Arguably one of Singapore’s most recognisable landmarks, the landscape of Gardens By The Bay would fit right in as the set for an alien home planet. Its most striking feature is its Supertree Grove, with 18 vertical gardens, the tallest of which rises nearly 20 storeys! The best time to visit the Supertrees is at night. Admission to Gardens by the Bay is free, and the park is open daily from 5 am to 2 am.
Pulau Ubin is a small island in the northeast of Singapore. Devoid of skyscrapers and cars, this island is a reminder of what Singapore was like just a few decades ago. It is home to one of Singapore’s last traditional villages, and inhabitants there live a simple life supported by fishing and agriculture. To get the most out of your visit to Pulau Ubin, rent a bike to fully explore the island, and look out for the German Girl Shrine and other tokens of Singapore lore. To get to Pulau Ubin, grab a ferry from Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
First opened in 1973, the Singapore Zoo spans nearly 70 acres and is home to over 300 species of animals. It is often praised for its design, opting for an ‘open’ captivity model so that animals feel less restricted by the enclosures. To help visitors get around the grounds of the zoo, they provide a variety of methods of transportation, including trams and boats. For something a bit more unique, you can visit the zoo after dark when it opens for the Night Safari and get a glimpse into how many animals behave at night.
Some of Singapore’s richest heritage lies in its trifecta of cultural neighbourhoods: Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street. Follow one of the National Heritage Board’s self-guided walks around Little India to take in its religious diversity, or queue up for a plate of Michelin star-winning chicken rice. Over in Arab Street, get your fix of Mediterranean food, and then spend an evening enjoying some shisha and people-watching.
The best way to truly appreciate a country’s culture is by eating the local cuisine. With culinary influences from all around the region, there is certainly no shortage of local eats! Tuck into some local favourites such as chilli crab, laksa, and chicken rice, or sample the Malay, Tamil and Chinese cuisine prevalent all over the city. For the best places to eat local food, go where the locals go and head to a hawker centre where you can get a meal for under $10.
Singapore comes to life at night with mesmerising light shows that delight crowds all over the city. Check out regular, stellar displays at Marina Bay and Sentosa, while keeping a close eye on special events in the pipeline.
Take a closer look around corners and up on the walls of the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood to find some artistic treasures. Local heritage lover Yip Yew Chong, who grew up in Tiong Bahru, has three murals scattered around, depicting some of his memories of days gone past. Animal photographer Ernest Goh once had a series of chicken fish pasted on the walls, though these days only a family of three goatscan still be seen around Tiong Bahru Market, where you can also spot a colourful peacock and its tail feather on the inner air well by Australian artist Makatron.
Singapore is famous for its stunning skyline. The Marina Bay Sands Boardwalk gives you an unimpeded view of what can only be described as the best view in the city. Try to visit around 6pm, so you can people watch and then see the sun go down.
Grab some water and head to MacRitchie Reservoir to do the MacRitchie Treetop Walk. It’s a 250 metre long bridge that stands 25 metres above the forest floor. The entire hike takes a few hours, so be sure to carry plenty of water and wear good shoes. Afterwards, go for a stroll along the boardwalk that runs around the reservoir and see if you can spot the giant monkey family that lives there.
Singapore has a range of world-class museums that cater to a multitude of interests. See how the worlds of art and technology collide at the ArtScience Museum, or school up on the history of the country at the Singapore Museum’s history gallery. There are even museums dedicated to vintage toys and collectable stamps!