Singapore's sightseeing attractions reflect the diverse population which calls the country home. In downtown Singapore, the communities of Little India and the Arab District give an exotic cultural spice to a country ultimately known more for urban planning and a high-tech economy than its history. Similarly, Chinatown stands out with its traditions and vibrant decorations in contrast to a very modern city. The creative achievements of this modernity can be viewed at the Red Dot Design Museum, the many shopping malls and the Gardens by the Bay, a fascinating marriage of technology and nature.
To escape the urban rat race, tourists can enjoy numerous stunning gardens and parks, including the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, the Jurong Bird Park and the Singapore Zoo. Probably the best way to experience nature within the city limits is a visit to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, where swathes of tropical rainforest have been preserved. For others, ferrying between islands can be the best escape. Sentosa Island is a fun theme park with myriad attractions, including beaches, aquariums and amusement parks like Universal Studios Singapore. The more relaxing Palau Ubin Island is interesting for its Malay culture and is an ideal spot to go cycling or hiking along unspoiled beaches and through the forested interior.
Visitors planning a lot of travel around Singapore should consider purchasing the Singapore Tourist Pass, which allows unlimited transport on the bus and train systems.
The Raffles Hotel is a grand Victorian edifice rising from the pavements of the colonial district. Its elegant charm has enticed writers and entertainers such as Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad, Alfred Hitchcock, Ernest Hemingway and Charlie Chaplin. Singapore Slings have become the... see full details
The first Indian settlers in Singapore arrived with Sir Stamford Raffles in the early 19th century, bringing with them colourful silks, aromatic spices, incense and other accoutrements of Indian culture. They worked on the roads and helped build the infrastructure of the city, settling... see full details
Kampong Gelam and Arab Street
Kampong Gelam is said to have taken its name from the Gelam tribe of sea gypsies who lived in the original Malay village southwest of the Rochor River. Sir Stamford Raffles allotted the area as an ethnic enclave to the Muslim population and... see full details
Singapore certainly is a vibrant place, and in many ways Orchard Road is the city-state's beating heart. The retail and entertainment centre of Singapore, 'Orchard' (as the surrounding area is commonly known) is as popular with locals as it is with foreign visitors, and... see full details
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Singapore and Rio de Janeiro are the world's only two cities to contain primary rainforest within their boundaries. Bukit Timah is located seven miles (12km) from Singapore's centre and provides a wonderful opportunity to experience the region's tropical rainforest without travelling into rural areas.... see full details
Chinese and Japanese Gardens
Traditional Chinese and Japanese landscape design is gorgeously represented in these neighbouring gardens, which provide a tranquil retreat from the city and take hours to explore thoroughly. The grounds are huge and immaculately well-maintained and will delight gardening enthusiasts. The Imperial Sung Dynasty style... see full details
This theme park island is a popular weekend excursion and one of the most visited attractions in Singapore, receiving millions of visitors a year. A day's fun could easily turn into an overnight stay in any one of the hotels or camping sites.... see full details
It was here, during World War II, that Allied Prisoners Of War soldiers (POWs) were subjected to harsh treatment at the hands of their Japanese captors. Changi Prison is still in use as a correctional facility and it is now the place of... see full details
Haw Par Villa
Haw Par Villa is a theme park containing more than a thousand statues and 150 giant dioramas depicting scenes and characters from Chinese mythology and folklore. Located along Pasir Panjang Road, Haw Par Villa was previously known as Tiger Balm Gardens and subsequently renamed... see full details
Thian Hock Keng Temple
The 'Temple of Heavenly Bliss', the Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest and most important of the Chinese Hokkien temples in Singapore. Construction was completed in 1842, in a traditional southern Chinese architectural style, with not a single nail used in its construction.... see full details
Asian Civilisations Museum
The Asian Civilisations Museum is one of Singapore's finest, most comprehensive museums and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Its permanent collection consists of furniture, jade, porcelain, fine arts, and other artefacts covering 5,000 years of the region's history, with... see full details
Gardens by the Bay
Singapore's Gardens by the Bay consists of three distinct waterfront gardens in the city's Marina Bay area. The initiative was started as a means to transform Singapore from a mere 'Garden City' into a 'City in a Garden' and is intended to provide... see full details
Universal Studios Singapore
Drawing an astounding two million visitors in its first nine months open, the theme park and resort area of Universal Studios Singapore is proving to be as popular as its counterparts in the USA. Located on Sentosa Island, home to all of Singapore's... see full details