13 tourist attractions Singaporeans never go to

Play tourist in your own country and check out these attractions
Tiger Sky Tower
By Time Out Singapore editors |
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There are plenty of things to do in Singapore so we understand that you might've overlooked a couple of lesser-known attractions. Sure you've stepped foot into Gardens by the Bay or Sentosa at least once, but have you been to a museum filled with musical boxes or a gallery featuring a collection of vintage cameras? Or what about a park that houses more than 3,000 species of creepy crawlies? If you haven't checked the following attractions off your list yet then it's time to play tourist and pay them a visit.

RECOMMENDED: 7 things Singaporeans do better than anyone else

1
Tiger Sky Tower
Things to do

Tiger Sky Tower

icon-location-pin Sentosa

The revolving, air-conditioned cabin of Singapore’s tallest observation tower rises to a height of 131m – roughly about 50 storeys high – providing the best 360° views of Singapore’s southern coastline, Sentosa itself, the Southern Islands and parts of Malaysia and Indonesia – accompanied by a recorded commentary. Day and night views are equally striking, even when the weather is stormy. Despite the name, no alcohol is allowed on board.

2
Turtle Museum
Museums

The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum

icon-location-pin Jurong East

Nestled in the Chinese Garden is The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum – that’s right, live. It’s a sanctuary for more than 200 turtles and tortoises of over 60 species, including a host of rare reptiles. Be wowed by the weird and wondrous mata-mata, fearsome alligator snapping turtles, and one 60-year-old Asian pond turtle. There’s even a double-headed, six-legged amphibian that the museum owners claimed to have found in their courtyard and nursed back to health.  Kids can head to the petting corner, where they’ll get up-close and personal with some of the gentler critters. Look out for the tiny terrapins and soft shell tortoises roaming freely through the park – you can give them a pat on the shell or feed them. 

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3
Haw Par Villa
Things to do

Haw Par Villa

icon-location-pin Haw Par Villa

Opened in 1937, this weird and wonderful park was named after its owners, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the brothers who made their fortune from the acclaimed cure-all ointment Tiger Balm (it’s also known as Tiger Balm Gardens). Multicoloured statues and tableaux – some looking rather neglected– depict 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.

4
Madame Tussauds' Marvel 4D Experience
Things to do

Madame Tussauds

icon-location-pin Harbourfront

Renowned waxwork museum Madame Tussauds finally sets up camp in Singapore. Key themes at the attraction include World Leaders, History, Film, Sport, Music and TV; there's also an A-List Party section, where the figures of Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and friends are placed. Aside from international superstars such as Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, visitors can take selfies with some of our local heroes and celebs too, including Jack Neo and Gurmit Singh.

Another feature to look out for when you head on over is the indoor boat ride, called Spirit of Singapore, which is unique to its Singapore outpost. It features some of our native plants, models of attractions and glimpses of local culture, such as a re-enactment of a traditional Chinese opera. 

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5
German Girl Shrine, Pulau Ubin
Photo: Donn Tan
Things to do

German Girl Shrine

icon-location-pin Palau Ubin

Next time you're on Pulau Ubin, make sure to cycle your way through Ketam Mountain Bike Park and pay this shrine a visit. It’s a yellow hut located next to an Asam tree in the south-western open area of the island. The shrine commemorates the Roman Catholic daughter of a German coffee plantation manager. Lore has it that when the British rushed into the house at the end of WWI, the girl escaped through the back door, slipped and fell to her death in a quarry behind the plantation.

Local labourers found the corpse, covered it in sand and offered prayers, flowers and incense. After she was given a proper burial at the present site, the German girl became a deity of sorts – worshippers from as far as Thailand have come to offer joss sticks and girly offerings, like makeup and dolls, at the shrine.

6
Singapore Musical Box Museum
Things to do

Singapore Musical Box Museum

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

Be enchanted by tinkling musical boxes in a museum dedicated to these delightful trinkets. Though only recently opened to the public, in 2015, through the museum’s doors lies centuries worth of history. Here, you can learn about the popularity of musical boxes throughout the years, how they first came to Singapore, and how Singapore played a pivotal role in bringing musical boxes to South-East Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Most of the musical boxes here are antiques that are centuries old, each telling a unique story of the craftsmanship of yesteryears. The museum aims to upkeep the preservation of these artefacts, and its collections hail mainly from Switzerland, Germany and the US.

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7
Istana Singapore
Things to do

Istana

icon-location-pin Dhoby Ghaut

Our version of the White House, Istana is where the President of Singapore resides in and it often opens its grounds for free to the public on special occasions including National Day, Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Puasa. So come bring your picnic basket and mats and spread across its manicured lawn or participate in various arts and cultural events (like dances, brass bands and martial arts demonstrations) that usually take place. The main Istana building itself was completed in 1869 and the gardens – which make for a lovely walk – contain an old Japanese artillery gun, lily ponds, the burial grounds of the Bencoolen Muslims and even a nine-hole golf course. Another popular public attraction is the changing of the guard, which happens the first Sunday of the month and starts at 6pm.

