When you think of "Singapore," you likely picture a highly advanced and modern city with cutting-edge public facilities and transportation systems. From drinkable tap water and seamlessly integrated MRT and buses, to a wide range of recreational spots accessible to both locals and foreigners, Singapore has it all.
One aspect of Singapore that I find particularly admirable is its tourist attractions. These sites are not only large and visually stunning, but they're also thoughtfully designed with functionality in mind. This was my impression when I first visited Singapore and began exploring the various recreational spots on offer.
However, during my first visit, I found myself feeling quite overwhelmed when trying to decide which attractions to prioritize. To save you from the same confusion, I'll be sharing some of the must-see tourist attractions in Singapore based on my own experiences and those of my husband. So, let's dive in!
Any traveler familiar with Singapore has likely encountered the country's national icon - the Merlion statue. This "mystical" statue is known for its unique appearance, featuring a lion's head atop a fish's body. Understanding the history behind this intriguing statue can enhance one's appreciation for it.
The Merlion statue is a representation of Singapore's rich heritage. Its fish-like body symbolizes the city's beginnings as a fishing village, once called Temasek. It's derived from the Malay word "Tasek" (lake).
The lion's head represents the original name of Singapore, meaning "city of lions" in Sanskrit. According to Malay legend, a Sumatran prince named Sang Nila Utama encountered a lion-like creature when he first arrived on the island during a storm, leading him to establish the city and name it Singapura.
Initially located at the mouth of the Singapore River, the Merlion statue was moved to Merlion Park after the completion of the Esplanade Bridge in 1997. Now, visitors can see the statue in front of One Fullerton Hotel, facing Marina Bay. It can get crowded at all times, though. I found it hard to take proper pictures in front of the statue.
When visiting the Merlion Statue, remember to explore the surrounding Merlion Park as well. This beautiful, well-maintained park features seating areas, lush greenery, and offers a perfect vantage point to view the stunning Marina Bay skyline, including the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Singapore Flyer.
The Merlion Statue is easily accessible by public transportation, with the nearest MRT station being Raffles Place (NS26/EW14) or City Hall (NS25/EW13).
It is recommended to visit the statue at night when the colorful lights illuminate it, and the cooler temperature makes for a more comfortable experience. Best of all, there is no fee to view or photograph the statue - just remember to keep the area clean and respect the facilities.
Located near the Merlion statue, Gardens by the Bay is another must-visit attraction in Singapore. A trip to the city would not be complete without visiting both the Merlion and this amazing garden. When I first visited Gardens by the Bay, I was astounded by the seamless integration of systems and facilities in this garden.
Gardens by the Bay is a national open green park and horticultural tourist destination situated in the Marina Bay Waterfront area. It offers visitors the opportunity to explore rare plants, conservation areas, unique, and awe-inspiring attractions.
This is no way an ordinary garden! It's managed by a multidisciplinary team of professionals, including horticulturists, plant experts, and arborists, ensuring top-notch quality and continuous development.
Spread across 101 hectares, Spanning 101 hectares across three distinct areas - Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay Central Garden - this lush green space has won numerous awards since its opening in 2012. With such an expansive area, there is a wide variety of attractions available for visitors, both free and paid.
One of the free attractions is Supertree Grove, aptly named for its vertical gardens that tower 25 to 50 meters high, connected by the OCBC Skyway. At night, the Supertrees come alive with a dazzling light show that draws locals and tourists alike.
Curious about Gardens by the Bay and its dazzling light show? Take a peek at our previous article, where we explored and caught the light show at Gardens by the Bay.
Another must-visit attraction is the Cloud Forest, located within the Gardens by the Bay conservation area. As the name suggests, the Cloud Forest is like an indoor forest or "dome" area, as seen on the pictures.
This unique space is home to a variety of plants from all over the world, making it a dream come true for plant enthusiasts. The Cloud Forest is truly amazing, leaving visitors wondering how various plants are moved or cultivated within this indoor environment. But Singapore always finds a way, and this innovative concept has proven successful.
