Travel Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Planning a trip to Asia? This Singapore travel guide is your one-stop-shop for what to expect when exploring this beautiful city!  Located just off the southern tip of Malaysia, this vibrant city boasts a beautiful blend of Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Arab and English cultures – all with its own Singaporean twist. The “Lion City,” as it’s referred to, is  one of the most prominent cities in the world, filled with delightful culinary experiences, exciting attractions, amazing food, state-of-the-art accommodations, wild nightlife, and a one-of-a-kind culture. It has become one of the most visited cities in the world and an Asian destination that you just can’t miss. This SIngapore travel guide breaks down all the details, including the best places to eat and drink, where to stay, what to do and more!

Quick Tips


The national language of Singapore is Malay while English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil are the four official languages in Singapore.

When To Visit

All year! You can expect December through June to be the busiest time of year, and February through April to be the driest time of year.


The Singaporean dollar (SGD) is the currency of choice here. Currently, $1 U.S. dollar will get you $1.33 in Singapore dollars.

girls in Singapore pool and restaurant

Getting There

Reaching Singapore by air is straightforward: the island is one of the main air hubs of Southeast Asia and is often a stopover on one of the world’s busiest long-haul routes, between Europe and Australia, so fares can be much more competitive than you might expect. The main airport, which is also known as a tourist attraction, is Singapore’s Changi airport. If traveling from the US, we highly recommend taking the direct flight from Newark to Singapore with Singapore Air. Be aware that Singapore does require that your passport be valid for at least 6 months from when you enter the country. If you plan to stay less than 90 days, Singapore does not require you to get a visa.

What To Expect

Getting Around

Singapore is a small country that is extremely easy to navigate – thanks to its well-connected network of transportation. The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is a simple, fast, and affordable way of getting around, and provides access to most of the city’s main attractions. You can expect to pay around $3 USD per ride, or you can purchase unlimited travel with the Singapore Tourist Pass. Like the MRT, Singapore’s bus system is also extensive and efficient. If you prefer a private car, Taxis and ride-share services are also abundant. We recommend downloading the app Grab, which is comparable to Uber and extremely reliable. Taxis are also easy to find, but you can expect steep prices! Or if you’re feeling adventurous we recommend using a bike-sharing service, such as SG Bikes. Singapore is a very cycle-friendly city, with paths covering the entire island.

Best Time to Visit

Located near to the equator, Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with almost no seasonal variations. No matter the time of year, count on the weather being hot, humid and rainy. Thus, Singapore is great to visit really any time of the year. You can expect December through June to be the busiest time of year, and February through April to be the driest time of year.


Singapore is one of the safest cities in Asia, if not THE safest. In fact, Singapore ranks first in the 2022 Safety Perceptions Index and made it on the list of the 10 Most Peaceful Countires in the 2022 Global Peace Index.

What to Pack

Being a hot and humid destination, lightweight & breathable fabrics are a must! For daytime, we recommend lightweight, casual dresses or skirts that are loose and airy, paired with cute, comfortable walking shoes. Don’t forget a few of your favorite swimsuits so that you can enjoy the gorgeous pools all over the city. Pack a few dressier options for night time wear if you plan to enjoy the upscale food scene or nightlife scene!

What about money


The Singaporean dollar (SGD) is the currency of choice here. Currently, $1 U.S. dollar will get you $1.33 in Singapore dollars. When you’re budgeting for your trip here, keep in mind that Singapore is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. While you can find some bargains in Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore is expensive so expect to spend the same as you would in a big American or European city.

Cash or Credit?

Credit cards are widely accepted, but you should still carry some cash for food stalls, coffee shops, and other small purchases.

Tipping Culture:

Tipping isn’t required in Singapore, but it is always welcomed if you feel you had exceptional service. 




The Quays

This part of the city is made up of three distinguishable parts including Clarke Quay, Robertson Quay, and Boat Quay. They are connected by the Singapore River and occupy roughly the area in-between the old Colonial District and the Central Business District. Don’t miss the lively restaurants, bars and nightlife scene of Clarke Quay! 

