SINGAPORE: MORE THAN JUST A STOPOVER

Singapore is a place that you hear more about as a stopover destination than as a tourism hotspot in its own right. However, with cheaper flights from Australia, the island’s popularity is increasing and people are starting to see that this gem of a country has more to offer than what most people know about.

It is one of the cleanest and safest places in the world, which makes it a great place for children but also for those wanting to have an adventure and enjoy consistently warm weather.

Here’s a list of five of the hottest things to do in Singapore when planning your next trip.

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo has to be one of the most stunning zoos in the world with its huge open landscape and green surroundings. With massive trees towering above you providing natural shade from the sun and gardens lining the pathway, entering the zoo feels like walking into a rainforest.

The animals at Singapore Zoo are kept as close to their natural habitat as possible and it is evident in the way they are treated and displayed in spacious, landscaped enclosures including the world’s first free-ranging orang-utan habitat.

Small monkeys swing freely from the trees above you and lemurs dangle from branches with their tails brushing your face as you walk past. The bigger animals are kept within close distance through windows or hidden barriers such as moats. When usually you would see a rhino from a far distance, at Singapore Zoo you feel so close that you could almost touch them. It is a surreal setting and one that is very unique to the attraction.

Tickets are $28 for adults and $18 for children.

Universal Studios

There are theme parks and then there is Singapore’s Universal Studios. It takes a lot to set a theme park apart from the rest, but somehow Universal Studios manages to provide something unique which gives it that ‘one of a kind’ status.

Firstly, let’s talk about its location. Universal Studios is located within Resorts World on Sentosa Island so it becomes an adventure just getting there. Resorts World is filled with exciting stores and eateries including Hard Rock Café and Candylicious. It also hosts other attractions such as S.E.A. Aquarium and Adventure Cove Waterpark.

There is no doubt that Universal Studios is the main attraction in Resorts World and the first stop is a token tourist selfie in front of the giant Universal Globe outside. It is then through the gates and straight into Hollywood where you are transformed back to the 1970s Hollywood Boulevard complete with the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Mel’s Drive-In diner serving up delicious American-style burgers.

Universal Studios consists of 24 attractions that are divided into seven themed zones including Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi city, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away and Madagascar.

At $74 a ticket for adults, it is well worth it for the fun you will have and memories you will create.

Swimming with Dolphins at Underwater World

If you haven’t got swimming with dolphins on your bucket list, you’re missing out and what better way to tick it off the list with rare pink humpback dolphins at Underwater World on Sentosa Island. Underwater World is an aquarium located within walking distance from Siloso Beach and is home to more than 2,500 marine animals as well as a dolphin lagoon.

Although the aquarium itself is like most others, swimming with the dolphins is a unique experience. Each session goes for 45 minutes and is split in to two groups of four. The first group gets to jump in the water and play with the friendly dolphins including holding on to the fin and swimming with one of the cheeky males. If you’re lucky enough you might even get a kiss on the cheek and depending on the time you visit Singapore you could catch a glimpse of a new baby dolphin as well.

After getting up close with the beautiful species, the groups swap and move into a second pool area where you are treated to the extreme intelligence of these amazing animals. Splash the dolphin watches you eagerly as you instruct him to do incredible tricks including painting you your very own picture to take home. Watch out for a sneaky splash or two in your direction!

The session ends with a goodbye wave from the dolphins and then a surprise visit from the cutest little fur seal who gives everyone a big cuddle.

Although the tickets might seem a bit steep at $170, the experience is priceless.

Jurong Bird Park

Unless you have a real interest in birds, a bird park would not sound like an exciting place to visit, right? Wrong. Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park is a real eye-opener for the non-bird enthusiasts and once again delivers on a beautiful landscape with luscious jungles everywhere and birds thriving in their natural habitat.

One of the most memorable experiences at the park is the Flamingo Lake where hundreds of pink flamingos strut their stuff. It is a very tranquil setting and a perfect opportunity for photos. The park also hosts several bird shows including their Kings of the Skies show where huge hawks and vultures fly freely above you and display their hunting techniques. If you’re brave enough, you can volunteer to have one of the vultures fly on to your arm.

The Waterfall Aviary is a great place to stop for lunch and enjoy the scenery of the 30 metre waterfall while around 600 birds fly freely around you. You can also take a walk upstairs to a lookout, which has views over the bird park in all its glory.

Another spot to check out is the nine-storey Lory Loft where you walk across suspended bridges as bright-coloured lorikeets flock to you and may even let you hold them.

Jurong Bird Park is a must see and a wonderful day out to explore the 20 hectares of luscious jungle. There are plenty of eateries to have lunch in and a water park for the children to cool down in from the Singapore heat. The park also offers plenty of interactive sessions with the birds for you to enjoy or just take the time to relax in nature while learning more about the thousands of species of birds at the park.

Ticket prices: $25 adult $16 child.

Sentosa Island

If you really want to escape to paradise and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, then you need to spend a few days on Sentosa Island. The island is located about 15 minutes from the city and is accessible by transport, monorail or cable car. Once a military fortress, the island has become a tourist’s playground hosting the country’s main attractions including Universal Studios and Resorts World.

Although accommodation is slightly more expensive on Sentosa, it is well worth it. You can choose from a number of luxurious resorts that are surrounded by serene beaches, eateries and bars. The atmosphere on the island makes you feel extremely relaxed and every morning you can enjoy tropical breakfasts with surprise visits from the island’s locals including peacocks and tiny squirrels. Watch they don’t steal your fruit though!

When on Sentosa Island:

Stay: Siloso Beach Resort. Located on the funkiest beach on Sentosa, Siloso Beach, this eco resort does what it can to reserve energy and offers the most stunning pool engulfed in lush greenery. 

Do: At night, walk just a couple minutes to the Wings of Time show on the beach where a combination of pyrotechnics and special effects display a magnificent short story in the sky.

Move: Siloso Beach is also great for those who are into their fitness with a number of activities on offer including tennis, volleyball, kayaking and more.

Eat: For the foodies, there are plenty of eateries and several of them allow you to dine on the beach while indulging in delicious authentic food.

 

By Sarah Lamont

 

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