Top 10 things to do in Singapore


By now, you probably know that it’s The Smart Local’s 10th anniversary this month. In this past decade, we’ve had the privilege of doing a lot of things. Like, a lot, a lot of things. We’ve gotten the chance to visit attractions new and old, discover hidden gems, and seen a side of Singapore not many are privy to.

So having really lived out “been there, done that”, we decided to take a look back at some of the places and activities we return to again and again. Here are the TSL team’s top picks:

This post is done in conjunction with The Smart Local’s 10th Anniversary happening on 25th October 2023. Find more TSL10 content below: 


1. Spend 24 hours at the world’s best airport


Over the years, The Smart Local has expanded to include overseas content as well, so we’ve had the chance to fly to some pretty amazing places. But truth be told, the one thing we all love is touching back down in Singapore so we can spend time at the world’s best airport.

things to do singapore - st3ps
ST3PS at Terminal 3.

TBH, 24 hours here seems like much but there are a tonne of things to do to keep you occupied. Many of which are kid-friendly too, like the free movie screenings at ST3PS, 4-storey The Slide @ T3, and indoor playground at Terminal 3.

things to do singapore - bouncing net canopy park jewel changi
Bouncing Net at Canopy Park.

If you’re here with friends instead, there’s the new Flap Pix photo spot at Terminal 2 where you can have your portrait projected onto a repurposed travel flip board. Of course, you can’t miss out Jewel Changi, which has a host of things to do like the Canopy Park and Changi Experience Studio. 

things to do singapore - Changi Experience Studio jewel changi
Changi Experience Studio.

ADMISSION FEE
Standard rates: $8/person Singapore residents: $6/person
ADDRESS
Airport Blvd., Level 5 78, Singapore 819666
Opening Hours: Wednesday 10:00 a.m - 10:00 p.m  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.5
(1021)
RECOMMENDED TICKETS AT S$6.00
ADMISSION FEE
Standard rates: $25/adult | $17/child & senior Singapore residents: $19.80/adult | $14.80/child & senior
ADDRESS
21 Airport Blvd., Level 4, Singapore 819666
Opening Hours: Wednesday 11:00 a.m - 08:00 p.m  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.7
(365)
RECOMMENDED TICKETS AT S$19.00

Even in the wee hours of the night, the viewing galleries are the perfect place for quiet plane-spotting. Otherwise, we like getting a snooze in at Yotelair Singapore Changi Airport, which allows for short stay bookings of just 4 hours.

ADDRESS
Jewel Changi, 78 Airport Blvd., #04-280 Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore 819666
Opening Hours: Wednesday Open 24 Hours  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.1
(637)
CONTACT INFORMATION
RECOMMENDED TICKETS AT S$212.93

2. Cafe hopping & plane-spotting at Seletar Aerospace Park


Changi may have the world’s best airport but we’ve also got a soft spot for Seletar Airport, which mostly handles private jets, as well as flights from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur on Firefly Airlines.

things to do singapore - the oval seletar aerospace park
Plane-spotting at The Oval.

Even if you’re not planning to fly out of Seletar Airport, you can still check out Seletar Aerospace Park, that’s right next to it. Cafe hoppers will already know this place for its multitude of cute cafes like The Summerhouse and 5 by Sans Façon. We recommend dapao-ing a couple of mains and then having a picnic over at The Oval.

things to do singapore - seletar airpot

Grab seats along the boardwalk here and you’ll be able to spot the private planes taking off and landing from the airport. Apart from The Oval, the other place popular with plane-spotters is Hyde Park Gate Garden, from which you can get really up-close glimpses of the jets.

Seletar Airport
ADDRESS
21 Seletar Aerospace Road, Singapore 797405
Opening Hours: Wednesday 07:00 a.m - 10:00 p.m  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.4
(533)
CONTACT INFORMATION

3. Get your fortune read for free at Bugis Street


As teenagers, most of us would’ve hit Bugis for deals on trendy clothes, nails, and even piercings. But the Bugis we’ve come to love is the area just behind it, from Bencoolen Street to Waterloo Street.

things to do singapore - Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
Image credit: Choo Yut Shing via Flickr

Sure, it’s more well-known among older folks who pay visits to the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, especially during Chinese New Year and Vesak Day. But it’s for good reason – it’s said that the temple has pretty accurate fortune readings given out by the deity Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, herself.

things to do singapore - Fu Lu Shou Complex
You can also get your fortune told at the nearby
Fu Lu Shou Complex.

Readings are free, which is why you’ll often find a long queue of devotees waiting to get their questions answered. As courtesy for the free service, you can make a small donation to the temple after your session.


