Singapore City Guide


Singapore is a dynamic, sunny and cosmopolitan island, located off the southern Malay Peninsula and is one of Asia's most prosperous and most visited destinations. Singapore is towering and modern, safe and friendly and has a worthy reputation for effortlessly blending Malaysian, Indian, Arab and Chinese cultures and cuisines into one harmonious island experience.

Singapore is a vibrant city-state and is known locally as 'The Garden City' due to it's climate supporting lush green landscape, immaculately presented gardens and open public spaces.

Singapore Holidays and Short Breaks: Singapore is much more than just a convenient stopover point, the island is also an exciting and popular holiday destination. Singapore has a wonderful tropical climate, stylish architecture, magnificent high-end shopping, golden sandy beaches and a vibrant nightlife. Singapore also offers several luxury hotel & spa resorts, plus beach hotels tailor-made for families, there's even a Universal Studios to keep the youngsters happy.

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Compare discounted Hotel Room Rates and low cost Flight Tickets to Singapore. Fly direct from the UK to Singapore with the following airlines:

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Singapore Stopover Holidays: Singapore has long been a gateway to the charms of Southeast Asia, with many travellers using Singapore as a convenient stopover or transit point for onward travel.

However, Singapore continues to evolve, its shrugged off its stuffiness and has become a popular final holiday destination in its own right. Read our travel guide below to find out why you should stay in Singapore for a little longer. Also! Check out the latest Singapore Flight and Hotel Stopover options and prices.

The Singapore travel guide.

Introduction: Singapore became independent from the British in 1965 and and is now a thriving global shipping and banking hub, Singapore is also a melting pot of architecture, culture and history. You'll find Singapore's diverse ethnic quarters (Little India, Kampong Glam and Chinatown) offer a host of delightful culinary and cultural experiences, with city centre food stalls (Hawkers) and the smaller traditional eateries offering a wide choice of quality and inexpensive Malaysian, Indian, Chinese and Arab delicacies.

Down-town Singapore is a modern metropolis full of towering futuristic skyscrapers ultra-modern hotels, high-end shopping malls, luxury department stores and classy boutiques, all presented in a relaxing and stylish setting.

Climate: Singapore has a tropical climate with consistent year round temperatures averaging 80f (27c). Humidity levels are high with an average 167 days of rainfall per year.

Places to visit: There's a wide and interesting choice of sightseeing options available, so we've listed below a few of our favorite places we think you must visit.

(1). Marina Bay: The Marina Bay district is known for it's futuristic architecture, luxury state-of-the-art hotel complex, up-market malls, scenic waterfront promenade, open green spaces and colorful gardens, plus the Singapore Flyer (Asia's largest observation wheel). Marina Bay is dominated by the striking 'Marina Bay Sands Resort Hotel' and the nearby quirky and stunningly impressive 'Art Science Museum', both buildings were designed by the world renowned modernist architect Moshe Safdie.

The uniquely designed 2,500 room Marina Bay Sands hotel is home to the world's largest sky-high infinity pool, which has become one of Singapore’s most iconic sites. At the top of the three (200-metres high) hotel towers sits the boat-shaped 'Sands SkyPark Observation Deck'. Here you have access to the rooftop restaurant and bar and stunning views over Singapore's skyline. Top Tip: sipa cocktail at dusk at one of Marina Bay Sands’ rooftop bars and watch as the city slowly starts to light up.

Singapore Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Marina Bay is also home to Bay Gardens, 101 hectares of land converted into a waterfront nature park, the park contains the Botanic Gardens that feature a diverse collection of over 1.5 million plants and an after darklight and sound show. Bay Gardens is also home to Supertree Grove, a series of environmentally sustainable vertical gardens resembling towering trees with large canopies that light-up after dark. Top Tip: Pay a visit to the Cloud Forest Dome to witness the world's tallest indoor waterfall and learn about the importance of bio diversity. There's plenty of interesting attractions at Marina Bay that could keep you occupied for most of the day.

(2). Orchard Road: Orchard Road is Singapore's version of 'Fifth Avenue' and the city's principal shopping area, the name Orchard Road originates from the 19th century when nutmeg, pepper and fruit orchards once surrounded the area. Orchard Road is now a 2.2km long street full of world-class shopping opportunities, with over 20 malls and seven department stores, internationally renowned outlets and smart boutiques.

