Flag of Singapore

Downtown Singapore

Things to see and do

Museums

  • Civil Defence Heritage Gallery
    3.5 stars

    This place sounds like a yawner judging by the name but it's actually a lot of fun, especially for youngsters. The gallery is located in the Central Fire Station, which is the oldest in Singapore. The whole first level commemorates the history of firefighting in Singapore, the highlight of ... read more

  • The Istana
    3 stars

    The Istana (palace in Malay) is the official residence of Singapore's president, located at the very end of Singapore's bustling Orchard Road behind a large white gate flanked by sentries. The building was completed in 1869 and originally served to house the governors in the British colonial ... read more

  • Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
    3 stars

    This two-storey colonial villa was a base of Dr Sun Yat Sen, the revolutionary who helped to overthrow the last imperial dynasty of China. Today it explores his life and the impact of the 1911 revolution on the Singapore Chinese community. Dr Sun Yat Sen, the revolutionary who helped to overthrow ... read more

  • Reflections at Bukit Chandu
    3.5 stars

    Tucked away on a peaceful hill off Singapore’s Pasir Panjang is a stately restored colonial bungalow housing World War II exhibit titled Reflections at Bukit Chandu. ... read more

  • Malay Heritage Centre
    3.5 stars

    Get a crash course in the kebaya, keris and everything else Malay at the Malay Heritage Centre in Singapore’s historic Kampong Glam neighbourhood. ... read more

  • William Farquhar Collection
    3.5 stars

    When the British colonised Singapore in the 18th century they sent more than just governors and garrison – they also sent naturalists to document the island’s exotic flora and fauna. ... read more

  • Guide to Singapore museum discounts
    3.5 stars

    There’s no denying that Singapore is an expensive city, which is why I try to regularly write posts with the potential to save Travelfishers some money. ... read more

  • Mint Museum of Toys
    3.5 stars

    When you were a kid, how did you treat your toys? Did you tear into a new toy and play until it broke, or were you the type who kept your favourites in mint condition with the original box? ... read more

  • National Museum of Singapore
    4 stars

    From backwater fishing village to British colony to modern metropolis, Singapore's National Museum traces the city-state's history in staggering detail. The National Museum of Singapore is housed in a beautiful 1887-built building (the former Raffles library and museum) and offers an array of ... read more

  • ArtScience Museum
    4 stars

    Beginning with its extreme architecture, Singapore's newest museum explores the relationship between the seemingly contrary realms of art and science. While the permanent exhibits are underwhelming (we thought we missed something), it's the visiting exhibits that make the ArtScience Museum worth ... read more

  • The Battle Box
    4.5 stars

    Nearly nine metres below the hills of Fort Canning Park lies the Battle Box — an abandoned bunker used by British officers during World War II. The bunker was rediscovered in the late 1980s and has been converted into a sort of museum with creepy soldier mannequins and an audio guide telling the ... read more

  • The Changi Museum & Chapel
    4 stars

    Singapore's infamous Changi POW Prison was demolished long ago, but this museum and replica of the prison chapel serve as a reminder of the suffering during World War II and Japanese occupation. Old photos, POW diaries and relics like "banana money" are displayed in the air-con gallery alongside a ... read more

  • Chinatown Heritage Centre
    4 stars

    Set in a beautifully restored shophouse in the heart of Chinatown, this living museum tells the story of Singapore's early Chinese immigrants. The exhibits start with the dangerous journey across the South China Sea then describe life in the then-British colony with furniture, clothing and tools ... read more

  • Singapore Art Museum
    4 stars

    Considering that Singapore is not known for its creativity and free-thinking, the avant-garde paintings, photography and sculptures by local artists at the Singapore Art Museum may surprise you. Of course, the permanent collection also includes many classic pieces from across Southeast Asia and an ... read more

  • Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall
    4 stars

    The Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall is the grand dame of Singapore's performance spaces. It was originally two separate buildings -- a town hall and a memorial hall for Queen Victoria -- but they were linked by the addition of the now-iconic clock tower in 1906. The theatre's elegant 900-seat ... read more

  • Asian Civilisations Museum
    4.5 stars

    If you have time for just one museum in Singapore, the Asian Civilisations Museum is it. Singapore is awash in museums, so it can be difficult to determine just which ones are really worth your time if you’re here on a quick trip. Among them all there is one museum a step above the rest: the ... read more

  • Peranakan Museum
    4 stars

    Learn more about Singapore's unique Peranakan community — the new culture that was created when early traders from China and India married local Malay women — at this downtown museum. This museum is far more comprehensive than similar ones in Malaysia and the 10 galleries cover every topic from ... read more

