Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay top things to do in Singapore travel guide.

Singapore Travel Guide

Singapore, a cosmopolitan, city-state on the southern tip of Malaysia is one of the world’s smallest countries, yet a thriving financial hub. It’s also one of only three city-states, along with the Vatican and Monaco.

With its luxurious skyscrapers, top notch accommodation, Unesco listed melting-pot culinary culture, ethnic districts, vibrant nightlife, and one-of-a-kind sites, there’s a lot to see and do, making Singapore a great stop.

This travel guide for Singapore features the top attractions, how to get around, safety, logistics, what not to do, visa information, and more to help you plan your trip.

This travel guide and the post on Singapore are updated as of January 2022.

Top Attractions In Singapore

Marina Bay

Opulent Marina Bay is packed with iconic architecture, sparkling skyscrapers, entertainment, and compelling tourist sites. This recently developed area is in central Singapore and a top stop. One of the key highlights is its architectural focal point, Marina Bay Sands. Its roof-top Infinity Pool offers stellar views of the bay to guests. If you’re not a guest, you can buy a ticket for the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck instead (or visit CE LA VI bar).

Marina Bay | Wikimedia Commons Butko

Marina Bay Sands is also where to find the ArtScience Museum. Designed in the shape of a lotus flower (in image above), it’s an architectural showstopper with intriguing exhibits. Gardens by the Bay is another one of the top sites in Marina Bay.

The futuristic Supertree structures at Supertree Grove are technological plants, designed to collect rainwater for irrigation and absorb sunlight to generate energy for their dazzling night show.

Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay top things to do in Singapore travel guide.
Supertree Grove

Other key attractions in Gardens by the Bay include the Cloud Forest, which has the world’s largest indoor waterfall, and Flower Dome, the world’s largest glass greenhouse.

Marina Bay is also home of the Singapore Flyer. Larger than the London Eye, its air-conditioned capsules provide stunning views of the Bay Area.

To make the ride even more memorable, you can sip on a Singapore Sling, which originated in Singapore, while riding in your cozy capsule.

There’s more, however, than just these few highlights in Marina Bay. There’s the DNA-shaped Helix pedestrian bridge, linking Marina Center with Marina South. In addition, there’s also many shops, cafes, entertainment, nightlife, and a waterfront promenade, all offering the perfect opportunity to explore this lux area and people watch.

Singapore Flyer top sight In travel guide
Singapore Flyer

Singapore Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens, which became an UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015, is what remains of the rainforest that once covered Singapore. Surprisingly, it’s only a 5 minute walk from Orchard Road, the busiest shopping street in Singapore. The park’s most important highlight is the world’s largest orchid exhibit, with over 1,000 orchid species.

Botanical Gardens is a top site in Singapore Travel Guide
Botanic Gardens

Singapore’s Unesco Hawker Centers

Hawker Centers are open-air food hubs, offering a uniquely Singaporean mix of the best of Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian cooking. The hawker culture is such an important part of Singaporean life, they’ve been awarded Unesco Heritage status.

The biggest Hawker Market is in Chinatown, the Chinatown Complex Food Center, with over 260 food stalls, but there are many others, like Maxwell Food Center, Old Airport Road, Tekka Center, and Chomp Chomp.

Visiting Singapore’s Ethnic Districts

Originally ethnic enclaves from the British era, they’re now cultural and economic centers with fascinating glimpses into daily life. From Chinatown, to Little India, Kampong Glam, and Katong, there are many to explore. And it’s best to arrive hungry as each is a treasure trove of Singaporean ethnic food fusions.

Chinatown is the largest and one of the most popular, with several temples, the Chinese Heritage Center, and Singapore City Gallery.

Tooth Relic Temple | Wikimedia Commons Lohasa
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple top site in Singapore Travel Guide
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

Little India is one of the more colorful districts with Sri Veeramakaliamman and Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temples, and the Temple of 1,000 Lights.

Kampong Glam, Singapore’s Malay-Arab Quarter, is home to the countries largest mosque and the Malay Heritage center.

Katong is home of the Peranakans, a fusion of Chinese and Malays. The key highlights here are Joo Chiat Road, lined with colorful shophouses, and Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple.

Shopping On Orchard Road

Orchard Road is 1.6 miles (2.5 km) of luxury shopping, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and nightlife. It’s where to go for serious shopping. It gets its name from the spice and fruit orchards this road once led to.

Escape to Singapore’s Tropical Islands

There are over 64 islands in Singapore, so when the crowded streets and subways of Singapore become too much, they’re the perfect getaway. The most popular ones include Sentosa, with Universal Studios, Adventure Cove Waterpark, and beaches, as well as the beaches of Pulau Ubun, St. John’s, Lazarus, Sister’s Islands, and Bintan.

