Singapore- The Ultimate Guide
If you’re travelling through Southeast Asia, Singapore is likely to be on your radar. It might be the smallest country in the region, but it’s also the most dynamic. When you arrive in this city you will feel as though you’ve stepped into the future.
Singapore is an incredible mix of green parks, beautiful architecture, diverse culture, and high-class living. It’s a beautiful, clean, and highly-developed city. But it’s also one of the most expensive places to visit. By Southeast Asian standards, it’s exceptionally expensive with everything costing about double what it does anywhere else in the region. You shouldn’t let the high costs deter you from visiting. Singapore is a popular airport hub in Asia which means that one of your flights is likely to pass through here anyway. So why not turn your layover into an adventure.
Here’s a selection of the best things to do in Singapore:
Gardens By The Bay
One of the top things to do in Singapore is to explore the cities most famous park. This is perhaps the most well-known landmark in Singapore. It’s best to visit here early in the morning before it gets too hot to be outside in the sun.
It’s completely free to visit the gardens, but it tends to get very busy here in the evening when it starts to cool off. Although it gets very busy here later on, there’s a wonderful light show that takes place every evening at 7:45 and 8:45 pm. It’s really beautiful and definitely worth checking out.
The Marina Bay Sands is located near here. If you want to splurge a bit you might want to stay here. The Bay Sands is the most iconic hotel in Singapore and is home to the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool. It is very expensive and out of most price ranges. But it’s also pretty spectacular to admire from below.
Singapore’s Botanic Gardens is a treasure trove for plant lovers, but it’s also a beautiful spot for anyone looking to get out in nature. It’s a 74-hectare wonderland and a Unesco World Heritage Site. It’s one of three gardens, and the only tropical garden, to be honoured by Unesco. The site is home to the National Orchid Garden, and even a patch of dense primeval rainforest. The Orchid gardens will cost about $5 to enter, but it is beautiful – and a great place to snap a few photos.
Cloud Forest & Flower Dome
The Cloud Forest is part of Singapore’s “city garden” concept. It’s a spectacular domed conservatory that features a 35-meter-tall waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation. Contained inside a glass dome, the forest has a very mystical look and feel to it. It’s like stepping into outer space. Inside the forest you will find rare and interesting plant species from all over the world. Next to the Cloud Forest you will find the Flower Dome. The ticket price is S$28 and will get you entry into both the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. The Cloud Forest is definitely more intriguing, but both are worth visiting.
Explore Haji Lane
Haji lane is Singapore’s original indie neighbourhood. The area around here is one of the most creative and intriguing in all of Singapore. This buzzing, all-hours, eclectic street is peppered with cool bars, cafes, boutiques, and restaurants, all of which have a high ranking on the hip factor. Haji lane is also home to beautiful wall murals. If you love street art, you don’t want to miss out on a walk down this street.
Explore the Arab Quarter
Just around the corner from Haji Lane you will find Bali Lane – the Kampong Glam district, also known as Arab street. Here you will find the famous Sultan mosque, along with a great selection of Turkish restaurants and little shops.
Singapore is a rich mixture of different cultures. There’s no better place to experience this heritage than in Little India and Chinatown. Chinatown is a fun area to walk around in and has a variety of delicious street food, great shopping opportunities, and beautiful temples to offer.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is the most well-known temple here. It’s richly designed interiors and the complex exhibits of Buddhist art tell an intriguing story of culture over thousands of years old.
Little India is the heart of Singapore’s south Indian community. This is where the large Indian festivals are celebrated, and it’s also a buzzing ethnic neighbourhood. The main street is Serangoon Road, but you will find the best and most colourful buildings in the narrow streets which intersect with the main road. This is where you will find some great photo opportunities.
One of the best things to do in Singapore is to take a walk along the river. You can walk all the way from Raffles Place to the Merlion Park to Esplanade to Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay.
These are the top stops to check out along the way; One Fullerton, Merlion Park, Asian Civilisations Museum, Esplanade, Helix Bridge, Art Science Museum, Marina Bay Sands, and Gardens by the Bay.
Sentosa island has been created for tourists. It’s a sunny island, home to exciting events, lush rainforests, golden sandy beaches, luxurious hotels, and thrilling attractions. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a day of exciting exploration, Sentosa has a world of adventure to offer.
If you’re looking to shop until you drop or until your credit cards are maxed out, take a trip to the famous shopping mecca Orchard road. The street is scattered with impressive shopping malls. The poshest and biggest shopping mall is ION Orchard Mall. It’s located directly above the MRT station.
Tiong Bahru Neighbourhood
If you’re looking for an authentic taste of local life in Singapore, spend the afternoon exploring the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood. Filled with impressive art deco architecture and independent cafes and shops, this is a great area to spend an afternoon in.
Sri Krishnan Temple
Built in 1870, the Sri Krishnan South Indian Hindu Temple is a fine example of Singapore’s multiple religions. It’s worth checking out if you have some extra time.
The National Museum of Singapore
If you are interested in the history of Singapore, you should definitely check out the National Museum. First established in 1887, this is the oldest museum in the island city. You can find great exhibitions and artifacts on display here.
Singapore River Cruise
The 40-minute river cruise is a great way to see some of the popular landmarks while seated inside a comfortable boat.
When to visit Singapore
Singapore is a fantastic year-round destination. It has the typical tropical climate of the rest of Asia and it never colds here. The average temperature throughout the year fluctuates between 25-30 degrees Celsius. The rainy season is from November to January – so you might want to avoid these months. It’s also worth noting that public holidays and events can have a significant effect on your 2 days in Singapore experience. Peak season is between November and February, so the price of flights and hotels is likely to be heavily inflated, especially around the time of Christmas and New Year, and Chinese New Year. Of course, if you want to experience the country during these festivities, then it’s a great time to go. But just be prepared for everything to cost a little more than it usually would.
Travelling from one side of Singapore to the other is a breeze thanks to the highly effective public transport system. From buses and taxis to the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, getting around Singapore is fairly easy.
The Singapore Tourist Pass is a great option if you plan to be travelling around a lot. A one-day pass will cost you $10 SGD, and a two-day pass is $16 SGD. Alternatively, you can purchase a three-day pass for $20 SGD.
Singapore has four official languages; English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. English is spoken by the majority of locals so you shouldn’t struggle much with language barriers.
Don't Chew Gum!
Yes, you heard that right. Chewing gum and spitting have been illegal since 1992. When the chewing gum law first came to light in the 1990s, it was one of the main things that Western journalists talked. The ban was put in place to keep Singapore clean. The law is not as strict as is used to be and you can now purchase chewing gum with health benefits (like dental gum or nicotine gum) from pharmacies. However, it’s still worth noting that you probably want to just avoid chewing gum here. It’s also illegal to spit in public. If you are caught spitting, you will be slapped with a fine of up to $1000.