I am living in Indonesia, the south-east part of Asia Continent and I’m currently residing in the island of Sumatera, which is very, very close to Singapore. From Pekanbaru, it takes less than an hour flight to reach Singapore. I could also fly to Batam and then reach Singapore by ferry.
Singapore is the leading country in South-east Asia, so despite its relatively small area (700 km2), it has a very developed and reliable infrastructure. To me, Singapore is heaven for independent traveler who wants to go places with clean and reliable public transportations. It also offers myriad attractions and cultural-rich places I am never satisfied to explore. Since I live next-door to it, I can say that at least I visit the country once a year (probably more last year). The fact that my best friend also live in Singapore makes another reason to visit the country for couple of days to just get lost and have a mini reunion with my friends.
I am writing this not because I have explored every attractions Singapore has of offer, but because despite I have visited the country several times, I still feel like there are many places of interest I have yet to explore. So, these are several places that I have (and have not) visit in Singapore that I think worth to explore. Depends on how long you’re planning to stay, the duration to explore each place will vary. But to make it easy to plan, I will also include estimated duration to explore each place.
1. Gardens by the Bay
This is so far, my favorite place in Singapore. These vast 250 acres area is a perfect garden to lost in. From daylight to nighttime, from January to December, this garden offers unique beauty. I have visited this place five times already and always find new corners and muse I’ve never found before. I came in April to May 2017 to find the tulips special exhibitions in its Flower Dome Conservatory. I also came during Christmas to find Christmas Wonderland light and sound show on its Giant Tree area. I came during daylight to get some green pictures with a blue sky, and came here as well during the nighttime to get the picture of lighting decoration on its trees. I also love it because of the many kinds of flower we can see and I love how they decorate it in a unique and creative way filling the giant space of its dome. I like to picture it as a plant kingdom, instead of a garden.
Duration: to get the best from daylight and nighttime, spend at least 5 hours (3pm-8pm) in the garden on a leisure pace
When: 9am-9pm. Try to visit it on its seasonal exhibitions (Easter, tulips blooms, Christmas) to watch special exhibitions although it may be crowded than any other day. If you’re looking for something quiet, try to visit it regular day/low season (Feb-Mar, May, Sept-Nov).
Cost: SGD 28 for adult and SGD 15 for children (as per January 2018)
How to get there: Use the circle line or Downtown line MRT to stop at Bayfront MRT Station (CE1/DT16) and follow the direction towards Garden by the way (sign board on MRT is really helpful to guide to there)
Official Website: http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en.html
2. Marina Bay Sands and The Shoppe at Marina Bay
By any means this is not my second favorite after Garden by the bay, but I also love explore this area. The mall (The shoppe at Marina Bay) is a giant, huge, massive mall with massive space. I love this mall because of its grand architecture and its imitation of river of the base of the mall. I visited this mall not to shop around (the high-end brand is definitely out of my league), but I love its atmosphere. It also has food court, which offers variety of food you can enjoy before continue strolling the area. Other thing to enjoy is the ice skating ring on the ground floor. The location itself is right the opposite of Gardens by the bay, after the hotel, which makes it worth visiting before/after going to the Gardens by the Bay.
The hotel, is open to any curious visitors on its ground level. The towering levels of the hotel viewed from the ground Is amazing, especially for architecture lovers. The observation deck on the top level is not free (SGD 23) which can be bought online or right on the hotel, but the infinity pool is strictly for the hotel guests. But, you will pass the pool on your way to the observation deck.
Duration: If you are not here to shop, a good 2 hours for both mall and the Hotel is enough (3 hours if you want to go up to exploration deck)
When: the whole year, be it daytime or nighttime outside high season
Cost: Marina Bay Sands Hotel Observation Deck access: SGD 23 (as per Jan 2018)
How to get there: Use the circle line or Downtown line MRT to stop at Bayfront MRT Station (CE1/DT16) through Exit C and D or by the bus, more info on this link
3. Singapore ArtScience Museum
This museum building is hard to miss. This is the building that shapes like a flower right in front of The Shoppes at Marina Bay. The three buildings (the Marina Bay Sands, the Shoppe at Marina Bay, and the ArtScience Museum) makes one of the most famous landscape in Singapore nowadays (not to mention its helix bridge).
