Gone are the days of pirates and Ancient World trade games; Singapore is a bustling sea metropolis with manmade treasures for miles—and they’re definitely worth a visit. Be you a fan of forest views or urban panoramas, a list of things to do in Singapore is not complete without a these modern (and ancient!) feats of human engineering:
1) Chinatown Heritage Centre
From walking tour celebrating the area’s history to the ceremonial lion dance every Saturday evening (and not to mention that wonderful thing, free wifi), the Chinatown Heritage Center is the mecca for everything from old temples to watering holes for a 5 o’clock cocktail. While the slogan “celebrating the old and the new” may not be in its first carnation, for Chinatown, it’s certainly the case. Head to Kreta Ayer for the best hawker food in the area (don’t forget to try tang yuan) or head to Ann Suang Hill for an experience more off the beaten path and to indulge your inner hipster (the quirky restaurants and coffee shops are in with the younger crowd).
2) Singapore Flyer
Think London has the corner market on giant sightseeing Ferris wheels? Think again! the Singapore Flyer in the Marina Centre area takes the cake for one of the best views of the city, but it’s more than just a ride around. Take your dinner into the air at Level 3 with the Flyer Lounge or hop behind the wheel of a Formula One on the same track that hosts the Singapore Grand Prix.
3) Ziplining on Sentosa Island
While the view may be provided by nature, the high up angle that you’re taking it from is certainly not natural, and as one of human’s best inventions, grab a zip line and get to flying above the trees! Ziplining on Sentosa is a ride through forest, beaches, and the natural wildlife that the island has to offer, but it’s not the best part: you can race your friends and family down the slopes (at upwards of 60 miles an hour!) and it’s worth every stomach drop and heart stop along the way.
4) Swimming at Marina Bay Sands
If it seems like all of Singapore’s best attractions include a trip to the sky, you’re not crazy, it’s definitely just the way it is. For taking in the sunset over the city, grab a night at the Marina Bay Sands and take your key card for a joy ride to the 57th floor—it’s home to an Infinity pool overlooking the entire cityscape. And although I don’t suggest taking your phone into the pool for a killer panorama (I do, I absolutely do), you’re going to want to get this location on your Instagram map. Grab a local SIM card, do a little prep, and then start enjoying the better signal and cheaper prices. How else are you going go to be the envy of all Snapchat?
5) National Gallery Singapore
This attraction is brand new and not open to the public yet—circle November 24th on your calendar!—but you should definitely pencil it in for future vacation plans because it’s going to be home to over 8,000 works of art and more than 200 years of cultural history from Southeast Asia. Built in the restored Supreme Court building and old City Hall and free admission for a month after its opening, there’s more than enough reason to make a pit stop for the artistic excellence exhibited on the National Gallery walls.
6) Little India
Little India, or Tekka as it’s called by the locals, is just across the river from Chinatown, and boasts the same cultural diversity and rich histroy. Wander the streets for a look in the unique shops full of saris or pop into one of the food stalls for a classic chai, either way it’s going to excite your senses. If you’re lucky enough to be in town, head to the Deepavali festival between September 26th and November 9th for authentic Indian wears and traditional holiday eats.
7) Thian Hock Keng Temple
As one of the oldest temples in Singapore, the Thian Hock Keng pulls a generous tourist crowd, but don’t let that dissuade you from making your way there. With a calendar full of celebrations and festivals—check out the Hungry Ghost Festival if you’re in town, if only for that killer event name—and architecture as old as 1839, getting a look at this temple built in traditional Southern Chinese style is a trip for your senses.
So be you a fan of a view from heaven or a walk grounded in the bustling city streets, these Singapore destinations are must-stops on your list of must-sees—there’s just no way around it!
Did I leave your favorite man-made stop off the list? Leave me a comment and I won’t only check it out on Google, I’ll book a flight!
This guest post is brought to you by Claire Lovesti, the nomadic vision behind Traveltio, a beautifully designed and well written blog detailing Claire’s journey over 3 continents, 16 countries and 38 cities. And counting.
** All images courtesy of Claire Lovesti.