Classy Glitz to Homegrown Charm
Singapore attractions - the city offers many of them.
Although everybody says Singapore only shops and eats, there is much more to do and see here in this big city.
Let me go out on a limb and say that, broadly speaking, there are three clusters of 'on-the beaten-track' Singapore attractions, and two clusters of not-so visited areas with unique, and sometimes even quirky flavors.
The Glitz, the Ethnic Quarters and the Wildlife
Let's start with the staple diet of must-sees and must-do's when you are living here, or just stopping over for a while.
Most people make a beeline to the central area.
This area is perfect for spending a day. It contains the historic district, the central business district, and of course Marina Bay including
- the Marina Bay area with the Marina Bay Sands complex including a huge mall, musical theater and casino, the ArtScience Museum, the Singapore Flyer, the Esplanade Complex, the Merlion and Merlion Park, the Fullerton Hotel, and the Bayfront walk and Promontory.
- the Heritage Areas including Chinatown, Little India, and the Kampong Glam areas where the dominant ethnic groups of Chinese, Indians and Malays have their distinct 'spaces' and
- the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari
These sights alone can fill two days of non-stop sightseeing with hardly a break for food and drink.
More on Singapore attractions - Glitzy Marina Bay
Colorful Little India
The Earthy-Chic Muslim-Arab Quarter
The magnificent Singapore Zoo
Night Safari - the night time twin of the zoo
History, Shopping and Garden Tranquility
Your next set of Singapore attractions cover Singapore's immensely fascinating history, eclectic art and culture, topped off with some world-class shopping and a stroll in the park, including
- Central Business District with the Historic District along the Singapore River and walks to Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay
- Fort Canning Park and Museums Area
- Orchard Road and Botanic Gardens Area
This would be a big, long day as well, and pretty hard on your wallet if you get stuck on Orchard Road with its malls and luxury stores.
CBD, Historic District, Boat, Clark and Robertson Quays
Small Hill - Big History: Fort Canning Park
Elegant and quirky museums
Shopping on Orchard Road
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Playground - Sentosa Island
Thirdly, of course, of all the Singapore attractions, we haven't even mentioned Sentosa Island, where you can easily spend a few days and nights and feel no need at all to leave the island because you are:
The playground that is Sentosa Island
- hanging out at various swimming and party beaches
- screaming on a roller coaster at Universal Studios theme park
- watching animal shows, laser shows and sharks in an aquarium
- carooming down zip lines, luges rides, a stationary sky-dive, or wave riding and
- hitting hotels, shops, restaurants and golf courses
Hit the Parks and Wilder Places
If you are STILL going strong a bit farther out and visit some of the places the locals hang out at, like
East Coast Park
Changi Beach Park and Boardwalk
Southern Ridges and Haw Par Villa
Runs and Hikes at MacRitchie
Bukit Timah Hill and Lakes
- East Coast and Changi Parks, with a bum boat out to Pulau Ubin (and maybe throw in Pasir Ris Park as well)
- The Southern Ridges Walk including Mount Faber, the Henderson Wave Bridge, a Tree Top Walk, Hort Park and Kent Ridge Park with views of the busy harbor and maybe a visit to Haw Par Villa, a weirdish collection of colorful Chinese mythical characters
- MacRitchie Reservoir with another tree top bridge, beautiful walks around clear lakes complete with monkeys, snakes and fishes. Add Bukit Timah Nature Reserve for Singapore's largest hill and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve for tidal mangroves, mudjumpers and some huge monitor lizards
The Real and Sometimes Quirky Side of Singapore
Last and most certainly not least of all Singapore attractions, check out some of these places not at all on the typical tourist track. They are definitely worth a visit and give you a somewhat different picture of the island, far away from glamor, glitter and gold.
Crafted guitars, super-sized jeans, hifi heaven and computers
Turtles, Temples and Tankers on Kusu Island
The Prison Resort and Freaky Fish Science on St. John's Island
- Bukit Brown Cemetery, an old Chinese cemetery with beautiful tombstones and the odd python or two
- Holland Village with its mix of hawkers, shops and cafes
- Peninsula Plaza with its many guitar shops and stores for very oversized jeans and shirts
- Shuang Lin Monastery - a Bhuddist monastery smack middle in an HDB estate with beautiful architecture and gorgeous statues
- the Armenian Church and Old Fire Station
- Kusu and St John's Islands by bum boat to see a former prison/now school resort, Chinese and Malay temple and small swimming beaches facing huge tanker and freight ships heading to berth
- Heartlands like Ang Mo Kio, Bishan or Simei for a taste of how Singaporeans live, shop and play
Let me know if you have any other favorites - I'd be more than happy to include them here.
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