Today we are excited to share our new found love for Singapore and our tips on things to do in Singapore with kids.
To be honest, Singapore has never been on my radar. I had this impression there was nothing much to do, that it was a sterile country mainly used as a stopover on the way to Europe and for a quick Singapore Sling.
I even had a picture in my head of narrow streets with buildings and people piled up on top of each other.
I’ve never been more wrong about a destination. I’ll happily admit my foolishness. Singapore is an incredible family travel destination.
Singapore is Utopia.
I’m currently reading a book of Wayne Dyers about the Way of the Tao. The last chapter I read spoke about the power of quietly and humbly living your life. That’s Singapore!
You rarely hear it singing its own praises and the people are unassuming and gentle. Singapore quietly goes about creating magnificence and peace by using Tao power.
I’m super impressed with Singapore, especially as a place to visit with kids.
Why Singapore is a great family destination
Singapore is clean, organised and safe
You don’t see any police cars in Singapore. Teenage girls can walk around at night or ride the MRT (subway) and not worry. There’s no disorderly and drunken behaviour to be seen – even tourists seem to behave themselves (mind you alcohol is very expensive!!)
Singapore is the cleanest and most organised place I’ve ever been, and I’ve been to over 50 countries!
I did not see one bit of rubbish on our entire trip, even in the waters of Marina Bay. They have boats patrolling every two hours to pick up any stray bits of trash. And the government limits the number of boats in the bay to keep it unpolluted, how good is that!
If you’re a family and desire visiting Asia for the first time but feel unsettled about the chaos of it all, Singapore is the perfect place to start.
It’s a beautiful blend of East and West and takes away all those fears you may have of disorder and humid grime. You’ll still have the humidity, but it tastes better without the dirt!
And you have zero language barriers which makes it easy for us, and our younger kids, to engage with the locals on any level.
Singapore has fun for everyone
There are so many fun things to do in Singapore with kids, and for us big kids, to suit individual desires of every family member.
Outdoor activities, incredible food, great shopping, cultural neighbourhoods, history and adventurous fun. Our girls were wowed by Singapore and are putting it on their, “Must Come Back list.”
Singapore embraces harmonious living
Singapore is the only country I’ve been where I feel as if they’ve worked out harmonious living.
There’s this incredible blending of the concrete jungle with the real jungle, so much that you tend to see the trees lining the wide streets, more than the buildings that tower above them.
Everything is thoughtfully designed, with an eco-friendly consideration. It’s a true lush garden city – so beautiful and peaceful.
The traffic is there, but nowhere near as much as it’s fellow Asian cities and you just don’t notice any signs of chaos: no noisy motor bikes, no honking horns, no cranky pants, or shoving around on public transport, which runs so efficiently you don’t even need a timetable, the MRT runs every 5 minutes!!
The government has a large level of control, but it seems to work. I love how the guide on our Duck tour spoke about the importance of racial integration that is represented through their sculptures, designs, and neighborhood arrangements.
“We learn about each other’s culture and we become friends.”
Please teach the rest of the world how to do that Singapore.
8 fun things to do in Singapore with kids
1. S.E.A Aquarium, Sentosa Island
The S.E.A. Aquarium on Sentosa Island, Singapore is the best I’ve ever been too.
It’s one of the biggest aquariums in the world and is beautifully organised. From moray eels, stingrays, jellyfish, dolphins, sharks and a huge variety of colourful fish and coral, there is so much to appreciate at this aquarium.
Prepare to be blown away by the size of the Open Ocean (you can see more in our video down below.) and if you want an extra special experience in Singapore, you can stay in an Ocean Suite room with underwater aquarium views. Pretty impressive!
- Grab your ticket to the Aquarium here
- You can get a combo tour with the Skyline Luge Sentosa here
- The aquarium is included on the Singapore City Card which saves you up to 50% on top attractions. Get yours here
2. Breakfast with the Orangutans at Singapore Zoo
I had the pleasure of spending time with Orangutans in their jungle home hiking in Sumatra many years ago. I love any chance to hang out with them.
Enjoying a buffet breakfast with the Orangutans and watching their antics at Singapore Zoo is one of the coolest things to do in Singapore with kids. It’s a wonderful experience and is the only place in the world you can do it. You can even get up close and have your photo taken with them.
After breakfast, take some time to explore the Zoo. It’s set in the lush Mandai Rainforest and is home to more than 2,800 animals. Singapore Zoo is so beautifully designed so you can’t really notice any of the fences. It feels like the animals are right beside you.
And for some sections, like the Fragile Forest, you can get pretty close to lemurs and flying foxes. It was the first time I’ve ever seen a mouse deer! Totally cool.
