Singapore Shophouses

Singapore: It's More than Meets the Eye


Picture this: sprawling gardens sporting a full bloom of flowers. Massive halls flowing with sunlight. A 131-foot tall waterfall, cascading down from the heavens. Art that springs to life around you. A spa perfect for detoxing stress. World-class cuisine, a who’s-who of luxury shopping consolidated for easy perusing and playgrounds for all ages and imaginations. It’s not make-believe and it’s not an illusion: it’s Jewel at Changi Airport. Crazy, right?

The Jewel at Changi Airport
Jewel Changi

Crazy as it may seem, this is reality—Singapore’s airport has been ranked as the best airport in the world for six years running (it’s very difficult to argue with free movie theatres and a butterfly garden). But, as incredible as this palace for travel may be, it only just begins to showcase what Singapore as a whole is like—few places on Earth pack as much experience and excitement per square inch. Whether your time here is a part of your journey to elsewhere, a stop before or after your cruise or the sole destination of your getaway, it’s in your best interest to experience as much as you possibly can. Read on to get a good look at what makes a visit to Singapore so worthwhile.

Potato Head Bar
potato head bar

The Capital of Flavor

With Singapore’s identity composed of many different cultures and regional influences, the richness of sources manifests in many ways in daily life—none more delicious than its cuisine. You’re never far from mouth-watering dishes thanks primarily to the nation’s Hawker centers. Affordable, abundant and offering a wide variety of choices, Hawker centers are nationally cherished open-air food courts frequented by essentially the entire population.

With the abundance of delicious Singaporean dishes providing the foundation for this food-centric culture, the stars of Singapore’s culinary scene ultimately shine brighter. Michelin Stars have flourished in the city. So, while Singapore boasts the world’s first Michelin-starred food stalls, it’s total of 39 Michelin-starred restaurants simply begs for at least one fine-dining experience while in town. With fares ranging from Chinese to Malay to Indian to Peranakan to French and Spanish, there’s a delicacy for every palate.

Malcolm Lee
passion Ambassador chef malcolm Lee


If you can’t settle on where to eat, Malcolm Lee might have the answer. With his restaurant Candlenut being the first Peranakan cuisine to receive a Michelin star, he is the textbook definition of “expert” when it comes to the matters of Singaporean deliciousness. Malcom’s 3-day guide for visiting foodies should be considered gospel, and making this itinerary a reality is easy with the help of your personal Vacation advisor. 

It’s the Greenest City on the Planet

Oftentimes referred to as “The City in a Garden,” there aren’t many cities that can challenge Singapore’s claim of “greenest in the world.” Sustainability and eco-friendliness are on full display every which way you look, from the greenery-capped skyscrapers and verdant-lined walls to the numerous sprawling gardens and forests throughout the island. Whether it’s a scenic walk over the Henderson Waves Bridge, letting your curiosity wander within the lush worlds of the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest or gazing up in awe at the Super Trees of the Marina Bay Gardens, getting lost amongst Singapore’s greenery is a welcomed surprise to any day in the city.

Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay
Supertrees at gardens by the bay

Some of the Greatest Architecture of All Times

Between the trees, leaves and greenery, the other sight of the cityscape certain to take your breath away are the buildings themselves. The architecture of Singapore is an enthralling mix of old and new: one moment you might be strolling under the historic awnings of the 19th century Lau Pa Sat hawker center, and the next craning you vision up to the heavens to witness the Marina Bay Sands’ infinity pool, precariously balanced amongst three towers 57 stories up. Between these and the likes of the futuristic Helix Bridge, the regal National Gallery Singapore, the momentous Sultan Mosque and the aforementioned Cloud Forest, it’s easy to feel like you are time-traveling, but rest assured: you’re simply taking in Singapore’s sights.

Sultan Mosque
Sultan Mosque in kampong Glam

Home to Thriving Arts

The other sight you won’t want to miss within Singapore is its thriving art scene. Singapore’s art has blossomed in time with the city, growing ever-more vibrant as the city grew modern. The ArtScience Museum is the flower of the ultramodern: this lotus-shaped building stages high-tech art that weaves all mediums of art, technology, design, architecture and science together for interactive exhibits meant to blow minds. Less centered in the modern, but equally stunning, is the National Gallery Singapore. The former Supreme Court and City Hall, this historic structure showcases both majestic architecture and the largest collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art. Whichever way you head to discover, you’ll likely find your jaw dropping.

National Gallery Singapore
national gallery Singapore


Singapore’s art is a reflection of its contrasts. East meets West. Old meets New. Nature weaved with Urban Jungle. Jahan Loh has made an illustrious career out of studying this convergence—he’s been credited with introducing Singapore Pop Art to the international stage. And its with this keen eye for the contrasts of Singapore that he penned the definitive 2-day guide to the city’s heritage sites and progressive galleries—the perfect way for an aspiring artist to find a muse. Making this itinerary a dream come true is a simple as a discussion with one of our Vacation advisors.

The Cutting Edge of Cool

Naturally coming on the heels of a thriving culinary scene, Singapore’s craft cocktail culture is quickly rising to the ranks of the world-renowned—six of the world’s 50 best bars call Singapore home. As such, bar-hopping here is equal-parts art gallery and party: every stop is certain to contain an artist’s approach to the craft of cocktails combined with the ambience of a Great Gatsby party. Whether you’re sipping on the Antz Cocktail of Native, the signature Gomashio 2013 of suave-speakeasy Operation Dagger or any of the 1000-plus bottles of gin at Atlas, a night of revelry has never looked or tasted better.

Atlas Bar

Inspired by this list of reasons and wish to get started on experiencing them for yourself? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with a Singapore travel specialist, who can customize a dream trip itinerary that you deserve.