Top 5 Singapore tourist attractions are Merlion and Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Botanic Gardens, Orchard Road and Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore Zoo, as well as Sentosa.
Of the tourist attractions, the 8.6 metre tall Merlion (visitsingapore.com/merlion-park/) statue, completed in 1972, is the city’s best-known symbol and an official mascot, depicting a mythical creature with the body of a fish (a reference to the area’s past as a fishing village) and the head of a lion (a reference to the city’s original Sanskrit name, Singapura – or “Lion City”).
Merlion with Marina Bay Sands in the background.
Spraying water from its mouth, the Merlion statue has a fantastic Merlion Park location, next door, across the bridge, from the stunning Esplanade – Theatres on The Bay (esplanade.com) performing arts centre & shopping mall.
360° video of Merlion Park (rotate the interactive image to see more of the surrounding areas).
In addition to taking selfies with the statue, which has inspired locals, tourists, and artists throughout the ages, you can also go for a quick cruise on the Singapore River (rivercruise.com.sg) from the pier on one side of the Merlion Park or shop at the 24-hour One Fullerton mall (thefullertonheritage.com/onefullerton) next to it.
Opposite Merlion Park, on the other side of Marina Bay, is another one of the Singapore tourist attractions, the five-star resort Marina Bay Sands (marinabaysands.com), which is easy to experience during a visit to the Merlion due to its close proximity.
Marina Bay Sands during the National Day of Singapore (August 9th) fireworks.
Marina Bay Sands, featuring three towers with landmark architecture inspired by decks of cards, is a unique building complex and one of the top Singapore tourist attractions that includes a 2,561-room hotel, a casino with 600 gaming tables and 2,300 slot machines on four levels, a luxury shopping mall, restaurants by global celebrity chefs, and a 150-metre-long infinity pool as part of SkyPark footbridge that connects the towers.
Marina Bay Sands Skypark – Skydeck (marinabaysands.com/skypark) on the left side of the photo.
Highlights of Marina Bay Sands, which was opened in 2010, are, in addition to staying at the hotel and playing in the casino, a floating Louis Vuitton Island Maison (louisvuitton.com/singapore-marina-bay) fashion pavilion and a unique Apple store (apple.com/sg/marinabaysands/) completely surrounded by water among the mall’s 170 shops; steakhouse CUT (wolfgangpuck.com/cut-singapore/) by the legendary Hollywood celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck; Spectra, a spectacular light and water show (at the Event Plaza); and the ArtScience Museum (marinabaysands.com/museum), a museum that operates in a building shaped like a lotus flower, and, as the name suggests, combines the worlds of art and science in a unique way.
As one of the top Singapore tourist attractions, Gardens by the Bay (gardensbythebay.com.sg), located right next to Marina Bay Sands, is among Asia’s leading garden destinations, a 101-hectare natural paradise designed for the whole family to experience.
Gardens by the Bay, with Singapore Flyer (singaporeflyer.com) in the background.
Gardens by the Bay, which has been open since 2012 and is divided into three parts – Bay Central Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay South Garden – includes e.g. the world’s largest, 1.2-hectare glass Flower Dome greenhouse with Mediterranean climate; the high-altitude conservatory Cloud Forest, where you can find a small indoor mountain with a waterfall and an upper-air viewing platform; and the Supertree grove, a futuristic showcase that consists of 18 tree-like, 25- to 50-meter-high structures that dominate the landscape.
OCBC Skyway walkway within the Supertree structures (Gardens by the Bay).
Another of the city’s nature-themed attractions is the UNESCO World Heritage Singapore Botanic Gardens, a 60-hectare tropical nature experience in the middle of a modern metropolis that has been protected since 1859, located about 9 km from Gardens by the Bay.
Singapore Botanic Gardens – with Swan Lake, completed in 1866, in the picture.
In the Botanic Gardens area, you can experience, among other things, The National Orchid Garden, consisting of more than 60,000 plants and orchid flowers (the world’s largest collection of orchids); SBG Heritage Museum (nparks.gov.sg/heritage-museum), where you can get to know the history of the botanical gardens through interactive exhibitions; as well as the Jacob Ballas children’s garden, full of exciting features and things to do for the youngest in the family.
Picnic set (requires advance booking – food & drinks of your choice plus a picnic tray that you get to keep) available from Bee’s Knees Petite restaurant (facebook.com/beeskneespetite) in the Botanic Gardens.
There are 10 different cafes and restaurants (nparks.gov.sg/shop-and-dine) within the extensive Singapore Botanic Gardens to choose from to provide additional energy during the day. Among the alternatives are, for example, Ice Cream Man and Friends (ice cream kiosk – 14 different ice cream flavours), Bee’s Knees at The Garage (Western-Asian fusion cuisine – facebook.com/beeskneessg/), as well as Little Spot (a family restaurant with special dishes for children).
