Have just a few days and want to explore a tiny country with a huge melting pot of history, culture, religion, and modern city? Singapore is the perfect place to set your sights on. I have to admit, I didn’t have huge expectations for Singapore because I didn’t know what to expect, other than a large metropolitan area. But after 3 jam-packed days exploring the downtown area, I have to say that Singapore is one of my favorite cities in the world (yes, it’s a city AND a country!). It’s extremely modern but retains a mix of European and Asian culture. It’s also clean and safe, making this a great destination to solo travel as well. This Singapore travel guide will ensure that you have an amazing, rewarding time in the Lion City.
Singapore Travel Guide: FAQs
How to get around Singapore?
I exclusively used public transportation, both buses and the MRT, to get between Singapore’s many neighborhoods. Once you’re in the neighborhood you want to be in, it’s very walkable. Google Maps will provide you with detailed and accurate directions. Singapore makes it very easy to pay for public transportation, with no need to buy a separate transportation card. Simply use any Mastercard or Visa contactless bank card, such as through Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. I used a Visa credit card through Apple Pay and had no issues. I really appreciated not having to deal with a separate transportation card.
Where to stay in Singapore?
Because Singapore is so well-connected by public transportation, there are many great options for where to stay. You can prioritize your budget when choosing where to stay because you won’t have an issue getting around. If budget isn’t a concern, then staying in the Marina Bay Sands area will position you right in the center of the city, surrounded by luxury. If budget is a concern, Little India and Chinatown are great options. They’re full of rich culture and delicious food, with many clean budget hotels.
When to visit Singapore?
Singapore experiences warm, tropical weather year-round with highs averaging in the 80s, but rain is also consistently in the forecast year-round. Since the weather is pretty consistent throughout the year, that means there isn’t a bad time to visit! The least rainfall occurs between February and April, although there will probably still be low rainfall levels. I visited in January and experienced rainfall all 3 days, but it was on and off all day. There were periods that I had to take shelter in a restaurant or cafe, but never for more than an hour at a time. Come prepared with a rain jacket and an umbrella, and the rain shouldn’t slow you down too much. Here’s an overview of weather patterns by season:
|Dec – early Jan
|Widespread continuous moderate to heavy rain
|Late Jan – early March
|Windy and relatively dry
|Late March – May
|Thunderstorms occur in the afternoon and early evening; hot afternoons are common
|June – Sep
|Occasional “Sumatra Squalls” (AKA lines of thunderstorms); Short duration showers/thunderstorms in the afternoon are common
|Oct – Nov
|Thunderstorms occur in the afternoon and early evening
How can I get phone service in Singapore?
My favorite option for accessing the Internet across the world is the Airalo eSIM. An eSIM doesn’t need to be physically put in and taken out; it’s simply installed onto your phone and connects to Internet anywhere in the world as soon as you land. Instead of wasting time looking for a local plastic SIM, you can activate the eSIM immediately after installation or upon arrival in Singapore. This is the easiest and most convenient option, and it’s reliable. I’ve used Airalo all over the world and I’m always a happy customer. Plus, if you are continuing your travels after Singapore, you can get a regional Asia eSIM that works in 14 countries.
Keep in mind that eSIMs only provide data service for connecting to the Internet, not calling and texting plans. If you need to make calls or send texts abroad, then you can pick up a physical SIM card at the airport upon arrival by pre-ordering here.
What about money in Singapore?
I used my credit card the whole time I was in Singapore and never got out cash. Singapore is very modern, so most establishments take credit cards. I don’t usually advise traveling in a foreign country without at least some cash, but since I was only in Singapore for 48 hours, I made an informed decision to take the risk. Unfortunately, this meant that I couldn’t eat at a famous Hawkers center, as the stands only took cash or a local money transfer app. I recommend taking out a small amount of cash to be safe and to be able to eat at the Hawkers centers. If you don’t want to take any risks or limit yourself, take out some cash, but you don’t need much!
Speaking of money, is Singapore as expensive as they say?
Everyone talks about how expensive Singapore is, and there’s a reason for that. It was the most expensive country I’ve traveled to in Southeast Asia. However, it’s all about your travel style and if you decide to splurge. Yes, Singapore is expensive, but it’s possible to plan your trip in a budget-friendly way. If you mostly stick to budget accommodation and street food, it won’t break the bank, especially for a short stay. But it will be significantly more expensive than the rest of your Southeast Asia adventures! If money is a concern, I recommend saving most of your budget for sightseeing instead of expensive hotels and restaurants.
Is Singapore vegetarian-friendly?
Yes, you will have no issue finding vegetarian and vegan options in Singapore! It currently stands in 2nd place on PETA’s list of top vegan-friendly cities in Asia. Unlike some other countries in Asia, veganism and vegetarianism have made their way into the mainstream, with options growing all the time. Lots of restaurants offer vegetarian options, and there are also plenty of all-vegan and all-vegetarian restaurants. My absolute favorite app when traveling as a vegetarian is HappyCow, which has been extremely useful in many countries across the world, including Singapore. It uses your current location to pull up a map of vegetarian and vegan options nearby. Make sure to download this app before heading to Singapore so you can easily pull up convenient options near you.
Is Singapore safe for solo female travelers?
Yes, Singapore is perhaps one of the safest countries you can solo travel to as a woman. It has a low crime rate and strict laws, making it consistently rank as one of the safest countries for both female and solo travelers. As long as you practice regular safety precautions, as you always should no matter where you are traveling, you should have no issues.
