Peel your eyes off that smartphone and live it up in Singapore. Switch off to tech and experience the present. Celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday exploring all the joyful little things we get to enjoy here in Singapore. Rope in some friends and family, use signboards not Google, and just have a good time in the present. Here are 50 ideas of things to do in Singapore for SG50.
1. Makan Feasts
We start the list with Singapore’s unofficial local pastime: feasting! Everyone has a special coffee shop or kopitiam that serves ‘the best’ fare – gather your kakis for a taste test at each of your favourites and see if you can reach a unanimous verdict. At the very least, you’ll be in for a very satisfying day. Try Maxwell Road, Newton Circus and Block 85 at Bedok.
2. Chalet and Barbecue
Book a beachside chalet at East Coast, Changi or Pasir Ris for the quintessential old-school Singaporean staycation. Invite some friends over, pack some barbecue favourites (chicken wings are a must), and arm yourself with a satay fan!
‘S’ is for Singapore and ‘S’ is for shopping – coincidence? We think not. From the Great Singapore Sale, to the mega malls along Orchard Road, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and the heartland malls, there’s always a reason and a place to shop in Singapore. With shops often open late, shopping remains of one of the top things to do in Singapore!
4. Flea Markets
Singapore’s shopping obsession extends to hip flea markets featuring young entrepreneurs peddling anything from clothes and pastries, to art, knick-knacks and more. It’s worth a visit to check out the local talent. Some must-visits include Public Garden and MAAD.
5. Pop-up Shops
Same but different to the flea markets, pop-ups are a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it opportunity, so be sure to keep on the lookout. Usually trendy, hip to a fault, and increasing in popularity and occurrence, pop-up shops are a way for brands to make a hit and for shoppers to make new discoveries.
6. Day Trip to Pulau Ubin
Just in case you need a break from shopping and eating, head out on a day trip to Pulau Ubin. Away from the city’s bustling pace, you’ll be able to cycle, fish, and simply relax in unspoilt surroundings. A passport is not required, but you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in a completely different country.
7. Soak Up the Sun at Sentosa’s Beaches
Spend a day at Sentosa, Singapore’s official beach island destination. Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong beaches might not be the most pristine, but they make up for it with an array of entertainment options – try the Tanjong Beach Club.
8. Universal Studios
Located on Sentosa, Universal Studios is Singapore’s ultimate theme park destination. It’s quickly risen to the tops of things to do on a weekend in Singapore, especially for families or groups of young friends.
It’s a great place to spend the entire day with friends and family. Check in to one of the hotels in Sentosa for a little staycation with the family, and run around Universal Studios all weekend, ride after ride!
9. Romance in Sentosa Cove
For a romantic date night, head to Sentosa Cove with your partner and splurge on a quality coffee at Kith cafe, enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants dotted along the marina, and end the night on a sweet note with top-notch gelato at Note di Sicilia.
10. Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa
There’s no doubt Marina Bay Sands has become a front-runner on any tourist’s list of things to do in Singapore. But what about Singaporeans?
You don’t have to be a high roller to enjoy the attractions and spectacular rooftop views at Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa. You can take a walk on the roof-boat, dine at celebrity chef restaurants, party at Ce La Vi, or have some good clean fun at Art Science Museum.
11. High Tea at a Posh Hotel
Another local pastime is spending an afternoon nibbling on an array of sweet and savoury goodies in a luxury hotel in town – the high tea at the Shangri-La Hotel’s The Rose Veranda is a favourite. What’s not to like?
12. A Durian Buffet at Goodwood Park Hotel
The durian buffet is a uniquely Singaporean activity that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. The distinctive fruit is prepared at Goodwood Park Hotel in an array of delectable desserts for your dining pleasure.
13. Partake in Fine Dining
Singapore is fast becoming a fine dining capital, with Michelin-starred chefs making their mark here with an array of cuisines. This means there are even more evenings of fancy wining and dining to be enjoyed.
There’s a growing bar scene in Singapore waiting to be discovered. There are speakeasies, bespoke cocktail, whiskey, bourbon and martini bars, as well as venues with live bands and rooftop bars offering spectacular views – the list goes on. Tbe Mad Men Attic Bar, Spiffy Dapper, Barkode are some worth checking out. Ann Siang Hill has lots of interesting ones but there’s always more to check out.
15. Supper Around Town
Some of the best local delicacies on offer are found after the sun goes down, and Singaporeans have no qualms about going out to fill their bellies. Bak chor mee (noodles tossed with vinegar, chilli and minced pork), dim sum, and roti prata (a fried Indian bread similar to a pancake) are just some of the staples to look for.
