Not only is the island nation of Singapore a foodie hotspot, a shopping paradise, one of the most multicultural destinations you will find in southeast Asia, and a nightlife hub, it is also steeped in history. And while it may be one of the smallest countries in the world, it packs in a lot of attractions for families too, from the island of Sentosa to one of the only nighttime safaris in the world.
Singapore holidays offer a fascinating food scene, endless shopping and outdoor activities based around Singapore’s lush gardens, green spaces, marinas and islands.
- The Bukit Timah Nature Reserveoffers the chance to explore a patch of primary rainforest
- Gardens by the Bayis an impressive horticultural destination built on 101 hectares of reclaimed land
- The island of Sentosais a playground for adults and children alike, with a range of attractions such as Universal Studios
- Singapore’s Chinatownis one of many vibrant cultural districts, with labyrinth streets of Chinese stores, atmospheric temples, chic shops, boutique hotels and delicious eateries
- Singapore has its own Michelin guide, with the red book having made its debut in 2016, crowning 29 establishments
When to visit
There isn’t a great deal of climatic variation, with Singapore hot and humid year round, but April and May are especially hot, while March and September are susceptible to the highest humidity. There are two main monsoon seasons, when you can expect it to rain more than usual: December-March and June-September; January is probably the coolest option temperature wise.
Gardens by the Bay
One of Singapore’s most ambitious projects to date, this unique horticultural destination next to the Marina Reservoir spans 101 hectares of reclaimed land, and is made up of two main areas – Bay South Garden and Bay East Garden. In the south are the Supertrees – two tree-shaped vertical gardens between nine and 16 storeys tall that are connected by a suspended walkway; at night, there is a stunning light and sound show. Bay East Garden has expansive lush lawns and tropical palm trees, perfect for a bit of downtime in between sightseeing, or a picnic. There is also a Cloud Forest, where you will find the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and a 35-metre tall mountain veiled in mist and covered in vegetation.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Set in Chinatown, this $75 million Tang-styled Chinese Buddhist temple was only opened in 2007 but evokes hundreds of years of history. It is home to what Buddhists believe to be the left tooth of Buddha, which was recovered from his funeral pyre in Kushinagar, India and is now displayed in the temple grounds. Free weekly guided tours are available and include the Hundred Dragons Hall, which houses a hundred Buddha statues, and the Universal Wisdom Hall, filled with handcrafted Bodhisattva artworks.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Said to contain more species of trees than in the entire continent of North America, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a nature-lovers’ dream. First established as a reserve in 1883, the park reopened in 2016 after a two-year restoration project; there are now boardwalks over swampy areas, rope handrails along some stretches of the trails, and a non-slip trail surface, all of which are designed to allow visitors to enjoy the area while also preserving this rainforest environment on the slopes of Bukit Timah Hill, Singapore’s highest.
Esplanade Theatres on the Bay
Even if you are not going to check out one of the many shows at the twin Esplanade Theatres, go along anyway to soak up the atmosphere and incredible architecture of these two “durian shell” buildings, or even take a backstage tour. Not too far from here is Singapore’s most famed icon, the Merlion, a mythical creature that’s half-fish and half-lion and stands proudly overlooking the bay at Merlion Park.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
There are 60,000 reasons to visit this exquisite corner of Singapore – having that many plants makes it a nature lovers’ paradise and it has also now been recognized as the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. There has been a park here for 150 years and while the whole place is wonderful, many people will make an immediate beeline for the National Orchid Garden where among the blooms are 200 plants named after VIPs such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Nelson Mandela.
The world’s first safari park for nocturnal animals was opened in 1994 and is home to more 2,500 animals of over 130 species, of which 38% are threatened. Visitors explore the park on a 40-minute tram ride through seven geographic regions, while interlinked walking trails also offer the chance of an encounter with threatened and endangered species such as the pangolin and clouded leopard. Night Safari sits under the umbrella of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which also includes Jurong Bird Park, Singapore Zoo and River Safari.
At the National Gallery Singapore, two of Singapore’s most significant historical buildings – the former Supreme Court and the City Hall – have recently been cleverly merged. Come to Singapore’s largest museum to appreciate the art and architecture, but also be wowed by the views from the rooftop bar, Smoke and Mirrors.
Get to know one of Singapore’s most vibrant and historic communities at this charming museum. Peranakan means ‘locally born’ in Malay, and refers to the descendants of foreign traders who married local women in south-east Asia centuries ago. Singapore’s Peranakan community is mostly Peranakan Chinese, descendants of Chinese traders who settled in the busy ports of Penang and Singapore in the 19th century. Combine this with a visit to the Joo Chiat/Katong area, filled with preserved shophouses and colonial bungalows, many now home to boutiques and restaurants, as well as The Intan, a charming private home-museum.
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Singapore is one of the smallest countries in the world but it manages to maintain its cultural and historical roots while embracing the futuristic technologies of today. Take a look at our Singapore offers to get the best price for your holiday.