This museum has many exhibitions, but what I love most is the Future World exhibitions, where strand of lighting dots hanging from the ceiling, they change color as the music changes, blink fast and slow following the music rhythm. This exhibition itself will blow your mind. You can buy ticket for single exhibition, double, or for all access. This is probably one of the coolest museum I have ever visited in Asia. If you have children, this is the best place to spend time with children as well.
Duration: For art lovers, surely a day is not enough. But for curious visitor, 2-3 hours is more than enough in the low season
When: 10am-7pm, and definitely not in high season, as entering one exhibitions will takes hours in queue. It also saving times if you visit early on its opening time (10am).
Cost: all access ticket: SGD 38 (as per Jan 2018)
How to get there: Use the circle line or Downtown line MRT to stop at Bayfront MRT Station (CE1/DT16) through Exit C and D
4. Bayfront Area – Self Walk
This is probably one of the best walk in Singapore and takes up to a day or even more if you also include exploring nearby attractions, malls, and sampling its café and restaurants on its sidewalks. You can start at any point, but in the map below, the starting point is from ArtScience Museum and concludes in ArtScience Museum as well.
The short circle would be from ArtScience – Merlion – Waterfront Promenade – ArtScience. But you can also take the long circle passing Clarke Quay Area and its narrow street.
The best part of this walk is probably during the night, where all the building lights shine and reflected by the river. Also, the light, sound, and water show named Spectra which combined sounds, water jet, and visual projector. This advanced show is free to public and is AMAZING !! The best spot to watch it is from the open area in the back of The shopped at Marina Bay mall. It’s available from Sunday to Thursday 8pm, 9pm, and Friday and Saturday at 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm.
Hellix Bridge is the best of this area I would like to visit over and over again. It ‘s just beautiful during the night and there’s no ugly photos of it taken literally from any angle.Duration: 1 day includes short exploration to its nearby mall and stores
When: anytime, best during nighttime, and stay away when it rains
How to get there: depends on your starting point, but if you start from ArtScience Museum/ The Shoppe at Marina Bay, you can use MRT Circle Line/Downtown Line and stop at Bayfront MRT Station, through Exit C and D.
5. Bayfront Area – Singapore River Cruise
In 2013 I took this Singapore River Cruise with the highlight on Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Marina Bay. This is the best way to enjoy Singapore’s skyscraper during the night. If walking during daylight has taken all of your energy, this is the best alternative to enjoy Singapore river. It costs SGD 25 per person (adult) and you can buy the ticket along the road at Boat Quay (59 Boat Quay, according to Google map)
Duration: 1 hour
When: anytime when it’s not raining
Cost: SGD 25
How to get there: Hop on North East Line and stop at Clarke Quay (NE 5), then walk to to Singapore River Cruise Kiosk to depart
6. Library @Orchard
Well, I went to this Library mainly because its architecture. The waving book shelves, the white and clean interior with colorful book shelved on it. If you are looking to admire architecture and interior, this is the place to wander. This library is located inside Orchard Gateway Mall, so you can pay visit while exploring Orchard area.
Duration: 30-45 minutes
When: literally anytime within its opening hour (Mon – Sun: 11:00 AM – 09:00 PM)
Cost: Free if you just visiting
How to Get There: Hop on North South line, and stop at Somerset (NS23), take exit B
7. Singapore Zoo (The Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari, and Jurong Bird Park)
Let start with the easy one, The Zoo itself. If you are animal lovers, surely this place is a must visit. From indoor to outdoor, from panda to artic bear, this place houses 2800 animals from 300 species on its 26 hectares area. The zoo is neatly managed and easy to explore.
