It rains a lot in Singapore, and when it rains, it pours… often with thunder and lightning thrown in. When this happens there’s only one thing to do – head indoors and wait for the rain to stop. Luckily there are plenty of indoor activities to choose from while you’re waiting for the sun to re-appear.
Singaporeans love to shop, and come rain or shine, you will find them crowding out the shopping malls. If you’re looking to indulge in some retail therapy while you’re hiding from the rain, join the local population in one of the many shopping malls that line Orchard Road.
The shopping malls of Orchard Road are where the Singaporeans head to shop on a rainy day — Photo courtesy of Marianne Rogerson
Some of the malls (Ngee Ann City, Wisma Atria, ION Orchard and Wheelock Place) are linked by underground passageways, meaning you can shop to your heart’s content for hours, regardless of the weather. Additionally, three of the malls – ION Orchard, Plaza Singapura and 313 Somerset – have MRT exits directly into the mall, meaning you don’t need to join the masses trying in vain to find a taxi in the rain.
Away from the shopping malls, there are several excellent musems to choose from. Cream of the crop is the fantastic National Museum of Singapore. This museum is a great way to learn about the country’s entire history and culture in one sitting. The brilliant Audio Companion supplements the modern, high-tech exhibition with interviews, dramatised scenarios and personal accounts. There is a huge amount of information to take in here, so if it rains all day, so much the better.
The National Museum of Singapore is a great way to learn about the country's entire history and culture in one sitting — Photo courtesy of Marianne Rogerson
Singapore played an important role in WWII, being the focus of the greatest and most humiliating defeat in British history, and consequently the high point of the Japanese expansion in Southeast Asia. The Japanese occuption from 1942-1945 is one of the darkest periods in Singapore’s history and so there are several museums dedicated to this time.
The Changi Museum is undoubtedly the most poignant of all Singapore’s WWII museums. Dedicated to the Prisoners Of War who suffered incarceration during the Japanese occupation, the exhibition is compiled from interviews with former inmates and their families, making for a memorable and humbling experience.
The Singapore Art Museum houses the world's largest public collection of modern and contemporary South-East Asian art — Photo courtesy of Marianne Rogerson
Other museums worth visiting include the Asian Civilisations Museum, which celebrates the cultures of Singpaore’s ancestors; the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, which tells the story of the life and teachings of Lord Buddha; the Chinatown Heritage Centre, which focusses on the lives and background of Singapore’s Chinese immigrant population and the Singapore Art Museum, which houses the world's largest public collection of modern and contemporary South-East Asian art.
If you’re trying to entertain the kids on a rainy day, then head over to Sentosa and to Underwater World Singapore. Here you’ll find more than 2,500 fish and sea creatures from over 250 species. The highlight is The Tunnel – where a travelator glides you through an 83 metre acrylic tunnel while the rays, sharks, fish and eels swim around you.