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A comprehensive travel guide to Singapore City for first-time travelers

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A tiny city-state in Southeast Asia, Singapore might be smaller than many cities in the world, but in terms of development, it is much ahead of most countries. While the modern facade of this clean and safe city — its glassy skyscrapers, cutting-edge architecture, gorgeous urban gardens, lightning-speed transport, luxurious hotels, elegant shopping malls, fine dining restaurants — put it on tourists’ radar, what takes them by sheer surprise is this global city’s vibrant history, and its multiracial and multicultural identity. Nearly 19 million tourists book international flights to Singapore every year, and this ‘Lion City’ is among the world’s 10 most-visited cities. Planning a trip? Here’s the ultimate travel guide to Singapore City you’ll ever need!

About Singapore City:

Situated on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore is an island city-state consisting of 63 islands. The city had very few resources when it got separated from Malaysia in 1965, but it underwent a massive transformation on an impressive scale to become what it is today – one of the Four Asian Tigers; a highly-developed country whose economy is one of the most stable in the world. Often termed as a playground for the rich, it ranks high in the list of popular tourist destinations.

Our travel guide to Singapore City provides you with all the necessary information for a fulfilling trip.

Essential Singapore travel information, a quick:

  • Languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil
  • Currency: Singapore Dollar (SGD). 1 USD = 1.33 SGD
  • Time Zone: Singapore Standard Time (GMT +8:00)
  • Country Code: +65
  • Socket: Plug Type G (230 V/50 Hz)

Visa Requirement:

Citizens of most countries, including the US, can travel visa-free and can stay up to 90 days in Singapore, provided the passport is valid for at least 6 months from the day of entry. However, citizens of India, Myanmar, Russia, and other countries need a visa to travel to Singapore.

Best time to visit Singapore:

Singapore experiences a tropical climate due to its proximity to the equator. It is hot and humid throughout the year with an average temperature ranging between 26-29°C. Monsoon months from November to January are the wettest, but it usually rains in spurts in Singapore. The city doesn’t show much variation weather-wise, so anytime is the best time to visit Singapore City.

If you wish to avoid heavy crowds, this travel guide to Singapore City suggests that you plan your trip between July and October. July is ideal for shopaholic and foodie travelers, for the Great Singapore Sale and the Singapore Food Festival are held during this month.

Arriving in Singapore City:

Changi Airport, voted the world’s best airport, serves the city of Singapore and is considered an important gateway to Southeast Asia. More than 100 airlines operate flights to Singapore from 400 cities around the world. You can book direct flights to Singapore from San Francisco or Los Angeles when traveling from the US.

Once you land here at this state-of-the-art airport and look around, you cannot help but appreciate its amazing features like forest-inspired green spaces, a butterfly garden, and an indoor waterfall. This airport is, indeed, a top Singapore tourist attraction. iEagle offers year-round deals and discounts on international flights to Singapore. Book with iEagle & save big!

Singapore travel guide: Getting around the city

Public transportation in Singapore is hailed to be efficient, clean, and convenient. Moving about Singapore City is a breeze, thanks to its MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) subway system. The fastest and most economical means of transportation, you can rely on MRT for traveling within the city, right from reaching downtown from Changi Airport to traveling between Singapore’s popular attractions, which are just a short walk away from the respective MRT station.

The bus is another economical option and the extensive network of bus routes covers most places in Singapore. A bus journey also offers good views of the scenic Singapore City. Tourists can buy a Singapore Tourist Pass (STP) for MRT and bus journeys. Metered taxis and cabs come in handy for traveling to places that are not accessible by bus or MRT. A good network of cycling paths in Singapore encourages you to take the environment-friendly and healthy path to get around the city. While on your Singapore Tour, if you make your mind to visit any other destination. In such a case Bali packages are the perfect choice for you.

Best places to stay in Singapore City:

Although this wealthy nation is known for its luxurious hotels and resorts, there are a good number of lodging options for budget travelers. Depending on your budget and travel interests, you can choose from a range of luxury, mid-range hotels and budget-friendly hostels spread across the five popular neighborhoods in Singapore. This travel guide to Singapore City highlights some of the best places to stay for different travelers with different budget types.

