People have called Singapore a playground for the rich, and it’s true that the small city-state has a look of wealth. But Singapore has more to offer than just high-end shopping malls, luxury hotels, and fine eating (though you should enjoy those things if you can). This slightly futuristic city also has a rich past and many different ethnic neighborhoods to explore. It also has many family-friendly attractions and beautiful public spaces that make it worth your time to see it.
Singapore has a great public transportation system that makes getting around and seeing the sights easy and handy. Once you know how the metro plan works, you’ll be able to move quickly from one part of town to another. Everyone speaks English, and all the signs are written in English. In fact, Singapore is one of the easiest places in Southeast Asia to get around in. And as long as you don’t compare prices to Thailand or Vietnam, which are close by, you’ll have a great time.
Read our list of Singapore’s top sites for ideas on what to see and do.
1. Marina Bay Sands
The luxurious Marina Bay Sands resort complex has a high-end luxury hotel, a mall with a canal going through it, the ArtScience Museum, and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck, where you can see the whole city. The ship (yes, a ship) on top of the hotel is where the Skypark’s viewing deck and swimming pool are. The only people who can use the infinity pool are hotel guests, but anyone can go to the viewing deck.
- Address: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore
- Official site: http://www.marinabaysands.com/
2. The Gardens by the Bay
You won’t be able to stay away from this beautiful green area once you’ve seen it, maybe from the top of the Marina Bay Sands. Walk through the Bay East Garden to see the beautiful plants and get away from the noise of the city for a while.
You won’t want to miss Supertree Grove, where you can see a group of the famous, futuristic buildings that are meant to help the environment. Then, go to the Cloud Forest Dome to see the world’s biggest indoor waterfall and learn a bit about biodiversity. Check the website to find out how much tickets cost and when tours start.
- Address: 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore
- Official site: http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en.html
3. Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens are also worth seeing, but they are not the same as the Gardens on the Bay. The botanical grounds in Singapore were put on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for the first time, and for good reason. The city can sometimes feel like a concrete jungle, albeit a clean and comfortable one, but Singapore’s wilder past is kept alive in the botanic parks.
Here, a walking path goes to the gardens’ heritage trees, which are being kept alive as part of an effort to protect the city’s older tree species. Make sure to also stop by the National Orchid Garden, which is also worth seeing.
- Address: 1 Cluny Road, Singapore
- Official site: www.nparks.gov.sg/sbg
4. Singapore Zoo
The Singapore Zoo is a pretty cool place. It calls itself the best jungle zoo in the world. The building is clean and inviting, and the animals look like they are well cared for. There is a lot of lush vegetation and room for the animals to live.
The orangutans are especially interesting, and tourists can watch as both babies and adults swing high above their platforms and eat fruits. There is also a big family of chimpanzees, zebras, meerkats, a komodo dragon, mole rats, white tigers, kangaroos, and many other animals.
Some of the animals can be fed in front of the visitors. Plan on spending at least three hours at the zoo.
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore
Official site: www.wrs.com.sg/en/singapore-zoo
5. Orchard Road is in Singapore.
Singapore is a world-class city for style and brand chic, so you wouldn’t be blamed if all you did there was shop. The area around Orchard Road is a great place to start a shopping spree because it is full of high-end shops. When a neighborhood has 22 shops and six department stores, you wouldn’t expect anything less. There are also four movie houses, one of which is an IMAX theater, as well as a KTV karaoke place.
If you get hungry while spending all that money, there are a lot of places nearby that serve food from all over the world.
- Official site: http://www.orchardroad.org/
6. Singapore Flyer
If the observation deck at Marina Bay Sands doesn’t do it for you, try high tea while looking out over the city from the Singapore Flyer, the world’s biggest giant observation wheel. You can choose from different packages that let you be served and spoiled while taking in a view that goes as far as the Spice Islands of Indonesia and the Straits of Johor in Malaysia.
There are different ticket packages to choose from, and each one gives you entry to the multimedia Journey of Dreams exhibit, which tells the story of Singapore and how the Singapore Flyer came to be.
Flights take 30 minutes and leave from early in the morning until late at night, so you can choose whether you want to see the city when it is busy or when it is lit up at night.
