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23 Best Things to Do in Singapore

By Ashlea Halpern

Singapore Pulau Ubin

It may be the one of the most expensive cities in the world , but Singapore has racked up plenty of other superlatives: cleanest, best planned, and, quite possibly, most entertaining. The Lion City is home to the largest rooftop infinity pool, the world's first safari park for nocturnal animals, centuries-old temples and, of course, some of the best food on the planet. You'll also find extraordinary gardens, impressive architecture, world-class performance venues, and shopping streets. The city-state offers a fascinating melding of the old and new, the historic and the modern. Since the pandemic, most of the attractions have reopened safely, adhering to Singapore’s safe management measures and SG Clean certification guidelines . Read on for our picks of the best things to do in Singapore. 

Click the link to read our complete Singapore guide .

Gardens by the Bay Singapore

Gardens By the Bay Arrow

This is a hugely popular tourist attraction in Singapore, and rightly so. The breadth of plants and the creative ways in which they're displayed is awe-inspiring. In one part of the conservatory, the Cloud Forest mimics the cool-moist ecology of the tropical highlands. It has a treetop walk and an oft-photographed indoor 114-foot waterfall. 

This image may contain Building Architecture Window Skylight Banister and Handrail

National Gallery Singapore Arrow

With more than 9,000 works, National Gallery Singapore owns the largest public collection of modern art in Southeast Asia. It's spread across two beautiful national monuments: City Hall and the country’s former Supreme Court. Some visitors spend half a day (or more) wandering the museum’s many galleries. If you're looking to avoid lines, consider going on a weekday and buying your tickets in advance online.

Singapore Kampong Glam  Expansion of Haji Lane

Kampong Glam Arrow

Are you a hipster? Or a devout Muslim? Do you like unconventional modern art or traditional Arab crafts? Do you just want that Instagram snap or are you interested in learning more about this historic district, from its red-light leanings to its religious importance? Or maybe you just want a slice of the delicious kaya swiss roll from the famous Rich & Good Cake Shop? If you answered yes to any of these things, this delightfully eclectic enclave is for you. Singapore's Muslim quarter dates back to the 1800s, but the area has grown and changed, blending the religious and historical with a modern take on the city-state.

Jewel at Changi Airport in Singapore

Jewel Changi Airport Arrow

It might seem odd to tell travelers to hang out in an airport, but Jewel Changi is no ordinary airport (it's a fixture at the top of our Readers' Choice Awards best airport list ). The transportation hub is also a nature-themed shopping, dining, and entertainment extravaganza designed by architect Moshe Safdie. The project's highlights include the Rain Vortex, a seven-story-tall indoor waterfall; an indoor forest with suspended walkways; and nearly 300 stores. This is a game-changer for travelers on layovers. It's so popular (and so worth it) that 20 airlines will let you check in a full 24 hours in advance just to maximize your time inside.

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The Intan Singapore Interior

The Intan Arrow

The Intan is a private home that houses one of Singapore’s most impressive collections of Peranakan artifacts. Owner Alvin Yapp has spent 30-plus years collecting 1,500 objects from Peranakan culture, most notably kasut manek (ornate beaded slippers worn by Straits Chinese women) and enamel tiffin carriers hand-painted in delicate floral patterns. Yapp's post-war home is a labor of love, and it shows in the meticulous way that he has arranged every square inch of it. Visits are strictly by appointment only.

Singapore Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin Arrow

This island was once known for its granite quarries. But when they closed down in the 1970s and jobs dwindled, residents began leaving. Today, the island is home to fewer than 50 people, who have chosen to stay for the old way of life. Which is exactly what people like visiting it for, too. Stepping onto Pulau Ubin is like time-traveling to the way Singapore was decades ago. Even getting to it is old-fashioned: You take a 10-minute ride on a chugging bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. This is a rich experience even for those who are cash-poor, and the perfect day trip for those looking to see a different time in Singapore's history or experience its wild side.

Merlion at Marina Bay Sands Singapore

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This promenade overlooking Marina Bay is home to Singapore's iconic 28-foot Merlion statue, a half-fish, half-lion stone carving that shoots water into the bay. The fish symbolizes Singapore's beginnings as a fishing village while the lion head is a nod to Singapura, which means "Lion City" in Malay. Erected in 1972, it remains one of the nation's most popular tourist attractions, so plan accordingly.

Marina Bay Sands

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This one's for ballers: If you have cash to splash, you can do everything from have a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant to check out the view from the SkyPark. The massive Moshe Safdie-designed mall, casino, convention center, and hotel is perhaps Singapore's most iconic building. A must-visit is the ArtScience Museum, Singapore's most future-forward, and the 57-story-high SkyPark, Singapore's best.

Singapore Haw Par Villa

Haw Par Villa Arrow

Forget manicured or wild, this eight-acre outdoor art park is bizarre but a feast for the eyes. It was set up in the 1930s—before the advent of TV and the Internet—by Tiger Balm founder and philanthropist Aw Boon Haw, who commissioned more than 1,000 detailed sculptures and dioramas that would teach traditional Chinese values. Back then, it was popular and crowded, but has become less so over the years. And though it's lost a bit of its luster, that only lends to its charm and 'raw' feel—what you get here is an unfiltered, in-your-face lesson on Chinese morals and culture that doesn't sit behind velvet ropes or glass panels, and isn't crawling with tourists. Also of note: This "Asian cultural park" claims to be the last of its kind in the world, though it's hard to imagine there were many like this to begin with. 

Singapore St Andrews Cathedral

St. Andrew's Cathedral Arrow

You can't miss this giant, wedding-cake-like monument in the middle of Singapore's Civic District—it's one of the oldest buildings in the area and perhaps the most imposing, with its Neo Gothic design topped with a minimalist spire. Park grounds surround the structure so it stands out as a sanctuary in the midst of a busy urban area. This is Singapore's largest cathedral and also its oldest Anglican house of worship. It's a gem for history, culture, and architecture buffs.

Thian Hock Keng Temple Singapore

Thian Hock Keng Arrow

Thian Hock Keng Temple, a.k.a. Tianfu Temple, is Singapore’s oldest Buddhist temple. The elaborate architecture, done up in the traditional southern Chinese style, was built without using a single nail. Now fully restored, it's a feast for the eyes with its dragon and phoenix sculptures and Fujian-style broken porcelain roof ridges. Photos aren't allowed in most parts of the temple, and you'll likely get caught if you try to snap one. So you'll have to just keep those memories with you. If you can't keep your camera in your purse, don't go. This is not a selfie op. Admission is free, but it still never gets too crowded.

Sentosa Tanjong Beach Singapore

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Sentosa is a 1,236-acre island resort off the southern coast of Singapore that's home to major tourist attractions like Universal Studios Singapore and the S.E.A. Aquarium. Singaporeans and international travelers also flock here to hang out on the beaches, zip line at Mega Adventure Park, shop at the massive Luxury Fashion Galleria, and more. Golf is a big deal here, too—the Sentosa Golf Club has two award-winning courses. In short, the island is a tourism machine, fine-tuned to appeal to a broad range of people—except those seeking an off-the-beaten-path vacation.

National Parks Board Southern Ridges Singapore

The Southern Ridges Arrow

The Southern Ridges is a 6.2-mile recreational trail that connects five parks along the southern ridge of Singapore—Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park, and Labrador Nature Reserve. Like everything in Singapore, it's well-constructed and manicured. The landscape varies between jungle-like canopies of trees, unusual flora and fauna, and architecturally magnificent walkways. If you aren't up for the full five plus miles make sure you get to Henderson Waves, a timber deck lofted 256 feet in the air. It's the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore and beloved by photographers for its undulating curves.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Arrow

This sanctuary for flora and fauna—an ASEAN Heritage Park—is as wild as it gets in manicured Singapore. The 500 acres of land is made up of mangroves, mudflats, ponds, and forests that are home to a biodiverse ecosystem of mudskippers, crabs, water snakes, monitor lizards, otters, and the odd crocodile. It's also a spot for birders —an internationally recognized site of importance for migratory birds and is part of the East Asian Australasian Shorebird Site Network. But despite how untouched it is, the trails are quite flat and the whole place is fairly easy to navigate.

