Located just off the southern tip of Malaysia, Singapore is an electric city-state bursting with jaw-dropping architecture, ancient traditions, and world-class restaurants. This breathtaking megalopolis boasts a fascinating culture and will most definitely provide you with an experience you won’t find elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about visiting Singapore.
Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Singapore
When to visit Singapore
Singapore is a great destination to visit at any time of the year due to its warm weather. Temperatures are pretty consistent throughout the year, as is the rainfall – Singapore gets about 167 days of rain per year! There are, however, periods of additional rainfall from November to January, when monsoon season is in full force. Fortunately, the rain in Singapore typically doesn’t last very long and tends to consist of short downpours before the sun comes out again to raise humidity.
Do You Need a Visa for Singapore
Most visitors traveling to Singapore can enter the country without a visa. There are, however, a number of nationalities that are required to obtain a visa in advance before being allowed to enter Singapore. You can find more information on visa requirements on the Singapore Government Visa Information page.
The Singapore Dollar (SGD) is the official currency of Singapore. While Singapore is card-friendly, you’ll want to carry cash on you as hawker centers, coffee shops, budget eateries, and taxis accept cash only.
Tip: When planning for your trip, keep in mind that Singapore reigns as the most expensive city in the world. While it is possible to find some bargains, expect to spend the same as you would in places like New York City, London, or Tokyo.
The national language of Singapore is Malay, while other languages spoken include Mandarin and Tamil. However, you will find that most locals are bilingual and speak English as well.
Arriving in Singapore
When arriving in Singapore, you’ll land at the number one airport in the world: Changi Airport. This impressive transportation hub boasts some serious shopping opportunities, a movie theater, swimming pool, butterfly garden, and even the largest indoor waterfall. The Changi Airport is a tourist attraction in its own right, and while I would typically never suggest spending more time than you really need to at an airport, it’s definitely worth an hour or two of exploration.
How to Get From the Airport to Singapore
Getting to Singapore from the airport is super simple, as the city itself is very well organized and connected. The cheapest way to get to the city is via the metro (or MRT). The MRT runs from the airport into the city on the East West Line and leaves from both Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. It takes about 35 to 50 minutes to get to downtown, depending on where your final destination is. Tickets to ride the metro cost only $1 – $3, making it the most cost-effective way of getting into town.
For the remainder of your trip, I would highly recommend relying on the MRT to get around the city. Not only is Singapore’s public transportation excellent, but it is easy to navigate as well.
Where to Stay
It can be a challenge to decide on an area to stay in when visiting Singapore, especially if it’s your first time. While the city-state is relatively small, there is an overwhelming amount of options when it comes to accommodation. However, it was difficult to find accommodation that rang in less than $100 that didn’t resemble a small box with no windows. While it is possible to save money on other things during your trip, your accommodation in Singapore will most likely eat up a good portion of your budget. To help narrow down the selection process for you, I’ve listed a few options for where to stay in Singapore:
Price per night: $175
Location: Near Bugis
Price per night: $108
Location: Jalan Besar
Price per night: $101
All accommodation prices are listed in US dollars.
Hoping to find cheaper accommodation in Singapore? Check out the budget options I’ve rounded up at less than $50 per night in this post.
Must-Try Foods When Visiting Singapore
Singapore’s food scene is mouthwatering. A mix of Chinese, Indian, and Malay cultures create an enticing menu of unique dishes that will leave your tastebuds tingling for more. Some of the local specialties worth trying are:
Hainanese Chicken Rice (poached chicken served with seasoned rice)
Chili Crab (mud crabs stir-fried in a deliciously sweet, spicy, hot tomato sauce)
Laksa Soup (spicy noodle soup typically served with prawn or fish)
Fried Carrot Cake (not the sweet kind – this is a savory and spicy meal with egg and bread)
Satay (skewered grilled meat served with a delectable sauce)
Fried Kway Teow (noodles with dark sauce, this is a very traditional Chinese dish)
What to See in Singapore
Here are some of the top sites you should see when visiting Singapore:
This site is hard to miss considering its prominent location. At Merlion Park, you can catch a glimpse of Singapore’s most iconic statue, the Merlion, and take in the breathtaking views of the Singapore skyline.
One of my favorite neighborhoods in Singapore, Chinatown really gives you a taste of Singapore’s multicultural diversity. In this area, you can expect to find ornate Chinese and Indian temples, as well as sample some of the country’s delectable cuisine. Don’t pass up Maxwell Road Hawker Centre for some cheap and delicious street food.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a futuristic nature park spanning a whopping 101 hectares on the tiny island of Singapore. Walking around the Supertree Groves is free, but I would highly recommend splurging on a ticket to the Cloud Forest.
Architecture-lovers rejoice! At the Marina Bay, you can marvel at Singapore’s collection of ultra modern structures and innovative designs that will leave your eyes sparkling.
The Southern Ridges
An urban oasis made up of a series of hills and parks connected by a 10-kilometer-long trail along the southern ridge of Singapore. The Southern Ridges are overflowing with flora and fauna, making it hard to believe that you’re just moments away from the busy streets of Singapore.
This vibrant and ethnically diverse area is the center of the city’s Malay culture and Islamic heritage. Kampong Glam is one of Singapore’s oldest and hippest neighborhoods consisting of charming eateries, local boutiques, and colorful street art.
East Coast Road
East Coast Road is the perfect example of life in Singapore as it once was. This heritage-filled area, known as Joo Chiat, is lined with picture-perfect shophouses and a dizzying array of coffee shops and quaint restaurants.
For a list of free activities, check out these Singapore money-saving tips.
Good to Know
Singapore isn’t known as “The Fine City” for nothing. This city’s impeccable cleanliness and extremely low crime rate come at a price. While some of these acts may be considered harmless in your home country, here are 5 things that are considered illegal in Singapore:
Eating or drinking the MRT
Don’t Stop Here
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