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Things to Do in Singapore - page 4

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Changi Beach Park
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3 Tours and Activities

At approximately two miles (3.3 km) long, Changi Beach Park is a gorgeous stretch of beach that is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. It’s one of the oldest coastal parks in Singapore and has managed to retain a laid-back feel that is refreshing in the hustle and bustle of this very modern city. From the beach you can see Palau Ubin, one of the few undeveloped places left in the country.

From barbecuing on the beach to jogging or cycling on the wide recreation path, this stretch of white sand is a popular place to gather on the weekends to catch up with friends or simply enjoy the sunrise or the sunset. Along with the recreational activities, Changi Beach Park is also a location of interest for wildlife lovers. Several types of seahorses and pipefish are monitored in the waters off of Changi Beach Park and many different species of birds have been spotted from the land. Of course, there are also the mechanical birds that are easily spotted: Changi International Airport is not far from the beach and airplane spotting is another popular activity on the beach.

In the midst of the sun and sand on Changi Beach Park, though, there is a darker history. During World War II the Japanese invaded Singapore and Changi Beach Park was the location for the execution of POWs. Some visitors report hearing cries, screams and other unsettling occurrences, making Changi Beach Park one of most haunted places in Asia. However, most people visit this serene stretch of sand without any knowledge of its dark past.

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1-Altitude Gallery & Bar
2 Tours and Activities

Savor 360-degree views of Singapore while sipping a classic cocktail and listening to a local band or DJ. At 925 feet (282 meters) above sea level, 1-Altitude Gallery & Bar is the highest rooftop bar in Singapore and one of the highest alfresco bars in the world.

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Sisters’ Islands Marine Park
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3 Tours and Activities

Singapore’s first marine park, the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park spans the two “Sisters’ Islands” (Pulau Subar Laut and Pulau Subar Darat) as well as reefs off St. John’s Island and Pulau Tekukor. A turtle hatchery and coral nursery help rehabilitate the waters, while dive trails and intertidal guided walks keep visitors informed.

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MacRitchie Nature Trail and Reservoir Park
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1 Tour and Activity

Located in MacRitchie Reservoir Park, the MacRitchie Nature Trail encompasses a series of boardwalks and hiking paths between 2 and 7 miles (3 and 11 kilometers) long that wind throughout the tropical rainforest. The TreeTop Walk, one of the park's main draws, is a suspension bridge walking trail high up in the trees. Walking the 82-foot (25-meter) high, 820-foot (250-meter) long trail provides a bird’s-eye view of the forest below. There’s more to Singapore than its high-rise cityscape, and the MacRitchie TreeTop Walk is proof.

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Changi Memorial and Chapel
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Having moved from the prison site to its new location directly across the Changi Gaol in 2001, the Changi Memorial and Chapel is a testament to those prisoners of war who were made to suffer and perish during World War II.

In the memorial, several artifacts from the period show how Singaporeans, particularly those prisoners being held in the Changi prison, had suffered under Japanese occupation during the war. Boasting tons of personal affects including emotional letters, drawings and photographs, the memorial tells the stories of more than 50,000 people who had been there between 1942 and 1945.

Entrance is free or for a nominal fee, visitors can elect to embark on a one hour guided tour of the complex that goes through paintings made years later by several internees who recreated what life as a POW was like inside the prison. Visitors can also purchase an audio tour or stop over to watch one of a few informative videos with footage from the era.

In the corner of the memorial, there is a neat collection of rare books which deal exclusively with what Singapore was like during wartime.

Located on Upper Changi Road North, the memorial and chapel are open daily from 9:30am with last admission at 5pm. They can easily be reached by hopping on the SBS bus #2 from Tanah Merah MRT station (EW4), which stops directly in front of the Changi Chapel and Museum.

Please note The Changi Memorial and Chapel is currently closed for renovation. The reopening is scheduled for late 2020.

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Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
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The Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall is a colonial-style villa in Singapore that played a crucial role in the Xinhai Revolution in the early 20th century. Today, the hall is a museum commemorating Sun Yat Sen, the founding father of the Republic of China. It serves to highlight the influence Dr. Sun’s revolutionary activities had on Singapore, as well as Singapore's own contributions.

Ideal for history fans, this two-story museum is divided into five galleries and features around 400 artifacts, including paintings, statues, photographs, books, and calligraphy works. Highlights include a bronze wall mural spanning some 60 meters depicting Singapore's history over a 100-year period, from the 1840s to the 1940s. The bronze statues in the hall’s gardens are also particularly impressive.

The Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall is included in the Singapore ultimate attractions pass, which allows you to explore the city’s top attractions at your own pace with a pass that is valid for two, three, or five consecutive days.

