A vibrant Lion city which has a blend of Malaysians, Indians, Chinese, Arab and English culture. Can you believe this posh, tiny booming country with fancy shopping malls and sky-high buildings was once a backwater. The vast variety of attraction makes Singapore a place for everyone to have a good time.
Singapore is a place which is very close to my heart as this is where the travel bug bit me. This was the place where we started planning our first holiday in a new place which was not home to us. Also a lot of first for my husband who is scared of heights.
TIME TO VISIT SINGAPORE
Singapore is one destination which can really be enjoyed all year-round. December to June is said to be the best time to visit Singapore. There is two main monsoon seasons being from December to March and June to September. I have been told it isn’t fun exploring Singapore during the rainy season.
November through to January and June to July is considered to be the peak season. August through to October is said to be the low season. Deals will vary depending on this and something to think on based on your budget.
We had choose September as we wanted to celebrate a special occasion and Singapore seemed ideal. We didn’t experience any bad weather and were pleasantly happy with the crowd as well.
TRAVELING AROUND SINGAPORE
The whizzing transport system makes traveling fun with much needed ease as required in every holiday.
Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is the best way to travel around during your time in Singapore. The underground subway gets you everywhere with ease and once reaching the destination walking would be your best option.
There are various ticket options available to choose from. Fares are usually based on the distance that you travel should you purchase single fare tickets. There are also EZ-Link rechargeable cards if you plan to stay longer. There are also Singapore Tourist Pass which allows unlimited travel for one day, two days or three days. The tickets are available at Automated Kiosks, Transitlink Ticket Office or at stations.
There are also buses which run everywhere. Fares are again based on distance and time of the day traveled. The cost would be same as using the metro ride.
We had also used the taxi to get from the airport to our hotel. The taxis run on metres and most of them do speak English. We didn’t struggle or got cheated while using the taxis.
Individual neighbourhood I would recommend exploring on foot. Would advise taking a street map from either your hotel or Singapore Visitor centre. The place is very pretty on foot but be mindful of the weather.
The other options available are hiring a car or renting a bicycle. We didn’t use either hence not sure how they are.
WHERE WE STAYED IN SINGAPORE
Hotels in Singapore can be expensive. We weren’t very keen on spending a lot on hotels hence we choose Hotel Value Thomson. The main reason for choosing this hotel was because it was in our budget and also it wasn’t very far from MRT (20 mins). However most of the time we found the bus option was good since it was close to the hotel as compared to the MRT. We didn’t struggle much traveling from the hotel.
The rooms were small but comfortable and clean. We were well looked after by the staff and had no struggle throughout our stay. There were plenty of restaurants nearby and we loved exploring for new ones during our stay. We had not chosen the breakfast option hence not sure how they were.
Should I visit again I probably won’t be staying here again mainly because I wanted to use the MRT option but hated to walk in Singapore weather.
THINGS TO DO IN SINGAPORE
NOVENA SQUARE MALL
This was very close to our hotel so it ended up being our first place of visit. Plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy. We didn’t spend much time here but did enjoy meal in one of the restaurants.
If you want to go shopping in Singapore then I would recommend heading to Orchard Road. 2.5 km long road with well renowned international departmental stores, restaurant and coffee shops. The place is always crowded and also a very famous tourist attraction. It can make you lose track of your expense so be very careful. If you are not into shopping then this probably is not a place for you.
In Downtown centre this giant 28 air-conditioned capsule observation wheel can be enjoyed. It was the world’s first Ferris wheel at a height of 541 ft. It’s a 30 minute ride and truly a fun way to see Singapore city. Evening ride with the lights can be very romantic as well. This would be a must do according to me as the experience is very unique. When we visited it wasn’t busy but I have read it does get crowded. Although my husband is scared of heights, the flyer wasn’t that bad for him. The capsules were spacious and also wheelchair friendly. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing Singapore in the capsules.
The Merlion which is a mythical creation has a Lion’s head and a body of a fish. It is said to be the national symbol of Singapore. You will see this used as a symbol everywhere. The fish body is said to represent the fishing village of Singapore and the Lion is said to represent the Lion City.
It is a great park which is always buzzing with people. The place does give an awesome view of the Marina Bay and of course of the Merlion. I would recommend walking along the park as there are some good places to click photos. Should you have the time then I would also recommend a boat ride.
The place is bright and vibrant with lots of shops and Indian restaurants. There are also temples, malls and mosque in the area. However it’s always crowded both during the day and at night. It’s an interesting place to visit, would recommend. For me personally I was keener on trying Singaporean cuisine as compare to Indian. We did however have a meal at one of the restaurants and were happy with the friendly nature of the locals.
