Where to start…
To be totally honest with you, Singapore was not on our list of places we wanted to visit during our 5 months South East Asia trip, but we had a gap of 4 days in between our visas for Thailand and Vietnam and needed to choose a place, where to spend those 4 days. For convenience we decided for Singapore and now… we are SO HAPPY WE DID!
We knew that Singapore is a super modern city and considering that I (Dominika) am not a fan of cities in general (especially the modern ones), I am very surprised how much I loved Singapore!
I am a huge nature lover and will always prefer places with beautiful nature, wonderful landscape, amazing beaches or stunning mountains to busy modern chaotic cities. But that’s also the reason why I loved Singapore. It is one of the greenest and cleanest cities in the world. There are parks and gardens full of exotic plants, beautiful trees and blooming flowers on every corner of the city!
The city is super futuristic and when you arrive it seems like you stepped into a time machine which brought you 100 years into the future! I know it sounds funny but I am not even joking right now! It’s a city of endless possibilities and there are countless things to do and see! It offers so many attractions that you won’t ever be able to visit all of them during your trip. But we tried our best and in our opinion here are the best things to do in Singapore!
THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN SINGAPORE
GARDENS BY THE BAY
Well we obviously had to start with what’s the true jewel of Singapore and that’s definitely the famous Gardens by the Bay. The complex is so huge that you could easily spend the entire day here if you decide to visit all the attractions that these gardens have to offer! We have visited pretty much all of them.
When people talk about the Gardens by the Bay, the Supertree Grove is mainly what they’re talking about. In the heart of the gardens you can find these 18 beautiful gigantic impressive Supertrees. From a distance they look just like huge futuristic-looking structures but when you come closer, you will notice that they are basically sustainable vertical gardens housing over 162,900 plants of over 200 species. 7 out of all 18 Supertrees are designed to harvest solar energy which is used during night to perform the famous spectacular lights and music show called Garden Rhapsody which happens every night at 7:45PM and 8:45PM. You don’t want to miss on this one! And the best thing is that it’s completely free!
Supertree Observatory is located on the roof of the tallest Supertree, which is about the height of 16-storey building and it gives you unobstructed views of the surrounding gardens, Singapore skyline and Marina Bay Sands hotel. You can also enjoy refreshments at The Social Kitchen (kind of a food court) which offers three restaurants and cafés – The Vegetarian Butcher, Boufe Cakes and Ottolina Café.
The admission ticket costs 14 SGD which is around 9.50 EUR (10.50 USD).
Photo by Sergio Sala on Unsplash
2 out of all 18 Supetrees, are connected with a 128m-long skyway suspended 22 meters above ground and you can purchase a ticket to go on top and admire beautiful views of the gardens and Marina by the Bay.
The admission ticket costs 12 SGD which is around 8.20 EUR (9 USD) and you can stay there up to 15 min.
Photo by Esaias Tan on Unsplash
Cloud Forest is one of the most popular attraction of Gardens by the Bay and for multiple reasons. It is home to one of the world’s tallest indoor waterfalls (35m tall) and a lush mountain clad with exotic plants from around the world. Another reason is that it holds different interesting exhibitions throughout the year. We were very lucky because when we visited, there was the AVATAR EXPERIENCE exhibition which was like a dream come true! Due to the popularity the Avatar exhibition was extended until June 30th 2023.
Walking around Cloud Forest covered in lush gardens and the humidity of 80% – 90% feels like being in a tropical jungle. The temperature inside ranges from 23°C to 25°C which means it’s a great place to cool off from Singapore’s outdoor temperatures which are most of the time over 30°C all year round!
The admission ticket costs 53 SGD which is 36.25 EUR (39.70 USD) and it also includes the admission to Flower Dome.
This innovative gigantic cooled conservatory holds the Guinness World Record for the largest glass greenhouse covered with 3,332 glass panels and can accommodate up to 1,000 visitors at time!
It is divided into different sections according to different parts of the world and you can find here gardens from South Africa, South America, California, Australia and the Mediterranean. There are also sections divided by different plant species such as Succulents, Baobabs, Olive Grove, Flower field and more. It’s crazy to see the plants that only grow in the savannahs, or only in the desert or in the Mediterranean all under one roof!
The admission ticket costs 53 SGD which is 36.25 EUR (39.70 USD) and it also includes the admission to Cloud Forest.
