Things to Do in Singapore
Katong District is one of the more noticeable neighborhoods in Singapore, lined with 19th century villas and mansions belonging to some of the richest folks in the country. With many of its inhabitants coming from the Far East, the town is also known for its restaurants and cafes, which offer Peranakan cuisine as well as spicy local foods.
A taste of old Singapore, the history of Katong features the stories of businessmen from England, Portugal, China and France, who all made their wealth there. Because the town fell under the rule of British colonialism nearly 200 years ago, a lot of the structures that stand today were built using British architecture. Luckily, what does exist is in pristine conditions as Katong is known as one of the cleanest areas in Singapore.
As a known destination that is also conveniently located by the sea, there are a number of modern accommodations as well as lovely souvenir shops and shopping centers.
There are a number of places to scope out Singapore’s cityscape and the historic Boat Quay is among the best. Once the epicenter of maritime trade, the famous Quay now boasts loads of great restaurants and bars housed in well-preserved old shop houses. Complete with open-air terraces, these mainstays of the Quay are heralded for not only their terrific viewpoint, but reasonably priced sea food as well.
Open through the late hours of the evening, one can sit back there and take a midday break from the urban sightseeing or have a romantic dinner as the city lights glimmer on the waterfront. The pedestrian area also contains a few great nightclubs and pubs, for those looking to stay out a bit later.
Among the structures you can spot from the Quay are the Parliament House and Empress Place Building along the North Boat Quay Promenade as well as the famous Fullerton Hotel.
Arab Street is a small area of Singapore, not far from the busy Bugis Junction in the Kampong Glam district. The area is full of unique shops and a vibrant street life. Many visitors discover Arab Street when visiting the grand Sultan Mosque (Musjid Sultan), a large and beautiful building built in 1924. In the surrounding streets, keen shoppers can find the most wonderful selection of fabric; find yourself some gorgeous sari material or wonderfully textured linens and have it sewn up by the tailors located upstairs. There are plentiful cafes, great Middle Eastern food and even luxurious spa treatments available.
Other popular goods for purchase include spices, woven baskets and fresh fruit. The more ambitious can try a shisha (hooka-style pipe) in one of the many late-night cafés, or listen to the live music at venues such as Blue Jazz. It’s not all laid back and traditional in this area though. Head to Bali Lane for hardcore punk music and gothic glam clothing!
Mount Faber Park, one of the oldest green spaces in Singapore, is also one of the best places to go for views over the city and Singapore Harbour. More of a large hill than a mountain, the slopes of Mount Faber are covered in lush rainforest, and if you want to get to the top, you have two options.
Budget travelers looking for something free to do can hike to the peak. The path is paved the entire way up and shaded for most of the way, but bring plenty of water, as Singapore can get hot and humid. If you’d rather save your energy, you can ride the Singapore Cable Car to the top.
No matter how you get to the summit, set aside some time to wander the gardens and take in the views from several lookout points. Mount Faber is also home to the Jewel Box, a shopping, dining and entertainment venue and one of the most romantic spots in the city for dinner.
More Things to Do in Singapore
Considered a bird watchers paradise, Jurong Bird Park in fabulous Singapore is the world's largest. With more than an astounding 600 different kinds of species, the park provides a wide array of shows and attractions that are sure to educate even the most avid bird-watcher.
Whether it is the 'Birds of Prey' exhibit, which shows eagles and falcons soaring above, the 'Penguin Exhibition,' with more than 200 penguins and multiple species, or the insightful realm of flightless birds, one of the enjoyable qualities of the park is that many of the exhibits are as educational as they are visually stimulating.
Similarly, with the Children's Parrot Show located at the Pools Amphitheatre, where the kids can see four beautiful and diverse kinds of parrots perform tricks for them, there is little reason to skip out on the landscaped wonderment of the park.
The Raffles Landing site in the Boat Quay area of downtown Singapore is the apparent location of the landing place for Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 when he signed a treaty that established modern day Singapore. Marked by a white marble statue about 20 feet, or about 6 meters tall, the statue depiction of the father of Singapore is dwarfed by the surrounding office towers that now exist in the area, but nonetheless tells a historic tale of the founding of the country.
As the landing site is believed to be along the banks of the Singapore River, it is said that Raffles was able to establish a treaty with the local rulers within ten days of arriving that would pave the way for the construction of the city’s sprawling metropolis. History aside, the statue is located in an open outdoor space that provides a great view of the buildings located in the opposite southern banks as well as an opportunity to take a quiet walk and relax.
Orchard Road means one thing: shopping! Relentlessly lined with flashy shopping malls and upmarket hotels, Singapore’s premier shopping street is cheerfully lined with plenty of shady trees, seating and flower boxes. You’ll find luxury flagship stores from Dior to Armani, huge shopping malls like Ngee Ann City, department stores, cinemas and entertainment complexes.
Head to the basement food halls dotted along Orchard Road for a cheap and filling lunch, and come back at night to while the evening away at a nightclub. Orchard Road stretches west from Istana Park, home to Singapore’s president, to the botanic gardens at its western end. It’s a long, long stretch of road, but the street’s MRT stations, Dhoby Ghaut and Orchard, will help you get around.
Home to the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay offers travelers access to incredible indoor mountains that climb high into veils of cloudy mist. Visitors can explore tropical canopies and rainforest vegetation while wandering along bridges that crisscross through nine vastly different zones.
Crystal clear glass panes hang high above the forest floor. The start contrast between breathtaking Mother Nature and the city skyline beyond the dome is just one of the reasons a visit to Singapore’s Cloud Forest is not to be missed.
One of the most famous shopping areas in Singapore, Bugis street is the home of some 800 busy shops, but it is perhaps the history there which makes it one of the more interesting landmarks in the country.
In the 1950s, Bugis Street gained notoriety as a place where transgendered locals would come down to hang out, driving a tourism boom that made it ideal for grabbing some push-cart, or hawker, food while enjoying a variety of inexpensive merchandise.
Today, the area is much more tamed and where the retail scene is still very much alive, but less of a scandalous place than it once was. Nonetheless, visitors still enjoy going to Bugis to listen about the history as well as get their hands on great local foods, candy and some of the most fashionable clothes in Singapore.
Joo Chiat is an eastern Singapore residential neighborhood noted for its Peranakan culture. Peranakans are descendants of 15th- through 17th-century Chinese and Indian immigrants who ultimately married non-Muslim natives from the Malay Archipelago. The neighborhood is named after Chew Joo Chiat, a wealthy landowner who once owned most of the land in the area.
Today, Joo Chiat is best known for its rows of traditional Peranakan structures—colorful two-story shops and terrace homes with ceramic tiles, ornate facades and Chinese motifs. These shop-houses dominated the area back in the 1920s and 1930s. The Katong Antique House is a fully restored Peranakan family home with antiques and artifacts on display, and Rumah Bebe is a shop and restaurant noted for its well-preserved façade. This is an ideal place to purchase handicrafts and gifts to bring back home with you.
Things to do near Singapore
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