Singapore has been named as the most expensive city in the world. It is also famous for being exceptionally clean and efficient. While many people may say Singapore is quite sterile, this city state actually has quite many interesting places to see, and entertaining stuff to do. In fact, today I present 48 Things To Do In Singapore.
Many regular readers of Asia Travel Gems know that I live in Singapore. Even though I have lived here most of my life, I still find there are so many fascinating things to do, and sights to see. All of which I am proud to present in this article.
There is the extraordinary greenery at Gardens By The Bay, the breath taking view from the rooftop infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands, the fascinating world of nocturnal animals at the Night Safari. And so many more attractions.
And don’t forget the fascinating history and culture places of interest. As a multi cultural nation, Singapore is melting pot of various religions and cultures that created structures that would have you enthralled for hours.
The first time I saw this lotus-shape structure at the side of Marina Bay Sands, I was intrigued. My curiosity led me to find out more about this unique museum.
It is called the ArtScience Museum because it showcases exhibits that weaves art and science together. Something that, to some, seem to be contrasting entities. And yet, it has been achieved here.
Asian Civilisations Museum
I feel that the Asian Civilisations Museum is so aptly situate. It is in a 19th century building near the Singapore River. Inside, you get to see exhibits that expore the culture and history of the Asian subcontinent, China, South Asia and the Islamic World.
I spent many lovely afternoons here. I find it such a valuable experience to immerse in the world of the past. When I see the artefacts, I feel as if I had visited a part of history.
Every time I visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens, I would have a really enjoyable time. It is so nice to simply walk around this place, and appreciate the wide variety of flora and fauna.
There are four areas in this garden – the Central Core, the Tanglin core, the Tyersall-Gallop core, and the Bukit Timah core. So, you can imagine it takes quite a bit of time to explore everything. And it is worth every minute.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Singapore is actually a very flat piece of land. The highest natural point is at the top of a small hill called Bukit Timah. And at this hill, there is a 403-acre nature reserve. People come here to get away from the city, and immerse themselves in the lush greenery.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
When I travel, I love to visit religious and holy sites. They fascinate me with their beauty and tranquility. And I have visited the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum many times.
There are four storeys, a basement, a mezzanine, and a rooftop courtyard. Make sure you see it all. Of course, at the fourth floor, is the Buddha tooth that you must see, too.
Many people are surprised when they hear that I enjoy going to Changi Airport. And why not? It is more than an international airport. There are lots of retail, cafes, restaurants, and even entertainment spots. I could spend hours here.
And so will you. Besides the mall like experience, there are also fun activities like the giant indoor slide, the butterfly sanctuary, and even a rooftop pool.
When I have only the morning class to teach, and when I am in the mood, I would drop by at Chinatown. One main reason is to enjoy really good Chinese food, and good old local coffee. At times, I would visit again some of the attractions there.
The old and new have co-existed in a beautiful way here. You can see elderly playing chess. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is here. Also, the Chinatown Heritage Centre. And don’t forget to try all the great food, such as the Michelin Star Liao Fan Hawker Chan.
During the day, Clarke Quay is a colorful sight of warehouses restored in bright colors of the rainbow. They now house bars, clubs and restaurants. It is nice to enjoy an afternoon, starting from lunch, and watching the river and people walk by. As night falls, the place becomes alive, transforming into a vibrant party zone.
East Coast Park
Ahhh, I spent much of my youth here. The sun, the sand, the sea. A potent mix that draws many to have picnics by the sea, cycle or rollerblade along the paths, and even camp and have a barbecue.
The park stretches from Fort Road to the Changi Airport area. My friends and I have actually cycled that entire route. And enjoyed watching the planes fly in and out of this city.
East Coast Road
Just a stone’s throw away from East Coast Park is East Coast Road, where you can experience the colorful heritage shophouses. Plenty of good food here at local eating places, cafes and restaurants. After a sumptious meal, take a walk around to enjoy the Peranakan – Straits Chinese – culture that is part of the identity here.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
This is the home to performance arts. There are spaces for concerts, plays, and musicals. The building is a recognizable spiky design that has been lovingly named as the durian by Singaporeans.
Gardens By the Bay
At Gardens By the Bay, you can admire the flowers and plants from all over the world. Visit the Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest, the Floral Fantasy, and especially the Supertree Grove.
Gillman Barracks – Contemporary Arts Cluster
A military barracks has been converted into a contemporary art haven. Dozens of galleries featuring art from locals and overseas artists. Spend a lovely afternoon here, viewing all the art and sculptures.
I have been here. It is interesting. Filled with indie shops, cafes, hip bars, and restaurants. Do check out the boutiques. They carry unique merchandise, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in Singapore.
Haw Par Villa
There is no other place like this. I am pretty sure of that. This is a theme park. And the theme is Chinese history and mythology. There are installations that are gory and detailed. A word of caution – the hell scenes can be very graphic.