But, I love it best during nighttime! That’s when the Night Safari starts. Somehow, I like the mystery-like feeling exploring the zoo during the night. When you buy Night safari ticket, guided tram ride is complimentary. It will take you to from one zone to another where zone area is inhabited by unique animals from elephant, giraffe, or even jaguar. There are also shows like Thumbuakar show and Creature of the night Show. But, to watch these shows we have to queue.The one show that I watched was Creature of the night show, where we sit on amphitheater and the host of the show starts inviting animals (binturong, civets, and others) to interact with guess and perform some interesting tricks. The show is entertaining and runs for 25 minutes. The show runs 4 times (7:30pm, 8:30 pm, 9:30pm, and 10:30 pm).The Night Safari-only ticket costs SGD 45 (adult), but you can get discount when you buy combo ticket (together with the zoo, Jurong Bird Park, or river safari, so choose wisely which one do you want to experience). This Night Safari opens from 7:15 pm to 12 am with last entry at 11:15 pm. So, this is definitely for those who’s really want to stay up late.
I love Night safari better than River safari cruise, the overall view is just okay, and if you like to have a great scenery, Singapore River cruise is way better to do that. When I did it, there were not much animal I could look at closer, Giraffe from afar, Elephant from afar. No crocodile encounter, although I slightly wished I met one.But, other than the cruise there are also Amazon River quest, and River trails, a walk-through zone with river animals footprints. This could be the best part of the River safari.Rive-Safari-only ticket costs SGD 30 (adults) and there are more discounts on combine parks with night safari and the zoo.
When: Opening Hours: 8.30am to 6.00pm Last entry at 5.30pm
8. Residence of Tan Teng Niah
Despite the historical story of this place, I visited it primarily because I love, love, LOVE the color of this building. Bright, bold, and striking, and it makes a good background for a photograph. Visiting this place while exploring little India would be a good combination instead of quick glance of this place only.
Duration: 30 mins for this place only, to 6 hours if you want to explore little India neighborhood as well
When: on a good sunny day, better early in the morning when not many people around, so you can have the place for yourself to take photograph
How to Get there: Hop on MRT Downtown line and get down on Little India MRT (DT12)
9. Chinatown Neighbourhood
Cheap markets, bustling situation, great foods are just a few of Chinatown neighbourhood attractions. What you can see in the neighbourhood are:
Day market/Night Market
So far, I have found very cheap deals of many kinds of souvenir here (bags, scarf, keychain, magnets, and many others compared to those in south east Asian country, only second to Malaysia). The food street is also yummy. Since I’m a vegetarian, I found myself liking this place so much for there are many vegetarian restaurants. Although, most of them are Chinese-style vegetarian food.
This place is also great if you’re trying to search for specific Chinese medicine. Often my families asked me to buy some medicine from this area.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple Chinatown Singapore
This bold-colored building is a sight to hold especially during the night where it shines best. I have walked past through this building several times during the day and never got the chance to go in. I would love to do it one day.
Opening time: 7 am-7pm
Sri Mariamman Temple
Just outside the Pagoda Street to the right is Sri Mariamman Temple. This Hindus Temple is also hard to miss. With the signature Hindus ornament on its gate, this Temple attracts so many tourists. I have never gone inside, but I would love to one day.
Duration: 5-6 hours
When: Daytime on low season
Costs: all of the attractions above are free
How to get there: Hop on Downtown line and stop in Chinatown MRT (DT19), take exit that leads you to Pagoda Street
Following is a self walk trail around Chinatown. Basically, once you’re there, feel free to explore around the complex be it day and night, and don’t miss the attractions above.
10. Centennial Tower – Yayoi Kusama Piece
Although you can watch Yayoi Kusama Exhibition in Singapore National Museum now, it was not an option when I went there in 2016. The only thing I can get from Yayoi Kusama is her pumpkin artwork in Centennial Tower. The tower itself is an office building with security, so I had to tell them that I wanted to go in to take picture with the Polkadot Pumpkin. It was placed on it’s left side from the entrance on a high, circular room.
