Opened in 1973, Singapore Zoo uses moats and beautifully landscaped glass-fronted enclosures to house some 2800 animals. 28 hectares (69.2 acres) of land is divided into more than a dozen regions, featuring more than 200 species, including rare and endangered ones. The world's largest captive orangutan group can be found here. Two programs, Wild Breakfast and Afternoon Tea, enable visitors to interact with and learn more about six species of animals while having their meal (extra charges apply). Photographic opportunities, of course, abound. Other highlights include feeding programs, elephant and pony rides, animal shows and a tram ride.
This grand Buddhist temple in the heart of Chinatown is one of the most beautiful and sacred temples in Singapore. Visitors are welcome to explore the temple's five floors which include a library, tea house, and a museum of Buddhist art from across Asia. The temple's namesake tooth relic, believed to come from the Buddha himself, is kept in a worship hall on the fourth floor. Early birds can observe the morning chanting and drum rituals beginning around 5am, or there's a similar closing ceremony at 6pm. Don't forget to visit the meditative rooftop garden for beautiful orchids plus a panoramic view of Chinatown. The temple is an active place of worship and visitors are requested to dress appropriately.
Founded in 1859 with a mission to cultivate plants of economic potential, the 52 hectare (128.5 acre) Singapore Botanic Gardens made a historic milestone in 1877 with the cultivation of Malaysia and Indonesia's first rubber plantations. Today, with more than 600,000 plant specimens, it is clearly one of the world's largest botanical reserves. The park provides a comprehensive introduction to plants in a variety of settings, from rolling lawns and orchid gardens to a tropical jungle. Other attractions include the National Orchid Garden, Visitors Center, tea room, spice and herb gardens, and the eco-lake.
Standing guard at the mouth of the Singapore River is the Merlion, a mythical beast that is a cross between a fish and a lion. The fish symbolizes Singapore's close association with the sea while the lion head refers to the legendary sighting of a lion during the discovery of ancient Singapore. Created in 1972 as a tourism icon, the Merlion is especially attractive in the evenings when it is illuminated and spouts water from its mouth. Today, it has moved 120 meters (393 feet) away from its original spot, adjacent to One Fullerton. A stroll through Merlion Park yields great views of Singapore's colonial district. The souvenir shop carries Merlion t-shirts and other memorabilia.
Trace the events that have shaped Singapore from the 14th century right up to the present day at the National Museum of Singapore. Discover the rich heritage of its people, their ancestral roots, ethnic and religious diversity and past struggle for nationhood through dioramas, artifacts and a intriguing 3D show. Be sure to check out the 14-century Javanese gold jewelry, which hints at Singapore's glorious pre-colonial past. In addition to exhibits, the museum also screens a variety of movies that are woven into a theme of culture, history and heritage.
The first step of an ambitious plan to transform Singapore into the 'Garden City' or 'City in the Garden,' the Gardens by the Bay span a staggering 101 hectares (250 acres) of reclaimed land alongside the Marina Reservoir. From its grove of skyscraping Supertrees to the space-age biodomes, these waterfront gardens are anything but ordinary. Complete with its own waterfall, the Cloud Forest replicates a tropical paradise, while the Flower Dome encapsulates quintessentially Mediterranean climes. Even more fascinating is the Sun Pavilion with its collection of cacti and the topiaries of the World of Plants. Mesmerizing works of art are scattered across the three gardens - Bay East, Bay West and Bay Central - while the Heritage Gardens showcase Chinese, Malay and Indian culture through themed natural spaces. A magical world of wonders, Singapore's Gardens by the Bay are an awe-inspiring horticultural showcase of 21st-century design.