Planning a trip to Singapore? Check out our comprehensive list of the 20 tourist attractions you need to see while you’re in the Lion City. From the great outdoors to island life, there are so many things to see and do.
Part of Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, the ArtScience Museum blends the worlds of art and science. Visit the recently updated permanent exhibition Future World, or check the website to see what the current exhibitions are.
The National Gallery Singapore presents modern art by South-East Asian artists. Featuring a diverse mix of up-and-coming and established artists from the region, be sure to check out the rooftop sculpture garden featuring works by Vietnamese-born Danish artist Danh Vo.
Singapore’s largest museum, the National Museum of Singapore houses two main galleries: the Singapore Living Galleries with exhibitions on food, photography, film, and fashion, and the History Gallery, which traces the island’s history from the 14th century.
Built by the brothers who invented Tiger Balm, Haw Par Villa was built as a way for parents to teach their children about morality through Chinese mythology. Although some of the statues are looking worse for wear these days, it’s well worth a trip to see these bizarre and nightmarish life-sized dioramas. Note that the 10 Courts of Hell are quite graphic and may be frightening to small children.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens are one of Singapore’s oldest parks and the birthplace of the Singapore orchid. Covering a huge area of central Singapore, the park is home to over 10,000 species of plants and animals — including some terrifying monitor lizards. The park is open daily from 5am to 12am, and admission is free.
Get out of the city and head west to the Chinese and Japanese Gardens. During the weekend, people play cricket in one of the park’s open spaces. Tucked into one area of the Chinese Gardens is the Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum, which showcases the world’s largest collection of turtle and tortoise items.
Fort Canning is located right in the centre of the island. The place has played a significant role in the history of Singapore: Sir Stamford Raffles built his first home on Fort Canning hill, and during World War II it served as the headquarters of the British Army and later as the Japanese Army during their occupation of Singapore.
Singapore’s most recognisable garden, Gardens by the Bay is known for its extraordinary landscape, namely the SuperTree Grove featuring 18 vertical gardens that reach a height of 16 stories! Other attractions include the two conservatory domes, the OCBC Skywalk and Marina Barrage.
Famous for its ‘open’ captivity models, the Singapore Zoo is designed so that many of the animals are kept in large enclosures that are surrounded by moats and other relatively noninvasive barriers. The zoo is home to over 300 animal species, 15% of which are classified as threatened.
Grab a bumboat from the Changi Ferry Terminal (SG$3.oo/US$2 per person, boats leave when there are 12 people) for the short ride over to Pulau Ubin. Once there, rent a bike from the small town to the right of the jetty and venture into the island. Pulau Ubin is Singapore’s last kampong, or traditional village, as well as home to the Chek Jawa Wetlands.
Getting to St John’s & Lazarus requires a little bit of advanced planning. Scheduled ferries from Marina South Pier (SG$18/US$13 per person for a return ticket) take about 30 minutes to get to the island. There are no stores on the island, so bring enough water, snacks and sunscreen for the day. When you get to the beautiful crescent beach and swim in the crystal clear waters of Singapore’s nicest beach, you’ll be glad you made the effort to get out here!
Little India is one of Singapore’s cultural enclaves, and the recently launched Little India Heritage Walks are a good way to explore the area. It’s a sensory overload with endless streams of colours, sounds and scents. If you’re not too squeamish, walk around the wet market located on the first floor of the Tekka Market, or take up Anthony Bourdain’s challenge of going on a scavenger hunt inside Mustafa’s, a 24 hour store where you can apparently buy anything.
Chinatown is very touristy but still worth walking through. Skip the souvenir shopping on Pagoda Street and instead head over to Smith Street, where you’ll find the Chinatown Food Street, a covered area with an excellent selection of hawker stalls. Walk up to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum at the end of the street to learn a little about Buddhist culture.
In Kampong Glam, you’ll find the impressive Sultan Mosque and streets full of delicious Turkish and Mediterranean food. During the weekends, there are often flea markets and arts events happening in the neighbourhood.
Get your adrenaline pumping at Universal Studios Singapore! Located on Sentosa Island and part of Resorts World, the amusement park is home to seven themed zones, so there’s something for the whole family. Horror film lovers should try to time their visit for October, when Universal Studios Singapore goes all out with their Halloween Horror Nights.
Located on the far end of Sentosa Island, Siloso Beach is our favourite of the three beaches. Tanjong Beach is the party beach and Palawan Beach is mostly frequented by families, but Siloso Beach is a middle ground, with many cute restaurants right on the beach and a very chill vibe.
Finish your night with a drink on the Marina Bay Sands rooftop. You need to be a guest to get into the swimming pool, but if you are going to the C’est La Vie rooftop bar you don’t need to pay the $20 entrance fee to the skypark.
For a bit of a splurge, head to 1-Altitude to experience the highest al fresco bar in the world. If you look towards the Marina Bay Sands complex, it looks like the boat that connects the three towers is actually sitting on the water!