First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Singapore

If you are planning to jumpstart your Asia travel itinerary, the best place to do it is to visit Singapore. This bustling, progressive, and modern city will unleash your adventurous soul and satisfy your wandering spirit. It has everything for every tourist- from its green and safe environment, world-class shopping districts and malls, diverse culture, breathtaking attractions, modern public transport, vibrant nightlife, and many more. 

First-Timer's Travel Guide to Singapore
Gardens by the Bay | PxHere

Singapore really rocks, so check out this travel guide to get the most of your Singapore trip!

Visa Requirements to Singapore

Most nationalities including Philippine passport holders do not need a visa to enter Singapore. Only the following countries are required to secure a visa to enter Singapore. Please the list of visa requirements and more details, visit Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority website.

Level 1 Countries Required to Get a Visa to Enter Singapore

ArmeniaAzerbaijanBelarus
Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea
GeorgiaHong Kong Special Administrative Region (Document of Identity)
IndiaKazakhstanKyrgyzstan
Macao Special Administrative Region (Travel Permit)MoldovaPeople’s Republic of China (PRC)
RussiaTajikistanTurkmenistan
Ukraine
Uzbekistan

Level 2 Countries Required to Get a Visa to Enter Singapore

AfghanistanAlgeriaBangladesh
EgyptIranIraq
JordanKosovo Lebanon
LibyaMaliMorocco
NigeriaPakistanSaudi Arabia
SomaliaSudan Syria
TunisiaYemen

How to get to Singapore?

The Singapore Airport is an international hub with direct flights to many destinations. If you live in a major city, you most likely have a direct flight to Singapore.

From the Philippines, you can fly direct from Manila, Clark, Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao. You can check and book cheap flights to Singapore now.

By land, you also get to Singapore by taking a bus from Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, and Johor Bahru in Malaysia. You can book a ticket in advance here for a hassle-free journey. Check out our Malaysia-Singapore border crossing guide.

Traveling by ferry is also possible if you come from the islands of Bintan and Batam in Indonesia. You can check out the schedule of the ferry to Batam or Bintan to help you plan your itinerary.

When is the best time to visit Singapore?

Generally, the best time to plan your trip to Singapore is from February to April. During this period, you can explore many places, without the hassle of rain. 

When you want to escape the heavy throngs of tourists, mid-January through May is considered the “shoulder season”. If you are traveling on a budget, you can negotiate lower accommodation rate during low season (August to October, except mid-September because of Singapore Grand Prix). The peak months are June and July in time of the Great Singapore Sale, and also from November to early January. 

How to get to the city center from Singapore Airport

Prior to your Singapore exploration, purchase an EZ-link card to pay your transport fares on the metro (MRT), buses, taxis, private cars, as well as food and drinks in various vending machines or stores. Check out our list of Things to Do at Changi International Airport.

Changi Airport Shuttle
This shared transfer service option is the least expensive way to travel to and from Changi Airport. It has drop-off points in the Central Singapore hotels. You can pre-book online or avail of the service at the Ground Transport Desk in the Arrival hall. It is recommended for travelers with one piece of luggage and a backpack or bag. 

Taxi
There are many taxi units in the Arrival Area of the airport’s terminals that will conveniently take you to your hotel, especially if you have lots of luggage. The fare is approximately between SGD 20-35 and subject to change because of the peak or off-peak hours, late-night surcharge, port surcharge, and additional ERP charge that is passed on to the passenger. It takes about 20-25 minutes to reach the city center.

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
The quickest way to reach your destination, however, you need to transfer to another train at Tanah Merah Station because of the absence of direct line to the center of the city. First trip leaves at 5:20 AM on Monday-Saturday and 5:47 AM on Sunday and during public holidays, while the last train departs at 11:54 PM.

Bus
Another cost-effective means to reach the city is riding a bus. All the airport terminals have designated bus stops. Use your EZ-link card or pay the exact amount for the fare.

Changi International Airport

Connecting to the Internet in Singapore

Singapore has an Internet connectivity rate of more than 99%, making it easy to connect with your family, colleagues, and clients across the world. There are ways to access the internet such as:

Prepaid SIM card
You can purchase a SIM card at Changi Telcos retail counters and convenience stores. You need to show your passport for registration purposes upon purchase.

