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At first sight, you might think that Singapore is just an ultra modern city. However, dig a little deeper and you will soon realise that it is much more than that. It is a vibrant hub of multiculturalism, home to various neighbourhoods and diverse communities. It is chaotic and eclectic, yet has pockets of tranquility and calm. Singapore is bursting with temples, markets, spectacular light and sound shows and sights, and boasts an array of architectural delights. Here are the top things to do in Singapore by neighbourhood (to make it easier for you to group the sights together) so you don’t miss anything out on your Singapore itinerary!
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Visit the Gardens by the Bay
The Gardens by the Bay is home to the Cloud Forest and Supertree Grove, and is a beautiful and tranquil area to take an afternoon stroll. Make sure you don’t miss the spectacularly magical light and sound show at Supertree Grove in the evening, because if it’s not already, it should be on your bucket list for Southeast Asia!
See the Merlion
The mythical emblem of Singapore with the head of a lion and the body of a fish (hence you might hear Singapore referred to as The Lion City), the Merlion spurts water into Marina Bay and looks towards Marina Bay Sands. It is worth visiting in the evening, when the skyscrapers sparkle in the night sky and Marina Bay Sands is lit up like a Christmas tree!
Eat at Makansutra Gluttons Bay
Makansutra Gluttons Bay is the perfect place to enjoy some Southeast Asian cuisine in an outdoor food court. There is no shortage of sweet and savoury choices, and a lively atmosphere fills the air. It is the ideal place to rest and refuel whilst you are in the area of Marina Bay. Perhaps you could stop here for a bite to eat before wandering over to watch the light and sound show at Supertree Grove?
Gawp at Marina Bay Sands
The iconic Marina Bay Sands is a resort topped with a ship-shaped infinity pool, comprising of various entertainment facilities including a luxurious hotel. Standing at the base and looking up at the building above you will make you go dizzy with its astounding height and curvature. You won’t be able to resist snapping a photo!
Tip: Be sure to head into the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (the shopping mall at the base of the complex). Here you will find a unique Venetian style canal meandering alongside the luxurious stores!
Watch Spectra light and water show
Another not to miss sight, Spectra is a nightly light and water show where the fountains dance to the sound of music and projections light up the bay. Held at the event plaza in front of Marina Bay Sands, it’s one of those sights that will likely leave you speechless and flood you with emotions! The setting, the sounds and the sights of the bright lights… everything about this experience is just magical!
Tip: Enjoy the light and sound show at Supertree Grove and then immediately head over to Marina Bay to marvel at the Spectra light and water show (psst… just double check the show times so you don’t miss out)!
Stroll by Raffles Hotel
Make sure you take a wander to see the outside of the iconic colonial-built Raffles Hotel. If you’re feeling like splashing the Singapore Dollars and ceasing the moment (and all that jazz), perhaps you could head inside for a traditional Singapore Sling!
Visit Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Located on Serangoon Road, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is a Hindu temple in Singapore dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali who is associated with the destruction of evil and death, and motherly love. One of Singapore’s oldest temples, Sri Veeramakaliamman boasts an entrance tower that is elaborately decorated in figures!
Wander through Little India Arcade
A feast for the senses, Little India Arcade is a vibrant shopping area where you can pick up Indian specialities, gifts and trinkets, and will be able to view an array of beautifully bright flower garlands.
Go to Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
Also located on Serangoon Road, the iconic Gopuram tower of Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple depicts Lord Vishnu (the protector of the universe), who alongside Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth), is the main deity the temple is dedicated too.
Tip: When you visit temples in Singapore, be respectful of religious and cultural customs. Generally, there are dress codes that need to be adhered to across Southeast Asia when visiting places of worship, such as covering your knees and shoulders. I always pack a kimono and sarong when I travel to the region.
Visit Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple
Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple is a Buddhist temple influenced by a range of architectural styles. It houses one of the tallest statues of Buddha in Singapore, which is exactly why it should be on your list of things to do!
Shop anytime at the Mustafa Centre
Perfect for the nocturnal travellers amongst us as it is open 24 hours, the Mustafa Centre is the prime place for a spot of late night retail therapy. If you are an avid world fridge magnet collector like me, then consider heading to the Mustafa Centre to grab a magnet and any other souvenirs because the prices are reasonable! If you’re not in to souvenirs, it’s still worth a visit because it is a pretty lively place at all hours (or at least it was when I went to Singapore)!
Stop by at Tan Teng Niah
Tan Teng Niah used to belong to a Chinese businessman and boasts a vibrantly coloured façade which adds joy and colour to an area of Little India which is already brimming with brightness! I would guess it is probably one of the most photographed buildings in Singapore!
Feast in Little India
Little India is bursting with an abundance of restaurants that serve the most delicious and authentic Indian cuisine. Komala Vilas Restaurant, a vegetarian Indian restaurant located on Serangoon Road, is just one of these and a firm favourite of mine! It is a lively spot to enjoy something tasty after a busy day sightseeing in Little India!
Visit Sultan Mosque
Located in the Kampong Glam area of Singapore, the Sultan Mosque is an impressive piece of architecture which is notable for its golden domes. Surrounded by tall palm trees, it is an important hub for Singapore’s Muslim community.
Stroll down Arab Street
Arab Street is known for its shops which stock all types of beautifully patterned textiles and eateries which serve Middle Eastern delights!
Tip: Combine Little India and Kampong Glam in the same day, as these areas are within walking distance of each other.
Saunter through Haji Lane
Nearby to Arab Street, Haji Lane is well known for its boutiques, bars and eateries, and its vibrant and eclectic street art. It is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the slower atmosphere that is welcome respite from the chaos of Singapore.
Stop by Thian Hock Keng
Thian Hock Keng is a small Hokkien temple dedicated to Mazu, the Goddess of the Seas, where the offerings of incense will fill the humid Singaporean air! Thian Hock Keng is Singapore’s oldest Chinese temple, and what makes it quite remarkable is that no nails were used in its construction!
Visit Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is one of the most spectacular temples in Singapore. Located over 5 storeys, it houses a main hall with a 3,500 kilogram stupa taking centre stage, countless small Buddha statues which line the walls, various exhibitions, and a tranquil roof garden which has a resident pagoda and prayer wheel!
Wander around Chinatown Street Market
Spend an evening wandering the lantern-lit Chinatown Street Market and enjoying the energetic atmosphere. Chinatown Street Market it the perfect place to stop for a cold Tiger and watch the chaos of life pass you by!
Go to Sri Mariamman Temple
A Hindu temple with an ornate entrance tower located in the centre of Chinatown, Sri Mariamman Temple is dedicated to the Goddess Mariamann, who is known for her power in curing epidemic illness and diseases.