Singapore Travel Guide
A vibrant melting pot of cultures, traditions, food and art, Singapore is a beautiful microcosm of the Asian continent displaying an excellent example of peaceful and diverse co-existence.
Fondly known as the City of the Lion or the Little Red Dot, Singapore is well-known for being one of the most densely populated countries in the world. However, with its picturesque and iconic skyline and lively city life, one might be surprised to learn that 50% of the land area is enveloped in lush greenery. The unusual juxtaposition of clean, modern, skyscrapers contrasts brilliantly with the enchanting abundance of parks, nature reserves and immaculate gardens. With a bustling population of Malays, Indians, Chinese and a hefty number of emigrant workers and expatriates from across the world, this small island-nation and city-state is a unique, memorable and must-see travel destination for all.
So why should you visit Singapore?
Thrilled to participate in local festivals? Go to Singapore!
Despite being a secular nation, as a result of its flourishing multicultural population, Singapore acknowledges and celebrates Chinese, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Indian, and Christian holidays. Visitors will be thrilled to realize that a variety of lively festivals and unforgettable events are hosted throughout the year in Singapore. These cultural and festive occurrences, rich in tradition and significance, are an excellent reason to pay Singapore a visit.
Deepavali, Eid ul-Fitr, Christmas, Vesak Day, Hungry Ghost Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Sigapore fashion week, Singapore Food Festival and National Day are a just few cultural treats on offer. Kick-off the year with Chinese New Year. With Chinese residents making up three quarters of the population it is easily the most celebrated and anticipated festival of all. The exquisite Chingay Parade occurs ten days later with dazzling street performers, elaborately decorated floats and dancers in traditional costumers all parading in a colourful explosion of pulsating exuberance down the well-known Orchard Road.
Shopaholics, look no further: Singapore is your dream destination
Shopping is a national pastime here in Singapore and visitors will have a dizzying array of retailer therapy options. From the sheer abundance of shopping malls to flea markets to the finest boutiques shopaholics will be spoilt for choice at any sized budget.
For the very latest in design, peruse the goods at Dover Street Market; for trendy, artsy treasures head on over to Tiong Bahru and if you’re looking for the crème de la crème of shopping experiences, be sure to check out the 2.2km shopping strip on the famous Orchard Road. Keep your ear to the ground during June and July for the Great Singapore Sale where everything is massively discounted and shops are open until wonderfully late. Food is also a fine thing to combine your shopping frenzy with. Due to the fusion of cultures in Singapore, the culinary delights on offer will send you salivating across the country. From street food venders to fine-dining options, the food in Singapore is world-famous for a reason.
No, it is not just sky-scrappers; Singapore’s calling all nature lovers, too
All fauna and flora fanatics would relish and appreciate a trip to Singapore to admire the expansive strips of greenery and wildlife. Taking into account the legendary skylines of Marina Bay and the Civic District, before seeing Singapore yourself it’s easy to wonder how on earth this city glittering with looming skyscrapers, can aspire to its “garden city” promises of eco-attractions. But nature lovers will be delighted to note that not do the sprawling gardens and parks live up to one’s expectations, but they exceed them.
Singapore boasts an enchanting network of inspiring national parks, the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the highly acclaimed Gardens by the Bay, jungles of Pulau Ubin; as well as the family-friendly, (almost) cageless Singapore Zoo.
An added bonus of visiting Singapore is that this country experiences good weather year round. Perfect weather for park strolling and garden marvelling.
What to see in Singapore
There truly is something for everyone in this unique island-nation. With its world-class shopping and culinary wonders, state-of-the-art architecture and its vibrant museum and art scene, Singapore beautifully and convincingly attests to being so much more than financial centre or gateway destination.
You have not seen Singapore without checking out...
Garden on the Bay
With the wide variety of must-see sights in Singapore, there’s no doubt that you’ll be kept entertained, satisfied and enthralled throughout your trip. Out of all the parks in Singapore Garden on the Bay with its remarkable ‘Supertrees’ is the one that you simply cannot afford to miss.
