Southeast Asia

8 Things to do in Singapore

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A futuristic city that combines lush greenery with modern urban landscapes, Singapore is leading the charge into "green" cities around the world. But beyond the parks and gardens which have earned Singapore the nickname, the Garden City, there is still a lot to do and see. From shopping to street food, here 8 of our favorite things to do in Singapore.

Marina Bay Sands

An iconic feature of Singapore's skyline, Marina Bay Sands is a giant hotel complex that features a hotel, shopping center, several restaurants, and observation deck. The rooftop bar overlooks the Gardens by the Bay and provides an incredible view of the city. It's also the perfect place to catch a sunset while drinking a Singapore sling.

Gardens by the Bay

Perhaps the most well known attraction in the city, Gardens by the Bay, is a fascinating and futuristic ecosystem of botanical gardens that will help you understand why they call Singapore "The Garden City". Gardens by the Bay features enormous biodomes with exotic plants, man-made supertrees, and beautiful park areas all connected by various pathways and suspension bridges. Go at night to see the supertrees lit up and stick around for the light shows set to music.

Chinatown

Take a stroll around Chinatown and explore Singapore's Chinese heritage. Navigate the tacky souvenir stands and explore the colorful shophouses and delicious restaurants. Don't miss the Chinatown Heritage Centre for an in depth view into Chinatown's past.

Orchard Road

If you're a shopper in Singapore, chances are you will find your way to Orchard Road. If you're in Singapore but aren't much of a shopper, chances are you will still find your way to Orchard Road. Busy malls, upscale designer stores and surprisingly good restaurants make up this popular shopping street. You may be surprised to find that it is actually very much a place of interest for locals and tourists alike.

National Gallery Singapore

Located in the recently renovated Supreme Court building in downtown Singapore, the National Gallery Singapore features a large collection of modern art from in and around Singapore. The gallery aims to reflect Singapore's unique culture and heritage as well as it's relationship with other Asian countries and the world as a whole. If you like modern art, this is a must visit.

Haji Lane

Lined with shophouses, Haji Lane, has become the go to street for independent shops, boutique designers and hip bars. Take some pictures exploring the colorful streets, visit quirky vintage shops or stop for a beer and some people watching.

Little India

Featuring some extremely well preserved shophouses from the colonial era, Little India is one of the most vibrant areas of Singapore. Roam the incense infused streets, enjoy amazing Indian food and visit colorful Hindu temples. A great place to get lost for a few hours.

Hawker Stands

One of the best reasons to visit Singapore is the food. With an incredible mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian flavors, there is no shortage of good food in the city. But what really makes Singapore's food scene special are the hawker stands. Visit any of several hawker centers around town for incredible and affordable dining. We're talking food courts with Michelin-starred street food.


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5 Reasons to Visit George Town in Penang, Malaysia

A charming, multi-cultural, World Heritage Site that some argue is the food capital of Southeast Asia? If you haven't heard of George Town yet, we are here to tell you that it should be on your bucket list. Here's why:

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The Culture

With sizable populations of Chinese, Malay, Indian and British, George Town is an extremely diverse city. Four languages are spoken widely - Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil. Several religions are practiced - Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Taoism. With so much diversity, a traveler could spend a lifetime engulfed in the culture and constantly be learning. The best part? The multi-culturalism spills out in every way imaginable leaving its mark on everything from the architecture to the food. 

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The History

George Town has a long and complex history. It was one of the first British settlements in Southeast Asia by the British East India Company. There was mass immigration of Chinese settlers in search of work during the 19th centurty. The city was subjugated by the Japanese during World War II and later recaptured by the British at the end of the war. There is a lot to learn about and a lot to see. Thankfully, the historical core of the city is a protected World Heritage Site and there are many historical museums and buildings in the city to visit.  

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The Architecture

Most of George Town's historical buildings are located within the UNESCO World Heritage zone. The architecture found here represents a fascinating mix of cultural heritage, mostly of European and Chinese style (as well as Indian influence in the Little India area). The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and the Pinang Peranakan Mansion are two of the most famous and beautiful examples of the unique style. 

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The Street Art

In 2012, as part of the annual George Town Festival, Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic created a street art series around the city depicting local culture and lifestyle. These works often incorporate objects like bicycles, motorcycles and chairs and have become celebrated cultural landmarks. Since then, the street art scene in George Town has continued to develop, with local and international artists making their marks.

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The Food

Is George Town Southeast Asia's best food city? We'll let you decide for yourselves but we wouldn't argue with anyone claiming it. Expertly blended flavors of Malaysia, China, India and Thailand make it the place to be for foodies everywhere. From perfectly curated shophouse cafes to delicious luxury hotel eats, George Town has something for everyone. But the real treasure is in the inexpensive hawker stall street food stands where you will get amazing food and a truly unforgettable experience. If you're unsure what to try, you can't go wrong with local favorites like asam laksa, char kway teow, or rojak.


Planning a trip to Malaysia? Get an Adventure Assist travel notebook over on our SHOP page to help you plan and stay organized on your travels!