Take it slow for a few hours, and visit Hay Dairies. The goats here eat hay that is shipped directly from the USA. They also get to eat special feed from Australia. It is because of the food they eat that the goat milk tastes so great.
A short bridge next to Marina Bay Sands. Walk through the bridge to marvel at the unique and intricate design that was inspired by the structure of the DNA.
One of the most extensive collection of all things Peranakan are here at The Intan. Objects from the Peranakan culture are proudly on display; such as the kasot manek (ornate beaded slippers) worn by Straits Chinese women.
Other artefacts include antiques, and rare gems. Definitely the right place to learn about the Peranakan culture.
This is a hidden gem. Even I was not aware of this until some years back. It is a modern indoor observation deck at ION Orchard. Because it is on the 56th floor, you can get magnificent bird’s eye very of various parts of Singapore.
Jewel Changi Airport
This is currently the sparkling gem of Singapore. A majestic dome that is home to the tallest indoor waterfall. There are fun activities to do, fine shopping to enjoy, and plenty of great food at food court, cafes, and retaurants.
A friend of mine from Australia had a great time here. She spent the afternoon here chilling at one of the hip cafes. And I agree with her that Kampong Glam is like another world in Singapore.
This historic Malay and Arab district has retained its roots while evolving into a hipster hub. Places to see include the Malay Heritage Centre, Gedung Kuning, Pondok Java, Madrasah Alsagoff Al Arabiah, and the famous Masjid Sultan Mosque.
Kampong Lorong Buangkok
I grew up in a kampong, which is a traditional village. It was the most wonderful time of my life. Today, urbanisation has reduced these kampongs to just a few in Singapore. The most famous is this – Kampong Lorong Buangkok. Visit to get a glimpse of this city’s past.
Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
Whenever I am in the Bugis area, I would drop by this temple to pay my respects. I would light 3 incense sticks, and give thanks to the Goddess of Mercy, Kwan Im. Sometimes, I would do divination to get some insights. That is what thousands of devotees do, too.
On the first and fifteenth day of every lunar month, this temple is packed. It is also very crowded during Chinese New Year. There are many testimonials of people who received blessings or wishes come true after praying to Kwan Im at this temple.
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
Do you like natural history? Then this is the place to see. The museum has at least 10,000 species of dinosaur fossils and zoological specimens. There is even a sperm whale skeleton.
A charming neighborhood where Mustafa, the massive shopping store that is popular with locals and tourists, is located. Out on the streets, there is the heady scent mix of incense and fragrant foods. Together with shops selling flowers and gold, you are bombarded with color and brilliance.
Most people visit this area for the religious sites such as the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, Leong San See Temple, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, and a few more.
When I was a young boy, my school would organize long distance runs at this place, our country’s first reservoir. As you can tell, I did not enjoy that. Running and out of breath, I could not appreciate the beauty of our oldest and most popular nature park.
Years later, when my friends and I visited to enjoy the lush rainforest, I had a better appreciation of all this place has to offer. As long as I did not jog or run, and it was a lovely stroll.
Malay Heritage Centre
This is the Malay Heritage Centre at Kampong Glam that was mentioned earlier (#21). Here, you can learn the history about the Malay community that lived in this place. The building itself is 160 years old. And used to be the royal seat and palace of the last Sultan of Singapore.
There are 6 galleries filled with the Malay culture and heritage. And for more, check out the special events, dance performances and other festivities held here.
Marina Bay Sands
This is one of Singapore’s most recognizable buildings. It is a posh high-end hotel with top restaurants (one of them Michelin-starred) and bars, luxury rooms, a SkyPark that is 57 storeys high with an infinity pool that offers the best view in the city.
Along with this, there are the ArtScience Museum, a convention center, and a beautiful and large mall designed by Moshe Safdie.
I have witnessed the changes of the Merlion from the 70s when it was first erected till today. Still magnificent, the half fish and half lion statue shoots water into the bay.
The fish is symbolic. It represents the early days when Singapore was a fishing village. The lion part symbolizes the original name of Singapore, i.e. Singapura, which means lion city.
Mint Museum Of Toys
A haven and heaven for all who love toys, and those who admire them. M.I.N.T. specializes in vintage toys and collectibles. Four levels of space houses thousands of them for your viewing pleasure.
In the past, I passed this shrine many times, when I happened to be in the Central Business District. In 2019, I finally decided to enter and take a look. It was like a mini museum.
There were artefacts and photos of the Muslims from southern India. It was a very entertaining and eduational hour. Amazingly, the space had a quiet calm that offered a respite from the busy and hectic world just outside their doors.
National Gallery Singapore
Home to the largest public collection of modern art in Southeast Asia, the National Gallery Singapore is not to be missed. Over 8,000 works are displayed at the former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings.
