The Enchanting Island Nation: Singapore
A scintillating, sparkling and very stylish city – Singapore has everything that can amuse and enthral an avid traveller. This contemporary island is a city state located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia. The city has some of the tallest skyscrapers and luxury buildings in the world. It is a beautifully planned man-made city with ample gardens and parks. Quite an avant garde town, it has enough to amuse you for a lifetime. While visiting this lovely metropolis, you will definitely fall in love with its cityscapes, numerous water and adventure parks, malls, food streets, hotels and parks.
Today, this conurbation has become the favourite holiday destination in the world. It has everything to offer to a family seeking some fun and enjoyable moments together.
A Brief History
What today seems like a very urban venue, Singapore has gradually transformed into what it appears today. Back in 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles founded this town and introduced it as a trading hub for the East India Company. Soon after this company collapsed, Singapore was surrendered to Britain. In 1965, it separated from Malaysia and chose to become an independent city-state.
Since then, the city has shown rapid development and has been continually molding itself into a sleek, modern and multicultural city. Most of the residents here are immigrants who came to the city to work.
Unique Multi-Ethnic Culture
Singapore is a cosmopolitan city where people of mixed races and religions live together harmoniously. This pattern stems from the cultural diversity which was inherited by the islanders. Today, Singapore is classified as a multi-cultural city with four official languages – English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. Interestingly, Singlish – a hybrid language developed as a result of interactions between different ethnic groups, can be heard in many areas. It has certain phrases taken from Chinese dialects and other official languages.
All the three different cultures reside peacefully in this town and they proudly call themselves an anomaly. All the different racial groups follow their own religion and festivals. As a result, all the festivals are enjoyed by everyone here.
The island is located just off the equator, surrounded by many other islands, thus Singapore enjoys a uniform temperature, high humidity and abundant rainfall round the year. The average temperature is 25 degrees Celsius to 31 degrees Celsius. April is the hottest month of the year while January is the coolest.
10 Best Places to Visit in Singapore
So now that you have a brief idea about Singapore culture and certain rules and regulations here, you need to plan your itinerary so that you cover all the must-visit destinations here. The city is constantly upgrading and innovating itself and each year if you come here, you will find a new place or venue to explore. But of the current tourist attractions in the city, here is a BP-Guide list of 10 best places to visit in Singapore.
#1 - Gardens by the Bay
This gigantic and spectacular man made wonder consists of 18 Super trees at around 82 feet to 160 feet tall. The trees display a diverse collection of flora and fauna including some beautiful vines, ferns and orchids. Two conservatories namely Cloud Forest and Flower Dome are parts of Gardens By the Bay. These domes have different themes such as the Waterfall View, The Lost World, The Secret Garden and others. There is a bridge connecting the trees where you can enjoy panoramic views. There is a stunning light and sound show here known as the Garden Rhapsody which is a must watch too.
Location: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Opening hours: 5 am – 2 am for outdoor gardens; 9 am – 9 pm for conservatories and OCBC Skyway
Entry fee: Free for outdoor gardens; S$28 for adults, S$15 for children for conservatories; S$5 for adults, S$3 for children for OCBC Skyway
#2 - Little India
A must visit for all the Indians, this quaint little street will amuse you to see how your fellow country men reside in a foreign town and might also fill your nostrils with the aromas you are so used to back home. This is a popular tourist destination here and you can easily feel unlatched from the modern city. This street truly resonates with an Indian charm with its small shops and historical mosques. There is an adjacent Arab street here that has some shopping malls and authentic Arabian cuisine. You can also visit the Hindu temples like Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple here.
Location: Arab Street and Little India, Singapore
Hours: All Day
#3 - Universal Studios
The most visited and most talked about thrilling destination in Singapore is the Universal studios located in Sentosa Island. If you are looking for a fun-filled day with family and friends, then this place has everything to offer you. You can find a lot of eateries, cafes and shopping areas here. Visit the ‘Walk of Fame’ and create a pose with your favourite celebrities. Enjoy the adrenaline thumping rides and gobble up some delicious food here. Do visit the Sci-Fi city, ancient Egypt zone, Dinosaur world and much more here to amuse you for a lifetime.
Location: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269
Opening hours: 10 am – 6 pm
Entry Fee: Rs.3,600 for adults and Rs.2,700 for kids up to 12 years
#4 - Singapore Flyer
The Singapore Flyer is a 541 feet high giant wheel that offers you the most splendid view of the city. It has 28 air conditioned seating capsules which take the passengers on a complete round trip. It moves at a very slow speed and hence one does not feel giddy or scared. The slow speed enables you to enjoy the city’s beauty taking each segment at a time. This ride is 30 minutes long and the best time to get into this flyer is during sunset when you get to catch the most spectacular views before entire city lights up.
Location: 30 Raffles Ave, Singapore 039803
Opening hours: 8 am – 10:30 pm
Entry fee: S$33 for adults, S$21 for children aged 3 – 12, S$24 for seniors
#5 - Sentosa Island
Sentosa island offers a wide array of fun, food and entertainment. One of the prime entertainment spots here is the Siloso Beach. Sentosa Island is jam packed with several activities and beach attractions. You can spot some people playing beach volleyball while some skim-boarding. This island also has a noteworthy underwater world aquarium where you can swim with Dolphins. The famous Merlion statue here is worth visiting. Fort Siloso is also the only preserved fort located here and worth visiting. The Trick Eye Museum offers a lot of fun and entertainment for the kids and adults alike.
Attractions: Kayaking, skim-boarding, beach-volleyball at Siloso Beach, Merlion statue, Fort Silioso – Singapore’s only preserved fort, Universal Studios, Underwater World, and water sports at Wave House.