Orchard Road is also home to some of Singapore's top luxury hotels, entertainment centres and cinemas. Top Tip: Take a break from shopping and head to nearby 'Cuppage Terrace' with its unique Peranakan styled facades, behind which you'll find a variety of interesting restaurants and bars, a great place for a relaxing break and a chilled refreshing drink. Alternatively checkout the lively Newton Food Centre (a short walk along Scott Road) for numerous food stalls & hawkers offering seafood dishes, roasted meats & local specialties.

(3). Chinatown: Chinatown's origins can be traced back to 1822 when the neighbourhood was designated for the Chinese by Stamford Raffles (founder of modern Singapore). Raffles set aside areas of the city for each of the main ethnic communities that set up home on the island.

Chinatown's maze of narrow vibrant streets are all about food, souvenir shops, cultural landmarks and atmosphere. The best way to experience Chinatown is to wander through the hustle and bustle of Chinatown’s street markets to soak-up its many flavours and oriental atmosphere.

Look out for bargains at Pagoda street (once known for its opium-smoking dens), now a busy pedestrianized street lined with indie boutiques and authentic chinese stores selling souvenirs, silk clothing, traditional medicines and Chinese artifacts. Pagoda street is also home to the Chinatown Heritage Centre, the centre has an interesting exhibit depicting the different periods of Chinatowns history, plus the original furnishings & artifacts of early Chinatown settlers.

Also worth visiting is the colorful Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, an outstanding four-story temple located in the heart of Chinatown. A visit to Chinatown wouldn't be complete without eating at one of many traditional Hawker centre's (open-air food courts), head to Maxwell Food Centre one of the more popular food courts. Chinatown's exciting buzz doesn'tstop after dark, checkout Ann Siang Road and Club Street which are closed to traffic on Friday and Saturday nights when the restaurants become packed and the younger crowds jump from bar to bar.

(4). Little India: Little India is a compact, colourful and vibrant district centered around Serangoon Road. Little India is perfect to wander around, and for absorbing the city's Asian atmosphere and spicy aromas. Look out for the colourful temples and mosques, the larger than life Indian murals and detailed street art, plus the brightly decorated and painted shophouses (nostalgic narrow & deep buildings serving both as a residence and a commercial business).

Serangoon Road is where you'll find many popular and traditional eateries serving both North and South Indian dishes, leading off Serangoon you'll find the low-priced street food stores offering plenty of Indian specialties. There's a multitude of shops including Sari Stores, Asian Arts & Crafts, Gold & Jewelry Stores and Colourful Silks on display plus restaurants and shopping malls catering for your everyday needs.

Shopping in Little India is a big deal, especially at the Singaporean cult favourite superstore, The Mustafa Centre. Mustafa is located on Syed Alwi Road and is open 24hrs a day, it offers 4 floors and 400,000-square-feet of shopping bargains galore, including: jewelry, clothes, souvenirs, electronics, perfume, makeup, travel agents, confectionery, groceries and much more.

Little India's main attractionhas to be its food and traditional eateries. The 42 year old Banana Leaf Apolo restaurant has a reputation for quality and variety and is known for its fish head curry and the traditional Indian practice of serving food on freshly cut banana leaves. For great Indian vegetarian dishes head to Komala Vilas, famous for its South Indian vegetarian cuisine. Checkout the Tekka Centre, it has a popular hawker centre nearby serving a wide variety of fresh, low-priced street food.

(5). Sentosa Island: Sentosa is a family friendly Luxury Island Resort located off Singapore’s southern coast, just a cable-car ride from Singapore’s downtown area. Sentosa (translated means "peace and tranquility" in Malay) is connected to the city by road, pedestrian boardwalk, cable car and a monorail. The Island is home to numerous luxury spa hotels, pristine family friendly beaches, tropical landscapes, world-class attractions and an an 18-hole championship golf course.

Beaches: Sentosa Island is conveniently located close to down-town Singapore, with easy access from the city. The white sands of Palawan Beach on the south west coast of Sentosa is particularly popular and has many food stalls and bars, it even has a suspension bridge linking to a small offshore island, which is ideal for family exploration. For a slightly quieter beach break head to the golden sands and crescent-shaped Tanjong Beach, located on the south of the island, here you'll find a tranquil palm-fringed coastline and a hip beach club providing refreshments.

There's plenty of exciting attractions on Sentosa Island, to start you have Universal Studios Singapore, with plenty of roller coasters, thrill rides, fantasy-world themed games, shops and plenty of restaurants. For a great under-water adventure head to S.E.A. Aquarium one of the world’s largest and most impressive aquariums. It's home to more than 100,000 marine animals representing 1,000 species, you can also get close-up-and-friendly with sharks and stingrays in the underwater tunnels.

