Things to see and do in Singapore
Attractions in Singapore
Find out about the Peranakan community, which grew from the marriages of Chinese traders to local women. The lovingly-restored home (www.nus.edu.sg/cfa/museum/about.php), set up to look much as it did in the 1920s, can be visited only on a free tour – check the website for days and time.
Changi Museum and Chapel
Remember the dark days of Japanese wartime occupation at the Changi Museum and Chapel (www.changimuseum.com), a symbolic replica of similar chapels built by prisoners during WWII.
Chinatown Heritage Centre
Learn about the history of the Chinese community in Singapore, at this fascinating museum (www.chinatownheritagecentre.sg) set within a converted shophouse. Highlights include recorded interviews with elderly residents, and reconstructions of the cramped conditions within which many people lived.
Club Street and Ann Siang Hill
Hang out with the locals in this trendy part of Chinatown, which forms a smart playground for advertising and banking types. Numerous bars and restaurants are housed in the narrow and historic streets.
Experience a world of religions at Buddhist and Hindu temples, mosques and Anglican and Catholic cathedrals, which are all likely to be encountered during a comparatively brief walk around central Singapore; such is its splendid diversity.
Fort Canning Park
Escape from the hot city streets and view what was once an ancient fort of the Malay kings, covering 2.8 hectares (7 acres): Fort Canning Park, on Fort Canning Rise. The colonial ruins of the British citadel can still be viewed, as can a 19th-century Christian cemetery.
Hire a canoe
Take to the water and canoe around the island - there are a number of operators hiring out canoes at Changi point, East Coast and Sentosa Island.
Give yourself a chance to bump into the President. Open to the public just five times yearly, the Istana (www.istana.gov.sg) is the impressive official residence of the Singaporean ruler. The white neoclassical building dates back to 1869, and the extensive grounds include a nine-hole golf course.
See a replica of one of three 'monster guns' which once defended Singapore. Installed by the British in 1939, they fired shells with a diameter of 15 inches (38cm) which could reach a distance of 20 miles. Today you can visit the labyrinth of tunnels at the gun emplacement site, which were used to store ammunition. The original guns were destroyed by the British before Singapore fell to the Japanese army.
Jurong Bird Park
Come face to face with birdlife at the Jurong Bird Park (www.birdpark.com.sg) on Jurong Hill, home to South East Asia's largest collection of birds. There is also the world's largest walk-in aviary, a nocturnal house and several spectacular bird shows including one demonstrating falconry. The park is popular with families.
Lau Pa Sat
Tickle your tastebuds at Lau Pa Sat (www.laupasat.biz), the largest surviving Victorian filigree cast-iron structure in South East Asia. Built in Scotland and shipped to Singapore in 1894 to act as a wet market, the structure has been restored and is now a popular food centre.
Marina Bay and the Gardens by the Bay
One of the newest land reclamation projects in Singapore, Marina Bay (www.marina-bay.sg) includes one of the city’s two huge casinos – the Sands – but also an array of bars, restaurants and events spaces. Just across the river are the Gardens by the Bay (www.gardensbythebay.com.sg), which opened in 2012 and have a combination of open-air gardens, conservatories and an aerial walkway.
National Museum of Singapore
Relive the island's past at the refurbished National Museum of Singapore (www.nationalmuseum.sg), which offers much more than just static collections telling the island state's colourful history, it is also a focal point for numerous festivals and events.
National Orchid Garden
Explore the National Orchid Garden in Singapore's Botanic Gardens (www.sbg.org.sg), which has the largest collection of orchids in the world. The Botanic Gardens have over 52 hectares (128 acres) of landscaped parkland and primary jungle. There are guided tours of the gardens on Saturdays (times vary).
Enter the fascinating world of nocturnal wildlife at the Night Safari (www.nightsafari.com.sg), one of Singapore’s most popular attractions and a little over an hour by bus from the city centre. Regular performances complement the park's extensive collections of animals; the world-class Singapore Zoo is next door and operated by the same company.
Relive colonial days near the Singapore River, and wander towards the imposing Parliament House (www.parliament.gov.sg), the oldest government building in the country - the core dates back to the 1820s. Proceedings are open to the public when parliament is sitting, and tours are also offered.
Prop up the bar at the Raffles Hotel (www.raffles.com/singapore), one of the most famous hotels in the world. A Singapore Sling (a head-spinningly good, if expensive, cocktail) in the Long Bar is almost de rigueur, although it’s more pleasant to take a table in the shade outside. A dress code applies indoors, so avoid wearing shorts and sandals.
Take the short trip across to Sentosa Island (www.sentosa.com.sg), with its many and varied attractions ranging from the Universal Studios theme park to an aquarium, a cable car ride, the Tiger Sky Tower, nature trails and plenty of bars and restaurants. It's a great family day out, but be warned that the various entry fees can add up to an expensive day out.
Enjoy panoramic views over Singapore island and beyond from the 165m (540ft) tall Singapore Flyer (www.singaporeflyer.com.sg), the world's second highest Ferris wheel after the Las Vegas High Roller. Opened in March 2008 at Marina Bay, the enormous wheel offers a magnificent perspective on the bay as well as the city beyond.
Take a trip along Singapore River aboard a bumboat. These were once used to ferry goods to and from larger ships moored in the harbour, and nowadays offer an excellent way to see the contrasting historical and modern architectural styles of the city. Departure points include Boat Quay, Raffles Landing and Boat Quay.
Go shopping in Singapore City's Orchard Road - the 'Fifth Avenue' or 'Oxford Street' of Singapore, and just as bustling, with its vast luxury malls, shops ranging from megastores to vendors of souvenir tat, as well as cafés and restaurants.
Singapore Tourism Board in the USAAddress: 1156 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 702, New York City, NY 10036
Telephone: +1 212 302 4861.
Singapore Tourism Board in the UKAddress: Singapore Centre, Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, London, WC2N 5HR
Telephone: +44 20 7484 2710.