  • Malay Heritage Centre
    2.5 stars

    Also known as Istana Kampong Glam, this elegant building was once the palace of Malaysian royalty. Of course the Malaysian royalty have long left Singapore's shores (though some probably own luxurious residences in Singapore) and the city-state hasn't had a Sultan since the 1800s. The building ... read more

  • Red Dot Design Museum
    3.5 stars

    The "red dot" is a prestigious design prize and Singapore is the only city outside of Europe with a permanent museum to showcase dot-winning products. Many of the items on display are mundane objects like suitcases and underwear with exceptionally pretty design, but others like shoes that convert ... read more

  • Raffles Hotel Museum
    3 stars

    Reminisce about the hotel's glory days of high teas and royal luncheons at this little museum on the third floor. There's a small but intimate collection of old artwork, china, photographs, travel ephemera and an old rickshaw used to transport guests. If you've just spent S$25 on a Singapore ... read more

Temples

  • Chettiar Temple
    4 stars

    Also known as the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, this Hindu temple is of great importance to Singapore's South Indian community. The temple's origins date back to 1859 and it is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the six-faced patron god of India's Tamil Nadu state. Every year around January or February the ... read more

  • Leong San See Temple
    3.5 stars

    Despite its location in Little India, this is a Chinese Taoist temple and was established in 1913 by a monk who travelled to Singapore with little more than a statue of Kuan Im (the Goddess of Mercy). The temple was originally dedicated to her, but an altar to Confucius was added during renovations ... read more

  • Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
    3.5 stars

    This multi-tiered pagoda is on most visitors' Chinatown to-do list, but few venture beyond chanting monks in the ground level prayer rooms — a big mistake. Every level has something worth seeing from the free museum of Southeast Asian Buddhist art on the third storey to the Tibetan prayer wheel ... read more

  • Sri Krishnan Temple
    3.5 stars

    Slip off your shoes if you want to enter this testament to Singapore's religious harmony, set near a turn on Waterloo St. Though it's definitely a Hindu temple dedicated to Krishna — an important god identifiable by his blue skin — worshippers from the neighbouring Buddhist temple also stop by ... read more

  • Thian Hock Keng Temple
    3.5 stars

    Early Chinese immigrants to Singapore were so thankful after surviving the long voyage at sea they built a temple dedicated to sea goddess Ma Chu. Many consider this the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore as a simple temple has stood here since 1821. The temple that stands today though was ... read more

  • Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
    3.5 stars

    Visit this bustling temple to see the role that religion plays in the daily lives of Singapore's Chinese Buddhists. The temple is dedicated to Kwan Im (the Goddess of Mercy) and people pray for good luck. Don't leave without getting your fortune told — shake the canister of divining sticks until ... read more

  • Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple
    3.5 stars

    If this temple reminds you of Bangkok you're not imagining things — it was founded by a Thai monk. It's also known as the Temple of 1,000 Lights for the countless bulbs that surround its main idol: a 15 metre-tall, 300 ton-heavy, seated Buddha, which dwarfs the inter-faith group of gods around ... read more

  • Sri Mariamman Temple
    4.5 stars

    This is Singapore's oldest Hindu temple and its roots can be traced back to 1827, but the extraordinary carvings on the roof weren't added until the 1960s. The temple is dedicated to Mariamman, a mother goddess who cures diseases and controls rains, and is the site of a spectacular fire-walking ... read more

  • Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
    3.5 stars

    This mouthful of a name translates to "Courageous Mother Kali", an honorific for the temple's fierce female deity. Though she looks peaceful on the entrance sign, some shocking paintings and sculptures throughout the temple show Kali's darker side as she disembowels her victims, wears a crown and ... read more

  • Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
    4 stars

    This Hindu temple in the heart of Little India dates back to 1855 but had a much humbler appearance before the five-tier Gorupam roof was added in the 1960s. If you look carefully at the carvings you'll see many representations of Vishnu, the preserver of the universe and god the temple is ... read more

  • Wak Hai Cheng Bio Temple (Yueh Hai Ching Temple)
    3.5 stars

    Surrounded by skyscrapers, this Taoist temple dating back to 1850 is a perfectly preserved relic in the middle of the central business district. Meaning "The Temple of the Calm Sea", the temple was founded by Teochew Chinese immigrants, who tended to work as sailors or fishermen, as a place to give ... read more

