Singapore is a country with sharp contrasts of ancient temples and glittering skyscrapers, rich history and ultra modern culture, and luxury condos on the backdrop of dense jungles. Reinventing itself from being just a stopover island to one of the world’s most visited tourist hub; Singapore today has everything to delight its visitor.
Presenting a comprehensive Singapore travel guide to help you plan your travel to this magnificent island city in the most fulfilling way.
History of Singapore:
A rich history filled with various trials, triumphs and twists; Singapore in its earliest settlement was known as Temasek (Sea town). The city was renamed to Singapura in the 14th century by a Prince from Palembang who hunted a lion, an animal he never saw before and thus, decided to name the place where he found that animal as Singapura.
The modern Singapore was founded in the 19th century when Britishers eyed this flourishing port to base their merchant fleet. The trading port attracted many neighboring merchants like the Chinese, Indians, Malay Archipelago, and elsewhere. The city was attacked and won by the Japanese during the World War II. In the year 1945 the Japanese surrendered the city to the British. Further in a move of independence Malaysia was formed and Singapore, Malaya, Sarawak, and Sabah became a part of it. However, in the year 1969 Singapore separated itself and formed a democratic nation.
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Approximate costs of the basics
Accommodation- Lodging is a major concern in Singapore as it isn’t cheap. A low budget hotel starts from $37 and if you are looking for a little decent hotel, expect the costing to be somewhere around $60-$75 per night.
Food- Low cost tasty food is available in abundance in Singapore. The street stalls typically sell a full meal for less than $4 dollars. If you go for Chinese or Indian cuisine, you might have to shell a bit more approximately $6- 7 US dollars. A meal in a casual restaurant will cost you around $15 dollars and there’s no end to the fine dining options in Singapore.
Transportation- the most cost effective transport in Singapore is the Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) which runs through the length and breadth of the country. The ticket prices are nominal based on the distance travelled. Taxis and buses are easily available everywhere in Singapore.
Overall, Singapore is not that expensive. It would have been ideal if the accommodation cost was low but that gets adjusted in the low cost of food and transport.
Top things to See and Do
An island resort that welcomes over 20 million tourists every year, Sentosa Island is one of the most famous attractions of Singapore. The top things to do in the island includes a 2km long sheltered beach, 2 golf courses, Fort Siloso, 14 hotels and the best of all- the Universal Studios.
This ferries wheel is 165mtr tall and is a perfect answer to the London Eye. The Singapore Flyer also serves high tea and offers exclusive butler- dinner service too. Each of its air conditioned capsule can accommodate 28 passengers. The view from the Flyer will leave you speechless.
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It is the most famous shopping district of the country and a shopper’s paradise. An amazing place for people watching, the road is always bustling with shoppers hopping from one mall to the other. In short, Orchard road specializes in bringing out the shopaholic in you.
Since the time when Singapore envisaged itself as a tourist destination, Merlion has become the icon of the country and still stands proud as one of the most visited attractions. This landmark mythical creature with a lion head and a fish body is the emblem of Singapore tourism and the area surrounding the Merlion is ideal to take a relaxed evening stroll.
Gardens By the Bay
It’s a 101 hectare super park that has to be seen to ideally appreciate the creative marvel. As the name suggests, this garden offers exceptional views of the marina Bay skyline. Full of lush green lawns, palm trees, super trees, conservatory cloud forests, the OCBC skyway and so much more, the Gardens by the Bay should be a must visit.
Beyond the regular tourist attractions:
The arts scene in Singapore is splendid. You can spot some super talented street performances of famous Chinese operas that are a treat to watch. Live rock bands, cabarets and theatre performances are a must watch.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Having various criss- cross trails Bukit Timah Nature Reserve offers an authentic forest experience. With abundance of flora fauna you can also spot various macaques in the reserve.
Singapore Night Safari
From Malayan tigers to polar bears, this excellent zoo has a special section entirely devoted to the nocturnal animals and the safari at night is one of a kind experience here.
Amongst the numerous shopping streets that dominate the consumerism of Singapore, Arab Street is a distinct, stylish and often overlooked shopping area. Adorned by the Sultan mosque with a golden dome, the street has many alternative boutiques, Arabic cuisine eateries, curio shops, and fascinating carpets on sale.
- Most of the tourists visiting Singapore do not require VISA and can be issued social visit passes for their trip. Check the following link to know whether your nationality qualifies for no VISA requirement http://www.ica.gov.sg/page.aspx?pageid=96
- The commonly spoken language is Malay, Tamil and Mandarin Chinese, however, being a tourist place most of the Singaporeans are fluent in English.
- Almost all the air conditioned public places are non smoking areas.
- In Singapore you can drink water straight from the tap as the water in Singapore passes WHO standards. It saves a lot of money on bottled drinking water.
- Keep an umbrella with you always; unexpected rain showers are pretty common in Singapore.
When to Go
The climate of Singapore is hot and humid all year round and is flooded by tourist round the year, but the best period to visit the country is during the months of July to September when Singapore food festival and Singapore shopping fest takes place. The country can also be best visited during the months of February to April when the climate is overall pleasant and there are plenty of outdoor adventure opportunities available.
The best thing about Singapore is its eclectic mix of traditional and modern cosmopolitan culture. The country is vibrant in every sense, be it its people, places, culture or cuisine. The place beckons tourists across all ages and interests and that’s what makes Singapore so special.