Singapore has been described as a playground for the wealthy, and it is true that the small city-state does exude wealth. However, Singapore has more to offer than high-end shopping malls, luxury hotels, and fine dining (though it’s worth indulging in these for a while if you can). There’s also a vibrant history and a diverse ethnic quarter to explore, as well as many family-friendly attractions and beautiful public spaces that make exploring this slightly futuristic city worthwhile.
Singapore’s public transportation system is excellent, making sightseeing convenient and easy. Once you’ve mastered the metro map, you’ll have no trouble getting from one part of town to another. English is spoken everywhere, and signs are also in English. In fact, Singapore is one of the easiest and most comfortable countries in Southeast Asia to navigate. And as long as you don’t compare prices to neighboring Thailand or Vietnam, you’ll have a wonderful time.
- Marina Bay Sands.
The opulent Marina Bay Sands resort complex includes a high-end luxury hotel, a mall with a canal running through it, the ArtScience Museum, and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck, which provides panoramic views of the city. The Skypark’s viewing deck and infinity pool are located on the hotel’s ship (yes, ship). The infinity pool is only available to hotel guests, but anyone can visit the observation deck.
The innovative double helix bridge, the port, the Gardens by the Bay (101 hectares of land converted into waterfront gardens), and the impressive skyline can all be seen from the Skypark.
While on top of the city, guests can grab a snack or a cup of coffee at the rooftop restaurant or shop for souvenirs at the souvenir stand. You can buy a photo of yourself green-screened in front of the massive hotel while it’s all lit up at night for 50 Singapore dollars, but it’s better to ask a fellow tourist to take one for you. The Marina Bay Sands’ elegant opulence exemplifies Singapore’s style and status as a major international city in Southeast Asia.
- The Bay Gardens
You won’t be able to stay away once you’ve seen this beautifully designed green space (perhaps from the top of the Marina Bay Sands). Wander through the Bay East Garden, which is ideal for admiring the vibrant plant life and temporarily escaping the city bustle.
You won’t want to miss Supertree Grove, a collection of iconic, futuristic structures designed to perform environmentally sustainable functions. Then, visit the Cloud Forest Dome, where you can see the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and learn about biodiversity. Prices and tour dates can be found on the website.
- Botanical Gardens
The Botanic Gardens, not to be confused with the Gardens on the Bay, are also worth a visit. Singapore’s botanical gardens were nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status for good reason. The city can feel like a concrete jungle at times, albeit a clean and comfortable one, but the botanic gardens preserve remnants of Singapore’s wilder heritage.
A walking path leads to the gardens’ heritage trees, which are being preserved as part of an effort to preserve the city’s mature tree species. Make time to see the stunning National Orchid Garden as well.
Visits to the eco-garden, eco-lake, bonsai garden, sculptures, and several other formal gardens are also popular.
- Orchard Street
Because Singapore is a world-class city for style and designer chic, one could be forgiven for visiting and doing nothing but shopping. Because there are high-end stores at every turn, the Orchard Road area is a great place to start a shopping spree. Nothing less would be expected from a neighborhood with 22 malls and six department stores. There are also four movie theaters, including an IMAX, and a KTV karaoke bar.
If you get hungry while spending all that money, there are plenty of restaurants in the area that serve international cuisine.
- Raffles Hotel in Singapore
This colonial structure is one of the world’s last grand nineteenth-century hotels, and it has hosted literary luminaries such as Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as movie star Charlie Chaplin.
The property, which was built in 1887, has served as a city landmark for well over a century and continues to live up to its affluent reputation with excellent food and service. The classical architecture and tropical gardens provide a refined setting while also representing another aspect of Singapore’s varied and rich history.
The Raffles Hotel Singapore is located in the city’s Colonial District, which is also home to several other historic sites and makes an excellent base for exploring the city. The Raffles Landing Site is located here, where Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, is said to have stepped ashore in 1819. According to legend, he saw the small fishing village but saw its potential as a port, so he bought the land from the Sultan of Johor and invited Chinese and Indian immigrants to settle here. As a result, the seeds of Singapore’s multi-ethnic identity were planted.