Art Gallery or venues

  • National Design Centre
    3.5 stars

    Singapore's National Design Centre (NDC) opened in March 2014. This focal point for all things design in Singapore is a space where designers and businesses exhibit their products, exchange ideas and even work.  The NDC is aptly located in the Bugis and Bras Basah area, near heritage landmarks and ... read more

  • Singapore Kindness Gallery
    3.5 stars

    When waiting to take the subway in Singapore you can’t help notice the public service ads reminding commuters to let people exit the train before pushing on and to give up their seat to the disabled or elderly. ... read more

  • The Picturehouse: Singapore's Art House Cinema
    3.5 stars

    Catching a movie is one of the best ways to beat the sticky heat of Singapore and a relatively affordable form of entertainment. ... read more

  • Arts House @ Old Parliament House
    4 stars

    After nearly 200 years as a government building, this colonial gem was converted into an arts venue in 2004. Rather than permanent exhibits, the elegant space hosts a changing line-up of art shows, dance recitals, musical performances, book launches, and any other cultural event in need of a ... read more

  • URA Singapore City Gallery
    4 stars

    Fitting five million people onto a tiny little island takes a lot of planning, and you can learn all about Singapore's efforts at this government-run gallery. The ground floor exhibits feature flashy video presentations about the city's architectural achievement du jour, but the truly interesting ... read more

  • The Substation
    4 stars

    Going strong since 1990, the Substation is Singapore's one and only alternative arts venue. This is the place to catch local rock bands, quirky plays, independent film festivals and contemporary art exhibits. A full schedule is available online or just drop in to see what's going on — it has a ... read more

  • National Library
    3.5 stars

    Singapore's national library is also its largest: a 16-storey complex with a theatre, restaurant, sky-garden and massive multi-lingual collection of books. You'll need to be a member of the library to be able to sign anything out, but visitors are welcome to explore the building, use the free ... read more

Churches

  • St Andrew's Cathedral
    3.5 stars

    Even if religious sites are the last thing on your itinerary you'll definitely notice this cathedral beside City Hall MRT, with its steeple so high it contributes to the skyline. The current cathedral, a grand English gothic-style building, is actually the third to stand in this spot and was built ... read more

  • Armenian Church
    3.5 stars

    This small white church was built in 1835, making it not just the oldest church in Singapore but one of the city's oldest buildings. The church once had the domed roof and bell turret typical of Armenian architecture, but they were removed for structural reasons and now the church looks classically ... read more

  • St Joseph's Church
    3.5 stars

    This Catholic Church was built from 1906 to 1912 by architectural firm Swan and MacLaren, whose other projects included the Raffles Hotel. In homage to the church's original Portuguese founders, the church was built in the shape of a Latin cross and has beautiful stained glass windows. St ... read more

  • Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
    3.5 stars

    A Catholic church has occupied this spot since the 1830s, but it wasn't until 1847 that the Spanish, Portuguese and French parishes unified and built the impressive Church of the Good Shepherd. Its status was elevated to cathedral in 1888 and, save for a period during World War II when it served as ... read more

Mosques

  • Sultan Mosque (Masjid Sultan)
    4 stars

    The Sultan Mosque is the heart and soul of Kampong Glam, the area of Singapore designated for Muslims when the British took over in the early 1880s. The original mosque was part of the Sultan's palace complex, hence the name, but the current building with its iconic golden dome was built in 1924 by ... read more

  • Hajjah Fatimah Mosque
    4 stars

    This mosque in the heart of Kampong Glam is unique for its architecture, which blends Middle Eastern and European styles. Though it has the typical onion-shaped dome and prayer hall, it also has a very distinctive minaret near the Imam's quarters. Also notable is that the mosque was named for a ... read more

Viewpoints

  • Merlion Park
    2.5 stars

    The only fauna at this downtown park is the Merlion: a massive statue of Singapore's bizarre lion/fish hybrid mascot that spews water. There's little to do here other than take cheesy photos and enjoy the views across to Marina Bay Sands. A cluster of cafes and restaurants are nearby to feed ... read more

Public Parks and Zoos

  • Kallang Leisure Park
    3.5 stars

    Singapore's only ice skating rink can be found at this entertainment complex on the east coast. Two hours of ice time costs S$14 for adults and S$12 for kids plus another S$3.50 for skate rental — bring your own socks. A bowling alley and cinema round out the fun and it's a great place to spend a ... read more

  • Pasir Ris Park
    3.5 stars

    This beachside park is equally popular for its fauna and family-friendly activities. The swampy mangroves are home to crabs and mudskippers — fish that can breathe air — and there's a three-storey observation tower for birdwatching. However, the biggest draw is the huge (and free) playground ... read more

