the ultimate guide to singapore

I’m going to keep this little intro short and sweet, as I’ve written a monster guide here. Basically, this guide is split into a couple different sections… We have 1) Some general facts about Singapore, 2) the neighborhoods of Singapore, where I give a general overview of my favourite areas of SG, 3) what to do, 4) how to get around, 5) what to eat, and 6) where to stay. Let’s just jump straight into it.

The Facts

Languages: English, Chinese, Tamil, & Malayu

Size: 719.1 km^2

Population: 5.535 million (2015, World Bank)

Currency: Singapore Dollar, SGD.

Weather: HOT. Also it will probably rain for about 10 minutes sometime during the day. Although it’s always about 29 to 35 degrees (about 85-95 Fahrenheit), it’s incredibly well airconditioned inside and you might get chilly!

Water is safe to drink from the tap.

The Neighborhoods

Singapore is a great collection of neighborhoods. There’s something special about every single one! I’m going to outline my favourites.

Chinatown (1).png

Chinatown (2).png

Chinatown (3).png

Singapore

What to Do

 

There are so many incredible things to do in Singapore. There’s seriously something for everyone here!

Firstly, let’s talk festivals. If there’s a festival going on in Singapore, you won’t want to miss it. And check, because there are a LOT of festivals. I have a list of festivals and events, as well as the best times to go to Singapore here.

I really like going to Gardens by the Bay, which is the Avatar-esque supertree area. It’s free to walk around, but there are also two massive domes to explore. One is the cloud forest; the other is the flower dome. It is SGD$28 to go into both.

While you’re in that area, definitely go to Marina Bay. Marina Bay is a gorgeous area- you can see the central business district, Esplanade (our big theatre), the Merlion, and the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel- a hotel with a big “boat” on the top of the three towers, with the famous infinity pool.

Chinatown and Little India are favourite places to walk around- they show off Singapore’s multi-cultural pride and are beautiful places to see. They’re also great places for some photos.

Kampong Glam is possibly my favourite place in Singapore. It has the most beautiful mosque, fun and quirky streets, and so much beauty! This is a must. Make sure you don’t miss Haji Lane and Arab Street.

The Singapore Night Safari is possibly one of Singapore’s biggest tourist attractions- and for good reason. It’s one thing to see incredible animals in the daytime, but nighttime is when many of them come alive. It’s seriously so fun to take the tram around the park. If the tram isn’t your thing, walk along the footpaths. You often get better views that way. And hey, if you have time? Do both! The night safari is SGD$45 for adults, SGD$30 for children. You can also save some money by buying a 4 park admission ($69), the 4 park hopper PLUS rides ($79), or two park admission ($49-59). The four parks are the night safari, the Singapore zoo, the river safari, and the Jurong bird park. 

If you want to have a fun day at the theme park, there is a Universal Studios. I really like Universal Studios around Halloween, when Halloween Horror Nights occurs. Even during the other parts of the year, a day here is a fun escape from the city.

Universal Studios is on Sentosa, which is a fun island in itself. Sentosa is full of manmade beaches, and therefore beach clubs. It’s fun to lounge in one of the many beach clubs. There are bars, pools, and food at all of these clubs. Tanjong Beach Club and Mambos are my favourites.

The Singapore Flyer is another attraction that’s worth a visit. It’s a massive ferris wheel- comparable to the London Eye, and you get amazing views of the city and gardens by the bay. A ticket for a one-hour rotation costs adults $33.

If you’re more of a museum buff, there are plenty of museums worth a visit. I like the Singapore Art Museum, the National Museum of Singapore, the ArtScience Museum, the National Gallery, and the Peranakan Museum.

 

 

How to Get Around

Taxis and public transportation are your best bet, as cars are sooo expensive to rent in Singapore, and honestly, parking is so much of a pain!

Taxis: Taxis are relatively cheap in Singapore… They won’t blow your budget like a taxi ride in NYC will! The most expensive taxi ride is probably about SGD $30, to the airport. Most taxi rides will fall into the $7-15 range.

Public Transportation: The MRT is my favourite way to get around! The trains are quite convenient! They come often and there are stops everywhere. Buses can be a little tricky, so map out your route! They’re a great way to see the city and they’re pretty convenient when the MRT isn’t. Public Transportation is about $2-3.

What to Eat

If there’s one thing to do in Singapore, it’s eating! Singaporean food is the thing I miss most about Singapore.

I’m going to break this next section down budget, though I think that everyone should try Hawker food. That’s the good stuff. Follow this link to my favourite Singaporean foods.

Backpacker Budget:

Hawker Centers are your friend. In nearly every mall, there’s a food court, where you can enjoy hawker food in air conditioning 🙂

My favourites: Hainanese Chicken Rice, Bak Kut Teh (pork rib soup), Hor Fun, Fried Carrot Cake, Kaya Toast (must), Laksa, Nasi Lemak (my favourite!!), Mango Milk ice (must), fresh fruit juices (try soursop!). 

