🌎Currency: Singapore Dollar (SGD)
🌎Zone: +8 (GMT)
🌎Phone Code: +65
🌎Best time to visit: Dec-Feb
🌎Must eat: Beef rendang
🌎Must drink: Bubble tea
🌎Don't miss: Marina Bay evening show
Despite being such a small nation, Singapore is a major gateway. As it's location is ideal for transit passengers, who are travelling between Europe and Australia or other Asian destinations.
The country has only one airport, Singapore Changi. Getting there is very easy thanks to many airlines which operate direct daily services from Europe, Asia the Gulf region and America.
The main operating airline is Singapore Airlines which is the national carrier. You can fly with them direct from a number of European and American cities.
Also it's possible to reach Singapore from other Asian cities if you are doing intra-tourism within the region. Low cost airlines like Air Asia, Tiger Air, Scoot, or Silk Air amongst others offer the cheapest prices.
Getting around the country is very easy thanks to a very complete and accessible network of busses, underground and train lines connecting all areas. However most visitors coming to Singapore only stay within the city so your time is spent mostly within reach of all means of transport.
Singapore has a very tropical climate and year round weather is hot, humid and sunny. Average temperatures are about 30C but the feeling can be higher when travelling during the hot season (April to June). Rainy season starts in July and lasts till September, it's muggy and hot but clouds acts as protection to the intense sun light. The best time to travel to Singapore is during the cool season, (December to February), still hot but easier to walk around with temperatures about 20-27C.
Singapore is a gourmet's paradise, with everything from humble street stalls to 5-star restaurants. There are over 30 different cooking styles, including various regional styles of Chinese cuisine, American, English, French, Indian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Russian and Swiss.
The most common, though are Malay, Indian and Chinese cuisines. Malay food is famed for its use of spices and coconut milk; but no pork is used. The Indian community mostly traces its roots back to South India and their food reflects this, meaning that spicy vegetarian dishes are predominant.
It's very typical to find big food markets, street stalls and all the shopping malls have massive food courts where to eat all kind of dishes. Prices are always cheaper in these places than going to individual restaurants and bars where prices are very expensive when you have a service. The closer you go to Bay Marina the more expensive it will get as a general rule.
As for drinks, there is a lot of international presence again. Popular drinks to find are Bubble tea (sweet, milky tea with tapioca balls which can be sucked up through the extra-wide straw). Kopi (coffee, served with condensed milk by default but available in a variety of forms including Kopi-O which is black with sugar).
Singapore Sling (cocktail containing gin, cherry liquor, Cointreau, benedictine, pineapple juice, lime juice, grenadine and Angostura bitters). It was invented in the early 20th century for the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Sugar cane juice and Tiger Beer also being quite popular as a local brewed beer.
It's history and British Colonial heritage is present in every street and some historical buildings.The English Empire took control of Singapore till 1965 when it was declared as an independent state. A lot of businesses elected Singapore to establish themselves here and so the city soon grew into prosperity and wealth thanks to the major development of its port and shipping operations. Now Singapore remains an important player both commercially, financially and economically as it's one of the most visited cities in Asia.
It's tourism has developed a lot in the last decade, with new resorts, Hotels and entertainment complexes opening. Singapore places itself for the high quality end of the market but if you look a little deeper you will soon realise that any budget can actually come to Singapore without spending that much.
In Singapore the official languages are Chinese, Malay and English. Most people understand English and speak it fluently, however there are many immigrants or the elderly who don't. Be patient and respectful if you find a language barrier but more often you will always find good service and a polite attitude towards visitors and someone wiling to translate.
Attention! Don't chew gum, spit on the floor or dispose litter on the streets in Singapore! This is considered an offence and can be fined if police sees you. Singapore praises itself for being extra clean so always try to help not to leave rubbish behind you. As well in the public transport, it's forbidden to eat or drink. (one curious thing is that chewing gum is not sold in the entire country).
Once you arrive to the airport at Changi (SIN) you can get to the city by train, to Tanah Merah station. For a cheaper option, you can take the bus 36/36A to the city centre. The first bus arrives at around 6.00am and the last leaves just before midnight. A single fare is around $2.50 and the ride takes about an hour. Bus stops are located at the basement bus bays of Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Please prepare the exact fare as no change will be given. Alternatively, a stored-value EZ-Link card for multiple rides can be purchased from any authorised store or the Changi Airport train station.
Once arriving, the city has a very effective transport system which connects the entire city via Underground, train and busses. All transport modes are equipped with air conditioning and many trains and stations now offer free WiFi. You can use the EZ-link card which has more advantages than single daily tickets. For more info check: EZ-Link
Almost everyone will have seen an image of the city’s symbol, the Merlion, and of course the nearby Marina Bay Complex, which stands out even from when you arrive by plane into the airport! It's a very impressive city from the beginning but there are plenty of other attractions to keep you busy during your stay. The following are the highlights you can see in the city:
The city is a heaven for shoppers, due to the hot weather it's popular to find lots of malls and shopping centres all close by. Shopping in Singapore is always related to luxury brands, top designer's shops and quality establishments giving excellent customer services for the demanding shopper. But not only it's about luxury, there are many areas where you can find market items and local shops where second hand and nearly new products can be bought at discounted rates. These areas can be found at the China Town, Haji Lane, Little India (near by you will find Mustafa Centre) and Bugis Street Market .
Staying in Singapore might seem expensive for a first time traveller, many Hotels within the city are 4 or 5 stars and the city is aimed for the business type of traveller predominantly. But luckily if you are willing to stay a little further away from the centre and you travel by underground then you can find decent accommodation at more affordable prices. Average rooms can be found for €30 a night. Hostels and Airbnb is also popular if you don't mind sharing. It's very safe in Singapore and crime rates in the city are practically nonexistent.
Although it's one major city in the whole country, Singapore is worth staying just a little extra and explore by tour some of the natural paradise sites and jungle forests out the city. The city centre in itself is not that big and can be walked around within a day. But if you want to go inside the attractions, and visit other areas this will take plenty of time. A 3 night stay would be enough to see all the city has to offer.