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Singapore is a fascinating city. From colony to city-state, the island nation has a historical past and future vision. We explored the city by setting out on foot to discover the top sights and hidden gems in the city. Follow in our footsteps and get acquainted with the city on a Singapore Downtown Walking tour.
Our Self-Guided Singapore Downtown Walking Tour
On our Singapore trip, we wanted to see as much of the city as possible – including this historic and modern Singapore CBD. We could have joined one of the guided Singapore walking tours, but instead decided to grab a Singapore tourist map and plot our own route to Singapore tourist spots.
On our Self-Guided Colonial Singapore Walking Tour, we focused on places to visit in Singapore for free. Travelers visiting Singapore on a Budget will need little more for this free Singapore tour than a good pair of walking shoes and a Singapore city map (which we include in this post!).
That said, the route of our City Walk Singapore passes by a few of the best city museums and other top attractions that can be visited with ticketed entrance.
Pro Tip: The Downtown Core is easily connected to other popular districts in Singapore. Visitors who want to continue exploring the city on foot can check out our other Self-Guided Walking Tours in Singapore: Things to See in Marina Bay and What To See in Chinatown, too!
Walking Tours of Singapore: What You Will Need
Make sure you are prepared for walking around Singapore! In addition to where to walk around in Singapore, we have a few tips for what you will need.
City Walking Shoes
We highlight one of the best city walks in Singapore – and it covers some ground! Make sure you wear comfortable city walking shoes when walking in Singapore. I like to wear lightweight shoes by Columbia and Kris prefers wearing Merrell trail shoes for city exploration. Read more of our tips in our blog post, The Best Shoes for Traveling.
Singapore Weather Gear
Before you start your walk around Singapore, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast. If it will be sunny and hot, make sure to apply sunscreen – and bring a wide-brimmed hat and umbrella for shade, too. In the case that rain is forecasted, bring a packable raincoat.
In our walking route planner Singapore Downtown, we feature top sights and attractions. In order to best capture the beauty of the city in photos, we recommend using an actual camera. We use a DSLR Canon Rebel (which is perfect for beginners!) with an everyday 18-135mm lens (that provides a fantastic range for city photography!).
WiFi and Singapore Walking Map
To help travelers find their way, we provide a Downtown Singapore map at the end of the post. Additionally, we provide a link to Google Maps to our Online Walking Map Singapore that details walking directions.
However, to use either Singapore tour map during your walk, you will need a WiFi connection. On our travels, we use a GlocalMe Mobile WiFi Hotspot, which is perfect for travelers! We can connect multiple devices, buy data online (or use a SIM card) and it doubles as a power bank.
That said, relying solely on Singapore Google maps is never a good idea. We recommend purchasing a Singapore sightseeing map – like this one on Amazon – before your trip.
For every trip anywhere in the world, we think Travel Insurance is essential! Not only can it protect against trip cancelations and lost luggage, but it can cover illnesses and injuries abroad, too. Find out full benefits of the affordable travel insurance coverage with World Nomads.
Guided Walking Tour Singapore
We have outlined an easy-to-follow Self-Guided Walking Tour Singapore. However, if you are more comfortable completing your walking route Singapore with a guide, there are many options to choose from! Let a guide lead you through the history and sights of downtown Singapore on a highly-rated group tour or find other tours on Viator.
Self Guided Walking Tour Singapore
Lace up your shoes! It’s time to start your free walking tour in Singapore Downtown!
#1 Raffles Hotel
Like many tourists, we started our Singapore Downtown Walking tour at the iconic Raffles Hotel. Originally built by the sea in 1887, the hotel is named for the city’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles.
The colonial-style hotel has been moved and undergone numerous additions and remodels (currently being renovated again in 2018). The massive complex is a historic Singapore landmark. The guest list ranges from the famous to soldiers to prisoners of war during World War II.
Possibly more famous than the hotel is the hotel bar, The Long Bar, which is credited for creating the original Singapore Sling (however, we passed on ordering one, as the city’s namesake cocktail at Long Bar costs more than 30 SGD – about $22.50 USD).
#2 Civilian War Monument
The second stop on our Free Walking Tour Singapore is the 220-foot-tall Civilian War Monument. The monument stands to remember the thousands of civilians that were killed during Japanese Occupation during the Pacific War (1942-1945).
#3 The Padang
The Padang is one of the great places to walk around in Singapore. The open grassy field in the city center is used for many events. It is often used by the Padang Cricket Club, which was established in 1852.
#4 St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Singapore CBD
Dedicated in 1861, the Anglican St. Andrew’s Cathedral is the largest Anglican church in the country. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, because of the generous donations for the church building by the Scottish community. St. Andrew’s is a popular stop on Downtown Singapore walking routes, not only because of its beauty, but also because it demonstrates the diverse history of the city.