- Address: 30 Raffles Ave, Singapore
- Official site: www.singaporeflyer.com
7. Singapore’s Raffles Hotel
Built in 1887, the property has been a city landmark for well over a century, and its excellent food and service continue to live up to its upscale image. Classical buildings and tropical gardens create an elegant setting and show another part of Singapore’s long and varied past.
The Raffles Hotel Singapore is in the city’s Colonial District. This is a good place to stay if you want to see a lot of the city’s famous sites. Here is the Raffles Landing Site, which is where Singapore’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles, is said to have landed in 1819. The story goes that when he saw the small fishing village, he saw that it could be a port. So, he bought the land from the Sultan of Johor and asked Chinese and Indian people to move here. So the roots of Singapore’s many different cultures were planted.
- Address: 1 Beach Road, Singapore
- Official site: www.raffles.com/singapore
If you’ve ever been to China, the Chinatown neighborhood in Singapore will take you right back there. From the small mom-and-pop shops to the real Chinese food to the bright red lanterns, this area is full of action and activity. You can see the beautiful and impressive Sri Mariamman Hindu temple at the Chinese Heritage Centre.
The Buddha Tooth Relic temple is also worth seeing. You can hear the morning drum ritual if you get up early enough (around 4 a.m.). Or, you can skip seeing the relic and just go to the closing event in the evening.
- Official site: www.chinatown.sg
9. Sentosa Island
Singapore isn’t usually thought of as a beach town, but Sentosa Island is the place to go if you want some fun in the sun. Siloso Beach is a good place to spend time at the beach. There are free volleyball courts and places to kayak and skimboard. There are also a lot of other things to do at the beach, and you can swim with dolphins at the Underwater World zoo.
Read more: 24 Best Singapore Places to Visit for Free!
The Merlion, a famous figure in Singapore with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, is a must-see on Sentosa Island. Take an elevator to the top of the statue, where you can see a wide view of the area. People who like to try new things should check out The Flying Trapeze and SeaBreeze Water-Sports @ Wave House, where you can try flying with a jet pack that is powered by water.
- Official site: www.sentosa.com.sg/en
10. Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay is as busy as it was when it was the “center of business” in the 19th century. Today, it has a more finished look, so after a long day of shopping on Orchard Road, people can go to Clarke Quay to eat, drink, and have fun by the water.
From here, river taxis and cruises leave, so tourists can see some of the city’s historic bridges and sites like the Merlion from the water. The biggest hit with younger tourists at The Quay is a giant bungee-jumping ride, which is a thrill ride full of excitement.
11. The Singapore Universal Studios
Resorts World Sentosa is home to 49 acres of Universal Studios Singapore. The park is set up by theme, with each area giving tribute to a different place, movie, or TV show. Some of the places they go to are New York City, Hollywood, Madagascar, and Ancient Egypt. Fiction-themed areas include Shrek’s Far, Far Away, Lost World, and Sci-Fi City, where the most thrilling rides are dueling roller coasters based on Battlestar Galactica and an indoor dark coaster called Revenge of the Mummy.
In addition to its many rides, which range from easy to scary, the park has a variety of places to eat, shops, and live shows that run all day and night.
- Address: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore
12. Night Safari Singapore
At Night Safari Singapore, tourists get a different kind of zoo experience by learning about the animals’ lives at night. The habitats in the park are split into four parts. Each section has its own trail where you can watch these elusive animals go about their “day.”
As you might think, there are leopards on the Leopard Trail. There are also lions, flying foxes, civets, porcupines, and other animals. The Fishing Cat Trail takes you through the homes of Singapore’s native animals, like the fish-loving cats, the pangolin, the binturong, and other common and rare species. On the East Lodge Trail, you can see Malayan tigers and spotted hyenas. On the Wallaby Trail, you can learn about Australia’s marsupials.
There are private tours, buggy rides, educational sessions, and once-in-a-lifetime events like feeding an Asian elephant.
- Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore
- Official site: www.wrs.com.sg/en/night-safari
13. Merlion Park
The Merlion in Singapore is a statue of a fictional animal with the head of a lion and the body and tail of a fish. The Merlion is a symbol of the humble beginnings of the city as a fishing village and its original Malay name, Singapura, which means “lion city.”
