🌎Currency: Singapore Dollar (SGD)
🌎Zone: +8 (GMT)
🌎Phone Code: +65
🌎Best time to visit: Dec-Feb
🌎Eat: Beef rendang
🌎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, Asian and American cities.
Also it's possible to reach Singapore from other Asian cities, if you are doing intra-tourism within the region, with multiple other airlines from national airlines to low cost. Cheaper airlines are Air Asia, Tiger Air, Scoot, or Silk Air which offer more competitive fares if you are doing multiple destinations within the region.
Getting around the country is very easy thanks to a very complete and accessible network of busses and underground (MRT) trains lines connecting all areas. Transportation in Singapore is one of the greenest in Asia, with many hybrid busses now in operation. The transport is very reliable, comfortable with air conditioning and digital display information.
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 Monsoon Season, (December to February), still hot but easier to walk around with temperatures around 25-31C.
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 by far much more expensive.
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 willing 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).
Singapore has one of the most easy, modern, cheap and reliable transport systems in the region. When you arrive by plane, Singapore has only one major airport, Changi (SIN) which offers you a quick trip by train to the city centre. The MRT (metro) will take you into the city centre in 30 min. Take the green line and change at Tanah Merah station, where you will transfer across platform for the green line into the downtown. Fares range depending on distance travelled, but expect to pay only $2.50 (SGD) into the city centre. Another option is to take bus 36 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.
TIP: For cheaper rides on the transport, purchase the EZ-Link card for multiple rides.It can be purchased from any authorised store or the Changi Airport or MRT stations. With it you can transfer for free from the MRT to a bus. It is also much cheaper than paying for single cash fares.
Once arriving, Singapore has a very effective transport system which connects the entire city via underground MRT and busses. All transport modes are equipped with air conditioning and many trains and stations now offer free WiFi and digital information. You can also find a monorail system which connects the MRT station of Harbourfront to the island of Sentosa. You can also use the EZ card for it for $4 return trip (SGD).
Below you will find the MRT map for Singapore.
Singapore is a great city for any traveller to explore. It offers from low budget and free attractions to the high end luxury rooftop bars, paid for attractions or entertainment options at night. It also offers some interesting historical sites such as Kampong Gelam and Thian Hock Keng Temple or cultural communities like Chinatown and Little India. Singapore has a wide range of attractions on offer.
Almost everyone would 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. Below are some of the highlights you can see in the city:
TIP: Arrive at Marina Bay before 20:00 to catch the spectacular light show, which illuminates the water as well as several icon landmarks you've probably seen on the postcards. To get to the front of the complex, take MRT to Bayfront. But to see the building from the distance with a panoramic view get off at City Hall MRT and walk for 10 minutes.
Marina Bay panoramic view during the light-music show intro video
Marina Bay light-music show up front intro Video
Flower Dome Photo Show
Cloud Forest Photo Show
Floral Fantasy Photo Show
Supertree Grove Light and Music Show at Gardens by the Bay Video intro
TIP: The best beaches are located on Sentosa Island, take the monorail to Beach Station and with a short walk you will arrive at a paradise of soft sand, clear waters and small waives ideal for all the family. It's an ideal place to relax and enjoy your trip in a paradise setting.
TIP: Continue walking down the river from Clarke Quay and you will reach more restaurants and bars to hang out. The area, closer to the financial centre and to the Bay area, is the best area to flavour some international cuisine, with great views across the Singapore River and on to the Marina Bay. The area is a little more calm at night, with less nightclubs and bars but still hosts great evening entertainment, ideal for business meeting dinners, family or for friends. Stroll along the area is also very pleasant to admire the great views!
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. For the best shopping malls head to "The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands" or the malls around City Hall.
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 MRT, then you can find decent accommodation at more affordable prices. Average rooms can be found for €30 a night. Hostels and cheaper hotels can be found in the Geylang area. It's very safe in Singapore and crime rates in the city are practically nonexistent.
Note, Airbnb is not available in Singapore.
Singapore is one of those cities that offer much more of an entertainment value to the visitor. It has many attractions, most of them paid for, which can make your stay a little longer in order to enjoy the highlights. For a budget conscious travellers, there are a few free activities and places to visit which need 2 to 3 days to see. The city centre in itself is not that big and can be walked around within a few hours. However, one should consider the high temperatures which can limit the amount of activities you can see in one day. During the day, plan one or two things to see, whilst at night it's a more relaxing experience to walk around.
For a minimum stay, 3 night would be enough to see all the city has to offer in a compact and cost effective way. For a longer stay, taking advantage of the many attractions and to relax, staying in Singapore up to 1 week is also recommended.