With its diversity in culture, language, food, art and architecture, Singapore can be regarded as one of the most fun and exciting places to live in. This dynamic country has so many fresh experiences to offer, it is hardly any surprise that thousands of expats are choosing to move to Singapore each year. There are several things to see and do in Singapore, whether you are a resident or a tourist. Here are five uniquely Singaporean experiences that all expats must have:
1. Take a shot at the Merlion:
The Merlion, an 8.6-meter tall mythical creature that has the body of a fish and the head of a lion, is like the national icon of Singapore.The original statue is located at the front of the Marina Bay, next to the Fullerton Bridge. The legendary Merlion is now housed at the 2,500 square-meter Merlion Park. Every visitor to Singapore should soak in the beauty of the majestic Merlion with the Singapore skyline view in the background, or with the Marina Bay Sands view in the front.
Expats are known to frequent this area regularly, not just for the view, but also to try out the bars and restaurants along the promenade.
2. Watch the sunset from the Singapore Flyer
Standing at a height of 165 meters, the Singapore Flyer is one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the world. This unique “observation wheel” offers an unobstructed, 360-degree view in every direction. During your 30-minute “flight”, you will be treated to a panoramic view of the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resorted, the Merlion Park, Raffles Place, Collyer Quay, The Fullerton Singapore Hotel, the Asian Civilization Museum, Esplanade and the Floating Stadium. There are numerous dining and shopping options too, adding to the overall experience.
The Ferris wheel is operational from 8:30AM to 10:30PM, but the best time to hop onboard is around 6:00PM, so that you can capture the breathtaking sunset.
For more information on the Singapore Flyer, visit www.singaporeflyer.com. It is also possible to book tickets and packages online.
3. Go on a Late Night Safari Ride
Anyone can visit the zoo during the daytime. However, Singapore boasts of the world’s first Safari experience for nocturnal animals so that people can enjoy the unique experience of observing more than 2,500 animals in their natural nighttime habitat.
The highlight of this tourist attraction is a tram ride, which spans 7 geographical zones of the world. You can also choose to explore a walking trail, to get a closer look at the animals. The visit ends with a performance by a troupe of tribal warriors and the Creatures of the Night Show.
The authentic safari experience is further enhanced by dining offerings in a village setting at the Ulu Ulu Safari Restaurant. Guests can also opt for a movable feast on the Gourmet Safari Express.
The Night Safari operates from 7:30PM to Midnight every day. For booking tickets, log on to www.nightsafari.com.sg
4. Relax at the Botanical Gardens
Whether you are jetlagged or you just need to get away from your everyday routine, the sprawling Singapore Botanic Gardens can be your oasis of calm.
This haven is home to lakes, rainforests and different plants from all over the world. The highlight of this spot is the National Orchid Garden, which displays a wide variety of orchids. It is best to arrive at Tanglin Gate early in the morning and walk around the garden for about 20 to 30 minutes.
This 74-hectare garden is the only one in the world that is open from 5:00AM to Midnight, 365 days a year, without an admission fee. However, visitors do have to pay to enter the National Orchard Garden. For more information on Botanical Gardens, log on to www.sbg.org.sg.
5. Get down, in Chinatown
Being a nation of mostly immigrants, Singapore has many ethnic enclaves, with Chinatown being the largest. The traditional “shop houses” nestled below skyscrapers are a striking example of the two sides of Singapore.
Once you get there, head to the Thian Hock Keng Temple for some quiet Zen. Another place worth a visit is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, which is located right at the heart of Chinatown. This Buddhist temple & museum, which houses the tooth relic of Buddha, is based on the Tang Dynasty architectural style.
Other Singapore attractions that are also definitely worth a try include the Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Jurong Bird Park, Sentosa Island, Orchard Road and the Art Science Museum, to name a few.