Despite being just a little red dot on the map, there are plenty of fun things to do in Singapore.
If it’s your first time visiting and you’re feeling overwhelmed, this Singapore travel guide is just for you. Although Singapore may be small, there are plenty of fun things to see and do here! And even if you’ve been here for a while, we guarantee some of the places and tips on this travel guide will be new to you.
Follow this Singapore travel guide and you can be sure you won’t miss out on any must-see or must-do activities in Singapore.
*Disclaimer: At the time of publication, safe social distancing measures are in place at attractions. And you may need to book online.
1. Gardens By The Bay: Visit day or night
Gardens By The Bay is an award-winning and eco-friendly nature park full of beautiful floral attractions for visitors to enjoy. Some major attractions include the Cloud Forest, a massive air-conditioned glasshouse or observatory with an entire mountain inside, that lets you get up close to mountain plants.
The Cloud Forest is complete with elevators and a terraced walkway around it, so it’s easily accessible for strollers or wheelchairs. Flower Dome is another giant air-cooled glasshouse encasing beautiful floral displays. Or you can visit the Floral Fantasy area, a series of whimsical gardens. They are all accessible for wheelchairs or strollers.
Gardens By The Bay is also great to visit at night – the weather is cooler, the paths are lit up and it’s safe to walk around. At night, the 12 towering and futuristic Supertrees are transformed by the free sound and light Garden Rhapsody show. Expect to be in awe as these trees sparkle with different lights and colours, accompanied by matching music. Even if you’re not an especially big fan of plants, Gardens By the Bay is a definite must-see when you are exploring Singapore.
Nearest MRT train station is Waterfront in The Shoppes at Marina Bay, a 10-minute walk.
Gardens by the Bay
Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr., 018953
Tel: 6420 6848
Opening hours: 5 to 2 a.m. (Daily)
2. National Gallery Singapore: Art with a view
The National Gallery Singapore is located in a lovely old building that used to be the law courts. It was converted to an art gallery in 2015, and the blend of modern architecture with colonial architecture is fascinating. Inside, you’ll find the world’s largest public art collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian art. The complex holds more than 9,000 items of modern and colonial-era art and is a definite must-see for anyone wanting to get an overview of Southeast Asian concerns.
Go up to the top floor to find a quiet roof garden, and eating establishments with fantastic views out over Singapore’s CBD. If you take a Selfie with the city in the background, you’ll be creating your own Singapore travel guide!
Nearest MRT train station is City Hall, an easy 10-minute walk away.
National Gallery Singapore
Address: 1 St Andrew’s Rd., 178957
Tel: 6271 7000
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Daily)
3. Kampong Glam: Hip cafes and loads of history
“Kampong” means “compound” in Bahasa Malay and “gelam” are the paperbark gum trees that used to grow here. The wood was used for boat-making and the leaves were used for medicine. Kampong Glam is a historical neighbourhood located along Arab Street where age-old traditions and stores mix together.
It’s a fun place to visit in Singapore because it’s very photogenic, with hip cafes and bars, artisan clothing boutiques, street art and delicious food. Many of the restaurants here specialise in halal food. If you love crafts or sewing, make a point of visiting the fabric shops along Arab Street, where you can buy bargain fabrics, threads, beads, glitter… you name it.
Some historical landmarks include the Sultan Mosque, built in 1824 and now adorned with a golden roof. The Malay Heritage Centre is nearby, housed in an old building that used to be a palace. It often houses exhibits, programmes and activities on local Malay history.
Nearest MRT is Bugis, an easy and flat 10-minute walk away.
Address: Sultan Mosque. 3 Muscat St., 198833
4. Jewel Changi Airport: World’s largest indoor waterfall
It may seem odd to include a shopping mall in a Singpore travel guide, but hear us out… if you like cooler weather, you can admire the world’s tallest indoor waterfall at Jewel Changi shopping mall. A massive air-conditioned glasshouse covers the entire shopping mall and forest, while a giant waterfall pours down through the middle of it all. This magnificent waterfall is known as the Rain Vortex.
The Jewel Changi Airport mall also has the Shiseido Forest Valley, a terraced forest that surrounds the Rain Vortex waterfall. You’re still in the city, but visiting this mall somehow makes you feel like you are taking a holiday to Japan; the air-conditioned weather inside is cooler, soothing Japanese music plays throughout the mall, and you can find a range of excellent Japanese restaurants and supermarkets. There’s even an “outdoor” dining section at the roof level, where you can dine under the glass roof, surrounded by full-sized trees.
Kids will enjoy the Sky Nets – massive cargo nets and slides slung between the floors. You can slide between them, and walk or bounce around 8 meters above the floor.
Nearest MRT is Changi Airport.