#6 - Clarke Quay
The crazy party destination in Singapore – Clarke Quay is a vibrant waterfront offering an array of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs. The restaurants are beautifully painted in pastel hues and this gives a very picturesque and attractive look during the day. This street becomes alive after sunset with karaoke nights and flashy lights everywhere. A boat ride in the river here gives you a stunning view of the surroundings and city skyline. The G-Max Reverse Bungy Ride is a must try if you are seeking some adventure.
Location: 3 River Valley Rd, Singapore 179024
Opening hours: 10 am – 10 pm
Attractions: River taxis, Zirca nightclub, G-Max reverse bungee, Cannery anchor tenants
#7 - Orchard Road
The famous Orchard Road here is a halting point for all shopping enthusiasts. Those seeking high end designer stores should visit this street which is heavily packed with the latest fashion and multiple stores. This road can take you on a shopping spree with its 22 malls and six huge departmental stores.
One can find all the major fashion labels such as Prada, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and more here. You will also get delicious street food in various outlets here. Do not forget to watch a movie in any of the four movie theaters on Orchard Road, especially if your lady has gone off for shopping and you are wondering how to kill time!
Key shopping centres: Ion Orchard, DFS Galleria, Ngee Ann City, Takashimaya, Paragon, and Hilton Singapore
#8 - Night Safari
The night safari here is a must visit especially if you are an animal lover. A very well-organized tram takes you on a safari ride at night to watch the nocturnal behaviour of animals from pangolins to leopards. You get to learn about wildlife from the commentary on the tram and walking trails. This safari puts a twist to the traditional zoo experience by taking you in the artificially created dense forest.
The Leopard Trail has leopards, lions, flying foxes, civets and even porcupines and seeing their nocturnal behaviour will intrigue you to no end. Similarly, there are other trails of different species too.
Location: At 80 Mandai Lake Road.
Entry Fee: Regular pricing for children of 3-12 years- $30; Adult- $45; Senior- $18
Opening Hours: Daily 7:15 pm to 12 am.
#9 - Marina Bay Sands Skypark
Most of the tourists visit Singapore to catch a glimpse of this magnificent and opulent high-end luxury hotel that has a mall with a canal running through it. The hotel also has an ArtScience Museum and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark which is exclusively made to view the entire city from the top.
You can also experience the stunning viewing deck and the infinity pool in the ship that is perched at the top of the hotel. But only the hotel guests are allowed to use the infinity pool. The elegance of the hotel exemplifies the status and style of this contemporary city and has carved a niche for Singapore as a major international city in Southeast Asia.
Location: 10 Bayfront Avenue
Observation deck Opening hours: Mon-Thur 9:30 am – 10 pm; Fri-Sun 9:30 am – 11 pm
Attractions: Infinity Pool at Skypark Hotel, ArtScience Museum, Double Helix Bridge, and Gardens By The Bay
Entry fee: S$ 23 for adults, S$ 20 for seniors, S$ 17 for children aged 2 to 12
#10 - Merlion Park
The Merlion park in Singapore showcases the iconic Merlion statue of Singapore. The Merlion is a mythical creature that consists of a body of a fish and a lion’s head. The lion’s head symbolizes the Lion City while the fish depicts the city as a fishing village when it was the sea town in Javanese.
The Merlion has a continuous flow of water coming out from its mouth. It is used as the national symbol of Singapore. A visit to this famous structure will also enable you to enjoy and relax at some cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops here. This park also provides a stunning backdrop view of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
Location: Fullerton Road, Marina Bay, Singapore
Hours: All day long
Few Things to Keep in Mind While Visiting Singapore
While planning a visit to Singapore, you must keep in mind certain rules and regulations of the country. Knowing these beforehand can prevent you from getting into a soup later. The city is quite safe as the rules and regulations against crime are very stringent. The city is almost 100% crime free.
Alcohol is Expensive
If you're planning to sling back as many Singapore Slings, the iconic cocktail made and named after the city, think again. Alcohol in the city is quite expensive. Although you will find a lot of pubs and bars here, most tourists prefer to buy alcohol from duty-free shops before they leave the airport. However, beer and other alcoholic drinks can be found at cheaper rates at certain coffee shops or hawker streets. It is banned to drink alcohol in public or buy after 10.30 pm. Although the same can be enjoyed in restaurants, pubs or hotel rooms.
You need not worry about transportation in Singapore as the city-state has a very good transportation system. It is well-connected to various destinations by train, bus and taxi. Metro trains are the preferred modes of transport here as they are very systematic and quick. However, traveling via taxis can work out to be quite costly during peak hours. Regardless, getting anywhere in the city at any hour of the day is not at all problematic.
The city has a lot of rules and regulations one must abide by if you do not want to get into any trouble here. There are smoking restrictions in the city and it has certain designated areas or zones for smoking. If anyone is caught smoking a cigarette in a restricted area, he/she will have to pay a heavy fine of $1000. Chewing gum is banned here too. If you want to chew a gum then be discreet about it and be careful to discard it carefully. Buying, importing and selling chewing gum is banned here,.
High Cost of Living
Singapore is the hometown of a large number of millionaires. The city is quite costly. As major products of daily use are imported here, the taxes make the daily necessities quite costly. Although one can find every kind of luxury and comfort in the world, it is quite costly. It is always better to book a tour package that is all-inclusive of accommodation, transportation and sight-seeing.
Tips for readers
Indians are required to possess a e-visa if they want to enter Singapore. E-visa can be acquired within a day through a visa agent or a nearest Singaporean diplomatic embassy. The city is very strict with its rules and hence as a tourist you must not give yourself the privilege to break any of them, do follow their rules. Instead of dining at fancy restaurants do try out local flavours and interact with locales to know more deeply about the country!