Singapore City Guide - Singapore Travel Tips
Singapore – The “Lion City” in Asia, land of beauty with
Reasons to visit
If you want to escape from your home for a little and take a break from your thoughts, it’s a good opportunity to visit Singapore. Its culture it’s going to leave you speechless.
When you will land on Singapore the image of a country coming from the future will automatically hit you. The architecture of the city seems to be from a different future time.
Singapore’s having a tropical climate. Easy to understand that there’s no such thing as summer or winter. The temperature tends to be constant all over the year, excepting the monsoon season.
So, that being said, consider traveling to Singapore starting with March when the temperature reaches 36 degrees, until the month of September when the temperature may drop with 2 degrees.
Starting with November it is indicated to avoid traveling to Singapore because the monsoon season start and your flight may be affected by it or your trip may turn into a nightmare because you will be forced to cancel all of your plans due to the abundant rainfall.
Singapore Local Transport
Another thing you will be amazed by is the missing of private cars on Singapore’s streets. The land of Singapore’s not very large so they are trying to keep a low rate of pollution excluding private cars.
You will still be able to visit the city by taking the bus, taxi, trains and bicycles. Due to exclusion of the private cars, all the six taxi companies lowered the prices
A strange thing about this country is the fact that they own eight airports but seven of them are not for public use.
Singapore uses as its official language English, besides it there are three other recognized languages like Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Most of the Singaporeans are speaking fluently in two of the official languages. English comes first being the first language they get in contact with since day one of education and second Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and Tamil.
If you want to travel to Singapore and your identification papers are in other languages than English, please consider translating them into English for your own safety.
Singapore uses mainly the British type of power sockets. That means they are using G type plugs. You can buy power plugs adapters from the internet or from any other store that sell home items. We suggest having a travel adapter if you are not from around.
The history of Singaporean currency it’s really interesting. For 94 years, between 1845 and 1939 they used as currency the Straits Dollar, the currency of a British land located in Southeast Asia. The currency was changed into the Malayan dollar and used for 14 years. Since 1967 Singapore use the Singapore dollar. You can use the Singapore dollar to pay also in Brunei.
Must Try Food
If you are traveling to Singapore you should try the following food :
Bak Kuk Teh – Literally meaning Pork Ribs Soup. It was made during the humble times of Singapore when the city was still developing and its nation was poor and begging for food.
Fried Carrot Cake – This cake is made with eggs, preserved radish, and white radish flour cake. The result will be a „white carrot” cake.
Kaya Toast and soft boiled eggs – It is the only traditional Singaporean meal. The eggs are usually boiled for 10 minutes to obtain the soft shell. Kaya toast is a common looking toast bread, toasted on a bread grill, greased with coconut oil or eggs.
Crabs – If you travel to Singapore, don’t miss eating Crabs on its Asian stylish way. You can’t compare it to any European way of cooking them.
In Singapore, the craps are served with sweet or spicy tomato chili sauce or with black pepper sauce. In some places in Europe, crabs are only boiled in hot water, but in Singapore, crabs are first boiled then fried to crack open the shell much easier.
Oyster Omelette – It is a very popular dish in Singapore. The cooking process is alike with the one of fried carrot cake, having the same special ingredient – eggs.
Chwee Kueh – traditional breakfast specific for Singapore. A mixture between flour and water, filled with preserved radish and chili. The young citizens of Singapore and not very happy about this dish but the elders keep the tradition alive.
Kope-O – The first thing you need to try when you reach in Singapore. Kope-O is an intense traditional black coffee cup, usually served along with breakfast.
Teh Tarik – in Singapore, they love
Singapore Sling – this drink shows you how a tropical city tastes like. It is a cocktail with gin as a base and made with Benedictine, Cherry Heering, and pineapple juice. A taste you will never forget.
Bandung – is a drink obtained from chilled milk mixed with rose syrup.
How to get there
Singapore it’s an exotic destination. If you want to buy cheap flight tickets you must look for Singapore as the destination because here you can find the cheapest tickets. You don’t need to carry too many things, just enjoy your time here. If you want to check the best fly tickets you can trust kiwi.com. Kiwi can help to find also best fly on your way home.
You can reach Singapore traveling by plane with Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways or Scoot Airways. In any case, you will land on Singapore’s Changi Airport. Changi Airport it is the main airport and it has the greatest reputation being one of the busiest airports of the world.
If you are afraid of flying you can get to Singapore taking a cruise. There are two options – traveling with Singapore Cruise Center for a common cruise, or traveling with Marina Bay Cruise Center for a luxury cruise.
There is still one more option – driving to Singapore. If you are coming from Europe it’s almost impossible to get here driving, but if you are from Asia, nothing less easy. Singapore has two lad checkpoints. One in Tua and another one in Woodlands.