16. Idyllic Picnics
With your smartphone tucked away, it’s a great time to enjoy a bit of down time in nature. For a timeout from the buzzing city, the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Marina Barrage reservoir are popular destinations to roll out a picnic mat and enjoy food with a book in your hand.
17. Go Fly a Kite
It might have a different meaning in Singlish, but we mean this literally. Marina Barrage is a popular location for this family-friendly activity. There’s even an annual kite festival.
18. Go Cafe-Hopping
Bordering on being hipster-like, but very much in keeping with good quality fare, the local cafe scene is growing at an incredible pace, with a new go-to spot popping up practically every other week. Tiong Bahru and Arab Street are good areas to check out.
19. Go Museum-Hopping
The art scene is heating up in Singapore, with new spaces, such as the Gillman Barracks and the ArtScience Museum, providing more exposure for the arts.
20. Ballet Under the Stars
Singapore Dance Theatre’s annual event is the perfect opportunity to discover local talent under the glittering night sky. The Fort Canning Green setting couldn’t be more romantic.
21. Catch a Local Theatre Production
Whether it’s a comedy, drama or musical, the local theatre scene is worth keeping up with. Stalwart performers include the likes of Kumar, Ivan Heng, Adrian Pang, Dick Lee, and many other respected artists.
22. Get Quirky at Arab Street
There are many unique finds waiting to be discovered on Arab Street, which is fast becoming a trendy enclave of hip clothing and furniture stores, as well as cafes, eateries and bars. There’s even a perfumery. Take your time exploring.
23. Explore Little India
A neighbourhood that is both cultural and modern, Little India houses traditional spice, garment and trinket shops. Restaurants sit alongside trendy cafes and bars that cater to the growing number of backpacker hostels in the area.
24. 24-hour Shopping at Mustafa Centre
The Mustafa Centre stocks everything from electronics to homewares, travel goods, and beauty and grooming essentials. There’s also a supermarket and it even has an adjoining hotel.
25. Get Hip at Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar
Alongside traditional medicine halls and Chinese eateries, trendy Ann Siang Hill and Duxton Hill in Tanjong Pagar are go-to destinations for after-work drinks and socialising.
26. Enjoy Iconic City Views
Some of the best views of Singapore’s icons, including the Esplanade performing arts centre, Marina Bay Sands, and the city skyline, can be found across the Singapore River at the One Fullerton development. Here, a stretch of bars and restaurants offer up something to sip or munch on while you enjoy the sights.
27. Explore Gardens By The Bay
Uniquely Singaporean, Gardens By The Bay is completely man-made and features a staggering number of exotic plants in a futuristic setting. It’s an experience that must be seen to be believed .
28. Go On a Cable Car Ride
Linking Mount Faber and Sentosa, Singapore’s cable cars offer spectacular city views you can’t find anywhere else. Go at night and you might just be treated to a mid-air viewing of Universal Studio’s fireworks display.
29. Hit the Nightlife Circuit
Make the most of Singapore’s amazing nightlife scene. Avoid embarrassing drunken selfies and just have a whale of time in Zouk, Clarke Quay or Ann Siang Hill. From regular club nights to themed events and guest DJs, you’ll find something to tickle your fancy during a fun night out on the town.
30. Whip Yourself Into Shape
Want to make sure you look your best while you’re out and about? Fitness culture is growing steadily here, with specialty gyms joining the ranks of the bigger commercial gym chains. There’s everything from intense circuit workouts to aerial yoga, Pilates, Zumba, weightlifting and more.
31. Run In the City
Join the growing ranks of avid runners – if the participation rates at marathons are anything to go by, running is incredibly popular here – and explore the trails along the MacRitchie Reservoir and Singapore River. Alternatively, you can just map your own preferred route.
32. Pamper Yourself at a Spa
Choose from luxurious facials, body massages or therapeutic treatments steeped in traditional Chinese medicine or Ayurvedic techniques. Have fun with a customised mani-pedi at one of the specialty nail salons popping up around town, or go to a blow-out bar dedicated solely to giving women the best hair blow-outs they could ask for.
33. Enjoy Top-Notch Grooming
From top (brow grooming) to toe (reflexology and foot spas), and everything in-between (Brazilian waxes), there’s a grooming salon in town to meet your every need, with quality and hygiene prioritised.
