This August has been a particularly exciting time for Singapore, as locals paint the town red on the occasion of its 58th birthday. Here at SilverKris, the team has put together a comprehensive list of all the things to love about The Little Red Dot – from its exciting arts and cultural scene and world-class dining experiences to its medley of entertainment offerings.
In this fourth and final part of the series, discover just why Singapore is nicknamed the Garden City, where to go if you have young kids in tow, as well as myriad other attractions to keep your social calendar packed.
To catch up on reasons 1–43, check out our earlier three stories: the arts, culture and heritage edition, the hotels, F&B and nightlife edition and the fashion, shopping, health and wellness edition.
44. A city of heritage trees
Singapore’s moniker of “Garden City” is certainly well-deserved – the island’s natural splendour is clear even in its most densely urban areas. Initiatives such as the NParks Heritage Tree scheme recognise this fact. Under this programme, more than 200 trees across the island are recognised as important green landmarks that have botanical, social, historical, cultural or aesthetic value. Some examples include the majestic Indian rubber tree at the Duxton Plain Park or the Johor Fig at Botanic Gardens, but there are plenty more around the island – including 17 in Fort Canning Park alone.
45. Adrenaline-pumping activities galore
The city-state has so much more to it than soaring skyscrapers and glitzy malls. Thrill-seekers can venture with Beyond Expeditions Singapore into the World War II tunnels and bunkers in Marsiling, home to giant geckos and knee-high sludge. If you’d like to brush up your knowledge on the wonders of Singapore’s hidden biodiversity, The Untamed Paths offers various mangrove rambles and intertidal walks. “At The Untamed Paths, we are passionate about wildlife education and nurturing the curious wildlife naturalist within every Singaporean. Our deep field expertise and experiential learning approach link complex natural science concepts in a fun and engaging way, inspiring a lifelong love for the natural world,” says founder Dennis Chan.
For a coastal adventure, Kayak Fishing Fever sees guests kayaking past sunken wrecks, deep-sea structures in search of parrot fish, grouper and snapper, and the rare glimpse of a hawksbill sea turtle. Meanwhile, Forest School and Longkang Adventures welcome children to fun-filled outdoor experiences, where they can build their own raft with foraged materials in the forest and soak in mud baths.
46. Adventures out at sea
Once you’ve explored the mainland, take to the open water on The Royal Albatross. Despite a resemblance to the majestic vessels of old, its interiors have been refitted with modern amenities like a five-star restaurant-grade kitchen galley. Its newest offerings include a City Lights Weekday Cruise with free-flow drinks as well as a pirate-themed cruise with a slew of kid-friendly activities. If you’re a cat lover, don’t miss the world-first Cat Cruise. This unique cruise allows guests to bring their feline friends aboard for the ride and enjoy access to their own personal cabin.
47. The modern metropolis still offers a slice of farm life
Take a little road trip to Singapore’s rolling countryside to experience the city-state’s agricultural heritage. At Bollywood Veggies, learn about organic farming practices and enjoy hearty farm-to-table meals such as blue pea nasi lemak (fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf) at their charming bistro. Visit Hay Dairies to interact with adorable goats and witness the milking process, or embark on a sensory tour at land-based fish farm Atlas Aquaculture. In the eastern corner of Singapore, The Sundowner – Nature Experience Space offers guests a chance to interact with bees, and embark on a honey-tasting session to appreciate the tastes, textures and colours of honey from all around the world. To read more about educational farm experiences in Singapore, click here.
48. Delightful local farmer markets
Discover the essence of Singapore’s agricultural scene at various farmers’ markets. Amid the colourful Peranakan houses of Joo Chiat, you’ll find the Joo Chiat Farmer’s Market, which takes place every other weekend, featuring fresh vegetables and fruits, artisanal baked goods and house plants. For a truly idyllic countryside experience, drive up to the Kranji Countryside Market in the far north. Families can delight in great deals on local produce, meet the farmers, learn all about eggs, experience a farm-to-table experience and lots more.
49. Heart-warming (and Instagram-worthy) community initiatives
Despite being hyper-urbanised, Singapore’s kampong spirit (a colloquial term for neighbourliness and community) still thrives. Every Sunday morning, take in the charming sight of hundreds of bird-loving uncles who gather with their prized songbirds at the Kebun Baru Bird Singing Club. Says club co-founder Robin Chua, who is in his 70s, “The kampong spirit is very much alive among the hobbyists. They come very early to enjoy the cool morning air; have a morning cuppa with their friends and catch up with the latest happenings or discuss the health or singing prowess of their pet birds. These bird owners come from all stations of life, different races and religions, and together, they are an epitome of social harmony.”
Also in the Kebun Baru area, you can find colourful murals depicting ang ku kueh (traditional Chinese pastry made with glutinous rice flour), nostalgic White Rabbit candy and other old-school treats on the walls of housing estates. These wayfinding murals were specially painted to help elderly citizens with dementia find their way home. At the citizen-driven Green Hub on Bishan Street 12, you’ll find a community garden, pet farm, library and even a void deck (the ground floor of HDB public housing blocks) decorated with vintage curios and decorative items that make this place unlike any other.
