Located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, this is amongst the most modern cities in Asia. Although physically small, yet Singapore is an economic giant thriving on its melting pot of cultures.
It has a unique tapestry and excellent infrastructure that allows travellers to enjoy a wide array of sight-seeing and attractions in a clean, green and safe environment. Also known as the Lion City, Singapore is one of the most expensive destinations in the world but even for travellers on a budget, the country has a lot to offer that won’t break their bank. This small yet splendid island has a lot of fantastic things to see, do and eat during your visit.
Singapore Travel Info
Language: The country has four official languages which are Malay, English, Tamil, and Mandarin. Apart from these around twenty other languages are spoken in different parts of Singapore. A large number of locals are efficient in English so you won’t face any problem in interacting with them.
Currency: Singapore Dollar.
Visa: For most nationalities, except residents of a few Middle Eastern countries, parts of Asia and Africa, Visa is not needed to visit Singapore if you intend to stay for less than 90 days. All you need is a passport valid for the next 6months. All the required details and visa application forms are available online, so you can easily get everything sorted.
Electricity: Singapore has a 220V AC supply. The power outlets are the same as used in UK and Europe, i.e. two prong flat or round socket. To avoid any inconvenience do not forget to carry a universal adaptor. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each country you visit.
Singapore Festivals & Celebrations
Chinese New Year: Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration in Singapore and is among the favourite holidays of the year. You will find celebrations all across the country, and the grandest celebration happens at Chinatown. The event occurs in January or February with parades, performances, street vendors and festivals everywhere in the city.
Deepavali: This festival of lights is one of the most important Hindu festivals marking the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated with the lighting of diyas and firecrackers and preparing loads of sweets. The celebration happens during October or November, and during this time Little India glows with brightly lit streets, vibrant colours and glorious festivities.
Vesak Day: This is the most important holiday for Singapore’s Buddhist community. The Vesak Day occurs in May and on this day the birth, enlightenment and the death of Lord Buddha is celebrated. Temples and shrines are decorated& lit and events like talks and vegetarian food fairs also take place.
Safety In Singapore
Safety is not a concern for most people traveling to Singapore. Singapore is one of the safest countries in Asia and even solo female travelers can feel safe while traveling about in this country. This is the result of some extremely harsh laws that are implemented there by the Government. Petty thefts occur occasionally so be cautious and do not leave your belongings unattended. Based on many years of solo travel around southeast Asia I would never leave home without travel insurance. I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your Singapore trip. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Top Things To Do In Singapore
Spend a day at Sentosa
This Island resort has amazingly entertaining activities for kids and adults alike. For some family-friendly fun raid the Adventure Cove Waterpark or Universal Studios Singapore. If you are looking for some adrenaline rush, iFly Singapore, The Flying Trapeze or Mega Adventure will suit you fine. For the ones who intend to relax, hit the beaches and trust me these are only some of the many amazing things that you can do at Sentosa.
The Marina Bay district is the focal point of all the tourist activities in Singapore. It has some of the main tourist attractions like the Art Science Museum, The Float at Marina Bay, the Singapore Flyer, Merion Park, Gardens by The Bay and some of the best spots of the city overlooking the bay. The centre piece of the bay is the Marina Resort that houses almost everything in your list- a world-class Casino, several nightclubs, shops, performance halls, fabulous overnight accommodations and what not.
This place is somewhat between a zoo and botanic oasis housing various rare species like orange orangutans and Malaysian flying fox along with a diverse array of wildlife that you can get personal with. The zoo is spacious with naturalistic enclosures divided into 11 zones having 12 exhibits. Visitors fall in love with the zoo and it is recommended to spend an entire day here.
Take a ride on the Singapore Flyer
Although the flyer was inspired by the Ferris Wheel built by Chicago in 1893 for its World Expo and the London Eye built in the year 2000, yet this 42 stories tall giant wheel never fails to lure tourists of all ages. It gives a 360-degree incredible panoramic view of the urban landscape of the city and claims that you can even see Indonesia and Malaysia from the top.
Visit Gardens by the Bay
This garden is counted among the most visited landmarks of Singapore. Based in the Marina Bay, the garden gives its visitors a taste of nature without the trek. It is a perfect blend of urban and natural and features enticing landmarks like The Supertree supporting the OCBC Skyway, the largest waterfall in the world and the world’s largest greenhouse. When you are in Singapore, visiting Gardens by the Bay is a must.
Wander in the Singapore Botanic Gardens
For a city as large as Singapore, you will be amazed to see the number of natural wonders sharing space with the skyscrapers. One among them is the awe-inspiring Botanic Gardens. The garden is spread across an area of 60 acres and is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It houses a large number of unusual plants. The garden is enormous and for the ones who want to explore the entire garden, ensure that you have at least a couple of hours at hand.