Singapore East Coast Road

East Coast Road Arrow

There's perhaps no better place to get a taste of Singapore—literally and figuratively—than by strolling through the East Coast Road enclave. Along this lively two mile stretch (one of Singapore's earliest delineated roads), colorful heritage shophouses sit shoulder to shoulder, forming a personality-packed backdrop for photos. Even better: They house some of the island's best eateries , including 328 Katong Laksa for its namesake dish, plus a handful of museums and stores showcasing the Peranakan—or Straits Chinese—culture that forms a large part of the local identity. The area is also a stone's throw from East Coast Park, where you can have a seaside stroll to counter the calories you'll inevitably consume along the way.

Singapore Botanic Gardens including the National Orchid Garden

Singapore Botanic Gardens Arrow

This UNESCO World Heritage site is carved into three main areas, or "cores." The Tanglin core is the oldest and the one visitors see first as they pass through the historic Tanglin Gate. The Tyersall-Gallop core is integrated into the park’s existing rainforest and the Bukit Timah core is home to a children's garden complete with treehouses, a suspension bridge, and farm. Visit the National Orchid Garden to see more than 1,000 species of orchids and 2,000 hybrids on display.

Singapore Night Safari

Night Safari Arrow

This is the world's first safari park for nocturnal animals and a wildly popular one at that. It's operated by the same group that runs the equally popular Singapore Zoo. The 86-acre reserve houses some 2,500 animals from 130 species, more than a third of which are endangered. Guests ride around the park on complimentary guided trams. The tour itself takes about 40 minutes and covers seven themed geographic areas, but specific animal sightings are never guaranteed. On the weekend and with advance booking, you can observe live tiger feedings. If you have the ability to walk some of the trails, do it. It'll get you away from the tourist scrum and you're more likely to encounter reserved animals.

Singapore Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay Arrow

In the 1800s, this quay, or wharf, near modern-day Fort Canning Park , was one of the centers of trade, when barges would transport goods upstream for storage in the warehouses. Today, the warehouses have been restored and painted in rainbow hues, making this a great photo spot. Instagram-worthiness aside, Clarke Quay has also become one of Singapore's food, drink, and entertainment hubs. The whole area has been converted into an open-air pedestrian precinct filled with restaurants, bars, and clubs.

Esplanade  Theaters on the Bay Singapore

Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay Arrow

The premier art venue in Singapore, the Esplanade is home to multiple performance spaces, including a stunning state-of-the-art concert hall, a horseshoe-shaped theater with an orchestra pit, a more intimate recital studio for chamber music and jazz concerts, an outdoor theater, and an open-air concert space. The building is an architectural marvel (it's the face of Singapore’s five-cent coins). The dome's spiky exterior has earned it the nickname “durian” in reference to the sometimes-polarizing Southeast Asian fruit. Anyone who loves architecture should swing by for a photo op.

Old Airport Road Food Singapore Hawker Center Market

Old Airport Road Food Centre Arrow

At more than 40 years old, Old Airport Road Food Centre is one of Singapore's best-loved hawker complexes , with 150 stalls spread across a single floor in neat rows. It can seem daunting, but as a general rule, a long line in front of a stall means excellent food. And while it can be quite a wait, food-obsessed Singaporeans will assure you that it's totally worth it. Dishes that demand your patience here include hokkien mee (fried yellow wheat noodles doused in a seafood stock and studded with prawns and pork) from Nam Sing Hokkien Mee, and silky beancurd pudding from Lao Ban Soya Beancurd.

Mint Museum of Toys Singapore

Mint Museum of Toys Arrow

The main reason people come to MINT is to see the private collection of toys, which includes more than 50,000 items (around 8,000 of which are on display) hailing from 40 countries and dating as far back as the 1840s. Beyond the toys, the permanent collection includes two galleries devoted to vintage enamel signs. The museum is rarely crowded, unless there is a special event going on. The collection itself is impressive, but some of the exhibits are too darkly lit and obscurem making this is a better stop for those with niche knowledge. 

Singapore shop Sfir Aromatics perfume aroma

Sifr Aromatics Arrow

This one-of-a-kind, independently owned fragrance shop in Singapore's Kampong Glam neighborhood feels like a secret you want to keep to yourself. Owner Johari Kazura is a third-generation perfumer, but his approach to scents is more novel—and infinitely customizable. Several dozen perfumes and colognes are pre-made and part of his regular stable; others are mixed-to-order based on a customer's personal preferences. If you want a custom-blended scent, book a reservation in advance and block out at least 90 minutes for the session. (It's an excellent gift idea, too.)

Singapore Art Museum

Singapore Art Museum Arrow

SAM specializes in contemporary art from Singapore and Southeast Asia. When it opened in 1996 in a restored 19th-century Catholic boys school, it was the first art museum in the country. It’s a must-see for anyone interested in works by contemporary Asian artists. The collection covers multiple disciplines, including painting, photography, video, and sculpture.

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Singapore Travel Guide 2024

trip singapore

Singapore has been in the top ten list of the most visited cities in the world for years. Our small yet beautiful island deserves it as the city has everything to satisfy any need of visitors: a green and safe environment, cultural diversity, delicious food, world-class shopping malls, the latest fashion and electronics, vibrant nightlife, cheap and convenient public transport, and many more.

You are reading the most comprehensive Singapore travel guide [2024 Guide], which covers everything you need to know to have a satisfying trip. Scroll down to discover them all.

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From fancy international buffets in five-star hotels to budget-friendly a la carte meals at individual restaurants, there is plenty of halal food to enjoy..

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How to Plan a Trip to Singapore

Marianne Rogerson

May 5, 2023

Want to know how to plan a Singapore trip ? You’ve come to the right place! We walk you through step by step everything you need to do to plan the best trip to Singapore.

Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay Singapore.

In this article, I will take you step by step through planning your trip to Singapore.

From deciding when to go and how much it will cost, to where to stay , how to get around and everything else you could possibly need to know for the perfect city break.

It’s all here in this article, to help remove the overwhelm and simplify your trip planning.

Because Singapore is just one city, it’s easy to plan a Singapore trip all on your own. There are no internal flights or trains to worry about or complicated itineraries for travelling around. It’s all right here.

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Are you ready to start your Singapore travel plan? Let’s go!

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a booking using these links, we may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Got questions? Come join our Singapore Travel Tips Facebook group . It’s the perfect place to ask questions and get inspiration for your trip!

Table of Contents

Step 1: Decide When to Go to Singapore

The good news is – there really isn’t a bad time to visit Singapore! It is a year-round destination.

Singapore is situated near the equator and therefore has a typical tropical climate. You can expect it to be hot and humid all year round, and you can expect both sunshine and rain on any given day. The average temperature is around 26-29°C (80-84°F) all year round.

Merlion Singapore with blue sky and Marina Bay Sands in background.

It does not have distinct seasons like summer or winter, although the monsoon seasons (Northeast Monsoon in December to early March, and the Southeast Monsoon in June to September) will bring more rain. 

  • The wettest months are November to mid-January.
  • The driest month is February. 

It does rain an average of 167 days of the year in Singapore, but don’t be put off! Sunny days are also plentiful and you will find plenty of opportunities to hit the beach, swimming pool and sightsee.  

Thanks to its multi-cultural population you can always expect there to be some kind of festival taking place in Singapore. From  Chinese New Year , to Deepavali to Hari Raya Puasa or the Singapore Grand Prix, there is always something culturally or socially exciting going on in Singapore. 

Big events, such as the Singapore Grand Prix will affect flight and hotel prices, restaurant availability and also the ease of getting around some parts of the city, so it is a good idea to check what is going on before you set your dates.

Step 2: Work Out Your Travel Budget

So how much does it cost to travel to Singapore? Obviously this will depend on your expectations, interests and travel style. 

But yes, Singapore is an expensive city, so it is important to set a budget to stop those expenses from spiralling out of control.

Marina Bay Sands at night.

If you want to stay in a top luxury hotel, go to all the main attractions and eat in Michelin-starred restaurants every night then the sky is really the limit when it comes to cost.

However, there are also plenty of ways you can save costs when visiting Singapore . Here are a few things to bear in mind when setting your budget and some tips for keeping costs down.

All example costs given are in SGD.