Marina Bay

This is the neighborhood you picture when you think of Singapore. The modern, stylish, and futuristic Marina Bay is one of the most touristy areas, with some of the biggest attractions like Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay located here. We definitely recommend staying in this area if you can afford to.

Kampong Glam

This trendy area combines culture, religion, and funky vibes to create a really unique atmosphere. The small streets boast street art, hip cafes, cool boutiques and so many hidden gems. We recommend checking out Haji Lane, which really comes to life in the evening with live music and busy nightlife.

Orchard Road

This part of the city is a shopping heaven! From luxury fashion brands to small boutiques and trendy technology stores, you can find a little bit of everything. Even if you aren’t looking to spend money, just walking up and down the street is a joy, with tree lined sidewalks, cool bars and restaurants, and access to small side streets.

Colonial / Historic District

This part of Singapore is a great place to stay because it is really central to everything. You can easily walk to bars, restaurants, and explore other neighboring areas. Be sure to also spend time in the historic district itself, with beautiful architectural masterpieces, parks, and museums. 


Located right on the border of the Business District, Chinatown is surrounded by tall buildings, but filled with a handful of temples, restaurants, cheap hotels, and our absolute favorite – hawker food centers. Some of the best food and a must experience is enjoying the delicious hawker food places in Chinatown!

Little India

This small neighborhood is colorful and lively – a must experience for delicious Indian food and cheap accommodations.

Tiong Bahru

This new up and coming area is west of Chinatown and Quay but has recently become a trendy spot with hip boutiques, cool bar and cafes, and a great place to enjoy a quiet afternoon or drink at a local pub.

Singapore Accommodations


The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore


With an iconic location in Marina Bay, immerse yourself in a canvas of views at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore. The luxury hotel offers a suite escape with its range of spacious rooms built with windows flaunting a picturesque view of the Marina Bay skyline.

Marina Bay Sands


If you have ever seen pictures of Singapore, you have likely seen shots of the Marina Bay Sands in the cityscape. This place is Singapore’s most iconic hotel, known for the world’s largest rooftop Infinity Pool, award-winning dining, and a wide range of shopping and entertainment. If it is your first time in Singapore, we highly recommend staying at Marina Bay Sands.

Raffles Singapore Hotel


This elegant hotel in a circa-1887, colonial-style building is a 5-star legend. Old world romance meets intoxicating luxury with it’s 14-foot ceilings, lush tropical garden views, famous SIngapore Slingers and candlelit dinners.

Shangri-La Hotel


A sanctuary in the heart of the city, this tropical hideaway provides a vibrant and diverse social scene, unparalleled culinary experiences and family facilities to indulge in the best of everything. The 5-star hotel is located near Orchard Road and offers chic, contemporary style and a wide range of 11 restaurants and bars.

The Fullerton Bay Hotel


From the stunning views of the bay to the interior design and history, the waterfront Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore is the definition of chic. You can expect 408 contemporary guest rooms, an 80-foot swimming pool overlooking the Singapore river, a swanky rooftop bar and first-class service.

The Warehouse Hotel


This Robertson Quay boutique hotel, housed in a meticulously restored heritage building on the banks of the Singapore River, offers 37 historically-decorated rooms, a rooftop infinity pool and a delicious on-site restaurant, Po. You can expect extra glam at this 5-star, instagrammable spot.  

M Social Singapore


This midrange, contemporary lifestyle hotel offers a touch of class that’s also got a fun and colorful side. You can expect a pool, fitness center, and gorgeous interiors designed by the renowned French designer Philippe Starck, all nestled away from the hustle and bustle in the heart of the vibrant Robertson Quay.

Singapore Things To Do


Marina Bay Sands Skypark

Perched at the very top of the awe-inspiring, 3-pronged Marina Bay Sands complex that overlooks the bay and which practically puts Singapore on the map, Marina Bay Sands SkyPark offers a taste of the high life with great views of Singapore from above. There is a large wooden decked area that offers a 360-degree panorama with nothing but a sheet of glass and a few wires between you and the view. Entrance is around S$23 for adults and S$12 for the kids, though some almost identical views can be enjoyed from the sumptuous CE LA VI Skybar – both of which are similarly located on the top floors of the Marina Bay Sands resort. But our favorite way to enjoy this iconic rooftop? In the world renowned infinity pool, which can be enjoyed by hotel guests only. Trust us when we say that staying at Marina Bay Sands is absolutely worth every penny! While visiting, but sure to check out some of the other Marina Bar Sands highlights, including a luxury shopping mall with faux-canals and Italian gondola rides, Singapore’s largest ice-skating rink, 2 nightclubs, a host of fantastic restaurants, and one of the world’s most expensive casinos.

