I never thought that missing my flight would land me in the land of the roaring lion for a period of 5 days. I was heading back to Bengaluru from my 15-day trip to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and I missed my return flight when I had a layover in Singapore. The first and foremost thought that came to my mind was not about the money that I had lost, but the opportunity that I had to explore this wonderful country. Luckily, I got a 96-hour transit visa (free for Indians who possess a valid VISA from the countries listed here) and made my way straight into this magnificent land. Here is a list of my top things to do in Singapore which will give you a taste of the country’s various exquisite offerings.
Dive Deep Into the Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Singapore and is a must-visit for every tourist. It offers breathtaking views of the Marina Bay Sands followed by a spectacular Sound and Light show at the Supertree Grove, everyday at 7:45 PM and 8:45 PM respectively. I would totally recommend you to visit the Sound and Light show. It is super fun.
What I recommend all the more, is visiting the Cloud Forest Dome. It is here, where you can find an artificial stimulation of a real forest with temperature and moisture control. You will get a chance to observe more than a 1000 plant species and learn about the different ways to preserve our forests. There is also a mammoth of a waterfall right at the entrance of the Cloud Forest Dome. Go closer to it, look up, close your eyes, and let the roaring water fiercely kiss your gentle face igniting the lost love between nature and you.
1. The entrance to the Cloud Forest Dome and the Flower Dome is 28 SGD but other attractions like the Sound and Light Show at the Supertree Grove, Heritage Gardens, Dragonfly Lake, etc. are free of cost.
2. Plan your visit to Gardens by the Bay in such a way that you can watch the Sound and Light show at Supertree Grove. There are only two shows that run everyday, one at 7:45 PM and the other at 8:45 PM respectively.
Walk Inside the Marina Bay Sands Hotel
When you visit Gardens by the Bay, don’t forget to take the path that directly leads you to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Shaped in the form of a boat resting on three sturdy pillars (which have rooms in it), the Marina Bay Sands is one of the most iconic hotels in the world. It also has the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool. Whether you simply take a stroll inside, eat at one of their gourmet restaurants or party at their in-house nightclub Marquee, all I can say is that your experience will be totally worth it.
If you don’t have the budget to stay at the Marina Bay Sands, you can get a pass for 23 SGD which includes access to their Observation Deck in Skypark (on the topmost floor) and a drink. However, you will not be able to use their infinity pool because it is reserved only for their in-house registered guests (sigh!). For more details, checkout their website.
Let Your Heart Sing at the Universal Studios, Sentosa Island
My My My! I have no words to describe my experience at Universal Studios in Sentosa Island. Being a movie buff since childhood, you can only imagine my ebullience when I did the boogie dance with Alex and Gloria from Madagascar, fought Megatron with Bumble Bee and Optimus Prime in the Transformers 4D ride, and watched a live act with real people doing real stunts on a spectacularly made up movie set. I still remember the chills down my spine when I rode a high-speed roller coaster in the dark with ancient mummies popping up on either sides. And the feeling of reminiscence that kicked in when I walked in on the made up sets of New York – Ah! My first ever solo trip.
If you visit Singapore, I would totally recommend you to go to Sentosa Island and visit the Universal Studios. If movies are your thing, believe me, the experience will be totally worth it.
1. The 1-day pass to Universal Studios costs 79 SGD and entry to Sentosa Island costs 4 SGD.
2. Getting to Universal Studios: You can either take the monorail from the VivoCity Mall or walk to the Island through the Sentosa Boardwalk.
3. Sentosa Island has many other attractions apart from Universal Studios like the Trick Eye Museum, S.E.A Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Museum, etc. If you want to skip Universal Studios, you can check out the other attractions which come with a fixed entrance fee.
4. Being a solo traveler in Universal Studios is a blessing in disguise. You can get fast entry to various rides by heading to the Single Rider queue. If you don’t find the queue, just inform one of the team members that you’re alone and they will propel you to join an existing group.
5. I recommend visiting the Universal Studios on weekdays as it will be less crowded. However, most of the after-hours shows take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
6. The most important thing to do when you enter the Universal Studios is to collect a copy of the schedule of various live-shows and character meet and greets. These occur only at certain time slots so make sure you are aware of it well ahead of time.
Understand how Indians Influenced Singapore at the Indian Heritage Centre
When you’re in Singapore, you will be surprised by the number of Indians living there and the widespread influence of Tamil across the entire country (for example, the metro announcements are made in Tamil). This got me quite curious and when I met a bunch of grandpas enjoying their regular coffee at Tekka Centre in Little India, I learnt that there is a museum called the Indian Heritage Centre where I could learn about the history of the Indian influence in Singapore. So I headed straight to the museum without a second thought and spent a good 3.5 hours of time, learning about the trade routes between India and Singapore during the Chola period, the influence of Hinduism and Buddhism in South-East Asia and a unique community called the Chetti-Melaka that is slowly disintegrating day by day. If you plan to visit Little India, don’t forget to visit this museum.
Also Read: The Truth Behind the Vast Indian Community in Singapore
1. The entry fee to the museum is 6 SGD.
2. There are two documentaries played at the museum (on Level 3 and Level 1) which will help you understand the Indian influence in Singapore and throw light on the Chetti-Melaka community. Do watch them while you’re there.
3. The museum is located in Little India. So while you’re there, do visit the Little India Arcade, Tekka Centre and the many temples located there.
Take an Evening Stroll Along the Glamorous Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay is a riverside quay in Singapore that overlooks the Singapore river. Lined with an array of restaurants, pubs, and nightclubs, this is the perfect place to enjoy a meal or a drink by the river. Watch out for their daily offers and discounts and plan your visit accordingly. Also, while you’re there, don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the Old Hill Street Police Station which is a colorful building that lights up phenomenally at night.
Enjoy Scenic Views at the Merlion Park
Any trip to Singapore would be incomplete without visiting the Merlion Park. Located near One Fullerton, near the Central Business District, the Merlion Park is home to Singapore’s mascot – a half-lion and half-fish mythical creature that spouts water from its mouth. The park also offers exhilarating views of the skyscrapers of the Business District, the Singapore Flyer, the Marina Bay Sands, and the infamous Esplanade Theatre which resembles the Durian fruit – a sight that is totally worth it.
Buy Souvenirs and Taste Some Chinese Food at Chinatown
Bustling with tourists, this little street is a paradise for shoppers and foodies. Take a stroll along the many markets, buy souvenirs and try some authentic Chinese delicacies. If you’re vegan, head to Yi Xin Vegan Restaurant and try their delicious Laksa noodles which is a famous Singapore dish.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post! I would love to hear about your experiences in Singapore, so don’t forget to share them in the comments below.