  • Accommodation costs can vary from around $25-50 per night for a hostel, to a minimum of $400 per night for a luxury hotel.
  • Both Public transport and taxis are cheap in Singapore. MRT rides range from $1-2.50 per ride and a taxi ride across town should only cost you $5-10 depending on the time of day.
  • The most popular attractions in Singapore (eg. Universal Studios, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Zoo) tend to come with high ticket prices. Booking tickets via Klook will often get you discounts.
  • Eating out can range from the very cheap (eg. $5 for a dish in a hawker centre) to the very expensive ($400+ for a degustation menu in a Michelin-starred restaurant).
  • Singapore has one of the highest taxes on alcohol in the world. Expect to pay around $15 for a pint of beer in a bar, and $12-18 for a glass of house wine in a restaurant.

Step 3: Planning List and Countdown

From our experience, Singapore doesn’t tend to get fully booked out much in advance. This, of course, is dependent on big events such as the Singapore Grand Prix when accommodation and incoming flights are in high demand.

Singapore CBD skyscrapers.

Also bear in mind that Singapore is a popular conference and events destination, so some of the more popular business hotels and high-end hotels can get block-booked months in advance.

If you have your heart set on a certain hotel, book it as soon as possible. We recommend booking with booking.com as we have found they have the best cancellation terms, in case you change your mind or have to rearrange your travel dates later.

From a cost point of view, you are generally best off booking flights 6 – 12 months in advance for the best deals. Flights tend to get more expensive as time goes on, so booking in advance is advised, especially if you want to travel during school holidays.

Here’s our recommended countdown for planning your Singapore trip:

6-12 months in advance:

  • Check passport validity – your passport needs to be valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in Singapore.
  • Book international flights
  • Get travel insurance
  • Consider booking accommodation

3 – 6 months in advance:

  • Book accommodation
  • Book any in-demand restaurants

1 month in advance:

  • Get visa, if necessary (read our article about Singapore Visa requirements here)
  • Book attractions and tours
  • Book restaurants
  • Work out how you will access money

Final Week:

  • Complete SG Arrival Card (within 3 days of travel)
  • Pre-book your Singapore SIM card
  • Download Singapore apps for your phone
  • Get some Singapore dollars for arrival

Step 4: Book flights

Singapore’s Changi Airport is one of the world’s busiest transport hubs and so you have a huge choice of air carriers to choose from when flying to Singapore.

Singapore Airlines is one of the best airlines in the world, but it is also an expensive option. If you are flying in from a neighbouring Asian country, you can also take advantage of the variety of budget airlines offering flights to Singapore.

I recommend using Skyscanner to compare all the available options. You can also use it to look for the cheapest days to fly and set up price alerts to receive and email if the price changes.

Step 5: Buy travel insurance

As soon as you have booked your flights (or paid for anything) I highly recommend getting travel insurance. Given the number of cancelled trips, delayed or cancelled flights and lost luggage we have experienced over the past few years, we always make sure we have travel insurance now.

Additionally, be aware that medical and hospital expenses in Singapore are very expensive . This is another reason we always recommend travel insurance for your Singapore trip.

If you are travelling from Australia, we always use CoverMore for our travel insurance. If you are travelling from elsewhere, we suggest you look at Hey Mondo .

Step 6: Book Accommodation

Singapore has accommodation to suit everyone, from some of the world’s most expensive and luxury hotels to hostel dorm rooms and everything in between.

We prefer to use booking.com to book our accommodation, as we find they have the best cancellation terms.

Ann Siang Hill Singapore at nighttime.

Here are a few things to bear in mind when choosing accommodation in Singapore .

  • Hotel room rates in Singapore are subject to a 10% service charge and 8% GST. These surcharges are often not quoted in hotel prices, so be sure to check.
  • Try to choose a hotel close to an MRT station to make travelling around Singapore quick, cheap and easy.
  • Airbnb is illegal in Singapore . You may see Airbnb properties advertised but know that you and the host will be breaking the law if you choose to book one.
  • Hotel rooms tend to be small in Singapore, particularly in the budget category. So be prepared!

Singapore is a pretty small city and you can get to most places in around 20 minutes in a taxi no matter where you are. If you are staying centrally, you can access most popular attractions, shopping and restaurant areas quickly either via public transport or taxi.

Step 7: Create your Singapore itinerary

Now that you have flights and accommodation sorted, it’s time to sort out what you are going to do!

What you can do in Singapore is obviously highly dependent on how long you have in the city. The good thing about Singapore is that, as it is small, you can fit a lot into a day, as you don’t need to build in much travel time.

Chinatown Singapore street scene.

Having said that, however, remember that it will be hot and humid for sightseeing and so we always recommend building in some time to chill by the pool or take some time out indoors in the air conditioning!

You can easily plan an activity for the morning and another for the afternoon, and even another for the evening if you have the energy. Don’t forget to plan your lunches and dinners too, as there is a lot of amazing food in Singapore and you won’t want to miss out!

You can check out our itinerary suggestions to help build your own Singapore itinerary:

  • 2 Day Singapore Itinerary
  • 3 Day Singapore Itinerary
  • 5 Day Singapore Itinerary
  • 7 Day Singapore Itinerary

Step 8: Book your attractions, tours and activities

It’s not usually necessary to book ahead for most attractions, so if you can be flexible, you can wait to see what the weather is like in the morning before booking.

Big Bus Tour Singapore.

I still prefer to book my tickets online to save queuing at the ticket kiosk. Additionally, some attractions have capacity limits with time slots allocated (eg. the ArtScience Museum), so it is a good idea to book ahead before turning up, or at least check the website.

Click here to read my pick of the best things to do in Singapore to help you with your planning. Visiting with kids? Check here for lots of fun things to do with kids in Singapore .

I am a big fan of taking at least one guided tour in Singapore. This way, you’ll be guided by local Singaporeans who are knowledgeable, fun and keen to share their love of their hometown with you.

There are loads of excellent sightseeing tours in Singapore , including food tours, bike tours, hop-on-hop-off bus tours and more.

Our two favourite websites for booking attractions and tours are Klook (you can often get good discounted tickets for attractions) and GetYourGuide (we mostly use them for tours, but they have some attraction tickets too).

Step 9: Book restaurants

Singapore food is legendary and one of the highlights of visiting Singapore is definitely the delicious food you can find here. 

The melting pot of cultures in Singapore has led to an incredible variety of food on offer and you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to cuisines and restaurants. 

Dining with a view of Marina Bay Singapore.

And no matter what your budget, you can eat well in Singapore. A dish in a hawker centre will cost you just around $5.00. We definitely recommend visiting at least one hawker centre during your visit to enjoy some of the amazing local Singaporean food .

If you are a fan of fine dining, then you have that in abundance in Singapore too, with a total of 52 Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from.

If you have your heart set on a particular restaurant, I recommend that you book well ahead. Some of the most popular fine dining restaurants, or restaurants with a view , can be booked up months in advance. Even some of the more popular mid-range restaurants can require bookings a few weeks in advance.

So if you don’t want to be disappointed – be organised!

Of course, if you are not too particular about where you eat, you will find plenty of casual restaurants where you can just turn up and ask for a table too.

Step 10: Organise your money and credit cards

The local currency in Singapore is the Singapore dollar. It is a good idea to get some Singapore dollars before you arrive in Singapore, as you may need cash to pay for your transport from Changi airport to the city .

People running with Singapore CBD in background.

It is also a good idea to carry some cash with you while in Singapore. While credit and debit cards are widely accepted, some taxis will only accept cash (or their card machine may not be working), and you will need cash to pay at most hawker stalls.

You can use a debit or credit card to tap on and off public transport. Note that foreign-issued cards can incur extra charges though, so if you plan on using a lot of public transport, it can work out cheaper to get an EZ-Link card. Read more in our Singapore public transport guide here.

Prior to your trip, you should review the cards you are taking with you and check foreign currency charges and ATM withdrawal fees when overseas. You may want to consider a foreign currency card like the  Wise Travel Money Card , where you can convert Singapore dollars easily and cheaply from other currency accounts.

It is always a good idea to inform your bank before you go so that they don’t block your card due to unusual activity.

Step 11: Organise phone coverage and internet access

You will find many places in Singapore offer free WiFi. However, it is still a good idea to sort out some sort of roaming or buy a Singapore tourist SIMcard , particularly if you plan to use your phone to order taxis etc.

