Top 5 Things To Do In Singapore
Singapore doesn't have a romantic monument like the Taj Mahal, nor a gigantic Great Wall, or the outstanding beaches Thailand is famous for.
But Singapore does have its uniqueness, as a place where cultures, trade and technology meet, collide, adapt, improve upon. And some of the most "different" things to do in Singapore reflect the ability of the people in Singapore to take from different cultures and technologies, and carve it into something that's their own. My Top 5 reflects this Singapore spirit.
#1 : The Night Safari
This is a tourist trap, but a trap you'd want to fall into.
The majority of tropical animals are most active at night, so this night zoo, billed as the first nocturnal zoo in the world, is ideal for seeing them.
When you visit, you can see that much thought that has gone into the planning of this park. It is set amidst secondary forest, and uses a moat concept so that you can see the animals in as natural a habitat as possible.
The subdued lighting throughout the park allows you to see the animals without disturbing them too much.
#2 : The Peranakan Museum
This newly opened museum showcases a culture that is unique to this region. The Peranakans, also known as the Straits Chinese, are descended from the first wave of Chinese traders to settle here (in the areas now encompassed by Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia), way back in the 14th century. Over the centuries, they developed a unique culture, assimilating aspects of the different cultures that they came into contact with over the centuries - from Malay to Indian, Portuguese/Dutch and later British cultures. By the 19th to early 20th centuries, the Peranakan community had established itself as the political, cultural and social elite. The items in the museum show their love for the colourful, the ornate and the intricate. Their elaborate costumes, exquisite clothes, finely crafted jewellery, furniture, etc. still inspire designers today.
#3 : Mustafa Centre and Little India
Mustafa Centre reminds me of the emporiums that I used to visit in my youth, with its narrow aisles, and chock-a-block as it is with just about everything under the sun. Only it's huge.
Many go there to buy electronic and electrical items; Mustafa is famous for having some of the lowest fixed prices in Singapore. Also impressive is the extensive display of traditional gold jewellery. And... it's open 24/7. For more on the centre: Official Site of Mustafa Centre
And while you're there, why not explore the rest of the area, known as Little India? A few suggestions to help you find your way around:
- Pick up a Little India walking guide (brochure) from Singapore tourist information booths.
- Use the National Geographic's Walking Tour Guide to Little India
- Join a walking tour: Singapore Walks: Dhobi, Saris and a Spot of Curry
#4: The theatre scene
If you get the opportunity, try to check out local theatrical productions. These are often staged in English.
Theatre has come a long way in Singapore, and local playwrights provide interesting takes on life and culture in Singapore. Going to one of these productions will be very rewarding for anyone wishing to gain insights into how Singaporeans view Singapore life and culture.
To find current theatre listings:
Official Site of the Esplanade (major arts venue in Singapore)
Official Site of Sistic (major ticketing agent in Singapore)
For a listing of local theatre companies, go to:
- For the 'real' Singapore, visit the Heartlands
More on the interesting things you can do and see in suburban Singapore.
#5 : The heartlands of Singapore
The suburbs are the heart of Singapore. And you'll definitely miss a huge part of what makes Singapore "Singapore" if you don't go exploring one of the suburban New Towns where the majority of Singapore live, shop, eat and spend their time.
Sit down in a coffee shop and just watch the people go by, visit the wet market in the mornings, or sample local food at the food court, and feel the rhythm of life in Singapore.