Singapore: Top 10 Favorite Things to Do
Singapore is a great place to eat at Hawker Stans and just hang out
I frequently visit Singapore – it’s one of my favorite places in the world for food, shopping, entertainment, and consistently hot weather. It also serves as a gateway to South East Asia, making it a great stopover on the way to almost anywhere in the region.
Friends often ask me where I like to go when I’m visiting the “Lion City”, so here’s my list of the top 10 things to do in Singapore. If you’re looking for more inspiration, I also really enjoyed this write-up following the release of “Crazy Rich Asians” (https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/travel/article/2160819/crazy-rich-asians-guide-singapore-film-locations-you), which has plenty of sightseeing advice for fans of the film.
1.Feast at a hawker stand
As soon as I get off the plane in Singapore, I immediately go to a hawker stand to get a medley of Singaporean-style seafood and South East Asian cuisine. My favorite food centers are Chomp Chomp, Newton, and Lau Pa Sat. In “Crazy Rich Asians”, Kwan scorned Newton as “only for expats and tourists” and championed Lau Pa Sat instead. But in my opinion, they both have an enticing mix and are worth a visit.
If you make it to Jalen Kayu, there is a row of restaurants that sell Indian, Halal, and Singaporean food that I often frequent. However, it’s a bit out of the way from the normal tourist activities.
2. Get your gadget fix at Sim Lim Square
Sprawling across six floors, this shopping mall is electronics heaven, with all the latest gadgets, cameras, watches and projectors, most of which are made in China. Prices tend to be more affordable than what you’ll find in Singapore’s main shopping centers and there’s a number of service shops if you need to get your electronics fixed.
3. Relax in MacRitchie Reservoir
While most tourists will head straight to Marina Bay Sands or Merlion Park, my favorite is MacRitchie Reservoir. There are numerous boardwalks and trails stretching up to 12 kilometers that skirt the edges of the reservoir and the surrounding forest, as well as a 250-meter free-standing suspension bridge known as the TreeTop Walk. It’s an ideal destination for hikers, runners or nature lovers and provides a welcome respite from the city. Alternatively, head to Bishan Park that’s popular with locals, particularly on the weekends.
4. Go island hopping
There are some pretty cool islands around Singapore that you can visit as a day trip, including St. John’s Island, Lazarus Island and Pulau Ubin where you’ll find wetlands, beaches, and dive spots. But the most popular island is undoubtedly Sentosa, which is connected to Singapore via a footbridge. Aside from being home to Universal Studios and Underwater World, it’s also dotted with world-class golf courses where you can practice your swing.
5. Find lunch along Telok Ayer Street
Telok Ayer was one of the first streets set aside for Singapore’s Chinese community by Sir Stamford Raffles and it remains at the heart of Chinatown today. It boasts great food, cheap shopping and an all-round good vibe. I often go there for lunch, then just hang out to look around afterwards.
6. Discover Singapore’s hipster scene in Haji Lane
Situated in Kampong Glam, Haji Lane was one of the original alternative enclaves in Singapore, with hole-in-the-wall boutiques, eclectic cafes and plenty of street art. It’s another great place to grab lunch, then linger to explore a little after.
7. Indulge during brunch at a hotel
Singapore is renowned for doing an amazing brunch and one of my favorite places to head is the Park Royal on Pinkering. You can watch the chefs work their magic in the open-designed kitchens, with everything from Singaporean specialties to international classics available. But there are plenty of other hotels that do a similar thing, so work up an appetite and find your favorite.
8. Start the night at a light show
Singapore loves to put on a light show and there are plenty to choose from. But I particularly like the one at Marina Bay Sands – Spectra. It combines illuminated fountains, projected images and emotive music, as well as featuring a large beer garden and food court where you can take it all in. Also not to miss is Garden Rhapsody that sees the 50-meter-tall “supertrees” at Gardens by the Bay ignited by lights and music.
9. Soak up the nighttime views
Most people will go to Marina Bay Sands to take in Singapore’s cityscape at night. But to escape the crowds, I’d suggest heading to the KuDeTa lounge or the 1-Altitude rooftop bar, as well as the Lantern bar on the rooftop of the Fullerton Bay Hotel.
10. Discover Singapore’s diverse nightlife
There’s so much to do after dark in Singapore, ranging from live music at Clark Quay to DJs at Zouk and the myriad venues along Club Street in Chinatown. There’s also a very cool speakeasy scene, with my favorite being 28 Hong Kong Street and Atlas, which boasts the world’s biggest gin collection in a building that’s reminiscent of Gotham City’s Wayne Tower.
11.. A bonus tip in case you get bored!
With so much to do around the clock, it’s pretty hard to get bored in Singapore. But if you do find yourself in this situation, go and see the Night Safari, which is the world’s first nocturnal zoo and a great after-dark destination for families.