Singapore is a modern, cosmopolitan city. The city is small, which is only around 719.2 sqm land area, but there’s still a lot to see and do. It has something for just about everyone – nature park reserves, beaches, museums, architecture, amusement parks, world-class shopping, and many more! With its location, this city is a convenient gateway to the rest of South-East Asia. You can either start, stop, or end here!

This article was made possible with my sister’s help. She’s traveled to more places (outside the country) than I ever have so I asked her if she could share some travel tips when traveling to Singapore.

Getting To Know Singapore

If you’re looking for a true “Asian” experience, Singapore won’t be at the top of your list. However, it’s a place that packs a lot of inspiration being a world-class technology hub in Asia.

Not only that, but it’s also known as a super clean city, “fine” city, the land of shopping malls, and having one of the best airports in the world. Although known as an expensive city, it has a lot of cheap and great street food!

Before we delve into traveling around Singapore, we’re answering the most frequently asked questions!

What’s the currency in Singapore? SGD (Singaporean Dollar) | September 2019 Conversion Rate: 1.38SGD = $1 USD

Should I tip Singapore? The country does not have a tipping culture. Most restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill so a tip is expected. 

What are the most common languages spoken in Singapore? English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil 

What’s the national language? Malay, but most Singaporeans speak English

Helpful Phrases To Know: Malay

  • Hello = apa kabar
  • Thank you = terima kasih
  • Delicious = lazat
  • Coffee = kopi
  • Bathroom =  bilik mandi
  • How much? = berapa banyak
  • Too expensive = mahal
  • Don’t want = tidak mahu

Helpful Phrases To Know: Singlish (an English-based creole language spoken in Singapore)

  • Very good/delicious = shiok
  • Black coffee (without milk) = kopi o
  • Coffee with condensed milk = kopi c
  • Coffee with less sugar = kopi siu dai
  • Eat = makan
  • Thank you = thank you ahh

What’s Singapore’s religion and culture? The main religions are Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.

How do I get around Singapore? The best way to get around Singapore is via its MRT subway system. Consider buying an EZ-link card or a Singaporean Tourist Pass to spend less and make your trip more convenient.

What’s the plug and socket type in Singapore? In Singapore, the power plugs and sockets are of type G. Bring a power plug adapter for convenience.

When’s the best time to visit Singapore? 

Climate in Singapore

Singapore’s climate is classified as tropical rainforest, with high humidity and abundant rainfall. The best time to travel to Singapore is between February to April. However, the climate is more or less the same all throughout the year. 

  •       Rainy season: December-March and June-September
  •       Coldest month: February

The peak season for tourists is from November-January, June, and July. If you don’t like crowded places, better avoid traveling during these months.

Are there any major festivals in Singapore?

  • Chinese New Year: mid-January to mid-February
  • Thaipusam (Indian festival): first/second week of February
  • Singapore Art Festival: May-June
  • Hari Raya Puasa (Malay festival for Muslims): June-July
  • National Day: August 9
  • Singapore River Festival: October
  • Lantern Festival: September 15th

Note: The exact dates vary each year.

Top Things to Do in Singapore

  • Explore Gardens by the Bay – Spend a few hours wandering around Marina Bay’s gardens, an iconic destination in Singapore! It has three gardens spanning more than a hundred hectares of reclaimed land. 
  • Shop on Orchard Road – Shop till you drop. From everyday items to luxury ones, you can find them here. 
  • Have fun at Universal Studios – Bring out the kid in you and ride all you can at Universal Studios Singapore.
  • Ride Singapore cable car – Fly at night from Faber Peak Singapore to Sentosa Island and get priceless scenic views of Singapore. 
  • Visit Night Safari – Have a wildlife science tour at night. Located next to the Singapore zoo, this park is the world’s first nocturnal park and rainforest lumina. It is open from 7:30 pm until midnight. Get a glimpse of more than 130 species of animals in action, including nocturnal animals. Don’t forget the 20-minute Creatures of the Night show held three to four times per night.

Top Attractions & Places To Visit in Singapore

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay is a 101-hectare park, combining nature and technology. Check out its Supertrees, Cloud Forest, and Flower Dome. These contain ferns, orchids, and flowers from many places in the world like Spain, Italy, and South America!

Entering the park and having your selfie near the Supertrees are free, but you need to pay a fee to explore the Cloud Forest and Forest Dome. 

Marina Bay

Marina Bay is literally a bay, with its surrounding area also called Marina Bay. It’s built on reclaimed land. You can find here Marina Bay Sand, an integrated resort owned by Las Vegas Sands.

It is also known as the world’s most expensive standalone casino, including its land cost. It has three towers connected by a 1-hectare roof terrace, Sands Skypark. Its observation deck provides a dazzling panoramic view across the bay.

Orchard Road

Known as Asia’s most famous shopping street with nearly 30 shopping malls lined up on its 2.2 km-length, it offers all your shopping needs, from everyday staples to luxury items. You can also find here the National Museum of Singapore. 

Chinatown

A home to different cultures and multi-ethnic culinary traditions, there’s always something exciting in Chinatown.  Whether you are touring age-old temples or looking for a place to eat or drink, check this place out. 

