Singapore is a gem in South East Asia’s crown; it’s a place where different cultures fuse together harmoniously to create a thriving metropolis that’s both celebratory of its past and excited about its future.
There’s something for everyone in Singapore; from historic mosques, temples and cathedrals, to intriguing museums, to contemporary architecture and world-class bars and restaurants, you’ll without a doubt fall in love with the garden city. After spending some time wandering around this incredible city, here are a few awesome things to do in Singapore that you can’t miss.
- Visit the Botanical Gardens
- Wander Around Gardens by the Bay
- Go to the Museum of Singapore
- Sultan Mosque
- Visit the Abdul Gaffoor Mosque
- Go to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
- Wander Around Little India’s Streets
- Eat Hawker Food
- Go Shopping in Mustafa Centre
- Observe the Local Culture in Tekka Centre
- Visit the Indian Heritage Centre
- Take a Stroll Around Haji Lane
- Fly High at the Singapore Flyer
- Watch the Cityscape in Marina Bay Sands’ Infinity Pool
- Drink a Singapore sling at Raffles Hotel
Visit the Botanical Gardens
A very different type of garden, but just as impressive, Singapore’s botanical gardens are world-class. It showcases tropical flora of all types; including a section dedicated to the rainforest that once completely covered the area. There are various sections to the garden, each with a different theme.
It’s open from 5 AM to midnight every day of the year (which makes it the most often opened Botanic Gardens, a winning claim to fame if there ever was one!) and spans over 82 hectares. It has won many awards and it is widely regarded to be what gives Singapore its title of a Garden City.
Wander Around Gardens by the Bay
The Gardens by the Bay are Singapore’s answer to New York’s Statue of Liberty. The gardens are home to huge supertrees which stand tall over the bay area of the city. They’re so futuristic you may feel like you’re in space, but the trees represent Singapore’s shining presence in the modern world.
You can also ascend a supertree and walk along the skywalk, admiring the view of the metropolis beneath. You can purchase the tickets in advance or just buy them at the entrance when you get there.
Go to the Museum of Singapore
One of the best national museums I’ve ever been to, the National Museum of Singapore tells the nation’s story. It’s a compelling one; from being fought over by Dutch and British forces, to tyrannic Japanese occupation in World War Two, to being part of Malaysia to finally gaining independence and becoming an integral city-country that has connections to nearly every country in the globe – there’s no doubt that the stories told in the Museum of Singapore will leave you hooked.
It ends with the ‘We Built a Nation’ exhibition, which demonstrates how modern Singapore has come from unlikely beginnings to the prosperous metropolis it is today; and you’ll no doubt leave the museum feeling inspired as if anything is possible. Visiting museums is part of my two-day Singapore Itinerary as it’s a great way to get an insight to the country.
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Probably the most famous mosque in Singapore, the Sultan Mosque is a gorgeous building – a snap of which is a vital contribution to any Singapore photo albums. But travelers should venture inside, too as the interior of the building is equally gorgeous and there are various exhibitions providing information about Islam traditions and beliefs and documenting the religion in Singapore. Visitors must be conservatively dressed – but there are robes that can be worn at the door if you’re not.
Visit the Abdul Gaffoor Mosque
Another mosque, I know, but this one’s a must visit in Singapore. Its exterior is very different to that of Sultan Mosque’s but equally as lovely. The architecture reflects an Indian Muslim style; it’s got amazingly intricate detailing. Although it’s not a hugely touristy temple, it’s very welcoming to visitors, who are invited to come in and look around (outside of prayer times). Again, visitors must be dressed conservatively but robes can be borrowed.
Go to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures; with mosques and Buddhist temples in walking distance from another. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is located in Chinatown and it is named after the canine tooth of the Buddha which is located within the temple. The museum documents Buddhist art and history and tells the story of the fascinating Buddhist culture. It’s well worth visiting if you’re interested in this Asian religion!
Editor’s Note: Check out our where to stay in Singapore for tips on the best hostels and hotels.
Wander Around Little India’s Streets
Little India is an area of the city that’s very much alive; it’s buzzing with friendly locals, flavorsome street food and vibrant streets. Strolling the streets with a camera in hand is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Singapore; one of the most famous buildings is the incredibly photogenic House of Tan Teng Niah.
Eat Hawker Food
One of the best things to do if you’re exploring Singapore on a budget – or even if you just want to experience local culture – is to try some hawker food. This super cheap yet still high-quality food is a popular dining option for both tourists and locals and is a great way to experience some authentic Singaporean cuisine.
Some of the best places to try hawker food are the Chinatown Complex Hawker Centre and Maxwell Road Hawker Centre. If you want to take your food quest up a level, you can even visit the only two hawkers stands that have been awarded Michelin stars. Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle at Crawford Lane and Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle in Chinatown.
Go Shopping in Mustafa Centre
The Mustafa Centre is a great place to purchase anything. It’s open 24 hours, and its products on offer range from designer products to bargain electronics. If you’re looking to snap up some souvenirs, you’ll most probably find what you’re after in the Mustafa Centre – and even if you’re going with an empty wallet, the experience of the center in itself is fascinating.
Observe the Local Culture in Tekka Centre
A very different kind of shopping complex to the Mustafa Centre, but equally compelling is the Tekka Centre. It’s a vibrant hawker market in the middle of Little India, selling both cooked foods and ingredients in its wet market. It’s a great place to grab a spot of lunch, people shop or attempt to bag some fruit and vegetable bargains – and it’s an integral part of Singaporean culture that’s not to be missed.
Visit the Indian Heritage Centre
The Indian Heritage Centre is a fantastic place to learn about the Indian culture that has had a crucial role in the making of the modern city of Singapore. It details the historical relationship between the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia and why so many Indians have settled in Singapore. It’s a fantastic place for anyone interested in Asian history and culture.
Take a Stroll Around Haji Lane
The colourful Haji Lane is certainly one of the cooler places to hang out in Singapore. It’s home to quirky boutique shops and colorful cafes, as well as bars and restaurants for when the evening comes. It’s one of the best places in Singapore to go street art spotting – and there’s certainly a lot of it there.
Fly High at the Singapore Flyer
At 165 meters high, The Singapore Flyer is the largest observation wheel in Asia, and riding it is a fantastic way to see the city. It’s been open since 2008 and is nowadays one of Singapore’s most popular attractions. It’s beautiful to ride day and night – in the day riders can make out all of the city’s neighborhoods and landmarks and by night, the glittering city lights spread out below.
Watch the Cityscape in Marina Bay Sands’ Infinity Pool
This one’s not for the budget travelers, as the only way to use Marina Bay Sands’ famous infinity pool is by being a guest at the hotel. But if you can afford a night or more at the hotel, it’s well worth it; the infinity pool is known as one of the best in the world, and the view you’ll get of the cityscape beneath is unmissable.
In case you don’t know, that giant alien looking tall building is Marina Bay Sands and the entire rooftop is made up of the pool area, perfect for catching a glimpse of the entire marina.
Drink a Singapore sling at Raffles Hotel
Singapore’s other famous hotel, Raffles has been open since 1887 and to this day is one of the city’s most marvelous five-star properties. Unlike Marina Bay Sands, nonguests can use some of the facilities, including the bar.
The Singapore Sling, a cocktail consisting of gin, pineapple juice, grenadine, lime juice, cherry brandy and Cointreau is widely known as the national drink and it was created in Raffles Hotel by Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915. Sipping one of these delicious drinks while in the ambient surroundings of Raffles is without a doubt one of the best Singapore experiences you could have!