Singapore is much more than the sum of its numerous attractions. It’s constantly evolving, reinventing, and reimagining itself, with people who are passionate about creating new possibilities.
It’s where foodies, explorers, collectors, action seekers, culture shapers, and socialisers meet―and new experiences are created every day.
Singapore is a thriving cosmopolitan city with a history deeply rooted in trade and commerce. Although a long favourite destination for the more affluent of travellers, the Lion City’s roar is beginning to be heard by the masses. An abundance of world-class, affordable attractions are springing up on a regular basis, whilst the vast variety of restaurants and nightlife options cater for everybody, from budget backpackers to high rolling billionaires!
Airport:Changi Airport (IATA: SIN, ICAO: WSSS) is the major civilian airport for Singapore, and one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia.
Country Code: 65
Credit Cards: All major credit cards are accepted.
Currency: Singapore dollar (SGD)
Departure Tax: $21SGD is paid for all departures.
Goods and Services Tax: A 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST) is levied on most goods and services. Visitors may apply for a refund of the GST paid on goods worth $100 or more at affiliated retailers.
Drives on the: Left
Electricity: 220 - 240 V (Great Britian configuration)
Ethnic Groups: 78% Chinese, 14% Malay and 7% Indian and Pakistani, 1% other.
Location: Southeast Asia
Official Language(s): English is the language of business and administration and is widely spoken and understood throughout the country. Most Singaporeans are bilingual, though, speaking Mandarin, Malay or Tamil in addition to English.
Religion: Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, Christian, Islam
Time Zone: 13 hours ahead of Toronto and New York and 16 hours ahead of Vancouver and Los Angeles
Tipping: Tipping is not usual in Singapore. You do not need to tip at hawker stalls or coffee shops, or in taxis.
While tourists visit throughout the year, the festive season is a great time to explore the many facets of Singapore, especially around July when the Great Singapore Sale and the Singapore Food Festival take place.
The months between the summers and winters are quite pleasant. Plenty of outdoor activities become available then.
The wettest months are between November and January, when showers can last for long periods of time, while the hottest months are May and June.
Choosing the best things to do in Singapore was no easy task; this is a city bursting to the seams with impressive attractions, exciting activities, and plenty of day trips for all the family. Almost everyone will have seen an image of the city’s symbol, the Merlion, and this makes our list alongside the nearby Marina Bay Sands SkyPark and Singapore Flyer – both of which offer breathtaking views across the iconic Singapore skyline. This tiny island state is also a land of contrasts; Chinatown and Little India, both gastronomic and shopping hubs in their own right, represent the incredible ethnic diversity of the country. For nightlife we’ve got you covered too; sip on a Singapore Sling at the lavish Raffles Hotel, or head to Clarke Quay for some of the city’s most picturesque eating and drinking spots.
It’s not every day that you can have breakfast with orangutans. But at the Singapore Zoo you have a chance to do this and much more! Famous for its rare collection of animals, it’s popular with kids and adults both.
Receiving 1.6 million visitors annually, the Singapore Zoo boasts of its free-ranging habitat, where animals roam freely in their natural surroundings. Cages are almost non-existent as the animals are allowed to live almost like they would in their natural habitat.
For photographers, this is a delight as they can shoot to their heart’s content with no cage bars or wires obstructing their view.
When you’re in the vicinity of the Merlion Park and One Fullerton, it’s hard to miss out on the iconic symbol, regarded as the pride of Singapore. The large Merlion statue, standing at a height of 28 feet has a lion’s head and a fish’s body and represents the city’s humble origins as a fishing village. From here, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Marina Bay.
Jurong Bird Park
The park boasts of the world’s largest walk-in aviaries with the tallest man-made waterfall (30 metres high), where visitors can enjoy a close-up view of free-flying birds from Africa and South America in a tropical setting.
The aviaries are specially designed to closely resemble the natural habitat of the feathery friends. The 50-acre sanctuary offers educational and entertaining bird shows throughout the day.
Don’t miss out on the Birds n Buddies show that showcases a stunning display of the largest collection of birds. Watch pelicans in the first ever underwater viewing gallery as they prepare to catch their lunch, have colourful and friendly lories feed right out of your hands and be amazed by the singing parrot! Don’t leave the park without paying a visit to the world’s tallest artificial waterfall.
Singapore Night Safari
Hop on to a tram and embark on a journey through the world’s first wildlife night park that takes you from the Himalayan foothills to wild equatorial Africa. This is your chance to come up close with lions, tigers, tapirs and more! You are sure to be in for an experience of a lifetime as you take this 40-minute journey around the park and see over 1,000 animals in eight geographical areas.
Hop on to the world’s largest observation wheel and enjoy breathtaking 360° views, as you spot iconic and historical landmarks along the Singapore River. Before you board the flight, go on the Journey of Dreams and be awed by an engaging multimedia showcase that helps you understand the history of Singapore and the stories behind the Singapore Flyer. Nothing is more romantic than marvelling at the gorgeous night views of the city from atop the Observation Wheel. Indulge in a romantic four-course sky dining experience that comes with a personal butler.