Check with your phone provider at home if they have a day-charge for Singapore. Otherwise, our favourite option is to buy a Singtel Tourist SIM card for$12 SGD. This gives you the following over 14 days:

  • 100GB 4G data
  • 500 mins local calls
  • 30 mins IDD calls

Click here to buy your Singtel Tourist SIM card now and pick it up at Changi Airport on arrival.

Step 12: Get ready for departure!

It’s time to get ready to travel! Here are a few last-minute reminders of what you need to do in the week before you travel.

  • Submit your SG Arrival Card – all visitors to Singapore must fill this in 3 days prior to your date of arrival (including the date of arrival). You can  fill it in online here .
  • Download some Singapore Apps – there are a few apps that we recommend using in Singapore. These include Grab or Gojek for booking taxis and the MyTransport.SG app for using public transport.
  • Suncream – it’s always hot in Singapore, and even on a cloudy day, we recommend applying sunscreen before you head out for the day or head to the pool.
  • Insect repellent – You will definitely need to include bug spray. As well as being a nuisance, Singapore has dengue fever so be sure to protect yourselves from the mosquitos.
  • Umbrella – even when a day starts out with bright sunshine, it can soon turn into a thunderstorm, so it’s always a good idea to have an umbrella in your bag.
  • Travel adaptor – The standard electrical voltage in Singapore is 220V and most electrical sockets take the standard UK style 3-prong plugs.
  • Refillable water bottle – Due to the humidity, you should be sure to drink plenty of water in Singapore. Tap water is safe to drink here and so a refillable water bottle is essential.

Click here to read our full article on packing for Singapore .

Raffles Hotel Singapore Sling

How much does a trip to singapore cost.

Singapore   Travel Guide

Courtesy of Westend61 | Getty Images

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18 Best Things To Do in Singapore

Updated February 11, 2021

You can enjoy both urban and natural attractions in this mega-metropolis. Perusing the designer stores on the commercial  Orchard Road or the bustling stalls in  Little India will showcase the city's fast pace. And at the other end of the spectrum, Gar

  • All Things To Do

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Gardens by the Bay Gardens by the Bay

If you're looking for a taste of nature without the trek, Gardens by the Bay is your urban jungle. The attraction is conveniently based in Marina Bay and features a wide of variety of enticing things to do and see that seamlessly mix Mother Nature with the metropolis. The Supertree Grove, the most recognized landmark of the park, features 18 "supertrees" that support the OCBC Skyway, a 419-foot-long aerial walkway that affords views of both the surrounding gardens, as well as Marina Bay.

In the nearby seashell-shaped facilities, visitors will find the highly lauded Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. The Flower Dome is the largest greenhouse in the world and showcases numerous types of plants and flowers grouped by country. Expect to find tulips next to replicas of Dutch architecture and Birds of Paradise flowers in the South African Garden. The Cloud Forest –  a crowd favorite –  features a 114-foot-tall mini mountain that plays host to the world's tallest indoor waterfall, which visitors can observe via the aerial Cloud Walk or Tree Top Walk. And that's just a few of the activities available on-site.

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Marina Bay Marina Bay free

The district of Marina Bay is considered to be Singapore's tourism epicenter. Marina Bay houses some of the city's main points of interest as well as numerous opportunities for entertainment like the ArtScience Museum and The Float at Marina Bay (the world's largest floating stadium). You'll also find the Singapore Flyer , Gardens By the Bay and Merion Park , some of the city's best lookout spots overlooking the bay. And although many features will draw your eye, the centerpiece of Marina Bay is the Marina Bay Sands resort. You name it, this complex probably has it: a world-class casino, multiple nightclubs, performance halls, shops and spectacular overnight accommodations. Plus, don't miss the Sands SkyPark, an elevated open-air concourse that crowns the resort.

Recent visitors said a walk around Marina Bay is a must, especially for first-time travelers. Some recommended a stroll during the day and night, as both take on two different atmospheres. Those who decide to visit at night will be treated to a nightly light show put on by Marina Bay Sands. However, no matter the time of day, visitors say eateries surrounding this tourist mecca are pricey.

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Singapore Botanic Gardens Singapore Botanic Gardens free

For such a large city, you'll be shocked at the amount of parks that share space with the skyscrapers. And the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the epicenter of this natural, flowering splendor. Formerly an unused plantation, the garden hugs 60 acres of the city, not only living up to Singapore's nickname of the City in the Garden, but earning the country's first UNESCO World Heritage site title. The gardens attract both casual naturalists and scholarly botanists with its  world-renowned botanical library, acres of varied vegetation and free admission. Numerous attractions dot a map of the gardens; however, we advise that you simply wander through this gorgeous spectacle and unwind. That said: travelers say not to miss the National Orchid Garden for its innumerable floral varieties and breathtaking colors.

Overall, recent visitors were taken by the beauty of the floral grounds, with some saying it was the best attraction they visited during their time in Singapore. Due to the size of the gardens, many travelers suggested allotting hours to tour this attraction because there is just that much to see. Aside from hitting the main points of interests, some recommended taking a jog or packing a picnic as an alternative means of soaking up the attraction. However you decide to experience the gardens, travelers agreed: bring water. With average temperatures reaching the 80s, it's essential you have a bottle to stay hydrated. 

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Cloud Forest Cloud Forest

The climate-controlled dome that houses Gardens by the Bay’s Cloud Forest carves out a futuristic looking space along Singapore’s skyline. An indoor waterfall serves as the Cloud Forest’s primary attraction, cascading 30 meters (about 98 feet) down the human-made mountain. The Cloud Forest’s climate aims to replicate misty tropical mountains, which are cooler than the local area, so jets of vapor and spray from the waterfall work together to create the attraction’s namesake fog.

Recent visitors primarily praise the indoor waterfall, adding that the attraction offers a welcome respite from Singapore’s sweltering heat. Travelers also marveled at the plants, which vary from level to level; however, they also warn that parts of the higher levels may be triggering for those with a fear of heights.

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Singapore's Chinatown Singapore's Chinatown free

As a nation composed of mostly immigrants, Singapore possesses a number of ethnic enclaves. Chinatown is one of the largest of them. Broken up into five districts, the neighborhood is packed with a variety of things to do and is constantly buzzing with pedestrians passing in and out of its shops, eateries and food stalls.

If you're seeking souvenirs, head over to Pagoda Street for trinkets galore, then consider grabbing a bite at Smith Street or New Bridge Road, the latter of which is known for its barbecued meats. For a night out on the town, venture on over to the Tangong Pagar district, which offers loads of bars, pubs and karaoke lounges. And when you need a break from the hustle and bustle, explore the Telok Ayer district. This area has the largest concentration of ancient mosques and temples in Chinatown. Set out to the Thian Hock Keng Temple for some quiet Zen. And though it's not associated with Chinese culture, you should stop in front of the Sri Mariamman Temple to admire its colorful, intricate facades.

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Singapore Zoo Singapore Zoo

When you tire of the urban jungle, head to an actual jungle: the Singapore Zoo. The expansive facility is broken up into 11 different zones and has 12 exhibits, affording numerous opportunities to get up close and personal with a diverse array of wildlife. V enture to Primate Kingdom and get a glimpse into the lives of the 39 species of primate that call that zone home . Or visit the Elephants of Asia exhibit, where you can rub elbows with the five big girls (all five elephants are female) hailing from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia. Along with numerous exhibits, guests can also attend animal shows, go on tours and safaris (the night safari is particularly popular), or even feed some of the animals.

Recent travelers raved about the zoo. Visitors appreciated how well-maintained the zoo was: animals appeared to be well looked after and their enclosures appeared to be exactly what their habitats would look like in the wild. Both kids and adults reported being entertained, and some recommended allotting as much as an entire day for the zoo as there is that much to see.

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Orchard Road Orchard Road free

Every modern metropolis must have its commercial avenue. Singapore's version is Orchard Road. This electric boulevard buzzes with  the whizzing of cars,  the humming of neon lights and  the swiping of credit cards, a far cry from the way things once were way back when. Orchard Road got its name from the presence of fruit orchards, nutmeg plantations and pepper farms that dotted the area in the early 19th century. Today, the mile-long street houses tons of eateries and a whopping 47 shopping malls carrying high end brands, popular international retailers like Zara and H&M as well as local shops. The massive  ION Orchard shopping complex is arguably the centerpiece of the street, so you'll inevitably be lured inside by the designer names and stream of fashionable patrons. 