Duration: 30 mins
How to get there: Hop on Circle line and stop at Promenade MRT (CC4), then walk to the tower
11. The Ritz Carlton Hotel’s Art Collection
Ritz Carlton Hotel owns several art pieces (handiwork, paintings, and other contemporary artworks). When I visited this hotel in 2016, I specifically looked for its art decoration. So, I went to its receptionist to get a booklet that outlining what artworks were there on displays and on what floor. With that booklet as guidance, I went to see its exhibitions (part of Hotel decorations). You’ll be surprised on how beautiful and intricate the artworks are and find some peace of mind in it.
Duration: 1,5 hours
When: Absolutely anytime
Cost: Free (just ask the booklet to the receptionist, and you are free to wander around the hotel area – where it is permitted)
How to get there: Hop on Circle line, and stop at Promenade MRT (CC4), from there, you can walk to reach Centennial Tower and further to The Ritz Carlton Hotel.
12. HortPark and The Southern Ridges
The route that I took was Route A, although I did not go back through Kent Ridge MRT, but Labrador Park MRT instead. The best part of this walk is the Henderson Wave. Henderson Wave is a very unique bridge that is made from wood, and it certainly form a wave-like shape. I also love the forest walk, through man made steel walkway through the rainforest. It made me feels like I was on a secret adventure.Duration: 3-5 hours walk
When: on a bright day, preferably in the morning
How to get there: To get to the starting point, Hop on Circle Line or North East line, Stop at HarbourFront MRT (CC29/NE1) and then follow the trail on the Map.
13. Police Station City Hall Singapore
Really? A Police Station? At least that’s what I thought first. But kid not, this is one of the prettiest Police Station Building Ever (or what used to be a Police Station Building). It used to be the site of Singapore’s first jail.
The building is currently used by Ministry of Communication and Information (MCI) and Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth. The windows are painted in blue, yellow, red, and green color for every two columns. It’s a beautiful sight and a perfect background for any photograph during daylight.
Duration: 30 mins
When: on a bright day
Cost: Free as oxygen
How to get there: Hop on North East Line and stop at Clarke Quay (NE5) and then walk pass the bridge towards Hill Street for about 10 minutes. The building will be on your left side.
14. Parkview Museum Singapore
I visited this place back in 2014 not knowing this is a museum. In December 2017 I visited this place again and I went to its third floor where the museum is located. From outside, this building looks like residential or office building. But it house two awesome gems that I love.
First,the Parkview Museum on its 3rd Floor. Although not many exhibitions displayed on this floor, but the uniqueness of each artwork is worth checking out. One may be quite scary to look at, but it also has a very cool lighting exhibitions.
Second, the Atlas Bar. Situated on its Ground Floor, Atlas Bar is very hard to miss. The ceiling details are just remarkable. The height, colour, and details makes it grandeur, the combination of 1920 and 2020 at the same time. At that time, I was struck by the architecture so I ask the reception whether I was allowed to enter the upper stage of the bar to take a picture of the bar. Luckily, I was allowed and I took some pictures of its beautiful interior.
Duration: 1,5 hours
When: Monday to Saturday, 12pm to 7 pm
How to get there: Hop on Downtown line and Stop at Bugis Station (DT14), then walk for about 8 minutes to the building
15. Keppel Bay & Keppel Islands
This is relatively new developed area, and I just visited it in December 2017. I was looking forward to take picture of its condominium building The Reflections at Keppel Bay, when the security guard stopped me and warned me that taking picture in the island is forbidden (unless you only use camera from your mobile phone). He said that the management has been receiving complaints from the residents where they don’t like their boats, and or the apartment were being photographed. But when I went to the farthest point of the island to take picture of the sunset, the same guard warned me again. This time he said that whatever the object is, the use of camera other those in your handphone are not allowed (I was confused at that point). So I went outside from the island, and walked across the bridge instead.
At this point I can say that it is not possible to take picture inside of the Keppel bay island (so there’s no chance to get a picture of The Reflections at Keppel Bay condominium unless it’s from outside of the island.
While you’re here, you can enjoy the walk from the bridge to the island, have a sip or two at its Marina (there are few restaurants and bars).
