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 10 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!
10 Places to See in Singapore For a First Time Visitor
1. 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.
- Check here to book a ticket to the observation deck
- And if you’re splurging, book a stay here
- While there, you can also check out the ArtScience Museum
2. Gardens by the Bay
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.
- The gardens are free, but the Observation Deck, Cloud Forest, & Flower Dome have a fee, get a ticket for them here
3. 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. The Iconic Raffles Singapore
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 $30 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. Little India
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 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
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 called The Library.
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.
If you want to stay in Chinatown, check here for hotel options
7. 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. Singapore River
Take a tour from a new vantage point in Singapore, by boat on the Singapore River! Relax on a 45-minute bumboat 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 a bit more adventurous take a Duck & Hippo amphibious vehicle tour. The vehicles were originally WWII Vietnamese military vehicles that have been remodeled for tours around Singapore!
9. Clarke Quay
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
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.
How to Get Around 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
We stayed at:
- Wanderlust Hotel (which is no longer around sadly)
- Hotel 1929 in Singapore (Book Now)
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
Singapore is an amazing city and one of our favorites because of it’s 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.
- Don’t take just our word for it, check out this post on Singapore travel tips and sights.
- Check out these Airbnb Singapore listings or for a 5-star hostel, read the review for Adler Luxury Hostel.
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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