Even though it can be hard to find on a map, Singapore is known worldwide as a global hub of business leadership, cultural diversity, and delicious food.
Fondly known as the Little Red Dot by locals and visitors, the country is home to a mix of heritage architecture, futuristic development, and pockets of jungle ripe for exploring. In case you’re not convinced, here are 13 reasons you need to visit Singapore:
1. Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool
You’ve seen the selfies, now it’s time to rent a room at the hotel that looks like a cruise ship resting on three sky scraping columns, and go for your own swim at the top of the world. The pool is connected to legendary nightclub C’est La Vie, so make your way back upstairs once you’re dry and dance the night away
Singaporeans are proud of their standards of politeness, even when it comes to saving seats. All you need to do to “chope” a chair is put down a business card or a pack of tissues on the table – and the spot is yours.
3. Henderson Waves
Singapore’s longest pedestrian bridge is a twisting architectural wonder, and part of a 5km hiking trail that winds through three nature parks. Go at sunset for the best views of the bridge, or at sunrise for some glimpses of local wildlife.
4. Haji Lane
This small street in Kampong Glam, the traditional Arab quarter, has been reborn as a hip byway of boutique shops, coffee shops, bespoke cocktail bars, and every Singaporean’s favourite – Instagram worthy street art.
Walk one block over for a more authentic experience as you shop for traditional arts including textiles, baskets, and glasswork – items that have been sold along this road for the last hundred years.
A mix of expressions from Chinese, Indian, and Malay languages – all combined in a hybrid English-Asian grammar, the local dialect is a special part of Singaporean culture, lah! If you pick up some phrases, the locals will think you’re shiok.
6. Fascinating Cultural Experiences
The same mix of cultures that wove Singlish together now means a mix of lively celebrations from each of Singapore’s different heritage traditions – Thaipusam, Chinese New Year, and Vesak Day are just a few opportunities to see new clothes, learn new dances, and hear new songs.
Though durians are prohibited on the metro rail system because of their strong smell, there’s an enormous one located just downtown. But don’t try and take a bite – this spiky fruit is the Esplanade theatre – Singapore’s performing arts center.
If you’re in the mood for something futuristic, there’s no better place than the Supertree Grove and Cloud Garden at Gardens by the Bay. Prepare to be blown away by the towering structures of this billion-dollar artwork.
The 18 trees are the star of the park – fusing nature and science, harvesting solar energy to power the attractions below, and featuring the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. Plan to visit during the early evening so you can take advantage of the sunset views, as well as the nightly light and water show that happens across the Bay.
9. Roti Prata
Prata is a fried and flaky indian bread, served alongside thick spicy curry gravy. Every Singaporean or long-term expat has their favourite style (cheese maybe, or onion) and favourite stand to pick up this star of Singaporean cuisine.
But prata is just one of the many dishes that are make Singapore known as hub of fusion cuisine. Other headliners for local eats include: chili crab, laksa curry, and Hainanese chicken rice.
Chope a seat at a Hawker Center, like Lau Pa Sat downtown, for a genuine local food court experience.
10. Nature Walks at the Botanic Gardens and MacRitchie Reservoir
Break away from the city sites and get a first hand experience of why so many praise Singapore for being clean and green. MacRitchie Reservoir Park is gateway to the city’s many nature parks.
Stroll along the water and then make your way up to the treetop walk where you can feel like a monkey scaling the top branches. But beware of the long tailed Macaque monkeys patrolling the grounds, and be sure to hide away any snacks because those little primates have grabby hands!
Continue on through the park connector toward another nature reserve or head toward the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which were named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2015.
A stroll through the famous orchid gardens will put you in awe of the lush powers of the tropical climate. Plan your visit for a weekend and you might also catch a free performance of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
11. Clean, Safe, and Orderly
One of the most consistent answers to the question of why people love Singapore is that it is convenient and easy. The streets are clean, public messaging reminds residents to be kind and considerate, and everyone respects the queue. Much of this is enforced by fines and penalties for unsavoury behaviour – spitting, littering, jaywalking, and smoking in non-smoking zones are all punishable.
Much of it is common sense – but you’d do well to read up on the Lion City’s regulations before visiting.
These structures are a charming and nostalgic feature of traditional Singaporean architecture. Built in narrow rows with shared walls, and a unique design to hold both businesses and living quarters – their bright colours and beautiful tile detailing add a real sense of character to the city.
The neighbourhoods of Katong, Chinatown, and Emerald Hill have some beautifully conserved shophouses and are ripe for walking tours. Definitely make a stop to Tanjong Pagar to visit the NUS Baba House at 127 Neil Road – a gem of restored Straights Chinese history.
13. Changi International Airport
Whether you’re coming or going, Changi International Airport is a quick and convenient way station. Boasting a butterfly garden, swimming pool, movie theatre, and complimentary foot massage stations scattered throughout the terminals (among many other amenities!) it’s a perfect welcome or farewell from Singapore!