SRI VADAPATHIRA KALIAMMAN TEMPLE
The oldest temple in Singapore dedicated to Goddess Kali, destroyer of evil. Located in the heart of Little India making it easy to access. The temple is beautiful and vibrant with many colourful statues. During our walk in Little India we came across the temple and decided to visit it from inside.
Want to stay in Singapore and still get a panoramic view of Indonesia or Malaysia then I would recommend visiting Sentosa Island. Don’t want this but want to have a fun family day or a romantic getaway then again I would recommend visiting Sentosa Island. Sentosa Island is a fun place for everyone no matter what reason you have.
Initially this was used as a British military base and then later went onto being Japanese prisoner war camp but what Singapore finally decided to make of it surely attracts tourists.
Within Sentosa there are a number of attractions namely Universal Studios, Madam Tussaud, Marie Life Park, Sentosa 4D Adverntureland and many more.
A visit to Sentosa Island can make you have fun for the entire day. There is plenty to do and I don’t think it can be fully covered in one day. Should you plan to visit then keep ample time in hand.
Here is a place for everyone to enjoy if you are Hollywood or sci-fi fan, there never will be a dull moment. There are 24 rides, shows and attractions which is divided in seven themed zones. A place where you can easily spend a whole day and won’t regret. During our time all the rides were running and we didn’t experience long queues also. We did however go early morning just when it was opening.
I would highly recommend visiting as many rides as possible. The transformer ride, Mummy’s revenge, cyclone, Jurassic Park and many more. For me personally it sure did bring my childhood back along with my craze for movies came live.
A popular place to visit in Singapore especially at night. We however enjoyed it during the day. Plenty of restaurants nearby which can be enjoyed any time of the day. The vibe is pleasant making it an enjoyable walk along the riverside. I would highly recommend this place for spending quality time with family during the day and also a nice place for couples or singles to enjoy some night life.
I would also ecommend the river cruise experience in Singapore. The tickets are available from Clarke Quay. In the 40 minute ride you get to enjoy the architectural beauty of Singapore along with the commentary in the boat explaining the history of the place. The cruise covers The Merlion, The Esplanade, Marina Bay Sands and more! The experience is truly magnificent and one of the best ways to see Singapore. Although we saw it during the day I did later feel the place would have looked equally pretty when the lights were on.
Here is another shopping street to enjoy during your time in Singapore. The prices were affordable and can be a good place to pick some souvenirs. Also a nice place to enjoy some local foods as there are plenty of old stalls and restaurants.
In one pass you get access to six cable car stations all within the day. A unique and fun way to check out the aerial views of Mount Faber Peak, Sentosa and Harbour Front. Should you have a special occasion then you can also book the stargazing dinner.
This happened to be our first cable car experience hence very close to our heart. My husband is scared of heights but he managed to get through it thanks to the amazing view. The journey was smooth but if you are really scared of heights then I wouldn’t recommend it. We had the whole gondola to our self hence making it a romantic trip.
SUNTEC CITY MALL
We had visited this mall only because we had our night safari pick up organised from here. Huge mall with plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy. We only spent an hour here but for those who love to shop then make sure you keep enough time to fully enjoy the whole place. During our visit we didn’t have this but now there is also the famous fountain of wealth.
Just as the name suggests it’s a night zoo where can enjoy tram rides, walking trails and having fun around animals at night. I have enjoyed safaris in Kenya so I was very curious to see how this would fare. We enjoyed both the tram and walking trails. The pathways are dark with the animals either lit up with natural light or the moonlight.
I wasn’t totally disappointed and enjoyed my time here. I would recommend visiting before it gets dark as well so you can see the difference.
MARINA BAY SANDS
In the core downtown of Singapore you will find this resort. It’s an iconic place which you can’t miss while visiting the Merlion. There are three towers which is connected with a Sky Park which has a 490ft. infinity swimming pool. We only saw this from outside and secretly wished we should have booked a room here. Ah well! There will always be a next time for us.
GARDEN BY THE BAY
Unfortunately for us during our visit this place was under construction. We only saw the Flower Dome during it’s initially stages. It’s a nature park whose Flower Dome is the largest glass greenhouse in the world. I would highly recommend visiting this place as it’s really very pretty.
ART SCIENCE MUSEUM
This is attached to the Marina Bay Sands which again we only saw from outside. It’s the world’s first ArtScience museum and is said to feature exhibits that blend science, technology, culture and art. I loved the lotus shaped building.
OUR ITINERARY IN SINGAPORE
- Took the taxi from the airport to Hotel Value Thomson.
- Walked 1.5 km to Novena square shopping mall.
