Singapore – the city of superlatives. In Singapore everything is bigger, higher, newer and more impressive. That’s impressive on the one hand, and kind of daunting on the other. Singapore is an incredibly orderly city. There are strict rules – and they are always followed.
To be honest, although we’ve been to Singapore twice now, we haven’t really warmed to the city yet. Somehow the spark didn’t want to fly. But that doesn’t mean Singapore isn’t worth seeing. Because that’s it! In this blog article we will introduce you to the most important sights and highlights and reveal our personal tips for your trip to Singapore.
1. Singapore: First information and tips & what to expect Singapore is a city state, an island nation and the smallest country in Southeast Asia. Small but mighty, you could say, because Singapore knows how to impress. Between skyscrapers and futuristic buildings, huge gardens and gigantic shopping malls, you suddenly feel miles away from the otherwise often chaotic Southeast Asia.
Singapore is sparkling clean, orderly and the city of do’s and don’ts. One can hardly walk down the street without passing a sign saying which tells you how to behave.
Some districts of Singapore somehow don’t really fit in with the modern, spruced-up rest – above all Little India, Little Arabia (Kampong Glam) and Chinatown to name. Honestly, these are the places we liked best in Singapore, with their rough edges.
For whom is Singapore a suitable travel destination? First of all, we recommend Singapore to everyone who loves Asian big cities. You have to be a city fan to feel comfortable in the concrete jungle of Singapore. Normally we would not recommend a big city as a travel destination for families with children, but Singapore is an exception: Sentosa Island has a huge amusement park there.
We also point out that Singapore is a rather expensive destination. Overnight stays in Singapore in particular are quite expensive. If you’re on a tight budget then there are definitely better options than Singapore.
It’s always a good idea to put Singapore at the beginning or end of your Southeast Asia trip . Travel destinations that can be ideally combined with Singapore are, for example, Malaysia, Thailand or Indonesia.
How much time should I plan for Singapore? The optimal travel time is a very individual matter. Roughly speaking, however, we recommend that you plan about three nights for Singapore. So you can easily visit the most important sights and highlights. If you like big cities and would like to take it easy, then you can easily spend four to five nights in Singapore without getting bored.
Travel guide for Singapore: Our tip Are you traveling to other Southeast Asian countries besides Singapore? Then it’s best to check whether your travel guide doesn’t already contain a chapter about Singapore. In the Stefan Loose Travel Guide Malaysia, for example, you will also find enough information about Singapore.
If you prefer detailed information and would like to get your own Singapore travel guide, then we can recommend Lonely Planet. We really like the design of the guidebooks. They are clearly laid out and contain lots of good tips.
You can buy the travel guide here: Lonely Planet Singapore
2. Highlights & Main Sights in Singapore Marina Bay Marina Bay, Singapore’s waterfront, is the prime example of Singapore’s futuristic architecture. This district, which incidentally was built on land, is home to some of Singapore’s most iconic buildings.
First of all, there’s the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel – the hotel on the roof of which is the highest infinity pool in the world. Bathing in this pool and marveling at the Singapore skyline from above is a small dream for many, for which they accept the very salty overnight prices. The alternative: In addition to the infinity pool, there is a rooftop bar that can also be visited by external guests. (We’ll give you more information about this later.)
Continue with futuristic buildings: next to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel is the futuristic Art Science Museum. It is reminiscent of a lotus flower and houses a modern art museum. From there it goes over the bizarre Helix Bridge to the striking Esplanade (Theatres on the Bay) – a cultural center that houses a concert hall and a theater hall.
By the way, you have a nice view of the entire ensemble of buildings in Marina Bay from the promenade in the west. The (actually rather inconspicuous) symbol of Singapore, the Merlion. The 8 meter high, water-spouting mythical creature statue is half fish, half lion – and a very popular photo motif.
Gardens by the Bay & Supertrees Do you hear the extravagance in the name? “Gardens by the Bay” – you couldn’t have come up with a more euphonious name, could you? The gigantic park Gardens by the Bay actually belongs to the Marina Bay district, but because there is so much to see here, we dedicate a separate chapter to this place.
First of all, the Gardens by the Bay include the striking Supertrees. In total 18 bombastic fake trees rise up like something straight out of a science fiction film. They are one of the most popular photo motifs in Singapore.
