Although often overshadowed by its more well-known Southeast Asian neighbors, Singapore is a gem of a city that should not be missed by anyone looking to explore the region. This bustling metropolis offers travelers a unique blend of cultures, cuisines, and architecture, all within a relatively small area.
In addition, Singapore is one of the world’s safest and most efficient cities, even making it in the Schroders Global Cities Index. This makes it an ideal choice for first-time visitors to Southeast Asia, so here are some tips on how to make the most of your next trip to this amazing city-state.
One of the best things about Singapore is its extremely efficient public transportation system. The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train network covers almost the entire country, making it easy to get from point A to point B without dealing with traffic jams or navigating unfamiliar streets.
In addition, taxis and ride-sharing apps such as Grab are readily available and reasonably priced. For those who prefer to explore on two wheels, there are plenty of bike rental companies dotted around the city.
Upon arriving at Changi Airport, be sure to purchase an EZ-Link card, which can be used on the MRT, buses, and even some taxis. This will save you the hassle of having to constantly fumble for change when making payments.
Singapore is famous for its food, and for a good reason. From street hawker stalls serving up local favorites like chili crab and Hainanese chicken rice to high-end restaurants dishing out exquisite Michelin-starred cuisine, there is something for everyone here.
That’s why checking out a Singapore food guide should be high on your list of things to do prior to your trip. Not only will you get to try a variety of dishes, but you’ll also learn about the rich history and culture behind Singaporean cuisine.
Be sure to leave room in your stomach for some snacks in between meals — you’ll definitely want to try items like popiah (a type of spring roll), kueh lapis (layered cake), and chwee kueh (steamed rice cakes). If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try some of the more unusual dishes on offer? These include chicken feet satay, durian ice cream, and grilled stingray.
Singapore is one of the most connected countries in the world, so you’ll have no trouble staying in touch with friends and family back home. Most hotels offer free WiFi, and plenty of public hotspots are located around the city.
If you’re planning on using your phone to stay connected, be sure to purchase a local SIM card upon arrival. This will give you access to much cheaper data rates than what you would be charged for using roaming data.
Do note that Singapore has strict laws regarding the use of electronic devices in public places, so be sure to familiarize yourself with these before using your phone or camera in a crowded area.
There is no shortage of accommodation options in Singapore, from luxurious 5-star hotels to more affordable hostels and guesthouses. In fact, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a place to stay.
Hostels are a great option if you’re on a tight budget as they offer basic yet comfortable rooms at very reasonable prices. Many capsule hotels located around the city also provide basic overnight accommodation at a fraction of the cost of a regular hotel room. For those willing to spend a bit more, plenty of mid-range and luxury hotels are located around the city.
For those looking for a more unique experience, there are also several themed hotels in Singapore. These include the famed Marina Bay Sands hotel, which has an infinity pool on its 57th floor, and kampung-style accommodations at Village Hotel Katong.
When it comes to finding accommodation, it’s always best to book in advance, especially if you’re visiting during peak season. This will ensure that you get the best possible rates and avoid being stranded without a place to stay.
If shopping is your thing, then you will be in heaven in Singapore. Orchard Road, the city’s main shopping district, is home to numerous malls offering everything from designer labels to affordable, fast fashion brands. You’ll also find plenty of markets and street stalls selling everything from electronics to souvenirs.
If you’re looking for something a little more unique, pay a visit to one of Singapore’s many independent boutiques. Tiong Bahru — Singapore’s hipster neighborhood — is where you’ll find vintage stores, independent boutiques, and art galleries selling one-of-a-kind pieces. Haggling is expected in these places, so be sure to brush up on your bargaining skills before heading out.
Regardless of what you’re looking to buy, you’re sure to find it in Singapore. Just be prepared to open your wallet — the city is notoriously expensive, especially when it comes to shopping. But you can make sure that you get the best possible deals due to their priorities on service and quality.
Singapore is a fantastic city that has something for everyone — whether you’re interested in exploring different cultures, indulging in delicious food, or going on a shopping spree. With its world-class transportation system and safe streets, Singapore is also ideal for first-time visitors to Southeast Asia. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!