Food, popular attractions and shopping – isn’t that what we are always thinking every time we are out on a vacation? Let’s just add a pot of cultures, and maybe a huge can of sparkle and a tiny bit of whizz. Well, you get Singapore!
Singapore, which smoothly translates to lion city, is the Valhalla of mixed culture and modern possibility. It’s where foodies, explorers, culture shapers, and socialisers gather to experience a brand new day of imagination and taste. From hankering for Indian breakfast to a succulent dinner in Chinatown, from moving through the fervent streets in ‘City in a Garden’ to experience the lush flora and fauna, we bring to you ‘Top 8 places to visit in Singapore’.
So let this passionate frenzy guide you on your next holiday to this exuberant rich island country. And when you come back, we can assure you – you won’t be disappointed.
From Sumatran Orangutans to pygmy hippos, from Javan Gibbons to Malaysian flying foxes – you name it. They have it.
Singapore Zoo, which also goes by the name Mandai Zoo, is an award-winning wildlife park. The zoo covers 26 hectares on a lush peninsula jutting out into the waters of the Upper Seletar Reservoir. Singapore Zoo is home to 300 species of mammals, birds and reptiles, which has been providing exciting wildlife experiences to visitors for 40 years now.
Now let’s talk about highlights, shall we?
If you are someone who wishes to enjoy a scrumptious morning breakfast in the company of orangutans, then Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife is waiting for you. Walk along the winding routes and meet your favourite free-roaming ring-tailed lemurs, lorises and tree-hugging sloths at the giant Fragile Forest biodome. Head to Australasia exhibit and marvel at the grey kangaroos, cassowaries and agile wallabies. You can visit the Primate Kingdom, Great Rift Valley exhibit, Reptile Gardens and the Tortoise Shell-ter. Then there is Rainforest Kidzworld if you are walking the zoo with your little ones.
The zoo takes pride in fostering inspiration among people to value and conserve biodiversity. Discounts are available on tickets applicable on multi-park ticket, which include River Safari, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The country’s first UNESCO Heritage Site, Singapore Botanic Gardens bears a testament to Singapore’s reputation similar to The Great Wall of China and Christ the Redeemer in Brazil.
The 74-hectares botanic gardens were established in 1859 by the Agri-Horticultural Society. It is not only one of the most popular arresting attraction among the tourists but the natives too. The Gardens remain a favourite recreation venue for jogging, eating or just a place of relaxation; the sprawling grounds are also leading centres for botanical and horticultural research.
Visit the National Orchid Gardens which displays over dazzling 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of colourful Orchids, the national flower of Singapore. Located next to it is the Ginger Garden which contains over 250 members of the Zingiberaceae family. The Learning Forest guides visitors on a network of boardwalks and elevated walkways through different habitats, including swampy wetlands and rainforest canopies. The Swan Lake is home to numerous species of aquatic plants and fishes; the park derives its name from two large bronze swan sculpture inside the The Swan Lake which was imported all the way from the Netherlands. If you are visiting with your kids, then make sure to visit Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a seamless blend of surreal design, state-of-art engineering and lush greenery dominated by the sleekly sculpted biodomes, high-tech Supertrees and whimsical sculptures.
It is located next to the Marina Reservoir. The Gardens is made up of two areas – Bay South Garden and Bay East Garden. The former is the largest and resembles Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim. Stroll on the suspended walkway between two Supertrees (tree-shaped vertical gardens) and enjoy the view of the gardens. At evening, the Supertrees twinkle and glow for the spectacular Garden Rhapsody show. Whereas, the latter is the perfect picnic spot with lush lawns and tropical palm trees. From the waterfront promenade, one can view the picturesque city skyline.
Other attractions in the Gardens by the Bay include – Flower Dome which houses a collection of plants from Mediterranean and deserts from around the world, the Dragonfly & Kingfisher Lakes, Far East Organization Children’s Garden and Cloud Forest.
