The world’s only island city-country, Singapore is a place where you can enjoy both natural and metropolitan attractions.
It is known by many names, The Garden City, The Lion City or The Little Red Dot, and is a melding of Southeast Asian cultures and people.
The climate is tropical with no distinctive seasons and the most common language is English. All that said, you can imagine there are many amazing things to do in Singapore during a visit.
Founded as a British Colony in 1918, Singapore has grown into one of the busiest port cities in the world awash with a multitude of things to do.
With great food, exciting nightlife, fantastic shopping, and natural getaways, there is much to explore on this small but densely populated island.
Don’t leave home without Lonely Planet Singapore (Travel Guide)
11 Magical Things to do in Singapore
1. Gardens by the Bay
Probably one of the coolest gardens in the world you can visit, and by far one to the top things to do in Singapore, Gardens by the Bay has three different gardens: Bay Central, Bay East, and Bay South.
Bay East has a series of themed gardens, each with its own design and character. The South Bay is the largest and most well-known garden, mostly because of its Supertrees, a collection of man-made trees that you can walk on top of.
Stroll the OCBC Skyway, 70 feet high and enjoy the view of the rest of the Gardens and the surrounding Marina Bay. Also noteworthy at the Gardens is the conservatories, Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, and the nightly light show shown in the SuperTree Grove that light up with the power drawn from their own photovoltaic solar cells. This is hands down, the best thing to do in Singapore, so don’t miss it.
If you are more into sightseeing on a tour, check out this great Gardens by the Bay nighttime tour. Journey into the Flower Dome, walk in the incredible Cloud Forest and listen as an indoor waterfall thunders at the Garden by the Bay. This memorable tour concludes with picture-perfect views of the Singapore skyline from atop Marina Bay Sand’s SkyPark—ideal for first-time visitors who want to see it all once the sun goes down.
Sentosa is an entire island of theme parks. The island is easily accessible via the Sentosa Gateway bridge and has loads of activities to choose from that could easily take a week to fully experience.
You can visit Universal Studios Singapore, the S.E.A. Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark, 4D Adventure Land, a zip line adventure park, iFly Singapore, and the Flying Trapeze just to name a few.
If that’s not enough for you, you can go relax at the 1 mile-long stretch of sheltered beach. If you like theme parks, this is one of the best things to do in Singapore for a thrill.
3. Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore isn’t known as “The Garden City” for nothing! Easily accessible by train, you could spend hours at the Singapore Botanic Gardens picnicking, walking, jogging, or napping.
It’s a great nearby place to escape traffic and crowded streets. Don’t miss out on the Orchid Garden which is lush with green tunnels and vivid flowers or the Children’s Garden which has a water play area, tree houses, and interactive exhibits.
General Admission: Free
Orchid Garden Admission: $4
4. China Town
As a country comprised mainly of immigrants, Singapore has many cultural districts and Chinatown is one of their largest.
You’ll love the energy of the bustling shops and food stalls as you discover cheap souvenir shops, karaoke lounges, and delicious night markets.
The striking architecture and delicious food of Chinatown is well worth the visit. Shopping in this area is one of the best things to do in Singapore, so make sure you plan at least a half-day to check it all out.
5. Singapore Zoo
It’s easy to get up close to nature in Singapore! Singapore Zoo is massively entertaining and houses 12 exhibitions, many of them interactive.
Get kissed by a sea lion, feed the giraffes, elephants, and rhinos, see monkeys freely roaming overhead, have a snake draped around your neck, pose with orangutans, attend various shows, go on a night or river safari, ride an elephant, and even do a mini snorkeling exhibit to see exotic fish.
There are so many things to do in this zoo, you could spend a full day here. In addition, the animals look well cared for and are housed in environments that mimic their natural habitats rather than cages. Admission: $25.
6. Orchard Road
If you like more high-end designer stores, Orchard Road is your street. The mile-long shopping street contains an insane 47 shopping malls, some with price tags that will make your stomach drop.
Even so, it’s still fun to window shop and if that’s not your thing, this buzzing road also houses movie theaters, art galleries, and clubs.
7. Little India
Head to Little India, another of Singapore’s cultural enclaves, for authentic Indian ambiance and cuisine. Shop at Mustafa Centre, the 24-hour shopping mall, or the open-air Tekka Centre which has more traditional shops for inexpensive souvenirs.
When you’re done shopping head into the streets to take in the Indian culture that has taken up residence in this area. It’s a great way to tune in to the diversity of the city.
8. Tiong Bahru
An upcoming, trendy neighborhood, Tiong Bahru is loved by locals and tourists alike. Here you can find offbeat art deco shophouses and a number of markets with delicious, local cuisine.
Definitely stop by here for lunch one day to try different dishes and line up with locals at their favorite stalls. For guys, there’s also a very cool barbershop here where you can get head to toe grooming done.
With beautiful waterfront scenery, pretty gardens, and cutting-edge galleries, Singapore ranks among Asia’s must-see cities—but beating the crowds and exploring independently by public transport can be challenging. On this tour, spin through Singapore by private air-conditioned minivan and explore in comfort.
Hit top attractions like Tiong Bahru, Chinatown, Gardens by the Bay, Little India, or Marina Bay with your guide, and customize your itinerary to hit the highlights of most interest.
9. Riverside Point
This is a great place to grab dinner, a drink, or even some Turkish ice cream and enjoy the Singapore nightlife. There is a great food to be had here including Singapore’s delicacy chili crabs and you can also take a boat ride along the river and learn about the culture and history of Singapore.
If you like to just chill and people watch, this is one of the best things to do in Singapore.
10. Merlion Park at Marina Bay
A creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, the Merlion has become a cultural mascot for Singapore. There are 5 Merlion statues in Singapore recognized by the Tourism Board that conceived them, two of which are located in Merlion Park which can be found at Marina Bay.
The original statue, built-in 1964 measures at 8.6 meters tall and its “cub” at just 2 meters. Also in the immediate area, you can find the world’s largest floating stadium and Gardens by the Bay and at night you can see a great light show put on by the Marina Sands hotel.
11. Sands Skypark
If you stay at the Marina Bay Sands hotel, you will gain access to their rooftop infinity pool where you can swim to the edge of the building while sipping champagne and stare down 57 stories as you look out onto the Singapore skyline.
If you’re not that lush you can still enjoy their rooftop bar, located right next to the pool and enjoy drinking in the clouds.
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While this list isn’t inclusive to every great thing you can get up to in Singapore, it should be a great place to get started on your first visit. Not mentioned above but definitely an iconic experience in this city is to enjoy a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel.
Another helpful tip is to book your hotel room in Singapore early. While you will be able to find cheap airfare deals to Singapore from almost every major city, waiting till the last minute to book a hotel room is not a good idea. You’ll find things not only very expensive but very sold out if you put it off.
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