Singapore is a modern cosmopolitan city which reveres its ethnic roots and if you enjoy a little variety then a visit to such quarters as Little India, Arab Street, and Chinatown are points of interest not to be missed. This city-state is a mecca of shops, restaurants, and resorts and along the beaches, those seeking a little excitement can take full advantage of the many water sporting activities on offer. A model public transport system provides a reliable, clean, comfortable and affordable way of getting around. Singapore is a clean, efficient and decidedly friendly city where everything works like clockwork, and the crime rate is the lowest in the world.
- 1 Top things to do in Singapore (festivals)
- 2 Singapore Top Attractions
Top things to do in Singapore (festivals)
The Singapore Grand Prix
Being a spectator to this amazing night-time event is most definitely one of the top things to do in Singapore. The Singapore Grand Prix has been an annual event in Singapore since 2008. Although held at the accepted time for a Grand Prix the time translates into a night-time Formula One spectacular. It is also Asia’s only street race. The festive atmosphere means that many enjoy the occasion for more than just the race itself, but also for the festive atmosphere. Celebrities come from all over the world to enjoy the whole Grand Prix season and to take part in the many parties and celebrations.
The Singapore Food Festival
The Food Festival is a month-long annual event that runs from the end of June to the end of July. Each year the theme of the Festival is different which makes for a magnificent culinary affair. The Signature event of the Festival is ‘STREAT’ when many culinary experts gather together in a single location and present their unique gourmet creations among which are many delicious Singapore specialties. So, if you are a foodie then this is most definitely one festival you cannot afford to miss.
The Hungry Ghost Festival
Celebrated by the Chinese community in August or September depending on which falls in the Chinese lunar calendar’s 7th month. This festival is when Taoist Chinese believe that ghosts roam the streets, and dead relatives come again to visit relatives. On the day of the festival Chinese opera is performed on outdoor stages and there are much singing and dancing.
National Day is the time that the whole of Singapore celebrates its unprecedented success, the entire island is alive with vibrant energy and celebration. On the 9th of August every year, the city is bedecked in red and white flags, and there are military parades, spectacular firework displays, and general festivities throughout the city.
The Singapore Night Festival
The Night Festival is held every year for two consecutive weekends in August. It is an extravaganza that stretches from the Bras Basah/Bugis heritage precinct to CHIJMES and Raffles City and beyond to the Plaza Singapura. There is a display of lights that turn the Singapore Art Museum and National Museum of Singapore into magical places of wonder. Street performers abound and at the specially erected Hawkers Food Alley there is much to sample and savour. It is a splendid time to experience Singapore’s heritage, arts, and culture in a very different way.
The Great Singapore Sale
For the shop-‘til-you-drop’ aficionado, this is the great event of the year. Singapore’s GSS is the time for discounts on fashion, jewelry, toys, and electronics, in fact, everything including discounted hotel accommodation and entry to local attractions. During the Great Sale, Singapore becomes a shoppers’ paradise. If this is for you, then take a look in the Orchard Road belt for designer brands, but don’t overlook the less exclusive but equally tempting wares in Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India. The fun of all of the ten weeks of this crazy island-wide sale are the promotions, lucky draws and reward programmes.
Singapore Top Attractions
The landmarks of Singapore are varied, from high in the sky, to down on the ground wonders. There are stately colonial buildings as well as spectacular state-of-the-art architecture which stand side by side with ancient districts filled with history and temples. Here too, you will find Museums and Memorials to WW2. Whatever your interest, Singapore has something for everyone.
The Singapore Flyer
A great point of interest is Singapore’s enormous viewing wheel. Take time out to view the city from this, the world’s largest giant observation wheel. Not only you do have spectacular views, but you can choose to enjoy a high tea while you gaze out at the wonderful Singapore skyline and enjoy views that reach as far as the Spice Islands and the Straits of Johor. Whether you wish to view Singapore by day or against the night sky, you can do either, or both as the wheel is open until late in the evening.
Bay East Garden
If the hustle and bustle of the city become a little overwhelming, you can escape to this lush and beautiful garden and wander to the ‘Supertree Grove’ that houses futuristic structures with eco-friendly functions. From the Grove, you can take in the ‘Cloud Forest Dome’ where you can learn a little about biodiversity and view the world’s highest indoor waterfall.
The Botanic Gardens
The gardens are magnificently reminiscent of Singapore’s original surrounds. A walking trail takes you through its heritage trees which are conserved in the gardens in an attempt to protect the city’s indigenous tree species. Some of the other attractions in the Gardens are the eco-garden, the eco-lake, the bonsai garden and the National Orchid Garden.
Here you will find heritage markers in English, Japanese and a simple form of Chinese strategically placed. These markers provide information on the heritage of each area. Bright red lanterns hang above the doorways of little family shops and eateries that serve authentic Chinese dishes. At the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the day begins at 4 am with the drum ceremony and is open to visitors throughout the day. If temples are of particular interest to you, then you can proceed to the very beautiful Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple in the Chinese Heritage Centre. Despite all the emphasis on heritage and the past, Chinatown is a progressive town with free Wi-Fi upmarket boutiques and bistros, so there is plenty to see and do as well as many opportunities to stop for refreshment.
Little India and Arab Street (the Arab quarter)
Here is a rich Indian history in Singapore, and it is said that the name itself is derived from Sanskrit meaning ‘Lion City’. In this 200-year-old quarter with its many vendors is the flavour of India, where traditional holidays are observed and for those looking for souvenirs can find plenty of pleasing and unique items. And in Arab Street, you can visit the historic Sultan Mosque with its golden domes and impressive exterior as you head for one of the many restaurants for a little respite after shopping for that unique memento in the quaint shops along the way.
Built in 1887 this last of the world’s grand hotels which once hosted such famous literary giants as Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad as well as the sad-funny genius Charlie Chaplin. Set in fine tropical gardens the Hotel is a landmark in the Colonial District of Singapore and nearby you can visit the Raffles Landing Site. The landing site is said to be the very spot where Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, first landed in 1819.
The Changi Chapel and Museum
In Upper Changi Road is the Changi Chapel, which stands in the courtyard of the Changi Museum, a monument to those who suffered during the WW2 Japanese occupation. In the Museum there are the letters, drawings and personal effects of some of the 50,000 civilians and soldiers held in the Changi Prison. Adding to the poignancy of this memorial is the Chapel’s cross which is made from ammunition casings.
This rainforest zoo is impressive especially if you opt for a Singapore breakfast with the orangutans then go on to take your place among other visitors observing animal carers feeding the animals. You can also combine your visit with a River Safari that takes you to the giant panda forest and bird lovers can Park-hop for a visit to the Jurong Bird Park.
This fort, once essential to the defence of Singapore built in 1859, is now home to modern-day performing arts troupes. In the gardens surrounding the fort are Sir Stamford Raffles’ bungalow and a replica of the spice market established by Raffles in 1822. The gardens regularly hold open-air concerts and theatre performances as well as art festivals.
One of the top things to do while in Singapore is to swim with dolphins. On Sentosa Island not only can you swim with dolphins but you can also experience the wonders of the Underwater World aquarium, and stop to admire the Merlion statue. There is an escalator to the top of the Merlion from where you can enjoy panoramic views across the island. Relaxing on the beaches of the island is another option or enjoy an active day of water sports or kayaking. For those looking for an adrenaline rush, you can’t do better than experiencing flying while strapped to a water-propelled jet pack.
Another top attraction is Granite Island where you can take a trip back in time and experience Singapore as it once was. Here on the island are the very last remaining authentic Singapore villages. In these villages, the people live simple lives, making their living by either farming or fishing.