National Gallery of Singapore
If you wish to witness history meeting modernity, then this is the perfect place for you. It is located in the heart of the Civic District. The National Gallery is housed in the City Hall and the former Supreme Court – two of Singapore’s magnificent national monuments.
The National Gallery is home to one of the world’s largest display and 19th-century and modern Southeast Asian modern art. It is comprised of two major spaces – DBS Singapore Gallery, which delivers a concise overview of Singaporean art from 19th century to present date; while UOB Southeast Asia Gallery showcases on the art from the greater Southeast Asian region. Furthermore, the Gallery also has Keppel Centre for Art Education – Singapore’s first art education centre.
The gallery showcases more than 8,000 pieces of artworks, making it one of the world’s largest and most invaluable public collections of Singapore. The establishment proudly displays the works of the prominent Singaporean artists such as Georgette Chen, Chen Chong Swee and Liu. Additionally, the collection showcases significant artworks by Vietnamese artist Raden Saleh, Malaysian artist Latiff Mohidin and Vietnamese artist Nguyen Gia Tri.
The Southern Ridge is a 10-kilometre stretch of connecting trails from Kent Ridge Park to Mt Faber, HortPark, Telok Blangah Hill Park and the Labrador Nature Reserve. The entire trail consists of relatively easy pathways, forest canopy walkways, lofty skyline vistas and the spectacular Henderson Waves.
Bird-watching lovers will be able to catch their favourite birds in their natural habitat along these trails, while photographers will never exhaust themselves from taking the pictures of the flora and fauna that surrounds them.
At the top of the Kent Ridge Park is located Reflections at Bukit Chandu which is a war museum. The glasshouses of HortPark are incredibly relaxing. The park is family-friendly with playground, fountains and cafes. Cross the Alexander Arch bridge to the impressive Forest Walk which eventually leads to Telok Blangah Hill Park.
MacRitchie Nature Trail & Reservoir Park is a myriad of evocative natural attractions. Just a mention of this Reservoir Park to any native will lead to a long talk which will certainly turn to cross-country runs, nature trails and the TreeTop Walk.
Skirt along with the water catchment system and snake through the mature secondary rainforest spotted with long-tailed macaques and huge monitor lizards. The 11-kilometre walking trail that navigates the reservoir is an excellent way to take in the area’s natural attractions. The availability of map boards situated along the trails and directional signage at junctions are certainly helpful.
Avid water sports enthusiasts can try their hand at kayaking and canoeing by renting at Paddle Lodge. There is also a designated area for beginners, another for experienced paddlers. The TreeTop Walk, a free-standing suspension bridge which connects the two highest points in MacRitchie. It offers an extraordinary view of the flora and fauna in the forest canopy.
The heritage Baba House lends rich insight into Singapore’s Peranakan community, thanks to beautifully preserved architecture and artefacts. The beautiful blue three-storey building was donated to the National University of Singapore (NUS) by Agnes Tan.
After a two-year restoration, NUS Baba House opened in 2008. Today, it is managed by the NUS university, to preserve its exterior and interior architecture, including furnishing and household wares.
Archaeologists and art historians from the university had the opportunity to carry out excavations and a study on the iconography of the building’s ornamentation. The 2,000 Peranakan antiques and decorative items displayed on the first and second floors.
Indian Heritage Culture
The Indian Heritage Culture is a four-storey building whose intricate design blends contemporary elements in architecture with the rich traditional Indian culture. It’s a unique and sustainable structure which transforms the building’s translucent facade into kind of giant tapestry, showcasing the richly coloured mural behind it, which attracts visitors from all around the globe.
It is divided into five themed galleries, full of historical and cultural artefacts, archival footage and multimedia displays which explore the development of the Indian Singaporeans to the development of the island nation. Alongside the main galleries, the centre also houses rooftop gardens, activity spaces and a visitor centre
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