Lining the Singapore River, the renovated riverside warehouses and ‘godown’ shophouses of historic Clarke Quay make up one of Singapore’s major wining and dining precincts.
Now pedestrianised and home to shops, restaurants, nightclubs, river cruise bumboats and floating cafes, the precinct pays homage to Singapore’s river trade and colonial history.
Clarke Quay is a good place to look for varied cuisines, from Italian to brewhouse and fine French, and relaxed outdoor bars with riverfront views. It’s also where you’ll find Singapore’s wild Reverse Bungy adventure ride.
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.
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.
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.
Sprawled over a huge area on the third floor of Suntec City's Towers 3 and 4, the Alive Museum is billed as Singapore's largest 3D visual attraction. Less of a museum and more of a series of interactive optical illusions, the Alive Museum is filled with over 80 trick art, digital art, experimental art, and object art installations.
With a focus on creating a fun and interactive 3D experience, the concept of the Alive Museum originated in Korea, with each piece of art being conceptualised and hand-painted in Korea or Singapore. Visitors are invited to get involved and become a part of each installation across the different areas of the museum, where 3D painting techniques combine with mechanical and digital technologies to create illusionary images. The Alive Museum is a huge attraction for visitors to Singapore, who go not only for the visual experience in itself, but for the opportunity to get their cameras and smartphones out to take the ultimate selfies.
Orchard Road means one thing: shopping! Relentlessly lined with flashy shopping malls and upmarket hotels, Singapore’s premier shopping street is cheerfully lined with plenty of shady trees, seating and flower boxes. You’ll find luxury flagship stores from Dior to Armani, huge shopping malls like Ngee Ann City, department stores, cinemas and entertainment complexes.
Head to the basement food halls dotted along Orchard Road for a cheap and filling lunch, and come back at night to while the evening away at a nightclub. Orchard Road stretches west from Istana Park, home to Singapore’s president, to the botanic gardens at its western end. It’s a long, long stretch of road, but the street’s MRT stations, Dhoby Ghaut and Orchard, will help you get around.
One of the most famous shopping areas in Singapore, Bugis street is the home of some 800 busy shops, but it is perhaps the history there which makes it one of the more interesting landmarks in the country.
In the 1950s, Bugis Street gained notoriety as a place where transgendered locals would come down to hang out, driving a tourism boom that made it ideal for grabbing some push-cart, or hawker, food while enjoying a variety of inexpensive merchandise.
Today, the area is much more tamed and where the retail scene is still very much alive, but less of a scandalous place than it once was. Nonetheless, visitors still enjoy going to Bugis to listen about the history as well as get their hands on great local foods, candy and some of the most fashionable clothes in Singapore.
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.
The oldest mosque in Singapore, the Masjid Sultan, is located in the Malay-Muslim quarter of town. The sheen of the two distinguished golden domes that top it, as well as its colorful yet tasteful façade, has made it one of the premiere destinations for visitors of any faith.
Standing on a site totaling 44,228 square feet (4,109 square meters), the massive interior two-stories high can hold about 5,000 faithful Muslims, with separate conference rooms and auditoriums to seat many more. It is also decorated with handcrafted motifs, golden floral patterns and calligraphy to top it all with intricate design.
Having long been a hub for local commerce and art, the mosque is also known to have been the place of several historic events, including where several racial riots took place in the 1950s.
Arab Street is a small area of Singapore, not far from the busy Bugis Junction in the Kampong Glam district. The area is full of unique shops and a vibrant street life. Many visitors discover Arab Street when visiting the grand Sultan Mosque (Musjid Sultan), a large and beautiful building built in 1924. In the surrounding streets, keen shoppers can find the most wonderful selection of fabric; find yourself some gorgeous sari material or wonderfully textured linens and have it sewn up by the tailors located upstairs. There are plentiful cafes, great Middle Eastern food and even luxurious spa treatments available.
Other popular goods for purchase include spices, woven baskets and fresh fruit. The more ambitious can try a shisha (hooka-style pipe) in one of the many late-night cafés, or listen to the live music at venues such as Blue Jazz. It’s not all laid back and traditional in this area though. Head to Bali Lane for hardcore punk music and gothic glam clothing!