#5 Singapore Supreme Court
Next up on our Singapore free walking tour is the modern Supreme Court Building. Singapore is known for its strict laws and stiff penalties (trafficking illegal drugs is punishable by death). The Supreme Court – comprised of the Court of Appeal and the High Court – is where the punishments are doled out. The current Supreme Court building opened in 2005. The building, which looks like a spaceship landed on it, features glass to emulate ‘transparency in law.’
#6 Singapore Parliament House
A modern landmark, the Parliament House is the next stop on our Free City Tour Singapore. Relatively new, the Parliament House in Singapore just opened in 1999, but it was designed to look historical and stately. The new building, which was needed due to lack of space in the previous building, incorporates a historic building that dates to 1864.
#7 Old Parliament – The Arts House
Built in 1826, the Old Parliament House – now The Arts House – is a national monument of Singapore, which is why we include it as a stop on our Free Tour Singapore. It is the oldest government building in Singapore and today serves as an arts and heritage center. There is a fee to enter.
#8 National Gallery (Former Supreme Court and Singapore City Hall)
The National Gallery Singapore – and its more than 8,000 artworks – ranks as the largest museum in Singapore. A ticket is required for entry to the National Gallery (and, as the half-way point in our Free City Tour Singapore, it might be a good place to take a break and escape the heat!).
The reason we include the gallery on our Singapore Free Tour, however, is the history of the building. Dating to 1929 when it was completed as the city’s municipal building, the structure has been the site of numerous significant moments in the city’s history.
#9 Victoria Theatre
Dating to 1862, the Victoria Theatre is an important cultural icon in the city. The theater has been used for events, meetings, exhibitions, performances and even as a hospital. The building is still in use as a theater – but has also been designated a Singapore National Monument.
#10 Sir Stamford Raffles Statue
The next stop on our Singapore history tour is the exact place where Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore in January 1819. Raffles is credited as the founder of modern Singapore – and his statue stands on the riverside at the spot he stepped ashore with towering skyscrapers rising up behind him.
#11 Asian Civilizations Museum
If you are wondering what to do in Downtown Singapore to learn about the history and culture of the city, then a stop at the Asian Civilizations Museum is a must! The Asian Civilizations Museum features history and artifacts from all Asian cultures, which celebrates the diversity of Singapore’s multi-ethnic population.
#12 Cavenagh Bridge
Continuing our Singapore heritage tour, take a stroll across the historic Cavenagh Bridge. It is the oldest remaining – and only – suspension bridge in the city. Before crossing the historic bridge, take note of the original signage stating cattle are forbidden to cross the bridge.
#13 Fullerton Hotel
The architecturally beautiful Fullerton Hotel was built in 1928 and originally served as the city’s post office. It only became a 5-star hotel in 2001. The area around the hotel along the riverside is the best place to walk in Singapore to see the colonial history of the city.
#14 Boat Quay
A must-see on walking tours Singapore, Boat Quay presents and exceptional glimpse at the city’s past. The old shop houses of Boat Quay represent the traditional past in striking contrast to the sleek skyscrapers that sit beyond it. The shops have all been converted into restaurants and bars and, although touristic, Boat Quay is a fun place to spend an evening. Tip: Further up-river are two more historic-turned-entertainment quays: Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.
#15 Yueh Hai Ching Temple
The Yueh Hai Ching Temple, the oldest Teochew temple in Singapore, marks the next stop on our Singapore walking tour. It was built in 1826 to give thanks to the gods for safety at sea. The intricate details and bold colors stand out, even though the temple sits in the shadows of the skyscrapers.
#16 Lau Pa Sat Hawker Stalls
the best walks in Singapore include food – and our Downtown Singapore city tour does, too! Sitting low-key among the towering buildings, the historic Lau Pa Sat market (also called Telok Ayer Market) provides a glimpse into the old-world charm of Singapore. The building, with its cast-iron arches and clock tower, house some of the best hawker stalls in the city. Our top recommendations are Indian Curry House and Thunder Tea Rice (for phenomenal – and healthy! – cuisine). But, if visiting in the evening, sit outside and enjoy sticks of flame-cooked satay.
That completes our walk to top sights in Singapore Downtown! Below you will find our Singapore City Tour Map so that you can easily find your way to the attractions listed above.
Downtown Singapore Walking Tour Map of Sights
To help route your way through the city, use the below Singapore sights map. Click on each marker on the Singapore Downtown Map for more information about the site.
Singapore Tourist Attraction Map with Walking Directions
Looking for more places to walk in Singapore? Our Singapore Itinerary is exactly what you need to plan your Singapore city trip! We include top Singapore sightseeing places and walks in Singapore districts that you won’t want to miss! Additionally, we include Singapore walks in nature that are near the CBD. Be sure to check out our complete Guide To Johor Bahru, Malaysia as well!
We want to know: Have you completed our self-guided Singapore Downtown walking tour? What Singapore sightseeing places would you add to our list? Tell us in the comments!
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