Stepping into Floral Fantasy felt like stepping into the most beautiful wedding venue! It offers a magical interactive exhibition with a mix of 15,000 suspended dried, preserved and fresh flower bouquets and creative floral arrangements. Other than that, there is also a vivarium populated by tiny poison dart frogs in many different colours.
The admission costs 15 SGD which is 10.25 EUR (11.20 USD).
Other gardens that you may visit in the complex of Gardens by the Bay are: Far Organization Children’s Garden, World of Plants, Bay East Garden, Active Garden, Dragonfly and Kingfisher lakes Heritage Gardens, Serene Garden, The Canyon and Sun Pavilion
MARINA BAY SANDS
Marina Bay Sands is one of the world’s most famous hotels. This three 55-storey towers extravagant hotel with 2,561 rooms, a convention/exhibition centre, a mall, museum, theatre and a floating pavilion among other facilities is the largest hotel in Singapore, the 6th largest in Asia and the 34th largest in the world. On the rooftop, there is the world’s longest elevated and largest infinity-edge swimming pool that has the capacity of 380,000 gallons of water. Another extraordinary feature of this hotel is one of the only 2 casinos in all Singapore. The casino at Marina Bay Sands attracts 25,000 gamblers daily and it generates at least $1 billion in annual profit. Only the admission fee to enter the casino costs $100!
Located on the top of Marina Bay Sands Hotel, there is a Skypark Observation Deck which is open to all non guests. The entrance ticket costs 26 SGD which is 17.80 EUR (19.50 USD).
As a non guest you can also go to their rooftop bar called CÉ LA VI which is a more convenient option because instead of buying the admission ticket to the observation deck, you can get a cocktail in the bar instead and will get the same, if not even a better view.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is the first and only tropical botanic garden on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It is the first in Asia and the third botanic garden inscribed in the world. The highlight of Botanic Gardens is The National Orchid Garden with over 60,000 orchid plants which makes it the world’s largest orchid display.
You can also find the SBG Heritage Museum here which features interactive and multimedia exhibits about the Gardens’ rich heritage and also the CDL Green Gallery which displays botanical-related exhibits.
Photo by Ajay Sharda on Unsplash
Singapore Flyer is the second tallest (165m tall) ferries wheel in the world (after High Roller in Las Vegas) and it’s definitely one of the most important Singapore’s landmarks. It has a total of 28 air-conditioned capsules and each capsule holds up to 28 passengers. A Round Trip takes 32 min and it costs 40 SGD which is 27.40 EUR (30 USD). You can also book an unforgettable dining experience for 355,22 SGD (for two people) which is 243 EUR (266 USD).
The Helix Bridge is a 280m long twisting pedestrian bridge inspired by the geometric arrangement of DNA which symbolises life, continuity and renewal of growth. It is also the longest pedestrian bridge in Singapore and is linking Marina Centre with Marina South in Marina Bay. We loved taking a walk across the bridge especially at night when it was lit with colourful lights and the view of Singapore’s skyline at night is just unreal!
This fascinating museum where art meets science is a MUST for all art and science lovers! There are 21 galleries spread over three storeys and the premier venue houses a constantly changing line-up of major international touring exhibitions. The museum’s iconic structure is meant to symbolise the welcoming hand of Singapore with ten fingers.
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Chinatown is a traditional Chinese quarter in Singapore. According to the official census, Chinese Singaporeans is the largest ethnic group in Singapore and it constitutes 75.9% of the Singaporean citizen population.
Singapore’s Chinatown is home to many cultural practices, religions and charming architecture.
One of the most interesting facts about Singapore’s Chinatown is that it’s the only Chinatown in the world to have a Buddhist temple (Buddha Tooth Relic Temple), mosque (Masjid Jamae) and Hindu temple (Sri Mariamman Temple) along a single street. Sri Mariamman is also the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore.
If you are a street art lover, head to the mural along Amoy Street which boasts many beautiful street drawings and paintings.
Unfortunately when we visited, the entire Chinatown was under restoration including all the streets and almost all the landmarks too, so it was a bit of a hassle but I have seen some recent pictures and it looks like everything is done by now 🙂
PEOPLE’S PARK COMPLEX
People’s Park Complex is a 31-storey 99 years mixed residential and commercial landmark building in the heart of Chinatown. It’a basically one big shopping centre with all kinds of stores and offices including a food court but with people living in it too. Crazy right?!
