Photo: Botanical Gardens

The Singapore Botanical Gardens, built in 1859 and spanning 128 acres (51 hectares), are a popular spot for locals to stroll, jog, or practice tai chi.

Photograph by Lynn Johnson/Getty Images

Newton Circus
Most famous of the hawker food stall centers; one of the few places you can go at 2 a.m. for barbecue prawns, curried squid, and the Indian version of fried bread: roti prata. Relatively high prices, yet an easy introduction into the world of Asian food stalls. Bukit Timah Road.

East Coast Park
Popular beach park stretching more than nine miles (15 kilometers); where Singapore goes out to play on the weekends. Recreation paths specifically built for roller blades, jogging, and biking. Faces the Straits of Malacca, one of the busiest shipping transit points in the world; at night, the array of ships’ lights looks like a floating city. East Coast Parkway. www.nparks.gov.sg

Singapore Zoo and Night Safari
Built into the jungle; cage-free appearance. Nocturnal deer and boar roam free in the Night Safari, often just a few feet (about one meter) away from the tourist trams. Stay out of the bat cage after dark if big flying fruit bats give you the creeps. www.zoo.com.sg

Chinatown
City’s largest historic enclave; begins at Upper Pickering Street and stretches south to Cantonment Road. Once home to Chinese mercantilists, now shophouses are quickly turning into trendy bars and restaurants. Evenings, listen for the clack of mahjong tiles being shuffled in some of the few remaining Chinese social clubs.

Sentosa Island
Combination beach resort, golf course, and future casino on historic island. Along with nearby Labrador Park, site was a fortified redoubt where the British planned to defend Singapore against a Japanese invasion; the tunnels can be seen at Fort Siloso. www.sentosa.com.sg

Arab Quarter
Touches of old Malay culture still exist in this historic district, quickly giving way to modern boutiques. Sultan Mosque sits at the end of a tree-lined pedestrian street; the East India Company funded the original mosque in 1826. During Ramadan, the quarter comes alive at night when Muslims break the daytime fast.

Little India
Serangoon Road cuts through the middle of the Indian quarter; sari shops, curry restaurants, Hindu temples, and fruit stalls line the street. On Sunday nights, Indian immigrants and guest workers crowd along the road and side alleys, making them almost impassable.

MacRitchie Reservoir and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Kayaking and canoes, old growth jungle, monkeys, walking paths, and a treetop suspension walk; a glimpse of what tropical Singapore was once like before the advent of the skyscraper. www.wildsingapore.com

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