Singapore is a small country on the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula. Thanks to its visionary leader, Singapore is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. Once you get passed the heat and humidity, it is a wonderful place to visit. I had a short stay in Singapore while taking a Royal Caribbean cruise. Here’s my recommendation on what to see in Singapore.
Day 1 – Jewel and Sentosa Island
Start with the Jewel Airport area. It is gorgeous with an artificial waterfall and a full-fledged shopping mall.
Then visit the biggest mall in Singapore, VivoCity, which is located right on a metro station. From here, one can walk over to Santosa Island.
The walk to Sentosa Adventure Island is fun. However, if you don’t want to walk, you can as well take a (free) bus ride to/from Santosa. The word Sentosa comes from the Sanskrit word Saṃtoṣa/संतोष meaning peace and tranquility.
Day 2 – Buddhist and Hindu Temples
We start the day with Sri Mariamman Temple, one of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore. It was, unfortunately, under renovation at that time.
Then we visited the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. This temple claims to hold Siddhartha Guatam’s tooth in a 350 KG gold-covered area! This temple has multiple floors, including a rooftop garden, a museum dedicated to Siddharta Gautam, and a very affordable vegetarian food hall (meal for 3 SGD!) in the basement. I would highly recommend dedicating at least 3-4 hours to this.
Then, we visited Sri Krishna Temple in the afternoon. It was a bit surprising to see how many Chinese Singaporeans visit and worship the Hanuman deity outside the temple.
Day 3 – City Tourism
We started the day with the old Hill Street Police Station. There isn’t much to visit here and you get a better view of it from the upper deck of a double-decker bus than from visiting it. Further, the inside of the building is closed to visitors, so, I would recommend skipping this.
Then we visited Fort Canning Hill. The hill was the residence of the king of Singapura/सिंहपुर in the 14th century. And was further used by the British in the 18th century. There are several small places to visit on this hill. All of them are completely free to visit.
At Fort Canning Centre, one can see a museum dedicated to the history of Singapore.
At Spice Garden, one can see various spices that Singapore traded in.
In the evening, we visited Merlion (mermaid + lion), the official mascot of Singapore.
Followed by a trip to Henderson Waves pedestrian bridge. It is a nice walking area from where one can visit Faber Point to get great views of the city skyline.
Day 4 – Natural Beauty
We started the day with Gardens by the Bay. These are some majestic gardens with tons of thematic gardens to visit. One can experience 70% of it without paying a single penny. Only a few enclosures are paid. I visited two paid gardens here for 53 SGD. Cloud Forest was worth the visit and Floral Fantasy felt like a waste of time. Overall, one can easily spend 3-4 hours here and still feel the visit to be incomplete.
Afterward, I visited Night Safari. This is also fairly well-connected to the metro via a special bus that runs every 20 minutes. I would recommend visiting right at the opening time as the shows are planned with limited frequency and you would miss out on the fun by being late. The online ticket was 49.50 SGD and was 10% cheaper than the on-the-spot ticket. They have two shows, and only one of them “Creatures of the Night” is worth watching. It consists of trained wild animals that perform fun activities on the stage. The other LED show is a bit basic and can be skipped.
Then as everyone is crowding up for the trains, I would recommend doing the hiking trails. It takes about ~90 minutes to see various animals up close this way.
Now, after finishing the hike, we went for the tram tour with guided audio. There was no crowding and no queues left for the tram at that time.
While at the airport, don’t forget to check out more of its unusual and free gardens.
- The metro system is pretty good. Keep a map of it handy and you can get to anywhere in Singapore. Further, one can directly use Visa/Mastercard credit cards to pay for both Metro and public buses.
- Credit cards have a fairly high acceptance rate.
- Free public toilets, including drinking water, are easily accessible throughout Singapore.