Sentosa

Known as “Asia’s Favorite Playground.” It includes casinos, forest adventures, and beach resorts, which makes it a wonderful island for relaxation and recreation. For those who love amusement parks, Universal Studios Singapore is right in this park.

What To Eat In Singapore

Food in Singapore has cultural influences from everywhere-Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, and Indian.

We recommend

  •       Chili Crab: national dish of Singapore
  •       Hainanese Chicken Rice: originated from Hainan Province
  •       Nasi Lemak: famous Malay dish, rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf
  •       Biryani: fried rice dish of Indian Muslim influence
  •       Roti Prata: a pancake-like bread served with curry
  •       Fried Hokkien Mee: famous Singapore fried noodles

Singapore Travel Budget

The Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer by Post Office suggests that Singapore is the most expensive holiday destination worldwide. Still, you can tour Singapore without breaking your bank account. 

Good to know: To spend less, eat your meals at hawker centers. Most destinations can be reached on foot, so just walk. Plus there are free attractions in Singapore such as the Merlion Park, Singapore Botanical Garden, and Gardens by the Bay.

How much should you budget in Singapore (per day)?

The amount usually varies on whether you are a budget or a midrange traveler and if you like to splurge on some things. However, here’s a typical budget when traveling around Singapore.

For the Budget traveler: If you are on a tight budget and watch your spending closely, 40-60SUSD per day. 

For the Mid-range traveler: If you want to have a few splurges and stay in nicer accommodations, plan to budget 100-120 USD per day. 

Accommodation

  • Dorm bed = 9-12USD
  • Budget room = 30-60USD
  • Mid-range = 120USD
  • Luxury hotel = 500USD

Food

  • Street food/hawker center = 2-4USD
  • Mid-range restaurant = 10-20USD
  • Bottled water = 4.50USD/liter

Transportation

  • MRT = an average of 1USD per ride 
  • Grab taxi = around 0.16SGD per minute
  • Taxi from airport to city center = 14-25USD

Entertainment

  • Universal Studios Singapore = 79 USD/one day pass 
  • Skypark viewing deck entrance fee = 23 SGD/adult, 17 SGD/child (2-11 years old)
  • Singapore Zoo = 37 USD/adult, 25 USD/child 
  • Singapore Cable Car = 35 SGD/adult, 25 SGD/child
  • Night Safari = 55 SGD/adult, 39 SGD/child (ages 3-12 years old)
  • Cloud Forest and Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay = 28 SGD/adult, 15  SGD/child (3-12 years old)

Where to Stay

These accommodations cost around 40 USD/night, good for 2 people.  

Beat Capsule Hostel

Located in the Boat Quay district of Singapore, this property is found right in the heart of Chinatown. It also gives easy access to MRT and bus stations. Boat Quay is a wonderful choice for travelers interested in skyline views, botanical gardens, and city walks. 

Book here for discounted rates

Conservation Shophouse

Conveniently located in Bras Basah and very close to the following stations: Basah MRT Station (651 meters), City Hall MRT Station (450 meters), and Bugis MRT Station (550 meters). 

Book here for discounted rates

Royal Lodge @ Pagoda Street

Just a few steps from Chinatown Heritage Center. The location is right next to Chinatown MRT Station.

Book here for discounted rates

7 Wonders Hostel @ Upper Dickenson

Located in Little India. It is near Bugis Street, which is one of the biggest and cheapest places to shop in Singapore, and the Singapore Art Museum. Little India MRT Station is just 300 meters away. 

Book here for discounted rates

Beary Best! Kampong Glam

This property is a 10-minute walk from Bugis Street and 300 meters away from Bugis MRT Station. It is also very near the Singapore Flyer and the Singapore Art Museum. Enjoy a nice view of Arab Street from the roof deck! 

Book here for discounted rates

Sustainable Travel Tips in Singapore

With how travel has taken the world by storm, we want to influence travelers on traveling more responsible.

So what is responsible travel? According to HuffPost,

Responsible travel (aka responsible tourism) is simply this:

Being socially and culturally aware when you travel (i.e. use more common sense people!), understanding your affect on the places you visit and trying to make that affect a positive one.

Walk/ride a bike

A lot of destinations in Singapore are within walking distance, but if you want to cover more distance, you can also join a bike tour in Singapore. 

Instead of buying bottled water, drink tap water!

You can drink water straight from the tap as the water in Singapore passes the standards of the World Health Organization. You can also bring your own refillable water bottles and simply refill. Help save the Earth by reducing your plastic waste.

Talk to the locals

Immerse yourself in the local culture and what better way to do that than talking to the locals? Learn a few bits about their language and meet amazing people!

Respect the places you visit

Know what are the dos and don’ts in the place you are planning to visit. You might unknowingly disrespect the people, the culture, and the environment of the places you visit.

Enjoy the view

It’s nice to take photos to preserve memories but don’t forget to take the time to also appreciate the view. You might be too busy taking photos and selfies that you forget to enjoy the place.

Singapore Packing List

So now you have your flight tickets, it’s time to pack!

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