Explore China Town
Since Singapore is a melting pot of many ethnicities, it also has many ethnic enclaves, China town being the largest of all. This province is divided into five districts and has so many things to do. You will find it buzzing with tourists and locals continually entering and leaving shops, food stalls and eateries. For souvenirs, head towards Pagoda Street. For a night out, head towards the TangongPagar district having a large number of pubs, bars and Karaoke lounges and for some peace visit the Telok Ayer district.
Explore the Asian Civilization Museum
This incredible museum has the most exhaustive assortment of Pan-Asian artifacts. The collection comprises of history, religion and culture of China, Southeast Asia, Islamic West Asia and the Asian Subcontinent. The museum underwent a significant transformation in 2015 and the displays now emphasise the cross-cultural connections developed due to the history of Singapore as a port city. The Tang Shipwreck Exhibit has a display of nearly 500 pieces of valuables that were recovered from the wreck.
Visit the Little India
If you want to wander away from the mainland, Little India is just your place. This enclave is soaked in culture and is located about two miles northwest of Marina Bay. It has a dense network of shops and streets selling almost everything from spices to garlands to fabric. They have shops selling all sorts of cloth, gold and last minute amenities too. And when you get tired walking, visit the beautiful Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple and relax in its tranquillity.
Visit the National Gallery
The historic city hall and the Old Supreme Court buildings of Singapore collectively form the spectacular National Gallery. It houses a world-class collection of Modern and 19th Century South East Asian Art kept in two main areas, the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery and the DBS Singapore Gallery. The former highlights the greater Southeast Asian region while the latter displays a detailed overview of the Singaporean Art from the 19th century to the present day.
Other than these top things to do in Singapore, there is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country. Plan ahead so that you can take your time exploring and be prepared to be flexible because sometimes travelers you meet along the way will have the best suggestions for undiscovered gems.
What To Eat In Singapore
As Singapore is a blend of many cultures, it reflects in its food as well. The food served here is a combination of several cultures and tastes. The dishes are delectable and have extreme variety. Some of the most loved dishes are listed here.
Hainanese Chicken Rice: This is believed to be the national dish of Singapore. It is a combination of boiled chicken and rice cooked in chicken broth. Every street stall and restaurant has this dish in its menu, but with some variation. The meal is served with a side of veggies and a flavorful sauce.
Chili Crab: Hard Shelled crabs are cooked in semi thick gravy having a base of Tomato and chilli. Once the crabs are steamed, they are partially cracked and then stir-fried in ketchup, chilli sauce and eggs. Despite its name, the dish is not at all spicy and is usually eaten with bread.
Laska: This is a cross between Malay and Chinese cuisine. Rice noodles are served in a spicy coconut curry with fish cakes, shrimp, eggs and meat. Laska has numerous variants among which the Katong Laska is served in Singapore.
Char Kway Teow: This is a fried noodle dish and is immensely loved by the locals. Rice noodles are stir-fried with dark soy sauce, chilies, and eggs and then topped with Chinese sausage. The dish thus, prepared has a soft texture and is more sweet than spicy.
Kaya Toast: Kaya Toast comprises of thick slices of toast with Kaay Jam (combination of sugar, coconut, eggs) and served with butter. This toast is best served at breakfast but is also eaten as an afternoon snack with a steaming cup of tea.
Where To Stay In Singapore
Singapore is an expensive place to visit but finding accommodation in Singapore is easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget. Hostels and budget hotels make travel to Singapore affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
If you’re traveling to Singapore during peak season or wish to stay in a luxury hotel then it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have already been snapped up. Singapore is a pretty popular year-round destination you know!
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Singapore.
If you’re backpacking in Singapore or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Asia very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
Singapore Trip Planner
Best Time to Visit Singapore
Singapore is most popular with travelers during the dry season which is between November and April. The weather gets really hot during March and April, so it’s best to travel during the cooler months of December to February.
Singapore Travel Budget
Singapore is generally an expensive destination for most travelers. The cost of your trip to Singapore really depends on the level of comfort you will expect while here. If you’re backpacking and planning on staying in hostels and eating fast food then budget between $35 to $50 a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $50 to $100 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget about $200 plus a day.
- Budget: $35-50
- Mid-range: $50-$100
- Splurge: $200+
Meal For One
- Budget: $10.00-$20.00
- Mid-range: $20-$35
- Splurge: $35+
Singapore Packing Guide
Packing for a trip to Singapore, like most other places in southeast Asia, is a breeze because it’s so easy to travel light in hotter climates. Tropical southeast Asia climates also mean high humidity so lightweight and breathable lose fitting clothing is essential.
Be prepared for the occasional cool evening and know that every indoor place in Singapore, from shopping malls, to cinemas and restaurants will have the cold air conditioning on so when it’s hot outside expect it to be cold inside! Depending on the month you visit, pack a warm sweater just in case. If you’re visiting during the wet season bring a rain jacket and an umbrella. If you forget to pack something you can buy anything you need in Singapore.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Singapore include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
For the full list of everything you need to pack for a trip to Singapore check out the Jetset Bunny Ultimate Asia Packing List For Female Travelers.