1. Relax the Botanic Gardens
Singapore arguably has the best gardens in the world. The Botanic Gardens makes up 183 acres in the beautiful Singaporean tropical landscape. Over 10,000 species of plants, flowers and trees can be seen around the area. It’s so big that you will need all day to see everything, but I recommend going for 2-3 hours to get a good (enough) experience.
The gardens are free to walk but you have to pay a small fee to see the Orchid Garden which you must see! Everything is very well-kept to perfection, and it’s a great place to ease the mind. The gardens are easily accessible access via the MRT station via Bukit Timah entrance, and it’s open from 5AM to 12midnight everyday.
2. Spend an Afternoon in Chinatown
Chinatown in Singapore is probably the best Chinatown in the world (outside of mainland China). As you may already know, Singapore’s population is dominated by Chinese people (over 75%), so they have developed an excellent and cultural area in the heart of Singapore.
This ethnic neighborhood has a beautiful Chinese temple (shown in pic), hundreds of amazing restaurants, a well-known hawker center, and a fantastic street market. Remember to use your bargaining skills at the street market, because you can easily knock the prices down 30-40%. It’s full of colors and surprises, and I promise that you will be left satisfied!
3. Eat at a Hawker Center
Hawker centers are the single best creations in the existence of mankind. I’m dead serious! I have been raving about these ever since I went, and here are the reasons why:
Picture a massive outdoor food cafeteria with over a hundred different food vendors and tables. They are found all over Singapore, usually near the metro stations. Most of the food is Chinese with influences of neighboring cuisines like Indian, Malay and Indonesia. The food is extremely cheap and it’s the best I’ve had in my life. Make sure to try these top Singaporean dishes! If you remember one thing from this blog post, it should be that Hawker Centers are the best thing ever invented in the world. Ever.
4. Swim in the Marina Bay Sands Pool
The Marina Bay Sands hotel is not only the most expensive hotel ever built, but the most expensive BUILDING every created in the world. It cost $5.7 billion USD and it opened up recently in 2010. The land outside the hotel is huge, and the floor area is 581,000 square meters. Inside this pristine hotel are 5-star restaurants, theaters, exhibition facilities, convention centers and expensive retail shops. Nothing screams “I’m a boss” more than this hotel does.
But the best part about The Marina Bay Sands Hotel? The infinity swimming pool on the rooftop! Yes, that enormous UFO looking shape on the top of the 3 pillars is an infinity pool, overlooking the entire skyline. However, you must be a guest to swim up there. So either make friends with someone who is a guest, or book the hotel for a 1-night stay, and reap the benefits!
5. Bargain on Bugis Street
Ahhhh, Bugis Street. This place is pretty cool. If you are into street-markets and bargaining, then it’s utterly important to check out Bugis. Back in the 1950s-70s, the entire Bugis area was filled with prostitution, transvestites and had a huge sex culture. But it has transformed in recent years with the addition of giant shopping malls, restaurants and nightclubs. Busis Street is a cobblestoned avenue sandwiched between a few shopping centers
This mecca street has just about anything that you can ask for- souvenirs, clothes, shirts, jewelry, cheap hand made good, electronics, CD’s, purses… and the best part? It’s all dirt cheap! I got this awesome watch (that I still wear everyday) for $5USD and I love it. Remember to use your bargaining skills!
6. Go to the Singapore Zoo
The Singapore Zoo is the best zoo in the world. It occupies 70 acres in Singapore’s heavily forested area north of the city center. There are over 3,000 animals ( 315 different species), including the largest captive colony of orangutans in the world. Over 1.5 million visitors each year visit the Singapore Zoo.
So why is it so special? The entire zoo is set in Singapore’s natural rainforest environment, so many of the animals are living in their natural habitat! I was amazed that there weren’t cages or big gates locking in the animals, beacuse I saw many animals freely swinging in the trees. I remember seeing birds, snakes, white tigers, elephants, giraffes, hippos, seals, monkeys and more! I saw the feeding show for the white tigers and it was super cool! You must find out the times and do this as well. The Zoo is known as the “World’s Best Rainforest Zoo” and has a Night Safari that apparently is amazing, but I didn’t have the chance to do it. All in all, the Singapore zoo is a friendly environment, a great experience and 100% worth a trip.
Read more about this zoo, ticket prices and general info on their website.
7. Soak up Little India
Little India is actually where my hostel was, so I spent a good amount of time here. It is a pretty cultural place, and it really does feel like you are in India. There were many times where I was the only white person in my vicinity. In addition to all the Indian people, all the food and shops were also Indian. There is even Hindi writing on all the signs! One of my favorite Hawker Centers is located adjacent to the Little India Metro Station, so check it out if you like Indian Food.
There are tons of street markets and places to buy souvenirs in this area. Also some cool bars just off the main road! I recommend just spending a few hours here in the daytime, getting an awesome Indian meal and buying a gift for yourself. It’s a unique place!
8. Ride the World’s Tallest Ferris Wheel
The Singapore Flyer is the tallest ferris wheel in the world, and it’s no joke. At 550 feet (167 meters) high, this ferris wheel is larger than the London Eye! It is located near Marina bay shopping center on the southeast tip of the Marina Promenade. You literally can’t miss it beacuse it is the only GIANT circle thing in the sky. The views from the top are breathtaking, and yuo can see 30 miles out in the distance including the Indonesian islands of Batam and Bintan.
If you like heights and/or thrills, then jump on the Singapore Flyer!
9. Re-live Avatar a the Gardens by the Bay
The Gardens by the bay look like something straight out of a movie… Avatar! The entire park is located next to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, spanning out 101 hectares of land. There are several “alien” looking things that make you feel like you are living in the year 2100.
Take a walk along the long walkway that is 25 meters above the ground. It connects two of the main gardens together and it is only $5 to get access up there! Even better, visit the skywalk at night and see an amazing light show that will blow your mind. There are also two giant man-made (flower dome and cloud forest), which I recommend visiting. I went to the cloud forest and it was pretty neat.
For more info, check out their website
10. Hang out in the Arab Quarter
If you still haven’t gotten enough culture in Singapore (Chinatown, Little India, etc), then make your way over to the Arab Quarter! Known locally as Kampong Glam, this neighborhood retains strong relations to the Native Malay and Muslim communities. There is a large population of Muslims living in this area- especially on Bussorah Street- and the major landmark is the giant Sultan Mosque.
Around the area are plenty of decent shops, restaurants, galleries and good vibes. It’s located north of the Singapore River in the urban planning area of Kallang and Rochor.
What is your favorite thing to do in Singapore?