About Singapore / Your Singapore Travel Guide On Places To Visit and Things To Do
History of Singapore (Singapura) from fishing village to present day
While the earliest known historical records of Singapore are shrouded in time, a third century Chinese account describes it as “Pu-luo-chung“, or the “island at the end of a peninsula”. Later, the city was known as Temasek (“Sea Town”), when the first settlements were established from AD 1298-1299.
Based on legend, a Prince from Palembang (the capital of Srivijaya), Sang Nila Utama, he saw an animal that nobody had ever seen before. Then he discovered a city where the animal had been spotted. He then named it “The Lion City”, or Singapura, which “simmer” means lion and “pura” means city.
The city remained an isolated fishing village under the possession of the Sultanate, until one day in January 1819. Sir Stamford Raffles, an official of the British East India Company, had combed the Straits of Malacca for a small trading station to counter the Dutch influence in the area. He had a agreement with the Sultan of Johor which gave the British the right to establish a trading port on the island and to proclaim it a free port. The free port attracted merchants from all over Asia and also from United States and the Middle East. During that time, there were tea and silk from China, timber from Malaya, and spices from Indonesia. The colony also imported opium and fabrics from India, as well as English-manufactured goods from Britain. The population had grown from only 150 to 10 thousand, in just 5 years after the founding of modern Singapore.
During Japanese invasion in World War II, Singapore was renamed Syonan (light of the South), and the commerce died down.
In 1959, the country help it’s very first general election thanks to its growth of nationalism. Lee Kuan Yew led the People’s Action Party (PAP) won a majority of 43 seats and he then became the first prime minister of Singapore.
In 1963, Malaysia was formed, comprising of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah). The move was meant to foster closer ties. In 9 August 1965, it left Malaysia to become an independent and sovereign democratic nation.
Today, many slices of Singapore’s multi-cultural, colonial and wartime past are preserved in and around the city. You can visit monuments, museums and memorials, or for a real trip through time, take a walk along a heritage trail.
Getting Around Singapore – A Singapore Transport Guide
The traveller’s ultimate objective is to seek new experiences and indulge in these experiences until they become pleasant memories that are never ever forgotten. For the traveller, these experiences are often related to the people they meet, the sites they see, the food they eat and last, but not least the places that they stay. However, finding an affordable place to stay that is not only comfortable, clean, friendly and plush but also provides the guest with a representation of the heritage of the land and its people is an extremely elusive endeavour. For the globetrotter trudging through distant lands with a heavy backpack, finding this temporary Shangri-La would be the ultimate blissful experience.
Singapore is what I call home, this is where I was born and bred, a place that is as unique as unique can be! I have had the privilege to travel around the world at a very early age and was fortunate enough to experience different cultures and customs, but as far as I am concerned Singapore will always have my heart as it is my little heaven on earth with it’s the motley cultures, languages, sites and food. It is without a shred of doubt one of the most enchanting places to visit for its diversity and beauty.
Situated at the very tip of the Malaysian Peninsula close to the Equator, the Lion city has a tropical climate all year round that makes this tiny island a tropical paradise that has an excellent infrastructure that allows travellers to enjoy the republic’s amazing sites and tourist attractions in an extremely clean, green and probably one of the safest country to visit in the world. From the award winning globally recognised Changi Airport that links the tiny republic to almost all the major cities around the world to its state of the art cruise terminal right up to its efficient and flawless public transportation system, getting to and around Singapore will never an issue that travellers need to worry about as it is with most other tourist destinations as all major attractions in Singapore is accessible by tour buses that operate like clockwork. Despite the city’s small size and towering skyscrapers visitors are more often than not awestruck by the republic’s rich flora and fauna found in the abundant parks, reserves, and verdant tropical environment.
Singapore’s public transport system is fast and efficient and will whizz you to most places without fuss.
Vacation / Holiday in Singapore – Your Singapore Travel Guide.
List of Singapore Tourist Attractions / Places To Do In Singapore
Places to Visit in Singapore
Some of the must see places in Singapore include the Heritage District where the Adler Hostel is located in, at the heart of Chinatown which still surprise travellers with the numerous authentic calligraphers and fortune tellers that give the entire place an air of bygone days. Chinatown eventually streams of to downtown Singapore where the Colonial District is snugly located flanked by what is known as Little India where aromatic spice stores scent the air. Other noteworthy places such as Bukit Timah and the Zoological gardens lies towards the North of the city whereas the eastern coast of the tiny republic has restaurants that serve an assortment of seafood by restaurants that are elegantly set along the soft white sandy beaches of Singapore.
