Ultimate Singapore Travel Guide

Singapore is a place like no other. Just off the southern tip of Malaysia, this vibrant city-state boasts a beautiful blend of Malay, Indian, Chinese, Arab and English cultures — all with a uniquely Singaporean vibe.

You have never seen a city quite like this. Ready to see what all the hype is about?

Here is my ultimate Singapore travel guide.

What to Expect in Singapore

  • Language: Most locals are bilingual — proficient in English and either Mandarin, Malay or Tamil.

  • Currency: The Singapore dollar (SGD) is the currency of choice here. At the minute, $1 U.S. dollar will get you $1.33 in Singapore dollars.
  • When you’re budgeting for your trip here, keep in mind that Singapore is one of the richest countries in the world. While you can find some bargains in Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore is expensive so expect to spend the same as you would in a big American or European city.  

  • Cards + Cash: Credit cards are widely accepted, but you should still carry some cash for food stalls, coffee shops and other small purchases.
  • Climate: Temperatures in Singapore are consistent all year. Typically, on any given day, you will see temperatures between 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) to 89 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).

    The humidity level is high, and the country sees an average of 167 days of rain per year, so bring that umbrella!

  • Getting Around Singapore

    Getting Around

    While Singapore is a small country, there is still a lot to see. Just 31 miles wide and 17 miles long, Singapore has a remarkable amount of must-see neighborhoods like Little India, Bugis, Chinatown, Marina Bay, the Financial District and Sentosa Island.

    • Public Transport: The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is an easy and affordable way to get around Singapore. The price of tickets depends on where you are going, and generally runs around $4 SGD ($3 USD).

      If you are planning to explore as much of the city as possible, the Singapore Tourist Pass can be a great deal. It gives you unlimited travel for a set period of time. A 24-hour pass costs $10 SGD ($7.50 USD), a 48-hour pass costs $16 SGD ($12 USD) or you can spring for a 72-hour pass, which will run you $20 SGD ($15 USD).

      Even if you do a mix of MRT rides, taxis and walking, it can be handy to have the Singapore Tourist Pass so that you can just jump on a train whenever you want.

    • Taxi: An app called Grab is really popular here, and the ride prices are cheaper than what a traditional taxi ride would cost. It works just like Uber, which is being phased out in Singapore.

      While there are a ton of taxis all over the city, they charge peak rates after 6 p.m., so it can get expensive quickly.

    • Where to Stay Singapore

      Where to Stay

      From glamorous five-star options to budget hostels, Singapore has a massive range of accommodations to meet every budget. Here are a few of my faves:

      Luxury

      • The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore: A super-luxe favorite! I stayed at The Ritz-Carlton during my stay in Singapore and absolutely loved it.

    • The Warehouse Hotel: A five-star boutique hotel on the riverfront, the chic Warehouse Hotel is in a flawlessly refurbished 19th-century building.
    • The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore: A perfect location on the waterfront right off the MRT, The Fullerton Bay Hotel has a swanky rooftop bar and first-class service.
    • Shangri-La Singapore: Another name synonymous with indulgence, the Shangri-La Singapore is a well- appointed property set amidst lush tropical gardens.
    • Mid-Range

    • The Quincy Hotel: Winner of the Singapore Tourism Best Hotel Experience Award, the artfully designed Quincy Hotel is in the center of the trendy Orchard district.
    • Oasia Hotel: With a few locations around Singapore, it’s easy to see why this concept took off. Check out Oasia Hotel Downtown; the Oasia Hotel Novena near Orchard Road and the Business District; or the Oasia Residence near West Coast Park.
    • The Scarlet Singapore: I love the art-deco style of the four-star Scarlet Singapore in Chinatown. It has a captivating old-world charm, plus a handy location.
    • Park Regis Singapore: In the heart of the Central Business District, The Park Regis Singapore has everything right outside of the lovely hotel’s doorstep.
    • Budget

    • Hotel Kai: In the center of the historic Civic District, Hotel Kai is a great value for the money. They also provide guests with a 4G personal Wi-Fi device that works all over Singapore, which is really handy if you don’t want to get a SIM card.
    • The Port by Quarters Hostel: In the heart of downtown with a free all-day breakfast, The Port by Quarters Hostel is a budget travelers’ top pick in Singapore!
    • Adler Hostel: Right next to Chinatown and close to the MRT, Adler Hostel, an art-deco townhouse, is a swanky alternative to your average no-frills hostel.
    • What to Eat Singapore

      Where to Eat

      In Singapore, it’s all about fusion cuisine. With flavor influences from Malaysia, China, India and beyond, the city-state has some of the best Asian food on the continent. Singapore also has a great mix of Italian, Greek, Australian and pretty much anything else else you might be in the mood for.

