Visiting the Lion City? With so much to do it can be hard to choose, so our Singapore-loving travel specialists share their favorite things to see, do and eat!
Learn all the tips and tricks to make sure you don't waste a moment of your visit.
Don't miss our specialists' favorite must-see spots!
Singapore is also known as the Garden City, and the wild Supertrees and conservatories of Gardens by the Bay are the jewel in its crown. Make sure to take in the Garden Rhapsody show in the Super Tree grove, where every night at 19:45 and 20:45 a free show of music and lights dazzles guests settled on the lawn.
The huge conservatories and OCBC Skyway aerial walkway are wonderful spots to explore (especially during the hotter months, as the cool air and scent of flowers feel blissful after walking around in the Singapore humidity)
“We always book our tickets to Gardens of the Bay in advance, in order to skip the lines at the register!” - Vida
One of the city's most iconic buildings and a popular place to stay, as guests of this towering hotel get access to the incredible Infinity Pool, which appears to float over Singapore's skyline. But don't worry, if you want to take in the view without breaking the budget, you can get tickets to the SkyPark which provides great views from the very top of Marina Bay Sands (57 floors up!) and has an observation deck, gardens and restaurants among the clouds.
“Visit the SkyPark an hour or so before sunset, and grab a table at one of the rooftop bars to enjoy the views as the sun goes down (with a cocktail in hand). After dark the bird's-eye view of Gardens of the Bay can't be beat!” - Vida
The rather cute lion/fish mythological creature is the symbol of Singapore. While the most famous statue is the one in Merlion Park, which also offers a great view of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, there are in fact 7 Merlions you can meet in Singapore! Check out the largest one on Sentosa (which also has laser eyes!), a smaller one at Mt. Faber and other little ones hidden around the city.
Make sure to bring your camera, as the colorful buildings, elaborate temples and jasmine garlands of Little India just beg to be photographed! Although particularly fun during the major festivals of Deepavali (October/November) and Pongal (January), this is a great spot to explore year-round. Make sure to stop by and admire the intricate figures which cover Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, which is dedicated to the goddess Kali.
Discover the best things to do in Singapore
The Singapore Botanic Gardens are a great spot for a stroll or jog around the lush grounds and shady trees, conveniently located near the classy Orchard Road shopping area. The gardens are also Singapore's first World Heritage Site, and the only tropical garden in the world to have received this honor. Make sure to stop by the National Orchid Garden, where you can see over 60,000 of the delicate wild blossoms year-round, then tingle your taste buds with one of the ginger-laced desserts at Halia Restaurant.
“This is a great spot if you are an early riser, as the Botanic Gardens are open from 5 in the morning until midnight!” - Chiara
Or, as it better known, Sentosa. This little island is home to many of Singapore's best attractions, which vary from relaxing beaches to adrenaline-pumping rides.
If you are traveling with kids, a visit to Universal Studios Singapore is a must. A little smaller than US theme parks in other countries, you can enjoy the park and still have enough time and energy to do some sightseeing or shopping. If you are looking for a more educational day out, check out Kidzania where children can experience different kinds of jobs all under one roof!
Those looking for something a little more outdoorsy, you can't go wrong with the thrill of zipping down the Sentosa slopes on the Skyline Luge or flying over the beach on the MegaZip Adventure Park!
After a few days in central Singapore and Sentosa you have probably covered all the most important sights, so stretch your explorations out to the fringes of the island. Two personal favorites are the colorful and over-the-top Haw Par Villa where you can see thousands of statues depicting Chinese folk tales and mythology (although those traveling with kids might want to skip the Courts of Hell) and the elegant greenery-surrounded Henderson Waves bridge. A bit outside of the city you can find Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (also known as Bright Hill Temple) the largest Buddhist temple in Singapore.
“Taking taxis to these spots can be pricey, and waiting for buses cuts into your trip time, so booking a tour is often the most effective way to visit these out-of-the-way sights.” - Chiara
Zippy bicycles are a great way to avoid traffic and see parts of the city off the beaten path. As you won't be stuck in a bus you can discover side streets, little temples that are not featured in guidebooks and meander freely along the Singapore River. Less tiring than walking, it is fun to pedal between Singapore's best sightseeing spots while catching a glimpse of local life on your way. Biking is a great work-out, so afterwards you can indulge in plenty of yummy snacks to make up for all the energy burnt off!
“Unfortunately not all of Singapore's roads are bike-friendly, so it is helpful to have a guide show you the best spots to cycle around (and their favorite places to stop for snacks and coffee!) while filling you in on stories of the city.” - Chiara
Make sure to try all the best eats in this city of foodies!