For the more adventurous, The Singapore Flyer, Universal Studios, Night Safari and Marina Bay are definite attractions that must not be missed. Singapore is blessed with more than 4 dozen islands and islets surrounding it and although almost every single one of them is worthy of a visit, the most popular among the smaller islands is the Island of Sentosa which is an island amusement park that is linked to the main island on the south coast via a causeway as well as a cable car. Sentosa island is considered by many as the party centre in Singapore as nightlife on Sentosa can only be described in one word – EXTRAVAGANT!
Once in Singapore visitors cannot help but note that each enclave around would have its own unique and inimitable character, which makes Singapore a ‘must see place’ in the world. Visitors to Singapore a never disappointed as its rich culture and amazing sites make it one of the best places there is in the entire South East Asian region!
Places to visit in Singapore – Main Island
As a tourist destination Singapore has a lot to offer her visitors. From beautiful sandy beaches of it spattered resort islands between the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, to breathtaking views of the entire island 131 meters above sea level, Singapore has been one of the most visited islands in the world since the 11th century. With the additions of major attractions such as Universal Studios and marine parks the Republic has become a popular tourist destination over the last decade. Most of the places in Singapore has been laced with historical events that has transpired in and around the island due to its strategic location and perfect harbour. Some of the most significant places to visit in Singapore include Sentosa Island, he Jurong Bird Park, nature reserves and some of the magnificent parks on the main island of Singapore itself.
Jurong Bird Park Singapore
Located in an industrial zone the Jurong Bird Park is one of the finest bird parks in the world. It is a place where people may tend to forget urban life. The Jurong Bird Park is filled with a diverse range of specimens, it is the world’s largest bird park in terms of number of birds, and second largest in land area (second to Germany). The bird watchers paradise has more than 5,000 birds from almost 400 different species of which 29 are on the brink of extinction. Some of the most impressive among the highlights is the waterfall aviary. The immense 13 storey high construction that covers an area of 2 hectares houses more than 600 birds.
World’s first underwater viewing gallery
The Jurong Bird Park also consists of the world’s first underwater viewing gallery a Pelican cove which houses 7 out of the 8 species in the world. Pelican Cove also boasts the largest of the pelicans, the endangered Dalmatian Pelican which weighs approximately 14 Kg. Some of the other rare pelican species that are displayed at Pelican Cove include the Great White, Gull as well as Australian Pelicans. At the underwater viewing gallery visitors are able to see the pelicans do underwater swoops for fish. This amazing feat can only be experienced here at the Jurong Bird Park and nowhere else in the world. Each day at 2 pm the regulators of the bird park hold feeding sessions for visitors to witness firsthand how these masterful hunters use different techniques in hunting fish.
Parks & Gardens
Singapore is one of the greenest islands among the developed islands of the world. The abundance of greenery that blankets the entire island offers a cool environment as every corner is covered by meticulously selected flora and fauna. Singapore is without doubt a nature lover’s island regardless of the urban environment. Singapore’s has numerous parks and gardens laid out through the island woven cleverly among the modern urbanized surroundings. The parks and gardens listed below are some of the best in Singapore.
Mac Ritchie Nature Trail
This nature trail is filled with old rubber trees and has a typical tropical forest setting that will definitely thrill nature lovers. The nature trail is an amazing botanical galore that is unique in its own accord.
Gardens by the Bay
Covering an area of more than 100 acres and located less than 10 minutes away (by foot) from Marina Bay the ‘super park’ as it is known as consists of more than two hundred thousand different species of flora and fauna. Most of the species are rare and can hardly be found even in the thick dense jungles of Asia. The Gardens by The Bay is electrifying to the senses and is a ‘must see’ destination for those who visit Singapore.
The Southern Ridges
The Southern Ridges connects the hills of Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park seamlessly. The Southern Ridges is a hiking trail that provides a sense of adventure for those who love a solid hike. The trail is regulated and coordinated by professional hikers who are at hand throughout the hikes at strategic points. An invigorating trail that makes anyone who attempts the trail forget that they are on one of the most developed islands in the world.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
One of Singapore’s pride and joy the Singapore Botanic Gardens is world renowned for the collection of indigenous species of flora and fauna like nowhere else in the world. The Botanic Gardens houses one of the biggest collections of flora and fauna in the world. The serene park is like paradise on earth and for those who visit Singapore – their visit will simply not be complete if they do not visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
The highest point in Singapore that geographically makes up the island, visitors get to feast on sweeping views of the Singaporean Central Business District as well as enjoy the cool crisp air while having their meal at one of the many retail outlets that are there. Visitors are also able to travel to Asia’s favorite playground from here and that is none other than the infamous Sentosa Island.
A nature reserve that is dedicated towards learning and education, Hort Park’s objectives are simple, to generate interest and create awareness about nature and the environment. The park has regular events, exhibitions and other activities that are all geared to show visitors the importance of the ecological balance. The park also makes a great place to just relax and have a pleasant picnic.