Things to know
If you want to travel to Singapore make sure you have all the travel papers done. You will need a visa but keep in mind that a visa is not an immigration pass. Your immigration pass together with your visa it will be checked by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. Your staying period in Singapore has to be mentioned in your passport. Remind yourself the date mentioned in your passport is not related to the validity of your visa.
Where to stay
Singapore has multiple options for finding a cheap or expensive place to stay. As I said, could be expensive but you can fit also on a budget. If you don’t have to worry about your budget can book plenty of hotels rooms and pensions where you like on www.booking.com or www.agoda.com.
It’s a huge city and must consider how much you will to walk, how close to the city center it is your place. If you like to hang out with a local you can book a room on www.airbnb.com and you can find a good price for your accommodation.
Also if you can stay with them for free using Couchsurfing app. You can use it also only if you want to meet with them. If you are traveling on a budget or not couch surfing seems to be a good idea. First of all, it’s a chance for you to talk with a native and learn about day by day life in new york city. It’s a great opportunity for making new friends maybe for a week or maybe for a lifetime, you never know. Hostels are less expensive than a hotel room. Why spend 300$/night for a hotel room when you can spend 30$/night for a hostel room?! The culture of making friends never fails to amaze people.
You can book a room in a hotel placed on Orchard Road if you are a shopping addict. Orchard Road is always busy with passing pedestrians. The nightlife is quite limited. An option to book a room is Swissotel The Stamford. This hotel has a great location, in the heart of Singapore, with a great area for shopping.
If you don’t have much time for visiting the city or you are traveling on a budget, a room in Marina Bay its ideal. You can enjoy the view but you won’t feel the Singaporean life at all.
Find a place to stay in Clarke Quai if you enjoy the nightlife. Clarke Quai is well known for the main nightclubs in Singapore. Even if you have less cultural attractions you can benefit of thousand prices lowered on happy hours in almost every market you walk in.
For those who love the sound of the beach, a room in Sentosa is a perfect choice. Sentosa is an ideal place for families, being far from the noisy city and crowded stores. But consider that a trip from Sentosa to Singapore is taking time. Make sure you have enough time.
If you don’t worry about the budget we recommend to stay at Marina Bay Sands. The location is fabulous, and the view speechless and the services are the best. The area is great for shopping.
If you seek for culture, plus traveling on a budget, consider booking a room in Chinatown or Little India. Chinatown has everything put together – culture, malls, bars, nightlife clubs, easy to walk to every other spot. In Chinatown, you can book a bunk bed with breakfast included at Campbell Inn. It’s easy for you because you don’t need prepayment and cancellation is free. In Little India is the same, with breakfast included and free cancellation at Heritage Hostel.
You can move from a place to another using the MTR (mass rapid transit). MTR system has five lines – The circle line, the east-west line, the north-east line, the north-south line and the downtown line. Each of them can be easily recognized by its color. Orange belongs to the first line, green of the second, purple for the third, red for the fourth and blues for the last one.
If you don’t like crowded spaces then you can choose the public buses. The public buses system is very efficient and very inexpensive. It’s indicated for you, as a traveler, to take the bus rides because you can spot various attractions.
The price of a ride depends on how far you want to go. You have to tap your bus card twice, which can be a little confusing. Tap the card once you get on a bus and tap one more when you are about to take off. The system will tell you the price of the ride.
Avoiding the crowd sometimes can cost you an extra amount of money. Think of it if you want to take a taxi in Singapore. We recommend you to take a taxi if the distance covered is short. Don’t get mad if you can’t find a taxi on rush hours.
One more traveling option – by river taxi – maybe you are staying place is located downtown, in this case taking the river taxi can be really pleasing. A ride costs almost 4$/person. Don’t forget the river taxi won’t be available on weekends.
The water taxi stops at – Robertson Quay, Clemenceau, Clarke Quai, Boat Quai, and the Esplanade.
Now we are getting to our top. Here are some of the most beautiful sites Singapore presents to its visitors. In other words, let’s start!
Gardens by the Bay
The Central region of Singapore hosts an amazing natural park named Gardens by the Bay. Those gardens are used for turning Singapore in a more natural environment for its citizens. The park has three waterfront gardens – Bay south garden, Bay east garden, and Bay central garden.
Bay central garden link the south and east gardens. It also has a 3 km waterfront promenade. Bay east garden it has a 2 km promenade. From Bay east garden you can enjoy the view of the skyline. The design of the Bay east garden is following an aquatic theme.
Bay south garden is the largest garden in the park. Its main purpose it’s to present the tropical environment of Singapore.
Artscience museum it’s a museum located in Marina Bay Sands Resort. The architecture of the museum was designed by Moshe Safdie and reproduce the form of a Lotus. The museum host nothing less than 21 galleries.
