Singapore is an island city-state on the southern coast of Malaysia, known as the “Garden City” for its lush vegetation. It is one of only three surviving city-states in the world (with Monaco and the Vatican City). Singapore became independent from the British in 1965 and it is now a vibrant place and one of the most prosperous countries in the world (a world-leading economic center for banking and shipping). The city name is “Singapura” which means “Lion City” in Sanskrit, even if there have never been lions outside of captivity in Singapore. The lion represents strength, excellence, and courage.
10 amazing places to visit in Singapore
Merlion statue and business district
The Merlion, a mythical creature with a lion’s head and a fish’s body, is the Singapore national symbol. From the famous statue fountain, lit up in colorful, changing colors at night, you can enjoy an amazing view of Marina Sand Bay.
The view on the business district at twilight from that place is fantastic, as well. Even if there are 64 skyscrapers in Singapore, buildings taller than 280 meters (920ft) are forbidden because of the military airbase nearby!
Marina Bay Sand
This is the most famous hotel in Southeast Asia for its huge, boat-shaped rooftop with an amazing infinity pool. The famous TV show Asia’s Got Talent does its finale there. To experience the famous pool, you have to be a hotel guest (not cheap) but you can go to the rooftop for a drink and photography!
The view from the Observation Deck on the 57th floor is breathtaking. I strongly advise going for a drink and grabbing a bite. Book a table ahead of time and be there before sunset. You’ll enjoy the best view for landscape photography in town, in my opinion, and a very cool place!
Gardens by the Bay
This is probably one of the most famous landmarks and a must-see. There, you can discover the garden house, the world’s largest futuristic greenhouse building, the world’s largest indoor waterfall, and, of course, the amazing giant “supertrees”, a great mix of natural plants and steel.
From the rooftop of Marina Sand Bay again, but on the opposite side, you will discover an amazing perspective on Gardens by the Bay with hundreds of containerships in the background. Another reason to get to the rooftop around sunset for both sides amazing views and photography opportunities.
Chinatown and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Chinatown remains a real, traditional Chinese culture neighborhood next to the business district. You can enjoy great food (try some street food stir-fried noodles), lots of craft shops, restaurants, and temples everywhere.
One highlight is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. That Tang Dynasty architecture-style temple is really beautiful inside so go and have a look!
It houses a 7.5cm long tooth that is believed to belong to Buddha. Yes, 7.5cm is a bit long, potentially, but it’s Buddha, so…
After China, you can continue your world tour to Little India. Singapore is truly a melting pot of cultures with four official languages (English, Mandarin, Malay, & Tamil) and amazingly diverse neighborhoods. You can see and shoot the beautiful house of Tan Teng Niah.
Walking around, you’ll find superb Indian food, shops, etc… and many more colorful buildings that will be a pleasure for your eyes… and your camera.
Sri Mariamman Hindu temple
This very colorful Hindu temple is the oldest in Singapore (1827). It is actually in the China town district (not Little India), alongside Telok Ayer Bay. Goddess Mariamman is known for curing diseases and illnesses. Historically, this is where the first Asian immigrants were landing and going to pray and give thanks for a safe sea journey. It is really worth a visit.
The world tour continues with Arab Street and the famous Masjid sultan Mosque (on the right) and the Abdul Gaffoor Mosque (on the left), near Little India – I did tell you it’s a great melting pot here. It is really great to go around and enjoy the blend of cultures!
The Helix Bridge is one of the major landmarks of Singapore. The pedestrian bridge links Marina center and Marina south, near the iconic lotus flower-shaped Museum of Arts and Science. With beautiful views of Marina Bay Sand and the museum, it is really worth a walk (and landscape photography) at night when the 280 meter-long bridge is enhanced by multicolored, dynamic LED lights.
If you’re looking for a colorful view of the river, great restaurants, and nightclubs, the area near the Riverside Point shopping mall is the place to be. Go for a sunset photoshoot and then enjoy a nice diner in the area!
Of course, the above does not intend to be an exhaustive list of all the amazing places to visit in Singapore. I would also name the Singapore Botanic Gardens (the only UNESCO Heritage tropical gardens in the world) and the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (which hosts more species of trees than the entire North American continent). The city is an amazing source for getting beautiful photography prints.
A few additional practical tips
It is always a good time to visit Singapore! It will be tropical (hot and humid) all year-round with a temperature between 75-85°F (24-30°C). The period between November to January is a bit wetter but always an opportunity for shooting after a shower!
Public transport is impressive and can bring you anywhere you want to go (consider getting a tourist pass). Walking around the different neighborhoods is probably the best way to enjoy and discover this very diverse city. You’ll have amazing and endless photo opportunities, even in shopping malls!
Go for a different cuisine every day!
Food is amazing there and between Singaporean specialties (chili crab, Laska noodle soup, chicken rice) and Little India, China Town, etc… you can have a fantastic culinary experience from a different country every day. The hawker stalls around China Town and Marina Bay are really great.
So go or go back to Singapore!