Geography of Singapore

Small, located in Southeast Asia, surrounded by ocean, and densely populated, Singapore is one of the world's most dense and highly developed cities.
Small, located in Southeast Asia, surrounded by ocean, and densely populated, Singapore is one of the world's most dense and highly developed cities.

Small, surrounded by ocean, and densely populated, Singapore is one of the world's most dense and highly developed cities. From the imposing skyscrapers of Shenton Way to the Durian-shaped local event center along the city's waterfront, Singapore's geography is dominated by landmarks showing the city's importance for businesses and the many cultures than inhabit the island.

Most visitors to Singapore will find themselves staying in the CBD, Orchard, or Bugis areas – three central city districts that are at the hub of Singapore's transportation system. Located fairly centrally on the island and slightly to the south, these districts are the backbone of Singapore's economy and tend to be the city's busiest locations.

South of the central area is Sentosa Island, formerly a naval base and now one of the city's biggest tourist attractions. Home to Singapore's Universal Studios theme park, it's a leading attraction for families with young children. The island is connected to the mainland by a road bridge and public rail, making it easy to access for visitors.

Most of Singapore's urban action is focused around the Singapore River, a small river that bisects the lower portion of the island. Nightlife hotspots like Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay are based along the edge of the river, and offer great nighttime views of the city center. Restaurants and other eateries are also located alongside the river, including many of Singapore's best places to eat.

To the west of the river is Bugis, one of the city's recently gentrified shopping districts. A range of historical and ethnic neighborhoods like Little India and Kampong Glam are scattered around this area, making it an interesting place for visitors to spend time in.

To the north of central Singapore, you'll find Balestier, one of the city's largest residential districts. Home to the thousands of Singaporeans that commute to the CBD during work hours, this area is a great place to find great accommodation at prices below that of the city center. Other than its myriad apartment buildings and residential developments, it has few tourist attractions of any interest.

Further north you'll find true suburban Singapore, home to massive housing developments and most of the city's residential space. Made up of cleared jungle land, the housing areas here are pretty and surrounded by lush surroundings, making it a great area for long-term stays in the city-state. This part of Singapore is home to the Singapore Zoo and the famous Zurong Bird Park.

Given its less dense development and large expanses of open land, the northern half of Singapore is the best place on the island to find real nature. Several public parks and reserve areas, including the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and large West Coast Park, are perfect for escaping the urban nature of Singapore’s business and shopping districts. All public parks and reserves are free to enter.

While Singapore's concrete jungle inner city may not make you think you're on a tropical island, the eastern reaches of the city certainly will. Largely residential, the eastern area of Singapore is full of gorgeous beaches and seaside settlements. East Coast Park, a large seaside parkland area, is a great place to see the 'other side' of Singapore and explore the island's best beaches.

In the eastern side of town, you'll also find Changi Airport. Connected to the city by public rail and highways, getting to and from the airport is fairly simple. Unfortunately, most visitors don't spend a lot of time in eastern Singapore other than their trip to and from the airport. The enjoy the natural side of the city, it's worth spending some time here.

From busy urban shopping malls and tall skyscrapers to natural wetlands and beaches, Singapore is a varied and diverse place to visit. Thanks to its small size, getting around is simple, and enjoying the island's many different environments and settings is possible for any visitor.