Singapore Gardens BY the Bay Show

12 BEST Places to See in Singapore for a First-Time Visitor!

Looking for the best places to see in Singapore for a first timer? We got you! Easily one of our favorite cities we visited during our travels through SouthEast Asia was Singapore. This tiny, island city-state gave us an amazing first impression from the incredible culinary experiences, unique architecture, to culturally diverse rich neighborhoods with strong influences from Indian, Chinese, Arab, Malaysian, and English cultures.

Check out our recommendations for the top 12 places to see in Singapore for a first time visitor. If you’re anything like us you’ll fall in love and want to come back for more!

What’s awesome about Singapore as a destination is that you can really get a great grasp of the destination and experience even on a shorter trip. If you don’t have a ton of time, here are the top places to see in Singapore to get a great first impression, like us!

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Places to Visit in Singapore For a First Time Visitor

1. Check Out & Explore Marina Bay Sands


Easily one of the most recognizable places to see in Singapore is the world famous Marina Bay Sands hotel. This luxury hotel is one of the most epic landmarks and is made of three high-rise buildings that are connected at the top by an almost unreal infinity pool overlooking the city.

There’s also a shopping mall connected and two free laser shows every night!

Can’t afford a night in this fabulous 5-star hotel? No worries, you can still go to the top observation deck and enjoy a drink with a view.

Unfortunately swimming in the infinity pool is reserved only for hotel guests. Whomp, whomp.

2. Be in Awe at Gardens by the Bay

Megan at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

Probably one of our favorite places to see in Singapore is Gardens by the Bay. This is also one of the most iconic places to see in Singapore once again and one of the most unique attractions in the world.

Home to a giant nature park and home to the unique and otherwordly Supertrees! These Supertrees are actually man-made vertical gardens that provide energy for the park, which is pretty fascinating!

A few of the Supertrees are connected by a skywalk where you can get an aerial view of the gardens. You can also give the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome here as well.

Stick around until the evening when the Supertree lights turn on and watch Garden Rhapsody, a light and music show performed on them.

We watched the”Journey Through Asia,” and thought the music was brilliant. It’s no wonder why Gardens by the Bay is considered one of the best gardens in the world. Be sure to visit the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest while you’re here too, both are domed greenhouses filled with botanical gardens and exotic plants.

3. Ride the Singapore Flyer


One of the best places to see in Singapore and to actually SEE Singapore is from the giant Ferris Wheel, the Singapore Flyer.

This big Ferris Wheel gives you an unobstructed bird’s eye view of the city from a 28 person capsule and is one of the best activities in Singapore for epic views and for any age. If you’re afraid of heights, steer clear of the flyer!

It takes 30 minutes to make a complete rotation in the world’s largest observation wheel (until 2014 when the High Roller opened up on the Las Vegas Strip)!

We recommend doing this at night if you want to see the city sparkle from the sky aboard one of the Flyer’s capsules.

4. Have a Singapore Sling at the Iconic Raffles Hotel


Another one of the most famous places to see in Singapore and iconic landmarks that also happens to be a hotel is Raffles Singapore.

The luxurious and famous Raffles Hotel is not only a great place to stay (it’s hard to pick because there are so many places to choose for where to stay in Singapore) but also this hotel is famous for being home to Singapore’s national drink!

The signature Singapore Sling was created in 1915 by a bartender at the iconic Long Bar inside Raffles Hotel.

Travelers and visitors come here to sip on this fruity gin cocktail at its original birthplace. Make sure to sip on your sling slow, one of these bad boys will set you back $37 SGD. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that’s worth splurging on! Plus you can enjoy the gorgeous architecture that’s also a Historic Landmark of Singapore.

If you’re really splurging, you can even book a stay at Raffles.

5. Wander Around Little India

Us in Little India in Singapore

Explore the streets of Singapore’s Little India and find yourself some tasty Indian cuisine, fun shops, beautiful temples, and other things to explore in this lively, vibrant neighborhood.

This was our “go to” spot when we were unsure of where to eat during our few days in the city. We really enjoyed the food court right outside the Little India MRT station and left with happy bellies after every meal here. You’ll want to consider taking a food tour through Little India’s hawker scene.

You can also explore the temples of the area, Sri Veeramakaliamman, Sri Srinivasa Perumal, and Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temples. Don’t forget to check out the ornate Sultan Mosque nearby either!