Top of the list for thrill seekers is the 'iFly Singapore centre' the the World's Largest Indoor Skydiving Wind Tunnel where you experience true free-fall conditions, just like a real skydive. The centre is located at Siloso Beach Walk on the northern side of the island and beginners are welcome. If you fancy more thrills check out the Mega Adventure Park, here you'll find the park’s star attraction, the MegaZip flying fox - Southeast Asia’s steepest zip wire spanning 450m, where you fly at 60 km/h over the jungle and beaches of Sentosa Island.

Top Tips: 1. For lively beach life head to Siloso Beach on Sentosa island, it's renowned for being the hippest of the three main beaches with some of the best bars & restaurants. 2. Consider extending your Singapore city stay with a few extra days relaxing at a luxury beach front resort on Sentosa Island. 3. Just for fun - have a cocktail at The Raffles Hotel in the Colonial District. The hotel is one on the world's most famous and majestic 19th century hotels and one of Singapore's oldest traditional landmarks.

Singapore Public Transport Options: Singapore's Public Transport system is convenient and efficient and includes an extensive and integrated network of roads, trains, buses, monorail and taxis. One of the best ways of getting around is via the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway system, with MRT stations just a short walk from most of Singapore's popular tourist destinations.

Singapore Metro: The Singapore Metro (MRT) has over 170 stations across seven lines, with services covering most of the island. The MRT is very clean, efficient, inexpensive and easy to use. Ticket prices are based on distance travelled, with single tickets easily purchased at MRT stations. If your staying in SIN for a few days or longer, consider buying a EZ-Link rechargeable travel card, the card is convenient to use and prevents you having to queue at ticket machines at peak times.

Singapore Bus Service: Singapore's bus service is extensive and includes routes to all major tourist attractions. All buses are air conditioned and provide an excellent scenic way of travelling the city. Bus tickets can be bought on board but you must have the exact change, alternatively buy a rechargeable EZ-link smartcard or use your Singapore Tourist Pass. Remember to swipe your card with the card reader when you enter the front of the bus and again when you exit at the rear.

Singapore Taxis: Taxis are not overly expensive and can be hailed from the roadside or easily picked up at the city's many taxi stands. Taxis are metered and fares are based on distance travelled, however surcharges may apply, you can ask the driver what the approximate fare will be before setting off. Most taxi drivers speak good english and most will happily point-out places of interest along the way.

Singapore International Airport (SIN). The airport is located on the eastern edge of the island 25km (16mi) from the centre of Singapore.

Airport Transport and Shuttle Services: There are 4 modes of transport from Singapore Changi Airport to Singapore city centre, they are: MRT Trains, Mini Bus Transfers, Public Bus and Taxi.

Airport Train Services: Airport train services are operated by the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train network system, which is inexpensive, convenientand easy to use. The airport's train station is located below Terminals 2 and 3 and there's a free SkyTrain inter-terminal shuttle services to/from Terminal 1.

Train services operate via Tanah Merah station were you change trains for for the city. Train services operate from 05.30hrs till 23.00hrs and departs every 10-15 minutes with a journey time of approximately 30 minutes.

Airport Public Bus Transfers Public Bus services to the city are inexpensive and operate from Terminals 1, 2 and 3, with pick-up points located at the basement level bus bays. Travel time to the city is approximately 90mins. The city's bus terminus is Somerset station, (an underground Mass Rapid Transit facility located on the North South Line at the city's popular Orchard Road area). You can buy tickets on the Bus, however you must pay the exact fare as change can not be given. EZ-Link cards and the Singapore tourist pass are accepted.

Mini Bus Airport Transfer: Mini Bus transport is provided by the airport's 24-hour Ground Transport Concierges (GTC). 4-7 seater vehicles are available to hire (inc driver) for transport direct to your down-town city hotel. Additionally the City Shuttle mini bus service offers individual seats for sale on services to down-town hotels with departures approximately every 30 minutes.(this service maybe temporarily suspended).

SIN Airport Taxi: Taxis are safe and readily available for hire at the taxi stands outside the arrivals at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, with a journey time of approximately 30 minutes. All taxi's are metered, however fares can be heavily surcharged by up to 50% of the metered fare depending on time of day, traveling between midnight and 06.00hrs carries the highest surcharge. Taxi's are popular, relatively inexpensive and the majority of drives speak english.

Car Hire: All major car rental companies are represented at Singapore SIN airport, including Avis, Budget, Hertz and Sixt.

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Singapore is much more than just a convenient stopover point, the island is also an exciting and popular holiday destination. Start searching Netflights for discount hotel rates and flight ticket deals to Singapore.