Free Public Wi-Fi
There are many public areas across Singapore with available free hotspots. It includes malls, community centers, public libraries, museums, Sentosa Island, Changi Airport, and MRT stations. 

Pocket Wi-Fi
Another option is to connect using a pocket Wi-Fi device that gives you data access. It can be rented at the airport’s Changi Recommends counters or other Wi-Fi rental companies. Rent a pocket WIFI now.

Where to exchange local currency in Singapore?

There are a lot of exchange centers in the airport but of course, the rate is slightly lower compared to the exchange centers in the city. What you can do is to exchange a small amount at the airport and go to Lucky Plaza to get one of the best currency exchange rates in Singapore.

How to get around Singapore?

Exploring the beautiful sights and attractions of Singapore is easy because of its modern public transportation system.

MRT
It is the most comfortable means to get around the city. The trains are available from 5:30 AM until around midnight, with 1 to 3 minutes-interval at peak hours and 3 to 5 minutes-interval during off-peak hours.

Taxi
Getting around in a taxi is the best if you have little kids or in a group. It can be a bit costly, but it will take you faster to the point of destination.

Bus
Another convenient way is to take a bus. Buses ply across the city as early as 5:30 in the morning until 12:00 midnight. 

On Foot
It is the cheapest and the most tiring, but if you want to get familiar with the city streets and explore every place, then why not try it?

Where to stay in Singapore?

The hotels in Singapore are relatively more expensive compared to the rest of Southeast Asia. But of course, there are cheap hostels too if you are traveling on a budget.

If the price is less of your concern then we highly suggest you stay at Marina Bay Sands. It is one of the top hotels in Singapore and a tourist destination in itself. Room rates start at around USD520. You can book now online via Booking.com.

For a mid-range hotel, we recommend the Strand Hotel in Bugis. It is an affordable top-rated hotel in the popular Bugis area in Singapore.

Budget travelers and backpackers can stay at Dream Lodge Hostel. This budget hotel is one of the top-rated hostels in Singapore. You can get a single pod here for around USD24 a night. Book now as their pods and rooms sell fast. It is located within the city center at 172 Tyrwhitt Road, Kallang, Singapore.

Must-Try Food in Singapore

Chilli Crab. Dubbed as the national dish of Singapore, the Singapore Chilli Crab made it to the 2011 CNN poll of the World’s 50 Best Foods. This is definitely a dish you should try when you visit the modern city of Singapore. The best place to have a Singapore Chilli Crab is at Mellben Seafood Restaurant at Blk 211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8 #01-11/15, Singapore. You may also try it at Long Beach Seafood Restaurant and at No Signboard Seafood Restaurant.

Chicken Rice. Another dish to try when in Singapore is the Hainanese Chicken Rice. It is one of the most popular dishes in Singapore and a must-try for visitors. It’s a very simple dish but also flavorful you would want it every time you visit the city. You can pretty much get Hainanese Chicken Rice everywhere in Singapore.

Kaya Toast with Soft-Boiled Eggs. This is a traditional Singaporean breakfast. This popular breakfast combo is made up of toasted bread, coconut or egg kaya, and a slice of thinly sliced butter. The kaya toast is best paired with soft-boiled eggs and coffee. You can have your kaya toast at Ya Kun Kaya Toast which has a lot of stalls across Singapore.

Chicken Rice

10 Top Tourist Attractions in Singapore 

Gardens by the Bay

Without a doubt, Singapore has one of the most impressive, futuristic green spaces in the world. This modern garden ranks high in the most-visited tourist attractions in Singapore. The Garden by the Bay features the eye-popping Supertree Grove with its 18 vertical structures, the Cloud Forest Dome with the world’s highest indoor waterfall, and the Flower Dome, which was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the Largest Glass Greenhouse in 2015. Get a discounted Gardens by the Bay ticket online.

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay | Photo by Derrick Brutel under creative commons

Universal Studios Singapore

Whether you are traveling with your family or on a solo journey, one of the most exciting places to visit is the Universal Studios Singapore. It has a lot of attractions, themed zones, rides, shopping areas, cafes, and restaurants that will keep you entertained all day long and even after dusk. Buy a discounted ticket.

Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore | Photo by Nic under creative commons

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island offers amazing tourist attractions in Singapore, becoming a major destination of the city.  It is home to the world-renowned Merlion statue, Resorts World Sentosa, Fort Siloso, and a whole lot more. If you love aqua sports like Skimboarding and Kayaking, visit the Siloso Beach or you swim with the dolphins in the Underwater World Aquarium. It is15 minutes ride from the center of Singapore. Get your Sentosa FUN Pass now.

Songs of the Sea - Sentosa Island
Songs of the Sea – Sentosa Island | Photo by Marc van der ChijsFollow under creative commons

Merlion Park

Singapore is known for the mythical Merlion, the creature with the body and tail of a fish and head of a lion. It is a symbol of the city’s humble beginnings as a fishing village and evolving into a modern, progressive country in Asia. The 8.6-meter tall and 70-ton statue was relocated in 2002 to Merlion Park, overlooking the Marina Bay. A little Merlion sits nearby. Merlion Park is one of the most visited areas for photo-ops and “selfies”.

Marina Bay Sands

The opulent Marina Bay Sands resort complex is another must-see tourist attractions in Singapore. It houses the Casino, ArtScience Museum, an indoor skating rink, a convention center, a luxury hotel, a high-end mall with a man-made canal that runs through it, the Skypark, as well as entertainment, shopping, and entertainment centers. Buy your Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation pass.

Botanic Gardens

With a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition, the Botanic Garden is the world’s forefront orchid breeding and research center.  It features the National Orchid Garden, the Bonsai Garden, Eco-Garden, Eco-Lake, and more. Since its opening in 1859, this tropical garden has the largest collection of orchid species and hybrids, along with other species of exotic flora and other jungle creatures like monitor lizards. This garden enhances the image of Singapore as the Garden City. 

Jewel Changi Airport

This award-winning airport is one of the most beautiful and innovative touchdown points in the world. It offers a variety of attractions in its four terminals, like the Canopy Park, Canopy Bridge, Manulife Sky Nets, Hedge Maze, entertainment centers, shops, and dining areas. No wonder, it is a consistent choice as the best airport by lots of publications and award-giving bodies. 

Jewel Changi Airport | Photo by Terrazzo under creative commons

Orchard Road

This iconic 2.2-kilometer street is the shopping haven of locals and tourists. Both sides of the Orchard Road are flanked with numerous boutiques, malls, department stores, hotels, cafes, restaurants, spas, and entertainment zones. A walk along this road will give you sparks of joy.

Singapore Zoo

Cited as the world’s best rainforest zoo, the Singapore Zoo is a great place to take your kids. It has lush vegetation and impressive habitat space for white tigers, mole rats, Komodo dragon, Meerkats, chimpanzee, koalas, zebras, birds, and more. You can also try their Night Safari, River Safari, or Breakfast with the Orangutans activities for a more personal wildlife experience. Buy your Singapore Zoo ticket.

Singapore Zoo
Singapore Zoo | Photo by ohn under creative commons

Chinatown

The city’s own Chinatown is one of the top tourist attractions in Singapore. It showcases the old Chinese culture and heritage, old temples, tea houses, shop houses, and museums, while the presence of modern restaurants, bars, boutique hotels, and cafes in the area enhances its allure. The night market is a much-awaited activity in this part of the metropolis.

There’s more to see and the only way to enjoy them is to be there as soon as you can!

Top Tours and Activities to Do in Singapore

Singapore Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour

Explore the best of Singapore onboard an open-top, double-decker bus. See the iconic landmarks of Singapore like the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Flyer, Merlion, and the Gardens by the Bay. Buy your ticket now.

Chinatown Walking Tour

Klook.com

Little India Walking Tour

Klook.com

If you want to experience Legoland Malaysia and Hello Kitty Town, you may book a shared transfer from Singapore. You may also buy your Legoland Admission ticket or Sanrio Hello Kitty Town ticket now.

Follow us on Instagram

Leave a Reply

Close Menu
error: Content is protected !!