Singapore Travel Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

Known for its street food, soaring buildings and urban greenery, Singapore is one country that has really shed its reputation as an easy stopover destination. It’s a place that caters to every type of traveller, from architecture buffs and beach lovers to cyclists who come to explore the ever-expanding network of cycle paths, and food lovers who flock to enjoy some of the best food in Southeast Asia.

Travel Restrictions and Entry Requirements

Masks are no longer required indoors, except in high-risk settings such as public transport and healthcare facilities. Travelers do not need to be tested before entering the country, whether or not they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

best time to go

Singapore’s climate is hot and humid, and its proximity to the equator means that the weather is consistent throughout. One of the busiest periods is Chinese New Year, which occurs between January and March (its date depends on the lunar cycle). The best time to visit shopping mall-lined Orchard Road is during the annual Great Singapore Sale. Widely regarded as the most spectacular night race on the Formula 1 calendar, the Singapore Grand Prix usually takes place in late September or early October.

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Best Cities and Regions

Sentosa Island

A lush theme park island connected to mainland Singapore by road tunnels, cable cars and the Sentosa Express. Sentosa is a popular meeting place for locals and tourists alike. Most of its properties, including W Singapore, Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa and Capella Singapore, are beachfront properties. A network of cycle paths runs across the island, linking areas such as Fort Siloso, a battery that will become a national monument in 2022, to Resorts World Sentosa, and attractions include Universal Studios Singapore. For sustainable fun, head to Sentosa Sky Spiral: this open-air panoramic ride is the island’s first carbon-neutral attraction.

Sentosa Island is the city’s island getaway

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marina bay

Dominated by the Marina Bay Sands hotel and its rooftop infinity pool, Marina Bay is home to some of Singapore’s most recognizable landmarks, including the water-spouting Merlion. Highlights include the ArtScience Museum, which includes futuristic world, a permanent digital art exhibition by the Japanese collective teamlab, and the fullerton hotel, a former post office in singapore. The latter is great for afternoon tea, but the hotel’s Signature Reserve bar, with its 3,000 whiskeys, is also recommended.

WuJie Road

Neon-shrouded Orchard Road is home to Singapore’s largest shopping mall, as well as great independent shops. For local souvenirs, head to Design Orchard, which showcases the work of more than 60 local designers. If you get there around 6 p.m., look out for bird calls as myna settle down the tree-lined roads for the night, and keep an eye out for posters advertising free birding tours led by local ornithologists.

Kampong Glam

This is the former Muslim quarter of Singapore. Its old, brightly colored shophouses have been turned into cafés and boutiques. For vintage treasures, head to Time After Time for gorgeous dresses and costume jewelry. The area’s most famous landmark remains the Sultan’s Mosque, topped with a golden dome. Learn more about the history of Kampong Glam at the Malay Heritage Centre.

The mythical Merlion is the national symbol of Singapore

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Best Under-the-Radar Destinations

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

There are around 400 parks and nature reserves in Singapore, but for a walk in the wild, look no further than the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Twitchers come here to see migratory birds, and year-round residents include monitor lizards, otters and estuary crocodiles. There is a network of walking tracks where you can observe wildlife from their hides.

Pulau Ubin

A 15-minute ferry ride takes you to Pulau Ubin (Granite Island in Malay) off the northeast coast of Singapore.Granite that was once quarried here was used to build the Singapore-Johor Causeway, but it’s now a great place to spend time – it’s the last of Singapore’s kampung (traditional village) next to several coconut plantations and the wildlife haven of the Chejawa Wetlands. The best way to explore it is by bike – rent one from the pier.

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city to the nature-filled island of Ubin

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railway corridor

This 24km hiking and cycling trail sits on the footsteps of the railways that were once used to transport goods to Malaysia. The final section will be completed in 2023, although almost all of it is currently recyclable. The redevelopment project has planted native tree species along the route, attracting plenty of wildlife—even the extremely rare pangolin has been spotted here. There are plenty of opportunities to stop (it passes landmarks including the Singapore Botanic Gardens) and countless reminders of history, including the Bukit Timah Station, built in the 1930s and repurposed as a visitor center.

best thing to do

rent a bike

Singapore is great for cycling. Sign up for one of the bike-sharing schemes, such as Anywheel, and explore routes like the Park Link Network – hiking and cycling trails linking Singapore’s parks and nature reserves. The well-maintained route network is easily divided into smaller sections so you can sell your time as much as you like.

drink singapore sling

When you come to Singapore, you can’t enjoy a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel, the birthplace of the cocktail. Every table has a bowl of peanuts, and visitors are encouraged to throw the shells on the ground – a nod to a time when Raffles was surrounded by nut plantations.

Watch the Singapore Grand Prix

It’s the most exciting race on the F1 calendar, with street circuits and night races usually taking place at the end of September. You don’t have to be an F1 fan to enjoy it: Killers, Gwen Stefani and Fatboy Slim have all performed at the event.

Hawker centers are a big part of Singapore’s heritage (and home to great food)

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go to hawker center

In 2020, Singapore’s hawker centers – places filled with street food stalls serving traditional Singaporean delicacies – received UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity status.Some of the best are Maxwell Road Food Center in Chinatown (specialties include Hainanese chicken and oyster omelette) and Newton Food Center featured in the 2018 film crazy rich asians.

wander around

Singapore’s two main bike-sharing schemes, SG Bike and Anywheel, are cheap and easy to use. Singapore’s MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system, a network of light rail, is the fastest way to travel. One-way fares start at around 85p. Grab is the most popular taxi app.

how to get there

The fastest way to get from the UK to Singapore is by air; Singapore Airlines, British Airways and Qantas all fly direct from the UK. If you’re visiting nearby countries, there are ferry routes between Singapore and Malaysia, as well as between Singapore and the Indonesian island of Bintan. Trains run from Thailand and Malaysia to Singapore.

money saving tips

Planning a night on the town? If you’re headed to hotspots like Clarke Quay or Haji Lane, the riverside clubs in central Singapore, the bars and restaurants lined with bars, look out for happy hour deals – they’re available at almost every bar and are great value.

common problem

what’s the weather like?

Due to its proximity to the equator, Singapore is hot and humid all year round. Average temperatures hover between 25C and 31C.

What time zone is it in?

Singapore Standard Time (GMT+8).

What currency do you use?

Singapore dollar.

What language do you speak?

English is the most commonly used language, followed by Chinese and Malay.

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