Mid-Range Budget:

Get some yummy seafood! There are plenty of delicious seafood restaurants. A good chain is Jumbo Seafood. Chili Crab, Black Pepper Crab, and Cereal Prawns are must trys.

Xiang Yuan Ji Shanghai Pan Fried Meat Buns – absolutely delicious and not expensive!

Vatos Urban Tacos– Korean/Mexican fusion. This is a favourite of my family!

Pasarbella– another family favourite. I like how its a big gathering of different restaurants so you can all eat what you’d like.

Din Tai Fung– YOU MUST GO TO DIN TAI FUNG. GET THE XIAO LONG BAO. Also try the spicy noodles.

High-End Budget:

If you want luxury, you’ll definitely get it in Singapore. Here are the best higher-end restaurants.

Cé La Vie– Located on the top of the iconic Marina Bay Sands, this restaurant serves fabulous fusion food, strong cocktails, and beautiful views.

Cut by Wolfgang Puck- a lovely steakhouse in Marina Bay.

Kinki- Japanese food with a gorgeous view (one of the best!). A rooftop restaurant overlooking Marina Bay.

1-Altitude- this is one of my favourite places in Singapore. They serve really tender, delicious steak. I like to order one of their cocktails and head up to the rooftop bar after dinner. The views throughout the night are top-notch.

Let’s talk Brunch

I am a FAN of brunch. And I have got some favourite places to go to for exactly that.

Wild Honey

Wild Honey is a staple. I love everything there, but I have to say that my favourite item on their menu is the coconut/mango waffles with passionfruit/berry sauce. I think it’s called the Brittany? Another favourite is the chorizo/potato/poached egg meal. That’s my go-to if I’m not feeling my sweet tooth.

Sascha & Sons

If you like filling bagels, this is your place. I like getting a bagel and having either corned beef or salmon on top. These things are massive and delicious.

Group Therapy

Group Therapy is wonderful. They have great savoury pumpkin pancakes, sweet pancakes, french toast, and smoothie bowls. It’s a family favourite- we even know the staff (super lovely people!)

Clinton Street Bakery

If you want staples, this is your place to go! Banana or chocolate pancakes, eggs, chicken & waffles, toast, eggs… the list goes on! This is a great breakfast if you’re feeling the classics.

Want to eat healthily?

Check out this post.

Hear about the Harry Potter Cafe?

I have a post on my experience here.

 

 

Where to Stay

Again, I’m going to break this section down by budget. I was stranded in Singapore for a little while whilst waiting for a visa, so I know the budget stays! I’ve also been lucky enough to have some stay-cations, so midrange is covered too. And of course, I’ve included the high-end, beautiful, and iconic hotels of Singapore too.

Budget:

To be honest, hostels aren’t Singapore’s main selling point. That being said, I’ve found some that I really enjoyed.

Check out my backpacker’s guide to Singapore!

Uptown Hostel (nicest owners in the world, though slightly cramped. Great location)

The Shophouse at Arab Street (I like how this has female traveller dorms, though it gets really hot as the air conditioning is only on for part of the day)

Five Stones Hostels (Near Arab Street. Nice dark rooms for good nights of sleep, however, dark because there are no windows)

5footway.Inn (these are all in pretty great locations)

Bed&Dreams Hostel @ Clarke Quay (standard hostel, great location!)

Hotel 81 (slightly rundown chain, however the cheapest hotel you’ll find in Singapore! It might be worth a splurge up to midrange- sometimes the price difference is not too big)

Midrange:

Park Hotel Alexandra (I really enjoyed my stay here! A nice infinity pool!)

Parc Sovereign Hotel Tyrwhitt

Hotel Jen Tanglin

Ibis Hotel Bencoolen

Luxury:

W Hotel Sentosa (relaxing, beachy, & has a fabulous spa!)

Hotel Vagabond (boutique hotel filled with art!)

Intercontinental Singapore (Absolutely lovely hotel with a great buffet breakfast)

Fullerton Hotel 

Fullerton Bay Hotel 

Marina Bay Sands (iconic & you get to swim in the infinity pool! The rooms are quite beautiful and they typically have a great view).

Need to book your hotel? Use my link and help Unexpected Occurrence run. You don’t pay a cent more; I just get a small percentage of your booking 🙂 Click here!

 

 


And there you have it! My monster, ultimate guide to Singapore. Let me know what you guys think! Have anything else I should add? Let me know!

Like it? Pin it!

the ULTIMATE guide to Singapore | Where to stay | What to do | Things to eat | places to eat

 

10 thoughts on “the ultimate guide to singapore

  1. Such a thorough guide thanks for sharing! I’m going to Singapore in 3 days so this was perfectly timed! Definitely want to go to Gardens by the Bay, it looks amazing there!

    Like

  2. I have wanted to visit Singapore for a while now. Ever since a friend had a 3 day stopover and came home raving about her trip. I really should start planning a visit.

    Like

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