Quirkiest museums and attractions

Quirkiest museums and attractions

Looking for an unusual way to spend your time in Singapore? Here’s a guide to some of the most unique, off-the-beaten-track attractions and local sights. Off the tourist trail, you’ll glimpse an insight into Singaporean culture. Grab your camera and visit the quirkiest places in Singapore.

Haw Par Villa

Created in 1937 by brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, better known as the inventors of medicinal ointment Tiger Balm, this cultural theme park also used to be known as “Tiger Balm Gardens.” The park depicts scenes from Chinese culture; namely folklore, myths, legends and aspects of Confucianism, and plays them out through using 150 giant dioramas and over 1,000 different statues. Often used to caution children about the consequences of misbehaving, the Ten Courts Of Hell section is worth a visit for the curious, showing gruesome scenes of what you would encounter during a visit. The park on Pasir Panjang Road has its own dedicated MRT station, so you can stop off before a visit to other attractions in town. Entrance is free.

Katong Antique House

If you’re interested in learning more about Peranakan culture, visit Katong Antique House, part museum and part preserved house. The curator and owner Peter Wee has been restoring and acquiring Peranakan items since the 70s, and his family home is chock-a-block with heirlooms, including black and white photographs, delicate beaded slippers, brightly-coloured Nyonya crockery and antique furniture. Visits are by appointment only, with tickets at $15 per person.

German Girl Shrine

Located on rugged offshore island Pulau Ubin, the German Girl Shrine is located a short bike ride from the ferry terminal, near Ketam Quarry. More than 100 years old, the shrine here commemorates an 18-year-old German girl who had lived on the island before WWI. Escaping from the British who had heard of their whereabouts, she tragically fell from a quarry and her body was discovered the next day. Out of respect, her remains were kept a small urn and put in a nearby shrine. Over the years, somehow the German girl has become close to a deity to the Taoist islanders living nearby, and became famous throughout the region, attracting devotees. You can visit the shrine and also pay your respects - remember to remove your shoes before entering.

The Live Tortoise and Turtle Museum

This cute attraction can be found in the serene Chinese Gardens in Jurong. It’s home to over 800 tortoises and turtles, with over 60 different species housed in the museum. Make sure you catch a glimpse of the oldest resident, a 60-year-old Asian pond turtle, and avoid the strong jaws of the aptly-named alligator snapping turtles. Worth a visit is the petting corner, where you can meet some of the tamer species, and buy vegetables for them to munch on. Tickets are $5 per person. Make sure you wander around the beautiful Chinese Gardens afterwards.

Mint Museum of Toys

In the historic Bras Basah neighbourhood, around the corner from Raffles Hotel, is this unique collection of childhood memorabilia. Belonging to private collector Chang Yang Fa, this assortment of over 50,000 vintage toys is lovingly curated into five stories, each floor centred on different themes. Don’t miss the sci fi section on the fifth floor, where you can view a selection of Japanese antique toy robots. This collection is known to be the largest of its kind in South East Asia, and the one-of-a-kind pieces hail from over 40 different countries. Entry is $15 for adults, $7.50 for children.

Bukit Brown Cemetery

For a peaceful way to spend the afternoon, visit the famous Bukit Brown Cemetery, also known as the largest Chinese cemetery outside of China. First developed in the 1920s, the cemetery is the resting place for many famous Chinese Singaporeans, and people of all classes and status. Graves here are often ornately decorated, with beautiful local ceramics and Peranakan tiles, so keep your eye out for these. Left largely dormant since the 70s, the cemetery has become overgrown, but in turn, a rich ecosystem has developed filled with flora and fauna. While you’re here, you might spot threatened local species like the Changeable Hawk Eagle and the Large Flying Fox.

Unique craft workshops in Singapore

Unique craft workshops in Singapore

Singapore is home to a talented array of designers, makers and craftsmen, many of whom are willing to share their skills for the day. Visit these studios for a crash course in working with your hands, covering everything from pottery to flower-arranging.

Traditional Pottery: Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle

The only surviving dragon kiln in Singapore is located in the west of Singapore. Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle is a family business that has been producing ceramics in Singapore since the 60s, and is now run by 26-year-old daughter Stella Kwan, a fifth generation potter. In the 40s to 70s, there were 20 dragon kilns operating in the city, originally producing clay cups used in the rubber trade, and then moving onto orchid pots in the 70s when a trend for orchid growing hit Singapore. The kiln holds its I Love Pottery public workshop twice a month, where you can tour the kiln and then enjoy a 2.5-hour session where you’ll learn how to hand build pottery and try throwing on the potter’s wheel. Workshops are $60 per adult.

Flower Arranging: Ask a French

Ask a French is a flower arranging studio located in hip Tiong Bahru, run by Aude Giraud, a journalist and florist. Taking inspiration from the beauty of wilderness and still life paintings, workshops here take place once a month, and cover the basics of colour and flower selection, how to choose the right plants for Singapore’s climate and the best methods to arrange flowers professionally. You’ll be finishing off by displaying your arrangement in a chic glass vase. Workshops last two hours and include French pastries and tea, at a cost of $220 per person.

Terrarium Making: The Plant Story

Located in green Marina Bay, The Plant Story is Singapore’s first urban garden gallery, where you can find a cosy garden cafe (with special afternoon teas) as well as the workshop space. The Plant Story explores the therapeutic aspects of nature, with its space focusing on plants and personal wellness. There are three workshops available here: you can learn about urban farming and making remedies at home, and also how to produce miniature gardens, or terrariums. Perfect for soothing the soul despite a space constraint, you’ll spend an hour here learning how to design and build a rainforest, desert, air or water garden, selecting the right plants and learning how to nurture them in the future. Workshops start from $40 per person.

Natural Dyeing: WithAutumn

This textile workshop is run by Autumn, a former chef and graphic designer who is an expert on natural dyeing. All textiles used are sustainably produced, using natural fibres like organic cotton, handwoven linen and 100% silk, while dyes used are non-toxic, water-based and created from botanical ingredients. Workshops occur on an ad-hoc basis and often in partnership with other local sustainable organisations, like Edible Garden City (see below.) Upcoming is their tapestry weaving masterclass, where you’ll learn about the environmental impact of the fashion industry, repurposing old clothing into yarn and basic weaving techniques. The workshop costs $79 per person and takes place on Citizen Farm’s bucolic campus in Queenstown.

Urban Farming: Edible Garden City

Championing the Grow Your Own Food movement in Singapore, Edible Garden City aims to reconnect people with nature and inspire Singaporeans to create their very own edible gardens. Workshops here include How To Start An Edible Garden At Home, where you’ll learn the basics of how to set one up in a small space. Learn the types of herbs and vegetables that grow well in Singapore’s environment, their light and soil requirements, how to pick ideal pots and all about pest control. You’ll also learn how to sow seeds and propagate cuttings. A place at one of their urban farming workshops cost $79 per person.

Silversmithing: Fat Anvil Studios

With over a decade of experience, Fat Anvil Studios is run by two dedicated silversmiths. Workshops here will get you well versed in traditional silversmithing techniques like annealing, soldering and stone setting, while you create your choice of jewellery - whether it’s a ring, pair of earrings, pendant or bracelet charm. Workshops last 2.5 hours, are always kept small for the best learning environment and cost $110 per person.

Beautiful gardens in Singapore

Beautiful gardens in Singapore

Singapore is known as the “Garden City” and you're never far away from green space or a park. Some of the gardens and parks here are also creatively designed to show off the best local flora while you take a break from city life. If you need to take a breather from the daily grind, why not visit one of the most beautiful gardens in Singapore?

Gardens by the Bay

This futuristic garden, built entirely on reclaimed land, is like something from a sci-fi movie. Home to the second largest greenhouse in the world and famous “supertrees” (architectural structures interspersed with greenery,) wander around this tropical paradise to see a meld of contemporary architecture and innovative garden design. There are three different sections to the garden, Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central. The Bay South garden is the largest, at 54 hectares, and is home to the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome conservatories, which are well worth a visit.

Chinese and Japanese Gardens

In the west of Singapore, the serene Chinese and Japanese Gardens are the perfect place to take a break. Also known as the Jurong Lake Gardens, they are situated in the middle of a scenic lake. Connected together by a white bridge known as the Bridge of Double Beauty, both the Chinese and Japanese sections are unique and totally stunning. The Chinese Garden has an unmissable bonsai collection, and traditional architecture like pagodas and pavilions in the northern Chinese style. The Japanese Garden uses garden aesthetics from the Muromachi and Momoyama period and is a wonderland of stone lanterns, arched bridges and small waterfalls. The best time to visit is during the Lunar New Year or Mid-Autumn Festival, where the gardens are filled with glowing lanterns at night.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

This 160-year tropical botanical garden is Singapore's first UNESCO world heritage site, and when you visit here, you'll understand why. Open from 5am to midnight daily, don't miss the National Orchid Garden, where lush displays of native orchids create Instagram-worthy backdrops. After that, wander up the wooden boardwalk into the Rain Forest section - a precious small piece of primary forest with trees which have been growing here for hundreds of years. Finish off with a picnic next to the stunning landscaped section surrounding Symphony Lake, which often hosts concerts and outdoor film screenings in the evening.

Ann Siang Hill Park

Tucked away behind shophouses near Telok Ayer MRT station, Ann Siang Hill Park is a secret green space within the hustle and bustle of the city. This peaceful little hill has a fascinating history - it was originally owned by Charles Scott, who planted nutmeg and cloves here, before Chia Ann Siang, the current namesake, bought the hill. At the foot of the hill was where one of the earliest Cantonese burial grounds in Singapore was located. Today, it's a serene place lined with shaded pergolas, and with flourishing tamarind, cinnamon, nutmeg and breadfruit trees.


Located in the wild Southern Ridges area, but still close to the city centre, HortPark is a collection of stunning landscaped gardens and a hub for research, retail and all things garden-related. There are twenty different show gardens on the site, so wander around the Butterfly Garden, the Balinese Garden and the Vertical Greenery area to see a showcase of award-winning garden design. The Therapeutic Garden here is not to be missed, and aims to serve as a model for similar gardens throughout the city. While here, don't miss the workshops, events and guided walks which will be sure to leave you with new gardening knowledge and inspiration.

Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park

In central Singapore, Bishan Park is one of the largest urban parks in this location. Wander along the banks of Kallang River, which meanders through the space and is surrounded by banks of wildflowers, and explore the Frangipani Garden and Green Vibes Garden (a vegetable garden.) The Lotus Garden here is unmissable, and while you're here, make sure you keep an eye out for some of the regular feathered visitors - rare birds like the Zanzibar red bishop and spotted wood owl have been seen here. The Park is also home to a family of otters, so keep your eye out for them when wandering through the river plains.

Best jogging routes in Singapore

Best jogging routes in Singapore

Singapore is a runner's paradise, with miles of paved coastal paths, beautiful rainforests and dedicated running spots. Once you've dealt with the humidity and tropical temperatures, there's no better island to lace up your trainers and get running.

How to cope with the heat...

Singapore's equatorial climate means temperatures remain around 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, so be mindful of this when running. Head out early (before 10 am) or run after sunset, where you'll be rewarded by cooler temperatures. Make sure you drink plenty of water and keep track of your heart rate with a Fitbit or other exercise tracker.

Marina Bay

Starting at Raffles Place MRT station, run in a loop through the awe-inspiring architecture of the Marina Bay area. You'll start by running past the historic Fullerton Hotel, before looping around along Merlion Park, across the stunning Helix Bridge (inspired by the structure of DNA) and beneath the colossal Marina Bay Sands hotel complex. The best part is still ahead of you however - keep along the coastline, and run through Gardens by the Bay, where glimpses of giant glasshouses and the famous supertrees will keep you inspired. Finish at Marina Barrage, where you can take a breather at the famous grassy roof with spectacular views across the CBD.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Singapore's historic Botanic Gardens is a popular running spot, and it's open to the public from 5am to midnight daily. This UNESCO world heritage site is huge, peaceful and very well-maintained, and you'll find plenty of paved paths to run on. Start at Tanglin Gate and loop up past the lakes and under shady trees. Finish off with breakfast at one of the Gardens' many cafes.


Singapore's favourite recreation spot is also perfect for running. Head here early in the morning or late at night, not just to miss the heat but to beat the crowds. Get off the monorail at Beach Station, where you can run on the boardwalk past white sands and beautiful views. The trail is 3.25 km in total, and runs along the length of Sentosa's three beaches: Tanjong, Siloso and Palawan Beach. Don't forget to cool down after your run with a swim in one of the seafront lagoons.

East Coast Park

Probably the most popular running route in Singapore, East Coast Park stretches 15 km along the south-eastern shore of Singapore. Run along dedicated paved trails which continue along the entire length, and be cooled down by the sea breeze while you're at it. The park has beautiful beaches and great food - make sure you try the satay at the East Coast Lagoon Food Centre when you're finished. It also houses a myriad of amenities - like showers, lockers and ample toilet facilities.

Singapore River

Despite its position in central Singapore, the paved paths along the Singapore River are a peaceful place to run. Start at Alexandra Canal Linear Park, and run along the winding river, past historic buildings and the bustling nightlife of Clarke Quay, till you reach Esplanade and the soaring architecture of Marina Bay. A loop around this stretch is around 12 km, and is best done at night, when the bright lights of the CBD and skyscrapers above you are a spectacular sight.

MacRitchie Reservoir

For a truly wild running route, take to the shores of the MacRitchie Reservoir. You'll be heading deep into the forest on a dirt track, so you'll get to witness the flora and fauna of Singapore while you run, including monkeys – make sure you keep hold of your snacks! Despite the feeling of remoteness there are amenities like toilets, showers and a shop here, and while you're here don't miss a wander along the HSBC Treetop Walk - for a beautiful view of the whole area.

The Green Corridor

This rural running route is also one with an interesting history - The Green Corridor is the site of the old railway, which ran across the length of Singapore. Now closed and abandoned, a nature reserve was opened in its place, and it created a flat path surrounded by lush scenery for hikers, runners and cyclists to enjoy. Run past grand houses, heritage trees and old railway infrastructure as you enjoy this 10.5 km route.