While Singapore’s known for being a bustling city, you can still travel to the island for a relaxing getaway. Getting some down time is fully possible, though, and we’ve sifted out five spots to unwind.

Quayside Isle in Sentosa Singapore, a serene waterfront shopping mall with alfresco dining

Sentosa Cove/Quayside Isle
Alfresco dining options at Quayside Isle Sentosa Photo by Danny Santos

Sentosa remains the top choice for Singaporeans looking for reprieve from fast-paced city life. Skip the popular beaches of Palawan and Tanjong, and make your way to Quayside Isle in Sentosa Cove: there, dining options like Mykonos on the Bay and Sabio by the Sea skirt the waterfront, itself lined with superyachts.

When you’re done with your meal, adjourn to the luxurious Auriga Spa at Capella Singapore Hotel, set with a private pool and views of the nearby Southern Islands. There’s plenty to explore offshore at these islands, and the best way to get to there is via Marina South Pier, off Sentosa.

Bukit Timah
Tranquil Bukit Timah Reserve Lake

Bukit Timah is an expansive twist of roads and buildings, but within the district are tranquil spots for some quiet. Take a hike up Bukit Timah Hill or, for the adventurous, venture off the beaten path and explore the jungles of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve by mountain bike or foot.

A more laidback option awaits you at Bukit Timah Saddle Club when you pop by Riders Café, which overlooks the nearby stables—if you’re lucky, you’ll spot horses trotting in one of the riding arenas. Come weekends, the little ones can have a go at riding ponies at selected timings.

Robertson Quay
Beautiful night view of Robertson Quay with alfresco café and restaurant options Photo by Marklin Ang

Cosy up on a sofa in the Book Café with a cup of tea—the eatery’s stocked with an extensive selection of magazines, foreign and local newspapers, plus free Wi-Fi and a photocopier.

Alternatively, the Reading Room’s where all manner of bookworms congregate, thanks to the plush seats, wooden tables and shelves of books lining its interior. Come evening, the space transforms into a bar so you’ll get your booze fix, easy.

Yogis can get their Namaste at Yoga Movement studio, situated above the famed Common Man Coffee Roasters (the café churns out a mean flat white and decent brunch mains). Round up your day by soaking in the arts at printmaking institute STPI or the Singapore Repertory Theatre, where performances, readings and musicals take front and centre.

Punggol Waterfront/Coney Island
Night view of Tranquil Punggol Waterway park Photo by Darren Soh

Punggol is a little far off from the city centre, but you’ll be surprised by the options awaiting you on this end of the island. Explore the Punggol Waterway Park by bicycle—there are scores of rental shops around offering hourly rates–or meander the carved paths of Coney Island. After, nosh on the popular white bee hoon (rice vermicelli) at The White Restaurant that’s just minutes from Coney Island, or try one of the eateries at the Punggol East Container Park. Extend your day into an island-hopping trip to Kusu Island or Lazarus Island, which you can get to by boat from Marina Country Club.

Civic District
Exhibits at National Gallery Singapore featuring the world’s largest public collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art Photo by Charles Loh

Looking to relax and unwind in the heart of the city? The answer lies in Capitol Piazza, just steps from City Hall MRT Station. Have your hair and nails done at Branché, pick up a hand-drip coffee from Hoshino Coffee then sniff out a designer fragrance at Scentre.

Don’t forget to admire the exhibits at the nearby National Gallery (we suggest visiting in the late afternoon, to catch the dappled sunlight marking the floors of the Padang Atrium within). 

If you’d rather be outdoors, make for the tranquil memorial garden at the Armenian Church, Singapore’s oldest Christian church.