Singapore Travel Guide – Everything You Need to Know

Singapore is a small island nation located in Southeast Asia, known for its efficient transportation system, diverse culture, and modern infrastructure. It is a popular tourist destination that offers a wide range of attractions, including historical landmarks, vibrant neighborhoods, world-class shopping, and delicious food. The currency in Singapore is the Singapore dollar (SGD). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s a good idea to carry some cash, particularly when paying for meals in hawker centers or coffee shops.

What’s the Best Time to Visit? 📅

The best time to visit Singapore is generally from February to April when the weather is pleasant, and there are fewer crowds due to the school term. However, Singapore is a year-round destination, and there are various events and festivals held throughout the year that may be of interest to visitors.

One thing to keep in mind is that Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate, which means that it can be hot and humid year-round. Visitors should pack accordingly and be prepared for rain showers, which can occur at any time of the year. Additionally, some of the main tourist attractions such as the Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark are outdoor attractions, so it may be more enjoyable to visit during the cooler months.

What’s the Best Way to Get Around? 🚌

Singapore has a comprehensive public transportation system that is convenient, efficient, and affordable. Here are some of the types of transportation available for tourists to get around in Singapore:

  1. Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) – This is Singapore’s subway system and the most popular mode of transportation for locals and tourists alike. The MRT has extensive coverage of the island, and its network connects major tourist attractions.
  2. Bus – Singapore has an extensive bus network, which provides a cost-effective way to travel around the city. Buses are air-conditioned and equipped with comfortable seating.
  3. Taxis – Taxis are readily available in Singapore and are a convenient option for tourists who prefer door-to-door service. Taxis in Singapore are metered, and fares are reasonable.
  4. Ride-hailing services – Popular ride-hailing services such as Grab and Gojek are available in Singapore, and they offer a convenient and affordable alternative to taxis.
  5. Bicycle – Singapore has an extensive network of cycling paths and rental bikes, which are a great way to explore the city at a leisurely pace.
  6. Walking – Many of Singapore’s tourist attractions are located within walking distance of each other, and walking is an excellent way to explore the city’s vibrant neighborhoods and cultural sites.

What’s the Official Language?

Singapore has four official languages: English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Here are some useful phrases in these languages that can be helpful for tourists:

  1. English:
  • Hello: Hi/Hello
  • Thank you: Thank you
  • Excuse me: Excuse me
  • Yes: Yes
  • No: No
  • Please: Please
  • Sorry: Sorry
  • How much does it cost?: How much is it?
  • Where is the restroom?: Where is the toilet?
  • Can you help me?: Can you help me?
  1. Mandarin Chinese:
  • Hello: Nǐ hǎo
  • Thank you: Xièxiè
  • Excuse me: Qǐng wèn
  • Yes: Shì
  • No: Bù shì
  • Please: Qǐng
  • Sorry: Duì bù qǐ
  • How much does it cost?: Duōshǎo qián?
  • Where is the restroom?: Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎlǐ?
  • Can you help me?: Nǐ néng bāng wǒ ma?
  1. Malay:
  • Hello: Selamat sejahtera
  • Thank you: Terima kasih
  • Excuse me: Maafkan saya
  • Yes: Ya
  • No: Tidak
  • Please: Sila
  • Sorry: Maaf
  • How much does it cost?: Berapa harganya?
  • Where is the restroom?: Di mana tandasnya?
  • Can you help me?: Bolehkah anda tolong saya?
  1. Tamil:
  • Hello: Vanakkam
  • Thank you: Nandri
  • Excuse me: Samyekkurunga
  • Yes: Aama
  • No: Illai
  • Please: Dayavu seidhu
  • Sorry: Maapilai
  • How much does it cost?: Yenna vitham?
  • Where is the restroom?: Vayathukkul evvalavu dooram?
  • Can you help me?: Enakku udhavi seyya mudiyuma?

Learning a few basic phrases in the local language can go a long way in making your trip to Singapore more enjoyable and engaging. Locals will appreciate the effort and it can help facilitate communication in different situations.

Singlish, a colloquial form of English spoken in Singapore, can be quite confusing for non-Singaporeans to understand at times. While it’s not necessary to speak Singlish when traveling to Singapore, it can be fun and add to your overall experience.

