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Things to Do in Singapore

Perched at the bottom of Malaysia, almost spilling over into the Indonesian island of Sumatra, Singapore is a tiny country that bursts with cultural diversity and unexpected greenery. Thanks to a sublime food scene—comprised of hawker centers and modern restaurants—and a plethora of family-friendly attractions, Singapore is far more than a stopover on the way to Australia. For kids and adults alike, Sentosa Island—home to Universal Studios, Adventure Cove Waterpark, and the immersive 4D Mysterious Island—promise a fun-filled day out. In-the-know travelers opt for skip-the-line, multiday passes to maximize their time in Singapore. Other must-do experiences include a visit to Singapore Zoo, where you can breakfast with orangutans or take a night safari; a tour of Singapore Chinatown on a trishaw; and an iconic Singapore Sling cocktail at Raffles Hotel . At night, Singapore dazzles in its illumination, making an evening sightseeing tour an ideal way to see another side to the city: Marvel at a synchronized light-and-music show at Gardens By the Bay, absorb glittering city panoramas from Marina Bay Sands Sky Park, and take a river taxi down the Singapore River. And, with buses and boats departing for Malaysia and Indonesia daily, Singapore serves as a great gateway to the rest of Southeast Asia.
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Raffles Hotel
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39 Tours and Activities

Sipping a Singapore Sling cocktail in the wicker and palm ambiance of Raffles Hotel is a Singapore must-do experience. With its tropical garden courtyard and elegant galleried architecture, the terracotta-roofed white hotel has been a byword for colonial elegance since 1887. It was named after the founder of Singapore, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.

Swags of famous names from Noël Coward to Somerset Maugham have stayed here, along with more recent stars like Michael Jackson and Beyoncé. You can learn more about the building’s history and see fascinating ephemera at the on-site Raffles Museum. If you’re not staying here, dress up to experience high tea in the Tiffin Room, or order that Singapore Sling in the Long Bar. The hotel has a swag of other upmarket restaurants, cafes and watering holes.

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Singapore Zoo
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Visit the world class Singapore Zoo where you will see Singapore’s orangutans and exotic imports like tigers, sea lions, baboons and giraffes. With areas dedicated to the Lush rainforest, Wild Africa and Australian outback the zoo is a delight to all. The separate Night Safari attraction provides night-time viewing of nocturnal animals at play from the vantage point of a safari-style tram.
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Chijmes
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As one of the most important religious sites in the country, the catholic monument known as Chijmes is a former convent school with more than 130 years of history. Residing in a central area along Victoria Street, the restored complex today serves as a commercialized hub for visitors looking to experience a bit of history while enjoying the modern accommodations inside that includes shops, fine restaurants and even an entertainment center.

The large modern complex is open both day and night, hosting a plethora of celebrations and events such as private cocktail parties and lunches, as well as musical and theatrical performances. To match Singapore’s diverse history and peoples, the restaurants inside offer menus featuring several kinds of cuisines, from French to Italian to Cantonese.

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Marina Bay Sands
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There’s a lot you can do with $8 billion, and the Marina Bay Sands may have just done them all. Touted as the world’s most expensive casino this 2,561 room integrated resort lavishly offers nearly anything that a visitor could ever need on their stay in Singapore. In addition to the 500 tables and 1,600 slots which comprise the atrium casino, the Marina Bay Sands has also opted to include an ice-skating rink, two entertainment theatres, the 300-store Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands shopping mall, an art science museum and a full range of evening entertainment and shows.

There is also an impressive, 478 foot (145.7 meter) long infinity swimming pool which gazes out over the Singapore skyline at the aptly named SkyPark—an observation deck which stretches longer than the Eiffel Tower were it laid down. Swimmers with a fear of heights beware: the “infinity” edge looks out over a 55-story drop to the street level below.

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Jurong Bird Park
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Considered a bird watchers paradise, Jurong Bird Park in fabulous Singapore is the world's largest. With more than an astounding 600 different kinds of species, the park provides a wide array of shows and attractions that are sure to educate even the most avid bird-watcher.

Whether it is the 'Birds of Prey' exhibit, which shows eagles and falcons soaring above, the 'Penguin Exhibition,' with more than 200 penguins and multiple species, or the insightful realm of flightless birds, one of the enjoyable qualities of the park is that many of the exhibits are as educational as they are visually stimulating.

Similarly, with the Children's Parrot Show located at the Pools Amphitheatre, where the kids can see four beautiful and diverse kinds of parrots perform tricks for them, there is little reason to skip out on the landscaped wonderment of the park.

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Mt. Faber Park
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Mount Faber Park, one of the oldest green spaces in Singapore, is also one of the best places to go for views over the city and Singapore Harbour. More of a large hill than a mountain, the slopes of Mount Faber are covered in lush rainforest, and if you want to get to the top, you have two options.

Budget travelers looking for something free to do can hike to the peak. The path is paved the entire way up and shaded for most of the way, but bring plenty of water, as Singapore can get hot and humid. If you’d rather save your energy, you can ride the Singapore Cable Car to the top.

