I have been living in Singapore for the past 28 years! A seasoned traveller. I’ll help you fully discover Singapore.
The Lion City
What Is Singapore Known For?
Singapore is known as a fine city. It achieves this through the various fines for offences committed within the city. If you are caught littering anywhere in the city, you will receive a fine for that. It’s no wonder Singapore is able to maintain such a clean image.
Singapore is also known for their food. Being a multicultural city, the food offered is uniquely blended with all the different ethnicity.
However, for this article, we will not be focusing on food. We will be focusing on the attractions that Singapore has to offer.
5. Marina Bay Sands
Number on the list is Marina Bay Sands. You can literally spend the entire day around this attraction, as there are plenty of other mini attractions within the vicinity.
10 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018956 Singapore
Nearest MRT Station:
Opening Hours: 11am - 10pm
Marina Bay Sands is essentially a shopping mall mixed with accommodations and entertainment facilities. There are tons of brands to shop from. They range from Apple, Louis Vuitton to even Kenzo.
I must warn you beforehand though, in terms of shopping and food, this area may not be the cheapest option. Most of the items available here are branded goods, so bring along some extra cash if you intend on purchasing anything.
Gardens By The Bay
Opening Hours: 5am - 2am
Located just outside the mall is Gardens By The Bay. It is an outdoor nature trail where you can view and admire all the different plants and trees. There are no admission fees for the walk. I would recommend going down at night. Nighttime is when all the fancy lights will be on to create a more memorable experience, perfect for your social media needs.
Here you can actually see there are a few iconic tall structures where you are actually able to purchase tickets to go up to the top. I would not really recommend it, but it’s your choice.
Opening Hours: 24/7
If you are well over the age of 21, you can consider visiting the casino located within Marina Bay Sands itself. I would not really recommend gambling here as Singapore is not really known as a gamers' paradise, but if you happen to have some free time here, you can always try your luck to earn some extra cash.
Number 4 on the list belongs to Chinatown. At the point of writing, most of Singapore is well-developed and modernised. You will rarely be able to see the olden side of Singapore.
Nearest MRT Station:
This is where Chinatown comes into the picture. Whenever you visit Chinatown in Singapore, you will just have the instant feeling of being brought back into the past. You can see the elderly playing traditional games, likes English or Chinese Chess. You can even find old products that are no longer available elsewhere in Singapore.
Of course, Chinatown is also one of the popular tourist destinations, so you can expect several touristy items like a Singapore shirt or even the Merlion magnets.
There is a shopping mall right outside Chinatown MRT station, but I would highly recommend you to walk outside instead of the shopping mall.
Nearest MRT Station:
- Clarke Quay
One MRT stop away is Clarke Quay station. Clarke Quay is well known for its night activities. There is one shopping mall there known as Clarke Quay Central and right outside this mall is the Singapore River.
Along the river, you can expect various vendors selling ice creams, drinks, etc. Tired of all the walking? Well, you can take a break along the riverside. Oh, and it is actually possible to walk from Chinatown to Clarke Quay. Please refer to Google Maps for directions.
Clarke Quay’s biggest hit with younger tourists is a giant bungee-jumping attraction.
If bungee jumping is not your thing, then there are nearby attractions which includes the Asian Civilisation Museum; the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery located in Singapore's oldest fire station; and the Hong San See Temple, a picturesque century-old Buddhist place of worship.
3. Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin is a small island about 10 minutes away from mainland Singapore. One of the challenges of Singapore is that most of the attractions here are modern. Pulau Ubin is one exception.
At Pulau Ubin, you can expect all nature and very little human structures. Even those human structures are not as modern as the ones found on mainland Singapore. There are plenty of nature to take in when you visit Pulau Ubin. Animals are free to roam around the island.
When you spot any wild animal, it is always best to practice caution, as these animals are not domesticated. Do not approach if you have no experience handling them!
Most common animals found on the island include wild dogs, monkeys, boars, etc. You can find tons of sea creatures near the beach areas.
Transportation around the island is rather limited. For most Singaporeans, we will rent bicycles as our mode of transportation. Of course, for further distances, there are also drivers who will drive their van to the destination of your choosing. Ultimately, it’s up to you which mode of transportation you are most comfortable with. I will highly recommend renting bicycles because hey, we are in nature. Let’s embrace it.
Before embarking on your cycling journey, it is highly recommend grabbing on to a map. There will be 2 routes available. The basic route and the advanced route. The advanced route is more for seasoned cyclists. For beginners who are not used to cycling in nature terrains, it is recommended to go with the basic route.