What's even more impressive is that the Cloud Forest maintains a cold temperature throughout. In such a large space, it's remarkable that the cold can be evenly distributed. My husband and I discovered that an integrated district cooling system in the underground area of Marina Bay is responsible for this feat.
This system cools tourist attractions, houses, and apartments without air conditioning, saving up to 40% energy and helping reduce climate change. Be sure to visit and learn more about the Cloud Forest in this article when we took a trip there.
If the Cloud Forest hasn't satisfied your thirst for natural beauty, you must visit the Flower Dome. Conveniently located just across from the Cloud Forest, the Flower Dome offers visitors with its stunning collection of flora
Covering 1.28 hectares, the Flower Dome is the largest of the three conservatories in Gardens by the Bay and held the Guinness World Record for the largest greenhouse in 2015. Boasting plants and flowers from five continents, the collection includes ancient olive trees, magnolias, and orchids.
Like the Cloud Forest, the Flower Dome is temperature-controlled, ensuring a comfortable experience for visitors. There's so much to see and do, you simply can't miss it!
For those curious about the Flower Dome's contents, check out our journey through this extraordinary greenhouse in this article.
For those seeking a quieter and less crowded experience, consider visiting the National Museum of Singapore, the country's oldest museum. Here, you can learn about Singapore's history and culture in an accurate, comprehensive yet fun way.
While the building retains its 19th-century colonial exterior, the interior boasts state-of-the-art facilities and technology to showcase the nation's heritage and development from its beginnings to the present day.
The museum's galleries not only offer fresh perspectives on Singapore but also feature innovative activities and events, making a visit here far from boring.
Special events include Night Festivals, mesmerizing art installations, and various styles of performances and film screenings.
Visitors can also enjoy a resource center with around 15,000 publications related to Singapore's culture, design, and history. To learn more about the National Museum of Singapore, read our article about our delightful visit there.
In addition to its oldest museum, Singapore is also home to its largest national gallery, the National Gallery of Singapore. This leading visual art gallery hosts the world's most extensive public collection of modern art from Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Centrally located, the National Gallery of Singapore is divided into two parts: City Hall and the former Supreme Court building, which have been transformed into a 64,000-square-meter space.
The gallery's mission is not only to facilitate dialogue between Singaporean, Southeast Asian, and global art but also to engage visitors with the artwork in creative ways. To achieve this, the gallery hosts seasonal exhibitions, special exhibits for children, and simple yet innovative programs.
Like the national museum, the National Gallery of Singapore aims to provide more than just an art display. It seeks to create programs that are useful, educational, and have a lasting impact.
What exhibitions and programs can I expect at the National Gallery of Singapore? Please check out the article about our visit to the largest gallery in Singapore for inspiration and ideas for your next gallery date!
For those who love being close to nature, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is an excellent choice. Singapore, often referred to as a "City in a Garden," is teeming with lush greenery, and the Singapore Botanic Gardens serve as a testament to this. In fact, the gardens are Singapore's first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Established in 1859 by the Agri-Horticultural Society, this 60-hectare estate was once an unused plantation that has been transformed into the beautiful and popular recreational park it is today. Besides offering a space for leisure, the expansive grounds also function as a center for botanical and horticultural research.
Visitors to the gardens often partake in activities like morning or afternoon runs, playing music, or simply reading a newspaper while lounging near the bushes. The best part is that entry to the Singapore Botanic Gardens is entirely free, allowing everyone to enjoy this natural oasis.
One of the main attractions of the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the National Orchid Garden, which houses the world's largest collection of orchid plants, with over 60,000 specimens. Please note that entry to the Orchid Garden costs around SGD 15 per person.
If you prefer not to pay for entry, the gardens offer other free areas to explore, such as the Ginger Garden. The Ginger Garden is popular among visitors due to its location behind a waterfall, romantic night lighting, and a pond adorned with giant Amazon Lily flowers. It's definitely worth a visit!
Wondering if the gardens are suitable for children? Absolutely! The Singapore Botanic Gardens offers the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden, where kids can play and learn about plants.
