01 of 10
Suntec City is the embodiment of a small country’s big aspirations – the world’s biggest fountain is here, an 85-ton cast-bronze ring towering almost 50 feet over its gaping visitors, meant to bring good luck through the powers of feng shui.
The mall that surrounds the fountain is built from the same grand intentions – a proliferation of electronics, fashion, and dining outlets, several moviehouses, two food courts, and the French supermarket brand Carrefour, among others. The attached convention center has hosted many major international conferences.
Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Singapore
How to get there: Get down at the City Hall MRT Interchange. Take the City Link underpass and follow the signs leading to Suntec City.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
War Memorial Park & Civilian War Memorial
The World War II Japanese occupation of Singapore (February 15, 1942 - August 18, 1945) left an indelible mark on the country's psyche. The war years were a living hell for the Singaporeans, many of whom were imprisoned, plundered, and massacred by the Imperial occupying forces.
These experiences are commemorated at the War Memorial Park on Beach Road, a 1.4 hectare park that houses the Civilian War Memorial. The Memorial was raised in the memory of those who died during the Japanese occupation. The remains of unknown war dead are buried under the monument, exhumed from all over Singapore.
The Memorial is actually composed of four pillars rising 222 feet high, symbolizing Singapore's four major races (Chinese, Malay, Indian, and "other"). It was officially dedicated by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on February 15, 1967 - twenty-five years to the day since the island surrendered to the Japanese.
Since then, every year on that date (now known as "Total Defence Day"), the government holds a memorial service here to remember the thousands of people killed during the occupation.
Address: surrounded by Beach Road, Bras Basah Road, Nicoll Highway, and Stamford Road
How to get there: Take the MRT to City Hall MRT Station - the park is only a short walk from there.
Continue to 3 of 10 below.
- 1966 - the Civilian War Memorial (Singapore Ministry of Defence)
- Civilian War Memorial (Uniquely Singapore)
- War Memorial Park (National Parks Singapore)
03 of 10
Saint Andrew's Cathedral
This Anglican cathedral is the country's largest and most storied place of worship; the original structure was built in 1836, but demolished in 1855 among rumors of "unhappy spirits". The present Neo-Gothic structure designed by Colonel Ronald MacPherson and built with Indian convict labor.
The gleaming white interior walls and pillars are made from an interesting recipe: egg whites, coarse sugar, coconut husks, and shell lime were mixed together to make a mixture called Madras Chunam. This was applied to the walls, then rubbed with stones and dusted with soapstone powder to create a tough but glossy surface.
The cathedral's central light was dedicated to the memory of Singapore's founder, Sir Stamford Raffles. Over the west door, a window is dedicated to Colonel MacPherson. Other stained glass windows are dedicated to John Crawfurd, the country's first Major Resident, and Major General William Butterworth, the British Governor of the Straits Settlements.
Other memorials dot the cathedral site - a memorial to the victims of a 1915 mutiny on the north aisle; a memorial to the countless World War II dead; a cross made from nails rescued from the 14th century Coventry Cathedral; and a portion of the carpet used for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.
More historical tidbits can be picked up at the Visitors Centre at the South Transept, where pictures and artifacts are displayed for tourists. Guided tours around the cathedral can also be arranged.
Address: Coleman Street Singapore 179802
How to get there: Near City Hall MRT Interchange in Singapore's central business district. The cathedral is located right above the station.
Continue to 4 of 10 below.
- St. Andrew's Cathedral - Official Site
- St. Andrew's Cathedral (Uniquely Singapore)
04 of 10
Singapore's hardly a "city" anymore, but the building's name recalls the years when Singapore was a city ruled by the British. The structure was completed in 1929. It stands out from the other buildings in Singapore's colonial district, with its colonnade of Corinthian columns.
Like many of Singapore's historic structures, the City Hall bore silent witness to the atrocities of World War II. The Japanese occupying forces used the City Hall as their seat of government, and deployed prisoners of war from this place to POW camps at Changi and Selarang. Finally, it was here that the Japanese surrendered to the British in 1945.
City Hall also played an important part in the country's birth: it was here that then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew declared home rule in 1959 and independence from Malaysia in 1965.
By 2012, the City Hall and the adjacent Old Supreme Court Building will be the new site for the National Art Gallery of Singapore.
Address: 3 St. Andrew's Road, Singapore
How to get there: Take the MRT to City Hall MRT Interchange and walk along St Andrew's Road towards the Padang.
Continue to 5 of 10 below.
- Supreme Court & City Hall (Uniquely Singapore)
05 of 10
Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall
The Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall is actually two buildings, built separately - the town hall in 1862 and the theater in 1901, the latter built in memory of the recently-deceased Queen Victoria. A clock tower and a common corridor join the two buildings.
One building houses a theater that seats about 900 patrons. The other building houses a concert hall with the best acoustics in town (until the construction of the Esplanade in 2004); the hall seats 883, with an orchestra pit that seats up to 30 musicians. The Victoria was Singapore's pre-eminent arts venue until the Esplanade was completed.
