At River Safari
Yes, the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park are all excellent attractions in their own right but we love the lesser known River Safari. The river-themed wildlife park walks you through the greatest rivers in the world including the Amazon and the Nile. Plus, say hi to giant pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia.
The wetland reserve of mangrove swamps, ponds and secondary forest is home to 140 species of birds. Thousands of egrets, sandpipers and plovers pass through in winter, but plenty of local species (kingfishers, herons, bitterns) are visible all year round. Early morning is the best time for birdwatching; there are observation hides, and you can rent binoculars. There are three nature trails (3-7km/2-4 miles long), and you can also spot mudskippers, monkeys and climbing crabs on the mangrove boardwalks.
We’re so proud of our airport – it’s the best in the world! Boasting four award-winning terminals, Changi Airport’s the place to be. Ride down a giant indoor slide, explore a butterfly sanctuary and go for a quick swim in its rooftop pool (yes, you read that right). Just make sure you don’t miss your flight.
You’re in for a full day of fun and heart-racing adventure at Universal Studios Singapore. Let your feet dangle off the world’s tallest duelling roller coasters, protect the Allspark from the Decepticons and get soaked on a white water rafting experience that ends in a hair-raising drop.
Marvel at National Gallery Singapore’s extensive collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art. Housed in the former Supreme Court building, the museum displays over 400 masterpieces including works by pioneer Nanyang artists Chen Chon Swee, Liu Kang and Georgette Chen.
No excuses about not wanting to jump out of a plane, because now we can feel the rush of skydiving a few metres off the ground at iFly Singapore. You won’t have the Earth zooming towards you, but you will have the South China Sea to look at as your body is kept afloat in the world’s largest indoor skydiving wind tunnel.
Fall head over heels for the seasonal floral display at the Flower Dome, one of the world’s largest glass greenhouses, which showcases exotic plant species, including tulips, dahlias and cherry blossoms. And make your way to the Supertree Grove – where towering tree-like sculptures come alive at night.
At Haji Lane
Home to many hole-in-the-wall boutiques, charming cafés and watering holes, Haji Lane is, without a doubt, the original hipster enclave and our favourite shopping stretch in the city. Skip the mall and head down to this quaint neighbourhood in the Kampong Glam district – the narrow lane is lined with shophouses packed with independent small shops hawking too-cool-for-school wares. On weekends, the area is a car-free zone.
At Night Safari
Set in lush secondary rainforest, the Night Safari (and the world’s first night zoo) allows you to see what over 900 nocturnal animals – including these striped hyenas and other scarier beasts like lions and leopards – get up to after dusk, in naturalistic habitats and without barriers, via the use of special lighting techniques.
At Pulau Hantu
A little off the coast of Singapore, Pulau Hantu boasts sheltered beaches and clear waters (for local standards) and are popular with diving and snorkelling enthusiasts who come for the rich marine and coral life. Get in touch with groups like Marlin Divers or The Hantu Bloggers to charter a boat to the islet.
Round off a trip to Kampong Glam with a visit to Sultan Mosque. The heart of the Arab Quarter, it is the largest unofficial centre of worship for Muslims locally, but visitors are welcome to enter (except during prayer services, so do avoid Fridays). Look for the curious features at the base of the dome, which is composed of many glass bottles.
The weird and wonderful Haw Par Villa is a park filled with multicoloured statues 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 will never see anything like it anywhere else.
Singapore Zoo’s Ah Meng Restaurant serves up a buffet spread of Western and local delights, but trust us – the highlight has to be the orang utans, which make their daily appearance between 9.30 to 10am – they’re friendly, well-trained and always up for a photo op! Walk off the food after at the ‘open concept’ zoo, where over 4,000 animals, including the exotic white tiger and Hamadryas baboons, live in landscaped enclosures instead of traditional cages.
At Hay Dairies
There are more than 1,000 goats of various breeds at the goat-only Hay Dairies farm, where you can take a break from the busy city and surround yourself with the animals. Milking sessions are from 9am to 11am, so come early for the main squeeze. Otherwise, you can also feed hay to the kids (the furry kind).
Give Vegas a run for its money at Singapore’s two resort casinos open for gambling all night long. The massive Marina Bay Sands offers about 500 table games and 2,500 slot machines, boasting a comprehensive selection of the newest and most popular electronic game machines; or steal away from the family-friendly fun to the casino at Resorts World Sentosa for a pick of top table games and slot machines.
At the Merlion Park
It’s cheesy, we know, but can you really visit Singapore without the obligatory tourist shot at Merlion Park? Come early to beat the crowds that throng this 2,500 sqm park, which is thankfully an easy walk from Raffles MRT station. At night, it makes a good vantage point from which to catch the laser light show at Marina Bay Sands.