Here are some common Singlish phrases that you may encounter or want to use when traveling in Singapore:

  1. Lah – This is a common Singlish particle that is used to emphasize or add emphasis to a statement. For example, “Don’t worry lah, we’ll make it in time.”
  2. Can/Cannot – These two words are often used in place of “yes” or “no” in Singlish. For example, “Can I have some water?” or “Cannot go there, it’s closed.”
  3. Shiok – This word means “great” or “awesome” in Singlish. For example, “This food is so shiok!”
  4. Chope – This means to reserve or save a seat in Singlish. For example, “I’m going to chope this table for us.”
  5. Kiasu – This word means “afraid to lose” in Singlish and is often used to describe someone who is overly competitive or afraid to miss out on something. For example, “Don’t be so kiasu, there’s plenty of food to go around.”
  6. Wah – This is an expression of surprise or excitement in Singlish. For example, “Wah, the view from here is amazing!”
  7. Alamak – This is an exclamation of surprise or dismay in Singlish. For example, “Alamak, I forgot my phone at the hotel!”

While speaking Singlish can be fun and add to your experience in Singapore, it’s important to also be able to communicate clearly in standard English to avoid any misunderstandings or confusion.

Where to Stay? 🏨

There are many great accommodation options in Singapore to choose from, depending on your budget and preferences. Here are some popular choices:

  1. Marina Bay Sands – This iconic hotel and casino features luxurious rooms with stunning views of the city skyline, an infinity pool, and numerous dining and entertainment options.
  2. The Fullerton Bay Hotel – This luxurious boutique hotel features spacious rooms, an infinity pool with panoramic views of Marina Bay, and a rooftop bar.
  3. Raffles Hotel – This historic hotel features colonial-style architecture and elegant rooms, as well as an outdoor pool, spa, and multiple dining options.
  4. Mandarin Oriental – This five-star hotel features luxurious rooms, a rooftop pool, spa, and multiple dining options.
  5. Shangri-La Hotel – This five-star hotel features lush tropical gardens, luxurious rooms, multiple swimming pools, a spa, and several dining options.
  6. Pan Pacific Singapore – This luxurious hotel features spacious rooms, an outdoor pool, spa, and multiple dining options, as well as a stunning view of Marina Bay.
  7. The St. Regis Singapore – This elegant hotel features luxurious rooms, a spa, an outdoor pool, and multiple dining options.
  8. Four Seasons Hotel Singapore – This luxurious hotel features spacious rooms, an outdoor pool, spa, and multiple dining options.
  9. Capella Singapore – This luxury resort is located on Sentosa Island and features luxurious rooms, a spa, outdoor pool, and several dining options.
  10. Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa – This luxury resort is located on Sentosa Island and features luxurious rooms, a spa, outdoor pool, and several dining options.

What to Eat? 🍽️

Singapore is known for its diverse and delicious food culture. Here are some must-try foods to eat during your holiday in Singapore:

  1. Hainanese chicken rice – This is Singapore’s national dish and is made with poached chicken served on a bed of fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth.
  2. Chili crab – This dish features crab cooked in a sweet and spicy chili sauce and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
  3. Laksa – This spicy noodle soup is made with coconut milk, seafood, and a variety of herbs and spices.
  4. Char kway teow – This stir-fried noodle dish is made with flat rice noodles, shrimp, Chinese sausage, egg, and bean sprouts.
  5. Satay – These skewered and grilled meats are served with a peanut sauce and are a popular street food.
  6. Bak chor mee – This noodle dish is made with minced pork, noodles, and a vinegar-based sauce.
  7. Roti prata – This crispy, flaky flatbread is served with a curry dipping sauce.
  8. Nasi Lemak – This fragrant rice dish is cooked with coconut milk and served with fried chicken, fried fish, or other toppings.
  9. Oyster omelette – This savory omelette is made with oysters, eggs, and starch, and is a popular hawker dish.
  10. Kaya toast – This popular breakfast dish is made with toasted bread and coconut jam, and is often served with soft-boiled eggs and coffee.
  11. Ice kachang – This refreshing dessert is made with shaved ice, syrup, and various toppings such as red beans, grass jelly, and corn.
  12. Durian – This pungent fruit is a favorite among locals, and although it may take some getting used to, it’s worth trying during your visit to Singapore.
  13. Dim sum – Singapore has many excellent Chinese dim sum restaurants, and it’s a must-try cuisine during your visit.
  14. Curry laksa – This spicy noodle soup is similar to laksa but has a curry-based broth.
  15. Teh tarik – This frothy, sweet tea is a popular beverage in Singapore, made by “pulling” the tea and condensed milk between two containers to create a smooth texture.

