Tourist Attractions | Singapore
1| Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay in Singapore has undergone a transformation of epic proportions. Once a quiet body of water at the entrance of the Singapore River, this area now stands as a spectacular example of how this miniscule country has come to be one of the world’s most luxurious travel destinations.
Overlapping the Financial District, Clarke Quay and the central Civic District towards the north, Marina Bay boats some of Singapore’s most iconic hotels, skyscrapers, and attractions. It difficult to ignore the iconic Marina Bay Sands resort too, which itself is home to a substantial list of great things to do and see.
2| Clarke Quay & Riverside Nightlife
Nightlife in Clarke Quay is what this party hub of Singapore is really famous. Dazzling lights, beautiful people and buzzing nightclubs – these are some of the things that imprint themselves on your mind the first time you visit Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and a kaleidoscope of concept bars and pubs along the Singapore River. A mind-boggling selection of themes and attractions round out your choice of after-sunset indulgence.
Originally a center of commerce along the Singapore River, Clarke Quay is nowadays a labyrinth of restaurants, concept bars, retail stores and recreation outlets. Try Bar Cocoon or Bamboo Bar at The Forbidden City, Lunar Asian Fusion Bar for great shows, or Bar Opiume at the Empress Place by the riverside and then Attica or Canvas for an after-hours rave.
This comprehensive Clarke Quay nightlife section has all the best bars, pubs and clubs to hit- don’t forget to check out our ‘Top 10 nightlife in Clarke Quay’ guide too.
Raffles Place and its environs, situated right outside the entrance of Raffles Place MRT, are now occupied by skyscrapers such as the UOB Plaza and OUB Building. It is Singapore’s business and financial center, and is often known as the Central Business District. From the viewing room on the 28th floor of UOB Plaza One, which is open to the public, you can get a spectacular view of Singapore River, the civic district and its colonial structures and Boat Quay. Still there are some reminders left from when Singapore was a bustling colonial outpost.
Change Alley was the street where Indian money changers ran their businesses; today the Alley is tucked inside OUB Building but you can still change your foreign currencies and travelers cheques here. Further south along the waterfront is Lau Pa Sat, a Victorian-styled cast-iron structure that used to house a wet market. Now, it’s a lively hawker center with stalls that sell arts and crafts and show cultural performances.
Chinatown, with its colorful Peranakan shop-houses and handful of historical attractions, makes for a pleasant stroll. It is divided into four main districts, namely Kreta Ayer, Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Pasoh, but the centre of activities revolves around Smith and Pagoda Streets. Chinatown offers a lot more than just the restored shops and ethnic places of worship, such as the old Hokkien temple Thian Hock Keng, Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple and James Mosque, it’s a haven for hawker food lovers.
There’s also a good mix of hotels here, from heritage shop-house hotels to five-star luxury boutique accommodation. The Chinatown MRT Station brings you to the doorstep of Pagoda Street.
The Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel. A one-of-a-kind experience and built over a three-story terminal building, the Flyer is 150 meters in diameter, 165 meters high, and travels at 0.21m per second (it is some 30 meters taller than the famous London Eye!) With breathtaking panorama views that are so radically different during the day and at night, it’s hard to choose the best time to take a ride.
Passengers will get to see such city sights as the Singapore River, Raffles Place, Marina Bay, Empress Place and the Padang. Each of Singapore Flyer 28 city-bus-sized air-conditioned capsules can carry up to 28 passengers and a complete rotation of the wheel takes approximately 30 minutes.
If shopping is your thing, there are plenty of opportunities here from luxury watches to jewellery but it’s not all about extravagance; you can sample various types of delicious food at many of the city-state’s restaurants as well as relaxing at a spa facility offering such treatments as a ‘Dr. Fish’ spa and foot reflexology. An activity not to be missed for those who love the idea of flying is to experience the flight simulator and be a pilot for a day in a well-equipped cockpit.
6| Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore was the latest addition to Singapore’s attractions list. Opened in 2010, Universal Studios Singapore has seven themed sections with countless rides and shows, all related to major hit movies. The park is part of the US$4.5 billion Resorts World Sentosa Development.
Start off in Hollywood. Strolling down Hollywood Boulevard will make you think that you’re in the States, not in a tropical Asian country. This is the main shopping area of the park. New York is based of course on the city of New York and here you can have your photo snapped with ‘movie stars’ such as Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe. Continue on to Sci-Fi city featuring a pair of the world’s tallest intertwining roller coasters among other things and then to Ancient Egypt where you will be faced with two massive guard statues. The atmosphere is truly that of ancient Egypt so get in to experience the ‘Revenge of the Mummy’ ride, a must for adults but not quite the best thing for young kids.
Next comes The Lost World which is based on the two popular films Jurassic Park and Water world; lots of excitement and a huge T-Rex. A must-visit for Shrek fans is the Far, Far Away section, featuring a beautiful castle and Shrek’s swamp. Don’t worry– you’ll get plenty of chances to have your photo taken with Shrek and Fiona.
The last stop is at Madagascar (everyone knows and loves it!) This is a real winner and is guaranteed to bring a smile to people of all ages with its well-known characters, indoor boat rides and special effects and sounds.
Gardens by the Bay is a huge, colourful, futuristic park in the bay area of Singapore. The famous Supertree structures offer an impressive skywalk over the gardens, over-sized seashell-shaped greenhouses recreate chilly mountain climates and there are hundreds of trees and plants to discover, making this destination great fun for both kids and adults.
