8 reasons to love Singapore

With so many new and exciting openings, there's never been a better time to visit Asia's Lion City. Among the highlights, you'll find a wonderfully wild new cycling and hiking route in the footprint of a former railway and a growing number of great-value restaurants and bars.

The Merlion, half fish half lion, and the official mascot of Singapore
The Merlion, half fish half lion, and the official mascot of Singapore © Jpatokal - Wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0

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Pedal power

Singapore* has one of the largest networks of cycling routes of any urban destination. Its bike share apps are cheap and easy to use, and cycling in Singapore feels incredibly safe.

The city's famously friendly bus drivers even typically give cyclists a double toot of the horn to warn them of their presence.

On the Rail Corridor bike route
On the Rail Corridor bike route © Tamara Hinson

The Park Connector network of bike lanes, which links Singapore's parks and nature reserves, is a great way to explore lesser-known areas of this city-state

The best place to show some pedal power, however, has to be the recently completed 24-km Rail Corridor, a hiking and cycling route in the footprint of a railway once used to shuttle goods to Malaysia.

Park life

Singapore's packed full of parks, nature reserves and public gardens, including the brilliant Singapore Botanic Gardens, which has one of the world's largest collections of orchids.

Then there's the magnificent Gardens by the Bay with its thundering indoor waterfall and the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, where you can admire the wildlife from greenery-covered hides.

Supertree Grove, Gardens By the Bay
Supertree Grove, Gardens By the Bay © Boon Leng Teo - Dreamstime.com

The reserve's residents include crocodiles, yellow-spotted mudskippers and monitor lizards. Love a monkey? Head to the MacRitchie Reservoir, where you'll find gaggles of unbelievably cute (and rather cheeky) macaques and a network of walking trails which weaves around Singapore's oldest reservoir.

Orchard Road

A neon-drenched city centre thoroughfare absolutely worthy of a mention in its own right, Orchard Road is where you'll find some of Singapore's best shopping malls, restaurants and independent stores, including the brilliant Design Orchard store, which celebrates homegrown brands.

Tree-lined Orchard Road
Tree-lined Orchard Road © Sharon Hahn Darlin - Wikimedia CC BY 2.0

Plans are afoot to make Orchard Road more pedestrian-friendly including new Insta-friendly "street furniture".

Then there's the soon-to-open Trifecta by Ride Side. This indoor, 49,611 square-foot adrenaline junkie's paradise, due to open on Orchard Road by the end of 2023, will have dedicated areas for skateboarding, surfing and skiing.

Feast on the food

Yes, an obvious one: Singapore's hawker culture (which refers to gatherings of street food stalls serving up delicious Asian cuisine) has earned UNESCO status, after all.

But somehow, its food scene just keeps getting better. In 2023, 17 hawker stalls earned Bib Gourmand awards, the Michelin Guide award given to venues serving top-notch cuisine at wallet-friendly prices.

Singapore's famous street food scene
Singapore's famous street food scene - photo courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board

This year's recipients include the Old Airport Road hawker centre's Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee, while there's also plenty of fantastic grub at the Newton Food Centre, which served as a backdrop for Crazy Rich Asians.

In a nutshell? Singapore is, without a doubt, one of the best destinations in the world for foodies.

High-speed thrills

Although there's never any shortage of new Singapore hotels, attractions and other developments to get excited about, don't make the mistake of overlooking Singapore staples, such as September's F1 race, arguably the most exciting street circuit on the F1 calendar.

It's a night race, and nothing beats the spectacle of watching F1's lightning-fast mean machines speed around this twisting, floodlit track. Singapore's race weekend is also famous for its entertainment and acts taking to the stage in 2023 include Robbie Williams and Kings of Leon.

Feeling flush? There are various fantastic ways to upgrade your experience, including evenings at the legendary Amber Lounge, a pop-up nightclub which appears at a handful of F1 events, including Singapore.

Island life

Venturing further afield in Singapore is easy. The island of Sentosa hogs the spotlight as it's packed with beaches, theme parks and heritage sites including Mount Imbiah Battery built in the 1880s.

Palawan Beach, Sentosa Island
Palawan Beach, Sentosa Island © Whitcomberd - Adobe Stock Image

But there are other so great options including Pulau Ubin, a 15-minute boat ride from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal.

It's home to Singapore's last remaining kampong (traditional village), while the Chek Jawa Wetlands at this small island's eastern tip, is a great spot for a walk on the wild side.

Then there's Lazarus Island, a 30-minute boat ride from Singapore, where it's possible to spend a night in one of five new cabins that were recently built there.

Free fun

Finally, although Singapore has proved to be far more than a stopover city, it's easier than ever for transfer passengers to explore the destination.

Recently, Changi Airport Group, Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Tourism Board joined forces to re-launch Free Singapore Tours for transit passengers, which were paused during the pandemic.

The well-preserved heart of historic Chinatown
The well-preserved heart of historic Chinatown © Kandlstock - Dreamstime.com

Open to those with stopovers of between five-and-a-half and 24 hours, they can be booked via the airport's website.

Speaking of free fun, check out the fantastic SingapoRewards scheme, which allows visitors to try off-the-beaten-path experiences for free.

Weather in Singapore

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
Sea temperature °C

The above guide shows the weather in Singapore.

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Tamara Hinson

Tamara Hinson

Tamara Hinson is a freelance travel writer who loves getting off the beaten path. Specialising in adventure travel, she often covers outdoor activities such as snowboarding, mountain biking and scuba diving. Tamara's work features regularly in newspapers such as The Telegraph and The Independent along with numerous travel websites.

Posted on Wednesday 10th April 2019 in: Asia City Culture Excursions Marella Cruises

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