VIRTUAL ROOM SINGAPORE
Hidden inside of a shopping centre in Chinatown, you can find one of our favourite attractions – Virtual Room Singapore. We have never been a part of a VR Escape Room experience so we were very excited and we loved it so much! We were split in 2 different rooms, however we were playing together in the game, where we were supposed to come through many challenges and save the world together. I know it’s not something you normally do during sightseeing but it suddenly started to rain so instead of waiting somewhere in a café we decided to give it a go and we had so much fun!
We got so hooked that we tried some other VR places in Singapore such as HEADROCK VR and 4D ADVENTURELAND which is not VR but a very similar experience. However the Virtual Room was by far our favourite one!
Little India is one of Singapore’s most vibrant, colourful and bustling districts with a fascinating past that dates back to the 19th century. Places of worship with beautiful architecture and interiors, delicious restaurants, cool bars and cafes, dozens of jewellery stores and hundreds of traditional Indian clothing shops which sell beautiful decorated handmade Saree.
Other places of interest in Little India are Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Abdul Gafoor Mosque, Tan Teng Niah house, Temple of a Thousand Lights which is home to the fifteen-metre-tall Buddha statue and Tekka Centre which is Singapore’s largest indoor ‘wet’ market, selling an incredible array of fresh produce, aromatic spices and rare ingredients.
By now you’ve probably understood how diverse in population Singapore really is, and you can’t leave Singapore without visiting its Arab street. The main sight to see here is definitely Masjid Sultan which is a beautiful mosque but there are also some other places of interest like Malay Heritage centre, The projector cinema and of course countless restaurants with delicious Arabic food and stores selling beautiful handmade Arab garments.
Haji Lane tucked inside of the Kampong Glam neighbourhood is a narrow pedestrian street full of cool bars and restaurants with colourful and artistic wall art facades. We have visited it early in the morning so everything was still closed but some suggested options are: Good Luck Beerhouse, Pita Bakery, Coffee Donkee, Piedra Negra, The French American Bakery, Black Sheep & CO and others!
JURONG GARDENS – CHINESE GARDEN & JAPANESE GARDEN
As I already mentioned before, Singapore is one of the greenest cities in the world which obviously means that there have to be many beautiful parks and gardens. Jurong Gardens which consist of Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden connected by the Bridge of Double Beauty are no exception!
Chinese Garden was built in 1975 and it features many traditional Chinese pagodas and temples. The main entry gate is guarded by beautiful pair of marble stone lions and the most popular tourist sight in the garden is the Main Arch Building with two beautiful courtyards.
Other hot spots to visit in Chinese Garden are Stone boat structure, Tea House, The Chinese Pavilion, Plateau and Tower, The Twin Pagodas, Bonsai Garden, Garden of Abundance and Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum.
Japanese Garden was built a year earlier, in 1974 and on contrary to Chinese Garden it is designed with a calmness to evoke inner peace and a meditative state. You can find here traditional Japanese arched bridges, stone lanterns, traditional house and rest house, ponds and gravel chipped paving.
Photo by Joshua Ang on Unsplash
Fort Canning Park is an iconic hilltop park. The hill once sited the palaces of 14th century Kings and served as the Headquarters of the Far East Command Centre and British Army Barracks. Today it features nine historical gardens. But the reason why the Fort Canning Park is so famous amongst tourists is the vehicular tunnel in the centre of it. It became one of the most popular Instagram spots. So popular that you even have to wait in line to get a picture. We suggest either to wake up very early in the morning to be one of the first people there or just give up on the picture because you would have to wait hours to get it!
JAPANESE CEMETERY PARK
The Japanese Cemetery Park holds the ashes of various Japanese residents from poor migrants to thousands of Japanese soldiers, commanders, marines and airmen killed during World War II.
But it’s not just a cemetery. It also serves as a peaceful park with its well-manicured and zen-like surroundings. There is also a Prayer Hall which is not opened to public but you can admire its beautiful architecture from outside. The most popular spot of the park is the beautiful floral archway which kind of gives you a feeling that you are in Japan during the famous cherry blossom season.
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In Singapore today, Peranakans are generally a part of an ethnic group of mixed Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage. The Peranakans decorated their houses and furniture with colourful ceramic tiles as they believed the ornate facades, floral motifs and vibrant colours would bring longevity, wealth and prosperity to the family. You can find these houses and learn about Peranakan culture in Joo Chiat area of Singapore.
Library@orchard is a design-focused public library under the National Library Board of Singapore. A dream come true learning space for people pursuing design interests. It is also popular amongst photographers as it became a quite famous instagram spot too.