4. Explore the heartlands for hidden gems & local faves


We don’t call ourselves The Smart Local for nothing. With a name like that, we don’t just cover the usual tourist attractions but the places we often pass by. That includes the neighbourhoods we’ve grown up in, like Geylang, Hougang, and even Potong Pasir. But 2 estates stick out for all the right reasons.


Joo Chiat & Katong – Low-key hipster district with cafes & specialty shops


Think Joo Chiat and Katong and maybe laksa comes to mind. But for us, this place is a treasure trove of things to do.

things to do singapore - shophouses joo chiat

For one, there are quite a number of IG-worthy photo spots, like the row of colourful Peranakan shophouses at Koon Seng Road and the art murals on walls all over the neighbourhood. For two, you’ll also find a mishmash of cafes and specialty shops if you take the time to walk through each alley way.

things to do singapore - cat socrates
Cat Socrates.

There’s Kōhī Roastery & Coffee Bar, which is a literal hole-in-the-wall place to get a latte. Then there are shops like Cat Socrates that sells cat-themed knick-knacks and RetroCrates that has a selection of vinyl records for collectors.


Chinatown – For grittier Singapore & popular hawker centres


things to do singapore - chinatown

Chinatown shows up in plenty of guidebooks and travel itineraries, but it’s still a neighbourhood worth checking out for those who want to see a grittier side of Singapore.

things to do singapore - people's park centre
People’s Park Centre is where you can get your hands on old Mandopop.

Apart from the streets full of vendors selling “I Love SG” shot glasses and magnets, there are also heritage buildings to check out like People’s Park Centre and People’s Park Complex. The first is known for its hobbyist shops for beading, crafts, and mahjong, while the second has become a popular photo spot.

things to do singapore - Amoy Street Food Centre.
Amoy Street Food Centre.

Image credit: Eatbook

Use Chinatown as a starting point to some of Singapore’s most popular hawker centres as well. Hong Lim Food Centre, Maxwell Food Centre, Amoy Street Food Centre, and Lau Pa Sat are all within walking distance. Each one has its own crowd favourites and together, cover just about every must-try hawker dish in Singapore. P.S. If you’re looking for vegetarian food, we suggest the Lian Xin Food Court hidden within the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.


5. Picnic at a lesser-known spot at Gardens By The Bay


We’ve covered Gardens By The Bay multiple times over the years, from the Children’s Garden to cycling spots around the attraction. One place we’ve mostly kept under wraps is the Bay East Garden, but the gatekeeping ends now.

things to do singapore - bay east garden
Image credit: Chyan Phang via Google Maps

Located opposite the glitzy Cloud Forest and Flower Dome on the other side of the Marina Bay, the Bay East Garden is a lesser-known picnic spot. Some call it an alternative to Marina Barrage, and we can see why. There’s usually less of a crowd, plus you get panoramic views of the Singapore skyline, inclusive of Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.

things to do singapore - gardens by the bay

That isn’t to say you should skip the seasonal displays at GBTB, like the cherry blossoms, tulips, and chrysanthemums that get brought in from time to time. We’ve gotten tons of new display pics for our dating profiles and social media platforms through our shoots here.

things to do singapore - gardens by the bay 2

ADDRESS
18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Opening Hours: Wednesday 09:00 a.m - 09:00 p.m  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.6
(613)
RECOMMENDED TICKETS AT S$10.00

6. Take an easy hike through jungles to a marina


things to do singapore - labrador park
Labrador Park.

Concrete jungle that Singapore is, there are plenty of nature spots we’ve grown fond of. One of which is the hiking trail from Labrador Park to Keppel Bay. Don’t balk at the idea of having to trek through craggy pathways just yet. This is one of the easiest hikes in Singapore, as there are boardwalks along the whole way.

things to do singapore - labrador park boardwalk

The trail starts at Berlayer Creek Boardwalk then moves on to Alexandra Garden Trail and Bukit Chermin Boardwalk. You’ll cut through the jungles of Labrador Park then move into a mangrove swamp where you might even spot a coastal horseshoe crab or a mudskipper.

things to do singapore - marina at keppel bay

If you keep going, the boardwalk eventually reaches Keppel Bay, where you’ll find a yacht marina. Plan to end your walk in the evening and you’ll be rewarded with golden rays setting on the horizon. You can even cross over to the Marina at Keppel Bay for a bite at Privé or Ristorante Palermo.