Soak up the Sun in Sentosa

Just off the Southern coast of Singapore lies a massive resort-style island with beautiful beaches, spas, bars, restaurants, outdoor activities and theme parks like Universal Studios. The insta-worthy area is where Singaporeans and people from around the world head to have a frolic in the sun and sand. You can get to Sentosa via the Sentosa Express train (4 SGD). 

Kampong Glam Neighborhood

Also known by its most popular street, Haji Lane, and as the Arab Quarter, Kampong Glam is one of Singapore’s oldest neighborhoods and a must-not-miss! The neighborhood is full of cafes, Arabic restaurants and endless shops selling clothing, textiles, rugs, Turkish homewares & more! Don’t miss the street art scattered around Haji lane, the buzzing nightlife, and of course, the enormous golden-domed Sultan Mosque. While at the mosque, be sure to try the famous chicken and rice at Chin Chin Eating House! Just be sure to avoid the area on Sundays as most places are closed. From here, we recommend heading toward Bugis street. 


There’s no better place to experience Chinese culture than in Singapore’s Chinatown – which encompasses a whooping two square kilometers of traditional Chinese life! Nestled beside the modern Central Business District, this area is known as one of the most photogenic places in singapore. The streets are filled with temples, craft shops, stalls, night markets, restaurants, clubs & more. Head down Chinatown Food Street to find some char kway teow (stir-fried noodles) or grilled meats. If you can, eat at Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle (aka Hawker Chan), the world’s most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant, or Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, another Michelin-starred hawker stall worth a visit. 

Be sure to check out the following while in Chinatown: The Buddha Relic Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple (oldest hindu temple in Singapore), Thian Hock Keng Temple (Palace of Heavenly Happiness & one of the most photogenic buildings in Singapore), Mosque Street, the Maxwell Food Center, Pagoda Street, and Ann Siang Hill for nightlife!  

Gardens by the Bay

Located by the Marina Bay Waterfront in the heart of Singapore, Gardens by the Bay is an iconic sanctuary for nature lovers, and is a must on any Singapore vacation! This hugely popular tourist attraction comprises three distinct spaces over 101 hectares – Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden, and has won multiple accolades since it first opened in 2012. In the largest part of the compound, Bay South, you’ll find a massive glass greenhouse called the Flower Dome and popular exhibitions like “Tulipmania” and “Orchid Extravaganza.” In another part of the conservatory, the Cloud Forest mimics the cool-moist ecology of the tropical highlands. It has a treetop walk and the aforementioned 114-foot waterfall. The green space at Bay East, meanwhile, offers visitors fantastic views of the Singapore skyline. Besides the waterfall, must-sees include the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, and the Supertrees, a grove of a dozen tree-like vertical gardens that harvest solar energy and feature nearly 163,000 plants. You can get a unique view of that last one from OCBC Skyway, a 72-foot-high aerial walkway that links two of the SuperTrees. Be sure to head back for a visit one evening to catch a free Garden Rhapsody light and sound show, which occurs twice nightly.

Nightlife in Clarke Quay

This buzzing neighborhood along the river is the epicenter of Singaporean nightlife! The area draws both locals and tourists all days of the week. It gets especially busy come Friday night, as it offers a beacon of boozy relief for the party-goers. A few of the hot spots to check out include Zouk, 28 HongKong Street, Level Up and Red Tail. 

Singapore Botanical Gardens

A 158-year-old tropical oasis, Singapore Botanic Gardens is much loved by locals and tourists alike. It’s easy to get to via taxi and open daily from 5am-12am. While the general garden has free admission, the main attraction, which is the National Orchid Garden, home to over 1,000 species of orchids, costs 15 SGD (~$11).

