1. Marina Bay Sands
The opulent Marina Bay Sands resort complex includes a high end luxury hotel, a mall with a canal running through it, the ArtScience Museum, and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck. The Skypark Observation Deck is a brilliant vantage point for taking in the entire city. The Skypark's viewing deck and infinity pool are found in what looks like a ship at the top of the hotel. Only hotel guests are allowed to use the infinity pool, but anyone can visit the observation deck. From the Skypark, you can see the innovative double helix bridge, the port, the Gardens by the Bay and the impressive skyline.
While up there on top of the city, guests can grab a snack or a coffee at the rooftop restaurant. The elegant opulence of the Marina Bay Sands exemplifies Singapore's style and status as a major international city in Southeast Asia.
2. Gardens by the Bay
Once you have glimpsed this beautifully designed green space, you won't be able to stay away. Wander through the Bay East Garden, perfect for enjoying the vibrant plant life and escaping the city bustle for a while. You won't want to miss Supertree Grove, where you will find a cluster of the iconic, futuristic structures designed to perform environmentally sustainable functions. Then, head to the Cloud Forest Dome to see the world's tallest indoor waterfall and learn a bit about biodiversity.
3. Botanic Gardens
Not to be confused with the Gardens on the Bay, the Botanic Gardens are also worth a visit. Singapore received its first UNESCO World Heritage nomination for its botanical gardens, and with good reason. The city can sometimes feel like a concrete jungle, albeit a clean and comfortable one, but the botanic gardens preserve pieces of Singapore's wilder heritage.
Here, a walking trail leads to the gardens' heritage trees, which are conserved as part of an effort to protect the city's mature tree species. Make sure to visit the impressive National Orchid Garden as well. Other popular things to do include visiting the eco-garden, eco-lake, bonsai garden, sculptures, and several other formal gardens.
4. Singapore Zoo
Promoting itself as the world's best rainforest zoo, the Singapore Zoo is a pretty impressive place. The facility is clean and inviting, and the animals appear well treated, with plenty of lush vegetation and habitat space.
The orangutans are particularly impressive, and visitors can watch as babies and adults alike swing high above their platforms and snack on fruits. There is also a large chimpanzee family, zebras, meerkats, a komodo dragon, mole rats, white tigers, kangaroos, and many other creatures.
Guests can observe feedings for some of the animals. Allow at least three hours to make your way around the zoo. If the zoo does not satisfy your need for getting close to wildlife, there's also the Night Safari, River Safari, including a giant panda forest, and the Jurong Bird Park.
For a unique and personal wildlife experience, try the Singapore Zoo Breakfast with the Orangutans.
5. Orchard Road
One could be forgiven for coming to Singapore and doing nothing but shopping, as this is is a world-class city for style and designer chic. The Orchard Road area is a great place to start a shopping spree, as there are high end stores at every turn. You would expect nothing less from a neighborhood that boasts 22 malls and six department stores. There are also four movie theaters, including an IMAX cinema, and a KTV karaoke establishment.
If you get hungry while burning through all that cash, there are plenty of eateries in the neighborhood serving international food.
6. Singapore Flyer
If the observation deck at the Marina Bay Sands does not quite do it for you, try taking in high tea while looking out over the city from the Singapore Flyer, the world's largest giant observation wheel. Choose from several different packages that allow you to be served and pampered while enjoying a view that encompasses not only the Singapore skyline but as far away as the Spice Islands of Indonesia and Malaysia's Straits of Johor.
There are several different ticket packages to choose from, and each includes access to the multimedia Journey of Dreams exhibit, which delves into Singapore's history and the creation of the Singapore Flyer.
Flights last 30 minutes and run from early morning until late at night, so you can choose which view of the city you want to enjoy: the beginning of another bustling day or when Singapore is aglow after dark.
7. Raffles Hotel Singapore
This colonial building is one of the world's last grand 19th-century hotels, once visited by literary luminaries such as Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as movie star Charlie Chaplin.
Built in 1887, the property has served as a city landmark for well over a century and continues to live up to its tony reputation with excellent food and service. The classical architecture and tropical gardens provide a refined setting and represent another facet of Singapore's varied and rich history.
The Raffles Hotel Singapore is located in the city's Colonial District, which is also home to several other historic sites, and a good place to base yourself in the city. Here, you'll find the Raffles Landing Site, where Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, is said to have stepped ashore in 1819. The story has it that he saw the small fishing village but recognized its potential as a port, so he purchased the land from the Sultan of Johor and invited Chinese and Indian immigrants to move here. And so the seeds of Singapore's multi-ethnic identity were sown.