In 1919, a hundred years after Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore, a statue of the founder was moved from the Padang to the front of the Victoria Theatre.
The Victoria was unspared the horrors of World War II - it served as a makeshift hospital during the invasion of the Japanese, and held the trials for the Japanese war criminals after their surrender in 1945.
In more recent history, the Victoria served as the birthplace of the ruling People's Action Party.
Address: 9 Empress Place, Singapore
How to get there: Take the MRT to City Hall MRT Interchange and walk along St Andrew's Road towards the Padang.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
06 of 10
If Singapore had an official mythic creature, the Merlion is it. The icon was designed in the 1960s as an official symbol of the Singapore Tourism Board, and it's taken on a life of its own since then. In the local "Singlish" slang, "to merlion" means "to throw up" (referring to the spout that ejects from the Merlion statue - thanks to its redundant piping, the Merlion never stops "merlioning").
The Merlion statue stands in a 2,500 square meter park beside the Singapore River, adjacent to One Fullerton and the historic Fullerton Hotel. A viewing deck stands ready to accommodate up to 300 people who want to survey the Merlion and the surrounding skyline. Boat passengers can also disembark here, thanks to a boat landing point near the statue.
Nearby, the One Fullerton offers a variety of restaurants and bars, where tourists can rest before going to the next stop on their trip. The historic Fullerton Hotel is ready to accommodate guests with some extra dosh; a number of cheaper hotels can also be found within walking distance of the Merlion.
Address: Fullerton Road, Singapore
How to get there: Take the MRT, get off at Raffles Place station. Exit towards United Overseas Bank (UOB) Plaza (refer to the map in the station for more details). From the middle of the plaza, you'll see Fullerton Hotel. Merlion Park is immediately behind it.
Continue to 7 of 10 below.
- Merlion Park (Uniquely Singapore)
07 of 10
The 42-storey high Flyer is the world's largest observation wheel. Everything about it is big - it stands on top of a three-storey building, carrying 28 air-conditioned capsules (with a maximum capacity of 28 passengers) to a height of 492 feet above ground.
Each trip takes 30 minutes, comprising a single revolution of the wheel. Passengers get breathtaking views of the reclaimed Marina Centre territory, the historic city center, and even views of Indonesia and Malaysia!
The wheel stands at the heart of the Marina Bay development. Future developments in the area include a casino and several hotels.
Address: 30 Raffles Avenue
How to get there: Visitors can take a free shuttle bus to the Singapore Flyer to the City Hall MRT Interchange.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
08 of 10
Built on reclaimed land at the mouth of the Singapore River, the Esplanade is home to Singapore's vibrant performing arts community. There's always something going on at the Esplanade, so look at the events calendar on their official site (see link below) before paying a visit.
This striking building evokes comparisons with the Sydney Opera House - the locals jokingly refer to them as the "Durian", as they resemble the malodorous local fruit. It houses a 1,600-seat concert hall and a 2,000-seat theatre. On the Esplanade's upper floors, a slick air-conditioned library lends out books and digital media.
The building also houses the Esplanade Mall, a retail center with dozens of restaurants and shops.
The nearby Esplanade Park hosts several monuments on its premises: the Cenotaph commemorating the soldiers who died during the First and Second World Wars; the former Indian National Army Monument that commemorates the Indian soldiers who fought for the Japanese; and the Lim Bo Seng Memorial.
Address: 1 Esplanade Drive
How to get there: Alight from the City Hall MRT Interchange, and walk through an underpass linking four shopping centers (Raffles City, Marina Square, Suntec City and Millenia Walk). This site has more transportation details: Esplanade - Getting There.
Continue to 9 of 10 below.
- Esplanade Theatres on the Bay (Official Site)
- Esplanade (Uniquely Singapore)
09 of 10
The Millenia Walk’s flagship stores boast some of the world’s most famous brands – Australian chain store Harvey Norman, German brewery Paulaner Brauhaus, fashion brands Fendi and Guess, and much more.
Millenia Walk’s Time Square offers what it calls a “Park and Dine” entertainment concept, bringing all sorts of high end dining brands together on a private street. Two hotels are immediately adjacent to the Millenia Walk: the Conrad Centennial and the Pan Pacific Hotel.
Address: 9 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore
How to get there: Get down at City Hall MRT Interchange, and board the complimentary shuttle service on Coleman Street bus stop.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
10 of 10
Marina Square is one of Singapore’s older malls, but don’t let that fool you – this gigantic complex still has what it takes. Its 700,000 square feet of retail space makes it one of Singapore’s biggest malls, with everything under its roof from movies to fast food to pharmacies to world-famous retail brands.
Three hotels stand on the Marina Square complex: Meritus Marina, Mandarin Oriental, and the Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore.
Address: 6 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore
How to get there: Get down at the City Hall MRT Interchange. Take the City Link underpass and follow the signs leading to Marina Square.