Despite its tiny size there’s a lot packed into this city-state besides the infamous Singapore Sling at Raffles and shopping at Orchard Road.
The 710 square kilometre nation of Singapore comprises the main island of Singapore plus 63 surrounding islets, including forest reserves, marshes and other green areas.
Officially called the 'Republic of Singapore', the city lies at the southernmost tip of continental Asia and is just 137 kilometres north of the equator.
Once you’ve ticked off a visit to Orchard Road's shops and Chinatown, it’s time to see more of this vibrant city and island.
- Experience thrilling rides, shows and attractions based on your favourite films at Universal Studios SingaporeOpens external site in a new window
- See the outstanding contemporary art and colonial architecture of the Singapore Art MuseumOpens external site in a new window
- Take in the Singapore skyline and outlying islands from Imbiah LookoutOpens external site in a new window on Sentosa Island, also home to a cluster of attractions
- Go on an after-dark wildlife adventure at Night SafariOpens external site in a new window
- Visit a hawker centre and eat delicious street food – from indian murtabak to malaysian satay to chinese hokkien mee
- Step out onto the 128 metre long suspended walkway of The Supertrees at Gardens by the BayOpens external site in a new window.
Explore the cultural precincts and local neighbourhoods for strangely unique and wonderfully diverse experiences.
Chinatown and Downtown Singapore
South of the river lies Singapore's Chinatown and Downtown districts.
Compact Chinatown is characterised by its historic narrow shop houses built in the 1840s. Although it’s now dwarfed by the neighbouring skyscrapers of the CBD, it’s worth wandering the streets to get a glimpse of its former history and a taste of its present day busy exoticism - with herbal medicine shops, long standing businesses, Chinese temples and food markets.
The rise of trendy eateries along Keong Saik Road and Club Street have revived the area and are establishing it as a hip alternative to the traditional nightlife hotspots of Clarke QuayOpens external site in a new window and Boat Quay.
The Civic (downtown) district showcases some of the country’s most historic buildings that have been restored and given a new lease of life. There’s the Arts House built in 1827 which was formerly Singapore’s Old Parliament House, the Asian Civilisation Museum with its original neo-classical architecture or the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall that was built in 1862.
This area is also home to the colonial-era buildings including the impressive Fullerton Hotel, the iconic Raffles Hotel and museums such as the Singapore Art MuseumOpens external site in a new window and the Peranakan MuseumOpens external site in a new window.
Little India and Kampong Glam
Predominantly Hindu, Little India was once a camp for Indian convict workers and was later used for breeding cattle, because of its pasture and access to water. A wander down Serangoon Road and its small side streets now provides glimpses of spices, floral garlands, gold and fabrics.
Stroll to the Tekka Centre, a landmark building which houses a hawker centre, wet market and custom tailor shops. Or search for a bargain at the Mustafa Centre.
Head east to discover the Malay-Arab quarter of Kampong Glam, originally settled by Arabs, the Bugis, Javanese, Boyanese and people from the Riau Islands. Still a centre for bargains (with a particular focus on fabrics and crafts), the area also boasts fashion and style clout, with new restaurants, antique shops and boutiques popping up in the former shop houses.
Another must see is the Malay Heritage CentreOpens external site in a new window within the well preserved grounds of the royal seat of the Malay sultans in Singapore.
At Marina Bay you can marvel at some of the city’s most iconic architectural masterpieces that dot the impressive Singapore skyline.
Get one of the best views from the Sands SkyParkOpens external site in a new window at Marina Bay Sands, an integrated resort that features a casino, theatres, the ArtScience MuseumOpens external site in a new window and hundreds of shops and celebrity chef restaurants.
The spectacular Gardens by the BayOpens external site in a new window also sit in the area, alongside the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore as well as the retail and business hubs of Suntec City and Marina Square.
Every September, the streets here are transformed to host the Singapore Grand PrixOpens external site in a new window, the world’s only street night race.
Singapore's famous shopping boulevard, Orchard Road, is named for the pepper and nutmeg plantations that were there in the 1840s. Now it’s the place for high-end luxury brands, small boutiques, hotels, department stores and upmarket malls such as Mandarin GalleryOpens external site in a new window and ION OrchardOpens external site in a new window.
The fashion strip is broken by a clutch of parks, a palace, some sidewalk cafes, the shophouses of Peranakan Place and the Baroque-style terraces of Emerald Hill.
Tanglin Road has a more relaxed pace, with fancy cafes, restaurants, antiques and homewares, and the tropical Botanic Gardens.
Sentosa & Singapore surrounds
Once a pirate refuge and a military forest, SentosaOpens external site in a new window is now Singapore’s playground island full of beaches, family attractions and Asia’s own Universal Studios, as well as resort hotels, beach bars and even sky diving. Alongside a year-round calendar of events, the 'State of Fun' is also home to walking trails and nature enclosures for those seeking a little peace and tranquillity.
To the south of the city, Southern Singapore is where the busy Port of Singapore is located and is the gateway to Sentosa.
Western Singapore is the industrial zone which has green spaces and theme parks.
Over on the east coast, Geylang Serai has a Malay history and culture; while Katong has a Peranakan and Eurasian identity. The East Coast Park is a drawcard for watersports, while Pulau Ubin and the Changi Village make popular excursions from the city.
Central and Northern Singapore, while densely populated, also have some outstanding green spaces, including Bukit Timah Nature ReserveOpens external site in a new window, and large tracts of tropical forests mangrove.
Singapore Dollar (S$)
220-240V / 50 Hz
Steamy Singapore is generally warm all year around. It can be wet from November to January. Temperatures remain at a consistent 30°C during the day almost all of the time and it stays mild well into the evening.
From the airport
Singapore’s Changi AirportOpens external site in a new window is about 15 minutes drive from the city, and is so enormous that it’s often marketed as a destination in its own right.
The complimentary Sky-Train operates between Terminals 1, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. When you’re ready to leave the Butterfly gardens and The Slide behind, you can get into town by taxi, MRT train, shuttle bus or a convenient private transferOpens external site in a new window.
In and around the city
Singapore has an excellent network of transportation options. The buses are effective and the MRT, the local subway network, is a fast way to get around the city and to most of Singapore’s key attractions. There are plenty of taxis too.
Singapore car hire
If you’re planning a trip outside the city book a car with Avis, Budget, Hertz or Thrifty with no booking fees.
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