded by just 2 meters by the High Roller which dominates the Las Vegas Strip. Placed at the edge of the water in the heart of the city, it inevitably recalls the London Eye, but the Singapore Flyer rises still 30 meters higher than the London wheel.
If you want to be able to enjoy an amazing panoramic view of Singapore, this observation Ferris wheel is by far the best place. From one of its 28 gondolas, you can see the whole city of Singapore, but also part of the Malaysian islands. Here too, you can be in the front row to watch the sunset.
A cruise on the Singapore River
During a stay in Singapore, if there is one activity that I recommend you do, it is a cruise on the Singapore River. As the Lion City has grown around this river, it’s no wonder that Singapore’s finest landmarks can be found right on the water’s edge. For only a handful of euros, at Clarke Quay you can get on a traditional boat and set off to discover or rediscover the wonders of Singapore such as the Merlion, Marina Bay Sand or the Singapore Flyers. During this short cruise of about 40 minutes, you can enjoy an audio guide to learn a lot about the city.
For an even more memorable experience, you can board at the end of the day to enjoy a sunset over the city.
Padang is the colonial district of Singapore. It is a place that has been greatly marked by the influence of the British and which still houses colonial buildings today. You can see the Victoria Theater which was the first town hall, St Andrews Cathedral, the Supreme Court and the current town hall.
The name Padang literally means “field” in Malay. No wonder, since this district is largely made up of a huge open area where the cricket ground of one of the most famous clubs in the world is located.
The colonial district is the ideal place to do some cultural visits. You can visit the National Gallery of Singapore in the city hall, the Asian Civilization Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.
All around this district are also many bars, restaurants and hotels.
The Singapore Botanic Garden
The Singapore Botanical Garden actually brings together 6 gardens in a large park of over 60 hectares. This exceptional garden is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and can be visited almost entirely free of charge. It is also the most visited botanical garden on the planet.
Half a day will not be too much to discover all the beauty of this park and its various thematic gardens. You can see a wide variety of flowers and plants there, but also a lot of decorations and even monuments and historical buildings. It also houses a museum and an important scientific research center which works for the conservation of plant species.
Unlike Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, Sentosa is not an artificial island, but it too is all about entertainment. More than 5 million visitors come to this island every year to enjoy the many tourist attractions.
This island, which has more than 3 km of coastline, is home to three popular beaches:
Siloso Beach, a well-appointed beach, the busiest of the three
Tanjong Beach, located a little away to the east and which is the quietest beach
Palawan Beach, a beach with a pleasant atmosphere, less lively than Siloso and where there is a point that allows you to reach the mainland
But even if these beaches are very pleasant, it is above all for the many entertainments offered that so many people visit Sentosa:
Universal Studios Singapore, a large amusement park opened in 2010 and composed of different areas (Hollywood, New York, Sci Fi City, Ancient Egypt, Lost World…)
Adventure Cove Waterpark, a large water park with slides and wave pools, where it is also possible to do diving and other water activities.
The S.E.A Aquarium, Singapore’s superb aquarium that houses more than 100,000 animals of more than 1,000 species, in tanks and vivariums that best reproduce natural environments.
HydroDash, a small water park with inflatable structures located on Palawan Beach.
The Tiger Sky Tower is an observation tower with a rotating platform located 131 meters above the ground. After the Singapore Flyer, it is one of the best observation spots in Singapore.
The Sentosa 4 D AdventureLand, a very modern theme park that combines attractions and virtual reality, for even stronger sensations.
The Southern Ridges
If you want to do a real hike in the heart of the city of Singapore, you can follow the Southern Ridges, a great path about ten kilometers long, which connects several of the largest parks of the city-state: Mount Faber Park, HortPark, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Kent Ridge Park and the Labrador Nature Reserve.
By following this path which is easily accessible by several entry points, you can admire superb natural sites, discover the fauna and flora of the region, observe birds, learn more about the history of Singapore and above all relax. quiet in the heart of the city.
The Henderson Waves Bridge that connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, its wooden structure alone is worth a visit, and it is another of the must-see sites for enjoy very beautiful views of the region.
Just before this bridge on the side of Mount Faber Park, you can also take the cable car to reach Sentosa Island. During the journey, you will enjoy the best view of all the attractions on the island.
Pulau Ubin is a small island just northeast of the main island of Singapore. It is the ideal place to find yourself in the heart of a wild and preserved nature, just a few minutes by boat from one of the most modern cities in the world. To get there, you will need to reach the Changi Point Ferry Terminal, easily accessible by metro from the city center.
Sinking into the dense and lush vegetation of this island, it is hard to believe that the tall buildings of the business districts, the metro, the shopping centers and the major tourist sites are so close.
The island can be visited on foot or by bike, and you can discover different types of vegetation, with a real jungle and to the south Chek Jawa Wetlands, a wetland with a mangrove of several hundred hectares, where there is also a small traditional village.
This island is also home to a variety of wildlife, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you can see wild pigs, macaques and tropical birds.
I recommend that you visit this island in the morning if possible, so as not to be bothered by the temperature and humidity. During your hike, do not hesitate to climb to the top of the Jejawi Tower to admire a good part of Pulau Ubin.