50. Urban jungle ramblings
Perhaps surprisingly, those looking to channel their inner Indiana Jones will find no shortage of rugged spots in this cosmopolitan city. A jaunt through Clementi Forest takes you through mist-filled jungle growth, huge ferns, old railway tracks, secret tunnels and crossings over muddy streams. Take a little detour off the Rail Corridor to the “Lost Ark”, a hidden wooden deck built out of a fallen tree by a resident that looks amazing in drone shots. You can even follow the Pipeline Trail that traces the source of Singapore’s water supply. Stretching from the south to the north of Singapore in Woodlands, the trail comprises rolling hills, unpaved paths and massive pipes that lead to Malaysia. Head to another off-the-radar spot: Keppel Hill Reservoir is an abandoned reservoir near Mount Faber built during the colonial period of Singapore. As natural sunlight filters through its foliage, an otherworldly atmosphere emerges.
51. Home to many resident – and visiting – feathered friends
Singapore may be a mostly concrete jungle, but it is also home to a surprisingly diverse population of birds – especially during the migratory season between October and March. As you walk around the city, some common species you might encounter include the Black-naped oriole (which is actually yellow), the bright Blue-collared kingfisher and the majestic Oriental pied hornbill. To maximise your chances of spotting them, check out this guide to birdwatching in Singapore, or head to the recently opened Bird Paradise.
52. Quirky public housing architecture and façades
Over 75 percent of Singapore’s population live in HDBs – government flats built by the Housing and Development Board. But being a common sight doesn’t make them any less visually interesting. Case in point: a few buildings along Tampines Street 42 are painted with the TV test signal of bygone days, while Blocks 1 to 7 along Teck Whye Avenue sport the lively red, blue and yellow squares that hark to Dutch Modernist painter Piet Mondrian’s works. Other contenders include SkyResidence, SkyVille and SkyTerrace at Dawson, which also boast rooftop gardens with panoramic views, as well as the the unique four-leaf clover-shaped Block 259 at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 2.
53. A well-connected island-wide trail network
Walking is often the best way to experience a city, and the Park Connector Network makes it extra enjoyable to explore Singapore by foot. Comprising more than 30km of trails, it links up the island’s many green spaces and passes through diverse habitats, from forests to coastlines. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for the local wildlife like Long-tailed macaques, Smooth-coated otters, and Red junglefowl. A word to the wise: it’s unlikely you can cover the entire trail in a single day, so pick a section and enjoy taking the scenic route.
54. A beach club for every taste
Visitors flock to Sentosa for its theme parks and attractions such as Universal Studios, S.E.A. Aquarium and Madame Tussauds. However, Singapore’s pleasure island is also home to many beach clubs that offer not just direct access to soft sands and calm waters, but delicious cuisine, water sports, poolside cocktails and evening parties. A short walk from the very well-known Tanjong Beach Club, there’s FOC Sentosa on Palawan Beach, which serves Spanish tapas and paella in kid-friendly surrounds. For a Balinese seafood barbecue and Wednesday hip-hop happy hours on Siloso Beach, there’s Rumours Beach Club. And right next door, with a Hawaiian vibe, a menu to match and water sports offerings sits Ola Beach Club. If an on-site pool is not a requisite, the options go on: Coastes, Bikini Bar and Sand Bar are just a few.
55. Tiny islands full of character
Fun fact – Singapore is made up of 64 islands. Granted, many of them are either too tiny, or access is otherwise restricted, but there are a few you can get to by ferry. Apart from Sentosa, the next most well-known island is Pulau Ubin, whose villages, old quarries and wetlands can be explored by foot, bike or kayak. For some fun in the sun, Lazarus Island is a popular choice, especially since the eco-friendly tiny houses just became available for rental earlier this year.
56. Thrills and spills for the whole family
Looking for an action-packed day? You can’t go wrong with Universal Studios Singapore. Famous for rides like the fast, twisty Battlestar Galactica rollercoasters and shows such as Shrek 4-D Adventure, the theme park will soon be getting two exciting major updates. The first is a Minion Land zone, slated to replace the Madagascar area in 2024, and the second is Super Nintendo World – keep your eyes peeled for more updates soon. Alternatively, Wild Wild Wet is one of the biggest water parks in the city, with slides and rides that cater to everyone from toddlers to daredevils – a great way to beat the heat.
57. Home to the world’s best airport
Once again, Singapore Changi Airport made Singaporeans proud when it clinched the title of World’s Best Airport in 2023 – the 12th time it’s been distinguished with the coveted award. Open since 1981, the airport has seen numerous new terminals and the opening of the Jewel Changi Airport, a sprawling lifestyle hub that’s famed for its five-storey indoor garden, canopy park and the Rain Vortex – the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. The airport itself also boasts unique features like an indoor butterfly garden and a rooftop swimming pool. And with the airport being the first thing visitors to Singapore are likely to experience, it certainly leaves a striking impression.
58. And the world’s best airline
Along with chilli crab, the Merlion and Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Airlines stands as one of the country’s most internationally renowned symbols. Like its home airport, Singapore Airlines distinguished itself by winning Skytrax’s World’s Best Airline award for 2023. While the airline has always been a pioneer of luxury air travel, it has never been one to rest on its laurels, constantly refining its offerings. Apart from its revamped flagship SilverKris Lounge in Singapore and unrivalled Suites class experience on board, the Airline also recently rolled out unlimited complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi for all customers. Furthermore, Singapore Airlines continues to lead the charge in reducing its carbon footprint through innovative new technologies.
That wraps up our four-part “58 reasons to love Singapore”, a National Day-themed series brought to you by SilverKris.
Check out our prior three instalments here:
Part 1: The arts, culture and heritage edition
Part 2: The hotels, F&B and nightlife edition
Part 3: The fashion, shopping, health and wellness edition
This story was produced in partnership with The Royal Albatross.
To learn more about Singapore Airlines’ flight service to Singapore, visit the official website.