8
Bollywood Veggies
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Things to do

Bollywood Veggies

icon-location-pin Lim Chu Kang

What began in 2000 as the brainchild of Ivy Singh and her husband Lim Ho Seng has since grown (pun intended) to one of the most beloved farms on the island. Known for more than just its organic produce, Bollywood Veggies has, over the years, expanded to include a culinary school and a museum. There’s even a bistro that uses fertiliser- and pesticide-free ingredients harvested from the backyard. It doesn’t get fresher than this.

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9
Adventure Cove Waterpark
Things to do

Adventure Cove Waterpark

icon-location-pin Sentosa

A fun and thrilling waterpark for the young (and the young at heart), Adventure Cove Waterpark guarantees a splashing good time for the whole family. From high-speed water slides and lazy river to, err, laze in, it's easy to spend a whole day at this waterpark. Besides the exciting attractions, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and encounter with marine life – you can snorkel with over 20,000 tropical fish, wade among rays and more. 

10
Snow City
Things to do

Snow City

icon-location-pin Jurong East

Escape the hot and humid Singapore weather to experience the cold and snow at Snow City. You get to dress up in the whole winter gear get up – don't worry, these are available for rent – and stomp around in the snow. Slide down a 60m snow slope, take photos with life-sized snow sculptures in the artic playground or get toasty in an igloo home. 

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11
Vintage Camera's Museum
Things to do

Vintage Camera's Museum

icon-location-pin Bugis

Housing over 1000 vintage cameras, this museum located at the end of the Kampong Glam district is the first gallery in Singapore dedicated to a massive collection of the analog instrument. On display are a range of old-school spy cameras, pigeon cameras and 3D cameras. Besides equipment, the museum also showcases rare old photographs, interesting nuggets on photography and an authentic replica of the first ever picture taken on a camera.

12
Changi Chapel and Museum
Things to do, Exhibitions

Changi Chapel and Museum

icon-location-pin Pasir Ris

Changi Chapel and Museum is, arguably, the most iconic of World War II sites in Singapore – never mind the fact that the museum is housed in a purpose-built venue, and the chapel is a reconstruction (the original was shipped to Australia after the war).  At the museum, you'll learn about the stories of Prisoners-of-War (POW) who lived and died in Singapore, in particular the Changi area, during the dark years of the Second World War. Go on guided War Trails that brings you to various locations including Kranji to get the whole picture of the grim reality back in the days or sign up for a audio tour ($8 for adults and $4 for kids) in the museum and listen to the experiences of the men and women who were imprisoned in Changi then.  If it all gets too much, head to the chapel, located in the courtyard of the museum, for some quiet reflection.  The museum will close from April 2, 2018 and the chapel will be closed from January 1, 2019 as it undergoes its first major redevelopment in more than 15 years. It'll reopen in 2020. 

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13
Butterfly park and insect kingdom
Things to do, Exhibitions

Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom

icon-location-pin Harbourfront

Featuring specimens of more than 3,000 species of butterflies and rare insects, this living organism museum is a real eye-opener. The highlight is the netted conservatory where 1,500 beautiful butterflies flutter freely around you in a tropical rainforest setting. Learn about the life cycle of butterflies at the pupa house, where the entire metamorphosis from pupa to butterfly is displayed through live specimens. Next, head to the bird and animal aviary, which is filled with colourful macaws, iguanas and more before entering into the dark cave that houses creepy-crawlies like tarantulas, beetles, millipedes and scorpions (in Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom containers, of course). After that, everything else is preserved behind glass in the indoor Insect Kingdom Museum, which exhibits rare insects and some of the world’s largest, heaviest beetles, as well as creatures of all kinds from Singapore and around the region.

Looking for more things to do? Check these out

National Museum of Singapore
Photo: National Heritage Board
Things to do

The best museums in Singapore

There’s a lot more diversity than you’d reckon when it comes to museums in Singapore. Besides the usual arts-focused spaces, we’ve rounded up a broad spectrum of other funky collections: toys, optical illusions and more.

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Art Porters
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Art, Street art

Where to find street art in Singapore

There's more to this city than meets the eye. In between our shiny skyscrapers and towering metal cranes, there are plenty of Insta-worthy urban artworks that simply take our breath away. From the graffiti that’s hidden in plain sight to pieces that lurk away in the backstreets, we pick seven of our favourite murals and let you know where to find them.

Things to do

Best farms in Singapore

Farms? What farms? The Little Red Dot is as famous for its agriculture industry as Jamaica is for bobsledding. But even though less than 1 percent of our land area is dedicated to farming activities, there’s an impressive variety of farms in Singapore. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly activity on the weekend or a getaway from the hustle and bustle, pick any of these for a breath of fresh air. 

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