  • Singapore's best public parks
    3.5 stars

    Singapore isn't called “the garden city” for nothing – you’ll find a shady green refuge in nearly every neighborhood. Here’s a rundown of our favorite public parks offering everything from open-air concerts to cycling along the coast. ... read more

  • Spice Walk at Fort Canning Park
    3.5 stars

    Singapore is known as the Garden City, so take some time to relax and smell the pepper flowers at the Spice Garden at Fort Canning Park. ... read more

  • Singapore Botanic Gardens & National Orchid Garden
    4.5 stars

    These lush, serene gardens boast more than 10,000 tropical species and are a great place to retreat to from the city's bustle. If you're looking for respite from the glitz and rush of Singapore, the Botanic Gardens offer a variety of enticing green gardens and spaces to explore or simply retreat to ... read more

  • Gardens by the Bay
    4 stars

    The spectacular Gardens by the Bay boasts intriguing plant sculptures and an array of interesting gardens. The newest addition to Singapore’s urban skyline is the spectacular Gardens by the Bay, perhaps best described as the city state's version of New York's Central Park. Located right in the ... read more

  • Istana Park
    4 stars

    This little park can be a much-needed retreat from the crowds on Orchard Road. The lush trees and ferns are nearly enough to block out all the malls and there are lots of places to sit, including along the reflecting pool. Istana Park is opposite the Istana, the official residence of ... read more

  • Changi Beach Park
    3.5 stars

    Near the jetty to Pulau Ubin, this coastal park has pristine white sand and swaying palm trees. There are fewer ships here than East Coast Park so the water is likely cleaner, but you still see more people jogging than swimming. Get some take-away from Changi Village hawker centre for an ... read more

  • Marina Barrage
    3.5 stars

    This colossal dam was designed to create a reservoir and control flooding, but has become an attraction in its own right. As they walk around Marina Bay, few people probably realise they're actually walking around the largest fresh water catchment in Singapore. Marina Bay is one of 15 fresh water ... read more

  • East Coast Park
    3.5 stars

    Stretching more than 15 kilometres along Singapore's east coast, this is a great spot for a bike ride or a really long walk. The massive oil tankers in the distance deter most people from swimming, but the park is still packed on weekends when hordes of people come to enjoy the fresh air and fresh ... read more

  • Fort Canning Park
    3.5 stars

    Between Orchard Road and downtown, this hilly park is home to walking trails, spice gardens and the Battle Box bunker from WW2. ... read more

  • Hong Lim Park (Speakers Corner)
    3.5 stars

    This green space in the middle of Chinatown is best known for its Speakers Corner, the one place in Singapore where free speech is allowed. This works better in theory than in practice and you can read the sign with all the rules for a good laugh. Requirements include that you must register ... read more

  • Esplanade Park
    3.5 stars

    This downtown park is one of Singapore's oldest and contains historic monuments like the Cenotaph war memorial. It makes a scenic link between the colonial buildings on Connaught Road and the central business district. If you follow Queen Elizabeth Walk within the park it'll eventually lead you ... read more

General Activites

  • NEWater Visitor Centre
    3 stars

    As a tiny island nation surrounded by sea water, one of Singapore's biggest challenges is providing fresh drinking water for its growing population of some six million people. Traditionally this has been achieved by importing water from Malaysia, but 30 years of water purification research have ... read more

  • Singapore Sports Hub and Kallang Wave
    3 stars

    The Singapore Sports Hub is home to an array of sports venues and offers a sports-themed mall up on the side. After six years of construction and at a cost of S$1.3 billion, the Singapore Sports Hub finally opened its doors in June. The 35-hectare complex is filled with athletic venues, public ... read more

  • Prawn fishing in Singapore
    3.5 stars

    If you like to work for your dinner, or are simply looking for a unique activity to try in Singapore, you may be interested in prawn fishing. ... read more

  • Fish spas in Singapore
    3.5 stars

    Fish spas — where tiny “doctor fish” eat dead skin from your feet — are among the more bizarre beauty trends sweeping the world. Not only do they leave your feet softer and smoother, but proponents claim it improves blood circulation and relieves stress. ... read more

  • Henna tattoos in Singapore's Little India
    3.5 stars

    You've got the sari and the gold jewelry, now all you need to complete the look is a henna tattoo. ... read more

  • Fun things to do with kids at Changi Airport
    3.5 stars

    Does your family have a long lay-over in Singapore? There’s no need to feel restless – Changi Airport has plenty of activities to keep travelers of all ages entertained. ... read more

