• Travel Guide

    Travel Guide | Singapore

    guide to singapore

    Singapore is an island city-state off of Southern Malaysia in which it famously cut it’s ties with over 54 years ago. It is a global financial centre with it’s multicultural population and tropical climate – known for it’s humid temperatures and frequent downpours.

    The colonial core centers on the Padang, a cricket field since the 1830s and now flanked by grand buildings such as City Hall, with its 18 Corinthian columns. In Singapore’s circa-1820 Chinatown stands the red-and-gold Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, said to house one of Buddha’s teeth.

    Basic info & culture

    CURRENCY

    In Singapore they use their own currency Singapore Dollars. If you are going to use a credit card to withdraw money or to pay for things, I would definitely recommend looking into a card that doesn’t charge you for payments or withdrawals abroad. I use Monzo which is an app based bank account and contactless card (there are lots of similar ones to choose from though), it also alerts you once you’ve used the card and also gives you the current exchange rate on purchases too.

    Top Tip:
    Download the app “Currency Plus” to get currency conversions on the go. It updates daily and when connected to WiFi or Network to give you the latest conversion and you can have multiple currencies shown in one go.

    Download here: Apple App Store // Google Play Store

    LANGUAGE

    In Singapore they predominantly speak English but they also speak Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. You often find that the elderly do not speak much English due to their education but the majority of the population speak very good English so you don’t have to worry about language barriers.

    • Hello/Good Morning – Selamat pagi (suh-lah-mat    pag-ee)
    • Good Afternoon – Selamat tengah hari (sul-lah-mat   teen-gah   har-ee)
    • Good Night – Selamat Malam (sul-lah-mat   mah-lahm)
    • Goodbye – Selamat tinggal
    • Thank you –Terima kasih
    • Thank you so much – Terima kasih banyak
    • Yes – Ya
    • No – Tidak
    • Please – Sila
    TIMEZONE

    Singapore are 8 hours ahead of the UK. Their time zone is Greenwich Mean Time ( GMT+8:00)

    CUISINE

    Food and eating out in Singapore is very continental, you can have everything from traditional dishes to Italian, Thai and Korean. There are plenty of places to eat out from your very budget friendly hawker food centres to your more expensive rooftop bars and restaurants. I will write up a post on places you should eat at separately.

    Fancy a trip to another part of Asia, maybe Thailand? But need some more info, check out my Travel Guide | Thailand.


    Budget Tips

    Suggested Daily Budget – 68-75 EUR / 67-72 GBP (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)

    01. Eat out at hawker centres and street markets – The food in hawker centres and street markets is amazing and at ridiculously cheap prices. The atmosphere won’t be like a posh restaurant but the food is so cheap so you can eat more of it.

    02. Use public transport – The trains, tuk tuks and rickshaws will be so much cheaper than booking taxis and you won’t always be stuck in the road traffic. Uber or Grab as it’s called in Asia is so much cheaper than booking a metered taxi, but save them for longer journeys like to airports and further out of the city.

    03. Drink less alcohol – Singapore is a Muslim country so drinking lots of alcohol is quite bad and it will be a lot more expensive across Singapore. So save your money without buying alcohol and spend it on something more valuable.

    04. Book during Monsoon season – If you don’t mind the weather being wet and thundery, booking during Monsoon season will be a lot cheaper. If not, it will be more expensive but the weather will be better.

    Travel tips

    VISAS

    You don’t need a visa to visit Singapore from the UK but you do need to fill in an immigration card. You may need a visa from other countries so be sure to check your countries government website to find out.

    INJECTIONS

    I didn’t need any injections to visit as I had already had the boosters for the injections required. Be sure to check your medical history and countries government website.

    CAPITAL/CITY

    The capital of Singapore and city is Singapore. It became it’s own city state after it seperated and became independent from Malaysia back in 1965. There are smaller islands that are part of Singapore which include Sentosa Island, where you can find Universal Studios, Coney Island, Peak Island and many other smaller islands.

    HOTELS

    Hotels were a little bit hit and miss to start with when we first arrived in Singapore. If you plan to book with AirBnB, they all seem to be located in Johor Bahru which is in Malaysia. You will have to go through customs and immigration every time you wanted to get in and out of JB. (As the Singaporeans call it). They also say it’s not very safe and that there isn’t much there.

    In terms of hotels in Singapore it’s either a cheap hostel type place or an expensive luxurious hotel. So it’s really your choice where you choose to stay. It wasn’t until our 3rd day out of 5 that we found a gorgeous hotel we ended staying at. Our hotel we stayed at was Sofitel City Centre Singapore Hotel (located on Wallich Street) and it was gorgeous! I will write about our stay there soon. They also have two other hotels in Singapore which are their Sentosa Beach Resort & Spa that is located on a cliff or their SO Sofitel Hotel which is a slightly smaller hotel than the others but still just as lovely.


    guide to singapore

    EXPLORE SINGAPORE
    Singapore City

    DRIVING

    We didn’t try driving in Singapore but you can hire cars at the airport or through a car hire agency. We used public transport or walked during our time in Singapore as we wasn’t there long enough to make the most of using a car. I will write up a seperate post about getting around in Singapore city, it is very easy as there is plenty of public transport options available or you are able to walk to many of the central locations within the city very easily if you don’t mind walking and are looking to save some money.

    FLIGHTS

    Flights from London can take about 12 hours depending on the flight path and weather. You can easily book flights to Singapore using many different search engines including SkyScanner. Lots of different airlines fly into Singapore’s Changi International airport. We flew with British Airways into Changi Airport from London Heathrow. You can choose between flying directly or having a stop-over in the middle of your journey. The cheapest time of year to fly to Singapore is between June and August.

    Top Tip:
    One amazing thing about Singapore is that they use the same plug sockets we do in the UK. You don’t have to worry about adapters which is great.

    Packing Tips

    WHAT TO WEAR

    You can wear pretty much anything in Singapore depending on what weather you’ll have there. I went in January which it was very hot and humid and had a few odd showers. I didn’t pack my suitcase depending on the rain. You would have to cover up if you entered a place of worship though but that is easy to do with a sarong or kimono that isn’t too heavy or make you hot in the heat.

    WEATHER

    Weather can vary quite a lot in Singapore. It can go from being very hot and humid and then have the odd rain shower which could last a few minutes or maybe even longer, they are also known for their thunderstorms. Our taxi driver one day told us the hottest weather is in the middle of the year from June to August but January is still pretty hot and bearable without being scorching with a few odd little showers of rain.

    SINGAPORE WEATHER


    Activities & things to see

    ACTIVITIES & THINGS TO DO

    There is so much to do which I will write about in separate blog posts filled with all of my recommendations. Singapore is the perfect layover city, especially for long distance travel to Australia and New Zealand. There is so much to see in a small area and nothing is too far to get to when walking or using public transport.

    HIGHLIGHTS OF SINGAPORE:
    • – Gardens By The Bay
    • – Haji Lane
    • – Little India
    • – Chinatown
    • – Marina Bay Sands Hotel
    • – Raffles Hotel
    • – Singapore Zoo
    • – Clarke Quay
    • – Marina Bay

    For more information about visiting, be sure to check out their Visit Singapore website.

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