5 Places to Visit in Singapore

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luke bott / luke bott

The island city-state is the place to be for rare turtles, ancient teeth, and futuristic trees. Presented with Atlas Obscura.

1. The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum

VISIT: 1 Chinese Garden Rd., 619795

Averaging a clip of almost 4 mph, Singaporeans are the world’s fastest walkers. But this park—home to more than 800 turtles and tortoises representing over 50 species—is the perfect place to slow down. The turtles roam freely, and visitors can buy veggies and brave the chompers of a variety of shelled reptiles, from the snake-necked turtle to the permanently smiling mata mata.

2. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum

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VISIT: 288 S. Bridge Rd., 058840

A $62 million complex may seem a bit much for housing a chipped tooth, but this is no ordinary molar: This temple claims that the relic— recovered in Myanmar in 1980—belonged to the Buddha himself. Evidence is scant, but the 4-ton gold stupa holding the tooth is a testament to the legend’s hold on believers. The endlessly ornate shrine is also home to other bone and tongue relics of the Buddha.

3. Gardens by the Bay

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VISIT: 18 Marina Gardens Dr., 018953

This futuristic park along Marina Bay is home to 18 Supertrees, manmade steel towers that teeter up to 160 feet high. Roughly 200 species of orchids, ferns, and other tropical climbers scale the Supertrees’ trunks, forming a lush skin. If real trees are your thing, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve contains more species of trees in its 405 acres than the entire continent of North America.

4. MINT Museum of Toys

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VISIT: 26 Seah St., 188382

Chang Yang-Fa loves toys so much he owns about half a million of them. You can see 50,000 of these in this collection, which includes trinkets from the 1840s, a rare Mickey Mouse with teeth, and Japan’s first robot. It’s worth millions, which is no big deal in Singapore. The city ranks eighth in density of millionaires in the world—2.8 percent of households are worth seven figures.

5. Haw Par Villa

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VISIT: 262 Pasir Panjang Rd., 118628

A sprawling hodgepodge of dioramas, this theme park showcases Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian folklore. The park displays more than 1,000 surreal figurines, and its best-known exhibit, the Ten Courts of Hell Cave, graphically depicts the punishments you can expect in the Buddhist underworld. Cheat on an exam and into the 8th court of Hell you go, where it’s forcible intestine removal for you!