It was an amazing experience for our girls to observe wildlife so closely. We weren’t too sure about them seeing the rhinos “wrestling” and Kalyra wasn’t quite buying the fact that they wrestled. Craig and I, like childish teenagers, could not stop giggling at their adult play they put on display for us.
- Get your breakfast and zoo pass here.
- The zoo is included on the Singapore City Card which saves you up to 50% on top attractions. Get yours here
3. Adventure Cove Water Park, Sentosa Island
Adventure Cove Water Park was a favourite of our girls.
We spent a fun afternoon tubing down the river, getting dunked in the kid’s water area, taking on the challenge of the high-ropes course and maze, swimming in the wave pool, and zipping down water slides together. They also have a cool snorkelling experience, which we did not get time for.
Adventure Cove is a fun and relaxing way to hang out as a family in Singapore. It is on Sentosa Island so if you get bored there is plenty more for you to do on the island. We don’t think you’ll get bored though, our kids didn’t want to leave!
- Grab your ticket for Adventure Cove Water Park here
- Adventure Cove is included on the Singapore City Card which saves you up to 50% on top attractions. Get yours here
4. Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is amazing. A multi-award winning horticultural destination that spans 101 hectares of reclaimed land, and is made up of two main areas – Bay South Garden and Bay East Garden.
The Far East Organisation’s Children’s Garden has interactive playgrounds and water gardens, which we did not get time to visit, but comes recommended.
There are two domes with man-made natural environments within them. The bonus of visiting these domes is that they are cool environments so offer refreshing relief from the heat. Take a light cardigan or scarf in with you.
The Cloud Forest is shrouded in cool mist and houses the world’s largest indoor waterfall flowing 35 metres over a structure built to look like a mountain.
Here you’ll find plant life from tropical highlands up to 2,000 metres above sea level. You can walk up and around the inside of the mountain to learn more about the habitat, get close to beautiful gardens and the waterfall and have beautiful views out over Marina Bay.
The Flower Dome is listed as the largest glass greenhouse in the world by the 2015 Guinness World Records. Stroll through here to see plants and flowers from the Mediterranean and semi-arid regions.
There was a beautiful display for Chinese New Year, which changes seasonally. We were happy to see an Australian section and the familiar boab tree from our road trip through WA.
And don’t miss spectacular Supertree Grove which is also within Gardens By the Bay and we recommend going for a walk along the elevated boardwalk connecting the tops of them.
This will give you amazing views of the gardens, the Singapore skyline, Marina Bay Sands, and the Singapore Flyer– it looks like a full, and expansive Garden of Eden.
5. Rhapsody Light and Sound Show
“Oh wow. That’s like the best thing I’ve ever seen”…Kalyra stared up at the Supertrees with mouth wide open.
The nightly Rhapsody Sound and Light Show had just started down at Gardens by the Bay. The 16-storey, solar energy harvesting towers wrapped in climbing plants and flowers and glowing lights changed colours in harmony with each other. It was very pretty.
It’s busy, but in Singapore fashion, your space is not invaded and you don’t feel anything but open spaces.
The show is on daily at 7.45pm and 8.45pm in Supertree Grove. If you only do one night activity in Singapore, do this. Definitely one the most amazing things to do in Singapore with kids! Admission is Free.
6. DUCKtour on Marina Bay and Colonial area
We love a good aqua duck tour and so do the kids.
This DUCKtour is a relaxing way to spend an hour in Singapore. The remodelled WWII Vietnamese war craft vehicle takes you out on Marina Bay waters passing the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and the famous Merlion Statue.
Back on land, you drive through the picturesque and surprising old colonial area. The buildings are stunning and look like they were just built – the paint is so fresh and clean and the grounds so orderly and beautiful.
The commentary on the tour is excellent and we learned a lot about Singapore’s culture and history.
7. Walk around Chinatown and visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre
We visited Singapore only two weeks before the Chinese New Year festivities so it was an even bigger explosion of colours than normal.
The markets were filled with brightly coloured decorations and lucky charms, which complements the painted facades of the traditional shophouses.
The Chinatown in Singapore is the prettiest and cleanest I’ve been too, yet it still maintains that hustle and bustle Chinatown flavour. Follow the smells of durian so you don’t lose your path in the criss-cross of streets and markets, medicine halls and textile stores.
In the middle of Chinatown is the Chinatown Heritage Centre which is worth a visit for an insight into the Chinese migrant history. They’ve converted three shophouses into a replica museum of how migrants lived with each other in the 1950’s. It was amazing to see a room smaller than my small kitchen, that housed a family of eight.
When Chinatown gets a bit hectic and hot for you, sit under the shade of the trees in the square and watch groups of Chinese men playing intense games of checkers!
Oh, and the girls’ favourite moment in Singapore was getting an ice cream sandwich from Uncles Ice Cream cart for $1.50. A scoop of ice cream in between slices of rainbow coloured bread.
I skipped the bread and went for the mango ice cream.
8. Marina Bay Sands Light Show
You’ve probably seen photos of the impressive Marina Bay Sands Hotel (MBS) on facebook and instagram. It’s the one with the three massive columns and the surfboard shaped top with the infinity pool.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time to go to the top (next time) but we did take in the nightly light and laser show which was fantastic.
This show is on every night at 8pm and 9.30pm and the best place to view this spectacle is from Merlion Park, right next to the famous Merlion Statue.
To get there, jump on the MRT to Raffles Place Station and from there it’s an easy walk to Merlion Park.
Watch our Singapore family adventures on YouTube
We’ve created a video for each day of our trip on things to do in Singapore with kids. You can watch the first video here. Subscribe to our channel on YouTube so you don’t miss the rest!
Where to eat in Singapore with kids
Prepare to not want to stop eating.
Singapore cuisine is made up of a diverse influence from Malaysia, India, China, and of course, the Brits. There are so many delicious cuisines and dishes to try. Here are a few of our tips on where to eat in Singapore.
The Hawker Markets are where the street food carts gather. They were taken off the streets and put into one area to make them more hygienic. Each stall is given a license and grading. A is the best and harder to get for the older markets. B is good, C is okay and D is terrible. You can reserve your seat in a hawker centre by
Each stall is given a licence and grading. A is the best and harder to get for the older markets. B is good, C is okay and D is terrible.
You can reserve your seat in a hawker centre by choping. That is throwing any object on the chair to claim it – packets of tissues are preferred.
Hawker markets are where the locals come to grab tasty, cheap local food. Singapore is on the expensive side for Asia so the hawker markets are the place to come eat and help reduce your daily travel budget.
Satay under the Stars – Boon Tat Street Night Market
We love eating like the locals when we visit a new destination, and Boon Tat Street for “satay under the stars” was awesome.
In the middle of the Financial District of an evening, Boon Taat Street turns into an outdoor meeting place for lovers of satay from all around the city. Grab a table, a cold Tiger beer, and a plate of chicken and beef satay sticks.
Pop inside to the hawker market to buff out your table with delicious local favourites like carrot cake, barbequed chicken wings, and Southern Indian curries. Yum! And cheap. These were our favourite hawker markets in Singapore.
Maxwell Road Hawker Centre
Maxwell Road Hawker Centre is the place for Hainanese Chicken Rice – a famous Singapore dish. There are quite a few stalls here selling it, but the one to taste is Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. You’ll recognise it by the line snaking out around the door!
Anthony Bourdain says the rice is so good here “you can eat it on its own”. I agree, it was pretty tasty rice!
Traditional Singapore breakfast
On the edge of Chinatown and the Financial District, you can enjoy a colonial-influenced breakfast in one of the oldest cafes in Singapore, Kaya Kun Toast.
It consists of runny eggs and kaya toast with a mug of strong traditional coffee (kopi) sweetened with condensed milk. This is a sweet breakfast and total opposite to my normal morning green smoothie.
I could not finish mine, but I did enjoy a few bites.
Kaya is a spread made from egg yolk, coconut milk, and brown sugar. The hot tip is to add some sweet soy sauce and pepper to your eggs, mix it together and dip your toast in. The posters within the Cafe tell the story of Kaya toast and the race against France, “Our eggs are better than yours.”
I’d say the Australian way – googy eggs with dippy toast is the clear winner.
The most recommended Singapore dish for our trip was chilli crab! It comes in a pot of thick, chilli sauce made from tomato puree, ketchup, sambal, and a variety of spices and sauces.
Grab your apron and gloves and get messy!
Singapore chilli crab is a winner. We had our first taste at Long Beach Dempsey Restaurant with some other delicious share plates of bamboo clam, beef in ginger and oyster sauce (my favourite) and fried rice.
The Newton Circus Hawker Markets are known for their seafood and chilli crab and are a local’s favourite too. I think we got the wrong store as we found it quite expensive compared to the other hawker markets we visited.
On East Coast Road is the town of Katong, which was the location of many villas and mansions of the wealthy elite in the late 19th to the mid 20th centuries.
I loved it’s hip vibe with an absence of high-rises and a street full of interesting and contemporary dining and bars. Zaffron Kitchen was one of my favourite dining experiences on the trip and the best Indian food I’ve ever eaten. The butter chicken was to die for!
Plus, the restaurant was so family friendly. A kids menu and a really cool kiddies corner – lots of toys and movies.
Arteastiq Boutique Tea House
If you’re craving an English tea experience head to Arteastiq Boutique Tea House in the Mandarin Gallery on Orchard Street. This was such a great place to relax after a busy three days.
Arteastiq has a comprehensive medley of artisanal tea to choose from and delicious savouries and sweets. We had delicious pots of Osmanthus Ooolong Tea and a yummy lunch of Tuscan Sun-Porcine et Polenta and Aphrodite-crabcake benedict.
The girls loved their hot chocolates of course!
If you love art, there’s a small studio room next door you can sit and do a little painting while sipping on tea!
Both our kids love pancakes, daddy too, and for a bit of a western fix we had a lot of fun creating and cooking our own pancakes.
Slappy Cakes is a one-of-a-kind dining experience where guests can make their own pancakes right at their table! I recommend the buttermilk pancakes with blueberries, pecan nuts, shredded coconut, chopped banana and maple syrup!
10 famous dishes to eat in Singapore:
- Fried Carrot Cake (cubes of rice flower and radish fried to crispy perfection)
- Hainanese Chicken Rice (silky smooth steamed chicken on top of fluffy rice)
- Chilli Crab (cooked in a tangy, spicy sauce)
- Satay (beef, chicken pork or mutton)
- Fish Head Curry (stewed in a tamarind based curry)
- Bak Kut Teh (herbal pork based soup)
- Rojak (an Asian salad)
- Roti Pruta (filled with anything from eggs to onions to strawberries, dipped in curries)
- Char Kway Teow (flat rice noodles, eggs, prawns and cockles)
- Laksa (spicy gravy, smooth rice noodles topped with prawns & cockles)
There you have it. Now you can eat your way around Singapore!
Where to Stay in Singapore with kids
We stayed in the boutique York Hotel, just off the famous shopping street, Orchard Road. Location was great, an easy walk to all the brand stores and the Orchard MRT station which then took us everywhere.
The rooms were very spacious, we had free wifi and a buffet breakfast every morning, and the pool area great for cooling off after a hot day exploring.
Check out some more recommendations of places to stay in Singapore with kids from our facebook and instagram community:
- Lanson Place Apartments: Close to Somerset MRT station and Orchard Road, serviced and well-suited to a family of six.
- Orchard Parade Hotel: Easy walk to Orchard MRT Station and ION Orchard Mall
- Festive Hotel, Sentosa Island: Sentosa is where all the family fun action is!
- Royal Plaza on Scotts: convenient location near Orchard MRT; cinemas next door for rainy days; free mini bar and Nespresso machine too. Rooms are of reasonable size.
- Marina Bay Sands: You know the infinity pool! Definitely, on our list when we return.
- Park Royal on Pickering: quite a new hotel, rather eco-friendly and has sky gardens with great views and is also in the heart of things. 2015 cup winner on Booking.com for one of the most booked.
- 5Footway Inn, Bugis: Hostel. Great for a group of friends.
- Swissotel Merchant Court: Opposite Clarke Quay. Booking.com says excellent choice for couples.
- Grand Copthorne Waterfront: Located on the river with river views.
- Shangri la Rasa on Sentosa: Amazing! Booking.com says excellent choice for families.
- The Carlton Hotel: Opposite Raffles. 21015 one of the most booked on Booking.com
- Conrad Centennial: Located within Marina Bay – a regular stayer!
- Rendezvous Hotel: a restored colonial building in the Arts and Heritage Centre
All above properties have high ratings and reviews on our partner site, Booking.com
Getting around Singapore with kids
We recommend walking around Singapore when you can – the city is small enough in some areas. Otherwise, the MRT makes it super easy and cheap to get around Singapore with the kids – they’ll love it. Only $1.50 per ride, which is reduced if you continue to top up your original ticket.
Taxis are fairly cheap in Singapore as well.
Wi-Fi connection in Singapore
Singapore is colourful. You’ll want to share those photos through Instagram and Facebook. We were blown away by the incredible deal we discovered through Sintel. It’s a tourist only sim card for travellers. A
A 5-day tourist sim data card comes with 100GB of data for only $15. Yes, that is 100GB for only $15, not a typo!!! Unbelievable! Love Singapore.
You can also register for free public Wi-Fi service with your foreign mobile number at any [email protected] hotspot and receive your login details via SMS. We never have roaming switched on so did not utilise this.
Don’t forget to use a VPN when travelling to keep your data secure and private. Read more about it here.