  • Fun free things to do in Singapore
    3.5 stars

    It’s no secret that Singapore is the most expensive city in Southeast Asia to be a tourist. But even if you’re down to your last Sing-dollar, it’s possible to sight see without spending a cent. ... read more

  • Rainy day suggestions for Singapore
    3.5 stars

    If you’re in Singapore right now you've probably become well acquainted with your umbrella, with November through January the rainiest months of the year. ... read more

  • Where to photograph the Singapore skyline
    3.5 stars

    With gleaming skyscrapers, colonial hotels, the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, and a Merlion, there’s no mistaking the Singapore skyline for anywhere else in the world. ... read more

  • Ice skating, fake and real in Singapore
    3.5 stars

    Ice skating certainly isn't the first activity that springs to mind when thinking of how to fill your days in Singapore, but the city actually has two skating rinks. ... read more

  • Singapore's changing of the guards
    3.5 stars

    If you've ever walked all the way east along Orchard Road, you may have wondered what the deal was with the gated driveway with armed guards just before you reach Plaza Singapura Mall. ... read more

  • Marina Sands Skypark
    4.5 stars

    Perched 200 metres above the ground, the massive Marina Sands Skypark mocks gravity. Its open-air garden stretches across the three towers of the hotel beneath and offers unobstructed, panoramic views of the city and beyond. Attractions within the attraction include exclusive restaurants (Ku De ... read more

  • Bugis Street
    4.5 stars

    Bugis Street is Singapore's largest street market and its narrow passages are crammed full of 600 shops selling everything from knock-off handbags to durians. The second-level is designated for local designers and a good place to shop for unique jewellery and clothing at reasonable prices. Of ... read more

  • Singapore Flyer
    4.5 stars

    At 165 metres high — 30 metres higher than the London Eye — the Singapore Flyer is the world's tallest observation wheel. One rotation takes about 40 minutes which is plenty of time to soak up the view of downtown Singapore and beyond; on a clear day you can see all the way to Indonesia. ... read more

Theatres

  • DBS Arts Centre
    4 stars

    This 380-seat theatre in Robertson Quay is the home of the Singapore Repertory Theatre and their children's branch The Little Company. The SRT is one of Asia's leading English-language theatre companies and their productions are known for attracting celebrity cast members. When not in use by the ... read more

  • Esplanade Theatres on the Bay
    4 stars

    The Esplanade is a home for all artists from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra to the break-dancers who hang out in the basement. Its state-of-the-art concert hall and theatre attract world-class acts while smaller venues host a steady stream of plays, concerts, dance recitals and art installations. ... read more

Hiking, walking tours and itineraries

  • Walking street: Serangoon Road
    3.5 stars

    Cutting right through the heart of Little India, Serangoon Road is lined with sari shops, jewellery stores and restaurants with tantalising smells of curry. The little shops spill onto the footpaths and many people end up walking on the road to bypass the clutter. Serangoon Road passes Tekka ... read more

  • Singapore's Armenian heritage
    3.5 stars

    Armenia’s difficult physical conditions saw enterprising merchants move abroad from the 19th century, many landing in Asia, including a few in Singapore. The community here numbered merely around 100 families at its peak, but the people left a a dispropor ... read more

  • Walking tours of Singapore
    3.5 stars

    While Singapore is easy enough to explore on your own, you can learn a lot more about the city by exploring with a knowledgeable guide. Here’s a rundown of various walking tours of Singapore covering everything from historical sites to nature reserves to ... read more

  • Original Singapore Walks
    3.5 stars

    If you’re thinking of joining a guided walking tour of Singapore you can’t go wrong with Original Singapore Walks. ... read more

  • Itineraries: Singapore for World War II buffs
    3.5 stars

    Singapore may be a long way from Europe, but this little island played a pivotal role in World War II. Whether you’re a war buff or just want to learn more about this chapter of history, here’s an itinerary that will take you to Singapore’s most important ... read more

  • A quick walking tour of Singapore's Chinatown
    3.5 stars

    With its bustling markets, unique architecture and mouth-watering food, Singapore’s Chinatown neighborhood is not to be missed. ... read more

  • A walk along Singapore's Emerald Hill
    3.5 stars

    Emerald Hill is one of the most colorful streets in Singapore and makes an easy detour from the shopping belt of Orchard Road. Come for the beautiful Peranakan architecture, a bit of antiquing, or maybe a drink at one of the trendy bars? ... read more

  • A quick Little India walking tour
    3.5 stars

    With its beautiful temples, exotic markets and delicious food, Singapore’s Little India neighborhood is not to be missed. Even if you only have a couple hours to spare you can still see the highlights of this ethnic enclave. ... read more