Marina Bay Sands
Another must-see attraction is probably the most recognizable building in Singapore, Marina Bay Sands, which integrates a hotel, an infinity pool with a mesmerizing view of the city, a shopping mall, an art museum and an observation deck with a bar.
Singapore colonial and multicultural heritage
Another excellent hotel is Raffles Hotel. The colonial-style, luxury hotel is an iconic landmark in Singapore. Be sure to try their signature Singapore Sling cocktail. Also plan to visit China Town and Little India for a taste of local history, architecture, food and exquisite temples.
Needing to escape the city in search of some outdoor adventure? Sentosa Island is calling your name above the honking of horns and hustle and bustle. With its indoor skydiving, alpine slide rides, beach activities, Underwater World, casino and zip lines into the sea, this spot is a Singapore highlight. Lastly, it probably goes without saying, but no trip to Singapore is complete without gorging yourself on all the delicious cuisine on offer. With Singapore’s hodge-podge of cultures all vying for your attention with Chinese, Malay, Indian, Thai, Peranakan and Western food, there’s something for everyone.
Where to go if you like...
Aft & History
Arts and culture enthusiasts will take great pleasure in knowing that Singapore is rich in a variety of superb art galleries and museums that are sure to pique the interest of even the most reluctant museum-goer.
The Bras Nasah area north of the Singapore River is the city’s colonial centre for must-see museums and historical architecture. Art galleries such as National Gallery, the Singapore Art Museum focusing on East-Asian art, and the Esplanade theatre (a common stage for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra) are fantastic experiences and top highlights on one’s travel itinerary.
Steeped in history and tradition, any trip to Singapore should involve a visit to the National Museum of Singapore, and if you like your art fused with science then look no further than the Art Science Museum at the Marina Bay Sands. Dinosaur devotees, natural history and fossil aficionados will also be thrilled to know that there is the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum where the silence is sporadically punctuated by the roar of a dinosaur.
Temples & Religion
Temples are yet another fascinating attraction luring history buffs to the City of the Lion. Due to the complete religious freedom of its citizens, Singapore has gorgeous temples and churches inspired from the numerous national religions. Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism all have places of worship in Singapore and visitors can engage in wonderful cultural experiences by exploring the streets and alleyways of Little India, Chinatown and Kampong Glam/Arab Street.
The Chinatown Heritage Centre can be explored in Chinatown and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is also well worth a visit. Head on over to Bright Road to discover Singapore’s largest temple of all - Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Temple, also known as Bright Hill Temple.
Family friendly activities
If you’re in Singapore on a family holiday then you’ll be happy to know that there are many family-friendly activities that members of all ages and interests will revel in.
As already mentioned there is the Singapore Zoo which little ones are sure to delight in, and if this gets the nod of approval then be sure to check out Jurong Bird Park, Marine Life Park at Sentosa as well as the night and river safaris in Mandai.
Another huge hit with families visiting Singapore are the assortment of theme parks and water parks. Universal Studios Singapore, located on Sentosa Island is bursting at the seams with thrilling rides, exciting attractions and captivating shows; and promises to live up to its claim of being a "one-of-its-kind theme park in Asia".
Snow City located within the Science Centre allows visitors to experience real snow and a three-story high snow slope in a sub-zero climate. All water-babies should definitely check out Adventure Cove Waterpark also located on Sentosa Island as well as Wild Wild Wet and Jurong East Swimming Complex.
Nature & Treking
Calling all nature junkies! With Singapore’s glittering and futuristic skyscrapers, it can be difficult to imagine that this city offers much in the way of natural attractions. However, Singapore merges concrete and nature in an eco-friendly, creative and mesmerising way and nature lovers will still be able to soothe their souls amidst the high-rise buildings and shopping complexes.
Already mentioned and yet worth repeating are the beautiful parks of Singapore as well as the beaches. The many beaches on Sentosa Island are fantastic for those craving a bit of relaxation amongst the rollercoasters and indoor skydiving. For a more local experience, head over to eastern Singapore for a more rustic beach experience.