Exploring the Lion City: Top Things to Do in Singapore

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Highlights

  • Travelers who are lucky enough to visit Southeast Asia never leave the same. 
  • There are cultural delights here that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, including sandy shorelines, clean streets, and dedicated neighborhoods with Asian, Turkish, and Arabian delicacies. 
  • Dining under the stars in Singapore is something that no other city can replicate, especially with some food from a local street vendor in hand. 
  • When you need to take a break from the hustle and bustle, an esplanade along the bay or a beach across the way away can dampen the noise. 
  • This city is safe enough for solo travelers to enjoy, but also packed to the brim with family activities for the whole crew to enjoy.
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Singapore is a jewel of an island nation in Southeast Asia, handily accessed by Jewel Changi Airport. Renowned as one of the cleanest cities in the world, it makes everything you’re about to experience twice as enjoyable. 

With so many pockets to explore in this great city, you might like to have at least five days to drink it all in. And, if you’re lucky enough, you can island hop to other beauties on this side of the world, including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, or Thailand. 

Aptly nicknamed the Lion City, Singapore roars with activity, especially if your mind is set on full cultural immersion, something every new travel blog should be speckled with. Together, let’s create an itinerary with all the best things to do in Singapore, whether you’re traveling alone, with your partner, or the whole family crew. 

Start With the Marina Bay Esplanade

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The Marina Bay Esplanade is one of the most enthralling free things to do in Singapore and an anchoring point for the city.    

As you research your trip, popular sights on the esplanade will continue to pop up like the Helix Pedestrian Bridge, Singapore Flyer, the ArtScience museum, and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. 

The Singapore Flyer is a great way to overlook everything you’re about to experience in this majestic city; it’s a large observation wheel overlooking the Gardens by the Bay (another must-see we’ll devote more time to in just a moment). 

The ArtScience museum lives in a lotus-shaped building right beside the Marina Bay Sands hotel. This beauty often lands on lists of things to do in Singapore with kids because of all its interactive exhibits. No matter how many people are in your party, though, this will be a well-spent morning or afternoon. 

You can easily walk around the bay in a full circle. With restaurants, coffee shops, the museum, the Flyer, and stunning views, this is a fantastic starting point for what’s about to be a most spectacular week. 

Get Lost In One of Two Botanical Gardens

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There are two destinations in Singapore that are sure to rival the Garden of Eden: Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Botanic Gardens. 

Whether you’re a garden enthusiast or not, these two greenscapes will live on your list of the best things to do in Singapore forever. They’re fun for the whole family or a long, reflective walk by yourself. 

Gardens by the Bay are an easy escape right from the Marina. But, the Singapore Botanic Gardens are only a hop and a skip, as well, via a short train ride. 

Gardens by the Bay will reframe the way you view nature. It features an unimaginable indoor waterfall. There are also towering Supertrees that will make it seem like you’re lost in a grove meant for giants. If you’re here in the dead of summer, their iconic cooled conservatories will bring your temperatures back down while still tantalizing your mind. 

One thing to note is that it can get quite crowded in there on the weekend. See if you can work this into your schedule on one of your weekdays in the city. 

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The Singapore Botanic Gardens take sumptuous to a new level. Small paved paths line endless lakes that will transport you from one oasis to another. Filled with unique flora and fauna, you may be inspired to take up watercoloring to make the memories last forever. 

There are grassy meadows if you feel like preparing a little charcuterie board and a few refreshments. In fact, it’s helpful to note that there aren’t water fountains strewn throughout the gardens, so you might want to pack a nice, cool bottle of water for the stroll. 

Check Out Chinatown

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What’s a roaring lion of a city without its very own Chinatown? Every step in Singapore’s Chinatown offers a new delight for the senses. 

The Chinatown Complex is chock full of local market vendors. It doesn’t get any fresher or more local than this. For souvenirs and other tokens, Chinatown Street Market and Pagoda Street are your treasure boxes. 

Many people come here in search of authentic food stalls; they’re contained in two main food centers: the Maxwell Center and the Hong Lim Food Center. 