We definitely encourage window-shopping, but depending on your purchasing power, you should be wary of the enticing bright lights here. At various stores, the price tags range from reasonable to obscene, so we recommend saving your cash for unique souvenirs found in other character-filled neighborhoods like Little India and Chinatown . If you're still interested in getting a taste of this flashy thoroughfare, Orchard Road also houses art galleries, movie theaters, clubs and various other entertainment opportunities.

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Merlion Park Merlion Park free

On Marina Bay , Merlion Park hosts one of Singapore's most recognizable monuments. The Merlion statue is the head of a lion with the body and tail of a fish, and the hybrid creature spouts water from its mouth and into the bay. Measuring 28 feet tall, the statue may seem a bit odd to the naked eye, but the statue is actually a nod to Singapore's history. The head of Merlion represents Singapura, the city's first name, which means 'lion city' in Malay. The fish tail and body symbolizes Singapore's old days as a small fishing town. Even though  the statue has claimed all the fame, another notable highlight is the park's panoramic view of the bay. Particularly at night, the urban vista with the spectacular Marina Bay Sands resort impresses visitors. Some travelers, however, complained of congestion and suggested visiting when the sun isn't at its peak.

Merlion Park is just a short walk from the Raffles Place MRT. The park is free to visit at any time of the day (though we recommend visiting at night). For more information, check out the Singapore Tourism Board's website .

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Sentosa Sentosa

Sentosa is an entire island resort dedicated to fun for all ages. You want family-friendly amusement; head to Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove Waterpark or S.E.A. Aquarium.You want some adventure; hit up iFly Singapore, Mega Adventure or The Flying Trapeze. You need some relaxation; then hit the links or stake your claim on miles of beaches, including Palawan Beach, the southernmost point of Continental Asia.  And that's really only some of the myriad of activities you can do on Sentosa. 

While Sentosa is a vacation destination that could take an entire week to consume, we suggest that you set aside one day from touring Singapore's cultural sites for some island fun. Although some visitors found the conglomerate to be overwhelming, travelers agreed that the attractions are not only top-notch but really fun as well.

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Little India Little India free

Should you want to stray from the mainland, immerse yourself in Little India. This cultural enclave, located a little more than 2 miles northwest of Marina Bay , features a dense network of streets and shops where you can find anything from flower garlands to fragrant spices and colorful fabrics. Start by perusing the boutiques along Serangoon Road and then venture down the smaller alleyways to discover true treasures. There's also the 24-hour Mustafa Centre, perfect for grabbing any last-minute amenities, and the open-air Tekka Centre, which offers sari and goldsmith retailers. When your feet (and credit card) begin to tire, check out the gorgeous Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, a Hindu place of worship.

Recent visitors enjoyed their trip to Little India, with many citing the neighborhood's authenticity as its best asset. Some travelers who are from or have visited India even went so far as to say that Little India made them feel as if they were in the country itself. Along with shopping, travelers strongly recommended arriving on an empty stomach to get a taste of the great northern and southern Indian dishes the neighborhood has to offer. But plan your time accordingly; Sundays are especially busy, according to reviewers. 

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Singapore Flyer Singapore Flyer

Ever since Chicago built one in 1893 for the World Expo, cities around the world have learned that tourists really like Ferris wheels – huge ones. In 2000, London built its famous Eye , standing 443 feet tall. But Singapore didn't wait long before constructing the Flyer, which trumps its British equivalent by almost a hundred feet. Since opening in 2008, the 42-storey-tall Flyer, billed as Asia's largest giant observation wheel, has offered visitors 360-degree views of the urban landscape from Marina Bay . The attraction claims that visitors can catch a glimpse of neighboring Malaysia or Indonesia from the highest point of the observation wheel. 

Travelers label the Singapore Flyer as a must-do, with many saying the views atop the wheel are simply breathtaking. Visitors say the 30-minute ride time gives people ample time to take in the great views and snap lots of pictures. What's more, the pods are air-conditioned, making it a great place to also cool off from Singapore's year-round heat. Some suggested going at night to bare witness to the glittering city lights, or if you can, opt for a visit at dusk or sunset.

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East Coast Park East Coast Park free

East Coast Park runs more than 9 miles along the southeast coast of Singapore. Visitors to the park can swim in the Singapore Strait; bask under the sun; barbecue and camp in the grass; and cycle or inline skate along the park’s paved path. The small park aims to appeal to every type of traveler, despite only covering less than 1 square mile of space.

Recent visitors appreciated the opportunity to get some exercise in at East Coast Park. They recommended renting a bike to take advantage of the park’s winding trail, while inline skating is also an option. Be careful during the weekends, though, as the paved path gets exceptionally crowded, according to recent visitors. After burning off some calories, travelers recommended taking advantage of the nearby shopping center.

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The Southern Ridges The Southern Ridges free

Anyone who appreciates an excellent jaunt will love a visit to the Southern Ridges. Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve collectively make up the Southern Ridges. The Henderson Waves, a pedestrian bridge with wavy accents, is the area’s most stunning attraction. The bridge connects Telok Blangah Hill Park to Mount Faber Park. The Marang Trail offers another popular option and leads travelers to the top of Mount Faber.

The most commonly praised trail among past visitors is the Forest Walk, which connects HortPark and Telok Blangah Hill Park. The walk takes adventurers above the parks via an elevated platform, giving them a glimpse at the wildlife in and around the trees’ canopies.

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National Gallery Singapore National Gallery Singapore

A diversity of exhibits sets the National Gallery Singapore apart from its competitors. The gallery covers various mediums and its artwork ranges from the 1800s to the present; a majority of the art comes from Singapore and Southeast Asia. Exhibitions and programs regularly rotate through the gallery and keep its offerings fresh. You won’t need to leave the National Gallery Singapore to grab a bite, either, as the gallery hosts a variety of restaurants, lounges and cafes.

In addition to its art, past visitors were impressed by the National Gallery Singapore’s unique buildings. The former City Hall and Supreme Court were restored to house the museum, and travelers can even explore the court’s old holding cells. Recent travelers also suggest taking advantage of the gallery’s tours, which are included in the cost of admission.

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Singapore Cable Car Singapore Cable Car

Two lines of the Singapore Cable Car Sky Network allow travelers to take in incredible views of the city as they traverse the area between Mount Faber and Sentosa . Six total stations divide the two lines (three stations each), while the lines themselves are a three- to five-minute walk between the Sentosa Station and the Imbiah Lookout Station. While panoramic views are the Singapore Cable Car’s main appeal, the cars are also an excellent means of transportation.

Past visitors describe their experiences on the Singapore Cable Car as nice and relaxing. Even if you’re afraid of heights, the rides are allegedly so smooth that acrophobia is not a problem. Recent travelers suggest getting a one-day unlimited rides pass, so that you can use the cable cars continuously from open to close.

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Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Bukit Timah Nature Reserve free

For those who want a wilder interaction with nature than Gardens by the Bay offers, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve beckons from northwest of the city. The nature reserve sits about 8 miles from Singapore’s city center, in the geographic center of the island. The government dedicated the reserve in 1883 to protect the variety of plant, animal and insect life. Nowadays, travelers can trek to the top of Singapore’s tallest hill, Bukit Timah Hill, via the park’s paths.

Be sure to bring a camera; recent visitors snapped numerous photos of the area’s monkeys, foliage and birds. Past travelers appreciated that the reserve offers four different levels of hikes, which range from paved paths to steep slogs. Cyclists can also enjoy the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve’s well-built mountain biking trail. More information about trails is available at the reserve’s Exhibit Hall, which also offers limited parking that fills up exceptionally quickly, according to recent reviews.

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Asian Civilizations Museum Asian Civilizations Museum

While we certainly encourage you to visit the neighborhoods of Little India , Chinatown and Kampong Glam (the Malay district), there's one place to preview the enormous diversity of Asian societies in Singapore. For this one-stop cultural shop, head to the Asian Civilizations Museum (ACM). This facility offers a broad survey Pan-Asian civilizations, including China, Southeast Asia and West Asia, with artwork and 1,300 artifacts from all corners of the continent. Wander through galleries and exhibitions and you'll find a diverse array of relics, such as religious sculptures, ornate furniture, Chinese ceramics and even remnants from a shipwreck. 