Explore Little India

No trip to Singapore is complete without a visit to Little India, where you can get amazing, cheap, and delicious food, fresh vegetables, snacks, and souvenirs. This vibrant neighborhood in Singapore has so much culture and personality. Be sure to stop off at the Tekka Center, which is a hawker center with Indian clothing, groceries, and food. 

Walk Bugis Street

The Bugis Street Market was once a red-light district famous around the world, and now it’s famous with tourists and locals alike as the largest and cheapest place to shop in Singapore. If you’re on the hunt for souvenirs or just love wandering foreign markets, this is a must.

Go Shopping

From high-end luxury brands to local boutiques and street markets, SIngapore offers some of the best shopping in the world! For high street fashion and designer labels, your first stop should be Orchard Road, with the highest concentration of shopping malls in the world. Away from Orchard, the best shopping malls include The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and VivoCity in the west. For souvenirs, head to Pagoda street in Chinatown, Serangoon Road in Little India, and Bugis Street. There are also several night markets that operate in different parts of the city, which are a great place to find cheap eats and unique gifts. 

Indulge in Endless, Delicious Cuisine

Singapore has some of the best food on the planet, and the hawker centers are the best place to taste them all! In fact, Singapore’s hawker food scene has been recognized by Michelin in 2016 with the world’s first street food Michelin star and by UNESCO in 2020 with Cultural Heritage status. Whether you go to Newton Food Center (of Crazy Rich Asian fame), to the Old Airport Hawker (many locals’ favorite), or to one of the other 103 centers across the island, you won’t be disappointed and you can grab a cheap meal surrounded by locals. Don’t miss the chili crab, satay, chicken rice, prawn mee (noodle soup with prawns), dim sum (dumplings), or nasi lemak (fried chicken with coconut rice). Be sure to have cash, as many places do not accept cards. 

Foods To Try

Char Kway Teow

If you are a noodle lover, look no further! When it comes to stir fried noodles in Singapore, one of the ultimate local favorites is char kway teow, a dish of flat wide rice noodles, stir fried with egg, a sauce of dark soy sauce, shrimp paste, a bit of chili, and often some Chinese sausage and more. This can be found at hawker centers throughout Singapore. 

Chicken Rice

You cannot visit Singapore without trying this at least once – and the best place to try it is at a hawker center! The dish, which is a simple combination of boiled chicken, flavorful rice and sauce, is so popular that it is often considered their national dish.  


This popular dish of skewered grilled meat, rice cakes (ketupat), peanut sauce and cucumber-chili relish is one of our favorites! We highly recommend heading to Lau Pa Sat after dark to eat your way through the iconic ‘Satay Street’. Here, you can sample some of the island’s very best satay, accompanied perfectly by gooey peanut satay sauce. 

Chili Crab

Singapore is famous for its incredible Chilli Crab, but prepare yourself to get messy! The dish is prepared with hard shell crabs that are steamed and partially cracked, then lightly stir fired in a tomato chili paste. 


Laksa is one of the ultimate demonstrations of the combination of Chinese and Malay flavors and ingredients all in a single bowl. Noodles, often rice noodles, make up the foundation and starch of a bowl of laksa, followed by a gravy or curry, some pieces of protein, and often some vegetables and herbs.

Chai Tow Kway

Also known as carrot cake, this is another one of the standard Singapore dishes that you’ll find at just about every hawker food center throughout the city. The dish is made with rice flour and shreds of daikon that are formed into rice cakes, fried in lots of pork lard, and eggs. The result is a greasy salty snack food that’s gooey and crispy all at the same time – and tastes nothing like westernized carrot cake. 

Hokkien Prawn Mee

Another one of the most popular fried noodle hawker dishes in SIngapore. Hokkien Mee includes a mixture of both yellow egg noodles and white rice noodles that are fried in a wok with egg, shrimp and bean sprouts. Different hawkers prepare it slightly different, some stir frying it more dry, and others making it with a gravy sauce. Hokkien Mee is then typically served with some sambal chili sauce, plus a calamansi to squeeze on top for a extra citrusy sourness.

