Singapore is a many-faceted city with everything from rustic retreats to chic modern attractions. Center your vacation around the right neighborhood and you may spend your entire stay exploring theme parks and sparkling beaches. Head to another area and you can enjoy an intellectual escape immersed in the rich history and culture of this Asian destination.
With so many sides to explore, it’s important to consider the tone of your trip long before you leave. Singapore is too vast to really enjoy with random wanderings. Get to know the many sides of the city so you can organize a trip that allows you to see and do what interests you most.
The Family Friendly Attractions Hub
Singapore is home to several family oriented attractions, and many of these are clustered together, providing a convenient hub for travelers. If you’re in town for thrill rides and entertainment for all ages, Resorts World Sentosa Singapore puts it all close at hand.
This destination includes several major attractions. Universal Studios Singapore alone houses seven themed lands. Visit Ancient Egypt where you can experience the Revenge of the Mummy on this indoor roller coaster, or visit Shrek and Fiona in Far Far Away with a 4D adventure, interactive show, whimsical Ferris wheel, and junior roller coaster.
The Resorts World complex is also home to the S.E.A. Aquarium, with over 100,000 marine animals in nearly 50 habitats from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea. If you’re itching to get in the water, Dolphin Island lets you meet bottlenose dolphins up close. Adventure Cover Waterpark is great for a splash as well, while the Trick Eye Museum offers mind-blowing photo ops thanks to stunning pieces of three-dimensional art. Stay in the heart of it all at a resort like the RWS Festive Hotel which offers loft beds, child-size bathrobes, and a splash zone for children.
The Vibrancy of Little India
Immerse yourself in some of the culture of Singapore by centering your visit around Little India. Strolling the streets you’ll find Ayurvedic massage oils, exquisite fabrics, and fortune tellers. The streets are loud and cluttered with everything from vegetable stalls to art galleries. Naturally, this is the best place in the city for authentic Indian dining. The Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is one of the oldest in Singapore, anchoring Serangoon Road in the midst of Little India.
The Wanderlust Hotel is the perfect boutique pick to serve as your home base here. The accommodations are practically an attraction on their own. Designed by four local creative firms, the hotel is a stunning work of art. The compact Pantone rooms are each rendered in their own distinctive hue, while the Mono rooms are primarily black and white with origami and pop art influences. The nine loft rooms classified as whimsical are the most breathtaking, with spaces that can take you up in a tree or off to outer space.
The Historic Civic District
History buffs should plan to spend most or all of their time in Singapore exploring the Civic District. This is where you’ll find the Arts House, originally constructed as the city’s parliament house in 1827. There’s also the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, constructed in 1862, and the Civilian War Memorial known locally as “The Chopsticks” for its tall, slim design. Another local attraction with an endearing nickname is Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, also known as “the durian” for its resemblance to the fruit.
Don’t miss the Asian Civilisations Museum where you’ll find more than a thousand artifacts in 11 galleries. Located on the Singapore River, this museum houses a gallery by the same name with an open window overlooking the waters. Nearby, you’ll find pieces excavated from the banks of the river that date as far back as the 14th century. The museum also takes you through Southeast Asia, West Asia, China, and South Asia.
The Modern World of Marina Bay
Marina Bay features towering skyscrapers, elegant hotels, and the bustling feel you can only find in a growing city. Take it all in from the best vantage point in the city on the Sands Skypark Observation Deck. Towering over the city, this spot is bested only by the Skypark Infinity Pool. This rooftop pool extends right to the skyline and offers the illusion of dropping off right into the city below. Pool access is only available for guests of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
Even the touches of nature that you’ll find in Marina Bay are distinctly tamed and modernized. Gardens by the Bay features sprawling lawns and elegant palm trees along the waterfront with several distinctive features. The Cloud Forest is an enclosed dome featuring a mountain with planted walls, an indoor waterfall, and walkways at several levels. The Supertree Grove features elevated gardens shaped like towering trees.
The Shopper’s Dream at Orchard Road
While researching your hotel options in Singapore, you may have noticed several locations with the word “orchard” in their name. While this may invoke images of sprawling groves of trees, Orchard Road in Singapore is far from rural. This is the city’s prime shopping destination. Singapore’s first supermarket made its home here in 1903. The first department store followed in 1958. Though neither is standing today, Orchard Road is still synonymous with top-notch shopping, featuring a stunning 22 malls.
The Far East Plaza draws a young crowd with hip clothing stores while the Hilton Shopping Gallery houses designer fashion fresh from the runway. Orchard Central is the newest face on the block and offers a distinctly modern look and feel. Whether you’re looking for art galleries, jewelry stores, or gourmet food, you’ll find a shopping destination suited to your tastes in the Orchard Road neighborhood of Singapore. A seasoned shopper could easily spend an entire vacation exploring the offerings in this chic area.
Singapore is a fascinating city with many depths. It can easily draw you in again and again, offering something new to experience with each return. Share your favorite highlights of Singapore in the comments below.
Mandi Rogier lives and writes in sunny central Florida. She spends her free time bustling about theme parks or relaxing on beaches. She writes travel pieces for several websites including Hipmunk.