Many recent visitors enjoyed perusing the vast museum as well as the diversity of the art shown. Multiple travelers referenced the Tang Shipwreck exhibit as a must-see. However, if you're not a museum person, or don't have an interest in the subject matter, this attraction may prove underwhelming, as other travelers expressed. 

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Jurong Bird Park Jurong Bird Park

A visit to the Jurong Bird Park provides an excellent first step into the world of birding. The massive aviary boasts exotic birds ranging from macaws to spoonbills to flamingos. If simply marveling at colorful, flying animals begins to bore you, the park also offers several shows and activities designed to entertain guests of all ages. What’s more, a guided tram is available to ferry visitors around the park for a one-time fee of SG$5 (about $3.69) for adults and SG$3 (about $2.21) for children ages 3 to 12.  

Past visitors universally loved the Lory Loft, where the birds will land on your hands and shoulders in search of a sip of nectar. These recent travelers also recommend being sure to catch the High Flyers and Penguin Feeding shows.

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Singapore Guide Planning Your Trip:

Singapore Guide: Planning Your Trip

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You’d think a tiny nation the size of an average American city would be easy to know at a glance, but Singapore specializes in defying expectations. Home to the world’s best airport , some of Asia’s most stunning architecture and a delicious food scene that borrows from its neighbors’ top culinary traditions, Singapore offers a complete travel experience disproportionate to its size.

Yes, Singapore can be pricey if you’re an expatriate, but transportation, accommodation, and dining can be cheap for savvy travelers. There are plenty of modern skyscrapers but parks and nature reserves make up over 4.7 percent of Singapore’s land area and Singapore is a creative center where the laws actually give local artists freer rein to express themselves.

First-time visitors to Singapore have a lot of expectations to unpack: Start the process with the information provided below.

Planning Your Trip

  • Best Time to Visit : June and August, when the heat has moderated somewhat, but the pleasant (if humid) year-round weather makes any time a good time to visit.
  • Language: The vast majority of Singaporeans speak English as a first language, while also speaking their respective mother tongues (Hokkien or Mandarin Chinese, Tamil Indian, and Malay as the case may be) and the delightful creole known as Singlish .
  • Currency : The Singapore Dollar (SGD). The currency of Brunei is also legal tender, with a 1:1 exchange rate  .
  • Getting Around : Singapore’s ultra-efficient transportation system includes the MRT rail system, buses, taxis and the ride-hailing system Grab.
  • Travel Tip: Consider the humidity and the occasional monsoon rains when you pack clothes for your Singapore trip . Wear loose and light summer clothing when in town. If you’re traveling on business, smart casual is often accepted, unless you’re attending a formal business dinner. Jackets and ties are still expected for business meetings, with the odd exception here and there.

Things to Do

The territory around Singapore offers a diverse variety of activities that belies the nation’s small size. Singapore’s different, distinct neighborhoods represent various aspects of the national experience: ancient shops rubbing elbows with hipster outlets (Joo Chiat and Tiong Bahru ), hotel and shopping mall hotspots with the world’s most premium brands ( Orchard Road ), and a skyline straight out of the Jetsons ( Marina Bay and its landmarks like the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer ).

  • Explore the local shopping scene , from posh Orchard Road to Little India’s cultural treasures.
  • See Singapore’s greener side: The city has more than 350 parks and four nature reserves,   which make up about 8,000 acres of the country’s real estate.
  • Visit Singapore’s many museums , covering ancient history, modern art and almost everything in between.
  • Singapore’s a pioneer in the zoo world, with places like the Singapore Zoo , Jurong Bird Park , and Singapore Night Safari offering you a close-up look at some of the world’s most endangered animals, housed in humane open enclosures.
  • Singapore's beaches are much-loved by locals, but don't get a lot of foreign tourist traffic. That's their loss: the beaches on the east coast and Sentosa Island are some of the best places in Singapore to swim, relax and party

Explore more attractions with our full-length articles on reasons to visit Singapore , the best things to do with kids , and Singapore’s ethnic enclaves .

What to Eat and Drink

Sure, you can spend a mint on Singapore’s many expensive restaurants, but there’s a reason this country’s one of Southeast Asia’s best cities for street food . The food courts, known as “hawker centers,” serve a wide variety of Asian dishes, despite their general shortage on ambiance and air conditioning.

Singapore’s wide-ranging food reflects the multicultural mix of the Singaporean populace. Indian biryani stands jostle Western food booths and noodle stalls in most places. At any top Singapore hawker center , tourists mingle with working stiffs, to breakfast on roti kaya , or stuff their faces with Cantonese, Hokkien, Indian, Malay, and "Western" food. Prices are low ($5 buys you a big meal) and you can even order a Tiger Beer to go with your meal for only a little extra.

Explore our articles on Singapore’s best hawker centers , top restaurants and top dishes to order on your next meal .

Where to Stay

There's a Singapore hotel for every budget, though you should expect that accommodations around here lie on the high end price-wise compared to the rest of Asia. For four-star and higher hotels, check out your options in Marina Bay and Orchard, among them historic hotels like the Raffles Hotel and newfangled wonders like the Marina Bay Sands . Balestier Road, Katong, Joo Chiat, and Little India are better known for their backpacker and budget digs.

Find out more about Singapore’s neighborhoods , and our recommendations of the best places in Singapore to stay for your budget.

Getting There

Singapore is one of the easiest countries to travel to, given its central location in Southeast Asia and the abundance of budget airline connections to the rest of the region. Changi Airport isn’t just the international gateway to Singapore, it’s also a major travel hub between Asia and the rest of the world. You can also travel overland, either by bus from Kuala Lumpur or by train from as far away as Bangkok.

Money Saving Tips

Singapore’s reputation as an expensive destination is somewhat unfair: you can do plenty to save money without crimping your travel experience. Consider the following budget-saving tips when you visit:

  • Eat at a hawker center instead of at restaurants. Meals come down to less than $5-$10 each, with an amazing selection of local cuisines to choose from
  • Travel on the bus and MRT, use an EZ-Link Card to pay your way through. The EZ-Link card is a contactless payment card that you can purchase (and top up) at any 7-Eleven store, valid at any bus and train on the island. Avoid using taxis and Grab summoned cars.
  • For souvenir shopping, try the markets around Chinatown and Little India, and bargain the prices down as often as possible.
  • Buy snacks, drinks, and toiletries from supermarkets instead of convenience stores.

Find out more about traveling on a tight budget in Singapore .

Safety in Singapore

Singapore is a very safe travel destination. The government's stringent security measures, first spurred by the ongoing threat of terrorism around Southeast Asia, continues to uphold Singapore's reputation as a safe destination.

Singapore's reputation is partly held up by the fact that it has the strictest laws on the books—covering not just drugs, but also vandalism and political activity. Tourists behaving badly in Singapore should expect the law to come down hard on their shenanigans.

Drinking alcohol in Singapore is not prohibited, but recent rules have limited the areas where you can drink to your heart's content. Singapore hawker centers have not stopped selling beer, but stalls in Geylang and Little India have stricter rules than usual.

Singaporean law shares the draconian attitude to drugs common in Southeast Asia. The country's strict Misuse of Drugs Act   punishes possession of even small amounts of illegal drugs and prescribes execution if you're caught with large amounts of controlled substances.

Monetary Authority of Singapore . "Brunei-Singapore Currency Interchangeability Agreement." April 28, 2020.

National Parks Board . "Parks & Nature Reserves." April 2020.

Singapore Statutes Online . "Misuse of Drugs Act." March 31, 2008.

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11 things to know before visiting Singapore

Jaclynn Seah

Mar 9, 2024 • 6 min read

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Plan for your trip to Singapore with these things you should know and insider tips © Jakub Zajic / Getty Images

Singapore has a well-cultivated image of being a safe country .

Too safe perhaps for some, who balk at its infamously strict rules and fines for flouting them, and find the gleaming modern city too sanitized for their liking. Others appreciate the clean streets and manicured gardens amidst the tall buildings along with the intriguing mix of people that make up Singapore’s multifaceted culture.

As a Singaporean who’s lived here all her life (and who has always had to explain the country to fellow travelers in foreign hostel common rooms) here’s what you need to know about Singapore, its cultural landscape, and its local customs and quirks, to help you plan your trip to the Little Red Dot.

