Things to Do in Singapore - page 3
Recently rebuilt to reflect the architecture of the old Malay kampong houses, Geylang Serai Market has been at the heart of Singapore's Malay community since the mid-1960s. With its distinctive three-tiered entrance, the market is a bustling hub of activity from sunrise to sunset. It features a wet market selling an array of fresh produce and other products on the ground floor, and a hugely popular hawker food center with plenty of Malay and Indian specialities on its first floor.
The wet market offers a variety of fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, and spices, and is a good place to pick up decorative fabrics too. However, it’s the food court upstairs that’s the main attraction for most visitors. This huge space is filled with vendors serving up classic Asian dishes such as nasi padang (rice with various ingredients), ayam balado (spicy fried chicken), sayur lodeh (vegetable curry), and pisang goreng (banana fritters).
Geylang Serai Market offers a clean and vibrant place for the whole family to experience dishes from the local Malay community and beyond. Devoted foodies can enjoy it as part of a heritage food tour that also includes visiting the foodie destinations of Joo Chiat and Katong, while culture vultures might like to combine it with a neighborhood walk around Geylang, Chinatown, and Little India.
A 20-foot (6-meter) white marble statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, backed by the skyscrapers of modern Singapore, marks the spot where the British statesman was believed to have landed in 1819 in the area today known as Boat Quay. The founder of Singapore would go on to sign a treaty establishing the sovereign city-state.
Joo Chiat is an eastern Singapore residential neighborhood noted for its Peranakan culture. Peranakans are descendants of 15th- through 17th-century Chinese and Indian immigrants who ultimately married non-Muslim natives from the Malay Archipelago. The neighborhood is named after Chew Joo Chiat, a wealthy landowner who once owned most of the land in the area.
Today, Joo Chiat is best known for its rows of traditional Peranakan structures—colorful two-story shops and terrace homes with ceramic tiles, ornate facades and Chinese motifs. These shop-houses dominated the area back in the 1920s and 1930s. The Katong Antique House is a fully restored Peranakan family home with antiques and artifacts on display, and Rumah Bebe is a shop and restaurant noted for its well-preserved façade. This is an ideal place to purchase handicrafts and gifts to bring back home with you.
Joo Chiat is also one of the Singapore’s best food destinations. Be sure to sample local specialties like Katong Laska, white rice noodles in a spicy coconut milk broth, or Nynona dumplings, glutinous rice dumplings filled with pork cubes fried with coriander powder and wrapped in pandan leaves.
Soar to new heights on the Skyride chairlift, and then zoom down the Luge at Skyline Luge Sentosa—both are part of the worldwide Skyline Luge family of attractions. Enjoy scenic views over Sentosa Island on the way up, and then descend down 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) across four different luge tracks.
Located in Chinatown in the Central Business District in Singapore, Telok AyerStreet has a two-fold significance. It’s both the name of the area that Sir Stamford Raffles set aside for Chinese immigrants when the British ruled Singapore and it was also one of the first streets in this area. Fast-forward 150 years and it’s now a bustling tourist destination. Walking down Telok Ayer gives you a chance to glimpse into the past, as many of the building have been conserved and restored. The shophouses that you see appear much as they did in the 1800s, showing what life was like in this waterfront area. However, there are plenty of modern amenities, too, including quirky shops, cafes and plenty of places to dine.
The other draw to Telok AyerStreet is the many places of worship that you’ll find in close proximity to one another. Hokkien temples are located near mosques and shrines as well as a Methodist church. Grateful immigrants who wanted to thank their gods for a safe journey built most of these locations. While there are many examples to visit, some of the most interesting include: Thian Hock Keng Temple, the oldest Hokkien temple in Singapore, Nagore Durgha Shrine and Al-Abrar Mosque. Keep an eye out for heritage markers or explore one of the many museums in the area to learn more about this rich and diverse history.
Suntec City Mall is one of the largest shopping complexes in Singapore, boasting 380 retail outlets and more than 100 dining options across four floors. This vast mall was carefully
designed with a strong emphasis on feng shui and is split into four zones: the Galleria, the Tropics, the Fountain Terrace, and the Entertainment Center.
The Suntec City Mall offers a lot more than just shopping, and is connected to the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Center. It features brand names and department
stores offering regular sales and discounts, plus a number of leisure and entertainment facilities, including a movie theater, fitness center, and a games arcade. It even plays host to
regular events and shows, including the odd sporting tournament.
Don’t miss the Suntec City Mall’s Fountain of Wealth; this is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest fountain in the world.