Photo by Arif Riyanto on Unsplash
Have you ever been on board of a vehicle that drives on land like a car and floats on water like a boat? Well let me introduce you to the famous Singaporean “Duck”. You can book a 1h “Duck Tour” which takes you for the city and harbour sightseeing. There is a tour guide on board who tells you everything not only about the history of Singapore but also about the present and future plans of the city. We learned so many fun facts during this tour for example that The Singapore Grand Prix Rating Circuit held the first-ever F1 night race in 2008, that every 6th person in Singapore has assets worth 1 million USD or more, which is the highest rate in the world or that Singapore is the least corrupt city in Asia and the 5th least corrupt in the world!
The tour costs 43 SGD which is 29.40 EUR (32.20 USD).
OLD HILL POLICE STATION
The Old Hill Street Police Station is a historical building and former police station of the Singapore Police Force located at Hill Street (hence the name) that nowadays turned into the Ministry of Information, Communication & Arts. Now I know what you are thinking – “Why the heck would I want to visit that” but it’s not about what is inside the building. It’s the exterior of it that is interesting! The building has 927 windows that have been painted the colours of the rainbow and it looks absolutely stunning!
MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM
Yup, that’s right. Museum of ice cream. Apart from it being a total paradise for ice cream lovers where you can taste all kinds of different ice creams, it’s also a paradise for photographers and so called “instagrammers” as the pink-painted museum offers many instagrammable exhibits based around ice cream, plus there is also a retro diner! How cool is that?!
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SELEGIE ART CENTRE
Singapore is definitely one of the most colourful cities in the world and another eye-catching building is the Selegie Art Centre. This three-storey colourful building is mainly famous for its odd wedge shape and bright colourful windows. And even though inside, as the name suggests, there is a beautiful art gallery, most people just admire it and snap pictures from outside.
MERLION PARK AND STATUE
The Merlion, which merges the symbol of a fish and a lion and spouts water from its mouth, is a mythical icon of Singapore. Its fish body symbolises Singapore’s origins as a fishing village, known as Temasek and the statue’s head represents the city’s original name of Singapura (lion city in Sanskrit).
The park also has a beautiful waterfront view of the Singapore’s skyline which is definitely worth a visit day and night!
Sentosa Island is a small island located off the southern coast of Singapore’s main island. It was formerly used as a British military base and afterwards as a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Nowadays Sentosa Island is a popular tourist destination which is home to 14 hotels and many tourist attractions including a 2 km long sheltered beach, an extensive Cable Car network, Fort Siloso, two golf courses, Universal Studios theme park, S.E.A aquarium, one of Singapore’s two casinos and much much more!
I am sure you’ve probably heard about Madame Tussauds wax museum as there are many spread around the world, and of course there is also one in Singapore. This very popular tourist attraction is not only famous because you can come face to face with more than 80 unique celebrity wax figures from Asia, Hollywood, Bollywood and beyond, but because you can also star in immersive experiences, walk the red carpet and fight alongside Marvel Super Heroes in their Marvel Universe 4D cinema. But the most unique experience at Madame Tussauds in Singapore is the “Spirit of Singapore”, Madame Tussauds first ever boat ride.
The entrance costs 46.60 SGD which is 31.80 EUR (35 USD).
This was our first time visiting Universal Studios ever and we had a blast! Honestly it was so cool! Many different themed rides and attractions that kept us entertained all day long. It was honestly a dream come true and we can’t wait to visit different Universal Studios in the other parts of the world.
They were also offering Express Tickets which make you skip the line and honestly we think that it’s so worth it as the lines can get really endless!
The general admission ticket costs 82 SGD which is 56 EUR (61.50 USD) and if you want to get an extra “skip the line ticket” called Universal Express it will cost you extra 70 SGD which is 47,80 EUR (52.45 USD) for skipping the line only once at each attraction or 100 SGD which is 68,30 EUR (75 USD) for unlimited “skip the line” pass.
Other than that, try to arrive as early in the morning as possible to avoid the big crowds. The park is open from 11AM until 6PM and it’s closed on Tuesdays.
WINGS OF TIME
Another amazing attraction of Singapore is Wings of Time which is a spectacular light water show that happens every night at 7:40PM and 8:40PM. The show is a mixture of spellbinding laser, fire and water effects set to a majestic soundtrack, complete with awesome fireworks!
The entry ticket costs 16.20 SGD which is 11 EUR (12.15 USD).
Something that we really didn’t expect during our visit of Singapore is to stumble upon something like Sky Helix!