If you get hungry or thirsty, numerous restaurants and cafes are available for visitors to enjoy after a day of exploration. Just remember to bring an umbrella, as rain is common in the afternoons at the gardens.
Jewel Changi Airport is an undoubtedly must-visit attraction, as it offers more than just the usual airport experience. For travelers with extra time on their hands, Jewel Changi Airport is worth exploring.
Though primarily a shopping mall, Jewel Changi Airport features numerous dining options, shopping outlets, and even the world's tallest indoor waterfall, the HSBC Rain Vortex.
Standing at 40 meters tall, the Rain Vortex is one of Singapore's most popular tourist destinations. Not only do passengers of Changi Airport enjoy the Rain Vortex, but many tourists also specifically visit only to see it. So don't be surprised if it's crowded and difficult to snap the perfect photo in front of the waterfall.
After exploring the Rain Vortex, head to the 5th floor of Jewel Changi to try various games, including the Walking Net, Foggy Bowl, Hedge Maze, Mirror Maze, and more. Please see the article of our journey when trying a lot of attractions and games at Jewel Changi Airport.
With approximately 113 dining venues spread across every floor, you won't have to worry about going hungry. Shopping is also a breeze, with a wide array of clothing, bags, and other items available. Just be prepared to do a long-walk and explore this impressive airport facility.
Other essential amenities can be found at Jewel Changi, such as luggage storage, early check-in, and even a hotel. It's no wonder that Changi Airport has become a favorite for both my husband and me, with its sophisticated design, comprehensive facilities, cleanliness, and smoke-free environment.
The next tourist destination to consider is River Wonders, formerly known as River Safari. River Wonders is located between the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. Thus, if you plan to visit River Wonders, you will pass through both the zoo and night safari.
River Wonders, Asia's premier river-themed zoo and aquarium, offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors of all ages. As Singapore's newest wildlife park, it is home to over 6,000 animals, including 40 endangered species, housed within specially designed zones that replicate the habitats of rivers around the world, such as the Mississippi River and the Yangtze River.
At first, I thought that River Wonders is only made for children. But boy I couldn't be more wrong. This destination offers an array of activities and exhibits that can be thoroughly enjoyed by adults as well.
With its expansive size, you can easily spend an entire day exploring the park, marveling at the diverse habitats, and feeling fulfilled by the experience.
You can enjoy a variety of activities at River Wonders, including Wildlife Experiences, Once Upon a River, Amazon River Quest, and Unique Dining Experiences. These engaging activities provide a deeper understanding of the various river habitats and the wildlife that call them home, ensuring an unforgettable experience for everyone.
To learn more about our adventure at River Wonders, please do visit this article picturing our visit to this amazing wildlife park:
Recently, we visited the Art Science Museum at Marina Bay Sands, a celebrated landmark in Singapore. This museum masterfully blends science, technology, and art, creating a unique experience.
Spanning 21 galleries and covering 64,583 square feet, the museum showcases various exhibitions, each with its own theme. These themes range from particle physics and big data to robotics, paleontology, marine biology, and space science.
These exhibitions change periodically, typically every five to six months. During my visit yesterday, I explored the "Sensory Odyssey: Into the Heart of Our Living World" exhibition.
This particular exhibition offers an engaging and interactive experience, so visitors can explore nature's diversity using all five senses. It's an enjoyable and enlightening experience.
I highly recommend visiting an exhibition at the Art Science Museum to fully appreciate its offerings. Keep yourself updated about new and upcoming exhibitions on their website.
Another must-visit destination is the S.E.A Aquarium on Sentosa Island. Known as one of the world's largest aquariums, it houses over 100,000 marine creatures from 1,000 species across 45 distinct habitats.
The aquarium is an enjoyable experience for both adults and children, offering a wealth of knowledge especially for the younger visitors. For more detailed information, you can refer to the article linked below.
Here are a few must-see spots when you visit Singapore. Which ones grabbed your interest? Give us a shout in the comments section! If you've got any questions, just drop a comment, and we'll be more than happy to help you out. See you in the next article!