If you want to stay in Little India, check here for hotel options

6. Explore All of Chinatown

long exposure of singapore at night on Keong Saik Road in Chinatown

Another one of our favorite areas to explore and places to see in Singapore is the energetic Chinese enclave of the city. Chinatown is where you can find some of the best hawker food stalls, fun nightlife, temples, and other fun activities.

We loved all the lanterns that were strung through the streets in front and in between of the colorful colonial shophouses.

Keong Saik Road, pictured above, is not to be missed. This is an old red-light district turned into a vibrant street full of pretty boutique hotels and trendy restaurants and even a fun speakeasy bar we went to is now called Papa Doble and is really worth checking out.

A visit to Singapore’s Chinatown isn’t complete without visiting the food halls full of amazing hawker stalls at the Chinatown Complex and Maxwell Food Center. You’ll want to consider a food tour through Chinatown!

If you want to stay in Chinatown, check here for hotel options

7. Eat The Cheapest Michelin Star Eatery in the World

Do you want a world-class, Michelin Star food experience but don’t want to pay a small fortune? Then you will want to try one of the best places to grab food in the city and one of the best places to see in Singapore at the cheapest Michelin-star eatery in the world!

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice And Noodle at level 2 of Chinatown’s food complex. You can eat a Michelin rated meal for under $2! Check out Daniel Food Diary’s experience here!

We are kicking ourselves to this day because of poor planning, we showed up on our final day in Singapore to find that the hawker stall is closed on Wednesdays! NOOOOOO!!!!

This is still on our ‘to do’ list and is one of the many reasons why we want to come back, as there are so many incredible places to see in Singapore through all your senses, this is one we will taste our way through when we get back!

  • 10:30 am – 7 pm M,Tu,Th,F; 8:30 am – 7 pm Sa & Su; Closed Wednesdays 🙁

8. Explore Around and On the Singapore River


Take a tour from a new vantage point in Singapore, by boat on the Singapore River! Relax on a 40-minute riverboat tour while checking out sites like Marina Bay Sands and Clarke Quay while also learning a bit about the history of the city.

If you’re feeling like you want something a little different take a Duck & Hippo amphibious vehicle tour. The vehicles were originally WWII Vietnamese military vehicles that have been remodeled for tours around Singapore!

9. Check Out Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay in Singapore at night

Another one of the best places in Singapore to explore is Clarke Quay. This was once an important commercial area of Singapore situated right on the river that is used today as a  restaurant, bar, and nightlife hotspot with great views.

The area has been revamped and the historical buildings now are painted with pretty pops of color. While this is one of the more touristy trap places with eateries like Hooters, you will find that this is a really fun spot for a drink overlooking the Singapore River.

If you’re here at the daytime, check out other nearby attractions like the Asians Civilizations Museum, Hong San See Temple, and The Arts House Screening Room an exhibition featuring artists and screenings of independent films.

10. Eat at Food Courts & Hawker Stalls

Laksa from Singapore hawker stalls

You can eat deliciously on the cheap by eating at any of the food courts around Singapore. These food stalls are known as hawker stalls here and sell all kinds of cuisine from around Asia, especially from the cultures who have strong influences in Singapore including Malay, South & East Asian, as well as Eurasian influences.

You can sample and split dishes to try more and more food. Since Singapore is a bit of a melting pot for different cultures, you can find delicious food from all over.

Better yet, this is the most affordable way to eat in Singapore, an overall pretty pricey destination, and you can find meals under $2.

Consider taking a food tour too! This Singapore night food tour takes you through famous hawker markets trying 7-8 dishes and getting a glimpse into the nightlife scene here in 3.5 hours with a guide. Or check out this Little India hawker food tour where you get 8 incredible local dishes.

11. Explore Bugis and Kampong Glam


Another one of the top places to visit in Singapore is another cultural hub of the city where you can find the Arabic and Muslim Quarter of the city. Not only is there incredible shopping to be done in the vibrant bazaars and markets, but you’ll be able to also have another culturally rich experience by exploring these areas.

And if you haven’t noticed, Singapore is a foodie city! If you’re looking to explore the culinary scene here as well, you won’t be disappointed as you’ll find plenty of great Middle Eastern and Malay cuisine to enjoy.

