Don’t let the island’s tiny size fool you—there’s no shortage of reasons why Singapore has long been one of the most beloved travel destinations in Asia and even the world. This sun-drenched city-state is home to myriad iconic tourist spots, world-class shopping, and delectable multicultural cuisine, to name just a few of Singapore’s many wonders. In fact, there’s so much to see and do that many travellers who visit the city feel compelled to come back again and again. Even locals frequently uncover new things to love about the place they call home.
Whether you’re on your first or your fiftieth trip to the Lion City, there’s always some new discovery waiting just around the corner. If you’d like to check out a few of Singapore’s stranger sights and have some one-of-a-kind experiences you won’t get elsewhere, read on. Here are five of the most unusual attractions you shouldn’t miss on your next visit.
HSBC Rain Vortex
Wondering what to do in Changi Airport? Are you perhaps a traveller waiting out a long layover, or simply curious about what Changi has to offer before exploring the rest of the city? Worry not, as you’ll quickly find yourself spoilt for choice. The sheer variety of beautiful sights and engaging activities to be found within Jewel Changi Airport itself should make a compelling case for why Changi is considered the world’s best airport by many.
New visitors to Singapore especially shouldn’t miss the HSBC Rain Vortex, the tallest indoor waterfall in the world. Located at the heart of the Jewel Changi Airport—a commercial complex that connects three of the airport’s terminals—this magnificent sheet of water cascades a whole seven storeys down and flows all the way into the building’s basement. It is the most well known of all Changi Airport attractions. At night, the waterfall even serves as a projection screen for stunning light-and-sound shows you won’t see anywhere else.
The young and the young at heart alike can spend hours exploring Canopy Park, an expansive recreational space located on the topmost floor of Jewel. Visitors in search of a restful experience can enjoy a peaceful stroll along the park’s many garden paths or relax at one of its diners or cafés. The more adventurous, meanwhile, may enjoy the discovery slides, mazes and bouncing nets. Whatever your age or particular inclinations, you can be certain that Canopy Park will offer enough delightful activities to keep you occupied for hours.
Haw Par Villa
Even the most daring of thrill-seekers might meet their match in Haw Par Villa, Singapore’s strangest theme park. The park is full of brightly hand-painted sculptures depicting scenes from Chinese history, folklore and mythology, often in gory and garish detail.
Take a walk through Haw Par Villa’s newly opened Hell’s Museum for a historical and philosophical perspective on different ideas of life and death throughout Asia. This experience will lead you in turn to the park’s highlight: the famous (or infamous) Ten Courts of Hell, a series of small-scale tableaux that shows the many gruesome ways human sinners are punished in the afterlife. The sight has inspired nightmares in generations of Singaporeans, so be sure to bring a buddy if you intend to make a visit.
Lovers of museums and galleries will not only feel right at home in Singapore, but they’re sure to find no end of delight in exploring institutions a little more off the beaten track. Take the Intan, the island’s first and only private home museum dedicated entirely to Peranakan culture. Founded in 2003, the museum is home to no less than 1,500 objects once owned and used by the Straits-born Chinese, including beaded slippers, intricately hand-painted enamel containers, and many more.
Guests of the Intan can enjoy up-close views of precious historical artefacts and listen to a wealth of fascinating, intimate stories from owner Alvin Yapp himself. Each personalised tour ends with a tea session or dinner featuring authentic Peranakan cuisine. Visits to the Intan are strictly by appointment. So don’t miss out on this precious experience and book yours sooner rather than later.
Kebun Baru Bird Singing Club
The parklands of Ang Mo Kio just north of central Singapore are home to the Kebun Baru Bird Singing Club. It’s one of the largest bird-keeping and display venues in Southeast Asia. In this place, you’ll see dozens of intricate cages dangling from tall poles. The different rare songbirds within showcase their unique melodies all at once, creating quite a delightful spectacle for the eyes and ears alike. There’s also a wonderfully social element to visiting this hidden gem, as Kebun Baru’s bird-keepers are only too happy to bond over their passion with one another and with visitors alike.
Though the mention of Singapore usually brings to mind images of bustling streets and gleaming skyscrapers, there’s an unmistakable charm in discovering that it’s also so much more than it appears. The city doesn’t lack for unusual attractions that help showcase its more offbeat, quirkier side, so try to step off the beaten path on your next visit—you’ll probably be glad you did. 😉