It’s an island, it’s a city and it’s a state. It’s cosmopolitan, it’s a melting cauldron of cultures. It’s a leading economic centre, it’s urbane in character yet abounds in green spaces that serve as the perfect haven of tranquillity. Singapore is a destination as unique as they come. Even so, it hasn’t received its due as a tourist attraction. While the city witnesses a huge influx of travellers on business or layovers, it does not somehow feature among the obvious choices for a vacation. This Singapore travel guide seeks to correct that with a lowdown on everything that’s amazing about this place:
9 Things to do in Singapore
To experience the true spirit of Singapore, you need more than just a couple of days here so that you can do a lot more than check another destination on your bucket list. To know why, check out these nine top attractions in this Singapore travel guide:
Gardens by the Bay
This is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Singapore and must definitely feature on any Singapore travel guide. While you take in the scale of the world’s largest greenhouse and indoor waterfall here, spare some time to marvel at the giant ‘supertrees’ as well. These metal structures towering 80-160 feet high house nearly 200 species of ferns, orchids among other tropical plants. Buy a ticket to the OCBC Skyway priced at SBG 8 and enjoy the one-of-its-kind experience of walking through the Supertrees Grove canopy.
Whether or not zoos must exist is another conversation altogether. Even if you don’t agree with the concept, make an exception for the Singapore zoo. Sprawled over an area of 70 acres, the place is home to 3,600 species of mammals, reptiles and birds. The night safari here is a huge drawcard for visitors. You’ll have to spend about SGD 70 per person for the whole experience, but it is absolutely worth every penny spent. Clubbing the zoo visit with the night safari, however, isn’t the best idea. Chances are you’ll be too tired and famished by the end your tour to enjoy the night safari. It is best to split these into two separate outings.
Party in Sentosa
The little island of Sentosa is just as popular with tourists as it is with locals. The place has a young, lively vibe to it and is definitely a happening party destination. The beaches here are lined up with bars and restaurants, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you are in the mood to just lounge back and relax, the Bora Bora Beach Bar is worth checking out. For a more experiential outing, we recommend the cable car dining experience. It isn’t easy on the pocket but, again, totally worth the splurge. The Tiger Sky Tower and Universal Studios are also in Sentosa, so you should ideally plan an overnight stay here to be able to explore all that it has to offer.
Boat Quay is the place to be when you are in the mood for some entertainment and scrumptious dining. Wrap up a day of hectic sightseeing by relaxing at the alfresco restaurants and pubs at Boat Quay. Kinara, a North Indian restaurant, is the place to look out for if you are craving some familiar flavours. If you want to go the exotic way, Wakanui, popular for its Japanese steak cooked on a white oak fire, is a great pick. As you sample some refreshing drinks and mouth-watering food, be prepared to be blown over by Singapore’s imposing skyline.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
If you lean toward off-beat experience during a holiday, keep Bukit Timah on your itinerary. The nature reserve is part of the last remaining stretch of Singapore’s rainforest and has come up has a top ecotourism destination in the country in recent years. Enjoy a date with nature as you hike or bike your way through the trails with flying lemurs, squirrels, macaques and several varieties of birds to keep you spell-bound. This nature reserve is open from 7 am to 7 pm on all days. The place tends to get a tad crowded over the weekends, so it is best to plan your visit during the weekdays.
Appreciate the stark contrasts of life by exploring the island of Pulau Ubin situated off the north-eastern coast of Singapore. Right next to one of the most modern cities in the world, you’ll find a place where people still fetch water from wells and rely on a generator for electricity. You can rent a bike and explore the villages of this island or just laze around on the beaches. Pulau Ubin can be accessed via bumboats available at the Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
The Flyer is as much a stand-out attraction on Singapore’s cityscape as the Gardens by the Bay or the Merion statue. You cannot not ride this Ferris Wheel while in Singapore. The panoramic views from the top make for a stunning sight. They say you can see as far as Indonesia and Malaysia on a clear day.
Shop at Chinatown
As the name suggests, Chinatown offers a little slice of the Chinese way of life right in the heart of Singapore. It is a great place to witness the traditional Chinese culture up close as well as one of the most popular shopping destinations in the city. The craft shops and stalls here are a great place to pick up some souvenirs, and the food street lined with restaurants and road-side kiosks serving delectable Chinese food is an added advantage.
Eat at Little India
If there is a slice of China in Singapore, there is a miniature India too. Head to Little India to sample some delicious food at amazingly cheap prices. From local favourites such as roti prate to street snacks, fresh produce and unique preparations like teh tarik or pulled tea, there is just so much to amaze your taste buds here.
Singapore Travel Guide: Accommodation
Accommodation isn’t cheap in Singapore. You are looking at a tariff range of INR 8,000 to 15,000 a night even for the most basic hotels here. If you want to save on your stay, hostels and AirBnB are your most bankable options. You can get a hostel room for around INR 800 whereas a shared AirBnB can cost around INR 1,500. The hostels are safe, well-maintained and offer basic facilities such as air-conditioning, free WiFi and complimentary breakfast.
Singapore Travel Guide: Best Time to Go
The weather in Singapore remains pretty consistent – hot and humid with unexpected rainfall. In peak summer, temperatures can shoot up to 44 degrees Celsius, which defeats the whole purpose of a relaxing holiday. This Singapore travel guide puts the ideal time to visit between November and February when there is a slight dip in temperatures and outdoor explorations are a possibility. If you enjoy cultural extravaganzas, time your visit to coincide with the Chinese New Year. But be warned that the prices for just about everything is through the roof at that time.
Singapore Travel Guide: Getting There and Around
There are direct flights to Singapore from almost all major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. However, you stand a better chance of landing low-fare flights from tier 2 cities such as Amritsar or Tiruchirappalli.
In Singapore, the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) is the best way to get around. The rail network is extensive, offering good connectivity to every part of the city, affordable and one of the quickest ways to get around. The bus network is equally efficient and cost-effective. Cabs are enormously expensive in Singapore, and you should save these only for the occasion when public transport is not an option.
Singapore has earned the tag of one of the most highly developed and clean modern cities in the world, thanks to strict enforcement of policy. This means getting on the wrong side of the law can land you in a great deal of trouble. This Singapore travel guide would be incomplete without a forewarning to refrain from transgressions such as spitting, urinating or smoking in public as well as the use of any recreational drugs. As long as you are polite, courteous and cautious, nothing should come in the way you having the time of your life on your Singapore vacation.