Singapore—which is sometimes referred to as the Little Red Dot—has big surprises for tourists and visitors. A total land area of 721.5 sq km may seem small for an independent country, but Singapore offers almost endless options for every backpacker out there.
The country boasts different cultures, charming neighborhoods, a rich art scene, and a plethora of shopping spots. There is something for everyone in this amazing destination.
- Language/s: English, Tamil, Malay, Standard Mandarin, and Mandarin Chinese
- Currency: Singapore Dollar (SGD1 = PHP37.13)
- Payment Options: Credit cards are widely used in Singapore. Digital payment platforms such as PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Stripe, Yoyo Wallet, and M1 Remit are also available.
- Plug: If your device is either 230 volts or dual voltage but its plug doesn't fit in a power outlet, a Type G plug adapter is what you need.
What to Know Before Visiting Singapore
- Singapore is a relatively expensive destination to go to. It is home to quite a number of millionaires and businessmen. From the top attractions to restaurants and hotels, almost everything comes with a hefty price tag. Alcohol is pretty expensive, too—it's best to buy drinks from duty-free shops at the airport.
- Moving around Singapore is easy. You can take a bus, a train, or a taxi (which is surprisingly economical). There are surcharge fees during peak hours, though.
- The climate is somewhat like what we experience in Manila: warm and humid. It's advised to wear light clothes whenever you go out.
- Safety is highly imposed in this country. You'll feel safe strolling around, regardless of the time. Crime is almost non-existent in Singapore.
- There are restrictions when it comes to smoking. Make sure to do it in a designated smoking area if you don't want to pay a fine of SGD1,000.
- Chewing gum, as well as buying and selling it, is illegal. This ban has been in place since 1992.
For tourists, a visa is not needed if you’re a Philippine passport holder. A valid Philippine passport is the only requirement.
Best Time to Visit
Singapore is a destination you can visit all year round. However, less rainfall is expected between February and April.
There are multiple money exchange chains in Singapore. Visit the following centers to get the best rates: The Arcade at Raffles Place, Parkway Parade, Mustafa Centre, Lucky Plaza, and People's Park Complex Chinatown.
Connectivity in Singapore
Singapore’s average internet speed is 20.3 Mbps, the seventh fastest in the world. Free WiFi is offered in most public spaces like shopping malls and food shops.
Changi Airport Singapore
For seven consecutive years, Singapore's Changi Airport has topped the list of the best airports in the world. The Skytrax Awards evaluate airports based on operational efficiency and passenger feedback.
The airport is so fancy that some people consider it an attraction in itself. It houses the Butterfly Garden, the Orchid Garden, and the Snooze Lounge. You can even watch a movie, take a quick swimming pool dip, and enjoy a free massage here!
A new addition called the “Jewel Changi Airport” has opened its doors on April 7, 2019. It is a 130,000 square-meter complex with shopping outlets and gardens, as well as the world's tallest indoor waterfall.
Getting Around Singapore
- By train: The country's MRT system is probably the best and fastest option to tour around the city. Singapore's top attractions are within walking distance from an MRT station. For your MRT trips, you can either use: (1) a Singapore Tourist Pass (STP) available at the TransitLink Ticket Office at selected stations, (2) a Stored-Value Smartcard, (3) single-trip tickets, or (4) foreign-issued Mastercard and Visa contactless bank cards.
- By taxi: Cabs are suggested if you're going to a place not accessible by other means. You can usually hail one by the roadside or by queuing at taxi stands outside commercial establishments. You may also call 6-DIAL CAB (6342-5222) if you want to book a cab.
- By bus: The cheapest option among the three, buses can take you to most places in the city. You can pay your fare using the STP or an EZ-Link stored-value card. Most buses are air-conditioned.
Things to Do in Singapore
- Hang out at the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade: This 3.5-km beauty is where you can find several attractions such as the Marina Centre, the Bayfront, and Collyer Quay. Imagine a clean and sparkling bay surrounded by astounding skyscrapers—it truly is a sight to behold. There's also an area where kids can play, a walkway where couples can spend romantic moments together, and a space for health and fitness buffs. If you're lucky, you can witness outdoor performances for free.
- Ride a bumboat: If you want to see Singapore from a different perspective, do this. These small boats or water taxis take you to interesting river tours with stops at the Esplanade, Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, Clemenceau, and Robertson Quay. A one-stop trip costs SGD3, while 40-minute tours are offered at SGD25 per passenger.
- Spend a day in Chinatown: One of the most charming spots in Singapore, Chinatown is filled with chic dining places, quaint bars, and historically rich museums. The Chinese heritage is also evident in the area, as you can see plenty of colorful temples and significant shophouses here.
Tourist Spots in Singapore
- Gardens by the Bay: Never leave Singapore without visiting Gardens by the Bay. It's impossible for a tourist to miss it, actually. This green space is where you can stroll around the Bay East Garden if you want to escape the busy city life. The Supertree Grove is a must-see as well—it's a cluster of physically stunning and environmentally friendly structures.
- Singapore Zoo: If you think Singapore is all about high-rise buildings and fancy architecture, think again. Here, you can see zebras, chimpanzees, komodo dragons, white tigers, and mole rats, to name a few. The animals at the Singapore Zoo are treated well. You'll know why it has billed itself as the world's best rainforest zoo after a visit.
- Sentosa Island: If you're craving some sunny action, Sentosa Island is the answer. Play beach volleyball at Siloso Beach, swim with dolphins at the Underwater World, and see the country's most famous statue, the Merlion. Thrilling activities for adventurous wanderers are also available at the SeaBreeze Water-Sports Wave House.
What to Eat In Singapore
- Hainanese Chicken Rice: An all-time favorite among locals and tourists, this fragrant, must-taste grub is steamed chicken served with rice cooked in chicken stock. Those who are always on the go usually get this for lunch. For a better experience, pour a hefty serving of dipping sauce all over the meat. Yum!
- Laksa: Highlighting both Chinese and Malay cuisines, laksa is a rice noodle dish with spicy curry soup. Fish cakes, shrimp, egg, and chicken meat add flavor to this appetizing meal.
- Satay: Satay looks like street food served luxuriously. It's basically skewered grilled meat (chicken, pork, beef, or mutton) made more tempting with peanut sauce, cucumber-chili relish, and rice cake.
Where to Stay
- Lloyd's Inn: If you're into cozy spaces, this place is your best bet. This minimalistic boutique hotel has 34 rooms, each with a Zen vibe. It has a lush garden that gives it a refreshing look. Some of the rooms feature a bathtub, too.
- Rendezvous Hotel: This hotel may be old but the service you get will not be outdated. Its clean and spacious rooms with huge bathrooms make the hotel a favorable choice. It also has a strategic location: just opposite the Bencoolen MRT Station and a few steps away from the National Museum of Singapore.
- Somerset Liang Court Singapore: Perfect for families and barkadas, this property has apartments that come with a kitchenette and a washing machine. It's the type of place you want to rent for extended stays. Plus, the Liang Court shopping mall is just below it.
- Hotel G: Tourists who consider accessibility as a top requirement will find Hotel G an awesome choice. They can easily walk to some museums, the shops in Orchard Road, and the traditional restaurants in Little India. The hotel itself has two dining outlets.
- Adler Hostel: This one is a highly recommended place for wanderers looking for budget accommodations in Chinatown. When you step inside the lobby, you'll immediately notice the Chinese decor. Dorms are air-conditioned and come with WiFi, comfy beds, and private storage.