Fort Canning Park
A park that embraces modernization, Fort Canning Park is located just a stone’s throw away from the busy Orchard Road shopping district. The Historical Fort Canning Park is a venue that holds performances and concerts quite regularly and has seen some world famous artistes grace its stage. Overall this is a gathering venue for the hip and chic.
East Coast Park
Located by the beach East Coast Park has a motley collection of frequent recreational activities. Fun, surf and peaceful, this park has a lot o offer with a variety of exciting shows and interactive activities that visitors are able to take part in. It is one of the popular destinations in Singapore that visitor, young and old have fun in.
The Chinese garden is a blast o the past into the annals of ancient China. A close replica of the Northern Chinese Imperial gardens, this place is an amazing accomplishment. Those who visit this place certainly would not have to visit the northern Chinese imperial gardens in China as everything there is right here in this beautifully crafted garden that conjures up the spirit of ancient China.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is home to more than 500 species of animals and over 840 flowering plants, including the world’s largest flower the Rafflesia. Bukit Timah was originally a tin mine that attracted a host of miners from across Asia and traders from Europe. It was barren for quite some time before the government decided to develop it in the late seventies.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Spanning for more than 80 hectares the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is located towards the North West of the island. The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is also home to a wide variety of plants and animals that are associated with mangrove swamps. The fast fading mangrove swamps throughout the world has become a major concern for Asian countries and the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is proof of how serious the governments of Asia are about in preserving the delicate eco-systems of the mangroves. A visit to this reserve will provide visitors a fascinating insight to the mangrove world.
Labrador Nature Reserve
Another natural reserve that allows visitors to explore the cliff sides while at the same time breathe in the panoramic view of the surrounding areas this park is in one word “beautiful” To those who love a little hiking and spectacular views, the Labrador Nature reserve is definitely a top recommendation.
The Kranji Countryside gives visitors a taste of farm living here in Singapore. Visitor are usually captivated by the sights and experiences they gain by spending half a day at this spectacular country side escapade.
The rich ecosystems of Chek Jawa that stretches along for more than a kilometer over the boardwalk that spans along the coast and mangrove area where visitors again get a glimpse of the delicate mangrove eco-system as it is without human intervention. The amazing lifeline that Chek Java protects as visitors would be able to witness is fascinating and certainly interesting.
Bukit Batok Nature Park
A very Popular park among nature lovers and joggers, the Bukit Batok Nature Park offers a variety of walking/jogging paths through the scenic forest that is peaceful and serene. Visitors who walk along the park not only get a glimpse of the fauna and flora but also might be lucky enough to spot some indigenous animals that have made the park their home.
Singapore City Tour / Day Tour
Fun Things To Do In Singapore
1. Marina Bay Sands show
Every night, Marina Bay Sands erupts into fiery life with Wonder Full, its free water and light show at the Event Plaza along the Promenade. Watch the water transform into scenes of ethereal images, dancing fountains and blazing lights, accompanied by strains of music and song. The best part is that it doesn’t cost a cent. The shows start at 8pm and 9.30pm, and on Friday and Saturday nights, there is an additional show at 11pm. You have to be on the Marina Bay Sands side to catch the Water Show, although the Light Show can be seen all the way across the bay. You can catch one at 8pm and then stroll over to the other side to watch the other at 9.30pm.
Address: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay South, Singapore 018956 Phone: +65 6688 8868 Show times: 8pm and 9.30pm, daily, additional show on Friday and Saturday at 11pm Closest MRT station: Bayfront MRT Website: Marina Bay Sands
Fancy an old-school outdoor movie date? MovieMob is a fantastic idea for you! Screenings take place at different locations all across Singapore, a drive-in concept and picnic event that has proven to be very popular. Participants can even vote for the movie being screened! I say this beats having to shell out about $12 for a weekend movie ticket at the cinema. This is the perfect event that is reminiscent of the good ol’ days of outdoor cinemas.
Website: Movie Mob
3. Walk the Southern Ridges
The perfect blend of fine art and natural beauty, the Southern Ridges is a 9km chain of green and outdoor space that will take you through Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Kent Ridge Park and West Coast Park. The Ridges consist of foot trails and amazing connection bridges, including the very iconic Henderson Waves. This bridge is even more impressive at night when the soft lighting and the vault of heaven create an unforgettable atmosphere, perfect for picnics or drinks al fresco. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch some friendly monkey pals, though hide your plastic bags full of goodies from them, please! You can start at Hort Park whose trail will take you to Alexandra Arch, over the forest and then arrive at Henderson waves for beautiful aerial views of Singapore’s south lit up at night. Or if you prefer, get to Mount Faber Park by taking Exit D from Harbourfront MRT through Marang Trail.
