Busy scenes outside Hawker Centre in central Singapore

Our favorite Singapore tours and excursions

Singapore is a fascinating place overflowing with culture, history, nature and cutting-edge modern attractions — so why do so many people think of it as “just another Asian city?”

In a way, perhaps it’s a victim of its own success. One of the most dynamic and future-facing cities in Asia, it has a certain sheen of newness that can make it difficult for the casual visitor to get beyond its modern facade.

These tours and excursions are our antidote to all that. Taking you by the hand, they’ll lead you into the old-fashioned kopitiam coffee shops, the Peranakan kitchens, and the jungle-clad islands that make Singapore so much more than just another city. They’ll introduce you to its colonial heritage, but they’ll also take you on night safaris and to spectacular light shows, introduce you the marvels of Michelin-starred hawker stalls, and have you marveling at the amazing “supertrees” of Gardens by the Bay.

Think you know what Singapore is all about? These experiences will have you think again.

Our top picks

You won't want to miss out on these must-dos hand-picked by our expert team

Laser show at Marina Bay at night

Evening Spectra Light Show & Bumboat Tour


After dark, Singapore turns into a world of neon-lit riversides, twinkling lights and spectacular light-and-water shows.

Begin your evening at the bay, where a clever combination of fountains, mist, lasers, lights and projections creates a huge — and really quite incredible — light show in time to dramatic music. After you’ve taken in the 15-minute show, hop on a “bumboat” (Singapore’s brightly colored water taxis) and cruise down the river beneath the twinkling lights of Singapore’s skyscrapers. Keep your eyes peeled for the half-lion, half-fish Merlion fountain, the 42-story Singapore Flier Ferris Wheel, the Esplanade Theaters (nicknamed “The Durians” for their spiky appearance) and the colonial splendor of the luxurious Fullerton Hotel. Then, hop off at the colorful shophouses of Clarke Quay, the perfect place to continue a night of drinks delicious street food.

Cycling across modern bridge by Marina Bay, Singapore

Cycling Marina Bay


Gardens, supertrees, Formula One, mega-hotels, light shows, satay — Marina Bay is Singapore on full volume, and a cycling tour is our favorite way to discover it.

Anyone can go to Marina Bay and be sure of a good time, but add a local guide and a set of wheels and you can really dig into the stories behind the iconic sights. Explore former warehouse districts that are now hopping with trendy clubs and bars. Cycle past old colonial fortresses that have had second, third and fourth lives as post offices, government departments and hotels. Crane your neck up at Bladerunner-esque skyscrapers towering over tiny, colorful shophouses. The Singapore story is all here, from bobbing “bumboats” to rooftop infinity pools, and from sizzling, steaming hawker stalls to grass-roofed eco-buildings. Your guide is your key to understanding how it all fits together.

People queuing at food stalls in Singapore Hawker Centre

Hawker stalls and food tour


Each specializing in a single, meticulously prepared dish honed over generations, Singapore’s hawker stalls are so unique they’ve been given heritage status by UNESCO.

Nothing — not the supertrees, not the skyscrapers — defines Singapore like its street food. A tongue-tingling mish-mash of cultures that runs the gamut from biryani to barbecue, it’s so good that certain stalls have developed cult followings. Some even have Michelin stars! You can rock up in any district in the city and eat like a king, but for the choicest bites a food tour is a must. Whether it’s roti and laksa in Little India, Hainanese chicken rice in Chinatown, or kaya toast and baba ghanoush in Kampong Glam, eating in Singapore is a delicious window on a national obsession.

Two bicycles propped up next to fence overlooking lake in Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin day trip by bicycle


Take a 15-minute bumboat ride to the tiny island of Pulau Ubin, where it’s as if the past 50 years didn’t happen.

This tiny island isn’t big enough to get properly lost, so our advice is to pocket your map and just see where the road takes you. Mangrove swamps, coastal forests, rocky beaches, primary rainforest and overgrown lakes — with the odd kampong village hidden in between — this is a glimpse of what Singapore was like before it became one of the most vibrant economies in the world. Hop off your bike to trek up to viewpoints, go in search of fiddler crabs and mudskippers on the beach, stop off for a fresh seafood lunch in the middle of the island, and don’t get too close to the pygmy pigs! This is a fantastic way to see a totally different side of Singapore.

Bright pink doors and colourful trim on Peranakan building in Singapore

Peranakan culture with cookery experience


Melding ancient Chinese and local Malay traditions since the 15th century, Peranakan culture is totally unique, and food is the way to its heart.

With their candy-colored shophouses, delicate wooden shutters and ornate ceramic tiles, the neighborhoods of Joo Chiat and Katong are the epicenter of Peranakan culture in Singapore. It’s here that you’ll meet Mei Ling, who’ll be your guide through the herby, spicy, coconutty world of Peranakan food. Watch as she whips up some traditional dishes — perhaps a tamarind-laced laksa, or otak-otak fish wrapped in banana leaves — while you prepare the salad and dessert. Then, sit down to eat while she tells stories of how this rich, fusion culture survives and thrives in modern Singapore. This is more than a cooking class: it’s a journey into Peranakan culture, beneath the surface of modern Singapore.

Statue outside Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore

Colonial heritage walking tour


Raffles, Victoria, Cavenagh, Fullerton: Singapore is peppered with British names and opulent buildings, but how does the city square all this grandeur with the legacy of colonialism today?

Anyone can rock up in Singapore and be awed by the opulence of Raffles Hotel, or the magnificent neoclassical clock tower of Victoria Concert Hall. Grand as they are, what’s really fascinating about these buildings is the journey they’ve been on. On this walking tour, you’ll learn that the Fullerton Hotel was a fort, a post office and a government building before it was a luxury hotel. You’ll find out how the old Supreme Court became the largest gallery of Southeast Asian art in the world, and hear the story of how Singaporean Independence was announced at City Hall in 1963. It’s easy to be wowed by grandiose architecture; what’s harder is to grapple with what “heritage” really means in a post-colonial world.