Two Supertrees are connected via the so-called OCBC Skyway. From up here you get a completely new perspective and view of the gardens. Another fairly new attraction is the Supertree Observatory – an observation deck that’s a little higher than the Skywalk.
But that was a long time ago not everything: Gardens by the Bay also includes two spectacular greenhouses: The Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome. The word “Dome” is once again aptly chosen, because the greenhouse is really huge.
Information and tips for visiting the Gardens by the Bay Some areas of Gardens by the Bay are free to enter, including the Supertrees area. However, there is an entrance fee for the OCBC Skyway or the Supertree Observatory. The two greenhouses (Cloud Forest and Flower Dome) are also quite expensive.
Our tip: There is a combined ticket on GetYourGuide with which you Get admission to the main attractions of Gardens by the Bay and save money at the same time.
You can buy your ticket here: Ticket Gardens by the Bay
Little India You won’t find more contrast in Singapore! Little India is one of our very favorite neighborhoods in Singapore. We love the loud blare of Indian Bollywood music, the strong smells and the shops selling everything from painkillers and toothbrushes to vintage school cell phones.
Anyone who has never been to India will get a tiny idea of what it could be like there after a walk through Singapore’s Little India: backyards, in where rubbish is piling up, cockroaches almost walking over your feet, people staring at you.
Let’s say: nowhere else in Singapore is it so unregulated, colorful and loud like in Little India. And we’ll tell you something else now: In Little India you can eat excellently and quite cheaply. Convinced?
Kampong Glam (Little Arabia) Just a stone’s throw away from Little India you will find Kampong Glam, the so-called Little Arabia of Singapore. However: Little Arabia is a little less “Arabic” than we expected – maybe we just hoped for too much oriental flair.
At the latest when you see the golden dome of the Sultan Mosque you realize that you are correct. The mosque borders on Arab Street, the most famous street in the heart of Kampong Glam. By far the most beautiful section of the street (which is actually more of a side street) can be found directly in front of the mosque: with the palm trees and the mosque in the background, the corner makes a really pretty photo motif.
Along with Little India, Kampong Glam is one of the few areas in Singapore that is a little ‘different’ from the rest. It’s a little dirtier here and a little smellier too. A little darker and a little more disordered. But only a little – after all, we are still in Singapore.
The fact that Singapore is a city of contrasts is also proven by the Kampong Glam district : For example, Haji Lane is one of the most colorful streets in Singapore. The walls are covered with street art and there are some nice places to eat.
Raffles Hotel & Singapore Colonial District Colonial buildings in Singapore, which otherwise seems so modern? They exist – and how they exist! You will find most of the colonial buildings in the so-called Colonial District north of the Singapore River.
One of the most beautiful buildings is the legendary Raffle’s Hotel. You can visit this without staying the night there. Just walk in and look around – there are some beautiful corners to explore.
Two blocks further you get to St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore’s largest cathedral. The Fullerton Hotel is also well worth seeing, which is located in Marina Bay (at the mouth of the Singapore River).
Singapore River: Boat Quay & Clarke Quay Near the aforementioned Merlion statue in Marina Bay, the Singapore River meanders through the city. Here you get to the so-called Quays of Singapore, i.e. the historic quays. This was once the center of the port district – today the Quays form one of the most popular restaurant and bar miles in Singapore.
The area is now quite touristy – we would personally look elsewhere for food. The quays are definitely suitable for an evening stroll along the water.
Singapore Botanical Gardens The magnificently laid out Botanic Gardens are the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Singapore and are actually the world’s most visited botanic gardens. Although this attraction is a bit out of the center, we think it’s well worth the drive – especially if you’re looking for a little break from the concrete jungle.
You should bring some time with you to visit the botanical gardens, because they are quite extensive. The highlight and heart of the Botanic Gardens is the National Orchid Garden – a garden in which 60.05 orchids are native. Incidentally, entry to the Botanic Gardens is free. There is a small charge for the orchid garden only.
3. The most beautiful view of Singapore: Our tip No one should leave Singapore without at least seeing the glittering skyline from above. There are plenty of observation decks and rooftop bars in Singapore.
Marina Bay Sands & CÉ LA VI Skybar The most famous and sought-after is clearly the view of Singapore’s skyline from the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Unfortunately, as an external guest you are not allowed to swim in the infinity pool, but there are two other ways to enjoy the view.
