11 must-do things to do in Singapore

Visiting Singapore: what are the best things to do and see in the island city-state, nicknamed the “garden city”?


  • 1. Visit Singapore by boat
  • 2. Gardens By The Bay
  • 3. Merlion
  • 4. Marina Bay Sands
  • 5. The Singapore Flyer
  • 6. Visit Chinatown
  • 7. Visit Padang
  • 8. The Botanical Garden
  • 9. Pulau Ubin
  • 10. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Singapore is an independent city-state made up of 63 lush but densely populated islands south of the Strait of Johor at the tip of the Malay Peninsula. Its hot and humid equatorial climate all year round does not scare away the 16 million tourists who come to visit Singapore each year. Singapore – one of the four Asian dragons (along with Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea) – is a tax haven often praised for its economic success. Also, the state is among the most developed in the world. It is also a mosaic of cultures from all over the world: 5.535 million inhabitants made up of Chinese (75% of the population), Malays, Indians and various other nationalities.

But then what to do in Singapore? Traveling or on a stopover, in expatriation or on a working holiday visa, here is our top 10 must-see places to visit Singapore.

1. Visit Singapore by boat

Singapore by boat

Here is what some would call a tourist trap, but we assume: boat cruises to admire the skyline from the Singapore River –  Singapore River – could well surprise many. From the water, we pass by boat to contemplate various atmospheres: a forest of skyscrapers tickling the clouds, the Marina Bay Sands, symbol of unbridled capitalism, adjoining the Boat Quay district, the old fishing port and its Shops Colored houses.

2. Gardens By The Bay

Gardens By The Bay, Singapour

Gardens By The Bay is a 101 hectare park right in the center of Singapore. The park is subdivided into three gardens, Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden . Here, we know why the city-state is called “Garden City”. It attracted 6.4 million visitors in 2014, so in other words it is very busy all year round. The goal is to make the city a lush garden, showcasing tropical horticulture. In the Cloud Forest , enjoy an imposing artificial waterfall. Next door, the  Flower Dome showcases thousands of flower species.

3. Merlion

Merlion, Singapore

Merlion Park and its eponymous statue is a must in Singapore: created in 1964, the statue marks the entrance to the city at the mouth of the Singapore River. It is a sculpture with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, spitting out water. Today, it is a commercial emblem and symbol of the city present on all the photos and postcards. Photograph it, by the way, it’s the Singaporean Eiffel Tower.

4. Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

What to do in Singapore that is unusual? At the top of Marina Bay Sands, is the Infinity Pool,  literally “infinity pool”, you will have a breathtaking view of the Singapore skyline. Be careful, however, you have to be a customer of the luxury hotel to be able to go swimming up there. The Marina Bay Sands is the bizarre building made up of three buldings topped with a curious plateau, which you cannot miss unless you suffer from blindness: it is a huge hotel complex with 2,560 rooms , a casino, a museum and the famous infinity pool (146 meters) on its roof.

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5. The Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer, Singapore

Do you think the fairgrounds in small towns in France are ridiculous or boring? Ride the Singapore Ferris Wheel, preferably at sunset to be carried 165 meters high and enjoy sweeping views of the city and possibly even the islands of Malaysia. It’s Asia’s biggest attraction so expect to see a lot of people there!

6. Visit Chinatown

Chinatown district, Singapore

And yes, even if Singapore is Chinese-speaking or three-quarters populated by Chinese, there is, as in all the capitals of the world, a Chinatown. How to feel like in the Night Market of Taipei (Taiwan) or China in an equatorial climate? Chinatown in Singapore is like visiting Ali Baba’s cave: it’s one of the must-see places to visit Singapore. These are silk shops, colorful materials, technology stalls, oriental food restaurants – the famous food courts  and a Hindu temple, the Sri Mariamman. Near the center and the quays, many Buddhist and Taoist temples adjoin the bars, restaurants and hotels in the area.Read also: 

7. Visit Padang

Padang, Singapore

Photo credit: Flickr – Robert Lowe

The district of Padang is the one that has the most preserved the colonial architecture of yesteryear: as if the British had not left. Here you will find many colonial buildings typical of the time of the British Empire: the Victoria Theatre, the City Hall, the former seat of Parliament, the Supreme Court, St. Andrews Cathedral and the Empress Place Building – visit the Museum of Asian Civilization there. What to do in Singapore? Next to the Padang, a plethora of museums, bars and hotels to stay.

8. The Botanical Garden

Singapore Botanic Garden

The Singapore Botanic Garden is a lush 63.7-hectare paradise, open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight. This cultural site for visiting Singapore includes six gardens: the National Orchid Garden, a Jungle, the Evolution Garden, the Ginger Garden, the Tanglin Gate, and a “Jacob Ballas” children’s garden. The gardens are home to a wide variety of landscape features, plantings and historic buildings. Created in 1859, it is an important plant research and conservation center in Southeast Asia.

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9. Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Photo credit: Flickr – Ria Tan

Pulau Ubin is one of the last undeveloped areas of Singapore. The island welcomes thousands of tourists, attracted by the natural site of Chek Jawa, a few minutes by boat from the main island of Singapore. Here, there is no concrete, no buildings and a dense jungle, with a small village in the mangrove: it is, truly, to visit Singapore from a wild and preserved angle! The island can be visited very well by bike and offers beautiful walks in the middle of lush vegetation.

10. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Bukit Timah, Singapore

Photo credit: Flickr – Walter Lim

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is often overlooked in travel blogs. However, it is a must for things to do in Singapore, as it is vast, natural and splendid. It extends over 164 hectares on the slopes of the eponymous hill and is covered with equatorial forest, offering beautiful walks in nature just 12 kilometers from the business district of Singapore.

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Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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