What to See? 🔍

Singapore is a small island city-state but it has many interesting and unique tourist attractions. Here are some must-see tourist places to visit during your holiday in Singapore:

  1. Gardens by the Bay – This impressive nature park features beautiful gardens, futuristic structures, and the iconic Supertree Grove.
  2. Marina Bay Sands – This iconic hotel and casino features a rooftop infinity pool with stunning views of the city skyline.
  3. Sentosa Island – This island resort features attractions such as Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove Waterpark, and the S.E.A. Aquarium.
  4. Merlion Park – This iconic landmark features a statue of the mythical Merlion, which symbolizes Singapore’s origins as a fishing village.
  5. Singapore Zoo – This award-winning zoo is home to over 300 animal species, including the rare white tiger and orangutans.
  6. Chinatown – This vibrant neighborhood features colorful temples, traditional shops, and delicious food stalls.
  7. Little India – This colorful neighborhood features Hindu temples, traditional shops, and aromatic spice stalls.
  8. Clarke Quay – This waterfront area features restaurants, bars, and nightclubs and is a popular spot for nightlife.
  9. Singapore Flyer – This giant observation wheel offers panoramic views of the city skyline and surrounding areas.
  10. National Gallery Singapore – This art museum features a collection of over 8,000 artworks, including Singaporean and Southeast Asian art.
  11. Orchard Road – This shopping district features numerous malls, department stores, and boutiques.
  12. Haw Par Villa – This theme park features statues and dioramas depicting Chinese mythology and folklore.
  13. Sri Mariamman Temple – This colorful Hindu temple is the oldest in Singapore and features intricate carvings and colorful decorations.
  14. Changi Chapel and Museum – This museum features exhibits and artifacts relating to Singapore’s involvement in World War II.
  15. The Southern Ridges – This scenic trail connects several parks and nature reserves, offering beautiful views of the city and lush greenery.

What to Do? 📸

  1. Visit Gardens by the Bay – This beautiful nature park features stunning gardens, futuristic structures, and the iconic Supertree Grove.
  2. Explore Sentosa Island – This island resort features attractions such as Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove Waterpark, and the S.E.A. Aquarium.
  3. Take a walk through Marina Bay Sands – This iconic hotel and casino features a rooftop infinity pool with stunning views of the city skyline.
  4. Visit the iconic Merlion statue – This landmark features a statue of the mythical Merlion, which symbolizes Singapore’s origins as a fishing village.
  5. Go on a night safari at the Singapore Zoo – This award-winning zoo offers a unique experience of observing nocturnal animals in their natural habitats.
  6. Stroll through Chinatown – This vibrant neighborhood features colorful temples, traditional shops, and delicious food stalls.
  7. Visit Little India – This colorful neighborhood features Hindu temples, traditional shops, and aromatic spice stalls.
  8. Experience the nightlife at Clarke Quay – This waterfront area features restaurants, bars, and nightclubs and is a popular spot for nightlife.
  9. Take a ride on the Singapore Flyer – This giant observation wheel offers panoramic views of the city skyline and surrounding areas.
  10. Explore the art scene at National Gallery Singapore – This art museum features a collection of over 8,000 artworks, including Singaporean and Southeast Asian art.
  11. Shop till you drop on Orchard Road – This shopping district features numerous malls, department stores, and boutiques.
  12. Discover Chinese mythology at Haw Par Villa – This theme park features statues and dioramas depicting Chinese mythology and folklore.
  13. Visit Sri Mariamman Temple – This colorful Hindu temple is the oldest in Singapore and features intricate carvings and colorful decorations.
  14. Take a hike on the Southern Ridges – This scenic trail connects several parks and nature reserves, offering beautiful views of the city and lush greenery.

Culture and Safety 🦺

Singapore is a multicultural country, so it is important for tourists to be aware of some of the customs and cultural practices in order to respect and appreciate the local culture. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Respect for elders: In Singapore, there is a strong emphasis on respect for elders. This means that it is important to use titles and honorifics when addressing someone who is older or in a position of authority.
  2. No chewing gum: It is illegal to chew gum in Singapore. While this law is not strictly enforced, it is important for tourists to be aware of it and avoid bringing gum into the country.
  3. Dress modestly: While Singapore is a modern and cosmopolitan city, it is still important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. It is also recommended to remove shoes before entering someone’s home.
  4. Don’t litter: Singapore has strict laws against littering, and offenders can be fined heavily. Make sure to dispose of trash properly in designated bins.
  5. Be mindful of public behavior: Singaporeans value politeness and consideration, so it is important to be aware of your behavior in public spaces. Avoid making loud noises, speaking loudly, or engaging in public displays of affection.
  6. Tipping: Tipping is not a common practice in Singapore, as it is already included in the bill or service charge. However, if you receive exceptional service, it is okay to offer a small tip as a gesture of appreciation.

By keeping these customs and practices in mind, tourists can enjoy their time in Singapore while also respecting and appreciating the local culture.

Singapore is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. However, it’s always important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Singapore is a diverse and vibrant destination with something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, food, or shopping, Singapore is sure to delight.