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 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. Discover all of these, and more, in our list of Singapore’s best things to do.
What are the best things to do in Singapore?
Singapore’s famed Marina Bay is the place to go to see the city’s most spectacular things to do. With the fast development of this cosmopolitan city-state, the whole Marina Bay area has undergone a transformation of epic proportions.
The S$5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands complex is the focal point of the bay, and many of the great things to do and see in the area revolve around this epic building and resort, such as the Science Museum, Casino and various shopping, dining and nightlife options. Arrive at Marina Bay around 8pm to catch the spectacular light show, which illuminates the water as well as several iconic landmarks you’ve probably seen on postcards.
This luxurious colonial-style hotel has a long history dating back to 1887 and has become one of the most important landmarks in Singapore. Its famous guests include Elizabeth Taylor, Queen Elizabeth II and the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
The Raffles Hotel features 103 suites and 18 distinctive restaurants and bars as well as an arcade with over 40 boutiques and stores (think Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co.) Many come for the Raffles Bar experience and you can be sure to enjoy the best Singapore Sling in town. After all, it was actually invented here, and they’ve had almost 100 years of experience at making them.
Location: 1 Beach Rd, Singapore 189673
Phone: +65 6337 1886
Exploring Chinatown is one of the best things to do in Singapore, no matter how many times you’ve visited the city. It’s great for shopping – many swear you’ll find the cheapest souvenirs here – you’ll see all kind of important attractions and find plenty of authentic Chinese food.
There are countless restaurants and hawker food vendors to choose from. Learn more about its history from the Chinatown Heritage Centre on Pagoda Street. Its main focus is on the Chinese immigrants who lived a hard life and were the main group of people who founded Singapore. Other attractions include Thian Hock Keng Temple, the oldest temple in Singapore, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Eu Yan Sang Chinese Medical Hall and Maxwell Road Food Centre.
Sunday brunch at the Fullerton
Sunday’s the day for Fullerton Hotel’s Town Restaurant’s indulgent Champagne Brunch – one of the world’s best. The fantastically varied brunch comes with a selection of Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean and local cuisines, including fresh seafood with an unlimited flow of champagne, wines and juices. The Fullerton Sunday brunch is available from 12:00pm to 3.30pm (free-flow champagne until 3pm).
Location: 1 Fullerton Square, Singapore 049178
Open: Brunch is served from 12pm to 3.30pm
Phone: +65 6733 8388
This delightful riverside development is packed full of bustling bars and restaurants, boutique shops and pumping nightclubs, attracting a steady stream of tourists alongside Singapore’s party animals.
Clarke Quay’s location takes full advantage of the picturesque body of water that emerges from the city’s main river, with alfresco-style dining to be had in an endless number of eateries set around the water’s edge. Head under the futuristic, jelly-like roof and you’ll find some great shopping options as well as a plentiful supply of bars, making this a real bar-hoppers’ heaven.
Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore was the first amusement park of its kind to open in Southeast Asia. The park has more than 20 attractions in themed zones including the Lost World, Ancient Egypt, New York, Hollywood, Madagascar and Far Far Away.
Regarding the rides, 2 are water themed and 5 are thrilling roller coasters. Families with small children can also make the most of the various live shows, kids’ roller coaster and a merry-go-round too. Located on Sentosa, it’s easy to get to Universal Studios by MRT subway.
Location: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269
Open: Daily from 10am to 7pm (open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday)
Phone: +65 6577 8888
Treetop walk at MacRitchie Reservoir
The treetop walk at MacRitchie Reservoir is a big project and a pioneer of its genre in Singapore. Standing 25 metres high and at 250 metres long, the wooden walkway bridge gives you the opportunity to see Singapore in a different way: without one tall building in sight – just a fantastic panoramic view of the forest with its many interesting animals. It takes at least 3 hours to fully enjoy the treetop walk at a distance of around 7 km.
Location: 601 Island Club Rd, Singapore 578775
Open: Daily from 9am to 5pm (open from 8.30am pm weekends)
Phone: +65 1800 471 7300
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a huge, colourful, futuristic park in the bay area of Singapore; and has won countless architecture awards. 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.
Location: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Open: Daily from 5am to 2am
Phone: +65 6420 6848
One of the city’s most iconic streets, Orchard Road is the epicentre of shopping in Singapore and is similar to London’s Oxford Street or Hong Kong’s Nathan Road. Flanked on both sides by local and international department stores, tiny boutiques, offices, spas, beauty salons, hotels, entertainment spots, restaurants, and cafes, you could spend a whole day trawling the main thoroughfare.