      My favorite local dishes are laksa (heaven in a bowl, better known as spicy noodle soup), popiah (a type of spring roll, available fried or raw), chili crab and chicken rice.[/li_item]

      Dining Out

      • Colony at The Ritz-Carlton: The Colony at The Ritz-Carlton serves up the greatest buffet I’ve ever tried, and it’s a great value for all of the food that you get.
      • Po Restaurant: For a fresh take on Singaporean staples, get to Po Restaurant at The Warehouse Hotel to check out this tasty spot.
      • Neon Pigeon: In the hipster hood of Tanjong Pagar, you can find Neon Pigeon serving up Japanese food tapas style.
      • The Curry Culture: Singapore has a lot of delicious Indian food, but nobody can top the flavors at The Curry Culture!
      • Cheap Eats

      • Laksa: This is my favorite soup, and it’s something I’ve always got my eye out for. There are a lot of street vendors dishing it up and the best I found was at 328 Katong Laksa.
      • Tian Tian: To enjoy another one of Singapore’s must-eat dishes, chicken rice, this is the place to be.
      • Kok Kee Wanton Mee: Specializing in the slurp-worthy wanton mee soup, this is another one of the country’s best cheap eats.
      • Chin Chin Eating House: Located on Purvis Street, this is where all of the locals flock for a good meal on the fly.
      • Chinatown: Not sure what you are in the mood for? Just head down to Chinatown and let your stomach guide you through the food stalls.
      • Dim Sum: Whatever you do, don’t leave Singapore without going out for dim sum. With small bite-sized portions, this is the best way to try a bit of everything.
      • Hawker Centers: Food courts, also known as hawker centers in Singapore, are a perfect way to eat your way around the world!
      • Little India: If you like Indian food, this is one neighborhood you can’t miss!
      • What to Do Singapore

        What to Do

        • Eat: Singapore has some of the best food on the planet! Be sure to try the local cuisine at the hawker centers around the city. The local chicken rice, laksa and chili crab are a must!
        • Joo Chiat: A historic neighborhood, Joo Chiat is a perfect place to bring your camera and just wander around aimlessly. The colorful Peranakan houses are some of the most beautiful sites in Singapore.
        • Chinatown: Singapore is a melting pot in the truest terms, and you really have to get around to all of the different neighborhoods to understand what it’s all about. Start with Chinatown for its shops, night markets and dim sum!
        • Singapore Botanic Gardens: A 158-year-old tropical oasis, Singapore Botanic Gardens is much loved by locals and tourists alike.
        • Gardens by the Bay: Totally unlike any other garden I have ever experienced, Gardens by the Bay is well worth a visit. Have your camera ready for the surreal Supertree Grove and Cloud Forest!
        • Arab Street: More than just one street, this is a must-see neighborhood that includes Bussorah StreetHaji and Bali Lanes and Muscat Street. Start at the corner of Beach Road and just explore the shops, cafés and restaurants.
        • Do keep in mind that most places are closed on Sundays. With that said, the stunning Sultan Mosque (Masjid Sultan) is a must-see sight that is also located here!

        • The Quays: The Quays along the river are famous here! Explore Boat Quay, Robertson Quay, then get down to Clarke Quay for restaurants, bars and other fun spots.  
        • Mid-Autumn Festival: If you are lucky enough to be here in autumn, which is typically from mid-September to mid-October depending on the year, get down to Singapore’s Chinatown for the epic Mid-Autumn Festival.
        • Marina Bay Sands SkyPark: This sky-high infinity pool has become one of Singapore’s most iconic sites. I stayed here on my trip, which is the only way to get access to the infinity pool.
        • However, if you just want to see the view, you can buy a ticket to the Observation Deck for the once in a lifetime view of the cityscape.

        • Day Trip to Sentosa Island: A playground for Singaporeans off the southern coast of Singapore, this massive resort-style island has theme parks, golf courses, spas and a groegous coast line!
        •  

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          Michelle

          Author of many travel blogs and user of www.travelmustard.com