Singapore is the major city and island state with a whopping 5.8 million inhabitants (2017) in Southeast Asia. This city was the start of my second major journey through Southeast Asia. I thought it was a beautiful, green, clean city with a friendly population. Singapore has plenty to offer for everyone! I also visited Singapore during National Day (August 9) which is highly recommended!
The English language is very important in Singapore. Almost everyone can speak English and it’s also widely spoken among themselves. Parents also teach their children as early as possible. This ensures that almost everything is clearly indicated in English and that you can therefore use English well.
15 things to do in Singapore
1. Gardens by the Bay
A must-visit in Singapore is without a doubt Gardens by the bay in the east of the city. It’s a very large landscaped park with various sights. This park is the hallmark of Singapore. I really enjoyed walking around and relaxing. You can also eat cheaply at the food court Satay by the Bay.
You can reach Garden by the Bay with the MRT (blue and yellow line) alight at the Bayfront stop.
2. Super Tree Grove
Garden by the Bay is home to the Super Tree Grove, one of the most famous landmarks in Singapore. The Super Tree Grove is free to visit. You have to pay to walk across the bridge that connects the ‘trees’. In the evening at 19:45 and 20:45 there will be a cool light show that is definitely recommended!
3. Flower Dome
The Flower Dome is also located in Gardens by the bay. As the name suggests, this dome contains a lot of flowers. But also plants and trees from all kinds of areas can be found there. Beautiful gardens have been created with all kinds of plants. You can also see many wooden animal sculptures scattered throughout the dome. So sometimes take a good look up!
4. Cloud Forest
The Cloud Forest is also home to many different types of plants and the whole space feels a bit mysterious. In the dome is a waterfall that you can admire from below as well as from above. Also recommended!
For a combination ticket to visit the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest you pay 28 SGD. They are open from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm, but I recommend that you be there around 9:00 am to avoid the crowds. You are therefore not in line. You can also buy the tickets online via the official website (with credit card).
I was advised to visit the Flower Dome first and then the Cloud Forest because the Flower Dome exit is at the entrance to the Cloud Forest.
5. Marina Bay Sands
When you walk the other way from the Bayfront stop, you walk through Singapore’s iconic hotel: Marina Bay Sands. The hotel is gigantic and you can see it protruding above the buildings in many places in the city. For a night in this luxury hotel you have to dig deep, but then you get something in return, including an infinity pool on the roof.
6. Spectra Watershow
Next to the Marina Bay Sands hotel, by the water, there is an impressive water show with music every night. Be sure to check it out in the evening! The show is on Sunday – Thursday at 8:00 PM & 9:00 PM and on Friday and Saturday also at 10:00 PM.
The Merlion is a large statue in Singapore used as a mascot and emblem for Singapore. It’s a mythical figure with the body of a fish and a lion’s head. The statue is over 8 meters high and water sprouts from its mouth. From the bay behind the Marina Bay Sands, so from where the Spectra Watershow takes place, you could see the Merlion.
But you can also see the statue up close. Then get off at Raffles Place station via the green or red MRT line.
8. Little India
Singapore is divided into many different neighborhoods, including a number of ethnic neighborhoods. Little India is one of them. You will find several Hindu temples, a market and shopping malls. So nice to walk through!
Little India can be reached with the blue MRT line.
9. Arab street
Arab street is located near Little India and is above all a very nice neighborhood for something to eat and a drink. In the afternoon the street is cordoned off and the bar stools, tables and chairs are brought out.
The Arab quarter can be reached with the blue MRT line, alighting at Bugis.
10. China Town
Almost every metropolis has a China Town. Similarly, Singapore! You will find a number of temples including the Sri Mariamman Temple, Thian Hock Keng and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Wear appropriate clothing, which means, covered over your knees and shoulders, or you will not be able to enter. China Town is also home to one of the most popular food courts, the Maxwell Hawker Center. Here you can eat cheap Chinese and Japanese food.
The purple MRT line stops at Chinatown, but the Telok Ayer stop of the blue line is also nearby.
11. Shopping centers
The many shopping centers also make Singapore a very nice destination for shopping freaks. You can buy everything from expensive fashion brands in The Shoppes under the Marina Bay Sands, to a mix of shops in VivoCity.
12. Macritchie Reservoir
The MacRitchie Reservoir is the oldest reservoir in Singapore, completed in 1868. You can take a long walk through the national park and encounter monkeys along the way. When you walk all the way to the TreeTop Walk and back like me, you have traveled a long route of no less than 12 kilometers. In retrospect, I thought it was not entirely worth the muscle pain and blisters. But a short walk is recommended!
Bring water and snacks in advance. Only at the ranger house you can refill water, but not buy food. Use Maps.Me to view the route offline. Preferably visit the national park during the week and early in the day.
Near the entrance is the Caldecott stop of the yellow MRT line. But it’s also easy to reach by bus. Of course you can also opt for the taxi.
13. Singapore Zoo
In Singapore Zoo you can easily enjoy yourself all day. In this tropical zoo you can admire special exotic animals and the enclosures are green and spacious.
Singapore Zoo is not so easy to reach by MRT, but by bus. You can also opt for the taxi.
14. Sentosa Island
Sentosa is a holiday island full of activities and attractions for young and old. It features hotels, golf courses, a casino, beaches, Universal Studios and the S.E.A. aquarium which is one of the largest in the world. So plenty to do! I especially relaxed on Palawan Beach, walked around and especially wanted to cool down because it is very hot during the day.
You can reach Sentosa in several ways, including by cable car, monorail or walking across the bridge. The cable car is one of the most expensive options, but also very fast. For the Sentosa monorail you pay 4 SGD to the island. To do this, take the MRT to the Harbourfront stop. The return journey with the monorail is free. So you can also choose to go by foot and back with the monorail if you want to save money.
15. Changi Airport
Changi Airport International Airport is also a sight itself. It is considered the most beautiful airport in the world and I think that’s entirely justified. There is plenty to do and see. You will find Jewel, a beautifully designed waterfall from the roof and also the newest addition to the airport. But also many shops, restaurants, a swimming pool, playgrounds for children and more. Be sure to use the free massage chairs at the gates!
Transport in Singapore
Public transport is very well organized in Singapore. An MRT station can be found almost everywhere. They are also working on adding new lines. For 30 SGD (€ 19) you can buy a public transport pass that is valid for 3 days and that allows unlimited travel by metro and bus. This amount includes a deposit of SGD 10 which you simply get back after handing in the pass. You can read where you can hand in the cards on the Transit Link Website.
In addition, Grab also offers its taxi service in Singapore. This Southeast Asian variant of Uber is extremely popular and even cheaper than most taxis.
You will probably read more often that Singapore is an expensive city. And that is certainly true. Fortunately, you can also travel there on a smaller budget.
For example, the many Hawker Centers in the city are a perfect option for cheap eats. In these food courts you can get all kinds of Asian food. A meal costs approximately between 3 and 8 SGD.
Accommodations are generally very pricey. Try to find a hostel in Little India, Arab Street or China Town. Here you generally pay less, the neighborhood is also nice and you are often close to the MRT.
In 4 days I spent € 185 in Singapore. This was for the hostel, the food, the sights etc. This amounts to € 46.25 per day. I ate at the Hawker Centers almost every evening and I had a reasonably cheap hostel including breakfast. So it is doable!