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Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Observation Deck
Photograph: Marina Bay Sands

The best sights and attractions in Singapore

Soak up Singapore‘s major attractions and enjoy a slice of local life with our guide to sightseeing in the Lion City

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Written by
Cam Khalid
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While it frequently makes for a fleeting stopover spot for those on long-haul travels around the globe, Singapore is still very much a place that’s worth exploring to the fullest. With its tropical climate, incredible attractions, and Michelin-starred restaurants sans the hefty price tags, the city-state is fast becoming a destination in its own, enviable right. From flourishing nature reserves and gardens of the future to a huge observation wheel and thrilling theme parks, check out our guide to the best sightseeing spots in Singapore. 

RECOMMENDED: 101 things to do in Singapore and 17 tourist attractions Singaporeans never go to

  • Art
  • Rochor

ICYMI: Bugis has been named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world. And it’s no wonder why – despite the loss of kampungs, the ‘kampung spirit’ lives on in this vibrant heritage enclave. Good Luck Beer House in Haji Lane has been lending a helping hand to fellow food and beverage businesses on the street, especially during the ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown.

Doubling as a hipster hideout, the ‘hood is also home to a spree of independent boutiques, charming cafes and watering holes, as well as the city’s first outdoor art gallery Gelam Gallery. Its centrepiece is none other than the biggest and grandest mosque – built by the first sultan of Singapore Sultan Hussein Shah – where worshippers from every corner of Singapore gather for prayers.

  • Property
  • Changi 

You can now cycle from East Coast Park or any of the Park Connector Network to Jewel Changi Airport and the terminals via the newly opened 3.5-kilometre Changi Airport Connector. While you’re at it, stop by Changi Jurassic Mile –  the city’s largest permanent outdoor display of life-sized dinosaurs – and live your Jurassic Park dreams.

Then cool down at the air-conditioned Jewel Changi Airport. The majestic dome is home to the tallest indoor waterfall – standing at 40-metres-tall – and over 280 dining and retail outlets, as well as entertainment areas. While the hourly light and sound show at the HSBC Rain Vortex remains temporarily suspended, you can unleash your inner kid at the Canopy Park which features six-and-a-half-metre-tall slides, whimsical gardens, hedge mazes, and giant nets.

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  • Things to do
  • Mandai

First discovered back in 1909, it was popular among villagers who believed that the water had healing powers. Now, the revamped Sembawang Hot Spring Park is opened for visitors to learn its history and geology, reminisce about the good ol’ kampung days by strolling through the fruit trees and edible plants, and of course, soak their feet in hot waters at the pool or the wooden basins provided. And if you'd like to try the traditional way of making onsen tamago as they do in Japan (‘onsen’ means ‘hot spring’ in Japanese), you can bring eggs down and boil them in the hot spring water. Pro tip: pack your own slippers.

  • Things to do
  • Jurong East

If you’re feeling ambitious, take on a challenging trek that can be conquered in a day or less if you choose to hop on a two-wheeler. The 36-kilometre trail cuts across the island, linking Coney Island in the northeast with Jurong Lake Gardens in the west. It covers some of the best parks and nature reserves in Singapore including Bukit Batok Nature Park and Hindhede where you can witness the majestic granite quarry, the waterside views at MacRitchie Reservoir and Punggol Water, and the rustic wilderness of Coney Island.

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  • Things to do
  • Lim Chu Kang

Channel your inner Sir David Attenborough and trudge through the swamps of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve to learn more about the flora and fauna that call this mangrove forest home. This wetland reserve of mangrove swamps, ponds, and secondary forest is also home to 140 species of birds. Take a spot at the observation hides or rent binoculars to bird-watch. But keep a lookout for warning signs about the estuarine crocodiles – they’re known to be around the area albeit uncommon.

  • Things to do
  • Mandai

Spread over 26-hectares of lush nature reserve land, the zoo is home to more than 2,500 animals, with over 300 species, from across the globe. Unlike traditional caged zoos, it’s one of the world’s first 'open concept' zoos that have animals in individually landscaped enclosures and zones. Here, you can have breakfast with the orangutans (currently suspended), say hello to the friendly Asian elephants, and see the rare white tiger in the flesh.

While you’re in the area, visit the manatees, crocodiles, flamingos, and pandas next door at the river-themed wildlife park River Safari. Come face-to-face with over 30 animals from the rainforest on a boat ride aptly named Amazon River Quest. Then in the evening, squeeze some time for the Night Safari, the world’s first night zoo. Witness what over 2,500 nocturnal animals from 130 species get up to after dusk, in naturalistic habitats, and without barriers, via the use of special lighting techniques.

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  • Things to do
  • Marina Bay

A Singapore icon, the majestic, gargantuan Gardens by the Bay is a sight to behold. Surrounded by exotic foliage, it's home to various outdoor and indoor gardens. The outdoor Heritage Gardens spotlights the country's rich history through plants, while the indoor Cloud Forest and Flower Dome feature themed displays of colourful blooms from all around the world. The main stars, however, are the colossal Supertrees. For panoramic vistas of the gardens, head up to the OCBC Skyway. For now, the new Supertree Observatory and Floral Fantasy remain closed until further notice. 

  • Things to do
  • Marina Bay

For unparalleled views of the city skyline, the iconic Marina Bay Sands makes a great vantage point, especially the boat-shaped Sands SkyPark Observation Deck that sits prettily atop the three hotel towers. At 200-metres above ground, you can delight in the unfettered view of landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer, the Esplanade, the colourful shophouses along the Singapore River, and the Merlion statue. Also on the 57th floor is the award-winning Ce La Vi where you can wine and dine while basking in a bird’s eye view of Singapore. If you can’t get enough of it, live the high life with a stay at the hotel where you can access the rooftop infinity pool and snap pictures with the stunning backdrop. 

