10 must-visit places in Singapore

February 11 2019

From Kampong Glam to Gardens by the Bay, what better way to visit some of the best tourist attractions that Singapore has to offer than via a private bus charter?

By Gojalanjalan

Bussorah Street located within the historic Kampong Glam district. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Singapore has over the years managed to shed its squeaky clean image to one that is hip and happening thanks to events like the world’s first Formula One Night Racing.

This has helped put the Lion City on the international map with its iconic skyline featured prominently in Hollywood movies like ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’.

Although just a tiny little red dot, make no mistake – this economic powerhouse offers plenty of things for tourist to see and do.

Here are our top ten definitive list for tourists visiting the Lion City for the very first time.

#1: Little India

Enjoy fresh coconut juice at Little India. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

As its name suggests, Little India is a vibrant and colourful enclave where you can find anything under one roof – from colourful sarees to the sweet smell of spices. Visiting Little India is very much an assault on your senses – from the lively Bollywood music being played loudly from the stereo at the nearby shops to the fragrant smell of curry at the many restaurants. Must visit places here include the three Hindu temples Shree Lakshminarayan temple, Sri Veerama Kaliamman temple and Sri Veerama Kaliamman temple.

However, there is more to Little India than just the smell, sights and sounds. Shopping! One of the must visit places here is the iconic Mustafa. Located nearer to the Farrer Park MRT side, this 24-hour store is popular among locals and tourists as it offers just about anything and everything. Toiletries and perfumes (yes, they are genuine) here are priced around 20 per cent cheaper than other retail stores making it a popular haunt among bargain hunters.

#2: Chinatown

The Sri Mariamman Temple is located along South Bridge Road. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Singapore’s Chinatown is unlike the other Chinatowns you may have visited elsewhere. The shophouses and streets are so clean and well-maintained that some tourists may find it too artificial for their liking. Nevertheless, Chinatown is a treasure trove for history and culinary buffs. Find out a little bit about Chinatown’s history at The Chinatown Heritage Centre located at Pagoda Street before heading to Singapore’s largest and oldest Hindu temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple located at the end of the street. Other attractions in the vicinity include the Masjid Jamae mosque which was built in the 1830s and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. The latter, in particular, houses a sacred Buddha tooth relic in a stupa composed of 420 kg of gold. For authentic and affordable local fares, head down to the Chinatown Food Street at Smith Street or at the nearby Maxwell Food Centre

#3: Kampong Glam

The majestic Sultan Mosque by night. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Kampong Glam is a historic district that serves as an early settlement area among the Malay/Muslim community during the 18th century. Home to the majestic Sultan Mosque, Kampong Glam was gazetted as a conservation area by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in 1989.

Bussorah Street, in particular, which is located just in front of the mosque, has become even more vibrant recently as the authorities have now paved and landscaped the street. From perfumeries to restaurants, the entire stretch comes to alive in the evening against the backdrop of the majestic mosque. Kampong Glam is also home to the Malay Heritage Museum where you can find out more about the history behind Singapore’s ethnic Malay community. Kampong Glam is a uniquely Singapore experience that is best experienced during the month of Ramadan whereby the entire area comes alive with street vendors selling affordable yet delicious Malay and Middle Eastern fares.

#4: Arab Street

Tourists enjoying the sights and sounds of Arab Street. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Just parallel to Bussorah Street is Arab Street which is known for stores selling Thai silk, textiles and carpets. Housed within pre-historic shophouses, you can find every fabric imaginable here as well as some of the most intricate Persian carpets. There are also Muslim shops selling religious paraphernalia. Just behind Arab Street is a hip bohemian stretch called Haji Lane where you can find fashionable stores selling vintage clothing to apparels by independent local designers.

#5: Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay at sunset. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

What better way to enjoy the scenic view of the Singapore River than dining alfresco-style at Clarke Quay? Since Singapore’s founding in 1819, the Singapore River was a hub for trade during the colonial era where boats will transport goods upstream here. However, the river got so polluted over the years that the Singapore government embarked on an ambitious cleanup campaign from 1977 to 1987. As a result, Clarke Quay was revamped into a lifestyle and entertainment district. The quay is home to a number of bars, restaurants and clubs, the most notable being Zouk. There are still moored junks that can be found here that have been converted to a floating restaurant.

#6: Orchard Road

The glitzy shopping district of Orchard Road is home to many luxury labels. Photo: Khalil Adis Consultancy.

Orchard Road is Singapore’s pre-eminent shopping district which had undergone a major revamp in 2007 costing some US$26.7 million. Boasting interesting streetscapes with lightings, artworks and installations, luxury labels can be found at every nook and cranny here. From ION Orchard to The Mandarin Gallery, you can shop till you drop within the air-conditioned comfort of the malls. To make your shopping a breeze, most of the malls here are linked to one another via underground linkways or link bridges. The best time to experience Orchard Road is during the Christmas season where colourful street lightings will adorn the entire shopping district.

#7: Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018956

The imposing Marina Bay Sands lights up the Singapore skyline by night. Photo: Shutterstock.

Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort that has been featured prominently in the Hollywood movie, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’. Boasting the iconic SkyPark with a 150 m infinity pool, the entire complex comprises a 2,561-room hotel, a 120,000 sqm convention-exhibition centre, a 74,000 sqm mall called The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, a museum, two large theatres, 10 celebrity chef restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, art-science exhibits, and the world’s largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 machines. Some of the luxury labels that call Marina Bay Sands home include Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci. Entry to the casino is free for tourists. However, the SkyPark is accessible for hotel guests only.

#8: Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive
Singapore 018953
Tel: 6420 6848
Opening hours: Varies

The Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay. Photo: Jan [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Gardens by the Bay is the pride of Singapore and is part of the nation’s plans to transform its “Garden City” to a “City in a Garden”. Spanning 250 acres, there are three waterfront gardens in all – Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. The Bay South Garden, in particular, houses the largest glass greenhouse in the world called the Flower Dome and is home to the iconic Supertrees as seen in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’. The Flower Dome is not to be missed as it features an award-winning cooled conservatory with ever-changing floral displays including crowd favourites such as Tulipmania, Orchid Extravaganza and Blossom Beats.

#9: Universal Studios Singapore

8 Sentosa Gateway
Singapore 098269
Tel: 6577 8888
Opening hours: 10 am – 7 pm

The Jurassic Park Canopy Flyer. Photo: verdandi_magic [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Located within Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, Universal Studios Singapore features 28 rides, shows and attractions in seven themed zones. Touted as a “one-of-its-kind theme park in Asia”, the park’s popular rides include the Battlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon, Transformers: The Ride, Jurrasic Park Rapids Adventure and Waterworld. Tickets cost S$76 for adults and S$56 for 4 to 12-year-olds.

#10: Night Safari
80 Mandai Lake Rd
Singapore 729826
Tel: +65 6269 3411
Opening hours: 7.15 pm to 12 midnight

The entrance of the Night Safari. Photo: Allie Caulfield [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Night Safari is a very popular attraction that features the world’s first nocturnal wildlife park. In fact, it has won the Best Attraction category awarded by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) 13 times. As its name suggests, the safari features animals of threatened species in their nocturnal state when they are most active. They include the Malayan tigers, Asian elephants, fishing cats, red dholes, anoas, markhors, bantengs, Malayan tapirs and Asian lions. The 40-minute tram ride is spread across 35 hectares where visitors will be taken through six geographical regions, from the Himalayan foothills to the jungles of Southeast Asia. In all, the night safari will feature close to 100 species and 900 animals. Tickets cost S$47 for adults, S$31 for 3 to 12-year-olds and S$20 for senior citizens.

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