The Lion City Sampler: A First-Timer’s Guide to Top Attractions in Singapore

Singapore is one of the most visited countries in Asia. It’s very tourist-friendly, especially because of its small size and its highly efficient public transport system. Of course, there are also plenty of attractions that will certainly give any Singapore travel combo booking even more value. For travelers who are booking a Singapore combo tour for the first time, here are some of the hotspots that you may want to include in your itinerary.

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay is arguably Singapore’s most popular tourist attraction. Combining the beauty of nature and the power of technology, this modern garden features 18 towering “Supertrees” that are composed of more than 150,000 varieties of plants and flowers like ferns and orchids. At night, these Supertrees are lit up in multicolored LEDs. Meanwhile, when it rains, the unique shape of these structures help funnel rainwater that is then used to irrigate the plants and supply water to the fountains.

There are also two conservatories in Gardens by the Bay. One is the Cloud Forest, which is home to various tropical plants. The other is the Flower Dome, which is essentially an indoor garden which is carefully climate-controlled to support the tropical and Mediterranean flowers inside. If you love green spaces, then you’ll surely love Gardens by the Bay.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Did you know the Singapore is the greenest city in Asia, and the Singapore Botanic Gardens contribute massively to the city’s total green space? That’s right! It’s one of Singapore’s largest parks, not to mention one of the oldest. It’s also the Lion City’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visiting the Singapore Botanic Gardens, you can marvel at over 10,000 species of plants. You can also visit the National Orchid Garden, which is home to more than 60,000 orchid specimens from 1,000 species. There are also over 2,000 orchid hybrids here, which are the results of the park’s own orchid research and breeding program.

Singapore Zoo

If you want to see what a world-class zoo looks like, visit the Singapore Zoo. It’s home to more than 300 animal species, including the world’s largest colony of captive orangutans. The Singapore Zoo has non-invasive and natural-feeling barriers, which helps create a more authentic feeling of being up close with the animals without disrupting their natural behaviors.

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is an attraction in and of itself. You can easily spend two to three days here, enjoying different destinations like the world-class Resorts World Sentosa, Universal Studios Singapore, and S.E.A. Aquarium. There are also plenty of beaches like Palawan, Siloso, and Tanjong. For even more nature-themed excursions, drop by the Singapore Butterfly & Insect Kingdom and the Sentosa Nature Discovery exhibit. These places feel so natural that you’ll forget that Sentosa is a manmade island!

Merlion Park

The Merlion, a mythical creature with a lion’s head and a fish’s body, is the symbol of Singapore. Originally designed in 1964 by the British ichthyologist Alec Fraser-Brunner for the Singapore Tourism Board, the original Merlion statue has its own small park located in the Lion City’s central business district. This park is one of Singapore’s most famous tourist attractions. In fact, you can find a lot of tourists of all nationalities in the park taking photos with the iconic statue, which stands at 8.6 meters.

Recently, a second statue dubbed “the Merlion cub” was added in the park. It stands only 2 meters tall and doesn’t spout water like the main statue.

National Gallery Singapore

For such a small country, Singapore has a lot of museums and galleries. One of the most popular is the National Gallery Singapore. It has more than 8,000 pieces of art from the 19th century, featuring the works of various Singaporean and Southeast Asian artists. There are well-known Vietnamese artists who have been featured in National Gallery Singapore, including Nguen Gia Tria and Vietnam-born Danh Vo.

Orchard Road

Shopaholics will surely love Orchard Road, Singapore’s most luxurious dining and retail district with over 5,000 establishments. From clothes and cosmetics to sumptuous dishes and various wines and spirits, your senses will definitely love the all-out “assault” of colors, smells, and tastes on Orchard Road. If you don’t have that big of a shopping budget, just walking down this 2.2 kilometer stretch of road is an experience in itself. Make sure to sample the ubiquitous ice cream sandwich, a popular Singaporean snack, which is sold in many places along this road.

Small it may be, Singapore is definitely big when it comes to tourist offerings. The items on this list are barely scratching the surface! You’re sure to come back to experience a lot more.

Zoe Kickhefer