Jewel Changi Airport
Address: 78 Airport Blvd., 819666
Tel: 6956 9898
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
5. The Intan: A quirky Peranakan museum
The Intan is a museum in a gorgeous old house, and it’s all dedicated to the collection of Peranakan artefacts such as pots and jewellery. Peranakan culture is unique to Southeast Asia – a fascinating mix of Chinese, Malay and local beliefs, it has distinctive food, art and fashion. if you’re interested in learning more about the history and culture of the Peranakans, sign up for The Intan’s guided tours.
Explore their store and bring home some mouth-watering Salted Egg Yolk Chiffon Cake ($28) or some Peranakan Rice Dumplings ($68).
Nearest MRT station is Eunos MRT (EW7). Walking 8 mins from Exit A to here. Or take bus 33, walking 2 mins from bus stop B82171.
Address: 69 Joo Chiat Terrace, 42723
Tel: 6440 1148
Opening hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Daily)
6. Pulau Ubin: Unspoilt village life
This island northeast of Singapore is known for cycling and hiking trails. It’s not always included in a Singapore travel guide, but if you love nature, it’s well worth visiting. To get to Pulau Ubin you have to take a small “bumboat” from Changi Point Ferry Terminal ($2 per adult). On the island, it’s all about enjoying nature. You can go kayaking among mangroves, go birdwatching or rent a bike and cycle through lush greenery and fauna.
If you plan to stay overnight, remember there are no hotels available at Pulau Ubin. Instead, you can camp out under the stars at one of the three campsites available.
A permit is required to camp at Pulau Ubin. Please apply through this form at least two weeks in advance. You will be informed of your application status via email within seven working days.
Please comply with the terms and conditions for camping. Find out more here.
No MRT to Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Take taxi or bus to Changi Village – the ferry terminal is just over the road. Find bus information here
7. Merlion Park: It’s selfie time
The Merlion, a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, is a must on a Singapore travel guide. This national symbol represents Singapore’s humble beginnings as a fishing village. The name also reflects Singapore’s original name “Singapura”, which means “lion city”. Standing at 8.6 metres tall, the Merlion Statue is an iconic landmark at Merlion Park that sprays a jet of water from its mouth. It was built in 1872 by local craftsman Lim Nang Seng and unveiled by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Bring your cameras and take stunning pictures of the Merlion Statue with Singapore’s mesmerising skyline in the background.
Nearest MRTs are Raffles Place or CityHall.
Address: 1 Fullerton Rd., 049213
Tel: 6736 6622
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
8. Marina Bay Sands: ArtScience Museum
No Singapore travel guide would be complete without Marina Bay Sands, an iconic integrated resort located in Central Singapore. It has plenty of activities to keep you entertained. Visit the SkyPark Observation Deck and get a bird’s-eye view of the Singapore skyline. Or explore the ArtScience Museum and immersive yourself in exhibitions that combine art, science and technology, along with stunning sound and light displays.
Shop till you drop at the Marina Bay Sands retail complex, called The Shoppes At Marina Bay Sands – it has designer brands, wide wheelchair-friendly corridors, an indoor ice-skating rink for children and an indoor river where you can take boat rides.
At night, you can enjoy a free sound and light show. The Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show is at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. every night. On Friday and Saturday nights, there is another show at 11 p.m.
Nearest MRT is Waterfront, in the basement of the luxury shopping mall attached to Marina Bay Sands. The mall is called Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
Marina Bay Sands
Address: 10 Bayfront Ave, 018956
Tel: 6688 8868
9. Haw Par Villa: Vintage amusement park
Located along Pasir Panjang Road, Haw Par Villa is an Asian cultural park built in 1937 – and it’s been a must-see on Singapore Travel Guides for decades. The park was once known as the Tiger Balm Gardens because it was built by the two brothers who made a fortune from founding Tiger Balm medicinal products. The park has over 1,000 statues and 150 giant dioramas illustrating Chinese mythology and history. It’s fabulously colourful, a little bit kitsch and totally unique in the world.
If you’re interested in finding out more, joining tours like “Finding Your Tao In Haw Par Villa: The Tiger Balm Garden Story” is a great way to learn about various legends and folklore in Chinese culture.
Nearest MRT is Haw Par Villa. Exit the train station and you can see the entrance gate.
Haw Par Villa
Address: 262 Pasir Panjang Rd., 118628
Tel: 6773 0103
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Daily)
10. St. Andrew’s Cathedral: Founded by Scots
The location of this historical church was first selected by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1823. He persuaded Scottish merchants to fund the early construction of the church building, so the church was named after the patron saint of Scotland. This cathedral was finally completed in 1836 and is the second church building here – the first wooden church burned down after it was hit by lightning!
In 1942, shortly before the fall of Singapore during World War II, the cathedral was used as an emergency hospital during the frequent air raids. Church service resumed in 1945 after the war ended.
