Travel Guide In Singapore – Last updated: 5 MAY 2019. Need help planning your trip to Singapore? This is the SINGAPORE TRAVEL GUIDE with tour and hotel suggestions, budget tips, cost analysis and sample SINGAPORE TRAVELS that you can use to create your own! Happy planning!
If the story of my travels were an Olympic tournament, Singapore would take home a medal in at least two categories: the first foreign city I’ve ever visited and second on the list of most visited countries, ten times over despite its reputation as the most expensive city in the world.
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Yes, expensive. Ask travelers who have set foot in Singapore for the adjective that best describes the city, and “expensive” won’t come off the list. Many of the main attractions here can drain the bag. But that doesn’t mean budget travel isn’t possible. There are many ways to cut costs if you know where to look.
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Singapore is an island city-state consisting of a main island, 62 smaller islands and vast areas of reclaimed land. Its strategic location made it an important and dynamic trading center for centuries. In 1819 it became a British colony until World War II, when the Japanese occupied the island. After the war, it was handed back to England, but given more powers of self-government. In 1963, it merged with the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia only to be expelled two years later, giving birth to the independent Republic of Singapore.
Since then, Singapore has catapulted into a developed country. Although the cost is high and the area is small, it has become a good place to live. It is one of the safest, most organized, most progressive and least corrupt countries in the region and the world.
Singapore is also a global transportation and tourism hub. It is connected to Malaysia via the Johor-Singapore Causeway. Batam in Indonesia is also only an hour away by ferry. And through Changi Airport, widely regarded as the best in the world, Singapore is connected to almost every major city around the world.
Living in Singapore is expensive by Southeast Asian standards, or any standards. Budget travelers have three options: backpacker hostels, BnBs and budget hotels. Due to limited space in Singapore, don’t expect a big room. The rooms are usually simple beds with little space around them and the bathrooms are compact. Capsule hotels are also gaining popularity.
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Backpacker hostels are concentrated in the Chinatown, Little India, Clark Quay, Bugis and Geylang areas. Most offer dorm beds and double rooms. Budget hotels are mainly located in Geylang, Little India and Balestier.
I myself have experienced life in various areas of Singapore: Chinatown, Little India, Geylang, Tiong Bahru, etc. While some are flashier than others, they all feel safe. My Singaporean friends tell me that Geylang is a red light district. But I’ve stayed there too, and it was fine. Our taxi driver, however, although generally safe, female travelers may need to choose another area.
When choosing a place to stay, look at its location on the map. Usually, if it’s near an MRT station, you’ll be fine. Most of the tourist attractions in Singapore are accessible via the MRT. But I personally prefer living in Chinatown because of the easy access to the MRT and the cheap hawker areas.
Singapore’s Changi Airport is one of the most well-connected and widely regarded as the best airport in the world. If you live in a major city in Asia or Europe or North America, chances are there are direct flights available to Singapore.
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The lowest fares all year round are offered by Scoot, JetStar and Cebu Pacific. However, Philippine Airlines also has competitive prices when they run promotions.
If you have a Philippine passport, you do not need a visa. All you need is a valid passport (with 6 months left to expire). Just show up at the airport and fly.
If you are traveling with children who are not YOUR children, you may need a DSWD travel permit. Here’s how to get it: DSWD Travel Clearance
You can also reach Singapore from KL or Malacca (Melaka) by bus. Travel time from KL is 5-7 hours depending on traffic. From Malacca, only 4-5 hours. You’ll cross the border by land, but it’s easy enough even if it’s confusing at first. Make sure of the following:
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Staying connected to the internet can make your tourist life in Singapore much easier. You have two options: 4G Pocket Wifi and 4G Sim Card. Data SIM cards are cheaper but if you are a group it is better to rent mobile wifi as you can easily share the connection.
4G Pocket Wifi. There are many pocket wifi rental counters at Changi Airport, but as they are quite popular, it is best to book in advance. Klook’s 4G Pocket Wifi provides high-speed internet that can be used anywhere in Singapore.
4G SIM card. If you think you’ll be making a few calls, you might want to get a 4G SIM card. The Klook Local 4G SIM Card not only allows lightning fast connection speed but also FREE international calls of 20 minutes.
Host! Singapore may be small but it is full of all kinds of sites, attractions and adventures! Whatever your reason for traveling, Singapore has something for you. Shopping? Civilization? History? Food? Natural? amusement parks; Singapore has it!
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Universal Studios Singapore is the second cinematic theme park in Asia and the first in Southeast Asia. Located within Resorts World Sentosa, it covers 49 acres (20 hectares), housing a total of 24 exciting attractions! The park is divided into seven zones, each with its own theme based on a popular TV show or blockbuster movie. Each zone also has its own characters, restaurants, shops and rides.
How to get there: We have a separate post for that. Read here: How to get to Universal Studios Singapore
Klook offers discounted one-day passes if you book in advance. Each booking also comes with a SGD5 meal voucher (with a minimum spend of SGD10) for adult tickets.
It has three main areas: the Flower Dome in the South Garden; Cloud Forest, with the tallest indoor waterfall in the world. and the Supertree Grove with its iconic 16-story tall artificial tree. The Supertree Grove is open to all, but tickets are required to enter the two vaulted spaces.
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Even if you don’t spend the night at Marina Bay Sands, you can still access the Skypark and its Observation Deck for fantastic unobstructed views of the city.
You can get discounted tickets if you book with Klook! For almost the same price, Klook offers packages that include:
If it’s your first time in Singapore, head to Sentosa, a resort full of adventures for the whole family. The countless activities you can enjoy here are quite diverse. But some of the most popular are Luge, Tiger Sky Tower, Sentosa Merlion and Cable Car.
If you’re planning to spend a day in Sentosa, consider getting the Sentosa FUN Pass to skip the line and maximize your time. Available in 3 types: 55, 80 and 120 chips. Each attraction collects tokens. It acts as your currency on the island. For a list of the attractions you can enjoy and the corresponding amount of tokens, see this.
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The Singapore Cable Car is the most scenic way to Sentosa! Singapore’s first cable car system – connecting Sentosa Island and Mount Faber – opened in 1974. This system allows for 360-degree views of Sentosa, including Universal Studios, Resorts World and Mt.
This is my favorite thing in Singapore: walking along the river. You can walk from Raffles Place to Merlion Park to the Esplanade to Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay. I have prepared a more detailed post including walking instructions and photos here: DIY Singapore River Walk.
This goes a long way and can take hours. It’s also best done in the late afternoon so you can see the area transform as the sun sets.
If you don’t really like walking long distances, you can join a cruise. This 40-minute cruise will allow you to see the following landmarks while sitting comfortably on board:
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The whole journey takes 40 minutes and you can get off at any stop. But remember, you will need another ticket once you board again.
Singapore’s Chinatown features multi-faith buildings and structures. Apart from a Chinese temple, this street is also home to a mosque, the Methodist Church and an Indian temple. Upset? Welcome to the club. But that’s what makes this place even more charming. This tells you a lot about how Singapore values diversity in culture and religion.
But if you want to really appreciate this place, it’s best to join a group tour and have a guide explain what makes this structure so important. Klook’s Gems of Chinatown Tour includes the following stops:
Little India can also be explored on your own, which is great if you’re on a budget. But you will have a better appreciation of the place if