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  • Things to do
  • Sentosa

The perfect getaway for adrenaline junkies, USS prides itself for having the world’s tallest dueling rollercoasters, an indoor thrill ride, a 3D Transformers experience, and a soaking white water rafting that ends in a hair-raising drop. There are also kid-friendly attractions for the young and faint-hearted like a Shrek 4D cinematic experience, a train trip through Sesame Street and the canopy flyer for an aerial view of Jurassic Park. Check out our guide to USS here.

  • Things to do
  • Marina Bay

Marina Bay’s giant, 42-storey, 165-metre observation wheel continues to pull a mix of tourists and locals who come for the breathtaking, 360-degree views of the city available from one of its capsules. Each flight lasts 30 minutes and on a clear day the panorama from the top of the wheel stretches into neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia. If you fancy pimping your experience a bit, take a look at the dining and cocktail packages that are available.

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  • Art
  • City Hall

The former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings have been refurbished to become Singapore’s National Gallery. It’s the largest visual art gallery in the city-state and is mostly dedicated to local and Southeast Asian art from the 19th century to the present day. Many of the works on display are drawn from the permanent National Collection but there’s also a rolling programme of temporary exhibitions to check out too.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Tanglin

We're mighty proud of our very own UNESCO World Heritage site. Established in 1852, the gardens make a tranquil respite from the city buzz. It's also home to over 10,000 species of plants. Highlights include the National Orchid Garden with the world’s largest collection of orchids including the national flower, Vanda Miss Joaquim, a beautiful swan lake where you can have a picnic, the rustic and sprawling Learning Forest and the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden where kids can have some play time.

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  • Things to do
  • Kent Ridge

The weird yet wonderful park features multi-coloured statues and tableaux depicting scenes from Chinese history and mythology. The highlight is the Ten Courts of Hell (responsible for childhood nightmares for generations of Singaporeans) where small-scale tableaux show human sinners being punished in a variety of hideous and bloodthirsty ways – in extremely gory and graphic detail. It’s a safe bet that you'll never see anything like it anywhere else in the world.

  • Things to do
  • Serangoon

Within the greater Seletar neighbourhood is Singapore’s last surviving kampong, home to some 30 families who live in zinc-roofed houses with chickens roaming freely and children fishing from canals. It's situated precariously in the middle of new developments so its future remains uncertain. Take a walk through the small village and get transported back to a time when life was simpler. Remember to be respectful as these are people's homes after all.

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  • Things to do
  • Pulau Ubin

Take a break from the bustle of city life with a trip to Pulau Ubin, one of Singapore’s most popular off-shore islands. A sprawling 1,020-hectares, Ubin boasts lush greenery and abundant wildlife, drawing nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to explore the many wonders of the granite island. There are plenty of activities to get up to here: go birdwatching at Pekan Quarry, wander through nature trails, and hike 75-metres up Puaka Hill for a breathtaking panoramic view of the islet.

  • Things to do
  • Bukit Merah

Considered one of the oldest gardens in the city, Mount Faber Park offers impressive panoramic views of Southern Singapore. There are footpaths and stairs that lead up to a hill, as well as lookout points for one of the four Merlion statues in Singapore. Climb up to Faber Point, the highest point in the park, where you'll find a mural wall depicting the scenes of local historical events. It's also the spot where the tree that was planted during the first Tree Planting Day stands. Head to Poland's Bells of Happiness, and ring the two ships' bells for blessings of "double happiness" and everlasting joy.

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  • Things to do
  • City Hall

Whether you're here to get schooled on its history or geography, this verdant park is ripe for exploration. Dig into the many nooks and crannies of Fort Canning Park. Follow the trail and admire a myriad of succulents that have made a home here. Stop by its colonial-era relics to learn more about the paramount roles the park played in the defense of the island and even before the British arrived when it served as the residence of Malay royalty. 

More history lies beneath the park at the Battle Box. Here, you can discover the role the bunker played during the war while showing you around replica and genuine rooms used by the military of the era. For some tranquility, make your way to the Sang Nila Utama Garden which features the Javanese split gates and a reflective pool with lily pads.

  • Attractions
  • Beaches
  • Central

Located between Sentosa’s Siloso Beach and Tanjong Beach, this stretch of calm water and fine grain sand is considered the most family-friendly of the three. From the shore, there’s a small island that’s easy to swim out to. Otherwise, landlubbers (and Instagrammers) can cross over to the southernmost point of continental Asia (also the closest point to the equator) using the suspension rope bridge. Do exert the effort to climb up the tower for a bird’s eye view of Sentosa, if nothing else, do it for the ’gram.

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  • Things to do
  • Sentosa

History buffs will enjoy a wander around this World War II-related site. Fort Siloso tells the story of Japan’s victory through punchy displays on resistance hero Lim Bo Seng and Force 136, and of the local civilian experience during the Japanese occupation. The main attraction is the sprawling structure of the fort itself, complete with coastal guns, winding tunnels, and a treetop trail.

  • Things to do
  • Southern Islands

Hop on a boat to these offshore islands and breathe in the fresh air. Head to St John’s Island for friendly felines, visit the Da Bo Gong temple and the Malay keramats at Kusu Island, get schooled about landfills at Pulau Semakau, snorkel at Pulau Hantu and Sisters’ Island, and sink your toes in the white sand and turquoise waters of Lazarus Island. It’s recommended that you book your boat rides and tours prior to visiting the island.

Play tourist

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