Singapore is by far the most urbanized country anywhere in Asia, and probably the world. At first glance, it may not seem like this tiny country-city would have much to do besides your typical city attraction, however, there is much more green space than you think. There are gardens everywhere just waiting to be explored. Known as The Lion City, Singapore is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, foodies, and urban explorers alike. Keep reading to find out what I think are some of the best things to do in Singapore!
Perhaps the most recognizable attraction in Singapore, the Gardens By the Bay are a place you don’t want to miss during your visit to the city. You’ll feel like you stepped into a scene from Avatar upon viewing the Supertree Grove. One of the best things about the gardens is that admission is free, with the exception of the Skyway, Cloud Forest, and Flower Dome.
You can explore the numerous gardens throughout the grounds from 5:00am until 2:00am, making it a great place to wander around after you’ve had some drinks at one of the rooftop bars or at Clarke Quay. After all, the best time to visit is at night when everything is lit up in many different colors.
Speaking of Gardens By the Bay at night, every evening the Garden Rhapsody brings the Supertree Grove to life through perfectly choreographed music and lights. Since the show changes somewhat frequently, it’s a great thing to do no matter if it’s your first trip to Singapore, second trip, or fifth. When I was there, the show happened to be a Star Wars theme, which was AWESOME!
This free light show runs twice every day at 7:45pm and 8:45pm, lasting around 15 minutes. Sometimes a third show is added, depending on the program. Be sure to check the website for the schedule before you go to check what the theme is and if there are any change in showtimes.
For more garden fun, take a few hours to explore the expansive Singapore Botanic Gardens. The beautiful park offers plenty of gardens, trees, and pathways to get lost in with almost endless plants to discover. The Singapore Botanic Gardens are organized, modern, and best of all, free!
If you have a few dollars to spare, the National Orchid Garden inside of the Singapore Botanic Gardens is worth a visit. The garden is literally full of hundreds of different kinds of orchids and countless photo opportunities.
Merlion Scavenger Hunt
The half-lion, half-fish Merlion is the symbol of Singapore and easily the most popular attraction on the whole island. While Singapore is known as the “Lion City,” the fish tail of the Merlion represents the city-country’s beginnings as just a fishing village. While most travelers stop for a photo opp with the Merlion in Merlion Park, there are actually five official Merlion statues located throughout Singapore, making a Merlion scavenger hunt a fun way to spend a day in the city.
The statues can be found at:
- Two in Merlion Park
- One on Mount Faber
- One on Sentosa Island
- One at the Singapore Tourism Board on Orchard Spring Lane
Explore the Cultural Neighborhoods
Much of the rich heritage of Singapore can be found in its cultural neighborhoods of Arab Street, Little India, and Chinatown. Take a few hours and walk through the neighborhoods to take in the different architecture, religious diversity, and most importantly, the delicious variety of food. There are also plenty of sites to see and shop to browse along the way.
Eat Your Fill at a Hawker Centre
One of the best ways to experience the local culture is through the food, and with the many culinary influences found in Singapore, there is definitely no shortage of tasty local cuisine. One of the best places to sample the local cuisine of Singapore, and for cheap, is to chow down at one of the numerous hawker centres throughout the city. You’ll find many different local favorites, such as chicken rice, laksa, and chilli crab. I recommend the Tiong Bahru Food Centre or the Amoy Street Food Centre. The Tiong Bahru hawker centre also happens to be right around the corner from the Wangz Hotel, one of my favorites places to stay in Singapore.
The MacRitchie Treetop walk at the MacRitchie Reservoir is an impressive bridge that takes you on an adventure above the jungle. To get there, however, you will have to hike to the reservoir and then take the MacRitchie Nature Trail to the Treetop Walk.
A few tips for walking the treetop walk:
- Don’t go on a rainy day due to the bridge possibly being slick.
- Remember to bring plenty of water with you.
- Wear comfortable shoes for hiking.
Sentosa Island is a popular resort island in Singapore. Don’t expect quiet beaches, however, as the area is extremely lively and a number of things to do in itself, such as the Tiger Sky Tower, the S.E.A. Aquarium, and the Universal Studios theme park.