Sky Helix is the highest open-air 360°panoramic gondola that slowly rotates as it ascends to a height of 35 metres above ground! We went there during sunset, which by the way, we highly recommend and we enjoyed beautiful views of Sentosa, Keppel Bay area and the Southern Islands. When purchasing a ticket you also get a voucher for one non-alcoholic beverage or an exclusive SkyHelix Sentosa souvenir. We took the drinks and enjoyed it in the clouds while watching the sunset. What an amazing experience!
The entry ticket costs 16.20 SGD which is 11 EUR (12.15 USD).
Palawan Beach on Sentosa island is probably the most beautiful beach in Singapore. After 1 month and half in Thailand where we spent most of our time on the beach and with such limited time in Singapore, we decided to skip this beach simply because we didn’t have enough time to visit it. However the next time we are in Singapore, I will make sure to find the time to visit as it looks amazing! There is a beautiful suspended bridge which links the Palawan island with Sentosa Island.
Photo by Joshua Tsu on Unsplash
S.E.A. Aquarium on Sentosa Island is one of the world’s largest aquariums, home to more than 100,000 marine animals representing 1,000 species across more than 40 diverse habitats. For an extra fee you can book a guided tour where they explain you everything about the marine life and the care of the aquarium.
The admission costs 41 SGD which is 28 EUR (30.70 USD).
Photo by Shaun Low on Unsplash
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JEWEL CHANGI AIRPORT
Airports don’t usually take part in your sightseeing itinerary but Jewel Changi Airport is no ordinary airport. It is home to numerous gardens and attractions including the famous Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. There is also a 4D cinema which is completely free! We didn’t have much time to spend at the airport but if next time we have a long layover, we will definitely visit all the attractions and will do all fun activities it has to offer. The best part is that most of these attractions are not inside of check-in area which means everyone can come to visit, even if you are not flying.
Photo by Darren Nunis on Unsplash
Other attractions that you might be interested in are: ADVENTURE COVE WATERPARK, MEGA ADVENTURE PARK, HYDRODASH, MOUNT FABER, CABLE CAR SKY NETWORK, IFLY, SENTOSA NATURE DISCOVERY, FORT SILOSO, TRICK EYE MUSEUM and much more!
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BOOK THE GOCITY PASS
As you can see, the prices for the attractions are quite high and if you want to visit many of them, which by the way we totally recommend as they are amazing, it is worth to purchase a GOCITY pass which gives you access to almost all these attractions within one ticket! You will save a lot of money by doing that. We had a 3 day all inclusive pass and managed to visit most of the attractions with it!
WHERE TO STAY
We have stayed at Oxford Hotel in the centre of Singapore. It was the cheapest option that we found last minute and it cost us 74EUR/night. The hotels in Singapore are really expensive so if you think that we got something luxury for this price, you are wrong ahaha! However it was okay.
If you are looking to stay at some more luxury hotel, have a look on Raffles Singapore, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Carlton Millenia or the one and only Marina Bay Sands. All these hotels cost a fortune but you won’t be disappointed!
Photo by Will Truettner on Unsplash
Singapore is a quite a walkable city however you will probably need to use some kind of transportation from now and then. We found the public transportation to be very good and easy to use. There are buses and metros connecting all the parts of the city. You can pay for the tickets contactless directly with your card inside the bus or a metro.
Otherwise you can also use Grab which is an equivalent of Uber in South East Asia. We used it probably once or twice and it wasn’t too expensive.
From the airport there is also a direct bus that takes you to the centre of Singapore
FOOD & DRINKS
We have been mainly eating in the food courts of shopping centres and spent around 6-9EUR/person per one meal. We have also found a cheap pasta place called Tea Party Express. The reason for it to be so cheap is because it’s right next to the university so it’s basically made for students. We have also had a burger at Shake Shack which was our first time eating there ever and OMG! Their Shroom burger is one of the TOP 3 burgers I have ever ate in my life! And as it’s vegetarian and the other two from TOP 3 aren’t , then it’s the most delicious vegetarian burger I have ever eaten. We are not vegetarians but this burger made of mushrooms was something else trust me!
We hope this blog post was helpful to you and you are gonna have a great time while exploring beautiful Singapore. For more pictures and videos check out our IG story highlight (Singapore) and our reels/feed posts. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment bellow or contact us via email or even better via Instagram @borntotraveldiaries. Thank you for your time and stay tuned for our next diary page 🙂