1. Singapore is small, but with lots to see and do

Compact Singapore takes less than an hour to drive from end to end but there’s a lot packed into this small country. For a first-time visitor, three to four days is usually sufficient to see the main highlights and get a feel of the top things to do in Singapore . 

If you’re really short on time, plan a layover with at least 5.5 hours and you can join one of three free transit tours organized by the excellent Changi Airport for a quick taster of what the country has to offer.

Tourists milling around the street of Chinatown in Singapore as the sun beats down; some carry umbrellas to give them shade

2. Pack for the tropics

Practically located on the equator, expect hot tropical weather ranging from 25 to 35ºC (77 to 95ºF) every single day in Singapore. A small umbrella is essential in case of scorching rays or sudden downpours.

What can be tough for those used to temperate climates is Singapore’s high humidity – 60 to 90% on average throughout the year, so be prepared to sweat it out. Pack light materials or bring a small fan or hankie around with you. Anyone basking under the afternoon sun who’s not on the beach is definitely a tourist – be sure to slap on the sunblock!

Funnily enough, it tends to be a lot colder indoors than outdoors because shopping malls and central cooling overcompensate for the heat.

A scarf or a light jacket will keep you warm, offer extra sun protection and are the perfect cover-up if you plan to visit religious buildings.

3. Singapore is an independent country 

With a majority Chinese population, some people mistakenly assume that Singapore is a part of China, which is not the case. Most Chinese Singaporeans are descendants of southeastern Chinese immigrants who sailed across the seas decades ago. 

Singapore may be hard to spot on a map, but you’ll find it just south of the Malaysian peninsula in Southeast Asia, four hours away from China by plane. On that note, despite its proximity and commonalities in shared culture and history, Singapore is also not a part of Malaysia, though it was very briefly back in 1963 before Singapore became fully independent in 1965, making next year – 2025 – the 60th anniversary of the republic.  

4. Most Singaporeans speak excellent English

Singapore is an easy place for Western tourists to explore on their own because of the widespread use of English here. Fun fact: Singapore actually has four official languages: Mandarin, Bahasa Melayu and Tamil represent the three major ethnic groups found here (Chinese, Malay and Indian respectively), and English is the main language used in schools and for business, which also allows for conversation across ethnicities.

5. Natural disasters are unlikely in Singapore 

Singapore may not have scenic mountain ranges or awe-inspiring topography, but it’s also out of the path of any major tectonic movement. You are unlikely to face any major natural disasters – no earthquakes, volcanos, typhoons or sandstorms here.

In the worst case, there may be flash floods during particularly rainy periods or haze blanketing the island from forest fires around the region, but these are usually temporary and minor inconveniences.

6. Singapore is a safe and stable place to visit 

Singapore is also well-known for its generally stable political and business climate, often ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. Strikes that can disrupt travel plans are practically nonexistent here.

The crime rate in Singapore is also relatively low with lots of surveillance and a police force that people trust in. As a single woman, I’ve never been too worried about wandering around Singapore on my own even at night, but do maintain some common sense for your own safety as one of our popular slogans here goes: low crime doesn’t mean no crime.

Asian lady and a mature man enjoy their meal. The lady is laughing at something, while the man is concentrating on his food.

7. Carry both cash and credit cards

How many Singapore dollars you change before your trip largely depends on where you plan to go . Most major tourist attractions and shops in shopping malls will accept credit cards, and other cashless options like contactless payments and smart wallets are also common.

Those planning to take public transport in Singapore can use their credit cards on the public buses and MRT card readers for convenience, but purchasing a local EZ-Link card or transport pass may be more worthwhile depending on how much travel you plan to do. However, do carry some cash around with you as it remains the prevalent method of payment for most small businesses, eating at hawker center stalls, or taking a taxi. Try to break notes of larger denominations ($50/$100) into smaller ones ($2/$5/$10) when possible.

8. Prebook attractions to avoid waiting in line

There’s a joke that a Singaporean’s favorite pastime is to queue for things, but that’s not something you want to waste time on. If there is an option to prebook tickets online or make a reservation, just do it. This is key on busy weekends and peak vacation periods like the mid- and year-end school holidays.

An attraction’s official website is usually the best place to get tickets, but browse other booking platforms before you check out as these sites may offer special seasonal discounts or multi-bundle prices. Also check the Visit Singapore website as it sometimes runs incentive programs for tourists.

 Haji Lane in the Kampong Glam quarter, which is famous for its cafes, restaurants and shops.

9. Tipping is not expected

Tipping is not expected in Singapore. If you’re eating out in a restaurant or cafe, there is usually a 10% service charge included in the bill. Some places may have a tip box but otherwise, additional tips are not mandatory or expected, though they are appreciated in the service line.

10. Understand the art of "chope-ing"

If you are eating at food centers or working at co-working spaces, particularly within the central business district, you may notice empty tables with strategically placed items like umbrellas, tissue packets or lanyards on the seats. This is a local practice to "chope" or reserve a seat while everyone is queuing up at the stalls. Most people honor this informal reservation system and will look elsewhere for available seats.

11. Yes, you can drink the tap water

There's no need to buy bottled water in Singapore. The tap water here is treated and perfectly safe to drink. You'll find that most attractions have water coolers where you can refill your reusable bottles while you're out and about during the day.

This article was first published September 2023 and updated March 2024

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Pope Francis to embark on tour of Southeast Asia, Oceania in longest papal trip

by NICOLE WINFIELD and NINIEK KARMINI | Associated Press

Pope Francis asperses holy water as he celebrates Easter mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, March 31, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will visit Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and Singapore in September, the Vatican announced Friday, confirming the longest trip of Francis' papacy that is sure to test his health, stamina, and mobility.

The Vatican confirmed the Sept. 2-13 visit, saying the 87-year-old pope would visit Jakarta, Indonesia; Port Moresby and Vanimo, Papua New Guinea; Dili, East Timor; and Singapore. Further details will be announced later.

Francis' health has become a source of increasing concern and speculation, even though the pontiff is able to carry on with a rigorous schedule of meetings at the Vatican and even excursions to local parishes.

Francis, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, had to cancel a planned visit to Dubai late last year after he came down with a bad case of bronchitis. He suffered from respiratory problems all winter and had to curtail his participation in Holy Week events to save his energy for Easter.

Francis has also been using a wheelchair for nearly two years because of bad knee ligaments, and has said that traveling has become increasingly more difficult.

And yet at 11 days, the trip would be the longest of Francis' papacy, outpacing by a few days some of his long trips to the Americas early on in his 11-year papacy. It will bring the Argentine Jesuit to the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, as well as the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, where the Catholic Church wields enormous influence.

There is also a chance of another leg to the trip being added later: This week, the Vatican foreign minister, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, was in Vietnam and discussed a papal visit, Vatican News reported, without providing details.

In a statement announcing the visit, the Indonesian foreign ministry welcomed the visit and recalled that it had originally been scheduled for 2020 but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The visit of Pope Francis to Indonesia holds significant importance to the Indonesian people, not only for Catholics but also for all religious communities. The visit is also expected to strengthen the message of tolerance, unity, and world peace," the statement said.

Indonesia is home to roughly 242 million Muslims and 29 million Christians — 8.5 million of whom are Catholics — according to a 2022 report by the Religious Affairs Ministry.

East Timor, which today has a population of about 1.2 million people, is Southeast Asia's only predominantly Christian nation with the exception of the Philippines. According to the 2015 census, 97.6% of East Timor's population is Catholic.

The visit to East Timor will likely reignite attention over a clergy sex abuse scandal involving its revered independence hero and Nobel Peace Prize winner. The Vatican confirmed in 2022 that it had sanctioned Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo following allegations that he sexually abused boys there during the 1990s. Belo is believed to now be living in Portugal.

Francis will be the first pope to visit Papua New Guinea since St. John Paul II went there in 1984. The country, in a strategically important part of the South Pacific, has struggled with tribal violence and civil unrest.

John Paul also visited Singapore, in 1986. The country today is home to 395,000 Catholics and Francis in 2022 made its archbishop Singapore's first cardinal.

In a statement welcoming the visit, Cardinal William Goh, said it "will bring renewed fervor to all Catholics in Singapore, uniting them in faith and mission, especially in these most challenging of times."