7. Cycle from the Singapore Flyer to Changi Village for overseas vibes


Should 2 wheels instead of 2 legs be more up your speed, then we recommend going for a long-distance cycling route if you want a different way to explore the island. The most scenic route voted by our team is the one that starts from the Singapore Flyer and ends at Changi Village.

things to do singapore - long distance cycling route

The first quarter of the route brings you around famous landmarks of the Singapore skyline like the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens By The Bay, and Marina Barrage. Then, it’s a cruise along the Park Connector Network (PCN) along East Coast Park. You can stop here to refuel at Aloha Beach Bar & Cafe, one of the rare beach clubs that isn’t at Sentosa.

things to do singapore - changi bay point

Once you’re well-rested, make the journey north on the Changi Bay PCN towards Changi Bay Point. If you thought the waterfront views at ECP were terrific, you’re in for a treat on this leg of the ride.

The trail continues onto Tanah Merah Coastal Road, which passes through a wide expanse that looks like forests you might find in Australia. Go up further and you’ll also pass through flower patches and lalang fields that give major Jeju vibes.

things to do singapore - changi bay point 2


8. Experience SG’s varied nightlife beyond the “big clubs”


things to do singapore - marquee
Marquee.

We’ve been guilty of name-dropping Zouk and Marquee every time tourist friends ask us what nightlife Singapore has to offer. And while those are fun places to hit up on weekends, there’s much more than just raising the roof to Waterfall by R3HAB available.

things to do singapore - ume san 100

If booze with a view is what you’re after, we like heading to rooftop bars like Mr Stork at Andaz and Lady Wu, where you can take in the glittering Singapore skyline. Otherwise, for a more private space, search for hidden bars such as Mama Diam and Ume San 100. Combine the 2, and you get The Otherside, a hidden rooftop bar known for its selection of craft beers.

things to do singapore - drip
Pool party at Drip, anyone?

Should you still want dancing on the table for the night, clubs like Tuff Club, Drip, and Yang Club play a range of techno, house, and EDM and cater to smaller crowds.


9. Tour Singapore’s most unusual theme park based on hell


things to do singapore - haw par villa
10 Courts of Hell.

Haw Par Villa is one attraction that has really stood the test of time. Built in 1937, it’s considered Singapore’s oldest theme park that’s still operating. The park has undergone more than a handful of renovations and has managed to stay relevant even after all these years.

things to do singapore - hell's museum
Hell’s Museum.

Sure, there’s still the ever-terrifying 10 Courts of Hell and dioramas containing more than 1,000 statues. But this place has gotten a facelift with a new attraction – Hell’s Museum. It touches on the taboo subject of death and how it’s handled by various religions in Singapore. 

things to do singapore - the container hotel
Image credit: The Container Hub

If just touring the park grounds isn’t enough, you can even choose to stay overnight for extra spooks at The Container Hotel. It’s a cosy space, but large enough to accommodate up to 4 with living and dining areas, as well as a kitchen.

Haw Par Villa
ADMISSION FEE
Adults: $18 Child: $10
ADDRESS
262 Pasir Panjang Rd, Singapore 118628
Opening Hours: Wednesday 09:00 a.m - 08:00 p.m  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.2
(6058)
ADDRESS
27 Zehnder Road Haw Par Villa Carpark C, 118628
Opening Hours: Wednesday Open 24 Hours  Show More Timings 
CONTACT INFORMATION
RECOMMENDED TICKETS AT S$203.03

10. Watch a show at the Singapore Repertory Theatre 


For most of us, catching a play or performance means heading to the Marina Bay Sands Theatre or Esplanade. But one place that rarely gets mentioned is the Singapore Repertory Theatre.

things to do singapore - singapore repertory theatre 2
Local production: 2:22 – A Ghost Story
Image credit: Singapore Repertory Theatre via Facebook

The local theatre company regularly puts up original plays and musicals written and directed by Singaporeans. They’ve also done internationally-acclaimed productions such as The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), and kid-friendly storytelling sessions for tales like The Cat in the Hat and The Three Little Pigs.

things to do singapore - singapore repertory theatre
Image credit: Singapore Repertory Theatre

You can catch a show at the KC Arts Centre, a cosy venue that seats only 380 people. This means a more intimate space where the audience will be able to catch each actor’s performance nuances in detail.


Things to do in Singapore recommended by The Smart Local team

If these places and pictures look familiar, then here’s a heartfelt thank you for sticking with us for the past 10 years. But it doesn’t matter if you’re a loyal reader or someone who’s clicking in for the first time. We’re glad you’ve taken the time to check out the recommendations that come from trawling almost every square inch of Singapore in the past 10 years.

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