Singapore

Travel Guide

Overview

Singapore in an exciting city which is reinventing itself as a top destination on many bucket lists. It can be a pricey city to visit but some great deals and fun attractions entice many travellers and tourists every year.

With temples, theme parks, zoos and a fascinating skyline, there are so many things to do in Singapore.

Perhaps one of the cleanest cities in the world, Singapore offers an abundance of attractions for people of all ages, you will want to spend at least 3 days in Singapore.

Head to Universal Studios for a fun day out – perfect for families and young couples.

Typical costs

Accommodation

Budget: Dorms cost between S$12 – S$40 whilst a private room in a basic hotel starts around S$50.

Midrange: Double rooms in hotels start at at S$70 – with the Hotel 81 chain providing great offers and various locations across Singapore.

Luxury: There are some truly luxury hotels in Singapore, with rooms starting at S$180.

Transport: MRT single trips cost between S$1.40 – S$2.50, whilst the Singapore tourist pass offers unlimited train and bus travel for S$10 a day. Check fares beforehand when taking trishaws; prices can vary on depending on driver, area and time of day.

Average cost of food:

Hawker centres (malls of inexpensive, street styled food) and food courts cost around S$6.

A two course dinner at a nice restaurant averages at S$60 and fine dining will cost you upwards of S$300.

Best time to visit Singapore

Singapore is hot and humid all year round but there are certain times of the year you need to avoid.

The best time to visit Singapore is from February to April, when the weather is warm but peasant and also dry. 

The wet season in Singapore runs from September until February, with the wettest months between November through to January. 

Always pack a compact raincoat, no matter what time of the year you are visiting; rain comes during the dry season too. 

You will also want to avoid May to August. Smoke blows from clearing fires in Sumatra so there is a haze in the city. 

Where to stay in Singapore

Budget:

The Fisher Hostel is a highly rated hostel with dorm beds starting at S$34 SGD and a private family room starting at S$36.50 per person.

Tree in Lodge Hostel stands alongside cultural cuisines and traditional coffee shops, located within a 10 minute walk away from Outram Park MRT station.

Midrange:

Venue Hotel The Lily, situated in the Katong Distrct, is modern, sleek hotel, set in a diverse and cultural area of Singapore. Private rooms start at S$73, with some great eats found in the local area of this place.

Another budget choice for couples is the RedDoorz Plus Victoria Hotel, costing S$102 a night. Beds are comfy and the location is fantastic; just a short walk from restaurants and bars as well as the Harbour. The bus stop opposite the hotel can get you to most attractions and a delicious BBQ joint is found at the bottom of the hotel. Plus a 7/11 is next door for snacks and change for the bus. However, rooms aren’t massive so it is advised you choose the deluxe room if you want a bit more space.

Top End:

Just 5 minutes from Marina Bay Sands, the Peninsula Excelsior hotel is a fantastic hotel with stunning views of the Singapore skyline and luxurious space rooms, which start at S$186.

For those wishing to really splurge, spend a night at Marina Bay Sands.

Save money in Singapore

Singapore is one of the more expensive destinations in South East Asia but there are ways to save money too. 

  • Skip taxis – Taxis are expensive in Singapore, so avoid when possible and use the MRT. Most attractions can be reached via the MRT without bus transfers so download the Singapore MRT app. 
  • Book in advance – Unlike other destinations in South East Asia, you can’t get cheap prices on arrival. Use Agoda and booking.com to compare prices of hotels and hostels and book in advance. 
  • Tourist passes – The Singapore Tourist Pass is a top-and-go smart card that offers unlimited rides on the country’s bus, LRT and MRT lines. 3 day tickets cost $20 whilst a single day ticket costs $10. If you don’t plan on taking 4 or more trips a day, pick up the EZ-Link card instead – it costs S$12 and includes S$7 of credit for the bus and trains. 
  • Eat at Food Courts or Hawker Centres – These food court areas are cheap but tasty meal options that you should stick to if you are on a budget. 
  • Stay in Little India – Little India is a cheaper area to stay in Singapore, so shop around in this area. 
  • Pack extra toiletries – Toiletries are expensive in Singapore, so pack extra before arriving to avoid the higher prices. 
  • Book online – Many attractions offer cheaper prices when you book online, so plan you day out before you leave the hotel. 
  • Use the Supermarkets – Each neighbourhood has a supermarket of some kind. Use this to pick up snacks and cheap meals to save money on eating out. 
  • Reusable water bottle – Singaporean tap water is safe to drink, so avoid the bottled water and stick to tap.
  • ParkHopper Bundle – If you intend to visit the Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari and Bird Park, you can save money by getting the ParkHopper Package. 
  • Avoid alcohol – Alcohol in Singapore is expensive, no matter what you are drinking. Avoid the bars and stick to convenience stores like 7-11. If you do want to drink out, take advantage of the happy hours and ladies drink on Wednesdays – this is ladies night in Singapore. 
  • Tipping – You do not need to tip, it is not expected in Singapore. 
  • Free attractions – Take advantage of the free attractions in Singapore, such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Bishan Park, Punggol Waterway, Marina Bay Sans and almost all of the Chinese and Hindu temples. 

Best things to do in Singapore

Marina Bay Sands

Gardens By the Bay

Merlion Park

Universal Studios Singapore

National Gallery Singapore

Sri Mariamman Temple

Kampong Glam

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Night Safari

Pulau Ubin

Haw Par Villa

St. Andrew’s Cathedral

Clarke Quay

Thian Hock Keng

Sentosa

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

The Southern Ridges

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

Singapore Zoo

How to get to Singapore

Fly – Changi airport is regularly voted the world’s best airport and has become a major international gateway.

Flights from all major cities around the world connect to Changi Airport with MRT train and public buses available into town between 5.30 to midnight from S$1.85 and the airport shuttle bus from 6am – midnight from S$9. Taxi rides into the centre costs between S$18 – S$40 depending on the distance of your hotel.

Bus – Many companies offer comfortable bus services between Singapore and Malaysia or Thailand.

Train – Singapore is the southern station for the Malaysia railway System (KTM), with trains from Malaysia terminating at Woodland Train Checkpoint. The luxury Eastern and Oriental express travels between Bangkok and Singapore, worth a trip for big spenders.

How to get around Singapore

The MRT subway system is the fastest and most reliable way to get around Singapore, operating 5.30am – to midnight with trains running every 2 – 5 minutes.

A map of the MRT network can be found at on the website. 

When catching a taxi, make sure you head to designated taxi stands, as it is technically illegal for taxis to stop in the city centre anywhere but stands. Avoid catching taxis during peak hours or in the rain if you can.

A ferry is available to visit the islands around Singapore, departing from Marina South Pier whilst is is advised you avoid cycling around this busy and hectic city.

Buses are also available around Singapore and are clean and regular. Bus fares cost S$1 – S$2.10 and you are expected to drop the exact money in the fare box as you board the bus or tap you EZ-Link card or Singapore Tourist pass on the reader.

Singapore essentials