Address: Henderson Road, Southern Ridges, Bukit Merah, Singapore 159557 Closest MRT station: Harbourfront MRT
4. 56th level of ION Orchard
The ION Sky, located on the 56th floor of ION Orchard, is free to enter and gives you an eye-popping panoramic view of our humble little island. Open daily from 10am to 8pm, the viewing area has some impressive vistas of Orchard and beyond, and our sources say the best views are from sunset onwards. Go to the art gallery on the 4th floor where you will find a dedicated elevator that will take you to ION Sky.
Address: 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801 Phone: +65 6238 8228 Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm Closest MRT station: Orchard MRT Website: ION Orchard
5. MAAD Flea
MAAD stands for Market of Artists and Designers and is currently Singapore’s largest recurring creative marketplace. Its goal is to promote creations, designs and innovations of the creative scene in Singapore, and we think they’re doing a great job. Initiated in 2006 by the Red Dot Design Museum, it is the place to go to eyeball the latest work of Singapore’s brightest young talent. You can check out the MAAD Flea on a Friday night every month and submerge yourself in the local creative scene, which is booming at the moment. If you consider yourself a creative, why don’t you utilise this opportunity to test-market some of your own ideas or talents? It will also help you connect with the rest of the scene and community.
Address: 28 Maxwell Road, Singapore 069120 Phone: +65 6534 7194 Hours: 5pm – 12am, one Friday a month Closest MRT station: Tanjong Pagar MRT Website: MAAD
6. Esplanade free concerts
The Esplanade isn’t just for big-ticket events, it’s also the place to go to catch free concerts. These are typically held in the indoor concourse area or the outdoor theatre in the public spaces around the area. The performers range the gamut from singers, dancers, actors and everything else. Be sure to check their website as there’s something on almost every week. The rotating displays never fail to intrigue, and all the artistic types here in Singapore will find ample inspiration at Esplanade. The rooftops are a wonderful place to take a break from the rat race, especially with the incredible skyline views. Esplanade is also the perfect place for photographers and selfie addicts.
Address: 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981 Phone: +65 6828 8377 Show times: Frequent, visit website for timetable Closest MRT station: Esplanade MRT Website: Esplanade
7. Night cycling
Some places are way better admired at night. Why? it feels cooler and it’s less crowded! Night cycling in Singapore is a great experience, allowing you to tone those leg muscles while enjoying the breeze. Try night cycling in places like Changi Village, Punggol Waterway, or Ulu Sembawang Park Connector, to name just a few examples. Remember to bring your helmets and cycle lights, and wear light-coloured clothing too. If you’re lucky, you’ll be cycling under a starry dark velvet sky.
8. Gardens by the Bay
This gigantic slice of Edenic greenery on a square patch of reclaimed land is one of Singapore’s newest mega-projects, and with its many free zones which don’t require any tickets, it’s also one of the city’s best freebies. Located adjacent to Marina Bay Sands, and easily accessible by MRT, Gardens by the Bay boasts world-class waterfront views and a staggering selection of unique and rare plants from around the world. Our personal favourites are the Super Trees, magnificent constructs that seem pulled straight from the pages of a science fiction novel. Towering skyward, they are a sight to behold. And you don’t need to pay to access them.
Address: 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953 Phone: +65 6420 6848 Opening hours: 5am – 2am Closest MRT station: Bayfront MRT Website: Gardens by the Bay
9. Somerset Skate Park
Just outside of Somerset MRT is a sight many didn’t think could actually exist here, a grimy graffiti-drenched skate park where locals and tourists alike can strut their stuff on their boards and flex their spraycan muscles. Kids come from all over the island to show off and compete, and with its excellent central location, powering up after a good ride is no problem at all. For budding street artists, the walls surrounding the park are completely open to being decorated. Whether this is your first time, or you are a street legend, you can participate in Singapore’s urban underground culture. It’s free, and you won’t have to worry about fines, either. Sounds good to me!
Address: 1 Somerset Rd, Singapore 238162 Closest MRT station: Somerset MRT
10. Keppel Island
Just off the coast of Singapore, linked to the main island by a narrow bridge, lies Keppel Island. Home to the Marina at Keppel Bay, it is a place where the very wealthy park their aquatic toys, but you definitely don’t need a yacht or even a boating license to visit this lovely patch of green. With its scenic views and proximity to attractions like Sentosa and Harbourfront, it makes an easily accessible haven of peace and quiet for picnics and more. For some quiet time with family and friends on well-manicured lawns, we think Keppel Island is a winner. From Harbourfront MRT, take Exit B and walk along Telok Blangah Road, for about 8 minutes and you will see the entrance to Keppel Island on the left. Enter through here and walk until you get to the Marina at Keppel Bay.
Address: 2 Keppel Bay Vista, Singapore 098382 Closest MRT station: Harbourfront MRT