Singapore’s Chinatown may put thoughts of Manhattan on your radar. With that in mind, be sure to check out this extensive list of things to do in New York.

Immerse Yourself In Little India

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In keeping with the theme of full cultural immersion, invite yourself to a lovely stay in Little India. One of the nicest mementos you’ll take home from this trip lies within one of the jewelry shops on Serangoon Road. You’ll also find some of the most gorgeous silks here, making Singapore one of the top vacation destinations in the world. 

There are countless canteens brimming with authentic dishes in Little India. They also have their own street carts brimming with delicious finds, all within the Tekha Center. 

Much like the silks you’ll find here, the fresh produce is also second-to-none. Take some home for an evening snack to accompany your nightcap. These cultural corners are some of the best things to do in Singapore for couples.

Visit Kampong Glam

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In keeping with the theme of immersion, round off your cultural escapade with a visit to Kampong Glam, one of Singapore’s oldest urban quarters with several colorful streets to explore. Although this could technically land on a list of free things to do in Singapore, you’re not likely to walk away empty-handed.    

Arab Street is aptly named because of its authentic vendors who are eager to share their wares with you, including colorful textiles and decadent glass lanterns.

Barboush Street should be your next stop for authentic Turkish and Lebanese finds. This is a spectacular spot to sit outside, enjoy some classic cuisine, and take in the sights and sounds of a bustling market street. 

From Barboush Street, while you’re sipping on strong coffee, you’ll be able to drink in the view of one of the most spectacular mosques in the world: Sultan Mosque. 

The mosque is actually just off Arab Street; so, your best bet is to stop inside on your way from Arab Street to Barboush. But, the trick is to take in all its glory in the evening when it lights up the night sky, making this another worthy candidate on your list of the best things to do in Singapore for couples.

Check out Chijmes

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It may seem strange to put mosques and convents on your itinerary, but hear us out. Part of the charm of Chijmes is its very existence. Formerly a 19th-century convent and schoolhouse, it’s now a mecca for upmarket dining

Dotted throughout the courtyard, you’ll find a wealth of bars and restaurants just waiting to blow your mind, making this one of the most spectacular things to do in Singapore at night. When the whole area is lit up, it sparkles like one of the jewels you’ll find in Little India. 

Sentosa Island

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Visiting an island within an island is a guaranteed good time. To get there, take a stroll down a pedestrian boardwalk or ride a cable car to this little slice of fun for the whole family. 

You can easily relax the day away on Palawan Beach with its awning of palm trees and turquoise shorelines. Or, if you’re feeling a little more energized, you can sail down the slides at Adventure Cove Waterpark for some easy thrill-seeks. The whole island, and Adventure Cove particularly, makes this one of the best things to do in Singapore with kids.

Speaking of thrill-seeking, Sentosa Island features an indoor skydiving facility called iFly. How’s that for a way to get your feet wet if skydiving’s been on your bucket list? 

Universal Studios even made it to this island oasis. You’ll also find S.E.A. Aquarium, Fort Siloso, Madame Tussauds, and another beach. The fort showcases a World War II museum and Siloso Beach just so happens to be spread with some of the softest sands in the world.

If you’re looking for something a little more commercial that’ll keep the kiddos entertained, Sentosa Island serves as a nice balance to the more eclectic experiences in Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam. 

It’s not exactly around the corner, but if you plan to make this your year of white sandy beaches, be sure to check out our guide to the best things to do in Miami, as well.

The Best Things to Do In Singapore for a Spectacular Getaway

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Each of these things to do in Singapore will earn a coveted spot in your travel journal. Singapore is a sacred and special corner of the world that compares to nothing in the Western Hemisphere. It may even change the way you look at high-density cities as travel destinations due to its cleanliness and eclectic cultural offerings.

Do you prefer to position yourself out of big cities and then spread your wings into neighboring destinations? When you make your way to North America, be sure to use our in-depth guide of the best things to do in Toronto to take in one of the world’s finest metropolises that never disappoints. 

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