9 Things You Must Do If You Are Heading To Singapore For The First Time

1 Singapore cityImage via Nathaniel Hayag

If you’re a woman looking to travel to a lively and exciting country, do consider taking a trip to Singapore. Singapore has been classified as the safest travel destination for women travelers. Here are the bare facts: Singapore enjoys a very low crime rate; only 0.1% of the women have reported assault and 98% of its citizens report that they feel safe walking about at night. Also, for women travelers, Singapore’s many hostels offer a safe, clean stay option. You get to sleep in dorm rooms, each containing 16 beds, with a bed costing you as little as 20 SGD a night.

Don’t you feel safe already? Now that that’s taken care of, here’s a look at all the fun things you must check off your list when you’re in Singapore.

1. Spend A Day At Sentosa Island

2 Sentosa IslandImage via k chedaroo

Sentosa Island is a lovely theme park that’s connected to Singapore by road. You arrive there via a cable car from Faber Peak or by taking a bus near Orchard Street. Paying the entrance fee allows you to enjoy all the free sights; rides, though, will cost extra. Take in the enchanting parrot show and the Underwater World. Go for a stroll around the fragrant spice garden. Relax by the waves on the exciting man-made beach or zip through the air at the Megazip Adventure Park.

 2. Explore Colonial And Precolonial Architecture

3 Thian Hock Keng Temple singaporeImage via Serendigity

The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd and St Andrew’s Cathedral are top-notch examples of colonial architecture. There’s also the incredibly beautiful Thian Hock Keng Temple, a national monument, built in the name of the Taoist goddess of the sea. The oldest Hindu Dravidian temple in Singapore is Sri Mariamman Temple, a worthy sight to see. Singapore is also dotted with statues of the half-fish and half-lion Merlion, a mythical creature unique to the city’s architecture.

3. The Singapore Zoo Awaits The Animal Lover In You!

4 Singapore zooImage via BKI Photography

Be sure to sign up for the exciting night safari to watch nocturnal animals rambling about in the moonlight. Watch thrilling rhinos and tigers walk right next to your vehicle, while fruit bats fly overhead. Be sure to explore one of the zoo’s many walking trails to see the animals up close.

4. Explore Singapore’s Foodie Haunts

5 Dry Laksa Singaporean dishImage via Anthony Leow

Be sure to try some authentic Asian food at Singapore’s food courts. Some of the fab, must-try dishes are: fish head curry, dry laksa (a spicy noodle soup), chicken rice, sambal stingray, fried hokkien mee (egg noodles with pork), chili crab, and chicken satay. Visit the Maxwell Food Centre, Old Airport Road Hawker Centre, Newton Food Centre, and the Makansutra Gluttons Bay. Also, check out the restaurants at River Quay and Clarke Quay at the upscale Marina Bay District.

5. Enjoy A Day In The Midst Of Singapore’s Gardens

6 Singapore Botanic GardensImage via John

The 80-hectare large Singapore Botanic Gardens with its indigenous tropical rain forest and rare orchids is a must-visit. Also, check out the MacRitchie Reservoir Park and walk the suspended bridge over still rain forests. Visit the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve for some lovely wildlife and birds. Do enjoy the Chinese and Japanese gardens, the Chinese Mythological Theme Park and the Jurong Bird Park as well.

6. Give In To Your Urge To Splurge

7 Orchard roadImage via Haris Nadeem

Nothing excites the typical woman more than a chance to shop, and Singapore is a shopper’s true paradise! Head out to Orchard Road and you’ll find everything from clothing to cheap electrical and electronic items, luggage, fancy bags, artificial flowers, jewelry, and more. Most of the malls on Orchard Road are connected via underground passageways, which are lined with more shops!

7. Have A Girls’ Night Out

Clarke Quay SingaporeImage via William Cho

On Wednesdays (Ladies Nights), order a Strongbow cider ($14.00) with canapés and enjoy the ambience while lounging on the outside patio of the KPO Cafe Bar on Killiney Road. You can also indulge in tacos, margaritas, and some salsa dancing at Señor Taco, River Valley Road, Clarke Quay. Barraka, at Unity Street, is the perfect place for a GNO, with lengthy menus, fabulous cheap wines, and guaranteed tables. Enjoy ice-cold sangria at Kazbar, in Capital Square, along with some Middle Eastern dishes. The Exchange, in Marina View, is also a fabulous place for a night of cocktails and some great food.

8. Explore Little India

8 Little IndiaImage via Cyrill Atanoso

Little India is a piece of India in Singapore. The Indian dialects, culture, food, and shopping here will make you feel like you’re actually in India. It’s a busy place on Sunday nights though, so it’s best to visit on a weekday. If you are traveling from India, you’ll find that Little India contains many aspects of old India, such as old temples and quaint old shops. These parts of old India exist side-by-side with modern shopping complexes. For example, you can buy anything your heart desires at incredibly low prices at the 5-floor Mustafa Centre. Just a little further is the Tekka Center, with hawker stalls touting Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, and Singaporean goods. Here, you can grab some quality cotton and silk fabrics and even excellent costume jewelry for low prices. On Serangoon Road, you can bargain for traditional Indian jewelry and pick up some semi-precious stones on the cheap.

9. Walk Around Singapore’s Bustling Chinatown

9 China Town singaporeImage via Felix Ng

Chinatown is picturesque; narrow cobbled streets are lined with rows of quaint Chinese shops complete with red lamps and paper dragons. It feels like you’re in a different world, at a different time. Lose yourself in the smells and sights of this unique place. You can buy various Chinese spices, clothing, jewelry, books, clocks, and vintage items here. You can also obtain unique things like crocodile oil, snake oil, animal teeth, charms, and Chinese medicines here; make sure to bargain, though! Also, be sure to explore the old and ornate Chinese, Buddhist, and Hindu temples that dot the streets. The Thian Hock Keng Temple (Temple of Heavenly Happiness), which is Singapore’s oldest Chinese temple, is also located here.

And A Few More Tips…

Singapore is magical at any hour of the day or night. Summer in Singapore is hot and humid but quite bearable. There are so many gardens and rain forests and miles of lovely greenery that you’ll hardly feel the heat. Singapore has an efficient bus service, but it’s best not to depend on it to get to the places you want to visit. We recommend that you stay close to the city center and explore the city by foot. Just make sure you invest in a comfortable pair of shoes and arm yourself with a good camera to take advantage of the scores of photo opportunities you are going to encounter.

** As a postgraduate in Mass Communications, writing comes naturally to Neha Singh, while traveling is extremely close to her heart. She is an avid trekker and explorer and often takes some time off of her busy life for mountaineering. Her ambition is to see as many places as she can in her life and she strongly believes in the Gandhian principle “Simple living, high thinking.”

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