- Take the MRT and alight at Tanah Merah Station (North East Line)
- Exit Tanah Merah Station Exit B
- Board bus 2 from Changi Village Rd bus stop and alight in about 27 stops at Blk 5
- Walk 5 minutes towards the jetty
There are no ATMs on the island, so please withdraw cash prior to your trip. The ferry operates from 6am to 7pm. Please do not miss the last ferry if you do not wish to stay on the island. The ferry costs $3 per person one way.
You are only able to buy food items from the starting point of the island. There are no other food vendors once you leave the ferry terminal.
It is recommended to set aside a day to tour the whole of Pulau Ubin.
- Insect Repellent
- Umbrella / raincoat
- Spare change of clothes
2. Little India
There are mainly 3 cultural heritage sites in Singapore. Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam. These sites are dedicated to the 3 main races in Singapore, the Chinese, Indians and Malays.
All 3 sites uses similar approaches. Little India is geared more towards the heritage of the Singaporean Indians.
Nearest MRT Station:
- Little India (North East Line)
There is a huge market at the heart of Little India. It is known as Tekka Market. It is highly recommended visiting this market for your meals before proceeding to walk around Little India. The market contains tons of different food items and there are no limited to just Indian food. As Singapore is a multi racial country, even in cultural sites like Little India, you can find food items from the different races.
There are tons to see at Little India. They have quite a selection of items available there ranging from traditional costumes, tourist items to even goldsmiths. Oh yes, there are dozens of goldsmiths around the area. You can never go wrong with any one of them.
If you have already purchased some tourist gifts, there is no point in looking for them here. Prices are very similar in all 3 sites. You should instead focus more on the Indian gifts or accessories.
There are quite a number of prominent temples around Little India. Some examples are Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple. There is no harm visiting all the temples, but I would recommend you to just visit one temple and move on to the other parts of Little India. There is not much difference in terms of the temples, so there is really no need to explore all the temples.
Must Have Food Items
Visiting Little India, you must try their sweets such Gulab Jamun. You must also try out the Teh Tarik (Pulled Tea) or Teh Masala (Masala Tea) when you visit Little India.
1. Kampong Glam
Last but not least is Kampong Glam. Kampong Glam is designed for the Malay heritage. There are plenty of clothing, gifts, restaurants, and attractions around the whole of Kampong Glam.
- Jalan Besar
There are quite a number of Malay traditional gifts which you can purchase from any of the shops around. As mentioned previously, do avoid the Singapore gifts if you have already purchased. If you have yet to purchase, then my advice is to just purchase whichever you encounter first. Pricing is relatively similar for all 3 sites.
One of the more prominent attractions in Kampong Glam is the Sultan Mosque with its iconic golden pear shaped structure. This mosque is a must-visit for any tourist. You can even enter the mosque and learn more about the Malay Muslim heritage here in Singapore. To date, this is one of the oldest mosques, which was built back in 1824.
Arab Street and Haji Lane
Address: Arab St, Singapore 199844, Singapore | Haji Ln, Singapore 189230, Singapore
This is where you do most of your shopping and dining. There are plenty of boutique shops and cafés around these streets. From Turkish cuisines to even Japanese cuisines. You will never go wrong with any of the boutique shops or cafés.
If shopping and dining is not your thing, then indulge yourself in the colourful arts along the street. Some buildings along these streets contain drawings, which is sure to make your Instagram feed colourful.
Malay Heritage Centre
Address: 85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501, Singapore
Opening Hours: Museum open Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm (closed on Mondays)
Next is the Malay Heritage Centre, which is an indoors attraction. It displays the history of the Malay community ever since Singapore was discovered back in the days. Admission is free, so why not explore and learn more about the Malay community.
Bugis is near Kampong Glam, and this is where most of the youngsters in Singapore hang out. There are mainly 2 malls here. Bugis Mall and Bugis+. Both of these malls have a common bridge which links the two malls together. As you can guess, most of the shops here are catered towards the younger crowd, so it’s a perfect destination for your teens after a long day of exploring Kampong Glam.
If indoors shopping is not your thing, then head out and explore Bugis Street, which is an outdoors shopping district. You can probably find some of the most cost-effective clothing and accessories here. Most of the trendy outfits can be found here too!
With so many to do and see, it is no wonder Singapore is one of the most popular Asian destinations in the world. Let us know if there are other hidden gems around Singapore!
If you like my article, feel free to buy me a coffee!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Muhammad Shairazi