No matter how you get to the summit, set aside some time to wander the gardens and take in the views from several lookout points. Mount Faber is also home to the Jewel Box, a shopping, dining and entertainment venue and one of the most romantic spots in the city for dinner.

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Katong
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Katong District is one of the more noticeable neighborhoods in Singapore, lined with 19th century villas and mansions belonging to some of the richest folks in the country. With many of its inhabitants coming from the Far East, the town is also known for its restaurants and cafes, which offer Peranakan cuisine as well as spicy local foods.

A taste of old Singapore, the history of Katong features the stories of businessmen from England, Portugal, China and France, who all made their wealth there. Because the town fell under the rule of British colonialism nearly 200 years ago, a lot of the structures that stand today were built using British architecture. Luckily, what does exist is in pristine conditions as Katong is known as one of the cleanest areas in Singapore.

As a known destination that is also conveniently located by the sea, there are a number of modern accommodations as well as lovely souvenir shops and shopping centers.

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More Things to Do in Singapore

Boat Quay

Boat Quay

16 Tours and Activities

There are a number of places to scope out Singapore’s cityscape and the historic Boat Quay is among the best. Once the epicenter of maritime trade, the famous Quay now boasts loads of great restaurants and bars housed in well-preserved old shop houses. Complete with open-air terraces, these mainstays of the Quay are heralded for not only their terrific viewpoint, but reasonably priced sea food as well.

Open through the late hours of the evening, one can sit back there and take a midday break from the urban sightseeing or have a romantic dinner as the city lights glimmer on the waterfront. The pedestrian area also contains a few great nightclubs and pubs, for those looking to stay out a bit later.

Among the structures you can spot from the Quay are the Parliament House and Empress Place Building along the North Boat Quay Promenade as well as the famous Fullerton Hotel.

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River Safari

River Safari

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Singapore’s River Safari, the world’s first river-themed wildlife park, recently introduced the first visitors to its 5,000 animal inhabitants during a soft opening in April 2013. The 30-acre (12-hectare) park presents the world of freshwater aquatic animals to guests with a series of walkthrough exhibits inspired by eight iconic rivers, the Mississippi, Nile, Amazon, Congo, Ganges, Mekong and Yangtze.

Of the animals on display, representing some 300 species, the Giant River Otter and the Giant Salamander stand out as rare highlights. Not all the animals at the River Safari are aquatic, however. You’ll also find an ever popular pair Giant Pandas in Southeast Asia’s largest Panda exhibit, the Giant Panda Forest, as well as squirrel monkeys, jaguars, giant anteaters and Brazilian tapirs in the Wild Amazonia area of the park.

Later in the year, the park is set to open the Amazon River Quest, a river boat ride through the Wild Amazonia exhibit.

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Sri Mariamman Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple

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Raffles' Landing Site

Raffles' Landing Site

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The Raffles Landing site in the Boat Quay area of downtown Singapore is the apparent location of the landing place for Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 when he signed a treaty that established modern day Singapore. Marked by a white marble statue about 20 feet, or about 6 meters tall, the statue depiction of the father of Singapore is dwarfed by the surrounding office towers that now exist in the area, but nonetheless tells a historic tale of the founding of the country.

As the landing site is believed to be along the banks of the Singapore River, it is said that Raffles was able to establish a treaty with the local rulers within ten days of arriving that would pave the way for the construction of the city’s sprawling metropolis. History aside, the statue is located in an open outdoor space that provides a great view of the buildings located in the opposite southern banks as well as an opportunity to take a quiet walk and relax.

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Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay

Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay

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Home to the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay offers travelers access to incredible indoor mountains that climb high into veils of cloudy mist. Visitors can explore tropical canopies and rainforest vegetation while wandering along bridges that crisscross through nine vastly different zones.

Crystal clear glass panes hang high above the forest floor. The start contrast between breathtaking Mother Nature and the city skyline beyond the dome is just one of the reasons a visit to Singapore’s Cloud Forest is not to be missed.

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Red Dot Design Museum

Red Dot Design Museum

10 Tours and Activities
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Joo Chiat

Joo Chiat

10 Tours and Activities

Joo Chiat is an eastern Singapore residential neighborhood noted for its Peranakan culture. Peranakans are descendants of 15th- through 17th-century Chinese and Indian immigrants who ultimately married non-Muslim natives from the Malay Archipelago. The neighborhood is named after Chew Joo Chiat, a wealthy landowner who once owned most of the land in the area.

Today, Joo Chiat is best known for its rows of traditional Peranakan structures—colorful two-story shops and terrace homes with ceramic tiles, ornate facades and Chinese motifs. These shop-houses dominated the area back in the 1920s and 1930s. The Katong Antique House is a fully restored Peranakan family home with antiques and artifacts on display, and Rumah Bebe is a shop and restaurant noted for its well-preserved façade. This is an ideal place to purchase handicrafts and gifts to bring back home with you.

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Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru

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Telok Ayer Street

Telok Ayer Street

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