Singapore’s international tourism started strong in January of last year. 1.69 million foreign tourists visited the country, a considerable increase from January 2019’s 1.62 million. However, the bustling tourism was quickly disrupted by COVID-19.
To save the country’s tourism industry, authorities encouraged locals to plan domestic travels. Luckily for Singaporeans, their country is full of wonders, despite their island’s small size. Surely, many locals haven’t yet set foot in some of Singapore’s top tourist attractions.
Plus, by exploring their own country, Singaporeans can rediscover just how magnificent their home is. Furthermore, Charly Mah, chairman of the Singapore Tourism Board, says that Singapore can only offer an authentic experience to international tourists if its people have experienced its attractions.
So if that convinced you to finally be a tourist in your own country, here are the top places your fellow countrymen love:
Chinatown offers more than cheap goods and food. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is also found there, so if you need a religious retreat, the place can offer you a quiet sanctuary. You can also explore the temple’s museum and Stupa Chamber.
Afterwards, treat yourself at the famous Maxwell Food Centre, then traverse the narrow walking paths of Chinatown. If you’re interested in buying a gadget, you may stumble upon an affordable tech store there. Just remember to follow health protocols because Chinatown is usually crowded. Even if borders are currently closed to foreign tourists, you may still encounter a throng of locals in the way.
2. Asian Civilizations Museum
If you need a refresher on your history lessons, visiting the Asian Civilizations Museum may help you. Its architecture alone is nostalgic, bringing back ancestral culture vibes.
The museum displays relics from different countries, a shipwreck, and religious artefacts, among others. And you can see them all without a fee because locals and permanent residents are given free admission.
3. Koon Seng Road
Koon Seng Road is most known for the colourful houses skirting it. Those are actually shophouses with gorgeous 1920s Peranakan designs.
You’ve probably seen those shophouses many times in photos already. But seeing them in person will still fill you with awe. After all, seeing old-fashioned buildings in such a modern, advanced country can stir your pride because it shows that Singapore still values tradition and ancient culture. Ensure to drop by Koon Seng Road anytime between 7 AM and 7 PM because the shophouses’ colours are most vivid during those times.
4. National Museum of Singapore
Every Singaporean student has probably been to the National Museum already. But that’s not a reason to think that the place has nothing exciting to offer any more. In fact, it has fun and futuristic digital exhibits rendering Singapore’s history. Kids will surely love to see that, especially if they can hardly sit through their history classes in an online school.
5. Night Safari
Singapore’s Night Safari is dubbed “the first of its kind in the world.” As such, every local should see it. Night Safari offers an unforgettable and slightly eerie experience because you’ll come face-to-face with nocturnal animals, including giant flying squirrels and Malayan tigers. If the animals are in a good mood, they may stick their faces to the safari tram and dare you to come closer.
6. Changi Airport
Though international travels are limited, Changi Airport thankfully remains open for local tourists. Various airport attractions showcase Singaporean hospitality like no other. No matter what you feel like doing, the airport has a place for it. Want to go on a nature walk? Changi has more than 582,000 plants, trees, and shrubs. Terminal 4 is practically a forest in itself.
If you want a more metropolitan adventure, you can check out the airport’s more than 80 shops and restaurants. You may have a little trouble deciding where to eat because you have too many choices.
Changi Airport’s Terminal 4 was designed as a “theatre of experience.” As such, you can also see art exhibits and installations there. Indeed, touring the airport alone can feel like exploring the entire city-state.
Travel Tips for Locals
Though many attractions in Singapore don’t charge entrance fees, your budget may get strained by certain services, pricey souvenirs, and other expensive shop items. So if you come across legitimate travel vouchers, grab one of those and enjoy all its perks. They may give you discounts in hotels, restaurants, theme parks, and other popular tourist spots.
Local tourism may not be enough to cover the shortfall of international tourism, but every trip you make still helps your country by a great deal. So explore Singapore as much as you can during this period, and remember to follow health protocols to help make tourism all over the world thrive again.