Haw Par Villa
Haw Par Villa, also known as Tiger Balm Gardens, is not your typical amusement park. Instead of exciting rides and fun houses, it has a series of intricately carved tableaus of scenes from Chinese mythology.
Home to over 1,000 sculptures, the park – located on a hill in the Pasir Panjang neighbourhood, is a fascinating display. The park was started in 1937, built by the Aw brothers – of the family who developed Singapore’s famous medical ointment Tiger Balm.
The park features famous scenes, including the somewhat gruesome 10 Courts of Hell, as well as Madame White Snake and Journey to the West. Originally, the displays were built around their large sprawling home, which also housed a small zoo, and was open to the public.
But during the occupation of Singapore in World War 2, the home was commandeered by Japanese military forces, who used it as a lookout to scan the coastline for ships.
While somewhat campy, the park is an excellent look into Singapore’s Chinese heritage, especially after the tourism board took over the grounds in 1985. Located at 262 Pasir Panjang Road, the park is open daily from 9-6. Guided tours are available and admission is free.
The Night Safari is a section of the Singapore Zoo, and is the first zoo experience designed to feature nocturnal animals. In 1994, the Zoo board saw an opportunity to provide a special engagement experience with many of the regions indigenous creatures, who only come out at night.
Visitors come from all over the world to view the over 2,500 animals in their nighttime habitats.
The feature attraction of the park is the guided tram tour that will take you on a wander through 7 different geological ecosystems including the Himalayas, equatorial Africa, and Southeast Asian river forests.
Additional walking trails get you deeper into the habitats for the opportunity to get up close and personal with wallabies, leopards, flying squirrels, and others.
Because it is a nocturnal park, only night visits are available. The park is opened from 7:15 to midnight daily, however the restaurants and other event spaces are available from 5:30pm on.
The second reason is that the gallery is housed in two national monuments – the old Supreme Court and City Hall, which are relics unto themselves.
Patrons of the gallery will be treated to restorations and commentary of the art, which spans across the region – and from classical to contemporary. The same curation is also provided for the space, and how the facilities were used in the course of law and order in Singapore under British colonial rule.
Located just above the City Hall MRT station – the museum is open daily beginning at 10 am, closing at 7 PM on weekdays and 10 PM on weekends. Ticket pricing varies based on age and residency status
The Singapore Flyer is a slow moving capsule Ferris wheel that will take you up above the city skyline for a bird’s eye view of Singapore.
It is the largest observation wheel outside of the United States, offering panoramic views of Marina Bay, the city center, and the ocean. Round trips last around thirty minutes, and are available for both daytime and moonlight views.
In addition to standard cars, special tickets with champagne or a celebratory cocktail are available.
Some even offer dining and other event services, for those who are looking to use the remarkable view for a special occasion like an engagement or anniversary.
The Flyer is open daily from 8:30-10:15pm. Ticket prices vary.
Gardens by the Bay and Merlion
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.
Only a few minutes walk away is the famous Merlion sculpture. The fountain combines the tail of a fish and the head of a lion, and is said to represent the identity of the city.
The body symbolises Singapore’s beginnings as a fishing village called Temasek, meaning “sea town” in Old Javanese. The head represents Singapore’s original name, Singapura, or “lion city” in Malay.
The Supertrees are located at Gardens by the Bay, across from the Marina Bay Sands. Walking among the trees is free, however there are additional access options that are ticketed. The Merlion Park is about a 15-minute walk across the bay and admission is free.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens were named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2015, and for good reason. A stroll through the famous orchid gardens will put you in awe of the lush powers of the tropical climate.
The complex also features a ginger garden, a rainforest garden, and a healing garden that cultivates plants used for natural remedies. The Botanic Gardens are also open to pets, so many Singaporeans who live in the nearby Holland Village area will often take their dogs for a walk among the banyan trees in the evening.
Plan your visit for a weekend and you might also catch a free performance of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
The Botanic Gardens are open daily from 5am to midnight, though the orchid gardens are only open from 8:30am to 7pm.
Bubble Soccer is quickly becoming a favourite past time of the residents of Singapore. Grab a few friends and head down to Bubble Soccer Singapore for a session of this silly and fun form of exercise.
Each player puts on a larger plastic bubble suit, akin to a “floatie” worn on the arm of young children learning to swim. The company offers both physical and strategy games for you to bond and play with your family, friends, or coworkers.
The point of the game is to score, of course, but also to bump into your competitors, knocking them (or the both of you) down the ground for a bouncing good time.
Bubble Soccer is available daily at their facility located at 2 Whitley Road, but you can make arrangements to hold the game at another venue. Pricing varies.