National Museum of Singapore
Whenever I visit this neoclassical building, I experience this feeling of being awed. This is the largest museum in Singapore. There are a few galleries to slowly walk and appreciate. And they are the Singapore History Gallery, the Singapore Living Galleries, and the Modern Colony Gallery. See the past and present of Singapore in one place.
A night safari in Singapore? Yes, there really is. And it is the world’s first for nocturnal animals. Take a ride on the tour tram and see over 2,500 animals from 130 species such as the striped hyena, mountain deer, tiger, tapir, and lion.
All in their natural habitats. And if you prefer a slower exploration, go on the four walking trails to get closer to the animals.
The Peranakan culture is unique. The people are the Straits Chinese. And this museum presents all things Peranakan. There are exhibitions in this heritage building that shows their traditions, food, wedding, religion and even how they mourn.
Another one of Singapore’s kampongs. Take a trip to the past, and see how life was in the 60s. Also, ideal for nature lovers. There are lush forests and interesting wildlife.
Famous for guests like Elizabeth Taylor, Queen Elizabeth II, and even Michael Jackson. A visit to this hotel can enchant you the same way it has for these famous people.
I know it does for me. The colonial architecture with such fine details enraptures me whenever I visit. Shopping and dining are delightful experiences. Don’t forget to take a selfie with Narajan, the world’s most famous doorman.
Just like the Night Safari, this is another wildlife park that you must visit when in Singapore. The theme is the river, and is recognized as the world’s biggest freshwater aquarium.
There is are over 5,000 creatures of the river here, from the Amazon and the Nile. You have a choice to take the boat tour or take an adventure walk with your friends and family.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral
I like to visit the St. Andrew’s Cathedral during the quiet hours. During those moments, it is so peaceful to sit in the largest cathedral in Singapore. And simply enjoy the gorgeous tinted glass windows, lovely statues and architecture. Truly, a sanctuary in the middle of a busy city.
The Singapore Flyer claims to be the world’s largest observation wheel. You have to be there to see if this is true. It is 165 meters high. And it travels at a speed of 0.21m per second. At its peak, you can get a panoramic view of Singapore.
There is so much to see at the Singapore Zoo that a few hours or half a day visit is not enough. I highly recommend dedicating an entire day to this world’s first open concept zoo.
Start in the morning, and have breakfast with Ah Meng, the famous orangutan. Then spend enough time for each enclosure to really experience the open concept of this zoo. There are more than 2,500 animals from all over the world. To see them all, it would take a whole day.
Whenever I visit Sentosa, I would enjoy the island resort so much. I would love walking around amidst the lush greenery, walking on the sands of the beach under the sun. Many times, I have been lucky to spot the peacocks that roam this island!
And there are the attractions like Universal Studeios Singapore, Resorts World, Tiger Sky Tower Observatory, Mega Adventure Park, and more. Love to golf? the Senotsa Golf Club has two award-winning courses.
The Southern Ridges
I was surprised and delighted by the Southern Ridges. It is a recreational trail that connects five parks along the southern ridge of Singapore. You can actually walk this long trek that takes you to Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park, and Labrdor Nature Reserve.
It is a five plus mile trail. So, make sure you carry enough water to hydrate, and some snacks, too.
Sri Mariamman Temple
This temple is right in the middle of Chinatown. It is Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple. And is ornately decorated with colorful sculptures of Hindu mythology figures. Many believe that their goddess Mariamman can cure illnesses.
I attended a wedding in this temple before. And it is truly a very beautiful temple. As I walk about the temple, I found the colors and design impressive. It was a night I will always remember.
This is the largest center of worship for Muslims in Singapore. And the structure is eye catching. After exploring Kampong Glam, stop here to admire its beauty. Get inside to view the intricate decor. An interesting fact is that the base of the dome is made from glass bottles.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is designated an ASEAN Heritage Park. It is a sanctuary with mangroves, mudflats, ponds and forests. A home for mudskippers, crabs, water snakes, monitor lizards, and the famous otters. This site is also recognized internationally for migratory birds to stop over.
Thian Hock Keng Temple
This is another site that I enjoy visiting when I am at the Central Business District. It is a haven from the busy scene outside the temple.
Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest Buddhist temple in Singapore. And the architecture is elaborate. Full of color and images. This is the traditional southern Chinese style of design. Interesting fact – the entire temple was built without a single nail.
Universal Studios Singapore
This is a major attraction in Singapore. Many tourists flock to this theme park and enjoy the rides and attractions. There is the Battlestar Galactica, Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase, Puss in Boots’ Giant Journey, and more.
For movie buffs, look out for the Jurassic Park, The Mummy and Transformers attractions.
If you have ANY questions about the 48 Things to Do in Singapore, or any about traveling in Singapore, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.
Thank you for reading this.
Wishing you and your loved ones safe and happy travels,
Hey everyone, I am Timotheus. When I am not giving lectures, I love traveling and visiting cities and towns all over Asia. It is a thrill for me to find and share awesome places to see, great tasting food to eat, and restful rooms to get a good night’s sleep.