Whether you’ve got just 48 hours on a stopover or plan to take your next holiday in Singapore, this great city state offers a wealth of attractions, thrilling adventure parks and myriad cultural delights.
Here’s my pick of five top sights and experiences not to be missed…
To get your bearings and stunning panoramic views of the Empress Place, Singapore River, Merlion Park, and even the coasts of Malaysia and Indonesia on clear days, climb aboard one of the 28 city-bus-sized air-conditioned capsules on the Singapore Flyer. Situated at the Marina Centre on Marina Bay, it’s the world’s biggest Observation Wheel reaching 165 meters high. During the 30-minute spin on the wheel, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the city and when you disembark there are more treats in store. The Singapore Flyer attractions centre also has a selection of fine dining restaurants, shops and a toe-tickling fish ‘foot spa’ where garra rufa fish chew off the hard skin on your feet for a very alternative ‘pedicure’ experience.
Take the ferry across to Sentosa, Singapore’s giant theme-park, which covers the entire island. Here, you can simply swim and sunbathe on the beaches and eat your way around the vast number of dining venues or get your thrills and spills in the theme parks. A free bus service runs around the island stopping at all the top attractions, including Universal Studios Singapore, Underwater World, the famous aquarium that’s home to 2,500 sea creatures, the Skyride – an open-air chairlift, and the amusement parks filled with some of the world’s tallest rollercoasters and fabulous waterchutes and rides. You can also stay on the island: take your pick of the luxury resorts, The Sentosa and the Shangri-La Sentosa Resort, check into the hostel or pitch your tent in the camping grounds.
For an added thrill you can also get there by cable car from the World Trade Centre and enjoy a close up view of Mount Faber en route, one of Singapore’s highest peaks.
You don’t come to Singapore’s Chinatown, situated near the city’s financial centre of Shenton Way, just for dim-sum. This heady world of old and new, spread over four main districts – Kreta Ayer, Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Pasoh- is packed with traditional bakeries, tea houses, medicine halls, goldsmiths and market stalls. To discover the intriguing history and culture of the Chinese in Singapore, visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre, housed in beautifully restored traditional shophouses on Pagoda Street.
Chinatown’s mix of hundreds of ethnic and modern restaurants and bars also make it the place to be when the sun goes down. You’ll find the best of the nightlife action in the Trengganu and Smith Street area and the chicest bars along Club Street.
If you’re travelling with kids or are a bit of a science buff yourself, the vast and internationally celebrated Singapore Science Center offers a dazzling choice of mind boggling experiences. Here you’ll find over 850 exhibits, including interactive explorations of the wonders of space, the workings of the human body and the impact of climate change. Another highlight is the Aviation Gallery, which demonstrates the principles of flight, and tells the story of man’s first attempts to take to the skies. Or why not sit back and watch a movie? The onsite OmniMax Theatre shows are variety of thrilling scientific films in 3-D which will transport you to other worlds including the pyramids of Egypt. There’s so much to see that it’s impossible to tour the entire center in just one day.
Cocktails at Raffles
Sipping a Singapore Sling in the famous bar of the luxurious Raffles Hotel has long been a must-have ‘Sing-sperience’. And you’ll be in good company. An illustrious roll call of international celebrities, writers and royalty has checked into the elegant guest rooms. Named in honor of the founder of modern Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, the original hotel, which opened as a simple lodging in a bungalow in 1887, has since grown to become one of the world’s grandest hotels with 103 suites, 18 restaurants and its own posh shopping arcade with more than 40 designer boutiques. Even if you can’t afford the room rates, you can still hang out in the famous Long Bar and sip a Singapore Sling or two – the hotel’s famous cocktail.
This post was written by Natalie Walsh, a travel writer with a love for Singapore holidays.
Check out mTrip’s Singapore travel guide if you plan to travel soon!
Image attribution: simone.brunozzi, Lyndi&Jason, sweet_redbird and Schristia