Although often considered an afterthought to the country's delicious noodles and heartier meat dishes, we think that breakfast may be the most Singapore-ish meal of the day. The beloved combination of buttered toast (a British habit), kaya coconut spread (from Indonesia/Malaysia/Philippines) and a cup of strong kopi (coffee) with condensed milk and sugar is a fantastic way to start your day. For an even more authentic experience, get a side of Hainanese-style runny eggs!
Another tantalizing morning favorite is chwee kueh, little steamed rice cakes topped with chopped preserved turnips. The topping usually contains chillies, soy sauce, sugar or other secret touches to balance out the chewy rice cakes, which are traditionally eaten using toothpicks.
If you are looking for something a bit healthier, Singapore has hundreds of smoothie shops and stands, so you can start the day with a fresh glass of fruits and veggies. Pressed juices, shakes and smoothies are also a great way to stay hydrated when the weather is hot!
“Chinatown is a great spot to hit for breakfast. If you are a bit worried about going alone, join a group breakfast for a fun start to your day!” - Janina
To keep up your energy up while exploring Singapore, there is only one answer: noodles! The sheer variety of dishes can keep your senses enthralled for days, without ever repeating the same dish twice. A few personal favorites to get you started:
One must-eat when in Singapore is creamy coconut milk-based laksa (spicy noodle soup), a beloved staple of Perkanen cuisine. Our first stop is always Janggut Laksa, located in the Queensway Shopping Center.
After the sun sets, it is time to hit Singapore's hopping restaurant and bar scene! No matter what type of cuisine you are hankering for, from traditional Singaporean classics to inventive dishes dreamed up by Michelin-starred chefs, you are sure to find it on the island.
To eat like the locals, make sure to spend at least one evening sampling all sorts of dishes at one of the city's many hawker centers. Each center has it's own specialties, but some can be a bit difficult to get to without a car. One famous and conveniently located center is the Tiong Bahru Market, which is just a 10 minute walk from Tiong Bahru Station. The Chinatown Complex Food Centre is also a great option, as the food is well-priced and it is right in the heart of Chinatown!
Looking for a romantic spot to spend a special evening? You can't go wrong with one of the many restaurants with a view over Singapore's skyline. Beer-lovers will enjoy the craft brews at LeVeL33, but if you want to go all out book a table at the IndoChine Rooftop Bar, which is housed on top of the tallest Supertree of Gardens on the Bay and has a perfect view of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
No doubt about it, one of our very favorite things to do in Singapore is eat, which is considered national pastime by locals! The combination of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Indonesian, Perkanan, Middle Eastern, English and Portuguese influences have created a unique and incredibly flavorful cuisine that makes you ask for seconds. From the simple joys of the city's hawker stands to high-class Michelin-starred restaurants, there is something for every budget.
“While a lot of Singapore's foodie spots are great, you want to make sure to avoid the tourist traps where the prices are higher and the quality mediocre. One of the best ways of finding hidden gems is by joining a food tour on your first day in town, to scope out the eats (and have time to go back!)” - Janina
Another true-blue Singaporean dish is curry fish head, where red snapper is cooked in a scrumptious sauce that incorporates Indian, Malay and Chinese influences.
© Singapore Tourism BoardThe origins of this dish have reached mythological proportions, as some say the original recipe came all the way from Kerala, while others believe it is a local Singaporean invention created by an Indian chef to cater to his Chinese customers. There are a couple different ways of preparing this complex dish, the most popular being assam style (which uses tamarind) and the Indian style which has a creamier, coconut-laced sauce.
Useful tips and tricks to make sure your trip to Singapore goes smoothly
While Singapore's weather is hot and tropical, inside the buildings it can feel like you are at the North Pole! Avoid catching a chill from the air conditioning by bringing along a light cardigan or shawl.
We can't say this enough, make sure to carry a bottle of water and stay hydrated! Singapore is hot all-year-round, and a lot of the sights and hawker centers are outdoors, so keep sipping to beat the heat.
Those with special diets (such as vegetarians and those who keep halal) don't have to worry, as most restaurants will understand your needs. There are also plenty of yummy dishes and treats which can be altered to remove animal products. We love both Chinese or Indian style rojak, a spicy-sweet salad with all sorts of veggies, fruit and other toppings (just ask the vendor to hold the prawn paste to make it vegetarian). Another great option for a snack are popiah, fresh spring rolls filled with crunchy veggies and a saucy bean paste, which can be made without fish or meat on request.
Buying tickets for Singapore's beloved attractions individually can take a toll on your wallet. You can save money by buying special Attraction Passes which will give you access to all the best things to do in the city for a flat fee. They also allow you to skip lines at the ticket counters, always a plus!