To celebrate the arrival of summer, we suggest 20 fun things to do, in no particular order, to make your visit to Singapore extra special. Whether you’re travelling with kids or not, there’s no shortage of fun activities you can get up to while in town. Can’t squeeze them all in? Never mind, you’ll have plenty of chance to do so on your next visit!
No visit to Singapore is complete without wolfing down a Chicken Rice or dunking a mantou bun into the thick chilli gravy that coats an order of Chilli Crab, before cracking into the coveted claw. For Chicken Rice, the choice of stalls is endless, but start with a classic at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre (1 Kadayanallur Street) for one of the best. For Chilli Crab, start your culinary journey at much-loved institutions like Long Beach Seafood Restaurant, Jumbo Seafood Restaurant and No Signboard Seafood. And to cool down, glug down a refreshing sugarcane juice or fresh coconut from one of the city’s myriad hawker centres.
> Regularly changing exhibitions, an amazing collection of temperate plant life (think African Baobab, ancient olive trees, cacti and Australian Eucalyptus) and a sublimely cool temperature makes this attraction one of the highlights of a trip to the ‘garden city.’ Feeling peckish during your visit? Drop into the award-winning restaurant Pollen, located inside the dome, for creative modern cuisine from the talented Chef Colin Buchan.
Take the children to KidZania
Sentosa’s newest attraction is a treasure trove for keeping kids entertained for hours on end. With its own language and rules, this fully enclosed kids city lets the young have fun role-playing jobs and activities from the adult world. Whether they want to experience being a policeman, chef, filmmaker or dentist, it’s all possible here – they can even try their hand at landing an A380 in the facilities simulator, housed in the fuselage of a Qatar Airlines 737!
> Singapore is not all skyscrapers and busy streets. Step out of the city into one of Singapore’s countless green spaces. Stroll around the Botanic Gardens, a World Heritage Site, cycle around the traffic-free roads of Pulau Ubin or mingle with the monkeys at MacRitchie Reservoir. Find your way to the Tree Top Walk here and cross a 250-metre suspension bridge across the two highest points on the trail. For other great green spaces, consider Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Bukit Batok Nature Park.
Appreciate Art and Create
Head to the lush greenery of Gillman Barracks for a series of art galleries, cafes and the child-friendly centre Playeum. Surrounded by dense tropical foliage, this oasis of the arts should be on everyone’s cultural itinerary. Follow this up with a visit to National Gallery Singapore, the city’s most exciting new opening, where an impressive collection of Southeast Asian art, and much more, is backed up by some of the city’s best F&B operations.
Singapore Sling it
Head to the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel for a taste of this historic national tipple. The refreshing cocktail was invented here and was an instant favourite amongst the ladies, allowing them to drink alcohol without it being too obvious to onlookers. The vibrant pink concoction is made of gin, cherry brandy, Cointreau, bitters, pineapple juice and lime – great for those with a sweet tooth!
Singapore’s zoo is one of the world’s best, with no two visits ever the same. Unlike many other zoos around the world, you won’t find many caged animals here – instead, mainly natural barriers stand between you and the wildlife! Head on a River or Night Safari, or meet the zoo’s impressive collection of wild animals from around the world, including a new baby giraffe.
Charter a Yacht
Fancy seeing some of Singapore’s sister islands like the sandy shores of Lazarus Island? Charter a luxury yacht for the day to explore in real style. Recruit a large group of friends and cruise the coastline whilst enjoying brunch on board or really rock the boat with the ‘happy hour cruise’ at sunset. Plenty of different sailing experiences are available, including catamarans from One Degree 15, and the amazing tallship The Royal Albatross (pictured), so brouse around and take your pick. It’s more affordable than you think!
Explore a Local Hood
Singapore isn’t that big so finding places genuinely ‘off the beaten track’ can be harder than you think. Neighbourhoods deep in the Singapore heartlands carry much of the country’s cultural character so head to areas like Tiong Bahru, Joo Chiat or Everton Park to explore. Haggle for fruit at the wet markets, discover each area’s unique architecture or enjoy some people watching from a local cafe.
Splurge on a 5-star Sunday Brunch
Singapore’s top hotels are well-known for their fantastic Sunday Brunch spreads. Indulge yourself and enjoy fabulous cuisine, free-flow cocktails and champagne (check conditions first) and first-class service. Our favourites include the Manhattan Sunday Brunch (for adults only) at Regent Singapore, Mezza9 at the Grand Hyatt, Lime at PARKROYAL on Pickering and the Sunday Carving Champagne Brunch at Raffles Hotel. Or check out the beautiful new restaurant Ash & Elm at the InterContinental Singapore, home to an excellent Sunday Brunch which features a cheese and cold cuts room, wood-fired oven specialities and free-flow small plates of European delicacies.
Eat some local Ice Cream
When the heat gets too fierce, head to one of the many local ice cream parlour which offer a creative blend of new flavours including durian and Tiger beer! Alternatively order a classic potong ice cream sandwich from a mobile cart, who also offer great local flavours – coconut, yam, red bean and even sweet corn – which come neatly tucked in a slice of dubiously coloured rainbow bread.
Catch a Theatre Show at MBS
You don’t need to go to the West End or Broadway to watch the newest international shows. Singapore’s MasterCard Theatre at Marina Bay Sands and Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay both have calendars packed to the brim with classic hits, from Wicked to Les Miserables and Shrek. Check sistic.com for more information.
Hike the Rail Corridor
iBuilt in 1903, the now defunct railway was originally used to transport goods and passengers from Malaysia to Singapore, making its last journey in 2011. Now the 24-kilometre stretch is a lush, green walking trail, although plans are afoot to develop the area in the near future. The southern part of the trail will also be closed for the laying of a pipeline very soon, so experience this natural wonder while there is still time!
Shop til you drop
It’s the Great Singapore Sale from June 3 to August 14, so make sure you take advantage of the hundreds of bargains available around town. The malls and plazas of Orchard Road traditionally attract the biggest crowds but we advise trying some other locations as well, like the outlet malls in Jurong (J Cube, Westgate, IMM and Jem), Capitol Piazza and the boutiques of Tiong Bahru, Kampong Glam and Bugis.
Corner with Class
Motor heads can fulfill their high speed fantasies by driving a Ferrari or Lamborghini around part of the F1 track on a ‘Street Circuit Tour’ with Ultimate Drive. Younger drivers can test their skills at The Karting Arena at The Grandstand on Turf Club Road, where both a simulator and outdoor track provide lots of racing fun for the family.
All this running around is sure to have left you exhausted so take time out to enjoy one of the city’s many luxury spas for some well-earned relaxation. Our favourites include ESPA at Resorts World Sentosa, Auriga at Capella Singapore and St Gregory Spa at PARKROYAL on Pickering.
An unexplored area to many, Balestier Road is a road