Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, and often referred to as the Lion City, the Garden City, and the Red Dot, is a leading global city-state and island country in Southeast Asia. It lies one degree (137A km; 85A mi) north of the equator, at the southernmost tip of continental Asia and peninsular Malaysia, with Indonesia’s Riau IslandsA to the south. Singapore’s territory consists of the diamond-shaped main island (commonly referred to as Singapore Island andPulau Ujong in Malay) and more than 60 significantly smaller islets.

Singapore is a global commerce, financial and transportation hub. Its standings include: “Easiest place to do business” (World Bank) for ten consecutive years, most “Technology-ready” nation (EIU), top “International meetings city” (UIA), city with “Best investment potential” (BERI), 2nd-most competitive country (WEF), 3rd-largest foreign exchange center, 4th-largest financial center, 3rd-largest oil refining and trading center and one of the top two busiest container ports since the 1990s. Singapore’s best known global brands include Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport, both amongst the most-awarded in their industry.

Botanic Gardens

The Botantic Gardens sprawl all over the place, over hill and dale, encompassing three ‘lakes’ and a variety of specialized gardens.A The Singapore Botanic Gardens are open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight and cost nothing to explore.

 

Marina Bay

With the 2010 opening of the Marina Bay Sands resort, the district of Marina Bay has quickly become Singapore’s tourism epicenter. The area’s growth has been fueled by its ideal location at the southern tip of the city. Neighboring both the financial and the historic districts, Marina Bay is a fun-filled buffer of modern entertainment and attractions like the waterfront promenade, the ArtScience Museum and The Float@Marina Bay (the world’s largest floating stadium).

 

Chinatown

As a nation comprised of mostly immigrants, Singapore possesses a number of ethnic enclaves. Chinatown is the largest of them. Packed with shops, eateries and food stalls, the neighborhood is constantly buzzing with pedestrians and shopkeepers.

Singapore Zoo

When you tire of the urban jungle, head to the Singapore Zoo. Here, you should venture to Primate Kingdom to spy an impressive variety of monkeys, tamarins and exotic foliage. At the Elephants of Asia exhibit, you can even feed and rub elbows with the big guys for a small fee. If you’re lucky, you might catch a show where trainers bring out crowd-pleasing animals for a tutorial.

Orchard Road

Every modern metropolis must have its commercial avenue. So, Singapore’s answer to L.A.’s Rodeo Drive, Barcelona’s Las Ramblas and Paris’ Champs-ElysA©es is Orchard Road. This electric boulevard buzzes with the swiping of credit cards, the whizzing of cars, and the humming of neon lights. With tons of eateries and more than 300 retailers, the massive ION Orchard shopping complex is arguably the centerpiece of the street, so you’ll inevitably be lured inside the designer names and stream of fashionable patrons.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

If you want to escape the metropolis, head to the serene Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Here, you can walk through mangrove forests filled with crabs, reptiles, fish and several species of birds. Although the park is enjoyable year-round, you’ll catch sight of migratory birds, such as egrets and sandpipers, between September and March.

Merlion Park

On Marina Bay, the Merlion Park hosts one of Singapore’s most recognizable monuments. The Merlion statue is the head of a lion with the body and tail of a fish, and the hybrid creature spouts water from its mouth and into the bay. Although the statue has claimed all the fame, the park’s true highlight is the panoramic view. Particularly at night, the urban vista with the spectacular Marina Bay Sands resort impresses visitors.

Sentosa

Nicknamed “Asia’s Favorite Playground,” Sentosa is an entire island dedicated to fun. You want family-friendly amusement; head to Universal Studios Singapore. You need some relaxing beach time; then stake your claim on two miles of sandy shore. You feel the urge to swing a nine iron; hit the tee boxes at the Sentosa Golf Club. And that’s only a few of the activities you can do on Sentosa.

Singapore Flyer

Ever since Chicago built one for the 1893 World Expo, cities around the world have learned that tourists really like Ferris wheelsa€”huge ones. In 2000, London built its famous Eye as the tallest wheel in the world. But Singapore didn’t wait long before constructing the Flyer, which trumps its British equivalent by almost a hundred feet. Since opening in 2008, the Singapore Flyer has offered visitors 360 degree views of the urban landscape from Marina Bay. Some travelers also remark that the bird’s-eye view of the F1 circuit is a highlight. One TripAdvisor user claims, “It’s a great way to get an idea of the layout of Singapore.”

 

Little India

Should you want a taste of India, immerse yourself in Little India. This cultural enclave features a dense network of streets and shops, where you can find anything from flowers and spices to massage oils and fabrics. Start by perusing the boutiques along Serangoon Road and then venture down the smaller alleyways to discover true souvenir treasures. And certainly, stop in the Mustafa Center, a mall that’s open 24/7. When your feet (and credit card) begin to tire, check out the gorgeous Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, a Hindu place of worship.