If you’re not sure where to start, head to Bugis Street Market where you’ll find food stalls and vendors selling all kinds of clothing, textiles, and accessories.

In Kampong Glam, you don’t want to miss the striking and beautiful Sultan Mosque. Also, be sure to take a walk down Haji Lane for more shopping and options for eating!

12. Visit and Have Fun at Sentosa Island


Another one of the best places to visit in Singapore for a first-time visitor is Sentosa Island! This island is located off the southern coast of Singapore and is a paradise of fun and adventure!

Not only are there luxury resorts here and wonderful beaches, but this is where you’ll find all the amusement parks! And there are a few!

One of the top Singapore attractions here is Universal Studios, where you can step into the magical world of your favorite movies and enjoy thrilling rides and shows!

Another popular attraction here is the S.E.A. Aquarium, a mesmerizing underwater wonderland that was the largest aquarium in the world at the time of its opening. While it’s been beaten at that title, it’s still huge!

For those seeking a splash of excitement, Adventure Cove Waterpark is the place to be where you can find adrenaline-pumping water slides, lazy rivers, and even snorkeling.

Or zipline through treetops on Sentosa Island!

As briefly mentioned, Sentosa Island is known for its pristine sandy beaches, if you want to skip the family-friendly amusement parks here consider a relaxing day on the beach. The most popular are Siloso Beach which has beach bars and is a bit more lively, Palawan Beach has soft sand and clear water and is better for relaxing and is popular among families, and Tanjong Beach is even more quiet and more relaxing!

There are also a few ways to get to Sentosa Island that are also fun from taking a boat or the Sentosa Cable Car!

Hotel 1929 Singapore

The easiest ways to get around Singapore are on foot or by Grab, Southeast Asia’s popular rideshare app.

There’s also the MRT pubic transportation system that’s a great way to get around the city. The price of your ticket depends on your starting and ending point, but the average cost is around 4 SGD. If you plan on using the MRT alot you can always get the Singapore Tourist Pass which gives you unlimited travel during a time frame.

If you’re staying in a central location though, many of the sites are walking distance which gives you some great city views and exploring by foot!

When you’re coming from the airport, you can simply book an airport transfer to your hotel.

Where to Stay in Singapore

Wanderlust Hotel Singapore

We stayed at these two hotels and they are not only great for exploring the best places to see in Singapore, but they also are really great properties.

If you’re wondering which neighborhoods to stay in, check out our guide on where to stay in Singapore and take a look at the map below:

We love you Singapore

Megan looking at the view from our balcony at Hotel 1929 in Singapore

Singapore is an amazing city and one of our favorites because of its wondrous modern landscape tucked inside a jungle.

Anywhere you see awe-inspiring buildings as well as some beautiful foliage. Best of all there is amazing food and activities around every corner.

What is Singapore famous for?

Singapore is famous for its cleanliness, efficiency, modern infrastructure, diverse culinary scene, vibrant street markets, iconic landmarks like Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, and its reputation as a global financial and business hub.

How much time do you need in Singapore?

You need at least 3 days in Singapore, you can easily visit all the best places to see in Singapore in as little as 4 to 5 days.

When is the best time of year to visit Singapore?

The best time to visit Singapore is generally from February to April and November to December, as the weather is relatively cooler with less rainfall and humidity, making outdoor activities more enjoyable.

Is Singapore walkable?

Yes, Singapore is a walkable city with well-connected streets, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, and efficient public transportation, making it convenient to explore many areas on foot.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Singapore?

The most iconic tourist attraction in Singapore is Gardens by the Bay. With its breathtaking Supertrees, stunning conservatories, and mesmerizing light shows. It combines nature, art, and sustainability in a harmonious way.

Best Things to See in Singapore (Post Summary):

  • Check out & Explore Marina Bay Sands
  • Be in Awe at Gardens by the Bay
  • Ride the Singapore Flyer
  • Have a Singapore Sling at the Iconic Raffles Hotel
  • Wander Around Little India
  • Explore all of Chinatown
  • Eat the Cheapest Michelin Star Eatery in the World
  • Explore Around and On the Singapore River
  • Check Out Clarke Quay
  • Eat at Food Courts and Hawker Stalls
  • Explore Bugis and Kampong Glam
  • Have Fun at Sentosa Island

I’m sure we haven’t covered all the amazing places to see in Singapore, so let us know if we’ve missed any in the comments below!

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