You can walk around the three trails in the 40-hectare forested park but the best experience is via the tram (adult/child S$10/5), even though we think it’s a little cheeky (and greedy) that you have to pay for the atmospheric 45-minute jungle tour past a parade of 120 different spot-lit nocturnal species.
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You’ve got to ring and book a visit to the Baba House, but the one- to two-hour guided tour of this pre-war terrace house built in the elaborate Peranakan style is worth every cent.
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Singapore Botanic Gardens
If Singapore’s urban planners could manufacture paradise, it wouldn’t look too different from the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The front entrance leads to an idyllic koi pond. On weekends, laughing children feed the multicoloured fish. Right behind, a waterfall gurgles and birds hop around the water’s edge, at ease with the locals.
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A 10-minute chug from Changi Point Ferry Terminal lands you on the shores of Pulau Ubin. There's no timetable; boats depart when 12 people are ready to go (not usually too long). Singaporeans like to wax nostalgic about Ubin's kampung (village) atmosphere, but it's only a matter of time before the developers come knocking. For the moment though, it's a rural, unkempt expanse of jungle full of lizards, weird shrines and cacophonic birdlife.
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Famous by name, Orchard Rd was once was lined with nutmeg and pepper plantations. Today it's the domain of Singapore's elite and well-heeled tourists, lured here by the shopping centres, nightspots, restaurants, bars and lounges. A showcase for the material delights of capitalism, Orchard Rd also possesses some sights of cultural interest where a credit card is not required.
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Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Singapore’s steamy heart of darkness is Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, a 164-hectare tract of undeveloped primary rainforest clinging to Singapore’s highest peak, Bukit Timah (163.63m). Established as a reserve in 1883, Bukit Timah has never been logged.
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Singapore Science Centre
The endearingly geeky Singapore Science Centre is chock-full of exhibits covering a variety of themes, from optical illusions to maths (ugh), the human body and even climate change. Many displays are of a push/pull/twist-and-see-what-happens variety but our favourite is the gi-normous Tesla coil that frenetically shoots up sparks to the ceiling. No touching, kids!
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Set on a peninsula jutting into the Upper Seletar Reservoir, the Singapore Zoo is world class. Its 28 landscaped hectares and open concept (no cages) are a far cry from the sad concrete confines some zoos retain.
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