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Singapore is a wealthy and developed island nation located off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. A global financial center with a thriving high-tech sector, Singapore attracts visitors from around the world. Cosmopolitan culture, delicious street food, beautiful gardens, amazing luxury, all of these can be found in Singapore. In this article we’ll take a closer look and concentrate on several must-see districts. The aim is to provide a way to maximize your time and enjoyment.
Arriving in Singapore is an experience unto itself. Continually ranked as the world’s best, Changi Airport is a marvel. Luxurious in its own right, you’d be forgiven for delaying your entry into the city so you can around this impressive transportation hub. Visit the butterfly garden, the cactus garden, the kinetic rain sculpture, the HSBC Rain Vortex in the airport’s new Jewel addition...and so much more! Really, do build some time in your itinerary (maybe on the backend) to simply play at Changi Airport. Afterwards, make your way to the Downtown Core where our Singapore adventure begins.
The Downtown Core is where you’ll find many of Singapore’s most iconic locations. Start with a wander through Maxwell Road Food Centre. Here you can taste (pun intended) Singapore’s fantastic food culture. Maxwell Road is one of the big street food areas you will probably want to return to more than once. After having a bite to eat, spend a little time wandering around Chinatown and see the Tang Dynasty-era Buddhist temple. Also nearby is Thian Hock Keng Temple, one of the oldest Hokkien temples in Singapore. From here you can enjoy some shopping at one of the area’s many malls. It’s an effective way to cool down when the tropical heat gets to be too much.
Across the Singapore River is a collection of the city’s great museums. Swing past the Asian Civilisations Museum or the National Gallery. The Padang is a grassy area with significant monuments and other national symbols. St. Andrew's Cathedral sits just off the Padang and is Singapore’s largest cathedral. East of St. Andrew’s you will reach Fort Canning Park, an old British colonial-era military barracks. From the Fort you can explore the National Museum of Singapore, which provides a vibrant and illuminating look at the city’s history. Food options in the area are not hard to come by so grab a snack if you need one and press on towards Marina Bay.
Marina Bay is a fabulous area with lush green parks, incredible bridges, and some of the city’s most impressive architectural achievements. Take a spin on the enormous Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel, quite lovely at sunset. Watch as the Gardens by the Bay come to life with their spellbinding light displays. The magical landscapes seem sprung from some distant dream world. Cross Helix Bridge towards the ArtScience Museum and be sure to snap plenty of photos along the way. You’ll quickly understand why the Marina Bay Sands hotel is the world’s most Instagrammed hotel. Visit the observation deck and infinity pool, which are simply breathtaking! Back down in the Gardens, find the new Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. These massive seashell like structures contain mesmerizing displays flora that will simply dazzle you. Supertree Grove is also a hit after dark.
Take in the atmosphere and beauty at the Gardens before continuing back towards the Downtown Core. This will give you a chance to stop at The Promontory, a first-rate photo location where you can get great backdrops with the Marina Bay Sands. Enjoy a cocktail, coffee, or tea at one of the restaurants along the water. Don’t forget to visit the Merlion, one of the city’s most beloved symbols. The city lights in the background, one could easily sit on the steps near the fountain for hours and just admire the surroundings.
Kampong Glam is a great place to start your next day. This trendy district is filled with colorful buildings and was once where Malay Royalty resided. Grab something to eat and then visit Masjid Sultan, one of Singapore’s landmark mosques. Just opposite is the Malay Heritage Centre. Here you can explore Singaporean culture and taste some local specialties. Slightly northeast from Kampong Glam you will find lots of Indian-owned businesses and restaurants. The Indian Heritage Centre is worthwhile if you want to learn about the Indian diaspora communities in Singapore. After taking in your fill, hop on the Downtown Line MTR and head for the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens are something you don’t want to miss. Regularly ranked as one of the top gardens in Asia, they have the extremely rare privilege of being the only tropical gardens designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is plenty to see around the 160 acre park, including the stunning National Orchid Garden with over 60,000 species on display. From the park, head south to Tiong Bahru. This charming neighborhood has some excellent small markets and delicious local food on offer. It’s another prime attraction for foodies.
Sentosa is Singapore’s playground. Here you will find Universal Studios Singapore, Madame Tussauds wax museum, and Adventure Cove Waterpark. Families will no doubt want to visit. Siloso Beach and Palawan Beach are great places to relax, catch some rays, or go for a swim. Many exclusive resort hotels are located on Sentosa, so it’s easy to spend a day here.
As one of the world’s most family-friendly destinations, Singapore offers something for everyone. Take your time and explore the city’s many facets. Great food, amazing architecture, wonderful nightlife, resorts, theme parks, and more...it’s all on offer in this great Southeast Asian city-state. Come and discover the Garden City at the crossroads of the world.