The best place to grasp the size of Gardens by the Bay is from the top of Marina Bay Sands, which sits directly opposite the park, the space encompass 250 acres of reclaimed land on the waterfront. Getting here is easy, either via walkways from the hotel, giving you an elevated view of the gardens, or taking the slightly longer riverside promenade to enter the park near the two domes. Walking around the park won’t cost you a cent but if you want to step inside the climate-controlled conservatories, or walk amongst the Supertrees, there is a fee. The main park area is open from 9:00 to 21:00.
There is no doubting the dominance of the steel-framed ‘tree’ plantation, towering over Gardens by the Bay with 12 of the large metal structures in the central grove and half a dozen others placed in other parts of the garden. Over 200 difference species of plants and flowers cover the exterior of these tall upright gardens and twice a night they are a centerpiece of the gardens’ light and music show (at 19:45 and 20:45), casting a glow over the park, and making you feel like you are in a modern fairytale.
For those who like a view, take the trip 25 meters up to the remarkable walkway that connects three of the trees together. For that extra special dining experience, the 50 meter tree at the center offers food and a view at Supertree by Indochine, with a 360 degree view from the lounge and a tree-top roofless bar.
If you need to cool down, head into Cloud Forest, the smaller shell-shaped building, with a 35 metre high mountain covered in plants that thrive in tropical highlands. Don’t worry if climbing feels too much, there is a lift that takes you up into the mist and gives you a great view looking down over the walls of plants and orchids. The Flower Dome is also cooler than outside, recreating the drier climes of places like California and the Mediterranean. In this gigantic conservatory you will find yourself on a journey around the world, with Baobabs from Africa, Olive trees from Spain, Kangaroo Paw from Australia.
A visit to both greenhouses will cost 28 SGD for adults and 15 SGD for children. Inside the Flower Dome you will also find Pollen, a Mediterranean restaurant that creates dishes using herbs and vegetables grown in-house.
The Merlion is the mythical symbol of Singapore and easily the most popular attraction on the whole island. Come to visit this half-fish, half-lion statue during the day to witness crowds of tourists all bustling for position for Singapore’s most sought-after photo-op in front of the 70-tonne concrete figure, which stands 8.7 metres tall and has a fountain of water spurting out into the picturesque Marina Bay.
You can find the statue at Merlion Park, situated at One Fullerton near the waterfront at Marina Bay. This must-see Singapore attraction is just a short walk from Raffles Place MRT Station, and can also be visited via this popular day-tour, which stops off at all of the other most popular attractions in Singapore.
The Merlion Park, which is completely free to visit, also recently had a bit of a revamp, and now includes several cafés, restaurants, souvenir shops and on-site toilets. You can get up close to the statue or walk along the purpose-built jetty that sticks out into the bay, presenting the best position for that all-important holiday snap: bonus points if you can position yourself so it looks like the fountain of water from the Merlion is falling into your own mouth!
It’s said that the fish’s body of the Merlion represents Singapore’s humble begins as a small fishing village at the southern tip of the Malaysian Peninsula, whilst the Lion’s head is derived from the country’s original name, Singapura, which means Lion City in Malay. Whilst nowadays most locals regard the Merlion to be more of a shrewd marketing tool rather than holding any deep mythical or historical significance, the statue remains an iconic symbol of the country and certainly is a must-see Singapore attraction. Come early enough in the morning or late at night to avoid the crowds, and enjoy the particularly pleasant view across the bay.
Singapore Night Safari is a world-class attraction that not only provide entertainment and wonder for visitors, but are dedicated to conservation, rescue and research to help improve the lives of animals both in captivity and in the wild. Thousands of animals from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas can be seen in the spacious natural environments of Night Safari. These attraction alone help Singapore earn its well-deserved reputation as one of the most family-friendly destinations in Asia.
Singapore’s nightlife is truly wild! The Singapore Night Safari offers an unusual glimpse into the nocturnal animal kingdom, with more than 59 exhibits and 1,000 animals to be seen. Take a trip around the world via walking trails and trams that connect eight geographical regions. See exotic and often endangered species such as the Himalayan griffon vulture, greater one-horned rhinoceros, wildebeests, gazelles, giant anteater and the gaur (wild cattle) of Burma.
Start with the Creatures of the Night Show for a good 20-minute overview of the animals to be seen here (show times 19:30, 20:30, 21:30 and, on weekends and holidays, 22:30), then move on to the Himalayan Foothills via tram to see bharal, Himalayan tahr, mouflon and markhor traversing the rugged terrain.
Next, the tram heads to the Neplaese River Valley, featuring a large sambar (deer) habitat as well as golden jackals, pelicans and the greater one-horned rhino. Going across the Indian Subcontinent, look for the sloth bear, striped hyena, barasingha and Gir lion.
Further along is Equatorial Africa with its giraffes, lions, servals and bongals in a landscape resembling the great savannah grasslands. The diverse habitat of the Indo-Malayan Region has Malayan tigers and babirusas, while the Asian Reverine Forest features tapirs and elephants. Next, see the giant anteater and the capybara, or water hog, the largest living rodent, in the South American Pampas area, followed by a trip toe the Burmese Hillside for glimpses of big wild gaurs and thamins, or Burmese Eld’s deer.