Things To Do
MacRitchie Reservoir: One of Singapore’s many hidden gems is the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. While it is easy to focus on city living and Singapore’s seemingly endless skyscrapers, the MacRitchie Reservoir Park offers an easy escape to the jungle, where instead of taxis and shopping malls you’ll find monkeys and lizards that can grow up to 3ft in length. There are several trails throughout the Park that are popular among hikers and joggers on the weekend, as well as canoeing and kayaking activities. The longest loop, which is 11 kilometers long, is great for the true athlete, while those seeking a leisurely walk will enjoy the boardwalks that line the perimeter of the reservoir or the TreeTop Walk—a suspended walkway 25 meters above ground.
Museums: Singapore’s long and rich history is well documented in several of the city’s museums. Topping the list is the Asian Civilizations Museum, located just across from the historic Fullerton Hotel and on the banks of the Singapore River. The museum offers daily tours and lectures, as well as special events and films. Two other must-see museums are the Peranakan Museum, located in a beautiful building built in 1912 that used to house the Tao Nan Chinese School, and the National Museum of Singapore, the country’s oldest museum, featuring a comprehensive trove of national treasures. The National Heritage Board website houses information about all the island’s museums, historic walking trails, and free tours—a great resource if you’re a history buff.
Shopping: Along with eating, shopping could qualify as a national pastime for Singaporeans. The country’s wealth has made it a prime market for luxury brands. Step into any shopping mall and you’ll see stores selling Rolex watches, Louis Vuitton bags, Gucci shoes—and eager shoppers spending thousands of dollars without breaking a sweat. Whether you choose to partake or not - a tour of Singapore’s nicest malls is a fun activity in and of itself. On any rainy weekend day, take a stroll through the shops at Marina Bay Sands, where you can take gondola rides in the basement or try out the casino or skating rink, or walk down Orchard Road—be sure to stop at the Orchard Ion and Paragon! For those wanting to score some budget items, give Bugis, Chinatown, or Haji Lane a try. All have great little shops and markets where you’ll find plenty of variety that won’t break the bank.
Sentosa: Sentosa, a small island accessible by taxi, cable car, or the Sentosa Express monorail is Singapore’s playground. A top spot for fun-seekers on the weekend, it features several beach clubs, golf courses, and the Universal Studios Singapore theme park. Opened in 1972, Sentosa means peace and tranquility in Malay - legend has it that it used to be known as Pulau Belakang Mati - meaning Island of Death from Behind in Malay, perhaps a nod to the region’s history of piracy. Long gone are the days of piracy and Sentosa is now a great escape for those wanting a quiet day on the beach or a thrill ride at a theme park.
Run, bike, walk: Singapore’s parks and walkways are a gift to the city’s active population. Many bike shops offer hourly rentals, so you can take a ride through the Gardens by the Bay or along the East Coast Parkway - two bike-friendly (and flat) places where you can ride for hours. Running clubs and outdoor boot camp classes are also popular, and are frequently offered in various parks—finding one near your home won’t be difficult. If competition is more your speed, check out events like the Sundown Marathon, Great Eastern Women’s run, the Color Run, and the Commando Challenge. For those wanting something more leisurely, take a stroll around the Botanic Gardens, a 74 hectare park open daily and for free (except for the famed National Orchid Garden). The park was founded in 1822 by naturalist Sir Stamford Raffles, and features three lakes, a six hectare tropical rainforest, and numerous other rare and endangered plant species.