Duration: 2 hours
When: on a bright day, till late afternoon
Cost: free for the walks
How to get there: Get to the Harbourfront MRT, walk to VivoCity, then Hop on Bus #61, Stop at Caribbean at Keppel Bay, then walk to the island for about 15 minutes
16. Adventure Cove Waterpark
This is one of many attractions situated in Sentosa Island, but I will discuss it one by one. The waterpark is part of the integrated Resort World Sentosa theme park. I found this waterpark is VERY fun to explore, myriad water playground options and clean. I did try the pipeline plunge and Riptide Rocket, as well as spiral washout. Did pump my adrenaline and I left the place happier.
The adventure river, where you hop on a tube and leisurely ride on the so called “adventure river”. There were also many activities you can grab such as Sea Trek adventure (helmet diving), diving with shark, or even open water dive. These adventures require additional payment though.
Duration: 5-6 hours if you want to try all of the attractions they offer (bring more dry clothes and swimming suits for a change)
When: 10am-6pm on a bright day
Cost: SGD 38 for one-day ticket (some attractions require additional payment)
How to get there:
Go to the VivoCity, then Board bus RWS8 from bus stop 14141 at VivoCity or bus stop 14121 at Merrill Lynch, HarbourFront. Alight at Resorts World Sentosa drop-off point. Follow the signages along the waterfront and you will arrive at Adventure Cove Waterpark.
17. Universal Studios Singapore
This Theme park is another attraction situated in Sentosa Island and managed by Resort World Sentosa. I have to admit that I have been wanting to go inside this theme park, but has not find the perfect moment to do so. The first time, I was run out of ticket, so I just wander on its main street (open to public) without experimenting any of its rides. But any of you who is thrill seeker, this one maybe just perfect for you. I believe theme park is for all ages, even grown-ups need to play sometime (read: me!). As I’m writing this, I probably going to visit it in 2018.
Duration: I don’t know, maybe 5-6 hours?
When: on a bright day, from 10 am-7pm
Cost: The one day pass costs SGD 76
How to Get There: Go to the VivoCity, then Board bus RWS8 from bus stop 14141 at VivoCity or bus stop 14121 at Merrill Lynch, HarbourFront. Alight at Resorts World Sentosa drop-off point. Enter via The Forum and turn left to take the escalator up to level 1. Keep left and walk till you see the Universal Studios Globe.
18. S.E.A Aquarium
Another attraction in Resort World Sentosa is S.E.A Aquarium. I have never gone to this Aquarium, but I would love to do it one day. Seems like a perfect place to lost surrounded by sea creature (and stay dry).
Durations: I don’t know, maybe 2-3 hours?
When: on a bright day, from 10 am-7pm
Cost: The one day pass costs SGD 39
How to Get There: Go to the VivoCity, then Board bus RWS8 from bus stop 14141 at VivoCity or bus stop 14121 at Merrill Lynch, HarbourFront. Alight at Resorts World Sentosa drop-off point. Enter via The Forum, turn right and walk to the end where McDonald’s is located. Take the escalator up to level 1 and you will see The Maritime Experiential Museum straight ahead across a small bridge. S.E.A. Aquarium is located inside The Maritime Experiential Museum.
19. Red Dot Design Museum
Another museum this one is. Not many exhibitions when I visited this place in 2014, but perusing on its web, some new interesting exhibitions are in display. If you love Museum, this one is worth checking out. Also, this museum displays unique design of day-to-day things we need, for example chair, cars, kitchen utensils, and many other. I used to visit it in Maxwell Road. But now I see that they are open in Marina Bay Area as well. If you are in Marina bay sand area, guess a stop on this museum will add spices to your itinerary. I haven’t checked out their newly open place, but I will surely in the future.
Duration: 1-2 hours
When: 11am-late 2am (wow ??!)
Cost: SGD 6
How to get there: Hop on Circle line or Downtown line and stop at Bayfront MRT (CE1/DT16)
20. Orchard Road
They say that this place often overcrowded by Indonesian tourist. I could not agree more. Orchard road has been famous for its shopping venue. Lots of malls certainly, and shopping places. But I found Orchard charm during the holiday season where the roads and the pavement sidewalks are decorated. It becomes alive during Christmas, Chinese New Year and any other festivities season. The only way to enjoy these merry decorations is to stay patient until the nighttime, preferably after 10pm/11pm when the street starts getting quiet, then you can take picture freely and easily.