Shopping malls along Orchard are stocked with practically everything under the sun. Plus, there is always some kind of fair or activity taking place in the malls and shopping centres so there are probably more things to do Orchard than anywhere else in Singapore.
Location: Orchard Road, Singapore
The Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel. A one-of-a-kind experience and built over a 3-story terminal building, the Flyer is 150 metres in diameter, 165 metres high, and travels at 0.21m per second (it is some 30 metres taller than the famous London Eye!).
With breathtaking panoramic 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.
Location: 30 Raffles Ave, Singapore 039803
Open: Daily from 8.30am to 10.30pm
Sentosa is a purpose-built island off the southern tip of Singapore which was built with leisure and relaxation in mind. A collection of beaches, theme parks, golf, shopping, dining and more are all available on this strip of reclaimed land that can be reached by road or cable car.
Authentic it’s not, but if you want to add a bit of fun to your Singapore trip then Sentosa is the place to do it. You can choose to stay in Sentosa, but even if you’re not based on the island, you can easily access all the attractions via MRT in 15 minutes from downtown Singapore.
Singapore Night Safari
Singapore Night Safari is truly a unique attraction. It’s not only an interesting place worth a visit but a leading conservation and research centre in Asia.
As a zoo, it offers an unusual glimpse into the nocturnal animal kingdom, with more than 59 exhibits and 1,000 animals to be seen from around the world. These include Himalayan griffon vultures, greater one-horned rhinoceroses, wildebeests and gazelles. You can simply start with the ‘Creatures of the Night’ show for a good 20-minute overview of the animals to be seen here.
Location: 80 Mandai Lake Rd, Singapore 729826
Open: Daily from 7.30pm to midnight
Marina Bay Sands Casino
The Marina Bay Sands casino resort is the second casino in Singapore. You can try your hand at 700 games tables and over 2,500 gaming machines, spread out over 4 palatial levels.
Costing $5.5 billion to build and featuring an area of 15,000sqm, the actual casino area comprises less than 3% of the integrated resort’s gross floor area. Other facilities include more than 50 restaurants, lots of shopping and meeting-and-convention facilities. Entry is free for foreigners.
Location: 4 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018973
Open: 24 hours a day
Phone: +65 6688 8868
The most adrenalin-inducing thing to do in Singapore has got to be the G-Max Reverse Bungy, Singapore’s first ever bungy. Get launched skywards at 200 km per hour to a height of 60 metres and bounce for approximately 5 minutes.
The experience is not unlike being an astronaut in a rocket launch as you sit in an open-sided ‘capsule’. Also, for a few extra dollars, riders get a T-shirt and a DVD recording of themselves in action, taken by an onboard camera.
Location: 3E River Valley Rd, Singapore 179024
Open: Daily from 2pm to midnight
Phone: +65 6338 1766
Lau Pa Sat market
Built in 1894, Lau Pa Sat, once a wet market, is now a popular and atmospheric hawker centre. This historic building was built with Victorian filigree cast-iron and is located in the heart of Singapore’s business area. At lunchtime, it’s full of office workers, whereas, by night, the street is closed and the many food stalls serve plenty of local favourite dishes.
Also known as Telok Ayer Market, standout dishes at Lau Pa Sat include sticks of tasty satay chicken with peanut dipping sauce and grilled stingray, covered in a spicy sambal sauce.
Location: 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582
Open: 24 hours a day
Cruises and boat rides
One of the best ways to get to know Singapore is from the outside looking in; that’s to say, a cruise. Leisurely, relaxing and memorable, cruising in the harbour is the ideal way to view the city-state.
Cruises take on many different shapes in Singapore. Options include getting up early to join a Morning Glory Cruise or spend an afternoon taking it easy with the High Tea Cruise or experience the romantic side of Singapore with a Dinner Cruise.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
The Sungei Buloh Nature Park is a great place for bird-watching, being a regional stopover for birds on their North-South migrations. An 87-hectare wetland reserve, the park is a little less than an hour’s ride by car from the centre of town. The park gives you an idea of the mangrove swamps that once surrounded Singapore.
Location: 301 Neo Tiew Cres, Singapore 718925
Open: Daily from 7am to 7pm
Phone: +65 6794 1401