The “Merlion Cub” sits nearby. It is only two meters tall but weighs three tonnes. There are five other official Merlion figures all over the city. Merlion Park is a great place to take pictures, whether you want to take a selfie in front of the famous lion or take a picture of the beautiful view of the bay from the park.
- Address: One Fullerton, Singapore
14. Museum of Asian Civilizations
If you want to see more colonial building, you can go to the Empress Place Building if you haven’t had enough of the Raffles Hotel and Fort Canning Park. It was built in the Neoclassical style in 1865, and it was named after Queen Victoria. It is now home to the Asian Civilisations Museum, which looks at the different Asian cultures that helped make Singapore what it is today.
The museum’s collections are mostly about trade and spirituality, two things that have had a big impact on Asian countries. Some of the things covered in the exhibits are the trade in the Indian Ocean, stories of faith and belief, and a look at how important scholars were to Chinese society for hundreds of years.
- Address: 1 Empress Pl, Singapore
- Official site: http://acm.org.sg
15. Pulau Ubin (Granite Island)
Visit the small island of Pulau Ubin, where fewer than 100 people still live the same simple way they did in the 1960s, to see what life was like in Singapore before it became all about glitz and buildings. The name of the island is “Granite Island,” which is Malay. It got this name because it used to be a big mining town.
Today, it’s a quiet, rural place where tourists can enjoy natural woods and a wide range of animals. The Chek Jawa Wetlands are also on the island. They have a coral reef full of sea life.
The island is easy to get to by boat. It’s a 10-minute ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to the island.
16. Park at Fort Canning
Fort Canning has been a military base for a long time and has been through a lot. The fort was built in 1859 to protect Singapore from threats. During World War II, it was turned into a bunker, and in 1942, it was given over to the Japanese.
Now that the war is over, the original building is home to modern performing arts groups, and the park is often used for picnics, concerts, plays, and other events.
- Address: 51 Canning Rise, Singapore
17. The Maritime Experience Museum
This indoor-outdoor museum is right on the water, and its fun, hands-on exhibits are a great way to learn about Singapore’s maritime past. You can see several ships docked here before you even go inside the building.
The Jewel of Muscat, a copy of a ship that sank between Africa and China in 830 CE, is the most interesting thing inside the museum. You can also see big models of trading ships that went along the Silk Route, learn how to navigate and read nautical charts, and experience a shipwreck from the 9th century in a special effects scenario at Typhoon Theater.
- Address: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore
18. Fort Siloso
On Sentosa Island is Fort Siloso, which is the only fort still standing in the country and also a military museum. The Fort Siloso Skywalk trail is a huge steel bridge that goes to the fort. It is 11 stories high. The bridge is surrounded by a lush jungle canopy and can be reached by a glass elevator or simple stairs. Taking the elevator gives you great views of Keppel Harbor, which you can’t really see if you walk up. The 181-meter-long bridge has great views of the nearby islands and the bush floor below.
- Address: Siloso Road, Singapore
- Official site: http://www.fortsiloso.com/
19. Airport Jewel Changi
The 10-story Jewel Ghangi is not your average airport. It has been named the best airport in the world many times. In fact, you should put it on your list of places to see while you’re in Singapore.
The most famous thing about the airport is the 40-meter-high HSBC Rain Vortex, an indoor stream surrounded by more than 2,000 trees. The airport also has more than 300 shops. Each of the three buildings at the airport, which are all connected to each other, also has its own garden. Terminal 1 has a cactus garden, Terminal 2 has a sunflower garden, and Terminal 3 has a famous butterfly garden with more than 40 different kinds of butterflies, a six-meter stream, and lots of flowering plants.
- Official site: https://www.changiairport.com
Where to Stay in Singapore if You Want to See the Sights?
Singapore is easy to get around and has a train system that makes it easy to see everything. Most of the hotels on this list are in the city center, on or near Orchard Road, which is a great place to shop and see things. A couple of these hotels are well-known and popular places to visit in Singapore. All of the hotels on this list are well-known and have good reviews.