Top 8 the best places to visit in Singapore

Singapore is one of the smallest countries in Asia, yet it packs a lot into a small space.

Essentially a megacity with a small coastal and rural fringe, it's an urban experience far from the jungle escapes that neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia offer.

 Singapore's relentless progress is reflected in its trendy shopping scene, stylish public transport for easy travel, gleaming skyscrapers and an overall sense of order, cleanliness and efficiency. Thankfully, Singaporeans' uncompromising love of the new is tempered by a respect for history and an appreciation for green spaces, with plenty of parks and gardens to offset the hustle and bustle of the city.

Whether you are laying over or planning a longer trip, here are the best places to visit in Singapore.

1. Gems - Best for Indoor Nature

 Singapore's newest attractions mesmerize visitors who have just set foot in the country. A 10-minute walk from Changi Airport's arrivals area, this architectural marvel blends futuristic modern materials with vibrant nature. This is the perfect first or last stop on a sightseeing tour of Singapore.

 The Jewel is a shopping mall, but it's really much more than that. The giant indoor waterfall at the center of things is where the real magic happens. The tallest indoor waterfall in the world, at 40 meters (130 feet), water pours through a large hole in the roof and into an indoor rainforest covered by a geodesic canopy.

 The building was designed by architect Moshe Safdie, famous for Marina Bay Sands, and visiting it is a surreal experience. A giant slide and load-bearing net for climbing are hidden under the glass roof; you might think you've been transported to some kind of fun and frolic-filled world of gnomes - just don't think of Squid Game!

2. Marina Bay Sands - Best for Cityscapes

 Some say it looks like a futuristic ironing board, others say it's more like a surfboard. Either way, this unique part of Singapore's wild skyline is not to be missed. Three interconnected towers make up the Marina Bay Sands, which towers over Singapore's famous Gardens by the Bay. The gravity-defying upper section contains an infinity pool and sun deck with stunning views of the city beyond. From the 57th floor, it's a swimming experience you'll never forget.

 BUT - you have to be a hotel guest to get in the pool; you can't just show up at the pool bar for the price of a drink. But there's plenty for non-guests to see, too, from the SkyPark observation deck and charming Shoppes mall to the adjoining ArtScience Museum, which combines artwork with science education and interactive displays.

Planning tip: It's worth taking an evening boat ride across the bay to see the towers illuminated by the daily sound and light show (best seen near Fullerton)—and better yet, it's completely free.

3. Sweepstakes - Best Iconic Experience

Sentosa Island has Singapore's best beaches © Roman Babakin / Shutterstock

 As the most iconic hotel in Singapore (if not Asia), Raffles is more than a place to stay; it's an institution. The history of this place is legendary. Originally designed as a beach house, the hotel was expanded during the British colonial rule in the 19th century. It's named after Sir Stamford Raffles, who arrived on the island in 1819 to represent British colonial rule and is credited with "founding" modern Singapore (although those who already live here would strongly disagree ). In the 1880's, this was the city's premier hotel, and a stay here still enjoys a prestige unmatched by any other accommodation in Singapore.

 Planning tip: The majestic neoclassical architecture alone is worth a visit: arcades and gables mixed with tropical touches like porches and open terraces that provide relief from the heat and form a soaring building. The hotel's famous arcade of shops and restaurants is another place worth a visit. If you can't afford a house, you can at least bring a souvenir.

4. Sentosa best for the beach

 Linked to the city's south coast by a causeway, Singapore's resort islands are perfect for travelers looking to escape hectic city life. Sentosa is all about fun, from competitive golf courses to famous Palawan beaches, where swimmers and sunbathers flock to the glistening sands. Singaporean families come to relax on the island, which offers many natural attractions with paths through the woods and soothing sea views. It's also a great place for casual dining, with many outdoor cafes and restaurants.

 Don't forget the history of the island - it used to be a British colonial military base and a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Remnants of the past are scattered throughout the leisure facilities. Visit the charming Fort Siloso, now a museum, and explore Singapore's sweltering occupation during World War II.

Planning tip: If you want to stay overnight, there are plenty of hotels – a dozen in fact, including the trendy W and Capella – making it easy to be the frontrunner at Universal Studios Singapore or Madame Tussauds .

5. Fort Canning Park - The best historical and natural side

 History buffs can delve into Singapore's turbulent past at Fort Canning Park. In addition to gorgeous lawns, tropical trees and exotic birds, this green hill is dotted with various historical sites, including the namesake fort itself, which was built by the British in the 1850s to defend their valuable colonial port . Today it is home to the chic Fort Canning Hotel. It's also home to the Battlebox military bunker museum and the stunning National Museum of Singapore, filled with imaginative multimedia exhibits on the city's founding journey.

 The aforementioned Stamford Raffles, who owned his mansion in the park, was once the most coveted address in the boomtown. You can now see a replica of Raffles House, alongside bunkers used by the British military command, former artillery emplacements and extensive green lawns and spice gardens. It is the most atmospheric green space in the city.

6. Gardens by the Bay best botanical garden

 It speaks to Singapore's love of technology: Gardens by the Bay's signature image isn't a plant at all, but the iconic Supertrees - a series of 16-storey sculptures inspired by nature, but Alien and futuristic forms. The tallest has an observation deck at the top, from where you can enjoy great views of the gardens and the Singapore skyline. Still, this is an arboretum, even though it's tucked away in fascinating architecture - check out Wilkinson Eyre's bulbous seaside glasshouse for an example of how the two threads come together.

 Visitors who enjoy gardening will appreciate the variety of tropical plants on display here. Don't miss the bizarre brain cactus on display in the Solar Pavilion. Surrounding the gardens are biospheres recreating the environments of Australia, South America and South Africa, with typical plants from each region.

Planning tip: As you wander among the trees and water features, keep an eye out for public artwork among the on-site exhibits.

7. Pulau Ubin - Best for Peace and Quiet

 Those looking for pure nature are better off traveling to Pulau Ubin. Neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia are just a short boat or bus ride away, with plenty of unspoiled greenery, but the verdant island is part of the city-state so no border crossing is required. Pulau Ubin is located northeast of town near the Malaysian border, just 10 minutes away by dinghy (an old Dutch term for small boats that haul goods to ships sailing offshore). anchor).

 Once on the island, you can follow the wonderful coastal walk through wetlands, home to fiddler crabs, mudskippers and red jungle fowl. The rocky beaches and mangroves are a unique and untouched habitat, so remember to be eco-friendly here and bring your trash with you when you go.

Planning tip: If you want to sleep under the stars, there are mountain biking trails (and bike rentals) and several campgrounds.

8. National Gallery Singapore - Best for learning about Southeast Asian art

 Opened in 2015, the National Gallery of Singapore is one of the country's foremost cultural institutions and one of the most important museums in Asia. Located in the heart of the Civic District, the gallery showcases the world's largest collection of Southeast Asian art - more than 9,000 items in one massive collection.

 The gallery occupies several distinctive period British buildings, including the former Guildhall (1920s) and the Supreme Court (1930s). Contemporary canopies and wings designed by architects Studio Milou link the buildings together, creating a unified space for the gallery's art exhibitions.

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