Top 10 things to do in Singapore


Where foodies, explorers, action seekers, shoppers and socialisers meet.

Singapore is unique in so many ways. While it offers up-market shopping centres like many other large cities, only Singapore has Orchard Road. While it has zoos like some international cities, the Singapore Night Safari is one of the most unique zoo experiences anywhere in the world. While it has 5-Star hotels like those found in the world’s top locations, only Singapore has a triple-tower hotel with a giant ship on top. And while it has famous cordon bleu restaurants and eateries like the best in the world, nothing beats the unique aroma of traditional Singaporean street food. So, here’s my Top 10 by day and by night. 

  1. Marina Bay and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel

This is a great starting point for any visit to Singapore. 207 metres and 57 floors above the streets of Singapore you can look down from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel SkyPark and see exactly what this city in all its glory. The complex comprises a 2560 room hotel, convention centre and shopping centre, with multiple restaurants, a museum and a casino. On the roof, an infinity pool offers one of the best cityscapes you’ll see anywhere in the world. By day, the vista is breathtaking and by night, it is spectacular. Even if you are not a hotel guest, for S$23 you can enjoy the rooftop vista from the Observation Deck, open each day between 9.30 am and 10.00 pm. A spectacular gateway to Singapore, the hotel ‘with the ship on top’ is one of the first sights you’ll see as you approach Singapore city from the airport. For more information and to book tickets to the Observation Deck, go to:

  1. Raffles Hotel

First opened in 1887, Raffles Hotel has for over 130 years been a Singaporean icon and is generally regarded as one of the few remaining great 19th century hotels in the world. Not surprisingly then, Raffles Hotel is continually voted one of the Top 10 hotels in Singapore. While I have never actually stayed at Raffles, I have visited the hotel many times as a guest to enjoy a famous Singapore Sling at the equally famous Long Bar. First created in 1915 by the bartended Ngiam Tong Boon, the Singapore Sling is widely regarded as the national drink of the country. No visit to Singapore is complete without one. Stroll down Bras Basah Road under the impressive colonnades that span the footpath and then turn left into Beach Road. The majesty of the grand hotel entrance and legendary Raffles Doormen will be an enduring impression of your Singapore adventure. Visit Raffles online at:

  1. Clarke Quay

Step back in time to when Singapore River was a thriving trading waterway, lined with stone warehouses and bustling river traffic. Now, step forward to the present. Today, Clarke Quay is an enclave of beautifully restored and colourful historic buildings upstream from the mouth of the Singapore River. The Quay is within walking distance of the city centre, however considering the heat and humidity of the average Singaporean day, a taxi might be preferable. Or hop on the MRT to Raffles Place. While the area is most noted for its waterside restaurants and quaint bars, there are many other things to see and do here, including spectacular Singapore River cruises or a visit to the Asian Civilisations Museum. Also check out the Boat Quay and the waterside lanes packed full of colourful bars and eateries. And for the truly adventurous, book a ride on the legendary G-Max Reverse Bungy. If you dare! To find out more about Clarke Quay, visit:

  1. Orchard Road

Orchard Road is one of the world’s most famous shopping precincts and arguably the finest shopping destination in Asia. Walking along the 2.2 kilometres of Orchard Road is an experience in itself, with up-market shopping malls and flagship designer stores lining both sides of the road. Initially home to fruit orchards in the 1830s, in 1958 Tangs Department Store was established on Orchard Road and remains today an iconic shopping destination with its unique mix of Asian and international brands. It is also a great place to start your Orchard Road retail journey. Orchard Road is a retail and dining paradise with over 5000 establishments offering the ultimate in fashion and food. And the best time to visit Orchard Road? During the annual sales when you can save up to 70%, and Christmas time is when Orchard Road really comes alive, the tree-lined street decked-out with the most glorious festive lights. Check it out at:

  1. Fort Canning and the Battle Box

A bastion of Singapore’s colonial past, Fort Canning sits atop a small wooded knoll in central Singapore. Originally known as the “Forbidden Hill”, Fort Canning Park witnessed Singapore’s golden age when Malay kings ruled from its peak. The beautiful sweeping lawns and imposing colonial architecture of a by-gone era create a natural oasis amid the fast-paced Singapore CBD landscape, but belie the Fort’s formidable past. Hidden beneath the hills of the Park lies the Battle Box, a 26-room World War 2 command centre known as the Battle Box. This is where the British controlled the war against the Japanese on the Malay Peninsular and where the ultimate surrender of the British Forces to the Japanese Imperial Forces took place, marking the beginning of the end of the British Empire. Closed for decades following the war, the Battle Box has been re-opened as a unique and important part of Singapore’s history. Information and tour bookings at:

  1. Hawkers Centres

Hawkers Centres (or food courts) are a great place to eat and are an inexpensive and fun alternative to restaurants. Prices tend to range between S$2.50 and S$5.00 for a dish and despite the cheap price, the quality of the food is very good. Invariably furnished with rickety tables and plastic chairs, there is a mystique about these places that belies their humble surroundings and ensures a great dining experience. In line with the strict food laws enforced by the Singaporean Government, the food is good quality and is safe to eat. There are hundreds of food courts and thousands of food stalls in Singapore where you can eat like a local while exploring the city. The Chomp Chomp Food Centre in Kensington Road is renowned for its satays, the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre for its chicken. Personally, the Chinatown Hawkers Centre Food Court is my favourite, for chilli crab and traditional laksa. You’ll find the locations of all Singapore’s Hawkers Centres at:

  1. China Town

Traditional meets modern in Singapore’s Chinatown. Once the centre of the city’s Chinese immigrant population, today Chinatown is home to an established Chinese community and is a rich mosaic of historic Buddhist temples, spectacular Chinese architecture, traditional Chinese medicine halls and market stalls packed with amazing Chinese goods and artefacts. All nestled amongst modern shops, bars and eateries. And, of course, there’s the food. For the connoisseur of genuine Asian cuisine, there’s the Chinatown Hawkers Centre and Food Court, over 260 food stalls offering a great selection of traditional and modern Chinese dishes at incredibly cheap prices. No one does lights and lanterns like the Chinese. So, make sure you include a night visit to Chinatown on your itinerary, the ambiance of the streets, laneways and markets at night makes it a must-visit location in Singapore. You can check out all there is to see and do in Chinatown at:

  1. Little India

Bright. Bustling. Alive. And aromatic. These are just some of the words that spring to mind when I think about Little India. I love this area. It’s like visiting a country within a country. Little India is food, festivals and street after street of colourful market stalls filled with exotica from the sub-continent – clothes, souvenirs, artwork, traditional Indian products and food, both fresh and cooked. A great place to immerse yourself in all that is India is the Mustafa Centre. If you thought you knew department stores, think again. Mustafa’s is like no department store you have every shopped in. Open 24/7 (and best visited in the evening), Mustafa’s is 8 floors and over 300,000 products, crammed into isle after isle. Stocktaking must be a nightmare! Little India is fun during the day, but really comes alive a night. Enjoy dinner at one of the hundreds of restaurants and eateries, then explore the streets and drop in to Mustafa’s. What to see in Little India? Check out:

  1. Gardens by the Bay

If you think that Singapore is green, wait until you visit the Gardens by the Bay. Covering over 100 hectares of reclaimed waterfront land adjacent to Singapore Marina, Gardens by the Bay takes the concept of green space to a whole new level – literally. Transversed by a massive overhead skywalk, it is a huge, colourful, futuristic park consisting of three individual garden areas with ‘Supertree’ structures which are, in fact over-sized shell-shaped greenhouses containing hundreds of exotic trees and plants. This is a beautifully serene place to spend a blissful morning or afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Singapore. And when the lights come on, enjoy a truly spectacular evening here. One of the great ways to view the gardens is 57 stories up in the air, from the Observation Deck of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel which is adjacent to the Gardens. Plan your visit and explore the gardens online at:

  1. Singapore Night Safari

There are zoos and then there is the Singapore Night Safari. This is the most amazing after-dark experience you will ever have. Opened in 1994 and located next to the Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari is the world’s first night zoo, with over 130 species of nocturnal animals living in 35 hectares of dense rainforest, with many roaming freely. The best way to get up close and personal with the over 2,500 animals is to explore the park on wheels, a 35-minute tram ride that covers the main geographical and zoological zones of the world, complete with live commentary. Or you can also explore the park on foot via a number of walking trails. You can even have dinner here before venturing into the wild. This is a great experience for the whole family. The kids will love it. Your hotel can arrange for a coach pick-up to and from the zoo. Check out the Zoo and lots more online at:

Photo Gallery

Main picture: Raffles Hotel has for decades epitomised British colonial life in Singapore

  • The view from the pool on top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel is spectacular
  • Inside the Marine Bay Sands Hotel multi tower complex
  • The grand entrance to the magnificent Raffles Hotel
  • Clarke Quay – all colour, all action
  • One of the most famous shopping streets in the world
  • The entrance to the Battle Box, the WW2 bunker under Fort Canning hill
  • Hawkers Markets are the best place for real Singaporean street food
  • China Town, ablaze in the evenings
  • Mustafa’s Department Store in Little India – amazing!
  • Gardens by the Bay – like no other garden you have ever seen
  • The Singapore Night Zoo and Safari is the best of its kind in the world