Well, if you look for a place to shop, this is it! Your heaven! Some shopping place to check: ION Orchard, Tang’s Plaza, Takashimaya Department Store, Paragon Shopping Center, Lucky Plaza, Shaw Center, Wheelock Place, Wisma Atria, Nge Ann City, Orchard Gateway, 313@Somerset, and many others.
Duration: can’t say for shopping purpose (is it ever enough time to shop?). But to admire the decorations during Christmas/other seasonal festivities, 2-3 hours would be enough (of course, without shopping)
When: The nighter the better
How to get there: Along the orchard roads are shopping centers, you can reach there by hopping on MRT North South line and stop at either Orchard MRT (NS22) or Somerset (NS23).
21. Singapore Botanical Garden
This place is one of my bucket list to visit in Singapore, but it has been always defeated by Gardens by the bay. So, I can’t tell much about this place other than they have seriously beautiful garden (by looking at its website).
Duration: maybe 2-3 hours?
When: on a bright day, 5 am-00am. National Orchid Garden opens from 08:30am-7pm.
Cost: free except National Orchid Garden (SGD 5)
How to get there: Hop on circle line and stop at Botanic Gardens MRT (CC19)
22. Singapore National Museum
I can’t remember much from my visit to this Museum. I can only remember that I love its building illuminated by the light on the evening and I tried to find different angle to photograph it. But looking at its website right now, it certainly has some seriously cool art pieces in display.
Duration: 1-2 hours perhaps
When: 10 am -7 pm outside high season
Cost: SGD 15
How to get there: Hop on Circle line and stop at Bras Basah MRT (CC2) then walk to the Museum
23. National Gallery Singapore
This is where they hold the Yayoi Kusama Exhibitions in 2017. I Can’t say much of this place other than I really want to visit this place. This visual gallery has been displaying modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asian opened at November 2015 and considerably new. Although it may look small with the bigger attractions such as Marina Bay or Garden by the Bay, this is definitely something to look into if you want something new and unique Experience in Singapore and against the mainstream.
Duration: 2 hours
When: Sat–Thu: 10am–7pm, Fri: 10am–9pm
Cost: SGD 20
How to get there: Hop on East West/North South Line and stop at City Hall MRT (EW13/NS25) and walk to the Gallery.
24. Sentosa Island
What I’m referring here is any attractions in Sentosa Island other than those i already mentioned above (the themed parks). That includes Bungee Jump by A.J Hackett, Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom, Fort Siloso Skywalk, GoGreen Segway, Madame Tussaud Singapore, Mega Adventure Park, Royal Albatross Cruise Ship, Sentosa Merlion, Skyline Luge Sentosa, Southernmost Point of Continental Asia, Trick Eye Museum, and Sentosa 4D Adventureland. WOW isn’t it? There are just SO MANY attractions on this island.
I must admit my experience in sentosa island other than Adventure Cove Waterpark, is only exploring its Beach Club and its Merlion, on a High Season. There’s not much to enjoy when the park is overcrowded by visitors, really. So a careful planning to visit on a low season is a must.
Duration: 1-3 days
When: on a bright day, low season preferably
Cost: Vary, depends on the attractions/experience you want to have. Check out the website for more information on the price of each attraction.
How to get there: https://www.sentosa.com.sg/Plan-Your-Visit/getting-around
25. Little India Neighbourhood
A walk in Little India Singapore is definitely a must. The area is so vibrant and there are lots of shop with a very good deal (Mustafa Center, Sim Lim Square, Tekka Center, Serangoon Road Shops, and many others)
Try to follow the following walking path cruising little India Neighbourhood, and if you have more time, you can explore each road and turns to get more vibes from the neighbourhood.
Duration: 3-5 hours
When: on a bright day, be it daylight or nighttime
How to Get There: Hop on Downtown Line and stop at Little India MRT (DT12) and start from there