Best Time To Visit

Although Singapore is a year round destination, there are slightly fewer rainy days, and slightly less humidity, between February and April. Other than this, highs range fairly consistently from 87-90 F (30-32 C) all year.

Singapore’s Key Festivals

There are several key festivals that make a visit to Singapore more special.

  • Chinese New Year 2022 is February 1.
  • The Lantern Festival 2022 is February 15.
  • The Singapore Food Festival, a month long celebration, is usually in July.
  • National Day is August 9th with fireworks in Marina Bay.

Languages

The national language is Malay, although there are three other official languages, English, Chinese, and Tamil. There’s also Singlish, which is a blend of Singaporean slang, English, and other languages. Although discouraged, it still flourishes.

Money Matters

Currency: The currency is the Singapore Dollar (SGD). US Dollars, Australian Dollars, Yen, and Pounds Sterling are also usually accepted at major shopping centers. Conversion rates as of January 1, 2024 were as follows.

  • USD (1) = 1.32 SGD
  • Euro (1) = 1.46 SGD
  • CNY (1) = .19 SGD

Credit Cards & ATMs: Credit cards are widely accepted and ATM’s are widely available. Keep in mind that cash is king at Hawker Centers and street markets, so be sure to keep some on hand.

Tipping: Singapore is one of those rare places where tipping is not expected. There may be a 10% service charge on your restaurant bill, but be aware this does not go to the server. If you want to leave more, do so in cash. You do not need to tip taxi drivers, but can round up if you want.

Safety In Singapore

Singapore is very safe. In fact, it’s listed in the top 10 safest countries in the world, with consistently low crime rates. Petty theft does occur, however, so keep an eye on your valuables.

When theft does occur, it’s likely not by a Singaporean.

Trust your instincts. If things don’t feel right, or are too good to be true, walk away and look into other options.

Always check the latest situation on your government website before traveling. It’s wise to sign up for the STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program), or similar in your country, to be alerted if issues do arise.

What Not To Do In Singapore

One of the reasons Singapore is so safe is because it has strict rules and regulations. Penalties can be steep and swift. In fact, sometimes Singapore is dubbed as ‘fine city’.

To avoid problems, it’s best to know in advance what not to do.

  • Drugs are illegal and can result in capital punishment, even for tourists.
    Bring a copy of your doctor’s prescription with medications you bring with you.
  • Don’t walk around naked or view porn, even in the privacy of your home. Fines can be as high as $2,000, with possible jail time.
  • Homosexual acts between men are illegal and punishable by jail time. Littering or spitting can result in fines up to $1,000 and community work.
  • Chewing gum is illegal, except for medical reasons, with fines up to $500. Vandalism and graffiti is a no-no and subject to fines, jail time, and possibly caning.
  • Eating or drinking on public transportation can result in fines up to $500. Jaywalking or crossing the road at a red light can also lead to fines.
  • Smoking outside of designated areas can result in fines up to $200. Connecting to an unsecured Wifi signal can be considered hacking and result in fines.
    Flush the toilet. Believe it or not, you can be fined up to $150 if you don’t!

Getting Around Singapore

MRT: Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway is one of the most efficient in the world and the fastest way to get around Singapore. The Singapore Tourist Pass is a card offering unlimited travel on the MRT and public buses for 1, 2, or 3 days. For help navigating via MRT and bus, use Citymapper.

Taxi: Taxi is the easiest way to get around, unless it’s rush hour. However, even though it’s not too expensive, it is more expensive than the MRT.

Bus: The bus system is also good, but with so many options, it can be overwhelming to navigate.

Drive: Driving is not recommended as traffic is heavy. Parking is also expensive and difficult to find, making it a hassle.

Visa Information For Singapore

US and EU citizens do not need a visa to enter Singapore and can stay up to 90 days. Chinese citizens require a visa. For more details or information on other countries see the Visa Policy of Singapore.

Note that you will likely need to provide proof of onward travel.

Singapore Travel Guide: Top Destination Blogs & Stories

Click below for more detailed information on Singapore’s top sites and how to get there.


Summary

If this travel guide has been useful in planning for, or just dreaming about Singapore, please add a comment below.

Note: All efforts have been made to ensure that the information on this travel guide to Singapore are accurate, but sometimes changes occur, if you see an issue, please note it in the comments.

For more information about me and my philosophy on travel, see my about me page.

Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from Gorgeous Unknown

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading