City Orientation Walking Tour, Singapore (Self Guided)

For centuries, the island city-state of Singapore has been a melting pot of Asian cultures: Chinese, Indian, Malay and Arab, prompting men and women from various parts of the continent to come and make it their home. Legacy of that fusion lives on today in the harmony of a multicultural society, making Singapore a one of a kind tourist destination which offers visitors a truly unforgettable experience. This self-guided tour will take you through some of the most popular tourist attractions of Singapore.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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City Orientation Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walking Tour
Guide Location: Singapore » Singapore (See other walking tours in Singapore)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Author: vickyc
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum

1) Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum (must see)

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, situated in Singapore's Chinatown, is a cultural monument cherished by the Chinese people living in Singapore who make up the overwhelming majority of the population of this city-state. The temple looks just as majestic and impressive as the temples of the golden age of Buddhism in China. There is a museum inside the Temple. Also visit the Hundred Dragons Hall, the tea house and the cultural shop. Attend all the salmon ceremonies performed in the temple. The holy relic – Buddha's tooth – is also kept inside.

Why You Should Visit:
The building's huge exterior may be the #1 photo-op in Chinatown; its only competition being the temple's interior.
You can learn a lot about Buddhism at the museum sections on the 3rd floor or do meditation and see the Buddha's Tooth on the 4th floor.
Besides, you will be missing out if you don't go to check out the rooftop garden and the biggest Praying Wheel in the world.

Non-flash-photos are permitted in some places, but not in the relic chamber.
Oddly enough, shoes are permitted, too; however, the dress code is pretty strict.
For men: no shorts or tank-tops. For women: conservative dress or slacks, with shoulders covered.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-7pm
Smith Street

2) Smith Street

Smith Street is one of the main shopping streets in Chinatown. It is also called food street. There are other shopping streets in Chinatown, but here you can experience Singapore food. You will see exotic food sold on the street, for example, frogs for dinner. There are several teashops and many other Chinese shops set in historical shop-houses. It is the only street in Chinatown with an English name.
Eu Yan Sang Medical Hall

3) Eu Yan Sang Medical Hall

Eu Yan Sang Medical Hall is for those interested in traditional Chinese medicine. Eu Yan Sang medicine shops exist in just few places - in Singapore, Malaysia, Macau and Hong Kong. Here tourists can discover ancient Chinese methods of treatment and Chinese herbal remedies and teas. It is the most visited Chinese medicine center in Singapore.
Sri Mariamman Temple

4) Sri Mariamman Temple (must see)

The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore's oldest Hindu temple. It is an agamic temple, built in the Dravidian style. Located at 244 South Bridge Road, in the downtown Chinatown district, the temple serves the majority Hindu Singaporeans, Tamilians, in the city-state.

Due to its architectural and historical significance, the temple has been gazetted a National Monument and is a major tourist attraction. It was founded in 1827 by Naraina Pillai, eight years after the East India Company established a trading settlement in Singapore. Pillai was a government clerk from Penang who arrived in Singapore with Sir Stamford Raffles on his second visit to the island in May 1819. Pillai went on to set up the island's first construction company, and also entered the textile trade. He rapidly established himself in business and was identified as a leader of the Indian community.

Why You Should Visit:
Visiting here is guaranteed to be a great culturally enlightening experience.
If you go during certain times you'll see rituals and prayers, absolutely amazing.
Free to enter though there's a small charge for tourists that is called a "camera fee".

As in any place of worship, be respectful. Lower your voices, women – cover your shoulders (they have shawls if you do not have one to cover), and remove your shoes before entering, but bring a pair of socks because the floors can be scorching hot due to the sun and burn your feet.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 5am-11:30am / 5pm-8:45pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Thian Hock Keng Temple

5) Thian Hock Keng Temple (must see)

To get a glimpse of a culture that is absolutely out of the ordinary, visit the Thian Hock Keng Temple, the oldest and most important Fukien, or Hoklo (Hokkien) temple in Singapore. The main temple is dedicated to Mazu, the Taoist goddess of the sea and protector of all seamen, while a second temple at the back is a Buddhist one dedicated to Kuan Yin, the bodhisattva of mercy.

Constructed in the temple architectural style of southern China, Thian Hock Keng has a grand entrance with a high step in front. The side entrance gates feature brightly colored tiles portraying peacocks, roses and the universal Buddhist swastika in green and brown. This symbol represents good luck, eternity and immortality. Guarding the doors are tigers, lions, and Door Gods, traditional sentinels of any Taoist temple. Beyond this elaborate entrance are two courtyards. Straddling the courtyards is the temple proper, comprising the shrine of Ma Cho Po. On either side of the temple are pagodas – the one on the left is a shrine of Confucius while the one on the right houses ancestral tablets of immigrants who founded the temple.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the most beautiful temples in Singapore, if not the most beautiful.
Very peaceful atmosphere and a wonderful piece of Asian architecture.
It is a photographer's dream, with ornate and colourful carvings everywhere.

Make sure that you respect the privacy of those praying and only take photos in the front area.
Don't forget to have a walk down Amoy Street behind the temple where you can see one of Yip Yew Chong's fabulous murals on the Temple's back wall.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7:30am-5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
UOB Plaza

6) UOB Plaza

UOB Plaza consists of two skyscrapers that are worth visiting due to their architecture. UOB Plaza One is one of the three tallest skyscrapers of Singapore. It is 280 m high. There is a mosque that is unique because it is situated beneath one of the Towers. There is a podium connecting these two towers. You can visit the restaurant on the top of the higher tower.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Riverside Shopping

7) Riverside Shopping (must see)

Historically Boat Quay and Clarke Quay were trading centers. There are many modern buildings on the banks of the river, but old rebuilt shop houses are still hanging on. Locals prefer to do their shopping in Clarke Quay. You can take a boat taxi or walk and drop into shop-houses along the river. Also there are many cafes and restaurants with nice views across the river.

Everything is open late so there's no hurry to get around!
Boat Quay

8) Boat Quay (must see)

Boat Quay is a historical quay in Singapore which is situated upstream from the mouth of the Singapore River on its southern bank. It was the busiest part of the old Port of Singapore, handling three-quarters of all shipping business during the 1860s. Because the south of the river here resembles the belly of a carp, which according to Chinese belief is where wealth and prosperity lay, many shophouses were built, crowded into the area.

Though serving aquatic trade is no longer Boat Quay's primary role, the shophouses on it have been carefully conserved and now house various bars, pubs and restaurants. Therefore, Boat Quay's social-economic role in the city has shifted away from that of trade and maritime commerce, and now leans towards more of a role accommodated for tourism and aesthetics for the commercial zone of which encloses the Singapore River. It is the soft front to the cosmopolitan banking and financial sectors lying immediately behind it.

Boat Quay is also the name of the road along the quay, which has since been converted into a pedestrian mall.

Why You Should Visit:
The location is stunning and on a nice balmy night it is nice to walk along the shore.
Anyway you're seated, you get a good scenic view of the financial district and the river.
There's also German, Indian, Korean and heaping plates of seafood for you to choose from.
Or if you just want to watch the boats go by with a pint, that's perfect too!

Make sure you ask about / pre-agree the price before ordering, as some restaurants charge exorbitant prices!
If you venture just a little further down the road, to one of the more local street food venues, you will be richly rewarded.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cavenagh Bridge

9) Cavenagh Bridge

Cavenagh Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that offers a nice view of the river and the city. Till today this old suspension bridge has kept to its original design. There are many skyscrapers near the bridge and interesting statues. Also to be found in the vicinity are Singaporean drain cats, the smallest cats in the world.
Merlion Park

10) Merlion Park (must see)

Merlion Park is a Singapore landmark and major tourist attraction, located near One Fullerton, Singapore, near the Central Business District (CBD). The Merlion is a mythical creature with a lion's head and the body of a fish that is widely used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore. Two Merlion statues are located at the park. The original Merlion structure measures 8.6 meters tall and spouts water from its mouth. It has subsequently been joined by a Merlion cub, which is located near the original statue and measures just 2 metres tall.

Why You Should Visit:
Great views and photo ops along with a lot of history – for the few that are interested.

The views are especially breathtaking at night with the Merlion elegantly lighted up.
Try to plan your trip to Merlion Park with your visit to Marina Bay, as they are within walking distance and can be enjoyed as a whole.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Merlion Statue

11) Merlion Statue (must see)

The Merlion (Malay: Singa-Laut) is a marketing icon with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore. Its name combines "mer" meaning the sea and "lion". The fish body represents Singapore's origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means "sea town" in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore's original name—Singapura—meaning "lion city" or "kota singa". The symbol was designed by Alec Fraser-Brunner, a member of the Souvenir Committee and curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium, for the logo of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in use from 26 March 1964 to 1997 and has been its trademarked symbol since 20 July 1966. Although the STB changed their logo in 1997, the STB Act continues to protect the Merlion symbol. Approval must be received from STB before it can be used. The Merlion appears frequently on STB-approved souvenirs. The merlion—a statue with the body of a fish and the head of a lion—occurs in a number of different artistic traditions. Lions with fishtails can be found on Indian murals at Ajanta and Mathura, and on Etruscan coins of the Hellenistic period. Merlions, or ‘heraldic sea-lions’, are an established element of Western heraldry, and have been used on the coat of arms of the cities of Portsmouth and Great Yarmouth in the United Kingdom; the City of Manila; and the East India Company.

Why You Should Visit:
One good look at the Merlion and you'll be elevated to a transcendent plane of tourist bliss, having walked miles to see a statue of a fish+lion spouting water.

Stand on the left of the Merlion for a commanding view of Marina Bay Sands.
Stand on the right of the Merlion for a most glorious view of the city skyscrapers and the Singapore Flyer.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Raffles' Landing Site

12) Raffles' Landing Site (must see)

The Raffles' Landing Site is marked by Sir Stamford Raffles' statue. Raffles was the person who founded Singapore. It is set on the north bank of the Singapore River, the place where the city first appeared. Now it is a modern business center of Singapore with skyscrapers all over the place. The Plaque at the landing site reads "On this historic site, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles first landed in Singapore on 29th January 1819, and with genius and perception changed the destiny of Singapore from an obscure fishing village to a great seaport and modern metropolis."

Why You Should Visit:
This side of the river is the Civic Precinct, with government buildings, concert hall, galleries and museums – very different from Boat Quay and an enjoyable walk.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Asian Civilisations Museum

13) Asian Civilisations Museum (must see)

The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is one of the pioneering museums in the region to specialise in pan-Asian cultures and civilisations. The museum specialises in the material history of China, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia, showing how so many cultures and civilisations can accommodate each other. Visiting this museum one can better understand and appreciate all the different cultures that go into making Singaporeans what they are – a cosmopolitan people. The museum has a restaurant, 'Empress', featuring traditional Chinese dishes in a contemporary setting, and a café, 'Privé ACM', offering all-day dining. The museum shop has souvenirs and a wide range of books on Asian art.

Why You Should Visit:
Informative and well-presented, with special exhibits displayed from time to time that are not often seen in public.
You can take one of the free docent tours (in English), which are very worthwhile (times are on their website).
Its location is also close by Raffles Landing Site, where a walk along the Singapore River is much enjoyable.

Make sure you visit the Tang Shipwreck displaying over 60,000 items recovered from the sea bed.
If you are planning to go to more than one museum, consider getting a multi-museum pass.

Opening Hours:
Sat-Thu: 10am-7pm; Fri: 10am-9pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Esplanade Theatres

14) Esplanade Theatres (must see)

The Esplanade is a performing arts centre located in Downtown Core near the mouth of the Singapore River. Named after the nearby Esplanade Park, it consists of a concert hall which seats about 1,600 and a theatre with a capacity of about 2,000 for the performing arts. The building’s unique architectural design has been said to have an appearance similar to either a durian (a tropical fruit) or the eyes of a fly. Hence, the building is colloquially known to locals as "the big durians". More than 7,000 triangular aluminum sunshades that cover its two circular glass shell structures looked somewhat like spikes on two halves of the fruit. The structure wasn’t meant to be a durian; it ended up being like that because it seemed to the architects the most interesting way of doing sunshades. They wanted to use glass because the views from Esplanade are beautiful in all directions, but since Singapore is so close to the equator, the structure also had to be protected from the sunshine and heat radiation.

Other than performing venues, the Esplanade also contains meeting venues, as well as other lifestyle and arts-related services. The concert hall and theatre are connected to the main concourse via a foyer, while the Esplanade Mall is accessible through an entry point located between these 2 halls.

Why You Should Visit:
To experience free concerts and live shows during weekends as well as a number of major events.
You can go up to the top floor to capture a very nice picture of the famed Singapore Merlion.
You may also read digital newspapers, scour through the huge selection of music, dance, and art books/materials.
This is indeed a heavenly refuge if you are an art lover (or simply put off by the humidity & heat of Singapore).

Try to get a schedule in advance and on a lark, pick and choose several performances to see while you are in Singapore.
To fill your tummy, you have a variety of eat-out joints adjacent to this place. A must for foodies :)
Sight description based on wikipedia
Singapore Flyer

15) Singapore Flyer (must see)

With an overall height of 165 metres (541 ft), the Singapore Flyer was the world's tallest Ferris wheel until the 167.6 m (550 ft) High Roller, which is 2.6 m (9 ft) taller than the Flyer, opened on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, in 2014. It has 28 air-conditioned capsules, each able to accommodate 28 passengers, and incorporates a three-storey terminal building. It offers panoramic views of the city and of islands 45 km into the Straits of Malacca.

Why You Should Visit:
Incredible unobstructed view of Singapore and the ride is incredibly smooth – you don't feel a thing.

Try to board right after the sun dips into the horizon, so you can get some pretty good light against the city skyline.
Choose a period where there is no one in front and behind you and you might be able to have the capsule to yourself.

Operating Hours:
Daily: 8:30am-10:30pm (last admission: 10pm)
Ticketing counter operates from 8am to 10pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Singapore, Singapore

Create Your Own Walk in Singapore

Create Your Own Walk in Singapore

Creating your own self-guided walk in Singapore is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Singapore: Colonial District National Monuments Walking Tour

Singapore: Colonial District National Monuments Walking Tour

The Colonial District was founded by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles on the east bank of the Singapore River. There are monuments that are recognized all over the world as symbols of Singapore and they evoke the city-state's rich historical past. This self-guided tour will lead you to the most famous national monuments of the Colonial District:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 km
Singapore: Chinatown Walking Tour

Singapore: Chinatown Walking Tour

The Chinese make up a majority of the population in Singapore. Chinatown is, therefore, a district full of valuable historical and architectural monuments. There are Chinese, Hindu and Moslem places of worship in this locality. There are also many wonderful shop-houses that sell exotic items to be found nowhere else. This self-guided tour will take you through the most popular places in...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Romantic Singapore Walking Tour

Romantic Singapore Walking Tour

Singapore is both romantic and exotic. With its multicultural population it offers great cuisine. Due to its location, its seascape and cityscape are unique and make Singapore an absolutely romantic place. Enjoy romantic and intimate moments by visiting the places mentioned in this self-guided tour:

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Shopping Areas Walking Tour of Singapore

Shopping Areas Walking Tour of Singapore

Singapore being a melting pot of Asian nations, you can pick up stuff from all across Asia here. This self-guided tour will take you through pedestrian shopping plazas, historical shop-houses in Chinatown and local ethnic markets. Enjoy!

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 km
Art Galleries of Singapore Walking Tour

Art Galleries of Singapore Walking Tour

Singapore Art is a mixture of the art of the Asian nations that compose its population. There are a lot of marine landscapes and island idylls. Just take the self-guided tour that follows in order to explore and discover Southeast Asian art.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Singapore Museums Walking Tour

Singapore Museums Walking Tour

Singapore's crazy population mix means that there are museums dedicated to the culture of each community that makes up the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural nature of this island state. This self-guided tour will take you through museums that display the Asian way of life, art and religion.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

12 Singapore Foods You Should Not Miss

12 Singapore Foods You Should Not Miss

Food is a national passion for Singaporeans. Locals think and talk about food incessantly, often thinking nothing of travelling for miles across the island and queuing for hours just to taste one of their favourite dishes. Singaporeans abroad will bemoan being parted from their favourite foods,...
Traveler's Guide to Singapore: 15 Souvenirs to Bring Home

Traveler's Guide to Singapore: 15 Souvenirs to Bring Home

Known as one of the Four Asian Tigers (or Dragons), Singapore is a thriving metropolis and one of the most fascinating tourist destinations in Asia. Home to multi-ethnic community, the city carefully preserves and proudly exhibits its colorful identity, manifested - among other forms - in the...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Singapore for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Singapore has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Singapore's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the iVenture Card, Singapore City Pass, or Singapore (Attractions) Pass.

A city pass combines all or multiple Singapore's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows user to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Singapore hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, Grand Park City Hall, Swissotel The Stamford.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Singapore, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Singapore typically costs somewhere between US$15 and US$80 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Singapore from the open top of a bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs).

- No trip to Singapore is complete without a visit to the local Chinatown renowned for its rich culinary secrets craving to be unwrapped. Embark on a 3.5-hour walk through Singapore’s Chinatown for a generous dollop of delectable authentic Singaporean treats and insight into this melting pot of culinary and cultural traditions.

- Come to appreciate Singapore in its nighttime ambiance complete with a sumptuous Asian-inspired dinner on a 4-hour experience including a visit to the bustling night market at Bugis Street, iconic Long Bar at Raffles Hotel, and many other interesting places along the way.

- Dive into the past of Singapore on a historical tour to find out how the city came to be evolving from a small fishing village to a great seaport, find out what prompted the Brits to colonize it, marvel at the city's magnificent colonial architecture, enjoy a delightful three-tier Afternoon Tea, and more.

- Get yourself up close with Kampong Glam, one of Singapore's charming neighborhoods, once the seat of the Malay royalty; see how it was before the British took over and what's become of it since.

- Pedal your way around Singapore on a 4-hour bike tour to appreciate the city's most spectacular sights stopping at some of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning interesting facts about the attractions along the way from a knowledgeable group leader.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in Singapore, why not use it to get some out-of-town experiences like a round-island tour, or perhaps visit the Sentosa Island, Kuala Lumpur, or Batam. For as little as circa US$70 to US$190 per person you will get a chance to discover Singapore’s history, visit a fun-filled island to observe nature at its best, get an interesting insight into life and history outside Singapore’s city center, admire spectacular pieces of architecture and gardens, venture north into Malaysia’s high-octane capital, take a sightseeing-cum-shopping day trip (ideal for those traveling on a budget), and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Singapore, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, private vehicle, or a high-speed boat (whenever applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.