  • A walk down Singapore's Temple Street
    3.5 stars

    A historic street in Chinatown named for its Hindu temple? Temple Street is more than just an exemplary example of Singapore’s multiculturalism – it’s the perfect stretch for a quickie walking tour. ... read more

  • Betel Box Food Walks
    3.5 stars

    With a promise of tasting around 40 various dishes of Singaporean food, how could I not go on the Betel Box weekly food walking tour of Joo Chiat when I was staying with them last week? ... read more

  • Walking street: Orchard Road
    4 stars

    This shoppers' paradise is also a pedestrians' paradise with wide sidewalks, manicured trees and interesting public art. There's also a whole lot of people and crossing some of the roads through the underpasses can be disorienting. For a long walk you can Orchard Road all the way from Tanglin ... read more

  • Walking street: Haji Lane
    4 stars

    Nestled between busy North Bridge and Ophir Roads you'll find Haji Lane, Singapore's fashionista haven. Also Singapore's narrowest street (well lane) Haji has a distinctively bohemian feel with street art, tattoo parlours and independent shops selling jewellery, books and clothes from local ... read more

  • Queen Elizabeth Walk
    3.5 stars

    Located in Esplanade Park, this grand walkway was named in honour of the new queen in 1953 when Singapore was still a British colony. The shaded promenade starts near the Esplanade Theatre and passes the Anderson Bridge, Tam Kim Seng Fountain, Cenotaph War Memorial, and Padang field before abruptly ... read more

  • Walking street: Waterloo Street
    3.5 stars

    Running through downtown Singapore, part of Waterloo Street was converted to a pedestrian mall after the crowds at two popular temples grew so big they caused traffic jams. Now the devotees and incense sellers at the Chinese Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple and the Hindu Sri Krishnan Temple spill onto ... read more

  • Walking street: Kampong Glam
    4 stars

    Also known as Arab Street for the main road running through it, Kampong Glam is historically Singapore's Malay-Muslim neighbourhood. The streets are lined with palm trees and two-storey shophouses selling Middle Eastern carpets, traditional clothing and various knick-knacks. The call to prayer ... read more

  • Walking street: Temple Street
    4.5 stars

    An exemplary example of Singapore's multiculturalism, this one-way street in the heart of Chinatown is named for its Indian temple. Sri Mariamman is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore — its roots can be traced back to 1827 — and you can navigate your way there by looking for its ornately ... read more

  • Walking street: Telok Ayer Street
    4 stars

    Stretching from Maxwell Road almost all the way to Raffles Place, Telok Ayer is one of Singapore's oldest thoroughfares and the backbone of Chinatown. The street's name means "bay water" and it was the arrival point for Chinese immigrants in the 1800s, though due to land reclamation there's no ... read more

  • Walking street: Tanjong Pagar
    4 stars

    Straddling the space between Chinatown and the central business district, Tanjong Pagar was designated a conservation zone for its three-storey shophouses. Check out their ornate shuttered windows and rear spiral staircases as you stroll down Craig Road, Neil Road and Duxton Hill, an area notorious ... read more

Shopping

  • The Central
    3.5 stars

    Above Clarke Quay MRT, this riverside mall offers five floors of shopping and dining. While omnipresent chains like Giordiano and Starbucks are accounted for, The Central has more independent retailers than most malls including some unique jewellery stores, handicrafts and clothes from local ... read more

  • Orchard Road Christmas Light Up
    4 stars

    Singapore's Orchard Road Christmas Light Up is not to be missed if you're in Singapore during the festive period. While there won't be snow glistening or sleigh bells ringing in sunny Singapore during Christmas, on the main shopping street of Orchard Road, retailers do their best to create an ... read more

  • Lucky Plaza
    3.5 stars

    Situated right in the heart of the Orchard Road shopping district, Lucky Plaza is the unofficial hub for the Filipino diaspora in Singapore. From the exterior, Lucky Plaza looks dated, but step inside this mini-Manila and you'll be surprised at some of the treasures you'll find. While it doesn't ... read more

  • Singapore's best independent bookstores
    3.5 stars

    Singapore’s an ideal place to stock up on fresh English-language reading material. You will find bookstores in the shopping malls, but true bookworms will want to support these independent bookstores specializing in quirky reads and works by local authors ... read more

  • The best malls not on Orchard Road
    3.5 stars

    Maybe Singapore is a nation of shopaholics – or maybe Singaporeans and visitors here just love free air-conditioning – but the city-state has more than its fair share of shopping malls ... read more

