This is the little city-state and the great pearl of Asia at once. Singapore is a magnificent example of excellent planning and the resulting affluence, and above all, the marvellous blend of Asia’s main cultures all coexisting colourfully. Singapore is more like a ‘modern’ Austria in Asia—clean streets, order, but with some bustling that seems to bother no one.
- Colonial District:
This part of the city-state displays remnants of British rule even though contemporary buildings somehow shadow the fact –the towers of Marina Bay Sands and the Financial District, theatres on the Bay complex, the National Museum and Peranakan Museum, and Fort Canning Park are also places worth a look. You can also visit the stately St Andrew’s Cathedral. However, the district’s most famous building is the grand old Raffles Hotel.
- Little India:
Indeed, the name is well-deserved, but putting aside the probable nuance of terrible jams and cacophony usually associated with mainland Indian cities, this part of the motherland is actually the quintessential, most colourful part of Singapore: bazaars, restaurants, temples, exotic scents, charming street vendors all combine with the country’s obsession with order to provide the traveller with a marvellous, up-scale taste of real India…thousands of miles away!
- The Arab Quarter:
You can look no further if you wish to see also a piece of Arabia and Persia—the best pieces, that is to say. Like Little India, this quarter keeps a very picturesque profile of the cultures for which it was named…and also a high profile of excellent textile shops, restaurants serving delicious Middle Eastern cuisine, and exotic markets where getting lost is more of a blessing!
Best things to do in Singapore
Gardens By the Bay
This is a hugely famous tourist attraction in Singapore, and rightly so. The breadth of plants and the creative ways they're displayed are awe-inspiring. In one part of the greenhouse, the Cloud Forest mimics the cool-moist ecology of the tropical highlands. It has a treetop walk and an oft-photographed indoor 114-foot waterfall.
Marina Bay Sands
The rich Marina Bay Sands resort complex includes a high-end luxury hotel, a mall with a canal running through it, the ArtScience Museum, and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck–a vantage point for taking in the entire city. The Skypark's viewing deck and perpetuity pool are found in the ship (yes, ship) that tops the hotel. Only hotel guests can use the infinity pool, but anyone can visit the observation deck.
The Singapore Zoo is a lovely impressive place. The structure is clean and inviting, and the animals appear well treated, with plenty of lush vegetation and habitat space.
The orangutans are especially remarkable, and visitors can watch as babies and adults swing high above their platforms and snack on fruits. There is also a large chimpanzee family, zebras, meerkats, a komodo dragon, mole rats, white tigers, kangaroos, and many other animals.
The Botanic Gardens are worth visiting. Singapore received its first UNESCO World Heritage nomination for its botanical gardens, and good reason. The city can sometimes feel like a concrete jungle, albeit clean and comfortable, but the botanic gardens preserve parts of Singapore's stormier legacy.
Here, a walking trail leads to the gardens' heritage trees, conserved as part of an effort to guard the city's mature tree species. Make sure to visit the impressive National Orchid Garden as well.
Singapore isn't exactly a beach destination, but if you desire some fun in the sun, Sentosa Island is the place to find it. Siloso Beach is a good spot for getting in beach time, and tourists can play volleyball on free courts or go kayaking and skimboarding. There are several other beach interests, plus an Underwater World aquarium, where you can swim with dolphins.
You can visit the Chinese Heritage Centre and see the impressive and beautiful Sri Mariamman Hindu temple. From the small mom-and-pop stores and authentic Chinese food to the bright red lanterns, there's excitement and hustle in this district.
Another temple worth seeing is the Buddha Tooth Relic temple. Heritage markers have been established throughout the area in English, Japanese, and simplified Chinese, so visitors can better understand the area's significance.
National Gallery Singapore
Home to the most extensive modern art collection in Southeast Asia, the National Gallery mainly concentrates on the works of local and Asian artists starting in the 19th century. The 9,000-plus works of art are divided between City Hall and the former Supreme Court – over more than 64,000 square meters.
In addition to the endless collection, the gallery hosts temporary exhibits such as Vietnamese lacquer painting, modern photography, and Chinese calligraphy.
Jewel Changi Airport
The 10-story-high Jewel Ghangi is not your ordinary transportation hub, often voted as the best airport globally. It will help if you put it on your list of must-see places to visit while in Singapore. Over 300 shops, the airport's most prominent feature is the 40-meter-high HSBC Rain Vortex, an indoor waterfall surrounded by over 2,000 trees. Each of the airport's three terminals (all seamlessly connected) also has its garden. There's a cactus garden in Terminal 1, a sunflower garden in T2, and a very well-known butterfly garden at T3, home to more than 40 species of butterflies, a six-meter grotto waterfall, and plenty of flowering plants.