You can pick up a free tour pamphlet in the cathedral and visit it at your own pace during opening hours. Free guided tours are also available but do call beforehand.
Nearest MRT is CityHall, just over the road.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral
Address: 11 St Andrew’s Rd., 178959
Tel: 6337 6104
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Tues. to Fri.), 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Sat), 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Sun)
11. Thian Hock Keng: Extraordinary artwork
If you love art or architecture and want to soak up some Southeast Asian history, this ancient temple is a great stop on your Singapore travel guide. Thian Hock Keng Temple was made in 1839 to worship the Chinese ocean goddess called Mazu – at the time, this street was on the waterfront of Singapore, so it also gives you an idea just how much land reclamation has gone on here.
Thian Hock Feng Temple is the oldest and most important temple to Hokkien people in the country, and the artwork here is extraordinary.
On either side of the temple, you’ll find gorgeous historic houses. Many have been turned into cafes and restaurants so you can visit the temple, then stop for a bite.
Nearest MRTs are Chinatown or Raffles Place.
Thian Hock Feng Temple
Address: 158 Telok Ayer St., 068613
Tel: 6423 4616
Opening hours: 7.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. (Daily)
12. Sentosa: Funfairs, beach bars, forest hikes
You can spend days exploring this island resort off Singapore’s southern coast. A key part of any Singapore travel guide, Sentosa is an entire island packed with things to do, such as the S.E.A. Singapore Aquarium and Universal Studios Singapore, which has a funfair and amusement park.
Cool off in the evening by exploring man-made beaches like Palawan Beach, which is buzzing with trendy beachside bars and cafes. Or you can head to peaceful Tanjong Beach, which is quieter and more family-friendly.
You can also hike your way through Sentosa’s nature discovery trails or sign up for a guided tour to discover the secret sides of Sentosa – for example, this island saw several serious battles during WWII. Does it have ghosts? Some people believe so.
Nearest MRT is HarbourFront. You can then take a pedestrian boardwalk, monorail or cable car across the harbour to Sentosa island.
13. The Southern Ridges: Free treetop nature walk
Looking for a memorable hiking spot in Singapore? Head to the Southern Ridges to enjoy the lush greenery and bright flora. With 10 kilometres of open space, Southern Ridges connects Mount Faber Park, Kent Ridge Park, Labrador Nature Reserve and more, making it perfect for a family picnic or hiking trip with friends.
Parts of the hiking route go along a fantastic treetop walkway – and best of all, it’s almost all stroller and wheelchair accessible.
Nearest MRT HarbourFront, take Exit D, near Marang Road. The trail begins right after you come out of the station. Parking is available at the carpark on Seah Im Street. Bus services at Bus Depot – 65, 93, 188, 855, 963.
14. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve: Bird watching
This nature reserve in the northwest of Singapore is the first wetlands reserve to be gazetted in Singapore. Feel like bird watching? Its also known as a stop-over point for migratory birds and is listed as an ASEAN Heritage Park.
Nearest MRT is Kranji. Then board SMRT Bus 925 from Kranji MRT station, which stops at the Wetland Centre entrance. Please note that SMRT Bus 925 operates only from Woodlands Interchange.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Address: 301 Neo Tiew Cres., 718925
Tel: 6794 1401
Opening hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
15. East Coast Park: Longest beach in Singapore
Located along the southeastern coast of Singapore, East Coast Park was opened in the 1970s after land reclamation. Looking to set up a grill? East Coast Park is a very long park and it’s well served by public transport, so it’s a popular spot for barbecuing!
Or you can buy coffee and food at the many licenced cafes and restaurants in the park, or rent a bicycle, go wakeboarding, visit a water park… there are lots to do here.
Nearest MRT is any of the MRT stations that go along the east coast of Singapore, including Eunos, Kembangan or Bedok. But then you’ll need to get a cab or bus. All the MRT stations are at least 30 minutes walk to East Coast Beach. You can find out more about bus services here.
East Coast Park
Address: E Coast Park Service Rd.
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
16. Singapore Botanic Gardens: Wheelchair- and stroller-friendly
Want to look at beautiful gardens instead of the calming ocean? Set up a picnic at Singapore Botanic Gardens instead. This 162-year-old garden is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it’s where botanists worked out how to commercially grow several important cash crops, including rubber and orchids.
There’s plenty to free things to do here. You can take spot wild otters by the lake or bird watch in the jungle, drink ginger tea in glass-walled cafes – and wooden boardwalks make every part of the gardens accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
Most of the gardens are free to visit, including museums devoted to horticulture and Botanical Art Gallery, both in heritage houses. You do need to pay a small fee to visit the National Orchid Garden, but it’s very photogenic, with arches of colourful tropical orchids. A new cool climate glasshouse shows off orchids found in mountain areas.
