Update: April, 2013
HotelsCombined.com/Singapore is the best website for hotel deals in Singapore.
Singapore Family Hotels is my guide to the best hotels for families.
Clean, green and strikingly modern, Singapore is one of the most family-friendly destinations in Asia. Everything from the immaculate, buggy-friendly pavements to the spacious hotels makes travelling with kids easy. In the past Singapore has been criticized by some travelers as lacking the passion and character of other cities in SE Asia. But Singapore is changing and is now a mecca for the arts, fashion, culture, and big-name events.
Street vendors line the roads selling everything from ice cream sandwiches to batteries, the fusion of Indian, Chinese and Malay cultures is obvious, and the people are super-friendly — but it’s an Asia that’s organised, that’s easy to navigate and that has all the amenities you may need with kids in tow.
With so much to do in this Asian playground, we’ve narrowed down the top ten attractions that will keep both adults and children entertained.
1. Ethnic Quarters
Singapore’s character is an amalgamation of the three main ethnicities in the country and therefore a wander round Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam (the Malay quarter, originally home to the Muslims and Arabs) is unmissable. The kids might be bored by the furniture and antiques shops in Chinatown but they’ll love the traditional shop houses that have been painted in a riot of different colours. Colour also abounds in Little India, from jewel coloured saris to the reds and golds of spices laid out in sacks, which kids will love to smell. Bussorah Street in Kampong Glam is packed with shops selling a range of curiosities, including wind-up toys and old telephones that are begging to be played with.
2. Night Safari
Kids and adults alike will love Singapore’s Night Safari, which takes visitors on a tram ride through a park containing only nocturnal animals unfettered by cages, roaming in their natural habitats. Travel through rainforest, savannah and jungle and spot a range of exotic creatures, 29% of which are threatened species, that live by night.
This previously deserted tropical island is now Singapore’s playground and is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure. Even getting there is fun – no need to sit in a taxi in an endless traffic jam, you can hop aboard a cable car, which also offers fantastic views of the city. Once on Sentosa, there are a number of different attractions so you could easily spend a few days on the island, especially as it is home to a couple of the best family-friendly hotels in Singapore. Marvel at the hundreds of different types of fish in the vast aquarium or play with pink dolphins in the Dolphin Lagoon at Underwater World; cool off in Fantasy Land, a water park filled to the brim with slides and rides; experience an erupting volcano at Volcano Land; and thrill-seekers and movie buffs alike will get their kicks at Universal Studios Singapore.
Singapore’s Science Centre is a museum the kids will actually love. With fourteen galleries over 20,000 square feet, the Science Centre is jam-packed with interactive exhibits so that the kids can get really hands-on.
There have been public gardens on this site since 1859 and today the lush grounds of Singapore’s Botanic Gardens are a wonderful haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Bring bread to feed the fish, admire the many different species of trees, plants and flowers and break for a picnic lunch on one of the lawns.
Covering 20.2 hectares, with 8,000 birds representing 600 species, Jurong Bird Park is a veritable haven for birdlife in a busy city. Key attractions are the Bird Discovery Centre, African Waterfall Aviary, Lory Loft Aviary, Southeast Asian Birds Aviary, and the award-winning African Wetlands. Your ticket money partly funds their avian hospital and the Breeding and Research Centre to ensure the welfare of birds around the world, so you can feel like you’re doing some good while you have a great day out.
7. Bumboat Ride along Singapore River
Hop on a traditional bumboat and take a ride down the Singapore River as it snakes through the city. Wave to other boats as they pass and view old and new Singapore side-by-side from your river perspective.
Kids will spend many happy hours in this vast interactive ‘museum’, which aims to teach both locals and visitors about Singapore’s past, present and future in a fun, hands-on way. They can record their own news broadcast, fly a helicopter in a 4D simulation ride, or experience life as an astronaut.
9. Battle Box
Explore the bunkers that made up the underground command centre, nine metres beneath Fort Canning Hill, during the Battle of Singapore in WWII. A guided tour will take you through the 26 bomb-proof rooms, all of which have undergone restoration, while audio-visual effects and animatronics will take you back to the fateful days preceding Singapore’s surrender to the Japanese.
10. Snow City
An indoor snow centre is something of a novelty in a country that experiences hot, sticky weather 365 days of the year, and it is therefore a great way to escape the heat. Thrill seekers can give snow tubing, skiing or snowboarding a go, whilst small children and those who prefer not to hurtle down a steep slope can explore an igloo and have a snowball fight in the play area.
This is one of the best water parks. Anywhere. Ever. Amazing fun for all ages.
- The Best Hotels for Families in Singapore
- 19 Cheap (But Good) Hotels in Singapore
- Current Events and Things To Do from TimeOut Singapore
- Visiting the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari
- Getting from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
- Getting from Singapore to Bali
- A Singapore Photo Essay
- Singapore’s Mint Museum of Toys
- The Best Food In Singapore
- Frommer’s Online Guide To Singapore
- TimeOut Singapore for a Calendar of Events
- Tips for Exploring Singapore by Public Bus
- Discounted Singapore Hotels