Option 1: You buy a ticket for the so-called Sands SkyPark Observation Deck, the observation deck located in the 57. floor is located. The price on site is 26 SGD – you get it a little cheaper if you buy your ticket in advance via GetYourGuide.
Your ticket can be bought here buy: Sands SkyPark Observation Deck
Variant 2 (and our recommendation): You visit the CÉ LA VI Skybar, which is right next to said infinity pool. Before 22 you pay here an entry from 22 SGD, which you can redeem in the form of a voucher for drinks.
The prices for the Cocktails are also approximately 23 SGD with taxes added. Ultimately, you have to pay a few more dollars. Unlike the viewing platform, you get a drink for your money here – and the amazing view on top of that. Especially at sunset it is really fantastic here. A bit of luck is required, however, because the good seats at the front are in great demand.
4. What we don’t like about Singapore Sentosa Sentosa is a offshore island full of amusement parks, that arouses little enthusiasm among us. The concept is strongly reminiscent of an American theme park – it’s not for nothing that Sentosa advertises with the motto “State of Fun”. In addition to countless attractions, an offshoot of Universal Studios, several casinos and luxury hotels await you here. There are also a few man-made beaches, which are nice, but of course not comparable to those in Indonesia or Thailand.
We spent our time on Sentosa in Tanjong Beach Club and shared a fresh coconut and a cheesecake for a lot of money. Our summary: You can do it, but you don’t have to.
Ask us again in a few years what we think of Sentosa. Maybe then we will be very grateful to the island – with kith and kin – for the possibilities for excursions. For us as a couple, the trip to Sentosa was in any case dispensable.
Arrival: How do I get to Sentosa? The following two options are the most popular:
Variant 1: Sentosa Express – a monorail connecting Sentosa to the mainland. The departure station in Singapore is connected to the MRT, so the Sentosa Express is easily accessible.
Variant 2: Singapore Cable Car – a cable car, which takes you from Mount Faber in Singapore across the sea to Sentosa. This type of arrival is definitely the most beautiful, as you can look forward to really great views here. However, a trip with the Singapore Cable Car is not exactly cheap.
Important note: There are two lines of the Singapore Cable Car – the Mount Faber Line (= the route from mainland Singapore to Sentosa Island) and the Sentosa Line (= a line operating on Sentosa Island). With the following ticket you can use both lines. Pre-purchasing online can save you money compared to buying tickets on site.
You can buy your ticket here: Singapore Cable Car (both lines)
Shopping malls (especially at weekends) Singapore is paradise for people who love shopping (which we don’t count ourselves among). There are an incredible number of shopping malls – many of them are quite eye-catchers from an architectural point of view. The highest density of shopping malls can be found along Singapore’s most famous shopping street, Orchard Road.
Shopping in Singapore’s huge malls is a thing of the past rather something for die-hards. But weekend shopping in Singapore? Heaven let it be Unless you like squeezing through the aisles of the shopping malls with thousands of people.
The many prohibitions and rules Don’t get me wrong, but Singapore is assigned to us. Too straight. Too much “don’t”, too little “do”. We know that for a country or city to function it needs do’s and don’ts, but Singapore really takes it to the extreme. Illegally cycling? Penalty: 1. SGD. Eat in the MRI? 800 SGD.
The good thing: The crime rate in Singapore is extremely low. Even pickpocketing is extremely rare. With Singapore you can look forward to a very safe travel destination.
5. Our hotel tip for Singapore We have now stayed at the Wanderlust Hotel in Singapore twice – and on our next trip to Singapore we would book the hotel again immediately. The Wanderlust is quite a hip boutique hotel, located near Little India.
The Wanderlust Hotel was only recently 2020 completely renovated and reopened – before that it was unique, but we like the minimalist design even better now. The rooms are really small (unfortunately not uncommon in Singapore), but the space is optimally used. We slept great in the comfortable beds. The breakfast is also excellent.
The hotel also has a small Jacuzzi – perfect for cooling off after sightseeing. We also think the location of the hotel on the outskirts of Little India is great, because there are so many good places to eat nearby. The MRT station is in the immediate vicinity. Our conclusion: A highly recommended hotel!
You can book the hotel here: Wanderlust
Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Were you ever been to singapore? How did you like it? Do you have any other tips or personal experiences? We look forward to your comment!