Singapore is a city-state located on an island off the coast of Malaysia. The country is a melting pot for Asia's many ethnicities, religions, and cultures. This appreciation of different cultures is evident in Singapore's world famous cuisine. The country is a paradise for foodies, and people come from all over to indulge in traditional dishes served up in the infamous hawker centers.
Despite its small size, Singapore is a world player when it comes to its excellent economy and tourist attractions. From its vibrant city center to its breathtaking beaches and parks, this destination island has something for everyone.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens are a must-see. With an impressive variety of both common and rare plants, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has definitely earned its title. The Gardens cover 60 acres and will easily take an entire day to explore. Choose one of the many walking trails and meander through the heritage trees and niche gardens. There are also many sculptures displayed throughout the gardens, adding even more cultural importance to this attraction.
Singapore is a country where people of different cultures and religious beliefs live together in harmony. This melting pot of traditions is most evident in the vast array of festivals that Singaporeans celebrate every year.
Chinese New Year is one of the biggest celebrations in Singapore. During this holiday, the streets are lined with ornate lanterns, and there are parades, dances and an abundance of delicious food. Another famous festival is Vesak Day, a Buddhist celebration of peace held every May. If you're visiting Singapore in October or November, you might be there for the Hindu festival of Deepavali. Head to Singapore's Little India and take part in the vibrant Festival of Lights.
Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest Chinese temple in the country. The temple was built in 1839 and honors the Sea Goddess Mazu. Chinese immigrants who survived their journey across the South China Sea would visit the temple and give thanks to Mazu.
Visitors can enjoy the temple's beautiful southern Chinese style and designs, including the porcelain detailing and the ornately carved dragons and deities.
The eight walking trails that make up the Southern Ridges join together the beautiful Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, and Kent Ridge Park. These connecting paths cover 10 kilometers and range from flat trails to beautifully constructed bridges. Choose a trail and spend the day exploring Singapore's natural flora and wildlife. Apart from enjoying the surrounding nature, you'll also get one of the best views of the city and the surrounding islands.
Hawker centers, also known as food courts, are an essential part of Singapore's gastronomic heritage. Head to one of the food courts to enjoy traditional dishes from all over Asia, including chicken rice, satay, yong tau fu, and soya bean curd. The food you'll find in these centers ranges in price from as little as $2.50 to $5.00. Don't let the cheap prices fool you though; this is some of the best food you'll ever have. Even Singapore's most recognized food connoisseurs are regular customers at these hawker centers.
Singapore has a serene coastline and is home to some incredibly beautiful beaches. For a family-friendly atmosphere, Siloso Beach on Sentosa can't be beaten. Tanjong Beach is also on Sentosa, but it has a quieter and more laid back atmosphere. Tanjong is perfect for relaxing alone or for enjoying a romantic weekend. East Coast Park and Changi Beach are both popular with the locals because they're easily accessible from the mainland and are ideal locations for family picnics.
Singapore shows off its rich history and diverse cultural identity in its many museums and galleries. The National Gallery Singapore and Asian Civilizations Museum are both worth a visit for their amazing permanent collection and rotating exhibitions. The National Museum of Singapore is another must-see for every visitor. The museum is made up of the Singapore Living Galleries and the History Galleries.
Sentosa Island is one of the bigger islands off the southern coast of Singapore. The island is homes to beautiful beaches, including Siloso Beach. Enjoy kayaking, playing beach volleyball or just lounging in the sun. For more of an adventure, head over to Underwater World Aquarium where you can swim with dolphins.
Other must-see features of Sentosa Island include the Merlion Statue and Fort Siloso. There's also a Maritime Museum and a vibrant contemporary Art Center for visitors to explore.
Jurong Bird Park is a wildlife sanctuary that's home to over 400 species of birds. Almost 3,500 birds call the park home, and 20% of those birds are considered threatened species. Jurong Bird Park is an exciting and immersive park where you can spend time with the birds while learning about the different species and the park's conservation efforts.
Orchard Road is one of the best streets for shopping in all of Asia. One trip down the bustling road will show you that it lives up to its reputation. Orchard Road features hundreds of luxury shops and trendsetting brands. There are also many top-rated bars and restaurants, so you can take a much-needed rest.