Three of the galleries are always the same – one of them has at its base the feeling of curiosity, the next one has at its base the feeling of inspiration and the last one the expression.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore Botanic Garden is the only tropical garden honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Starting with 2013, Singapore Botanic Garden has been ranked as a top attraction for tourists. In 2008, the garden obtained a rank of 3 Michelin Stars.
A special fact related to the gardens is the fact that its gate is opened every day starting with 5 in the morning until midnight. Over 10.000 species of plants are planted from north to south along 2.5 km. 4.5 million tourists are coming every year to visit Singapore Botanic Gardens.
For the tourist its name it’s Zoological Garden, for the locals its name is Mandai Zoo. This zoological garden host no more than 315 species of animals. 16% of them are protected by law.
Singapore’s zoo is home for the largest colony of orangutans. Animals are kept in modern cages. A clean environment is provided for making them feel like home as much as possible. Every animal it is surrounded by a habitat that reproduces the one animals used to live in.
A unique thing about Singapore’s Zoo is the fact that they offer a ride with trams, animals, boat, pony, and horses. As well you can rent strollers, wagons, and wheelchairs.
Another unique aspect of the zoological garden it is the fact that you can find three venues hosting events – Forest Lodge, Pavilion by the lake and Garden Pavilion. As well they have three venues that host coffee shops, birthday parties or wedding receptions – Elephants of Asia, Tigar Trek, and Treetops Trail.
A resort island in Singapore with a rich history. A place that deserves to be visited. Sentosa was once in its history a military base and a war camp during the Japanese occupation.
Starting with 1972 Sentosa has been turned into a public place, having 14 hotels, 2 casinos, a place where you can learn how to play golf and a theme park.
The process of turning Sentosa from a military camp into a touristic area affected the island so much. Its fauna and flora were highly deteriorated and various species of animals and plants are now lost.
Sentosa is the fourth largest island of Singapore and it serves as a home for various species of lizards, monkeys, parrots, and peacocks.
Haw Par Villa
Haw Par Villa si a traditional theme park in Singapore, situated along Pasir Panjang Road. I highly recommend a visit to Haw Par Villa if you are interested in local history. Haw Par reveals a part of Chinese mythology together with the local folklore, legends, and various religious aspects.
At first, Haw Par Villa served as a place in which you could learn about the Chinese values, back in the era when there was no internet, malls or mass-media. The most interesting attraction to visit in Haw Par is the representation of the ten gates of hell. It’s a Buddhist representation of how’s hell suppose to look like.
Kampong Glam is a special place in Singapore. Once it was the village of the aristocracy, the place where the Sultan together with his family and servants used to live. Today, in Kampong Glam the Malay and Muslim communities are coexisting in peace.
If you want to get the vibe from the 19th century, to explore the roads of Kampong Glam feeling like a real royalty, to admire the luxurious view and imagine the life that ancient people were living, Kampong Glam is the right place for you to be in.
Universal Studios Singapore
If you visit Sentosa make sure you are not missing Universal Studios. As you can guess it is a theme park in Sentosa having 28 different attractions split into seven themed zones. To each zone, it corresponds to a specific movie made by Universal Studios featuring specific attractions.
After this adventure, I’m pretty sure you will get hungry. Don’t worry about your stomach. Universal Studios has over 30 restaurants and 20 retails stores from which you can provide all the sweets you will need for one more ride on the roller coaster.
Once you enter in Universal Studios you will get in another world. You are no longer in Singapore. New York, Hollywood, Madagascar, Egypt, Fairy worlds are now opening in front of your eyes. Visit Universal Studios for discovering a new world or an ancient lost one.
Outside the city
Outside of Singapore is considered outside of the country. If you want to leave Singapore please check first your condition for your visa.
It’s a perfect destination for a fun-filled holiday with kids still at Lego age up to around 12 years old.
The small things you notice out the corner of your eye fascinate both parents and children alike. The themed rooms are brilliant. The many subtle details and the treasure hunt are really well thought out.
If you have young children or tweens, this is a great place to visit and stay. Every cent is well spent.
If you love beautiful scenery and you want a break from Singapore this bridge it’s a good choice. It is awesome, beautiful & also a nice place to take photos. Sometimes they do have a mini concert held there & not to worries that they have drinks stall there.
Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque
Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque from Johor Bahru it’s famous for its beautiful Moorish architecture built by a Malay architect Muhammad Arif in 1893. It is located on a small hilltop overlooking the scenic Straits of Johor and Singapore.
Each day almost 25 busloads of tourists visit the mosque to enjoy the architecture as well as the scenic view of the surrounding. Being a local I grew up to admire this mosque. Definitely one of the best tourist attractions in Johor Bahru
Pulau Kukup National Park
If you want an escape for city and want to get closer to nature Kukup Island is one of your options. You can find here a fishing village, a mangrove park, a Chinese village over the water, and of course the local fauna.