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Sentosa Merlion
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1 Tour and Activity

Part fish, part lion, this cement statue amid the tourist attractions of Sentosa Island is both an homage to mythical sea creatures and a proud national icon. At 121 feet (37m) tall, it’s the largest of five official merlion statues scattered around Singapore, and, for a fee, visitors can walk inside.

The cave-like interior winds past murals of snake-like mermaids, demonic eels and things that look like a cross between the Loch Ness monster and a plesiosaur, to a film room where a cartoon on loop attempts to explain the significance and origins of the merlion. It’s said that when Malay King Sri Tri Buana landed on the shores of the fishing village that would later become Singapore, he saw a terrifying beast. This later gave the area its name: ‘Singapore’ comes from the Sanskrit words ‘singa,’ meaning lion and ‘pura,’ meaning city. Though the king likely did not see a terrifying sea monster (or, arguably, a lion), the merging of lion and fish created a unique and conveniently symbolic symbol of Singapore’s fierce growth from its humble fishing origins. Beyond the video there are two scenic gallery stops: A photo op in the mouth of the merlion looking out across Sentosa Island and roof deck atop its head offering panoramic city views. There’s a gift shop on the way out selling merlion t-shirts, cookies and more.

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Tanjong Beach
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The southernmost of Sentosa Island’s three beaches, Tanjong Beach hosts sleepy vacationers beneath its shady palms. Bookended by breakwaters where you’ll often spot locals fishing, its double crescent of white sand often sports kids building sand castles while families splash together in its protected cove.

Connected to its northerly neighbors, Siloso and Palawan Beaches, by an inland walkway, Tanjong stretch is quieter and less crowded. Here, there are more leafy trees than bars and restaurants. Tanjong Beach Club, the beach’s sole commercial enterprise, has a right-off-the-sand pool, lounge chairs, cabanas, bar and restaurant. At night DJs spin tunes that keep the party going late.

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Art Forum Singapore

Located in a two-story house on Singapore’s Cairnhill Road, Art Forum Singapore has been connecting artists, buyers, collectors and even just fans of contemporary art since 1971. Even if you’re not in the market for fine art, you’ll still find Art Forum worth a visit for its rotating collection of paintings, prints, sculpture, photography and ceramics from more than 100 artists representing a variety of Asian countries.

Art Forum Singapore has earned a reputation among art-savvy Singaporeans as a place where emerging talent gets discovered; many of the young artists who first showed here went on to display collections at Singapore’s major art museums. Visitors are welcome to browse the gallery either by appointment or by dropping in Monday through Saturday.

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Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

An oasis of primary rainforest amid Singapore’s skyscrapers, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve boasts 403 acres (163 hectares) of tropical plants, home to monkeys, butterflies, and more. Established in 1883, the focal point is Bukit Timah, one of Singapore’s highest hills, which stands all of 535 feet (163 meters) above sea level.

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More Things to Do in Singapore

Changi Murals

Changi Murals

During the Japanese occupation of World War II, British POW Stanley Warren was interred in a prison camp in the village of Changi, where he painted a total of five murals on the walls of St. Luke’s Chapel in Block 151 of the Roberts Barracks. Today, replicas of the poignant Changi Murals are on display in the Changi Museum and Chapel.

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Chettiar Temple (Sri Thendayuthapani Temple)

Chettiar Temple (Sri Thendayuthapani Temple)

Chettiar Temple(Sri Thendayuthapani Temple) is arguably the most important Hindu temple for Singapore’s sizable South Indian community. Built in 1859, the temple honors Lord Subramaniam, the son of Shiva and god of war and victory.

The temple’s South Indian origins are easily recognizable when you see the ornate monumental tower entrance, called a gopuram. This 75-foot (23-meter) tall temple entrance is covered in brightly painted carvings depicting several deities of the Hindu pantheon alongside scenes from Indian folklore and mythology.

Each January or February, during the full moon of the Tamil month of Thai, Chettiar Temple(Sri Thendayuthapani Temple) hosts the Thaipusam festival. On this day, worshippers of Subramaniam shave their heads and make a pilgrimage to the temple carrying various offerings and often flaunting intricate piercings or skewers through the skin all over their bodies -- a symbol of their dedication.

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Sands Theatre (Grand Theater)

Sands Theatre (Grand Theater)

This theater inside the Marina Bay Sands, one of Singapore’s most iconic and luxurious hotels, can seat 2,155 people on three separate levels, all with excellent views of the stage. The rotating schedule of events at the Sands Theatre includes some of the world’s most popular productions and musicals.