Starting off with luxury hotels, the first on the list is the iconic Marina Bay Sands, a 5-star hotel renowned worldwide for its super lavish facilities. The other popular choices for cashed-up travelers include Capella Hotel, Raffles Singapore, The Fullerton Bay Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Four Seasons Hotel, Mandarin Oriental, and Wanderlust Hotel.

Marina Bay, Orchard Road, and Sentosa Island are dotted with many upscale restaurants, bars, and shopping malls, besides the high-end hotels and resorts that offer stunning views of the city. Shopaholics prefer to stay at hotels on Orchard Road owing to the area’s easy access to premier shopping malls, and holidaymakers traveling with kids prefer Sentosa and Marina Bay’s hotels because of their proximity to several theme parks, zoos, and other family-friendly attractions.

For someone looking for budget-friendly accommodation, the neighborhoods of Little India, Chinatown, and Arab Street offer plenty of options in the form of boutique hotels and hostels. These ethnic districts are also great for both culture and culinary travelers. While Bliss Hotel, The Great Madras, Hotel Mono, Arton Boutique Hotel, Hotel Fort Canning, Lloyd’s Inn, and Novotel Clarke Quay are among the popular mid-range hotels in Singapore City, the Pod Boutique Capsule Hostel, Atlantis Pods, The11room Hostel, Champion Hotel, and Footprints Hostel are quite affordable for budget travelers.

First-timers’ travel guide to Singapore City’s tourist attractions:

Hop On Hop Off Tours:

Get on the open-top double-decker bus that takes you on the most fulfilling sightseeing tour of Singapore’s major landmarks.

Source: Yandex

Gardens by the Bay:

One of Singapore’s famous landmarks, this futuristic nature park that nurtures different plant species from 5 continents is an oasis of lush greenery. It is home to the iconic Supertree Grove, three waterfront gardens, two conservatories of which one (Flower Dome) is the world’s largest glass greenhouse and the other (Cloud Forest) has the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. 

Source: Yandex

Singapore Botanic Gardens:

A nature lover’s and horticulture enthusiast’s paradise, the 82-hectare Singapore Botanic Gardens boast more than 10,000 species of flora. Follow the walking trails and discover the gardens’ heritage trees, sculptures, waterfalls, lakes, a tropical rainforest, a museum, and a children’s garden. National Orchid Garden is the prime attraction of this tropical garden.

Source: Yandex

Little India, Chinatown, and Arab Street:

Filled with colorful shopping markets, eateries, and several Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese temples and historic mosques, these vibrant neighborhoods in Singapore represent the country’s ethnic diversity. They are quite popular among tourists, who love to shop for cheap souvenirs and gorge on authentic Indian, Chinese, and Arab delicacies.

Singapore Zoo:

Time for some wildlife spotting! Head to the Singapore Zoo and catch sight of nearly 300 species of animals. This zoo that houses the world’s largest captive Orangutan colony is known for its open concept. The hidden moats or glasses of open exhibits help maintain a safe distance between visitors and animals. The zoo also offers Night Safari, Forest Breakfast, and many other interesting shows.

Source: Yandex

Sentosa Island:

If a fun & adventure-filled holiday is what you are seeking, then this is your place to be! Singapore’s resort-island attracts tourists with its sunny beaches, theme parks, rainforests, spa retreats, 4D theaters, and many other recreation options. Its best attractions include Universal Studios, the Merlion (Singapore’s official mascot), SEA Aquarium, Fort Siloso, Trick Eye Museum, and Adventure Cove Waterpark.

Source: Yandex

Singapore Flyer:

A staggering 165 meters tall, Singapore Flyer offers the best views of Singapore’s stunning skyline. Get on Asia’s largest giant observation wheel to enjoy the panoramic views of the city.

Source: Yandex

Singapore Travel Tips:

The final section of our travel guide to Singapore City includes some of the most useful travel tips for every first-time traveler to Singapore.

  • Tipping is not a necessity in Singapore. Your restaurant bill generally comes with a service charge included, so you can do away with tipping.
  • Pack light-weight clothes appropriate for warm weather; a rain jacket and sunscreen are a must.
  • Grab app could be of great use for booking taxis using your mobile.
  • Do not chew gum in public. It is banned in Singapore City, and you may attract a fine if found chewing gum in public areas.
  • Refrain from connecting to someone else’s wifi, jaywalking, littering, smoking or spitting in public places, and eating or drinking on public transportation. Anyone doing so will be fined, according to Singapore laws.

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