Singapore is an incredible destination, and increasingly becoming more affordable and accessible. The Lion City is a thriving city that offers something for everyone. Delicious food, sunny weather year round, beautiful architecture and plenty of active and cultural attractions. We bet, these Singapore Bucket List items should be on everyone’s list.
Here are our Favourite 10 Must-Have Experiences for your next escapade in the glittering city.
1. Go on a River Cruise on Bumboat to Explore Downtown Singapore
Board a traditional bumboat (also known as Tongkangs) and get insights about Singapore’s heritage. The Bumboat is a cruise on the contemporary version showing how the historic and modern city blend together, as visitors hop on and off at the old Clarke Quay warehouses (now a pedestrian mall packed with cafés).
This River Cruise is an awesome way to explore Downtown running since 1987. This 40-minute ride on an updated, quiet, and environmentally-friendly electric Bumboat will take you under bridges and through the Quays, giving you amazing views of Marina Bay Sands, The Merlion, the Merlion, the Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles (founder of Modern day Singapore ) and other famous Singapore landmarks.
2. Take an Eyeful of the Entire Singapore from Sands Skypark Vantage Point
Hanging 200 m from ground level and atop the clouds, the Marina Bay Sands Observatory Deck stands tall in the heart of Singapore. The Sky Park appears as though it floats on the top of three soaring hotel towers and is a must see in Singapore! 57 levels high and with a broad walkway, the Sky Park is the perfect viewpoint at the zenith of Marina Bay Sands.
Glory in the panoramic view of the stunning Marina Bay, the world-class cityscape, the architectural wonders of Supertree Grove, the vibrant colours of Gardens by the Bay and other such marvelous creations.
Whether you’re looking to immortalize the memory of blue waters sparkling under the clear bright sun or marvel at the remarkable nightly spectra light and water show, the Observation Deck is the place to be to groom your photography skills from the best vantage point in the city.
3. Live it up amidst the Lush Greenery and Lively Coastal Setting of Sentosa, Singapore’s Exclusive Resort Island
Sentosa Island is a popular island resort located close to Singapore’s main island. This Island is affectionately known as “Singapore’s Playground”.
From the gorgeous beach and world-class attractions, thrill rides and great restaurants, shopping and families looking for fun activities for all ages, are sure to have a blast on this little island! You’ll find a wealth of attractions such as golf courses, a 2 kilometer sheltered beach, world’s largest aquariums: The SEA Aquarium and the ever popular Universal Studios Singapore theme park, where there’s something for everyone here.
However, the Island’s true charm lies in the beaches of Siloso, Palawan, and Tanjong. You can travel between the sandy beaches — stopping by an array of historic spots and nature reserves — using the Island’s free train, bus, and tram services.
4. Go Birding & Explore the Biggest Bird Park – The Jurong Bird Park
Spread over 20.2 hectares in the western part of Singapore, Jurong Bird Park is Asia’s largest bird garden with over 5,000 birds across 400 species. There’s a multitude of exotic and endangered Southeast Asian breeds, along with Pelicans, Penguins, Flamingos, Toucans, and a whole lot more.
The Bird Sanctuary was developed in 1971 and is managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore. The Park offers travelers the rare opportunity to interact with 400 species of birds in a park that is closest to their natural habitat.
Don’t miss your chance to see your favourite birds lap up their meals during the feeding shows, and check out the birds’ many talents at their performances. You can witness for yourself the eagle’s strength and powerful hunting abilities in the “Kings of the Skies” show, or simply look up into the sky for the “High Flyers” show to watch the birds soar!
5. Pay your Respects to an Important Artifact of Buddhism at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Built in 2007, this enormous, five-storey Buddhist temple is home to what is reputedly a tooth of the Buddha that was originally housed in a golden stupa at the Bandula Monastery in Myanmar back in 1980. Located in Chinatown, the temple is dedicated to the sacred Buddhist holy emblem, the tooth relic, which is on the 4th floor of the temple and placed in a stupa made from 320kg of gold donated by devotees.
The temple is bursting with beautiful exhibits of Buddhist culture and art. The floor is paved with gold, the walls and ceilings are adorned with paintings and sculptures, and thousands of statues decorate the rooms: Buddhas, dragons, flowers, and lanterns of breath-taking beauty. The museum presents the history of Buddhism in an original way, and is filled with beautiful objects. If you wish to also attend a ceremony, do so in the evening, as these are the most striking moments of worship.
Visiting the temple while you are in Singapore must definitely be a part of your Singapore itinerary.
