Singapore often gets a lot of press attention for reasons entirely unrelated to its royal charms. Sure, it's a wealthy country whose lax tax policies attract millionaires like flies, but you don't need to be a tax accountant to see the real value of a Singapore visit.
Singapore packs a surprisingly massive number of attractions: verdant parks, world-class zoos, luxury hotels, historic structures, and exquisitely cheap eats, all in an area no larger than El Paso, Texas.
With not a bit of difficulty, we've boiled down the reasons for visiting Singapore in ten bullet points. Read on to find out more about this small island town that thinks big.
Unearth History under all the new things
Singapore's relationship with its past, crib by Facebook, boils down to “it's complicated". Many historic buildings in the mall have long been cleared to make way for glittering skyscrapers.
But modernity hasn't always had its way: ethnic enclaves like Chinatown retain many 19th-century shops and temples, and many other signs of Singapore's past persist throughout the island.
Most of Singapore's oldest buildings have managed to cling with history's ups and downs – the Raffles Hotel, which opened in 1887, continues to serve patrons in the same Long Bar that once served Somerset Maugham and Charlie Chaplin.
Singapore also has a surprisingly full complement of museums – some of the best are clustered together in the civic center, allowing you to walk from one to the other in under five minutes.
Explore Modern Art & Architecture
Singapore currently building the future from both glass and greenery. The city-state is currently undergoing a radical transformation into a futuristic “garden city", with its most visible example in Marina Bay.
Formerly an empty landscape of sea and reclaimed land, Marina Bay's skyline has been transformed with the addition of architectural wonders such as the Esplanade, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Flyer. To see Singapore headlong into the future, you need to visit Marina Bay in a rush.
Singapore's creative expression can also be found much closer to the ground: publicly commissioned sculptures, murals and installations can be found throughout the city. Orchard Road, for example, has a public art trail you can follow at your own pace. Luxury hotels like the Marina Bay Sands and the Ritz Carlton Millenia have their own collections you can admire.
Finally, you can find some of the most beautiful pieces of art in the world, curated in convenient art museums such as the Singapore Art Museum, Red Dot Design Museum and the Singapore National Gallery.
View of Singapore Wild Side Up Close
Considering the towering, iconic skylines of Marina Bay and the Civic District, it's hard to imagine Singapore actually living up to its “garden city” aspirations. Leave the built-up areas behind, however, and you will find a network of parks that hug the island, adding to a green cover that makes up about 46 percent of the country.
The Parks National Board (nparks.gov.sg) operates Singapore's sprawling parks network, which includes family-friendly parks such as Kent Ridge Park (pictured above) and waterfront parks, such as East Coast Park.
Plans are underway for a “green matrix" of park connectors that will connect Singapore's parks and nature reserves across the island – in just a few years, you can traverse west to east across the island without stepping out. of a park!
Shop till you drop in di Singapore Shopping Precincts
Keep your credit card under lock and key when visiting Singapore because you will be severely tempted to go shopping on a rampage.
Singapore's shopping scene is cleverly designed for you to efficiently separate yourself from your money: Orchard and Marina Bay malls are mostly connected by underground walkways to the MRT and to each other, credit cards are widely accepted throughout. the world (even though cash is still the king – bed of money in Singapore), and the annual Great Singapore sale cuts prices to rock bottom entire island levels!
Tourists flying through Changi Airport can also take advantage of Singapore's duty-free trade policies – 7% goods and services (GST) levied on shopping in Singapore can be refunded before the outbound flight, thanks to an ultra-efficient electronic Tourist Reimbursement Scheme (ETRS) in place.
Where to go shopping depends on what you need and where you live; For more details, see our list of the hottest shopping spots in Singapore.
See most families in Southeast Asia
Come to Singapore, bring your children! Island-state family attractions allow visitors of all ages to experience Southeast Asia in the region's safer environment.
It begins with a series of world-class zoos showcasing animals from around the world in “cageless" human environments: the open-air Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari, and “the largest bird park in Asia ”, The Jurong Bird Park.
Kids will enjoy Southeast Asia's only Universal Studios park, but its location on Sentosa Island gives it all access to the island's many family-friendly attractions, including an adventure park, five-star restaurants and the Madame Tussaud's wax museum a.
Closer to the city center, take a seat on a Ducktours tour and see Singapore's historic district from both the street and the river.
For more details, read our article on Singapore Family Activities.
Lie in the lap of luxury
Singapore has become a favorite playground for the rich world. As the world's largest companies have continued to invest in Singapore, so they have some of the best luxury brands in the world.
