An oddity in Southeast Asia, Singapore is a city-state, with a clear Colonial British legacy. A melting pot of Chinese, Malay and British cultures, Singapore has quickly emerged as one of the most economically developed nations on earth, an ultra-modern metropolis with little of the ancient tradition many of its neighbours have. Despite this, Singapore is a fascinating, unique place with much to see. You can still see remnants of it’s British colonial heritage by visiting its distinctive black and white houses and the Fort Canning complex. The Little India and Chinatown districts established by the British are still here today.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Rightfully considered to be amongst the most spectacular gardens in the world, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is one of the country’s top tourist attractions, receiving around 4.5 million visitors per year. Containing over 10,000 different plant species, the garden is one of the richest and most spectacular tropical gardens in the world, and a perfect escape from the hectic city life.
Gardens by the Bay
Another lush source of greenery in the ultra-modern city, the Gardens of the Bay are a new nature park, opened in 2012 and have been highly popular amongst tourists and locals ever since, receiving nearly 9 million visitors per year. Comprised of a 32 hectare garden and a complex of conservatories, the Gardens by the Bay have quickly cemented themselves as one of Singapore’s premier attractions.
One of Singapore’s main tourist attractions, Sentosa receives around 20 million visitors per year. A popular resort island, Sentosa caters to a number of different audiences. In addition to its entertainment centres, it is known for its celebration of Singapore’s history and the mythology surrounding its origins. Various theories claim the island was a site of piracy and disease. For those seeking simple, family-oriented escapism and to learn more about Singapore’s history, Sentosa is the place to go.
One of Singapore’s most famous monuments and a definitive relic of Singapore’s colonial past. Known for it’s distinct colonial architecture, Raffles provides an insight into the country’s early history under British rule. Once the hub of colonial life in Singapore, the hotel is known for its opulent appearance and wealthy clientele.It is named after Sir Stamford Raffles who established Singapore as a trading post for the British East India Company.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
One of Singapore’s most recognisable temple complexes, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum was built in 2002, inspired by the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty. It is named for the eponymous tooth relic, which it purportedly houses. Situated in Singapore’s Chinatown district, it is also nearby some of the city’s finest and most authentic restaurants.While in Chinatown check out its distinctive shophouses.
National Museum of Singapore
The city’s oldest museum, the National Museum of Singapore is focused on the country’s history. Built in 1849, it is known for its distinct Neo-Palladian design. It contains a number of important artefacts to the country’s history such as the Singapore Stone, an inscribed slab of limestone from the 10th Century and one of the country’s national treasures.
National Gallery Singapore
Having recently opened in 2015, the National Gallery Singapore has quickly emerged as the city’s premier art museum. Containing the world’s largest collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art, it is one of the region’s most important museums. It is the country’s largest cultural centre and has become a prominent venue in such a short period of time.
Haw Par Villa
One of Singapore’s more bizarre attractions, the Haw Par Villa is an entertainment park of the unconventional sort. A celebration of Chinese mythology, the park contains a number of dioramas depicting different aspects of Chinese legends. The most notorious of these is the Ten Courts of Hell, which depicts the concept of Hell in Buddhism in particularly grim detail. A pleasantly strange detour from the more standard tourist destinations of Singapore.
Mint Museum of Toys
One of Singapore’s more niche museums, the Mint Museum of Toys has emerged as one of the city’s cult museums in the decade since it opened. The museum houses an extensive collection of over 3000 toys, all amazingly from the personal collection of its proprietor Chang Yang Fa. In addition to the beloved classics, there are a number of bizarre lesser-known gems spanning from the 18th Century to the modern day.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
A 130-hectare parkland complex, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is one of the most naturally beautiful places to visit in Singapore. It is known for the abundance of wildlife, particularly birds. Indeed, the reserve is a hugely significant sight for bird migration, with a vast array of birds being spotted there. An absolutely essential destination for birdwatchers, but the reserve is also worth a visit for its stunning natural beauty.