As you may know I currently live in Singapore and as I have had quite a few questions on what living in Singapore is like, I thought I would tell you more about it in the form of a Singapore travel guide.
I think I’m going to make this a regular feature on this site and will aim to have travel reports of all interesting cities around the world.
Of course I’m not an expert in all of them so if you want to write a travel report for your city then please drop me a note.
Coming to Singapore, also check our guide on what to pack for Singapore.
More about Singapore
Singapore is a city in South East Asia and it is situated just underneath Malaysia and to the West of Indonesia.
It is a very small island and presently has about 5 million inhabitants.
It is very tropical and hot with temperatures always above 30C. It usually only rains about once a day for about half an hour but there are also periods (like now) when there is hardly and periods when there is more.
The majority of the population are Chinese descendants that came to Singapore in the early 1800s to work in the newly established port.
Most of them speak mandarin although everyone in Singapore is taught in English with mandarin and Malay also being taught.
The other 3 population groups are the Malays, the Indians and the caucasians.
All these groups have a very different culture and practice a different religion but Singapore prides itself on its diversity and everyone here seems to get on well.
Singapore is a very clean and safe place to live which is one of the reasons I like being here. All the streets are really clean and look beautiful and in many places they are surrounded by lush tree and plants.
Singapore travel guide: What can you do here as a tourist?
Even though Singapore is small, there is a lot that you can do here.
Explore the different cultures
Singapore is the perfect place to go if you want to have a taste of Asia, but still like the luxury of a very clean city, people that speak english and fantastic shopping.
Although it is a very modern city there are still places in Singapore where you can still experience the asian culture.
Also check our guide on where to shop in Singapore.
Places to visit
- Arab street: this is the traditional neighborhood of the Malay people. You can find the mosque here and some wonderful quaint streets with little shops.
- Little India: As soon as you step foot in this part of town, most of the people on the streets are Indian as are the restaurants and shops and you really get a sense of being in India.
- Chinatown: lovely antique shops, temples and many beautiful old shopshouses makes this a fun place to explore.
- Raffles Hotel: this place served as a place of tranquility for the Europeans in colonial times. Today it is a lovely place to explore the museum, browse through some shops, have a drink at the long bar or sit on the outside terrace.
Enjoy the nightlife
Although Singapore seems to have a reputation of being ‘boring” the city is working hard to get rid of this image.
The formula 1 race is now held here once a year and 2 new casino resorts have added a lot of vibrancy and even a few extra parcs to the city.
There are already many nice cafes and restaurants here.
I just love to go outside in the evening with minimal clothes on when the temperature is so lovely and sit at one of the many terraces outside.
Places I like:
- Clarke quay: if you think that Singapore is not a happening place then visit Clarke quay. A very bustling part of town with many trendy restaurants, bars and nightclubs. One place I like there is the 1NiteStand comedy bar where they have excellent stand-up comedy and life bands.
- Boat quay: Although I now prefer Clarke Quay this is still a fun and happening place where many expats and tourists hang out.
- Dampsey Hill: this used to be where the former british army barracks were, but it has now been turned into a trendy area with upmarket restaurants and specialty shops.
- Holland village: a fun and casual place to meet up for drinks, coffee or visit one of the many restaurants.
- Raffles Hotel long bar: traditionally THE place to go for a Singapore sling.
- Hawker centers: if you want to eat the Singaporean way try one of the many hawker center where you can eat very cheaply.
Enjoy beautiful nature walks
Few cities are as green and luscious as Singapore.
There are many places to go for a stroll and discover new trees and plants.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Singapore botanical gardens: beautiful big park with wonderful gardens
- Bukit Timah nature reserve: for those that want to be in the jungle and have a more challenging walk
- McRitchie nature reserve: lots of lovely and peaceful walks here. From here you can also do the Tree Top Walk which gives you a different perspective on the Singapore’s trees.
- The Singapore zoo is a beautiful nature walk all by itself. The zoo grounds are wonderfully lush and of course it’s fun to encounter some amazing animals along the way.
Lots of activities for the kids
Singapore has a lot of interesting activities for children:
- Forest adventure: a fun and challenging course accross trees and over water. Children love this!
- Sentosa Island: too many activities here. Some examples are: The luge, butterfly garden, laser show, trapeze, underwater world, dolphins, images of Singapore museum, beach, airlifts, dinossaaur walk, etc. If you are traveling with kids then this would be the best place to stay.
- Zoo and Night Safari: I believe that Singapore’s zoo is one of the best (if not the best) zoo in the world. Both zoo and night safari are fantastic so that will be a tough choice to make (or you can just do both)
- Wet and Wild and Jurong Swimming complex: fun places for swimming, complete with lazy rivers and slides
- Jacob Ballas children’s garden in the botanical gardens: a lovely free playground for the kids with water, cubby houses, slides etc (and shade for the parents to sit and chat). The botanical gardens also have a lot of ducks and fish that children love to feed.
- East Coast Park: this is a park next to the sea, although you should not expect to do a lot of swimming here. People come here for walking, rollerblading, cycling but there are also lots of activitties like a fair, watersports, sailing, taiqi, fishing etc.
Singapore is famous for its shopping which is the people’s favorite pass time.
There are so many malls here that I don’t think I will ever be able to visit them all.
Check these ones out:
- General shopping: The most famous shopping street in Singapore is Orchard Road. Ngee Ann City is the home of Takashimaya, a big Japanese superstore. You will find many of the major brands here, and also the great book store Kinokuniya. You can walk from Ngee Ann City to Wisma Atria where there is a great variety of shops. Paragon is opposite Ngee Ann city and has a good variety of shops also. Another favorite is Singapore’s newest mall Vivo City which is close to Sentosa.
- Sports: for sport shoes and lots of other sports articles go to Queensway shopping centre. But my personal favorite, as many of my local sport friends will know, is the The Velocity Sports Mall at Novena square for some great deals on Adidas clothes.
- Computers and electronics: Lots of variety of electronics and computers at Sim Lim Square. Another good one (less messy) is Funan DigitaLife mall. A good place for bargaining for electronics on Orchard Road is Lucky Plaza.
- Singaporean: for chinese products head to the Yue Hwa store. Arab street is good for baskets, textiles, mats and dry goods. In the Tekka Centre you can buy gold, (muslim) food and clothes.
- Children: The Forum shopping mall tends to be focussed on children but it is very expensive.
Close to Singapore
One of the great things of living in Singapore is that it is so close to a lot of other interesting places and you can take advantage of that as a visitor too.
Malaysia, Indonesia (Bali), Thailand and other interesting countries are only a few hours away.
So if you would like to visit Singapore but still would like some relaxing days on a nice beach then you can combine it with a tropical beach in one of those countries.
The closest to Singapore is Bintan Island which is a small Island in Indonesia. It’s very easy to get there from Singapore with a 40 min trip by ferry.
Of course I’ve only scratched the surface in this Singapore travel guide on all the things you can do here.
To know more you will need to buy a good guide book like Malaysia and Singapore (Eyewitness Travel Guides).
I hope you will find the time to visit Singapore and feel free to leave your own comments below.
Are you planning to visit Singapore?
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