The Jewel Cable Car links Mount Faber to the Harbourfront Centre and Sentosa, and is one of the more pleasant ways to get an aerial view of Singapore. Start your journey at the Harbourfront Centre, and from here travel up to Mount Faber. Covered by a secondary rain forest, Mount Faber is one of the oldest parks in Singapore and is home to Faber Point, one of the highest points in Singapore. Faber Point is a leisurely 10-minute walk from the Cable Car landing station and provides panoramic views over the city to the north and over Sentosa and the surrounding islands to the south. Also on Mount Faber, you will find the Jewel Box bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a drink with a view before continuing on your journey. From Mount Faber it is a twelve-minute ride back through Harbourfront Centre and on to Sentosa, crossing Keppel Harbour at 90 metres above the water. Here you are rewarded with views over the harbour back towards the city and over the whole of Sentosa and beyond. Sentosa is often referred to as Singapore's playground, and there is plenty here to keep you amused if you have time to explore.
Local Expert tip: The Jewel Box at the top of Mount Faber is a great spot for sunset cocktails.
The Singapore Flyer is currently the world's largest observation wheel, at 165m tall – the height of a 42 storey building, or 31 male giraffes stacked on top of one another! Needless to say, the Singapore Flyer boasts some of the best views in town, and on a clear day you can see as far as Malaysia to the North and the islands of Indonesia to the South. The journey takes 30 minutes, and with each of the 28 capsules is about the size of a city bus there is plenty of room to walk around to choose your view. Other attractions at the Singapore Flyer include Fish Reflexology, a Flight Simulator, Rainforest Discovery and various food outlets and shops.
Local Expert tip: For a more exclusive experience, book a cocktail, Singapore Sling or Moet & Chandon champagne flight, or go the whole hog and try the 4-course menu Butler Sky Dining package.
A delightful place to spend a couple of hours! The gardens were started in 1951 by John Laycock who also helped found the Orchid Society of Southeast Asia. Today, more than 2 hectares (5 acres) are devoted to some 200 varieties of vibrantly colored orchids, including the light purple Vanda Miss Joaquim, Singapore's national flower. The remaining land is dotted with verdant foliage, a water garden, an organic herb and spice garden and a fruit orchard. Plan to enjoy a meal at the Vanilla Pod restaurant, where signature dishes are created using edible orchids; alternatively you can have a quick meal at the casual Café Vanda.
The Night Safari is the world's first night-time wildlife park and is one of Singapore's most popular visitor attractions, with over 11 million visitors since it opened in 1994. Subtle lighting allows visitors to view over 1,000 nocturnal animals from 120 different species in their naturalistic habitat as they explore the 40 hectares of lush secondary rainforest. The eight geographical zones can be explored by a 45-minute tram ride with on-board commentary, or on foot via three 20-minute walking trails. The two shows – Creatures of the Night, where animals show off their prey-catching prowess and survival skills, and Thumbuakar, with its tribal dances, blowpipe demonstrations and fire-eating displays – are held several times a night.
Local Expert tip: Get there early to allow time to take both the tram and explore the jungle paths on foot, in addition to enjoying the shows.
The beautifully presented 20 hectare Jurong Bird Park is the World's largest bird park, housing over 8,000 birds from more than 600 species. Highlights include the African Waterfall Aviary – the world's largest walk-in aviary, with the world's tallest man-made waterfall and 1,500 brightly coloured birds; and The Lory Loft, with its suspension bridges, wooden walkways and the opportunity to feed the hundreds of brightly coloured parrots. Feeding times take place throughout the day and are organised around the live shows. An air-conditioned monorail ride gives panoramic views while getting you from A to B in comfort.
Local Expert tip: All kids (and adults!) will love the Birdz of Play wet play area, and it is a great way to cool off on a hot day. Make sure you take a change of clothes for everyone.
The Singapore Zoo is regarded as one of the best zoos in the world, so a visit here is an absolute must for families. This model example of an 'open zoo' houses 2,530 animals from 315 species within its 28 hectares, in spacious landscaped enclosures, separated from visitors by concealed moats, or glass-fronted enclosures. Feeding times and a range of animal shows are spaced throughout the day, meaning whatever time you visit you will be able to watch someone having their breakfast, lunch or dinner, or be entertained by them. Those visiting with children shouldn't miss the Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife – the only place in the world where you can breakfast with an orang utan! Kids of all ages will also love the Rainforest Kidzworld wet play area.
Local Expert tip: The Rainforest Kidzworld wet play area is a highlight for many young kids, and is a great way to cool off – make sure you bring a change of clothes for everyone.
A moving tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in defense of Singapore and Malaysia during WWII, the Kranji War Memorial is a sprawling complex of monuments and cemetery plots. The graves of 4000 military personnel are marked with simple white stones, while the names of 24,000 additional personnel whose remains were lost are inscribed on 12 columns. Several other memorials commemorate soldiers and civilians who died during the Japanese occupation. The vast quantity of names and markers is astonishing.
Singapore and Rio de Janeiro are the only two cities in the world with any significant remaining primary rainforest. Bukit Timah, at about 164 hectares (405 acres), isn't massive by any stretch, but within its borders grow more species of trees than on the entire North American continent. A trip here should start at the Visitor's Centre, which has informative displays about the flora, fauna and natural history of the reserve. Then, walk some of the numerous well-marked paths, and be on the lookout for exotic birds, butterflies, monkeys, squirrels and flying lemurs, as well as unique plantlife. Some of the trails lead to Bukit Timah Hill, the highest point on the island.
A unique attraction, Snow City is just what it sounds like it might be: a 3000 square meter (32,000 square feet) indoor winter fun center. When the humidity is 90% and the temperature hits the 30°C mark (upper 80s Fahrenheit), there's no better place to be! Not only is it refreshingly cold inside, there's a lot of fun to be had, whether you choose to ski, snowboard, tube or build a snowman. About half the interior is kept covered with snow (at a depth of about 400mm or 16 inches), which is artificially manufactured using atomized water, liquid nitrogen and a specially designed snow gun. Winter jackets and snow boots are provided at no extra charge.
There's no doubt about it: Singapore is a busy, crowded city. If the activity becomes just a bit too much, this nature reserve is a great retreat. You may not completely escape civilization (after all, there are over 4 million permanent residents on the island, plus innumerable tourists at any given time), but it's certainly quieter and less populated than the Financial District! Several trails criss-cross the reserve, taking visitors through mangrove swamps teeming with wildlife. Along with a plethora of birds, mudskippers, various shellfish, snakes, monitor lizards and otters make their homes here. On Saturdays there are free guided tours at 9:30am, and 3:30pm. And watch out for crocodiles!