Perceived as an economic concrete jungle, Singapore is recognised as being a worldwide financial centre powerhouse. For this reason, many backpackers and first-time travellers on a budget visiting South East Asia fail to consider Singapore as a travel destination. However, there is more to Singapore than just banks! The city exudes with diverse and countless points of interest, beautiful botanical parks and gardens and an interesting mix of cultures representing many other areas of Asia. These A to Z sites are merely a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) ride away. Even on a tight budget, it is nice to know these Top Ten will not put a dent in the budget!
1. Asian Civilizations Museum
MRT: City Hall Station
The sphere of historical artifacts in this museum pertains to all things relating to Asian heritages set within eight galleries. The Singapore River Gallery digresses from the descent of Asian people, and focuses on 700 years of history of the river itself. Cost = $8 USD for adult entry.
2. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
MRT: Newton, then take SMRT Bus 171
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve places Singapore on the map as a genuine green zone and is one of the last remaining tracts of rainforest in Singapore. Extending over 400 acres, the reserve is home to over 500 species of animals, including butterflies. Cost = Free (as far as we can tell!).
MRT: Chinatown Station
The proud heritage and architecture that bear Chinese’s influence in Chinatown are always abuzz with activity, dining options and just great for people watching. A visit to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is in order, which houses a tooth said to have belonged to Buddha. Cost = Free (but not free food of course!).
China Town Street Food in Singapore
4. Chinese and Japanese Gardens
MRT: Chinese Garden
Renew the spirit with a visit to the tranquil but dissimilar gardens situated on two artificial islands in Jurong Lake. The Chinese Garden offers pagodas, arched bridges and stones attributed to the style of the Imperial Sung dynasty (969 AD – 1126 AD). The Japanese Garden is accessible via a bridge and embraces the blending of rocks, lanterns, sand and water. Cost = Free!
5. Singapore Zoo
MRT: Ang Mo Kio Station, Then Bus No. 138 to Park entrance
The Singapore Zoo does a popular “Night Safari” tour through a tropical rainforest as the wildlife tends to be more active at night. Enjoy this unique adventure and be up-close with their “open zoo” concept. The big cats are separated only by a moat. Cost = $33 Singapore Dollars ($24 USD) – the most expensive attraction on this list, but one that lasts all day!
6. Little India
MRT: Little India
With the aromatic scents of a myriad of spices filling the air, Little India is everything Indian this side of New Delhi. The Sri Veerama Kaliamman Temple and the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple will ensure an authentic visit with their statues of Hindu deities. Cost = Free!
Hindu Temple in Singapore’s Little India
7. Maxwell Road Food Hawker
MRT: Tanjong Pagar, use Exit G to Maxwell Road
Singapore is a nation of delicious gastronomic delights. Visitors can experience authentic Singaporean cuisine with extremely reasonable prices by heading to the city’s most famous hawker centre. With over 100 food stalls, choose from a multi-variety of items. Cost = whatever you eat!
8. Sultan Mosque
The original mosque presented to Sultan Hussein in 1826 and was restored in 1928 with new additions. Considered one of the most important mosques in Singapore, its façade and interior present impressive scroll designs. The mosque is instantly recognizable by a bright orange dome topped with crescent moons and stars. Cost = Free!
Sultan Mosque, Singapore
9. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
MRT: Kranji, then take SMRT Bus 925 to reserves car park
Explore the ecological delight of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. This Nature Reserve features freshwater flora and fauna. It is home to the extremely rare smooth otters, long-tailed macaques, as well as the numerous rainforest birds found by the water’s edge. Cost = Free! (And well worth it!)
10. Esplanade / Merlion Park
MRT: Raffles Place
Along the Singapore River of this modern metropolis, some of the city’s most important landmarks are situated here. Besides City Hall, the Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, and Victoria Theatre, the symbol of Singapore is the iconic Merlion. This mythical animal consists of the head of a lion with a fish’s body resting on wave crests. Cost = Free to look!
Merlion Park, Singapore