The 10 Best (Fun and Stylish) Things to Do in Singapore
Imagine if Las Vegas, Disneyland and your favorite art museum had a baby... You would get Singapore!
The locals are lovely and the city is fun for exploration. It's creative design, super clean, easy to navigate, museum loaded, abundant amounts of things to do and see are what truly makes this out of the world city so beautiful and special. The grand scale of the buildings, the intricate facades, the mixture of cultures, and the colors are carefully orchestrated to give a feast for the senses.
Are you officially psyched? Let the planning begin!
What to know before you go:
Language: English is commonly spoken so you won't have trouble communicating. Common languages you will hear are Mandarin, Malay and English.
Food: Singapore cuisine is extremely diverse, as its population is quite mixed; Chinese, Malay, Indian, Indonesian, and western influences. Expect to see things (and try) Chili crab, Laksa, Hainanese chicken rice, curry dishes, and satay.
Weather: Always carry an umbrella! You don't know when a sudden down pour will occur. Singapore is close to the equator so the temperature is tropical and humid. The time in between summer and winter are the best months to travel (February - April). It is best to avoid Monsoon season.
Currency: is the SGD or Singapore Dollar. Prepare to withdraw cash. Not all restaurants and shops will accept credit card. For example, the Orchid Garden costs $5 and is cash only unless paying over $30.
Tipping: not necessary at restaurants as a service fee is typically included (10%). But tipping a bellboy, concierge or tour operator is customary. $5-$10 Singapore.
Budgeting: Singapore is not a cheap city. Expect to pay around $12-$15 per meal. Although you can find street food that is cheaper ($8), but nicer restaurants will send you upwards of $30+.
Safety: Singapore is a great city for solo female travel. Of course, be smart about how you carry your personal affects and leave your passport in a secured lockable vault (except for gambling at the casino. Foreigners get in free and only with proof of passport identification), but the city does not have the same notable crime as a place like Barcelona.
The water: Unlike neighboring countries Malaysia and Indonesia, the water is safe to drink in Singapore. The city prides itself on its reservoirs and smart clean water technology.
Wifi: Wifi will be available, likely at no cost, in your accommodation. But wifi is not often available at restaurants and easily found through-out the city. Depending on the duration of your time in Singapore you might want to price check an international data plan with your cell phone carrier vs. a SIM card. For longer stays, a SIM card might be your cheapest option. You can buy a SIM card at the airport after you exit baggage claim.
Transportation: Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT will stop around 11:15 pm. Starts around 5:45 am.) is friendly, easy and a great way to get to know the city. Plan to take MRT from the airport (Uber is not available for pick up at the airport) About 45 minutes to China town - About an hour to Boat Quay. When exiting through baggage claim head right to the train to the city. (Down two escalators)
*After dropping your stuff of at your accommodation, consider spending time on the city's Hop on Hop off Tour bus to get your bearings and overview of the city above ground. It can help determine how you want to spend your time, if there's more that interests you, and help you get things checked off the list and seen while you might be fighting off jet lag. Easiest way to catch any of the hop on and hop off bus tours is at The Suntec Hub. A big mall and convention center. Grab a bite, use the toilet in between rides and get on your next bus. They have 5 lines to explore the city. If your time is limited in Singapore it could also be a fun way to get more in than you expected.
Where to stay:
On a budget The Port by Quarters Hostel (see pics). Located in Boat Quay and great walking distance from both Clark Quay and the Marina. Boat Quay is for happy hour and restaurants set along the river. In between Clark Quay and the Fullerton area
Up market - the Marina Bay Sands hotel (photos below)
Mid range - the whimsical, Wanderlust Hotel
*If you are limited on time the Marina Bay Sands hotel can be the way to go. You will be closest to some of the must see attractions and things to do and the hotel will offer you the infamous infinity pool, optimal views of the bay, great restaurants and bars.
Now that you are prepped and ready, here are the 10 things you must do and see and eat in Singapore!
1. Gardens by the Bay/Super tree grove night light show
2. Cloud Forest Dome (inside Gardens by the Bay)
3. Singapore Botanical Gardens - And specifically, the Orchid Garden.
A Unesco World Heritage site. Is free to enter but must pay for the orchid garden. Go for a run in the park. Take yourself on a picnic. Again, make sure to bring an umbrella. The orchid garden is beautiful. But the Mist House with the exotic orchids is a room not to miss!
4. Marina Bay and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Shoppes, Skypark, views, restaurants and bars, infinity pool (guests only) - if you aren't staying here, head in for the views and rooftop bar (Kudeta Bar or now called CÉ LA VI Singapore)
5. Waterfront Promenade and Merlion Park by night
(consider The Singapore Night Tour: Gardens By the Bay, Marina Bay Sands SkyPark and River Cruise) and light show. Walk along Fullerton to see the views of the city lit up at night! If you have dinner at the Japanese restaurant Yamazaki you can watch the light show across the water at the Marina Sands Hotel Light show at shoppe 9:30 pm the light show at the shoppes at marina bay starts. Free. Take evening boat ride along the Singapore river through the marina to Clark Quay. The city is best lit up at night. It's party party here. If you want to chill, dance and drink.
6. Walk/Run along the Helix Bridge/Henderson Waves Bridge
7. Visit Little India, China Town and Arab Street
If you aren't staying at the adorable Wanderlust Hotel (a part of the Unlisted collection) make your way to Little India, China Town and Arab Street. There are free walking tours available in Little India and China town. You can check with the tour operators of the hop on hop off bus if interested. During the Chinese New Year (Jan/Feb) Chinatown is vibrant and lit up tremendously! Chinatown also has Buddhist temple with little buddhas. Very cool.
8. Raffles Place neighborhood
And get a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel
9. Eat at a Hawker Hall
-Chinatown Complex Food Center
-Old Airport Road Food Center
-Maxwell Road Hawker Center
-Tiong Bahru Market Hawker Centre
-Chomp Chomp Food Center
When trying street food look for places with lingering cues! Fun Fact: 'Chope' - the practice of reserving yourself a table in a Hawker Hall by placing a packet of tissues on the table while you get your food and your table will be available when you get back.
10. Eat as much Chili Crab at Long Beach Restaurant at Dempsey Hill
for delicious sweet chili crab! So many restaurants. Need to get a car to take you here. A lot of foreigners. Lit up at dinner! Or jumbo. A few around town.
SOME BONUS travel tips for Singapore:
Orchard road is where you'll find many luxury hotels and a spot where locals will shop and be entertained. Orchard Hotel, Marriot Hotel, Hilton hotel, Mandarin Orchard Hotel, the Singapore Visitor center, and Ion shopping center.
For partying and drinks - Clark Quay - walking distance from Boat Quay and the Port Hostel.
Enjoy your time in Singapore and as always, let me know how your trip goes!
Bisous and bon voyage!