I don’t know about you, but I love Singapore. Even though the latest Time Out City Life Index labels it a boring city, I couldn’t disagree more. Singapore is far from boring. After holidaying there twice, we still haven’t scratched the surface of what it has to offer.
Singapore is packed with fabulous and interesting attractions and neighbourhoods to visit. Its skyline is defined by both old and new architecture and its multi-racial society makes it one of the most culturally fascinating cities in the world.
Then there’s the food! Singapore has cuisine from all over the world, and it’s home to some pretty amazing restaurants. In fact, eating your way through the city is a totally acceptable reason to visit!
But my favourite thing about Singapore is the immense array of blinding colours on display all across the city. Singapore is one of the most colourful cities in Asia and as a keen photographer, I’ve had a great time exploring and capturing the city with my camera. You really don’t have to venture too far to find the colours of Singapore, but to get you started, here’s where you’ll discover some great photo opportunities.
Little India is the most colourful district in Singapore and it’s best explored by simply walking around and getting lost in its many little streets. Colourful shops line these streets, selling all sorts of vibrant fabrics, saris and other garments.
There are great local markets to explore in Little India, selling everything from spices, Indian sweets, flower garlands, through to even more fabrics. There are also plenty of Hindu temples in the area which you can visit to learn about Hindu traditions.
A wonderful aroma of exotic spices, combined with the smell of burning incense sticks follows you as you wander around; and of course, Little India is the best place to go to eat Indian cuisine. But more than that, it’s simply a great area to explore for a couple of hours.
Koon Seng Road in Joo Chiat
Koon Seng Road in Joo Chiat is Singapore’s best display of Peranakan culture. The Peranakans were straits-born people of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian heritage. They settled in the area between the 15th and 17th centuries.
This neighbourhood is dotted with pastel and multi-coloured, double-storey terrace houses that are embellished with sculpted facades of animal reliefs and hand-crafted ceramic tiles.
Koon Seng Road is probably the most “Instagrammed” street in Singapore and it’s definitely worth the detour. While in the area, make sure you stop in for some authentic Peranakan food at Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant.
Chinatown is where many Chinese immigrants, arriving in Singapore during its British colonial days, settled. Therefore the whole area is awash with both Chinese and other Asian cultures. It’s a very busy tourist hotspot, with fantastic food, ornate temples, museums, old shophouses and local markets.
Chinatown’s busy streets are home to hundreds of stalls, selling everything from silk robes to cheap “made in China” souvenirs. If you like colour, bustle and food, then be sure to visit Chinatown. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the Chinese New Year celebrations, you’ll be treated to even more colour!
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay covers around one hundred hectares of reclaimed land, next door to the marina. It has breathtaking waterfront views and is home to a colourful, futuristic park with supersize trees, a flower dome and a cloud forest!
In the evening, don’t forget to head back to watch the Garden Rhapsody, a choreographed sound and light show set amongst the Supertrees. This show is free and plays twice daily at 7.45 pm and 8.45pm.
Emerald Hill is a quaint little street, just off the popular shopping street of Orchard road. It’s the former home of the city-state’s wealthy Peranakan community. It has a mix of colourful Peranakan-style and Chinese Baroque architecture.
Emerald Hill still remains an upscale neighbourhood but is also home to some trendy bars where locals head to chill out. The street isn’t very long, you can walk it in less than ten minutes. It’s a nice break from the bustling Orchard Road next door and it’s a great spot for photography.
Haji Lane and Arab Street in Kampong Glam
Haji Lane and Arab Street are two other vibrant streets to visit. Here you’ll find more historic shopfront houses to marvel at, and you can shop here for colourful clothes, carpets, hajibs, fabrics and souvenirs. You’ll also find several walls covered in street art. If you happen to be hungry, Kampong Glam is a great place to feast on delicious Turkish, Moroccan or Lebanese food.
Clarke Quay is located beside the picturesque Singapore River, in the shadow of the city’s Central Business District. It consists of five blocks of colourful, restored shophouses and warehouses, infused with some funky art-deco structures.
Back in the 1800s, these colourful streets were commercial and residential quarters. But nowadays this dynamic area is one of Singapore’s best dining and nightlife destinations. Rows of swanky bars and alfresco restaurants line the colourful boulevards, making the area popular with tourists and locals alike.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens are not far from Orchard Road and are easily accessible by the super fast and easy MRT (Mass Rapid Transit).
These tropical gardens are one hundred and fifty-eight years old and are home to a huge plant collection, beautiful walkways, rainforests, plenty of palm trees and a spectacular orchid garden with a thousand different species. As its national flower, Orchids are very popular in Singapore.
Of course, those aren’t the only colourful places in Singapore. You’ll stumble across colourful buildings and temples, flowers and street art pretty much everywhere you go, even in the airport!
So make sure you bring a spare battery and lots of memory cards. You’re probably going to be spending hours sorting out your photos when you get home!
Where to stay in Singapore
If you’re thinking of visiting Singapore (and you really should!), here are some of the top reviewed places to stay on booking.com:
- The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore – Right in the heart of Singapore, with amazing rooftop views.
- The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore – Close to everything and has an excellent breakfast.
Best value: [email protected] – A hostel with cool capsule pods to sleep in. Great location and very budget friendly. Plus they give you free orange juice!
- AMOY by Far East Hospitality – A boutique hotel with a great central location.
- Cayden Riverfront Residences – Spacious apartments in an ideal location next to Clark Quay.
Alternatively, you can use HotelsCombined to search across all the major accommodation sites. We use it all the time.
Tours and Attractions
In Singapore for a few days? Check out some tours and attractions you can do around this lively city.