Gardens by the Bay
The 101-hectare super park, popularly known as Gardens by the Bay offers amazing views of the Marina Bay skyline. Surrounded by lush lawns, tropical palm trees and beautiful pavilions, it is perfect for an evening stroll or picnic with family and friends.
River Safari is one of the most loved and visited attractions of Singapore. It is the first and the only river themed wildlife park in Asia and has many fun and adventurous activities to offer. The theme park is based on some of the world’s most prominent rivers like the Amazon, Ganges, Mississippi, Nile, Congo, Murray, Mekong and Yangtze. Every river has its own adventure and wildlife to offer. The River Safari theme park also has a Panda Forest which is the largest panda exhibit in southeast China. Children, once they are in the River Safari, do not ever want to leave! The River Safari has the world’s largest freshwater aquarium exhibit which has been aptly named as the Amazon Flooded Forests. The River Safari also provides complimentary Amazon River Quest boat rides.
Kick back and enjoy a day out with your family and loved ones in Singapore’s playground with its beaches, nature walks, spas, restaurants, entertainment and much more. This quaint island boasts of plenty of tourist attractions for all age groups. Open to visitors throughout the year, Sentosa Island is a must on your to-do list.
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures, with Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnic groups comprising its sociocultural fabric. The influx of foreigners in recent times has lent a cosmopolitan image and Singapore’s lifestyle is multi-cultural. Each of the ethnic communities maintain their unique way of life and at the same time live harmoniously. Given this unique blend of cultures and people, Singapore’s event calendar is marked with holidays and celebrations all year round. Festivals range from religious celebrations, socio-cultural festivities and sports events. Outlined below is a glimpse of the popular holidays and festivals celebrated in Singapore.
Singapore celebrates festivals that are specific to each of its ethnic groups and their respective religions. Additionally, certain important anniversaries are celebrated island-wide by the entire nation. These significant religious festivals and important dates are declared as public holidays in Singapore.
Singapore is a shopper’s paradise, with shopping malls galore and more brand names than you can imagine. For high street fashion and designer labels, your first stop should be Orchard Road, the highest concentration of shopping malls in the world.
If you are short on time, then your best bet for a one-stop shopping mall experience is ION Orchard. This eight storey mega-mall has an entrance directly from Orchard MRT Station and boasts one of the best food courts in town, in addition to many other restaurants. The shops cover everything from big designer brand names to high street favourites. Linked via underground walkways are both Wisma Atria, for more high street favourites, and Ngee Ann City for those big designer brands again. The Mandarin Gallery bucks the trend, housing several independent boutiques.
Away from Orchard, the best shopping malls are Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, home to several exclusive boutiques and jewellery shops, and VivoCity in the west, a huge mall with high street shops, two supermarkets, plenty of eating options and a multi-screen cinema.
For souvenirs, head to Pagoda Street in Chinatown where the street markets are brimming with ideas for gifts. Behind the street stalls, you’ll find a few shops with attractive ranges of antique furniture and lacquer ware. Little India is also worth heading to for silk sari material, Hindi music CDs, jewellery and other ethnic gifts. Haji Lane, one of Singapore’s best kept secrets is full of independent boutiques, while the Funan IT mall is where to head for electronics, with five floors of electronic shops to keep you occupied.
Due to the multiculturalism that exists within Singapore, there are not many uniquely Singaporean dishes, instead, the cuisine found on this island nation is a mixture of Malay, Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes. Restaurants found in Singapore also reflect this multiculturalism and offer Chinese, Malay, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Italian, French and American foods. If visitors wish to experience a true local eating experience, they must visit open-air hawker centres where various families operate cooking stalls. At these stalls, secret family recipes that have been passed down through the generations are on offer, and one can tell the best stalls by the length of the lines.
Being an island nation, seafood is very popular in Singapore. Favourite dishes include barbecued stingray which is smothered in sambal (a spicy chili sauce) and served on banana leaves. Crabs that have been chopped and covered in a tangy chili sauce are favourites, while crabs and crayfish that have been served in a thick black pepper and soy sauce are quite popular.
Cantonese cuisine is traditionally found to the west of the country and one of the most popular dishes is clay pot rice which is rice that has been cooked with chicken, Chinese sausage and mushrooms and is prepared in a clay pot.
A favourite Indian dish is Murtabak which is an Indian/Muslim dish of folded roti prata dough that has been stuffed with spiced mince meat, onions and eggs. Murtabak is traditionally served with curry.
Malay cuisine in Singapore is a fusion of Indonesian and Thai influences. Common Malay dishes include rendang, which is a dry, dark and heavy coconut-based curry that is served over meat. Satay is also very well liked and is tasty barbecued meat kabobs that are quite sweet and are dipped in a chili peanut sauce.
Despite being created in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, the Singapore Sling cocktail is morepopular internationally rather than locally. The original recipe called for gin, Heering Cherry liqueur, Benedictine and fresh pineapple juice, however, by the 1980s the recipe had evolved to simply gin, bottled sweet and sour and grenadine. Local drinks like Bandung, a rose syrup served with evaporated milk are quite common, so too is sugar cane juice. Teh halia tarik or ginger tea with milk is found throughout the country, while Tiger Beer, launched in 1932 became Singapore’s first locally brewed beer.
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