The hotels along Orchard Road, the Historic District and Marina Bay have more star rating than a Hollywood agent. The thriving restaurant scene is evolving away from the country's Hawker roots to embrace Michelin-class extravagance. New Singapore malls like the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands hawk luxury goods like Louis Vuitton, Prada and Bulgari. And thermal water lovers can get lost in many of the island's exclusive spas and wellness centers.
The aforementioned Marina Bay Sands is also home to one of Singapore's two casinos – the gaming tables provide another fun way to part with your own money!
Changi Airport Singapore – The Ultimate Asian Stopover
Singapore's central location in Southeast Asia makes the air, land, and sea stopover ideal for visitors planning to travel elsewhere in the region.
The country's main air hub, Changi Airport, is easily accessible with flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. From here, visitors can fly virtually anywhere in Southeast Asia, such as the region's major operators and low-cost airlines to service regular flights from Changi.
The rest of Asia can also be reached by land and sea from Singapore. Bus services run regularly to Kuala Lumpur in neighboring Malaysia. Singapore is linked by driving to Malaysia, and, therefore, to Thailand and the rest of Asia.
The Singapore Cruise Center (singaporecruise.com.sg) offers ferry services to Batam, Bintan and Karimun, along with a number of international cruise lines. The new Marina Bay Cruise Center (mbccs.com.sg) specializes in cruise operators; Most of the biggest names in the cruise industry now use Singapore's largest Marina Bay port for their stops.
an ideal stop in Singapore for a stopover
Got a long layover? Singapore's small size and comprehensive transportation system makes it one of the best places to endure a long wait in.
Travelers who do not want to check Changi Airport between flights can sign up for a free three-hour guided tour of Singapore at the free Singapore Tours booths at least one hour before each tour begins. You have a choice of two different tours; more details on the free official Singapore Tours page.
If you are staying more than a couple of hours in Singapore, book a Changi stopovers tour that covers hotels, transport and attractions in one package for one to three nights. More details on the official Changi Scali page.
But who needs all of this holding hands when you can hit and tour Singapore on your own?
Just grab an EZ-Link card from Changi Airport's basement MRT station and head out to explore the island's best neighborhoods at your leisure.
See Different Cultures Side by Side in Singapore's Ethnic Enclaves
For such a small island, Singapore is chock-a-block with a variety of Asian cultures, all living side-by-side, each with an ethnic enclave and a Singapore review of its own. In each ethnic enclave, Singaporean singles find a way to eat, worship, and live to the fullest extent of their cultural heritage.
The “enclave" system has its roots in Singapore founder Sir Stamford Raffles' policy of assigning a neighborhood to each ethnicity in Singapore. Today Chinatown, for example, was awarded in 1828 to the Chinese immigrants of the Raffles' day. Shophouses that used to shelter brothels and opium houses are now converted into museums, offices and hotels. Visit during Chinese New Year in Singapore to see Chinatown's local vibe turned up at eleven!
Singaporean Malaysian nobility quarters became the kernel for today's Singapore Kampong Glam. The former sultan's palace was transformed into a Malay Heritage Center; Nearby, the golden-domed Sultan Mosque and the bazaars of Bussorah Street and Arab Street provide ample opportunities for tourists to shop and tour.
During Ramadan and Aidilfitri, Kampong Glam becomes the venue for a massive pasar malam (night market) that caters to Malay Muslims and non-Muslim visitors alike.
In Little India you can see – and smell – how the local Tamil Indian community lives: spices and scents of the area permeate the area, providing an interesting sensory scenario as you explore. Get some shopping done at the Tekka Market, Little India Arcade, Campbell Lane, or the 24-hour Mustafa Center shopping mall.
The best time to visit Little India coincides with the high Indian festivals of Thaipusam and Deepavali.
Pig on Singapore's vibrant food culture
Singapore may be a prosperous country, but eating out around here mostly takes place in the country's many hawker centers – outdoor foodcourts selling Malaysian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Peranakan, and “western" food, fast and easy. cheap.
Singapore's Hawker Centers serve as an amazing, delicious crash course in local culture – after all, Singapore (just like Singapore food) draws its identity from the long centuries of trade and the fusion of many cultures, brought about by traders and their servants who came and stayed.
The choices are endless… and surprisingly cheap! (Expect to spend around $ 2-4 for a big meal at a Singapore hawker center.)
Food choices become even more varied in the holiday season: Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore induce the appearance of Chinese food specialties such as Yusheng, while Ramadan and the ensuing Hari Raya (Eid al-Fitr) festival comes with a proliferation of pasar malam (night markets) serving an endless variety of Ramadan foods.
Then there is the Singapore Food Festival (singaporefoodfestival.com.sg), several weeks of nothing but food from all over the planet taking center stage all over the island!
If being food-mad were a current psychological condition, then consider Singapore asylum all over the island.