However, you should educate yourself on some of Singapore’s unusual laws before you go. These laws can be very specific and strictly enforced. For example, chewing gum is illegal, so you should carefully check your belongings to make sure you aren’t bringing gum into Singapore. Smoking cigarettes and drug use of any kind are also highly illegal.
Traveling to Singapore as a solo female traveler and want to know all about safety, tips, and what to expect? Read my guide to solo female travel in Singapore now.
Now, let’s get into the itinerary!
Singapore Travel Guide: Itinerary
Day 1: Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands
Gardens by the Bay
A trip to Singapore wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Gardens by the Bay. Nature, horticulture, and architecture are all on display at this modern bayside park. Gardens by the Bay consists of three indoor conservatories, the Flower Dome, Floral Fantasy, and Cloud Forest, and the outdoor Supertree Grove. All three conservatories require paid admission, but they are highly worth it. If you only visit one, let it be the Cloud Forest, which you will surely recognize from social media. The tall waterfall and lush mountain are absolutely stunning and whimsical. The Supertree Grove, housing the iconic Supertrees, is located outside and can be explored on foot for free. Don’t miss seeing them lit up at night!
Get your discounted Gardens by the Bay ticket to Floral Fantasy, the Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest, and/or the Supertree Observatory here!
Marina Bay Sands
After exploring Gardens by the Bay, head over to the most famous landmark in Singapore – Marina Bay Sands. This building, made of three towers and a huge horizontal deck, houses a hotel, mall, casino, restaurants, food courts, cafes, and more. You don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy most of its amenities. I had my favorite meal in Singapore at the food court, and I could’ve walked around the mall for hours. Find the best views of the city at the top by visiting either the Skypark Observation Deck or CÉ LA VI Rooftop Restaurant & Bar. Because the observation deck has paid admission, I recommend you visit CÉ LA VI instead. You can buy a single drink for about the same price as admission to the Skypark, so why not spend it on something to sip on while taking in the views?
Want to visit the Skypark Observation Deck with a discounted ticket? Book here today.
Every night, there is a free extravagant fountain show featuring jets, colorful visual projections, lasers, and more. It runs at 8 pm and 9 pm on Sunday – Thursday and 8 pm, 9 pm, and 10 pm on Friday – Saturday.
Day 2: China Town, Haji Lane, and Little India
Start your second day strong by heading to Chinatown. This vibrant neighborhood is full of temples, restaurants, and shops.
- See elaborate southern Chinese architectural styles at Thian Hock Keng Temple
- Visit the first Hindu temple in Singapore, Sri Mariamman Temple
- Take in revered Buddhist artifacts at Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
- Experience the authentic flavors of Singapore at Maxwell Food Centre, one of the famous Hawkers centres
- Stroll the street markets to grab cute souvenirs and delicious street food
Your next stop is another vibrant neighborhood, Kampong Glam. Haji Lane is a narrow road in Kampong Glam full of boutiques and foodie spots. As you stroll the neighborhood on and around Haji Lane, you’ll see bright street art, local boutiques, and independent bars and eateries. Don’t forget to walk by Sultan Mosque, the biggest mosque in Singapore.
End your day with a fulfilling meal in Little India, not far from your previous destination. You will find an abundance of North and South Indian food, with plenty of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Afterward, you can walk off your meal by exploring Little India’s street art trail.
Day 3: Island day trip – Sentosa Island or Pulau Ubin Island
Sentosa Island is a tiny, fun-packed island southwest of downtown Singapore. It’s home to Universal Studios, S.E.A. Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark, Madame Tussauds, and a variety of thrilling activities such as zip-lining, bungee-jumping, and Skyline Luge. Sentosa Island is very easy to reach; just head for HarbourFront Centre and then you can walk or take the monorail or cable car from there. If you’re looking for thrills and adventure, head to Sentosa Island for an action-packed day.
Pulau Ubin Island
If you’d prefer to spend your last day in nature, Pulau Ubin is a great option. Just a 15-minute boat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal, this island northeast of downtown Singapore is perfect for a day of outdoor adventure. The best way to explore the island is via bike, which you can easily rent from a few bicycle shops just around the corner of the Pulau Ubin Jetty. The roads are wide with few vehicles, and destinations are quite far apart, making biking an enjoyable option. On your ride around the island, be sure to stop at:
- Bukit Puaka for a bird’s eye view of the famous Ubin quarry
- Chek Jawa boardwalk to walk above the wetlands
- Many shrines and temples across the island, including German Girl’s Shrine and Wei Tuo Fa Gong Temple
Keep an eye out for its unique wildlife, including monkeys!
As you’re heading out, don’t forget to get to Changi Airport early to see the famous Jewel! It’s the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, accessible for free at the airport. It’s surrounded by a nature-themed entertainment and retail complex. I recommend you arrive an extra 1-2 hours early to explore this impressive airport, as it’s a worthy tourist destination in and of itself!
Have extra time at the airport and want to visit some of the Jewel’s impressive attractions? Get your discounted ticket here.
After 3 busy days in Singapore, you’ll be itching for more! Although it’s small, this country has so much to offer. Whether you were dazzled by the stunning skyline, captivated by the lush greenery, or enchanted by the vibrant culture, Singapore will leave a lasting impression.
Have longer to spend on the Malay Peninsula? Head next door to the beautiful country of Malaysia! If you enjoyed this Singapore travel guide, check out my Malaysia travel guides and resources here.