6. Hike up the Enormous Mount Faber
Mount Faber Park, one of the oldest green spaces in Singapore, is also one of the best places to go for views over the city and Singapore Harbour. The Park stands at one end of the Southern Ridges Walk and is home to a popular dining spot at Faber Peak where the cable car station is located.
There are also plenty of other spots to explore around Mount Faber Park. The hiking route goes from the entrance near HarbourFront MRT to Alkaff Mansion and back, and is approximately a 3-hour hike. On the short but tiring walk, you will be greeted by views of lush green forests that will instantly thrill your senses.
If you have a hankering for fresh air, views of flora & fauna and cityscape, it is your thing to do in Singapore. It’s truly a unique way to spend a romantic evening with a loved one, or a captivating experience for the whole family.
7. Confront the Chinese Legends and Folklore in Haw Par Villa
This little park of horrors is definitely one of Singapore’s quirkiest and most interesting attractions the city has to offer. Haw Par Villa, popularly known as the Tiger Balm Gardens, has over 1000 statues and 150 dioramas depicting various Chinese folklore and mythologies.
The Park has statues of armed monkeys, giant crabs with human faces and a range of other weird and wonderful statues. It also has a diorama of the “Ten Stages of Hell”. According to Chinese mythology, a soul passes through a series of courts before it can enter heaven – of course, punishment awaits those who are proven unworthy.
Please note that some of the depictions are very detailed, making the place a little creepy for children, and even for some adults too! Most visitors will find the displays both grotesque and hilarious, all at the same time.
Those who are into unconventional attractions and are fond of Chinese culture and mythology may still find Haw Par Villa worthy of their time.
8. Relive the Singapore’s Wartime Past at Changi Museum
Located just East of Changi International Airport, the Changi Museum in Singapore is a museum that exhibits valuable but heart wrenching insights about the history of Singapore. The Museum is dedicated to the Prisoners-Of-War (POWs) and civilian internees who were taken into captivity during the Japanese Occupation.
The exhibitions are split into five sections, showing visitors what happened during the war through a collection of photographs, paintings, letters and personal artefacts donated by former POWs. Wartime art pieces produced by the prisoners are also on display, recording their experiences in Changi Prison. It also has a dedicated area holding replicas of the famous Changi murals – painted by British POW Stanley Warren during his time in captivity.
The Museum is a must visit for travelers looking for inspiring stories of courage and sacrifice, as it serves as a place of both remembrance and education.
9. Stroll through Punggol Waterway Park
Built around the section of Punggol Waterway and located along Sentul Crescent, Punggol Waterway Park is a great place for tourists and locals to enjoy a fun-filled day of leisure activities. The park is divided into four different themes: Nature Cove, Recreation Zone, Heritage Zone and Green Gallery.
Visitors can jog or cycle through the path along the calm water overspread with heaps of afloat foliage, rent the skates or bicycle from the stalls in proximity, bird-watch species like collared kingfishers and rose-ringed parakeets or simply sit on the many benches placed around the Park and enjoy the breeze as they listen to the soothing sounds of running, trickling, splashing and cascading water. There is also a water playground for kids looking for a wet-and-wild day of fun.
The pleasant breeze and a natural backdrop make strolling here a peaceful thing to do in Singapore.
10. Take a Walk amidst the most Picturesque Settings in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) is Singapore’s First Wetland Nature Reserve, i.e. it’s the Island Nation’s First ASEAN Heritage Park and is a hotspot for local biodiversity. The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve was developed in 1993 and has become a popular destination for birdwatchers, photographers and nature lovers. This 200-acre reserve, situated north of the island, is home to over 150 species of rare and exotic birds.
While exploring the Park’s forested trails and elevated boardwalks, you can spot migratory birds like plovers and sandpipers as well as year-round residents like herons, kingfishers and sunbirds. The Park is also a haven for local wildlife, such as monitor lizards, mud lobsters, mud skippers, horseshoe, otters, crocodiles and lots of other insects. You’ll also see mud crabs, water snakes and shellfish clinging to the mangrove roots.
Walk slow, and pay close attention to the nature surrounding the area. Take notice of water movements, especially during low tides. With immense patience, the wildlife that you will encounter among the mangrove, forests and small ponds will surprise you.
So, if you thought Singapore has nothing to offer nature lovers? Think again.
If you found this article useful, make sure to also check out these resources to plan your trip to Singapore:
- 22 Interesting Facts About Singapore
- An Overview of the Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Singapore
- The Best Affordable Hotels in Singapore
- Singapore Visa Guide for Indian Citizens
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