Chinatown’s once characterful shophouses have been rendered improbably perfect by restoration, but the area is still home to many shrines and shops specializing in Chinese food, medicine and other products.
#02 The Singapore Skyline
© martinho Smart/Shutterstock
Singapore’s clubbing scene is small but seriously happening, with space-age decor and regular visits by world-famous DJs.
#04 The Arts Scene
From ballet in the ultramodern Esplanade complex to street performances of Chinese opera, Singapore’s entertainment scene has something for everyone.
Esplanade © Burachet/Shutterstock
#05 The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Chinatown’s biggest, newest and brashest temple has its own museum, roof garden and, most memorably, thousands upon thousands of Buddha figurines.
#06 Little India
Little India is easily the most atmospheric of Singapore’s historic quarters, with colourful south Indian-style shrines, spice shops and outlets blaring Tamil music.
#07 Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Crisscrossed by several easy trails, this pocket of primary rainforest offers an authentic jungle experience, minus leeches but with the prospect of coming face-to-face with hyperactive macaques.
#08 Boat Quay
Boat Quay is alfresco dining at its best, the reflected lights of its myriad riverside bars and restaurants dancing on the waters of the Singapore River by night.
The annual fire-walking festival is centred on the Sri Mariamman temple, a Hindu shrine that, in true multicultural Singapore style, happens to be in the heart of Chinatown.
#10 Changi Prison Museum
Centred on a replica wartime chapel, this is a hushed and moving memorial to the horrors perpetrated in Singapore during World War II.
© Sam DCruz/Shutterstock
#11 Arab Street
Dominated by the golden-domed Sultan Mosque, the area around Arab Street is a fascinating mix of carpet-sellers, curio shops and alternative boutiques, and its informal Arab and Malay restaurants are a great place to chill out in the evening.
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#12 Zoo and Night Safari
Spot polar bears and Malayan tigers at this excellent zoo; one section is entirely devoted to nocturnal animals and open, appropriately, at night.
#13 An Orchard Road Shopping Spree
Think Oxford Street, Fifth Avenue or Ginza: Orchard Road has enough famous brands to impress even the most jaded shopaholic.
© Ronnie Chua/Shutterstock
Packed with hair-raising rollercoaster rides and fantastic re-creations of everything from big-city America to ancient Egypt.
#15 National Museum
Take stock of Singapore’s transformation from rustic island to hi-tech metropolis, a story enlivened by plenty of oral-history clips.
#16 Street Food
Enjoy Malay and south Indian curries and a bewildering range of Chinese rice and noodle dishes – mainstays of Singapore’s delightful and inexpensive street food – in myriad food markets called hawker centres and in the kopitiam diner.
Genuinely world-class, Singapore’s Botanic Gardens feature everything from jungle and ornamental tropical shrubs to a dazzling collection of orchids.
Top image © Travel man/Shutterstock