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Asia Culture Destinations Guide Singapore

Singapore | Three Ways to Explore the Lion City

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Singapore is a singularity – a melting pot of the entirety of South Asia that paradoxically has a flavor all its own. Though the stretch of land the city-state occupies is tiny, there’s dozens of adventures to be had within it. With so much to see and do, Singapore can be a bit overwhelming at first glance, and it’s best to dive in with a plan in mind. Fortunately, we’re here to help.

Photo by Jacob Peters-Lehm on Unsplash

Tour One: Nature

Though much Singapore has been developed, the city also has its fair share of greenery. The best place to start your tour is the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a historical park on Orchard Road home to gorgeous orchids and preserved natural rainforest right in the heart of the city. From Singapore’s natural past, head next to the future at the incredible Gardens by the Bay, an instant classic that features educational greenhouses as well as towering “supertrees” surrounded by natural flora. If there’s one attraction that shouldn’t be missed, this is it.

Singapore has dozens of other parks to visit, but the top contender for adventure – and your chances of seeing the local wildlife – is MacRitchie Reservoir, where you’ll also have the opportunity to take the Treetop Walk above the forest canopy. Animal lovers should be sure to check out either the world-famous Singapore Zoo or Singapore Night Zoo, pending your schedule. Both parks have excellent exhibits and a great variety of animals to interact with.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Tour Two: Culture

With such a diverse population, it’s little wonder that Singapore is a haven for culture lovers. Start by heading down to One Fullerton and visiting the symbol of Singapore itself: the Merlion. The statue also serves as a great photo spot for Marina Bay Sands, the iconic “boat” building on Singapore’s skyline. Afterwards, head over to the nearby National Gallery Singapore, home to incredible art from all over Southeast Asia and Singapore itself. At any point, feel free to take a break from the major attractions to wander Singapore’s streets, full of character and a splendid mix of architectures.

For a look at some of Singapore’s different neighborhoods, start by taking the MRT – Singapore’s metro system – to Little India, where you can enjoy the unique architecture, bazaars, and restaurants that are scattered throughout. By the time evening rolls around, take the MRT over to Chinatown Complex Food Centre and indulge in the street food on offer. Those wanting to get a proper taste of Singapore should look out for Hainanese Chicken Rice – a simple local dish and mouthwatering treat.

Photo by Vernon Raineil Cenzon on Unsplash

Tour Three: History

If it’s history you’re after, Singapore has it in spades. There’s a mix of colonial sites and local history here, all of it fascinating. War history buffs will want to visit the Battle Box, a museum dedicated to World War II housed in an old command bunker. The Civilian War Memorial downtown adds a moving coda to this era, and is worth seeing as well. On a less somber note, the Mint Museum of Toys showcases a collection of 50,000 toys from various eras and will hit you with a serious case of nostalgia. Ending our museum tour is the National Museum Singapore, which houses several wonderful exhibits spanning the city-state’s long history.

Between stops, be sure to spend some time walking between the various attractions. Churches, department stores, and temples all house their own slice of history, and it’s very much worth seeing how this history interacts with the present in real time. When the sun sets, be sure to end your historic tour at the Long Bar in the Raffles Singapore, home of the original Singapore Sling. Cheers!

Header photo by Coleen Rivas on Unsplash

Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

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