Venture into neighbourhoods such as Little India or Chinatown and you’ll discover buzzing streets crammed with old buildings, some crumbling, others lovingly restored. These areas are where you’ll find the most authentic food and stores crammed with intriguing oddities.
The Civic District is where Modern Singapore was born and so, fittingly, it’s a heritage hub with many historic buildings and museums. Then there’s the Bras Basah Bugis Precinct, also home to a number of museums, monuments and art institutions.
But many of Singapore’s more recent additions shouldn’t be overlooked either. The vast Marina Bay Sands Resort looks like an alien spaceship that has lost its way but offers those with a head for heights some of the best views across the city skyline.
Nearby, Gardens by the Bay also looks like it was beamed down from outer space, but is a truly spectacular park consisting of three waterfront gardens set on 10 hectares of reclaimed land.
Places to Visit in Singapore
- Civic District
- Bras Basah Bugis
- Little India
- Joo Chiat
Unique Things to See and Do in Singapore
- Explore the sci-fi parklands of Gardens by the Bay
- Enjoy the views from the top of Marina Bay Sands
- Discover the history of Singapore in the museums of the Civic District
- Eat chilli crab at one of the many seafood restaurants
- Head to iconic Raffles for a Singapore Sling
Singapore – a Young and Old City
Although the city of Singapore was a trading post for many centuries, Modern Singapore was founded in the 19th century and has been an independent nation for just 50 years.
The man that spearheaded the city’s evolution was Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Although when he originally arrived in Singapore in 1819, Raffles was actually Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen in Sumatra, but he saw the potential of this swampy island in the Malacca Straits.
He quickly established it as a trading hub, luring entrepreneurial immigrants from all over the region. As a result Raffles implemented the Raffles Town Plan in 1822 to counteract the increasing sense of chaos by segregating all of the different ethnicities into different areas – the Europeans into European Town, the Chinese into Chinatown, the Indians into Chulia Kampong and the Muslims, Malays and Arabs into Kampong Glam.
Invaded by the Japanese during World War II, upon the end of the conflict Singapore became a crown colony under British Military Administration and it wasn’t until 1959 that the country had its first general election and Lee Kuan Yew became its first prime minister.
It dipped a toe into the new Malaysian Federation in the 60s, only to withdraw in 1965 when it became an independent and sovereign nation.
Getting Around Singapore
The local train network is called the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) System and it is a fast and easy way to get around the city with most of the main attractions within reach of a station.
Then there are the buses which are an affordable option for those who prefer to take in the sights as they make their way around.
Did you know…?
The entire lyrics of the national anthem are printed in micro-text on the back of Singapore’s $1,000 note.
Did you ALSO know…?
Singapore permits buildings to be constructed only up to a maximum height of 280 metres as a safety measure for aircraft landing and taking off at Changi Airport.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Singapore
Singapore is hot and humid pretty much all year round, so visitors should prepare for a little sweat. Of course, almost everywhere is aggressively air conditioned so you need only feel the heat when in transit.
However, to truly explore Singapore along with its streets and outdoor spaces, aim for February to April which are generally considered to be quite pleasant and many of its outdoor activities become available.
July to September is also a good time to visit, with events such as the Singapore Food Festival enhancing the appeal.
November to January are the wettest months while May and June are the hottest.
Ready to plan your visit to Singapore? Check out these popular guides and trips.