For me, Singapore is my home away from home. The things I adore about Singapore are often the things that tourists miss out on when they visit. As it turns out, Singapore is so much more than just shopping on Orchard Road.
Follow this list of things you won’t want to miss your first time visiting Singapore and you’ll get to experience everything Singapore has to offer.
1. Eat at the Hawker Centres
You will find hawker centres all throughout Singapore. These are essentially government-regulated food courts where the locals go to eat. Here you’ll experience some of the best and most authentic dishes in all of Singapore.
We would highly recommend you eat most of your meals at hawker centres and do your best to try different dishes each time! Some local favorites include char kway teow, laksa, wantan mee, and roti prata.
2. Shop on Orchard Road
When most people think about what to do in Singapore, the first thing that comes to mind is shopping… and Orchard Road is the quintessential spot in Singapore to do it! You’ll get the opportunity to shop at countless high-end shopping malls (with air-conditioning thankfully) and every brand you can think of. In fact, most big brands have numerous shops on Orchard Road.
If you are a big shopper, then Orchard Road is an absolute must. Even if you aren’t, it’s still well worth taking a few hours out of your day.
3. Visit Gardens by the Bay
Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay is a stunning feat of architecture found right in the heart of Singapore. A handful of giant supertrees tower over the park. A sky bridge extends through the grove connecting two supertrees and allowing you to walk amongst the treetops.
Two massive conservatories contain two separate ecosystems – one filled with tropical plants and another packed with flowers. It’s absolutely worth visiting and spending the S$28, but if you are limited on time consider skipping the Flower Dome.
The Cloud Forest is by far the more impressive of the two structures, containing the second tallest indoor waterfall in the world (after the Jewel at Changi Airport, also in Singapore).
4. Shop & Eat at Chinatown
Make sure to visit and explore Chinatown. It’s home to some of the best Chinese hawker stalls in Singapore, plus it’s a great opportunity to get some shopping done and find some souvenirs to take back home.
Make sure to check out Sri Mariamman Temple and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Making it here during a Chinese festival, such as the Chinese New Year, can be absolutely stunning. The streets will be decorated with lanterns and you can expect the locals to be festive.
5. Explore Clarke Quay and Visit the Merlion
Clarke Quay is a great spot to explore for a few hours on a nice evening. There are plenty of upscale eateries and bars here and a river with boat rides and bridges.
A short walk will offer spectacular views over the bay towards the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Singapore Flyer. You also won’t want to miss a photo of the iconic Merlion which was relocated here in 2002.
6. Stroll Through Macritchie Reservoir Park
The Macritchie Reservoir is Singapore’s oldest reservoir and is a giant park found in the middle of the island. Consider hiking the Macritchie Nature Trail, where you will find eleven kilometers of trails, with a full loop taking around four hours.
Along the way, expect to encounter some cheeky, long-tailed macaques (yes, monkeys) that want nothing more than the food in your bags. Make sure not to feed them – and be especially careful not to corner them. They are cute to look at, but they can be aggressive.
You may also come across a treetop walkway suspended 25 meters above the ground. It’s a great way to experience the park from the sky, but consider avoiding it if you’re afraid of heights.