Nearest MRT is Botanic Gardens.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Address: 1 Cluny Rd., 259569
Tel: 6471 7138
Opening hours: 5 to 12 a.m. (Daily)
17. Night Safari: The world’s first nocturnal zoo
Come visit your favourite late-night creatures at the world’s first-ever nocturnal zoo! Singapore’s Night Safari is a major attraction for animal lovers who crave more than the typical zoo experience. Watch the “Creatures of the Night Show” and be amazed by this interactive performance, or catch the Guided Tram Ride instead.
Nearest MRT is Khatib. A shuttle bus takes you to Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari, which is just next door.
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Rd., 729826
Tel: 6269 3411
Opening hours: 6:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Thurs. to Sun.)
18. Clarke Quay: Eat outside, by the river
Visit the riverside quay known as Clarke Quay in Singapore. Located along River Valley Road, Clarke Quay has plenty of activities to keep you entertained – and the weather is cooler here, thanks to the enormous sun canopies and cool water jets that are erected over the entire quay.
You can start by strolling along Clarke Quay to admire the view, and eat at any of the bars, restaurants and cafes here, or even take a boat tour at the Singapore River to enjoy a scenic cruise. If you have an MRT pass, you can save money on a river cruise. How? Because your MRT pass is valid for the Singapore River water taxi route. You’ll find stops all along the river. If you want to walk further, head towards the sea and you’ll end up walking all along Boat Quay, all the way to Marina Bay.
Desire something more thrilling? Get your adrenaline pumping on the GX-5 Extreme Swing or G-Max Reverse Bungy, the latest extreme rides available!
Nearest MRT is Clarke Quay.
Address: 3 River Valley Rd., 179024
Tel: 6337 3292
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Daily)
19. Esplanade: The Theatres on the Bay
Also known as the “durian” building by locals, because it looks like a spiky durian fruit, the Esplanade is Singapore’s dome-shaped performing arts centre. This centre is a must-visit even if you’re not catching any of the world-class performances that take place here – there are often free cultural performances in the lobby.
The Esplanade set global benchmarks for architecture and acoustics and you can take backstage tours to learn more about its secrets.
Outside the Esplanade you can find restaurants and cafes facing the waters of the marina, plus a soundstage where you can watch free dance and music performances on most weekends.
The Esplanade Mall is also nearby if you wish to do some shopping after watching a magnificent performance.
Nearest MRT is CityHall or Raffles Place.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
Address: 1 Esplanade Dr., 038981
Tel: 6828 8377
Opening hours: 6 to 3 a.m.
20. Old Airport Road Food Centre: Chefs love it
A hawker centre may seem like a strange addition to a Singapore travel guide, but this hawker centre is so famous for authentic local cuisine, that visiting foodies and chefs often come here when they visit Singapore.
This indoor hawker centre is best known for mouth-watering and freshly made noodle soups, dumplings and spring rolls. And if you’re interested in Art Deco architecture, you can walk to Singapore’s original airport nearby. It’s sadly shut, but you can gaze at the magnificent Art Deco building and walk around the grounds.
Nearest MRT Dakota Road
Old Airport Road Food Centre
Address: 51 Old Airport Rd., 390051
Tel: 6756 0266
Opening hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Daily)
21. MINT Museum of Toys: A collector’s paradise
Located along very pretty Seah St., the MINT Museum of Toys holds a collection of vintage toys, collectable items and vintage posters. You can’t interact with the toys and there’s no play area, so this museum is more of a collector’s delight than a kids’ play area.
But if vintage toys set your heart on fire, you can feast your eyes on more than 50,000 toys here that were made from the 1840s onward. The toys come from all over the world, including Singapore, Germany, Japan and the UK.
This museum is near the Raffles Hotel and it’s next to pastel-coloured vintage shophouses, so it’s photogenic strolling around here. And there are plenty of cafes nearby, as well.
Nearest MRT is CityHall.
MINT Museum of Toys
Address: 26 Seah St., 188382
Tel: 8339 8966
Opening hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Daily)
22. Sifr Aromatics
Fascinated by fragrances? Our Singapore travel guide has the perfect place for you! Visit Sifr Aromatics, an independent alcohol-free perfume and fragrance shop located along Arab Street. This niche perfume shop is a must-visit for those interested in luxury perfume oils, alcohol-free fragrances, scented incense woods and aromatic soy-wax candles.
You can also buy delicate handblown glass and gold perfume bottles, and you can commission your very own alcohol-free fragrance if you want.
Nearest MRT is Bugis.
Address: 42 Arab St., 199741
Tel: 6392 1966
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Wed. to Sat.)
By Arshi Iqbal, August 2021