- Walked 300 m to Novena MRT Street. Took the North South Line 5 and got off at Orchard. Spend the day here.
- Took the same MRT back to Novena and walked to our hotel.
- From our hotel we walked 2 mins to the bus top. Took bus no. 56 (other bus options 57,131,166,851,980) and got off at Opp Rochor station and walked 350m to reach Little India. Should you take the MRT then you have to take the Downtown Line 12 train and get off at Little India MRT station.
- On our route we also visited Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman temple which was roughly 1.2km
- From Opp Rocher station we took bus no.960 (other bus options is 56) and got off at Marina Ctr Ter. Walked 250m and took a ride in the Singapore flyer. If you want to take the MRT from Little India station then take the Downtown Line 12 and get off at Promenade and walk 700m.
- We walked 1.4 km to Merlion Park. On our way we also saw Marina Bays sand and Art and Science Museum.
- We then took the bus from Fullerton Square to our hotel. Bus options include 131, 130 and 57.
- We spent the whole day in Universal Studio. We decided to take the bus no. 131 from aft Irrawaddy rd to Harbourfront Stn/Vivocity. Walked 300 m to Vivocity Station. We took the Sentosa Express and got off at Resorts World Station. Walked 220m to Universal Studios. Returned to the hotel in the end of the day.
- We choose bus no. 145 from Bef Jln Dusun and got off at Opp The Treasury. Then walked 550 m to explore Clarke Quay. Other bus options include bus no.54 and 143. If you take the MRT then you have to take the train to Clarke Quar station (either the North South Line 5 or North South Line 5 and change to North East Line)
- We also choose to do the river cruise during our time in Clarke Quay.
- We walked 350 m to Fort Canning Station and took the Downtown Line and got off at Fort Bugis. Walked 160m and did some shopping in Bugis Street.
- We took bus no.130 (other option 145) from Bugis Stn exit A and got off at Aft Irrawaddy Rd. Walked 160m to reach our hotel.
- We decided to spend the whole day at Sentosa Island. From our hotel we took Bus no. 145 from Bef Jln Dusun and got off at Aft Harbourfront Stn. If you take the MRT then you have to get off at Harbourfront Stn. Walked 230m and took the Singapore Cable Car. With our map we then explored Sentosa Island.
- Morning we decided to rest and checkout the neighbourhood near our hotel.
- We then took Bus no. 131 from Aft Irrawaddy Rd to Raffles Hotel. Walked 350 m and did some shopping in Suntec City. Should you want to take the MRT then take the North South Line and get off at City Hall Station and walk 600m
- We went to the meeting point for pick up to go to Night Safari. Enjoyed the night safari.
- Got dropped back to Suntec City and took Bus no.131 back to the hotel.
- Took the taxi to the airport to head back home.
THINGS TO NOTE IN SINGAPORE
- It’s safe place to roam around, even at night. We didn’t face any issues during our visit.
- Singapore isn’t cheap so be mindful and plan your holiday with care.
- I would highly recommend the street food in Singapore.
- If you see packet of tissues on the table then it’s reserved. Many locals still do this and some have adopted to umbrellas as well. Keep this in mind while visiting street restaurants.
- Singapore doesn’t have tipping in restaurants. There is a 10% service charge however the staff do not receive this. It’s your personal choice should you like the service and want to make someone’s day.
- English is mostly spoken by everyone, so you will never struggle communicating here.
- Be mindful of inflated taxi fares, they do have a reputation with tourist. We only used it to and from the airport and had checked how much it would roughly cost so weren’t cheated.
- Uber and Grab are also in operation in Singapore, we never used one but would recommend.
- Wi-fi hotspots are everywhere in the city, nice to have handy. All you need is a phone where you can receive an OTP and you are ready to use.
- Stand on the left while on escalators. Singaporean’s like orderly behaviour.
- Smoking is only allowed in designated areas. There is a huge fine if not followed.
- Do check if the Singapore Flyer is operational. I have read many complain it was closed for maintenance.
- To visit the Night Safari make sure you do the bookings in advance. We had chosen the pickup location from Suntec City. There are some hotels also available where drop off is done. I would highly recommend checking their website to get the current details.
- Universal Studios there are complains about long queues, I would recommend visiting early.
- It rains quite a bit in Singapore so while visiting Universal Studios, Cable car and night safari I would highly recommend you check the weather forecast.
- Sentosa Island can be reached either by using the Singapore cable car, by public bus (Tong service operating from Harbourfront Station/ Vivocity) or by Sentosa express monorail. Plan accordingly.
- For most attractions I would recommend checking the online website to book tickets. There are usually discounts offered online which can help you save a bit.