Established in 1852, the Singapore Cricket Club is one of the most prestigious sports and social clubs in Singapore. With its whitewashed walls, brown roof, and dark green blinds, the clubhouse harks back to Singapore’s colonial era – a time when only the stronghold of the European elite were able to dine here and watch sporting events take place on the Padang. It wasn’t until after World War II that the club’s membership expanded to include Asians and other nationalities.
The Singapore Cricket Club has had three buildings on the Padang. The first was built in the 1860s, the second in 1877 and the third in 1884. Today, the Singapore Cricket Club is accessible only to its members and their guests and offers facilities for a variety of different sports. The club’s interior is adorned with artwork and an assortment of memorabilia and its bars and restaurants offer some striking views out over the Padang and toward the city skyline.
Located near downtown Singapore, Bugis Street is one of the largest and most famous shopping areas in the city. Formerly a red light district and gathering spot for the transgender community, today this covered market is home to hundreds of stalls and shops selling everything from clothing and accessories to electronics and souvenirs.
Situated in one of the most prosperous countries in the world, Singapore Cruise Port is also one of the world’s busiest and largest ports, as well as the gateway to the Malay Peninsula. Home to two harbors—Singapore Cruise Centre and Marina Bay Cruise Centre—it’s easy to explore many of Singapore’s top sites after docking here.
Discover the best in design at the Red Dot Design Museum, located along the promenade at Singapore’s Marina Bay Waterfront. Housed in a futuristic glass building, the compact museum showcases outstanding and award-winning contemporary design involving the everyday across multiple disciplines, and it offers stunning waterfront views to boot.
More Things to Do in Singapore
Adjacent to the Supreme Court, Singapore's City Hall is a national monument previously known as the Municipal Building. The structure was designed by architects of the government and built between 1926 and 1929. During World War II, the Japanese occupied Singapore and managed civic issues from the City Hall building. Ironically, it was from here that Lord Louis Mountbatten announced Japan’s surrender in 1945. Six years later, the building received its present name to mark Singapore gaining city status, and later, it served as the site where Lee Kwan Yew declared Singapore's independence and self-governance.
Today, together with the neighboring Supreme Court, City Hall hosts the National Art Gallery of Singapore, featuring the world’s largest public collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art. More than 8,000 works are on display, focusing on Singapore’s culture and heritage, as well as the country's relationship with other cultures around Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.
Wild Wild Wet, one of Singapore’s largest water parks, has everything you’d want and expect in a water-themed amusement park. The park’s dozen or so rides and attractions range from waterslides and a wave pool to kids areas and the relaxing Shiok River, where guests can float leisurely around the perimeter of the park.
Learn about the culture, heritage, and history of the Indian diaspora in Singapore and Southeast Asia at the Indian Heritage Centre. Located within an architecturally unique building in the heart of Little India, the museum and cultural center features permanent and temporary galleries, interactive exhibits, and hundreds of artifacts.
Pose beside the likes of Beyonce, Queen Elizabeth II, and Bruce Lee at Madame Tussauds Singapore—a waxwork museum with a theme park soul. As well rubbing shoulders with celebrities, you can experience Marvel in 4D at a virtual reality cinema and capture the Spirit of Singapore on a boat ride that reveals different faces of the city.
The Trick Eye Museums originated in Korea and can now be found all across Asia. The museums use art techniques to transforms 2D paintings into 3D images to create fascinating optical illusions, not to mention some great photo opportunities.
The Trick Eye Museum in Singapore features 90 artworks throughout six distinctly themed zones. These include: World of Masterpieces, Safari Kingdom, Star of Circus, Dream of Fairy Tale, Love In Winter, and Adventure Discovery. Many of the pieces have been specifically designed for the Singapore museum, featuring elements of the nation’s culture such as the Merlion – the country’s most iconic symbol.
This interactive museum allows its visitors to ‘step inside’ the art to create a visual narrative, encouraging people to use their imaginations and sense of humor as they pose and connect with the artwork.
Known by locals as Kopi Sua or Coffee Hill, the now abandoned Bukit Brown is home to the largest Chinese graveyard outside of China. The 200-plus acres of this iconic burial ground rank high among travelers’ favorite stops in Singapore because of its impressive tombstones and religious statues. These ancient artifacts are tucked into a picturesque hillside with walking trails and winding roads ideal for whiling away an afternoon. Some call it somber, others peaceful or tranquil—but all agree it’s worth a visit before modern industry—which includes plans for a new subway station—render Bukit Brown obsolete.