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ION Sky

ION Sky

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Singapore isn’t lacking in breathtaking views, but the opening of ION Sky added another -- and one of the best -- to the city. Located 56 floors above Orchard Road, ION Sky is home to a 360-degree observation platform, complete with telescopes, a cloudspotting area run by the Cloud Appreciation Society and Salt, a bar and grill with magnificent views of the city.

Upon entering the ION Art gallery on the building’s fourth level, you’ll be whisked to the top on a high-speed elevator. Once there, you’re welcome to enjoy the views out the windows, but the real stars are the BEHOLD telescope viewing platforms. These state-of-the art telescopes not only give you a closeup look of the city below, they give you a glimpse at what Singapore was like in the past through augmented reality technology, a feature that sets ION Sky apart from any other Singapore view point.

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The Istana

The Istana

The Istana is Singapore’s version of the White House, the official residence of the President and a site of great historical significance. The neo-Palladian structure was built in 1867 as a governor’s mansion, but when Singapore became self-governing in 1959, it was turned over and renamed the Istana, which is Malay for “palace.”

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Kusu Island

Kusu Island

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If you believe the legend, Kusu Island—‘Tortoise Island’—was created when a giant tortoise transformed itself into an island to save a local fisherman from drowning. Myths aside, the island provides an idyllic getaway off Singapore’s south coast, dotted with sandy beaches, lagoons, and sacred temples.

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Abdul Gafoor Mosque (Masjid Abdul Gafoor)

Abdul Gafoor Mosque (Masjid Abdul Gafoor)

As you walk through Little India in Singapore, a large structure topped with minarets and an onion-domed cupola might catch your eye. This impressive building, completed in 1910, is the Abdul Gafoor Mosque (Masjid Abdul Gafoor), a mosque originally built for the community of South Indian Muslim merchants in the area.

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MINT Museum of Toys

MINT Museum of Toys

The MINT, short for Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys, Museum of Toys opened in 2006 as the world’s first museum dedicated entirely to toys and children’s memorabilia. The private museum is owned by Mr. Chang Yang Fa, a citizen of Singapore and passionate collector of toys.

Today, the museum houses the largest collection of vintage, rare and one-of-a kind toys in the world -- a collection that includes some 50,000 specimens collected from 40 different countries. Toys on display run the gamut from the familiar (Batman and Popeye) to more obscure pieces from Europe and Japan. If you’re looking for something specific, you’ll find a collection of China-made toys on the second floor, the Childhood Favourites collection on the third and exhibit space dedicated to characters on the fourth.

If you get hungry, the museum houses three eateries. Mr. Punch Restaurant serves up 1920s-inspired dishes, the Rooftop Bar specializes in cocktails and snacks, and the Sidewalk Bar makes for excellent people watching over a cold drink and a casual bite to eat.

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Ode to Art

Ode to Art

Ode to Art displays the works of contemporary artists from across the globe, representing mediums of sculpture, photography, painting and installation art. On any given day, you might see work from emerging Singaporean artists alongside the great works of Fernando Botero or Robert Indiana.

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Pulau Hantu (Ghost Island)

Pulau Hantu (Ghost Island)

A pair of tiny islets southwest of Sentosa, Ghost Island (Pulau Hantu) takes its name from a pair of mythical warriors who died locked in a mortal combat. One became Big Ghost Island (Pulau Hantu Besar) and the other Little Ghost Island (Pulau Hantu Kecil). Snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing are the big draws here.

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Singapore Wake Park

Singapore Wake Park

Water sports enthusiasts who want to try water skiing while in Singapore can do so at Singapore Wake Park (SWP). Instead of getting towed by a boat, SWP uses a cable system hooked up to a variable speed motor that can pull up to eight riders simultaneously in a continuous loop around a lagoon.

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Tiger Brewery

Tiger Brewery

You can find Tiger beer throughout Asia, but in Singapore, you can actually see where and how it’s made from malt, hops, water, and yeast. Tiger Beer started brewing the first local Singaporean beer in 1932, and today, their signature bottled pale lager is sold in more than 60 countries.

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Ultimate Drive

Ultimate Drive

If you’ve ever daydreamed of racing through the streets of a Formula 1 race, Singapore’s Ultimate Drive might just be able to fulfill your fantasy. Take control of a Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, or Porsche; these convertible vehicles top out at about 186 miles (300 kilometers) per hour.

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Haji Lane

Haji Lane

For some of Singapore’s most eclectic shopping, seek out the tiny Haji Lane tucked away in the Muslim Quarter. The narrow lane is lined with independent designer boutiques and vintage clothing shops catering to the young and hip. You’ll also find shops selling hard-to-find records and DVDs, quirky kitchenware, and even a yoga studio.

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