Singapore Restaurants

Drawing crowds for their amazing Soya Sauce Chicken Noodles, this street food stall is one of the first two street food locations in the world to be awarded a Michelin star! It may be the only time you will eat a Michelin star meal and spend less than $10.


Contemporary food presented in whimsical fashion heavily inspired by lush surroundings of the iconic Gardens by the Bay. The seven course tasting menu is a masterful display of textures, flavors and temperatures.

This three-Michelin-starred French fine-dining establishment by chef Julien Royer spent two years at the top spot in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list from 2019 to 2020.  Located in the historic National Gallery Singapore, this spot is a must-not-miss. 


A cozy, ingredient-driven fusion restaurant tucked away in the Dempsey enclave. You can expect farmhouse-chic interiors and mouth watering small plates in this Little India spot.

Hawker Centers

These massive food centers all over Singapore are made up of stalls that specialize in one or two items each. They are the perfect place to get a taste of the wide array of the famous Singaporean foods without breaking the bank. But come prepared with plenty of cash, as most do not accept credit cards! Our top two recommendations include the Maxwell Food Center and Newton Food Center. 

Buona Terra

A contemporary fine-dining Italian restaurant housed in a beautiful colonial style bungalow. With only 24 seats and evening-only dining, Buona Terra’s vibe is as cozy and intimate as it gets. We highly recommend the 6-course degustation menu, which costs around $138.

Corner House

This stunning restaurant is the place to be for a great happy hour and good cocktails. It is located in the SIngapore Botanic Gardens, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and offers a range of delicious tasting menus. If you are lucky, you may even spot some celebrities or wealthy businessmen.


Coconut Club

A hip, singaporean canteen focusing on all things coconut! They specialize in one thing: nasi lemak, a platter of fluffy coconut rice topped with a fried egg, fried chicken, and a heaping portion of fried peanuts and anchovies.

Burnt Ends

This laid back Australian barbecue spot offers a daily-changing, smoke-infused menu with bold flavors. It is consistently ranked in the upper echelons of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, and it is easy to see why!

Les Amis

This award-winning restaurant is the place for modest, French fine dining with exquisite hospitality. You can expect a Japanese twist on classic French cuisine, white-glove service and absolute luxury.

Singapore Bars

Not only is this spot one of the most elegant and beautifully designed hotel architecture, but the hotel bar is known for its famous “Singapore Slinger”. You have to check it out.

Rated Asia’s best bar in 2016, this is a must-try spot (if you can get in). It’s a speakeasy type of place, hidden behind a 1960’s storefront. The vibes are immaculate, but the drinks are even better, with a variety of American-style craft cocktails.

Located in Tower 3 of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, this gorgeous rooftop is the perfect place for drinks and apps, while soaking in some of the most famous views of the city. Be sure to book a reservation at this popular spot in advance. We highly recommend visiting during the sunset!

Located in the Clarke Quay district, this nightclub is considered to offer one of the best clubbing experiences in the world! In fact, it has been ranked as the ‘Best Nightspot Experience’ by the Singapore Tourism Board six times between 1996 and 2007. You can expect three separate clubs in one, endless electronic music and a full night of dancing!

This is one spot for drinks that you can’t go wrong with. Located within the Regent Singapore, the bar’s menu is inspired by the Golden Age of cocktails and fine drinking. Not to mention, it was ranked number 7 on the list of World’s Best Bar in 2017.

Located on the 70th floor of Singapore’s acclaimed Swissôtel The Stamford, this is the first rose bar in Singapore and one of the best spots to catch a Singapore sunset. The food menu is complimentary of the rose, creating some of the best pairings.


With Singapore being such a common layover for so many other “final” destinations in Asia, we highly recommend you take advantage of this immaculate city and spend 48 hours exploring it’s magic. We had a layover in Singapore on our way to Bali, and could not be more grateful that we chose to spend a few days at the Marina Bay Sands resort. For more Asia recommendations, check out our Ubud Bali Travel Guide, which is just under 4 hours from Singapore by flight and car. Thanks for reading and please reach out for any questions or recommendations.

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