The 2.2 km long Orchard Road (visitsingapore.com/orchard/), which starts at a distance of only about a thousand metres from the southern end of the Botanic Gardens, is on the list of Singapore tourist attractions the number one destination for shopping, as a shopping zone with its side streets where you can especially discover high-end shopping centres, department stores, restaurants, and cafes.
Orchard Road, with Paragon on the left, Ngee Ann City to the right.
Places that are definitely worth experiencing in the Orchard Road area include, for example, ION Orchard shopping centre (ionorchard.com) with about 400 shops & services, ION Sky that has observation deck (on the 55th and 56th floors) and an art gallery as bonus Singapore tourist attractions; Ngee Ann City and its Japanese Takashimaya (takashimaya.com.sg) department store & shopping centre; Design Orchard (designorchard.sg), which sells products from local Singaporean brands; and Plaza Singapura (capitaland.com/plazasingapura/) shopping centre, a permanent tourist favourite along the shopping street.
If you decide to take visiting shopping malls as a sport, good other shopping centres in the area include Wheelock Place (501 Orchard Road), Forum the Shopping Mall (583 Orchard Road), Paragon (290 Orchard Road), The Centrepoint (176 Orchard Road), Orchard Central (181 Orchard Road), OUE Mandarin Gallery ( 333A Orchard Road), The Heeren (260 Orchard Road), and 313@Somerset (313 Orchard Road).
Orchard Central Shopping Centre (fareastmalls.com.sg/Orchard-Central/).
Although Orchard Road is one of the centres for spending leisure time in the area, the actual core of Singapore’s nightlife is quite close, on both banks of the Singapore River within Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, consisting of numerous nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and live event venues, one example being the famous Zouk Singapore dance and nightclub (zoukclub.com).
Zouk Singapore dance & nightclub (Clarke Quay).
A central Singapore shopping experience alongside Orchard Road and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (marinabaysands.com/shopping) is Jewel Changi Airport, a nature-themed entertainment and shopping centre that has been open since 2019 and features a direct connection to Changi Airport’s terminals.
HSBC Rain Vortex (Jewel Changi Airport).
Jewel Changi Airport’s shops and services include Southeast Asia’s largest Nike store, Apple’s only airport store in the world, the 828-seat Shaw Theaters movie theater with 11 screens, as well as the Food Junction, where you can choose a gourmet experience from 19 unique stalls. In some of the mall’s restaurants, such as Jumbo Seafood (jumboseafood.com.sg), you can try out locally popular flavours, including the famous Singapore Chilli Crab, a dish often highlighted in the country’s food culture.
Of the Singapore tourist attractions, the 26-hectare open concept Singapore Zoo (mandai.com/singapore-zoo), open since 1973, is one of the best rainforest zoos in the world.
Map of the Singapore Zoo (for a larger view: mandai.com/park-map).
In addition to elephants and orangutans, you can see many other spectacular species at the zoo, such as white rhinos, cheetahs, African lions, giraffes, giant tortoises, saltwater crocodiles, gray kangaroos, koalas, and chimpanzees.
An opportunity to feed the giraffes (for an additional fee) organized by the Singapore Zoo.
The zoo offers various daily animal shows (mandai.com/presentations), and you can also make an appointment to feed the animals – elephants, giraffes, goats, white rhinos, giant tortoises, or zebras – for a separate fee (mandai.com/feed-the-animals.html). In recent years, the zoo has added a variety of behind-the-scenes premium priced experiences to choose from, such as private breakfasts next to the orangutans.
Another top one of the Singapore tourist attractions, Sentosa (sentosa.com.sg), is an island resort located behind a bridge connection & monorail from the country’s main island. The island includes numerous attractions, water parks, an amusement park, high-class hotels & restaurants, one of Singapore’s two casinos, 2 km of wave-protected beaches & opportunities for an active vacation, events throughout the year, and much more.
Resorts World Sentosa as part of Sentosa Island.
For many visitors to Singapore, the main Sentosa Island tourist attraction destination is Resorts World Sentosa and especially its Universal Studios Singapore amusement park (rwsentosa.com/universal-studios-singapore) consisting of six themed areas – a theme park that receives approximately 4.5 million visitors annually, where you can try a total of 28 different amusement ride made in the style of Hollywood movies, enjoy world-class shows & parades, as well as participate in American-style culinary adventures.
Other Sentosa Island vacation experiences & additional Singapore tourist attractions worth considering (within Sentosa and Resorts World Sentosa) include S.E.A. Aquarium (one of the largest aquariums in the world with more than 100,000 sea animals – rwsentosa.com/en/attractions/sea-aquarium), Madame Tussauds Singapore wax museum, Adventure Cove Waterpark, butterfly house Butterfly Park (with 15,000 live butterflies), Wings of Time multimedia show, Fort Siloso (historical fort), plus Mega Adventure Park (featuring 450-metre long cable slide at a height of 72 metres).