Planning a trip to Southeast Asia and looking for the best things to do in Singapore? Geographically blessed and used as the gateway to Asia, Singapore might be small, but it’s packed with great things to see and do for all ages of travellers.
The city is so much more than just a layover destination. It’s also known worldwide for its futuristic buildings, luxury hotels and shopping, and melting-pot of cuisines. And in recent years, Singapore has firmly cemented its place on every SE Asian bucket list.
There are fascinating neighbourhoods, steeped in tradition and culture, to explore. Or pay a visit to some of the city’s world-class museums, exhibitions and events. Next up, take a tour of Singapore’s iconic attractions like the Gardens by the Bay. Or make memories the whole family will remember at Universal Studios Singapore. Finally, there are endless options to shop, eat and drink your way around the city.
Read on to discover 10 of the best things to do in Singapore.
The best things to do in Singapore: Step into the future
One of Singapore’s most popular attractions is an icon in itself. The Gardens by the Bay spans across 101 hectares in downtown Singapore. Opened in 2012, the most eye-catching are the impressive Supertrees that rise to 50m in height. The experience is particularly special during the twice nightly light and sound show Garden Rhapsody. During the show, music and lights dance across the landscape to a rousing soundtrack.
Explore Singapore’s wild side
Discover one of the wilder things to do in Singapore. Singapore Zoo is famously an ‘open zoo’, where animal enclosures are made out of natural barriers rather than cages. Since it opened its doors in 1973, new and exciting elements have been constantly introduced, which keep visitors returning in droves.
The best things to do in Singapore for families or the young at heart
Singapore is well-loved by families because of its clean and safe reputation. But it’s also due to the plethora of attractions that the whole family can enjoy. The island of Sentosa in particular is home to popular family attractions Universal Studios Singapore, the S.E.A. Aquarium, and Adventure Cove Waterpark. In addition, you can try zipping down The Luge, the Megazip Adventure Park, or even learning how to trapeze.
On the mainland, Jewel Changi Airport boasts a range of family-friendly activities including a hedge maze and Manulife Sky Nets. Here, kids and the young-at-heart can have fun trying to traverse across this giant net at 8m above ground.
Bird’s-eye view: See Singapore from above
If you’ve wondered what the city looks like from above, head to the Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck. From here, you can see the city spread out in front of you. To make this sight even more spectacular, time your visit for sunset.
Alternatively, if you prefer to enjoy the view in air-conditioned comfort, take a ride in the Singapore Flyer. Or head to the world’s highest brewery at LeVel33 to enjoy skyline views with a drink in hand. Meanwhile, at Skai Restaurant on the 70th floor of the Swissotel The Stamford, or at 1-Atico on the 55th floor of ION Orchard, delicious food is served with dizzying city views.
Take a walk through the ‘City in Nature’
Singapore may be an urban metropolis, but it’s also known as ‘A City in Nature’. This is thanks to its tree-lined streets and green spaces in the heart of the city.
To enjoy the greenery, take any of the walks or trails on the Park Connector Network (PCN). The PCN is a network of paths that you can walk, run or cycle on. It connects the many parks and green spaces in Singapore. A good example is the Southern Ridges Walk. This follows a 10km trail through green, open spaces. It also crosses the Henderson Waves Bridge – the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore.
Alternatively, you can visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and makes an ideal spot to just relax under a green canopy. Although just a stone’s throw from the major shopping street of Orchard Road, you’ll be surprised as to how far away the city feels when you’re amidst these tranquil surroundings.
Explore Singapore’s colourful neighbourhoods
Looking for things to do in Singapore that showcase the city’s rich cultural mix? Singapore is known for its multicultural heritage. And there’s no better place to experience it than in the city’s colourful cultural neighbourhoods. From Chinatown to Little India and Kampong Gelam (the Malay-Arab quarter), visitors can discover traditional trades, shops and eateries. Don’t forget to visit the heritage centre in each neighbourhood. Here, you can learn more about how the communities influenced Singapore and helped it to become what it is today.
If you’ve already visited the most popular neighbourhoods, why not try somewhere further afield? Take a trip to the Katong-Joo Chiat area, the heart of Peranakan culture. The Peranakans (also known as the Straits Chinese) are a mix of Chinese and Malay, but with their own customs and famously delicious food.
For a more in-depth look at Singapore’s cultural past, embark on a walking tour with a specialist guide. You’ll hear colourful stories and heritage facts, some that even the locals don’t know themselves.
Try Singapore’s unique combination of flavours
After being founded by the British in 1819, Singapore drew thousands of immigrants from different countries in the region. From China to India and the Malay Archipelago, many settlers came with the dream of forging a life in a new land. Each had their own respective culture and customs. This led to a natural mixing and subsequent adoption of each other’s practices over time. It is this unique multicultural heritage that spawned the city’s now-famous eclectic food scene.
Hawker Culture was successfully inscribed as Singapore’s first element on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on 16 December 2020. Singapore is where one can truly tantalise their tastebuds. From hawker stalls and local coffee shops to champagne brunches and fusion cuisine, or food from almost every corner of the world, the most difficult choice is always, where do you start?
Bar-hop your way around the ‘Cocktail Capital of Asia’
Hoping to add some nightlife to your list of things to do in Singapore? You’re in luck – the after-dark options are endless. No less than six Singapore bars have consistently made it into the World’s 50 Best Bars list over the last five years. Not all six remain the same either, which should tell you saying something about the city’s ever-changing nightlife scene. It’s little wonder then that Singapore is also known as the ‘Cocktail Capital of Asia’.
From rooftop bars to speakeasies, gin bars to whisky bars, and craft breweries to zero-waste sustainable bars, bar-hopping in Singapore can be an activity in itself.
For something a little more energetic, the city is home to pre-party lounges and clubs of all shapes, sizes and musical tastes.
Shop ‘til you drop Singapore-style
For anyone who loves retail therapy, Singapore is hands-down one of the best destinations in the world. And we’re not just talking about international big brand names. There are also famous Asian brands, local designers and artisans, affordable homeware, custom-made products, and street markets.
If you’ve already explored the many shopping centres that line Orchard Road, head for downtown Singapore. Here, the incredible new Funan Shopping Mall even boasts an indoor cycle track. Alternatively, you can pick up a bargain at the outlet mall IMM (International Merchandising Mart) in Jurong. Those looking for a unique gift to take home shouldn’t miss Design Orchard, which features local Singapore brands.
Furthermore, as almost every shopping centre has a food court, you can literally eat, shop, and repeat…up until 9 pm every night.
Visit the city’s newest attractions
If you’ve visited the city before, you might be wondering if there are any new things to do in Singapore. Known for constantly innovating and reinventing itself, Singapore has not only welcomed new attractions but many existing visitor destinations have also been upgraded or renovated too.
For example, the beloved Changi Chapel & Museum has recently reopened after upgrades. Meanwhile the wonderful Museum of Ice Cream – the first located outside of the US – is an exciting new addition to the city’s museum offerings.
Elsewhere, on Sentosa island, you can now choose to a bungee jump over Siloso Beach. Or alternatively, you can head skywards on the new SkyHelix – an open-air gondola that rises 35m above the ground.
This article on the best things to do in Singapore was produced by Vacations & Travel in partnership with The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
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