Singapore is one of the world’s smallest independent nations, with just over 700 square kilometers of space.  Once a colony of Britain, this tiny country is now known for being one of the world’s least corrupt nations and for its innovative, competitive free economy.  Singapore is a mecca of shopping and fine dining, but that’s not all there is to do here.  Explore all that Singapore has to offer, from theme parks to nature walks.

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Singapore Zoo

The Singapore Zoo is a great place for families and people who love to see animals in a cage-free setting.  Rare animals such as the sun bear, white tiger, proboscis monkeys, pygmy hippos, and tapirs are on display here, but the real gem of this zoo is the free-ranging orangutan exhibit.  Feeding sessions and animal shows take place throughout the day, and the zoo has a wonderful kids’ area with a little water park—so bring the little ones’ swimsuits.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

These serene gardens are the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature.  You’ll find thousands of types of plants here, and you can spend hours wandering along the trails and enjoying the fresh air.  There are several themed gardens, such as the Healing Garden, which contains over 400 medicinal plants traditionally used in Southeast Asian medicine.  This is also the home of the National Orchid Garden, where the products of the park’s orchid breeding program can be seen.  Over 1,000 breeds of orchid and more than 2,000 hybrids are on display.  It’s easy to spend a few hours or even a whole day exploring this large botanical park—especially if you have a camera!

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Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

In stark contrast with the modern city of Singapore is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, which claims to house a tooth of the Buddha.  Located in the Chinatown area, the temple/museum has six floors with a variety of Buddhist religious artifacts.  The temple is free to enter, but you may need to make a donation to see the tooth itself.  There’s a lovely garden on the roof that you should visit if given the opportunity, and the whole building has air conditioning—which might make you want to stay for a while longer.  Keep in mind that the temple is active, so make sure to wear appropriate clothing and be mindful of those praying.

Cooking Classes

Food is one of the most important parts of society, so why not learn about Singapore’s culture by cooking and eating some Singaporean food?  Several companies offer cooking classes, the most prominent being Food Playground.  Learn to make authentic Singaporean dishes like satay, a skewered meat meal; coconut chicken curry; laksa, a thick rice noodle dish with a coconut-based chili soup; and kueh dada, a green-colored coconut crepe with a sugary coconut filling.  Classes are taught by local instructors, and private and corporate classes are available.  Try your hand and taste the results here, and bring the recipe home as a souvenir.

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Sentosa

This island at the southern tip of the country receives 5 million visitors and is home to several kilometers of perfect patrolled beaches.  Located less than a kilometer away from the mainland, it’s easy to access the island is easy using a footbridge, monorail, bus, or cable car.  On the island you can play at the Universal Studios Singapore theme park, explore the Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom, and zipline around the MegaZip Adventure Park.  You can also visit the Underwater World and Dolphin Park, where visitors can get up close and personal with humpback “pink” dolphins, as well as scuba dive with sharks and dugongs.

 

Photo Credit: Marianne RogersonWilliam Choedwin.11 and Adriaan van der Bergh