Best Things To Do in Singapore
You can enjoy both urban and natural attractions in this mega-metropolis. Perusing the designer stores on the commercial Orchard Road or the bustling stalls in Little India will showcase the city's fast pace. And at the other end of the spectrum, Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Botanic Gardens will provide a breath of fresh air. If you want a playground for both adults and kids, head to Sentosa – an island that hosts Universal Studios Singapore, golf courses, beaches and luxury resorts. To complete your trip, say farewell to the city from the top of the Singapore Flyer (think London Eye) or in iconic Merlion Park on Marina Bay.
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If you're looking for a taste of nature without the trek, Gardens by the Bay is your urban jungle. The attraction is conveniently based in Marina Bay and features a wide of variety of enticing things to do and see that seamlessly mix Mother Nature with the metropolis. The Supertree Grove, the most recognized landmark of the park, features 18 "supertrees" that support the OCBC Skyway, a 419-foot-long aerial walkway that affords views of both the surrounding gardens, as well as Marina Bay.
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For such a large city, you'll be shocked at the amount of parks that share space with the skyscrapers. And the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the epicenter of this natural, flowering splendor. Formerly an unused plantation, the garden hugs 60 acres of the city, not only living up to Singapore's nickname of the City in the Garden, but earning the country's first UNESCO World Heritage site title. The gardens attract both casual naturalists and scholarly botanists with its world-renowned botanical library, acres of varied vegetation and free admission. Numerous attractions dot a map of the gardens; however, we advise that you simply wander through this gorgeous spectacle and unwind. That said: travelers say not to miss the National Orchid Garden for its innumerable floral varieties and breathtaking colors.
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The district of Marina Bay is considered to be Singapore's tourism epicenter. Marina Bay houses some of the city's main points of interest as well as numerous opportunities for entertainment like the ArtScience Museum and The Float at Marina Bay (the world's largest floating stadium). You'll also find the Singapore Flyer, Gardens By the Bay and Merion Park, some of the city's best lookout spots overlooking the bay. And although many features will draw your eye, the centerpiece of Marina Bay is the Marina Bay Sands resort. You name it, this complex probably has it: a world-class casino, multiple nightclubs, performance halls, shops and spectacular overnight accommodations. Plus, don't miss the Sands SkyPark, an elevated open-air concourse that crowns the resort.
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As a nation composed of mostly immigrants, Singapore possesses a number of ethnic enclaves. Chinatown is one of the largest of them. Broken up into five districts, the neighborhood is packed with a variety of things to do and is constantly buzzing with pedestrians passing in and out of its shops, eateries and food stalls.
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When you tire of the urban jungle, head to an actual jungle: the Singapore Zoo. The expansive facility is broken up into 11 different zones and has 12 exhibits, affording numerous opportunities to get up close and personal with a diverse array of wildlife. Venture to Primate Kingdom and get a glimpse into the lives of the 39 species of primate that call that zone home. Or visit the Elephants of Asia exhibit, where you can rub elbows with the five big girls (all five elephants are female) hailing from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia. Along with numerous exhibits, guests can also attend animal shows, go on tours and safaris (the night safari is particularly popular), or even feed some of the animals.
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Every modern metropolis must have its commercial avenue. Singapore's version is Orchard Road. This electric boulevard buzzes with the whizzing of cars, the humming of neon lights and the swiping of credit cards, a far cry from the way things once were way back when. Orchard Road got its name from the presence of fruit orchards, nutmeg plantations and pepper farms that dotted the area in the early 19th century. Today, the mile-long street houses tons of eateries and a whopping 47 shopping malls carrying high end brands, popular international retailers like Zara and H&M as well as local shops. The massive ION Orchard shopping complex is arguably the centerpiece of the street, so you'll inevitably be lured inside by the designer names and stream of fashionable patrons.
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On Marina Bay, Merlion Park hosts one of Singapore's most recognizable monuments. The Merlion statue is the head of a lion with the body and tail of a fish, and the hybrid creature spouts water from its mouth and into the bay. Measuring 28 feet tall, the statue may seem a bit odd to the naked eye, but the statue is actually a nod to Singapore's history. The head of Merlion represents Singapura, the city's first name, which means 'lion city' in Malay. The fish tail and body symbolizes Singapore's old days as a small fishing town. Even though the statue has claimed all the fame, another notable highlight is the park's panoramic view of the bay. Particularly at night, the urban vista with the spectacular Marina Bay Sands resort impresses visitors. Some travelers, however, complained of congestion and suggested visiting when the sun isn't at its peak.
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Sentosa is an entire island resort dedicated to fun for all ages. You want family-friendly amusement; head to Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove Waterpark or S.E.A. Aquarium.You want some adventure; hit up iFly Singapore, Mega Adventure or The Flying Trapeze. You need some relaxation; then hit the links or stake your claim on miles of beaches, including Palawan Beach, the southernmost point of Continental Asia. And that's really only some of the myriad of activities you can do on Sentosa.
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Ever since Chicago built one in 1893 for the World Expo, cities around the world have learned that tourists really like Ferris wheels – huge ones. In 2000, London built its famous Eye, standing 443 feet tall. But Singapore didn't wait long before constructing the Flyer, which trumps its British equivalent by almost a hundred feet. Since opening in 2008, the 42-storey-tall Flyer, billed as Asia's largest giant observation wheel, has offered visitors 360-degree views of the urban landscape from Marina Bay. The attraction claims that visitors can catch a glimpse of neighboring Malaysia or Indonesia from the highest point of the observation wheel.
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Should you want to stray from the mainland, immerse yourself in Little India. This cultural enclave, located a little more than 2 miles northwest of Marina Bay, features a dense network of streets and shops where you can find anything from flower garlands to fragrant spices and colorful fabrics. Start by perusing the boutiques along Serangoon Road and then venture down the smaller alleyways to discover true treasures. There's also the 24-hour Mustafa Centre, perfect for grabbing any last-minute amenities, and the open-air Tekka Centre, which offers sari and goldsmith retailers. When your feet (and credit card) begin to tire, check out the gorgeous Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, a Hindu place of worship.
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While we certainly encourage you to visit the neighborhoods of Little India, Chinatown and Kampong Glam (the Malay district), there's one place to preview the enormous diversity of Asian societies in Singapore. For this one-stop cultural shop, head to the Asian Civilizations Museum (ACM). This facility offers a broad survey Pan-Asian civilizations, including China, Southeast Asia and West Asia, with artwork and 1,300 artifacts from all corners of the continent. Wander through galleries and exhibitions and you'll find a diverse array of relics, such as religious sculptures, ornate furniture, Chinese ceramics and even remnants from a shipwreck.
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