Singapore's Chinatown neighborhood will bring you right to China. From the small family run stores and authentic Chinese food to the bright red lanterns, there is excitement and hustle in this district. You can visit the Chinese Heritage Centre and see the impressive and beautiful Sri Mariamman Hindu temple. Another temple worth seeing is the Buddha Tooth Relic temple.
Heritage markers have been installed throughout the neighborhood in English, Japanese, and simplified Chinese, so visitors can better understand the significance of the area. But this neighborhood is not just a testament to the influence of the Chinese throughout Singapore's past. This is a progressive neighborhood, with free Wi-Fi for all, and it is home to the trendy Ann Siang Hill area, where the quaint bistros and upscale boutiques could be at home in any Western city.
9. Sentosa Island
Singapore is not exactly known as a beach destination, but if you are really craving some fun in the sun, Sentosa Island is the place to find it. Siloso Beach is a good spot for getting in beach time, and visitors can play volleyball on free courts or go kayaking and skimboarding. There are several other beach attractions as well, plus an Underwater World aquarium, where you can swim with dolphins.
A must see on Sentosa Island is the Merlion, Singapore's famous statue that has the head of a lion and the body of a fish. You can take an escalator to the top of the statue and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area.
Adventurous types will want to check out The Flying Trapeze and the SeaBreeze Water-Sports @ Wave House, where you can try your hand at flying strapped to a water-propelled jet pack.
10. Clarke Quay
The "center of commerce during the 19th century," Clarke Quay lives up to its legacy as a busy hub. Today, it has a more polished sheen, so after a long day of shopping on Orchard Road, visitors can happily head to Clarke Quay for an evening of waterfront dining and entertainment.
River taxis and cruises also depart from here, giving tourists the chance to admire some of the city's historic bridges and view landmarks like the Merlion from the water. The Quay's biggest hit with younger tourists is a giant bungee jumping attraction, an adrenaline packed thrill ride.
11. Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore occupies 49 acres of Resorts World Sentosa. The park is arranged thematically, with each area paying tribute to a location, film, or television show. Destinations include New York City, Hollywood, Madagascar, and a trip back to Ancient Egypt. Fiction themed areas include Shrek's Far Far Away, Lost World, and Sci-Fi City, where Battlestar Galactica-themed dueling roller coasters and an indoor dark coaster, Revenge of the Mummy, dominate the thrill rides.
In addition to the many rides, that range from kiddie-friendly to daredevil, the park also has diverse dining options, shopping, and live shows throughout the day and night.
12. Merlion Park
Singapore's Merlion is just what it sounds like, the figure of a mythical creature that has the head of a lion and the body and tail of a fish. The Merlion represents the city's humble start as a fishing village combined with its traditional Malay name Singapura, "lion city."
The structure, which was relocated to Merlion Park in 2002, where it can overlook Marina Bay, weighs 70 tonnes and stands at 8.6 meters tall, spouting water from its mouth in a fountain.
The "Merlion Cub" sits nearby, only two meters tall but a hefty three tonnes, and there are five additional official Merlion statues throughout the city. Merlion Park is an ideal spot for photo opportunity, whether you are taking a selfie in front of the iconic creature or capturing the magnificent views from the park as it looks out over the bay.
13. Fort Canning Park
As military strongholds go, Fort Canning has had a long and varied life. Built in 1859, the fort was originally meant to defend Singapore against attacks but it became a bunker during World War II and was eventually surrendered to the Japanese in 1942.
Now in peacetime, the original building is home to modern performing arts troupes, and the park regularly sees picnics, concerts, theater performances, and festivals.
Other attractions at the park include relics from Singapore's early history, from as far back as the 14th century, and Sir Stamford Raffles' personal bungalow. Guests can also see a replica of the spice market Raffles established in 1822, as well as ASEAN sculptures that were erected in the 1980s.
14. Pulau Ubin (Granite Island)
For a look at what life in Singapore was like before it was all about glamor and skyscrapers, visit the small island of Pulau Ubin, where fewer than 100 people still live in the same simple way as they did in the 1960s. The island's name is Malay for "Granite Island," a title given due to its past prominence as a quarry town.
Today, it is a peaceful, rustic place where tourists can enjoy unspoiled forests and diverse wildlife. The island is also home to the Chek Jawa Wetlands, which contain a coral reef teeming with sea life.
The island is easily reached by boat, a 10-minute ride that departs from Changi Point Ferry Terminal.