The Vatican has planned only one other papal trip this year — to Belgium to celebrate the anniversary of the country's Catholic university. Francis has also said he wants to return to his native Argentina, but no plans or dates have been announced.

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Singaporeans advised to defer all travel to Iran: MFA

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SINGAPORE - Singaporeans are advised to defer all travel to Iran, while those in the country should remain vigilant and monitor developments closely, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on April 14.

The travel advisory, which noted the “latest security situation”, follows Iran’s attack on Israeli territory late on April 13 , when it launched a swarm of explosive drones and missiles.

Iran had vowed retaliation for what it called an Israeli strike on its Damascus consulate on April 1 that killed seven Revolutionary Guard officers, including two senior commanders. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the attack.

“Singapore has no diplomatic mission in Iran, which constrains our ability to extend consular assistance in an emergency,” said the ministry.

Singaporeans are strongly encouraged to register online with the MFA at https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg so that the ministry can contact them should the need arise.

Those who need consular assistance while in Iran can contact the MFA Duty Office.

MFA Duty Office (24 hours)

Tel: +65-6379-8800/8855 E-mail:  [email protected]

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Pope Will Travel to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Singapore in Longest Trip of Papacy

The Vatican says Pope Francis will visit Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Singapore in September

Andrew Medichini

Andrew Medichini

FILE -Pope Francis waves as he leaves after his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at The Vatican, Wednesday, April 10, 2024. Pope Francis will visit Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Singapore in September, the Vatican announced Friday, April 12 ,2024, confirming the longest trip of Francis’ papacy that is sure to test his health, stamina and mobility. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will visit Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Singapore in September, the Vatican announced Friday, confirming the longest trip of Francis’ papacy that is sure to test his health, stamina and mobility.

The Vatican confirmed the Sept. 2-13 visit, saying the 87-year-old pope would visit Jakarta, Indonesia; Port Moresby and Vanimo, Papua New Guinea; Dili, East Timor; and Singapore. Further details will be announced later.

Francis' health has become a source of increasing concern and speculation, even though the pontiff is able to carry on with a rigorous schedule of meetings at the Vatican and even excursions to local parishes.

Francis, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, had to cancel a planned visit to Dubai late last year after he came down with a bad case of bronchitis. He suffered from respiratory problems all winter and had to curtail his participation in Holy Week events to save his energy for Easter.

Francis has also been using a wheelchair for nearly two years because of bad knee ligaments, and has said that traveling has become increasingly more difficult.

And yet at 11 days, the trip would be the longest of Francis’ papacy, outpacing by a few days some of his long trips to the Americas early on in his 11-year papacy. It will bring the Argentine Jesuit to the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, as well as the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, where the Catholic Church wields enormous influence.

Photos You Should See - April 2024

Muslims gather to perform an Eid al-Fitr prayer, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at Washington Square Park on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

There is also a chance of another leg to the trip being added later: This week, the Vatican foreign minister, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, was in Vietnam and discussed a papal visit, Vatican News reported, without providing details.

In a statement announcing the visit, the Indonesian foreign ministry welcomed the visit and recalled that it had originally been scheduled for 2020 but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The visit of Pope Francis to Indonesia holds significant importance to the Indonesian people, not only for Catholics but also for all religious communities. The visit is also expected to strengthen the message of tolerance, unity and world peace,” the statement said.

Indonesia is home to roughly 242 million Muslims and 29 million Christians — 8.5 million of whom are Catholics — according to a 2022 report by the Religious Affairs Ministry.

East Timor, which today has a population of about 1.2 million people, is Southeast Asia’s only predominantly Christian nation with the exception of the Philippines. According to the 2015 census, 97.6% of East Timor’s population is Catholic.

The visit to East Timor will likely reignite attention over a clergy sex abuse scandal involving its revered independence hero and Nobel Peace Prize winner. The Vatican confirmed in 2022 that it had sanctioned Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo following allegations that he sexually abused boys there during the 1990s. Belo is believed to now be living in Portugal.

Francis will be the first pope to visit Papua New Guinea since St. John Paul II went there in 1984. The country, in a strategically important part of the South Pacific, has struggled with tribal violence and civil unrest.

John Paul also visited Singapore, in 1986. The country today is home to 395,000 Catholics and Francis in 2022 made its archbishop Singapore's first cardinal.

In a statement welcoming the visit, Cardinal William Goh, said it “will bring renewed fervor to all Catholics in Singapore, uniting them in faith and mission, especially in these most challenging of times.”

The Vatican has planned only one other papal trip this year — to Belgium to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s Catholic university. Francis has also said he wants to return to his native Argentina , but no plans or dates have been announced.

Karmini contributed from Jakarta, Indonesia.

Copyright 2024 The  Associated Press . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Pope Francis to travel in September to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Singapore in longest trip of papacy

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis to travel in September to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Singapore in longest trip of papacy.

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FILE -Pope Francis waves as he leaves after his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at The Vatican, Wednesday, April 10, 2024. Pope Francis will visit Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Singapore in September, the Vatican announced Friday, April 12 ,2024, confirming the longest trip of Francis’ papacy that is sure to test his health, stamina and mobility. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will visit Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Singapore in September, the Vatican announced Friday, confirming the longest trip of Francis’ papacy that is sure to test his health, stamina and mobility.

The Vatican confirmed the Sept. 2-13 visit, saying the 87-year-old pope would visit Jakarta, Indonesia; Port Moresby and Vanimo, Papua New Guinea; Dili, East Timor; and Singapore. Further details will be announced later.

Francis’ health has become a source of increasing concern and speculation, even though the pontiff is able to carry on with a rigorous schedule of meetings at the Vatican and even excursions to local parishes.

Francis, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, had to cancel a planned visit to Dubai late last year after he came down with a bad case of bronchitis. He suffered from respiratory problems all winter and had to curtail his participation in Holy Week events to save his energy for Easter.

Francis has also been using a wheelchair for nearly two years because of bad knee ligaments, and has said that traveling has become increasingly more difficult.

Cardinal Alvaro Ramazzini, center back, waits for the start of a religious procession, in Guatemala City, Saturday, March 23, 2024. Elevated by Pope Francis in 2019 to the top hierarchy of the Catholic Church, Ramazzini has continued his focus on the poor, the Indigenous and the migrant. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

And yet at 11 days, the trip would be the longest of Francis’ papacy, outpacing by a few days some of his long trips to the Americas early on in his 11-year papacy. It will bring the Argentine Jesuit to the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, as well as the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, where the Catholic Church wields enormous influence.

There is also a chance of another leg to the trip being added later: This week, the Vatican foreign minister, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, was in Vietnam and discussed a papal visit, Vatican News reported, without providing details.

In a statement announcing the visit, the Indonesian foreign ministry welcomed the visit and recalled that it had originally been scheduled for 2020 but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The visit of Pope Francis to Indonesia holds significant importance to the Indonesian people, not only for Catholics but also for all religious communities. The visit is also expected to strengthen the message of tolerance, unity and world peace,” the statement said.

Indonesia is home to roughly 242 million Muslims and 29 million Christians — 8.5 million of whom are Catholics — according to a 2022 report by the Religious Affairs Ministry.

East Timor, which today has a population of about 1.2 million people, is Southeast Asia’s only predominantly Christian nation with the exception of the Philippines. According to the 2015 census, 97.6% of East Timor’s population is Catholic.

The visit to East Timor will likely reignite attention over a clergy sex abuse scandal involving its revered independence hero and Nobel Peace Prize winner. The Vatican confirmed in 2022 that it had sanctioned Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo following allegations that he sexually abused boys there during the 1990s. Belo is believed to now be living in Portugal.

Francis will be the first pope to visit Papua New Guinea since St. John Paul II went there in 1984. The country, in a strategically important part of the South Pacific, has struggled with tribal violence and civil unrest.

John Paul also visited Singapore, in 1986. The country today is home to 395,000 Catholics and Francis in 2022 made its archbishop Singapore’s first cardinal.

In a statement welcoming the visit, Cardinal William Goh, said it “will bring renewed fervor to all Catholics in Singapore, uniting them in faith and mission, especially in these most challenging of times.”

The Vatican has planned only one other papal trip this year — to Belgium to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s Catholic university. Francis has also said he wants to return to his native Argentina , but no plans or dates have been announced.

Karmini contributed from Jakarta, Indonesia.

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