  • What are some popular souvenirs in Singapore?
    3.5 stars

    Finding a souvenir that sums up the Singapore experience can be a bit of a challenge because there aren’t many locally-made products (other than the hawker food you ate for lunch – burp!). ... read more

  • What to do if you're ripped off at Sim Lim Square?
    3.5 stars

    Most travelers know to be wary of scams in cities like Bangkok, but feel they can let their guard down in Singapore.The fact that people feel so safe here combined with the belief that Singapore has cheap electronics is the perfect breeding ground for sho ... read more

  • Peninsula Plaza
    3.5 stars

    As the economic hub of Southeast Asia, people from across the region are drawn to Singapore to try to make a buck. These groups add to Singapore’s colorful cultural diversity and, as the communities grow, they establish their own restaurants, temples, and ... read more

  • Golden Mile Complex
    3.5 stars

    While Chinatown and Little India are so big they have their own MRT station, Singapore does have other, less obvious ethnic neighborhoods. ... read more

  • 313@Somerset Mall
    4 stars

    With trendy stores like Zara, Mango, Uniqlo, and a Singapore's flagship 3-level Forever 21, 313@Somerset is one of Orchard's newest but most popular malls. You can test drive the latest Apple gadgets at the Epicentre showroom and on the upper floors you'll find sportswear, books, jewellery, and ... read more

  • Sim Lim Square
    3 stars

    It may be Singapore's largest IT mall, but Sim Lim Square has earned a bad rap for fleecing tourists who assume they're getting a great deal without checking prices. Good deals are possible — especially if you're looking for camera parts or discontinued models — but you may be surprised to ... read more

  • Bugis Junction & Iluma Mall
    3.5 stars

    Proof that Singaporeans truly can't get enough shopping, these two large malls are opposite each other. Bugis Junction and Iluma are geared toward younger shoppers with music stores, cosmetic shops and affordable, everyday fashion from brands like Giordiano, Levi's and Billabong. Each mall has ... read more

  • Tangs
    4 stars

    Like Bloomingdale's in New York or Harrod's in London, Tangs is Singapore's landmark department store. The Orchard Road location is the flagship store and has five levels of high-end housewares, luggage, cosmetics, jewellery, shoes and fashion. Women should check out the lingerie department ... read more

  • Mustafa Centre
    4 stars

    Minutes away from Farrer Park MRT station, Mustafa Centre is Little India's 24-hour shopping mecca Its aisles are filled to the rafters with gold jewellery, small appliances, Bollywood DVDs, bejewelled saris, instant curry packets, sportswear, Singapore souvenirs and anything else that money can ... read more

  • Funan Digital Mall
    4 stars

    Why risk rip-offs buying a new camera or computer at Sim Lim Square when this IT mall has all the same gadgets at fixed prices? At Funan Digital Mall showrooms from Dell, Sony and Toshiba plus mega electronics stores like Harvey Norman and Courts can all be found under the same roof. The best ... read more

  • Ion
    3.5 stars

    This mirrored behemoth of a mall opened in mid-2009 and sits above the Orchard Road MRT station. Ground floor tenants are flagship stores for luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Prada, but most of the real shopping happens on the lower levels at Mango, Steve Madden, bebe, Sephora cosmetics and ... read more

  • Ngee Ann City
    4 stars

    Equally imposing from inside and out, this granite palace is the poshest mall on Orchard. Well-heeled Singaporeans come here to shop at Armani, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Shanghai Tang and Juicy Couture where the price of a single shoe may exceed your monthly travel budget. Ngee Ann City ... read more

  • Orchard Central
    3 stars

    The OC is the tallest mall on Orchard Road and has the super-escalators and climbing wall to prove it. The retail is a mix of big brands and unique boutiques and, though it opened long before neighbouring 313@Somerset Mall, it still feels a bit empty. The highlights are the Mediterranean-themed ... read more

  • Raffles City
    3.5 stars

    Above City Hall MRT, this downtown mall is always a flurry of shoppers and people simply in transit. The biggest store is Robinsons department store and other tenants include British Marks & Spencer, Tommy Hilfiger, Kate Spade, Topshop, MPH Bookstore and a big basement supermarket. Dining ... read more

  • Bras Basah Complex
    4 stars

    One of the rare things that isn't more expensive in Singapore is used books and you won't have to look hard to find them — they're all in the Bras Basah Complex. Of the 20-some bookstores most sell a variety of new and used reading material, and you can pick up a paperback in gently used ... read more