34. Brunch On a Sunday
When you’re done being pampered and groomed, head out for brunch to relax and enjoy yourself. Judging from the number of brunch spots popping up all over the city, it’s fast becoming a favourite must-do in Singapore.
35. Chill-Out at Dempsey Hill
Anyone looking for a spot of quiet not too far from the city is well-acquainted with Dempsey Hill, which is just a stone’s throw from Orchard Road. Here, you will find a worthwhile collection of bars, restaurants, and even two spas – the Spa Esprit and The Luxe House.
36. Go Horse Riding
For a more unique experience in the city, why not saddle up? You can get your equestrian fix at a number of stables around town – try Bukit Timah Saddle Club on Fairways Drive.
37. Go Prawn Fishing at Night
For a different type of encounter out in the wild, go prawning. It’s a popular local hobby where you can go to a farm that allows you to ‘fish’ for prawns.
38. Discover Nature at Sungei Buloh
Nature-lovers have been known to flock to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve for bird watching. Visit the mangrove swamps and enjoy the remaining vestiges of our tropical island.
39. Spend a Day (And Night) on Safari
For those wanting to come face-to-face with wildebeests and other exotic animals, the Singapore Zoo is open day and night. Head out on the Night Safari for a special glimpse of the animals’ nocturnal habits.
40. Buy Fresh Produce at a Wet Market
Before the time of NTUCs and Sheng Siongs, remember our grandmas used to take us to the wet market to get everything from meat to veg.
From one stimulating environment to another, the local wet markets are full of energy and you have to jostle for the freshest catch. The coffee shops that usually adjoin the markets are where locals like to grab breakfast after the morning rush.
41. Explore a Heartland
The heartlands are residential neighbourhoods where you’ll usually find a mall, a bus interchange or train station, public libraries, small shops, schools, clinics, playgrounds, parks and other amenities. Every heartland has a different vibe. For instance, Tiong Bahru is known for its gentrified vibe; the Holland Village area caters to a large expat community (especially along the Lorong Mambong stretch); Jurong East is bustling thanks to the new JEM and Westgate malls; and Tampines is buzzing with young families. You just have to visit to experience it for yourself.
42. Rediscover Old-School Delights
Old-school delights, such as mama shops (provision shops usually located in residential areas) and ice cream uncles (ice cream peddlers that are usually older men selling ice cream from bike side-cars) are mostly dying out and can only be found in certain locations – we hear there’s an ice cream uncle at Orchard Road in front of Wisma Atria.
43. Treat yourself to a luxury cinema experience
Thinking of catching a marathon movie session? For a luxe screening, book a Golden Village Gold Class cinema experience with extra-comfy seats and butler service.
44. Hit the Waves
Head to Sentosa Wave House to practice riding the waves before doing the real thing at a wakeboarding session. Either way, you’re guaranteed to have fun in the water with this new hobby that’s catching on fast.
45. Catch a Live Act
From stand-up comedy to live bands and a Capella groups, there’s plenty of entertaining live acts to pick from – try venues such as Blujaz Cafe or Timbre @ The Substation.
46. Head to the Bookstore
For page-turning adventures, try Kinokuniya at Takashimaya or BooksActually at Tiong Bahru. Both stores are quintessentially Singaporean, with Kinokuniya offering the traditional big bookstore experience, while BooksActually provides a cosy vibe in one of the trendiest neighbourhoods
47. Explore a Less Popular Offshore Island
While Pulau Ubin and Sentosa are the two most popular getaways, for a change of pace, pop over to their less crowded, idyllic counterparts. Try St John’s Island, where overnight stays are available, or head to Kusu Island for a day trip.
48. Go All Out On a Luxe Staycation
The most decadent staycations are where your itinerary leaves barely any time for activities that don’t include lounging by the pool, getting a spa treatment, having a gourmet dinner or enjoying drinks at the bar.
49. Have Fun at a Late Night Karaoke Session
Whether you’re after classic oldies, 90’s pop hits or K-pop, there’s a KTV to suit your every need. Partake in this popular Singaporean hobby at any of the KTV chains in town
50. Catch the Most Scenic Sunsets In Town
Whether you’re in the east or west, there are stunning sunsets to be found on the island, as shutterbugs will have you know. Grab a spot at Labrador Nature Reserve in the west or Changi Point Coastal Walk in the east for mesmerising views. Some rooftop bars also give a good view if you go in time.
Book Period: Now – 14 July 2015 | Travel Period: Now – 31 Dec 2015