One of the best countries to visit for new travelers in Singapore. It’s a small country that’s easy to explore, with hyper-modern structures, beautiful gardens, and ethnic neighborhoods that earn the island nation its nickname “The Melting Pot of Asia.”
If you’re a first-timer in the Lion City, here are some can’t-miss hotspots that you should definitely visit.
Gardens by the Bay
This is one of Singapore’s most popular tourist attractions, if not outright the most popular one. Gardens by the Bay combines nature and technology in a perfect balance, exhibited in the 18 “Supertrees” that reach up to about 16 stories high.
These Supertrees are essentially upright gardens, which house more than 160,000 varieties of orchids, ferns, bromeliads, and tropical flowers. Their shape allows them to collect rainwater for irrigation and the fountains. At night, the Supertrees light up in a colorful display. Apart from the Supertrees, Gardens by the Bay also features two conservatories: the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome.
Marina Bay Sands Skypark
You don’t have to book a room in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel to access the Skypark (although guests at the iconic hotel have access to the gorgeous infinity pool!).
The Skypark Observation Deck at the 57th floor offers one of the most spectacular views of Singapore. It’s best to visit at night so you can see a big part of the city-state—including the above-mentioned Supertrees—all lit up in its glory.
Singapore Sports Hub
Singapore Sports Hub is a sprawling 35-hectare lifestyle center located in Kallang. Its top attractions include the 55,000-capacity National Stadium, a watersports center, the 41,000-square-meter Kallang Wave Mall, and the Splash-N-Surf Waterpark.
There are also various sporting facilities like basketball and futsal courts that are open 24/7, as well as a skate park and running and cycling paths. What’s good about the Singapore Sports Hub is its accessibility. If you’re staying in a Kallang hotel, you’ll find that various MRT stations—like the Stadium, Mountbatten, and Kallang MRT stations—are only a walking distance away.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
One of the most surprising things about Singapore is that while it’s a highly urbanized nation with limited land area, it also has a lot of green spaces. In fact, it’s the greenest city in Asia! If you prefer to enjoy the flora in a more natural environment (as opposed to a futuristic setting at the Gardens by the Bay), visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
It’s one of the country’s oldest parks, which is also why it’s one of the most spacious. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the only one in Singapore. The Singapore Botanic Garden houses over 10,000 species of plants. It also has an in-house orchid research and breeding center. Entrance is free, but you may also visit the famed National Orchid Garden within the property for a minimal fee of SGD 5.
The Singapore Zoo is consistently in the list of the best zoos in the world. It’s famous for its open-style captivity that features moats, glass, and other non-invasive barriers between the animals and the visitors. For your comfort and enjoyment, there are trams, boats, and carriages that you can ride around the zoo.
There are more than 300 species of animals being cared for in the facility, with about 16% considered as endangered. The Singapore Zoo is also home to the world’s largest captive colony of orangutans.
National Gallery of Singapore
There are quite a few interesting museums and galleries to visit in the Lion City, and arguably one of the best is National Gallery Singapore.
Located in Singapore’s former City Hall and Supreme Court, the gallery is home to more than 8,000 pieces of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art from the 19th century onwards. Some of the most notable works that have been featured in the gallery include those of Raden Saleh (Indonesia), Nguen Gia Tri (Vietnam), Danh Vo (Denmark, born in Vietnam), Mark Rothko, and Yayoi Kusama.
If you’re not good with maps or directions, there’s no need to worry. The ArtScience Museum is one of the most recognizable structures in Singapore, with its unique flower-like shape. Inside, you’ll find the perfect blend of art and science, with exhibitions inspired by nature, outer space, storybook characters, and more.
There are various permanent exhibits like Future World with interactive displays, as well as temporary attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. The temporary exhibits last from a few to several months, so it’s best to check the ArtScience Museum website to know what’s on the show before you visit.
Universal Studios Singapore + Sentosa
If you’re traveling with kids and have some money to spare for entrance fees, it’s best to visit Universal Studios Singapore. From thrilling rides to award-winning shows and live performances, the entire family will certainly have a lot of fun with all the TV- and movie-inspired attractions.
Apart from Universal Studios, you can also check out other tourist hotspots in Sentosa like the Trick Eye Museum and the S.E.A. Aquarium. In fact, you can spend two to three days in Sentosa Island and never run out of things to do!
Singapore is one of the most prosperous countries in the world despite (or perhaps because of) its size. It’s easy to think that the island nation is all about technology and modernism, but there’s so much more to discover in this small but beautiful country.