Located on the banks of the Singapore River, Robertson Quay is one of Singapore’s three largest wharfs. The 120-acre (50-hectare) district offers a diverse mix of restaurants, wine bars, and art galleries, in addition to warehouses built in European and Chinese styles.
Located on the southeastern tip of Pulau Ubin are Chek Jawa Wetlands, a coral reef that has evolved into a wetlands area. As six different habitats meet in this one area, Chek Jawa Wetlands are unique in their diversity of ecosystems and is a popular destination to explore on Pulau Ubin. The best way to reach the area is by bicycle (you can walk, but it takes at least 40 minutes); rent one when you disembark from the bumboat and get ready for a scenic and sometimes challenging ride. However, reaching Chek Jawa is worth the effort.
Featuring both sandy and rocky beaches, mangrove forests and sea grass lagoons, Chek Jawa is rich with wildlife, a wide range of which can be observed from the boardwalk that runs through the area. Other options for observation include the seven-story high viewing tower where you can rise into the forest’s canopy to see the islands birdlife. Ask about one of the specially scheduled shore walks from the park service for access to the waterline. The visitor’s center near the entrance of Chek Jawa is also a great source for more information on the area’s wildlife and history.
On Siloso Beach, the most popular of three sandy expanses on Sentosa Island, visitors can go for a swim, laze on the palm-lined white sand, relax in a beachside whirlpool or even surf a manmade wave at Wave House Sentosa. Themed bars and restaurants line the beach, and some of them offer sun loungers to their customers — perfect for enjoying a cold drink with a view.
Beach volleyball courts in the sand are free to use on a first-come-first-served basis, or it’s possible to rent kayaks to paddle out into the water. Biking and rollerblading are also popular along this stretch of shore. After dark, the scene turns into a lively party almost every night.
Explore the wonders of nature, life, and evolution at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, the first and only natural history museum in Singapore. The museum houses the largest collection of specimens from Southeast Asia, with over 500,000 catalogued specimens, including dinosaur skeletons, rocks, and fossils.
Despite its conservative setting—housed in a pair of restored 19th-century Catholic school buildings—the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is anything but traditional. Focusing on contemporary art, exhibitions change regularly and feature innovative works from local creatives and artists across Asia.
The Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque is the state mosque of Johor state in Malaysia; it is located just a few miles north of the Singaporean border. Sitting atop a prominent hill overlooking the Straight of Johor, the mosque was commissioned in 1900 by Sultan Abu Bakar; he was a highly respected monarch, widely referred to as the “Father of Modern Johor” by both his people and the international community.
The architect, Tuan Haji Mohamed Arif bin Punak, was largely inspired by English Victorian architecture, going as far as designing the unusually large four minarets in the shape of 19th century British clock towers – in fact, several other monuments in the area were built in similar fashion. But he also integrated pieces of foreign architecture as well, such as Moorish tile works and Malay features, in order to reflect the diversity of the local population.
The mosque can accommodate 2,000 worshippers at once and is commonly recognized as one of the most beautiful old mosques in Malaysia, thanks to its white-washed towers and ornate yet modest interior. It therefore doesn’t come as a surprise that the mosque is now listed as a protected heritage monument by the Malaysian Department of Museums and Antiquities. The mosque is also surrounded by a lovely garden filled with frangipani trees.
Built in 1946 following the conclusion of World War II, Kranji War Memorial commemorates the SIngaporean and allied soldiers who fought and died protecting Malaysia and Singapore from invading Japanese forces. The site includes a cemetery with some 4,400 headstones and a memorial with names of 24,000 more servicemen.
With 16 stories of literary wonder—including an impressive reference section, a vast public check-out area and well-known Drama Centre—the National Library of Singapore has become a staple not just of the well-read, but of the city’s skyline as well.
Travelers visiting this modern marvel can navigate indoor sky-bridges linking the library’s numerous wings to one another, or explore the two indoor gardens open to the public. Sky high elevators shoot to the 16th floor, where impressive panoramic views of Singapore and nearby Malaysia and Indonesia are among some of the best in the city. The main floor café and vast Plaza offer the perfect place to relax with a book while sipping cups of hot tea and sampling local pastries.
- Things to do in Sentosa Island
- Things to do in Pulau Ubin
- Things to do in Malaysia
- Things to do in Indonesia
- Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
- Things to do in Petaling Jaya
- Things to do in Penang
- Things to do in Medan
- Things to do in Langkawi
- Things to do in Sumatra
- Things to do in Kedah
- Things to do in Southern Thailand and Andaman Coast
- Things to do in West Java
- Things to do in Mekong Delta
- Things to do in South Coast