  • Tanglin Mall
    3.5 stars

    At the quieter northern end of Orchard Road, Tanglin Mall is a favourite with the expat families who live nearby. Offering Western-sized fashions, maternity wear, educational toy stores, comfortable footwear, do-it-yourself-shops and organic groceries, Tanglin Mall has a very difference ambience ... read more

  • Shops at Marina Bay Sands
    3.5 stars

    If you can escape the Marina Bay Sands Casino with your money it'll go fast at the attached mall. The stores are almost exclusively luxury brands like Chanel, Gucci, Burberry, Prada and Cartier and even the foodcourt is expensive — think S$10 for rice and curry. If you don't have a platinum ... read more

  • DFS Galleria
    3 stars

    Ever wish your flight would be delayed just so you could have more time to take advantage of the shopping at Changi Airport? If you can plan ahead a little, you can avoid that by shopping for duty-free goods anytime you like at DFS Galleria. DFS Galleria rejects that premise while offering a lot ... read more

Day trips

  • Everton Park
    3.5 stars

    Everton Park is a cluster of six old public apartment blocks boasting an array of old-style shops and restaurants with an increasing number of hipster joints opening right along side them. Everton Park is a cluster of six old public apartment blocks in the Outram area opposite The ... read more

  • Eurasian Singapore
    3.5 stars

    Eurasians are among the ethnic groups in Singapore that make up that cryptic official “others” category of the local population. Travellers typically know little about them, but the Eurasian Association in Singapore, founded in 1919, is the perfect place ... read more

  • Family-friendly activities at Marina Bay Sands
    3.5 stars

    With its exclusive casino and luxury shopping Marina Bay Sands has become the playground for Singapore’s rich and famous, but that doesn't mean it can’t be enjoyed by the average person. ... read more

  • Where to go for a swim in Singapore
    3.5 stars

    After the cleanliness and crazy prices, what friends who've visited me in Singapore commented most about was the heat. Though the temperature is similar to Bangkok or Bali, Singapore feels hotter. ... read more

Markets

  • Geylang Serai Market
    4 stars

    It wasn't long ago that all Singaporeans did their daily shopping in markets exactly like this. The Geylang Serai market is located in a very Malay neighbourhood and it shows in every aspect, from the market's architecture to the goods for sale — Halal meats, sun-dried fish, fragrant spices, ... read more

  • Tekka Centre Market
    4 stars

    Follow your nose into this bustling indoor market just off Serangoon Road. The ground floor is half wet market and half hawker centre, so you can feast on Indian food like rich curries, dosai and briyani rice, or buy the ingredients to make them yourself. The produce from Tekka Centre is known for ... read more

  • Markets
    3.5 stars

    Sungei Road Thieves’ Market is Singapore’s largest and oldest flea market; bursting with all kinds of retro bric-a-brac, it’s a top spot to unearth an unusual souvenir ... read more

  • Singapore's Thieves Market
    3.5 stars

    Whoever said, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has certainly shopped at the Thieves Market along Sungei Road in Singapore. ... read more

  • Chinatown Street Market
    4.5 stars

    Cheongsams, T-shirts, cameras, tea and dubious antiques: the sidestreets of Chinatown overflow with opportunities to spend your Sing-dollars. Many shops sell exactly the same goods and the quality is so-so, but the price is always right. Small souvenirs like magnets are 5 for $5 and you can get a ... read more

  • Chinatown Complex
    3.5 stars

    If you didn't get your fill of shopping at the Street Market, the commerce continues in the Chinatown Complex. This indoor market is more for locals than tourists and contains a wet market, sundry shops and a hawker centre. The basement wet market is liveliest in the early morning when shoppers ... read more

  • Sungei Road Thieves Market
    3.5 stars

    If you have the patience to wade through the junk there's definitely some gems at this outdoor flea market. You don't need a license to sell and many vendors don't bother with folding tables and dump their wares — dial telephones, used sports equipment, yellowed paperbacks, broken computer ... read more

  • MAAD
    3.5 stars

    Once a month the Market of Artists and Designers (MAAD) takes over the Red Dot Design Museum and holds a flea market to sell their one-of-a-kind creations. Fold-out tables become displays for handmade jewellery and clothing, eco-friendly greeting cards and local zines. Most of the fashions are for ... read more


Photo gallery

Photo for Downtown Singapore

Jump to a destination

Most popular sights in Downtown Singapore



Newsletter signup

Sign up for Travelfish Burp!

Our weekly wrap on Southeast Asian travel.
Click here to see a recent newsletter.

We respect your email privacy