Edited 17 February 2023 in Travel Wanderlust
Here’s why you should plan a Singapore trip
Singapore is one of the busiest and largest ports situated in southeast Asia. It lies on the southern edge of the Malay Peninsula, about 137 km north of the equator. Singapore is formally called the Republic of Singapore and consists of a main island, along with almost 64 smaller offshore islands. The main island is separated from Peninsular Malaysia to the north by Johor Strait. The city-state also shares maritime borders with Malaysia and Indonesia. Moreover, it is popularly known for being a global financial centre and is home to the most amazing world heritage sites, world-class airport with a waterfall view, luxurious malls, and wonderful tourist destinations. With four official languages, it has a vibrant and diverse culture.
Singapore is a travel destination worth returning to multiple times. Every four years, the city looks totally different because it is changing so fast. Therefore, even if you have visited Singapore four or five years ago, there is a good reason to return and experience it all over again.
Top 5 reasons to plan a Singapore tour
1. Cultural attractions
- The Merlion Park - Being the mythic symbol of Singapore, the Merlion is the most popular tourist attraction. The popular statue depicting a lion’s head on a fish’s body, spouting water from the mouth, has been placed in Merlion park beside River Singapore. Additionally, there are four more Merlion statues built in different locations of the city-state.
- Haw Par Villa - Formerly known as theTiger Balm Garden, the Haw Par Villa is situated along Pasir Panjang Road in Singapore. It is a theme park displaying over 1,000 statues, and 150 giant dioramas of Chinese mythological scenes, illustrations and the history of Confucianism. The place also features a depiction of how hell would be, as per Chinese tales, and is titled, “10 courts of hell”.
- Buddha Tooth Relic Temple - Another beautiful cultural attraction, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is an important Chinese Buddhist Temple located in Chinatown. It was constructed between 2005 and 2007, which makes it a recently-built temple. As the name of the temple indicates, it displays Lord Buddha’s tooth which is said to have been discovered in Myanmar. The temple serves delectable vegetarian food to all visitors. Additionally, the holy site was built in the northern style of the Tang dynasty.
2. Thian Hock Keng Temple
The Thian Hock Keng is a beautiful temple located in central Singapore’s Chinatown. It refers to the ‘Palace of Heavenly Happiness’, and was built between 1821 and 1839. Here, visitors can worship the Chinese sea goddess, Mazu. Built in the Chinese style, the temple is built on a square courtyard with halls on three sides. These single-storied halls are embellished with images of deities, dragons, lions, peacocks, and more. Being the oldest and the most important temple for the Hokkien people in the country, it is undoubtedly a must-visit place in Singapore.
3. Botanical Gardens
- Singapore Botanic Gardens - Situated just off the Orchard Road, the luxurious shopping street in Singapore, the Botanic Gardens is the only Asian garden to be accredited as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features a rainforest garden and over 10,000 distinct species of plants. Founded in 1859, the garden has beautiful lakes, fine-dining cafés and restaurants, and classical music concerts.
- Gardens By the Bay - It is one of the most beautiful and pleasant places to visit in Singapore. Designed to look like an orchid, Singapore's national flower, it features three waterfront garden areas and the world’s largest glass greenhouse named Flower Dome. One of its attractions, the Cloud Forest offers a unique view of rare plant species and mountains. It also has a treetop walkway and a cloud walkway within the conservatory. Visitors can also enjoy delicious meals and refreshments at the dining outlets located here.
- Mount Faber Park - Mount Faber Park is one of the oldest parks which lies on a hill, 105 metres above the city. With a panoramic view of the modern business centre, the park is undoubtedly a wonderful destination for nature lovers.
- Telok Blangah Hill Park - The Telok Blangah Hill Park is situated at a short distance from Mount Faber Park and is popularly known for shoots among newlyweds because of its amazing location.
4. Exotic Wildlife
- Jurong Bird Park - Jurong Bird Park is one of the largest bird parks featuring 5,000 birds across 400 species. The park is managed by Singapore Zoo and bifurcated into various sections which include a Waterfall Aviary, which is an artificial waterfall of 30 metres.
- Singapore Zoo - It is a modern zoo exhibiting over 300 animals of 50 endangered species. Here, you can also go for a night safari which is set in an adjacent forest area. During the safari, visitors can witness and observe the behaviour of nocturnal animals.
5. Hawker Centres
Singapore is well-known for its street food which was traditionally sold by the travelling hawkers with portable stoves on the busiest street corners to grab the attention of the wanderers. During the 1960s, these hawkers started moving into their permanent premises and since then there have been hawker centres. These hawker centres consist of hundreds of hawker stalls featuring an amazing array of delicious street foods being sold in the city-state. In the 1990s, the government took an initiative and established centres for the hawkers with a licensing policy and enforced hygienic practices. Currently, there are more than 6000 hawkers selling delicious and mouth-watering street food at cheap prices. They feature Singapore’s various cultural street foods across the world.
Furthermore, in 2016, two hawker stalls were awarded the World’s First Street Food Venues by Michelin Stars. Those were Chinatown Food Complex for Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodles, and Tai Hwa Eating House for Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. You can visit these places and check out the famous dishes.
Read more about - All the places in Singapore that really capture the best of Lion City
Travel tips for a safe and better experience
- Take public transport as it is cheap, safe and convenient: Singapore's well-maintained and extensive public transport system is the best and cheapest way to get around the city. You can use EZ-Link cards to pay for the bus and subway; tap the reader at the start and end of your journey to automatically deduct your fare and use apps to find your way to specific destinations. Taxis are metered, but you can also use ride-sharing apps such as Grab. The use of bike-share services is also on the rise and is a good way to get around on a budget.
- Follow the rules: Singapore is well known for its strict laws and regulations. A fine may be imposed if you are caught spitting, tossing your cigarette butt into a drain or sticking your chewing gum on a public property. The majority of the laws are common sense rules, but when you break them, such as vandalism, you may be met with harsh penalties like incarceration and caning. A drug-related offence can even result in the death penalty. Singapore is often ranked among the world's safest countries despite its hard stance against crime.
- Tipping is not necessary: Singapore does not have a tipping culture, nor do service staff expects it, although tips are welcome if you are satisfied with the service. Many hawker centres and smaller shops charge an all-inclusive "net" fee, while most shops charge a 7% Goods and Services Tax. There is usually an additional 10% Service Charge added to your bill at dining establishments, cafes, bars and restaurants.
- Use your bargaining skills: Singapore travel tips for budget travellers include bargaining wisely, but only at places like Bugis Street or Chinatown. As these are like street or flea markets, most of the goods sold here are either copies of branded products or unbranded products that cost a very low price compared to the quality. The key to surviving in the Merlion land is to learn the art of bargaining otherwise you will end up with empty pockets. A simple tip is to smile and remain polite while bargaining.
How to reach Singapore?
- From India: Flying to Singapore from India is the best mode of transportation. From Singapore's Changi Airport, there are regular flights to India from different cities. You can easily avail IndiGo flights for a fast and safe trip to Singapore. The journey takes between 6 and 8 hours, depending on how many layovers are there.
- By flight: Singapore's Changi Airport is rated as the best airport in the world. All major cities are served by regular flights from the airport. It provides direct flights to and from countries all over the world. Singapore Airlines is Singapore's national airline. You can take a two-hour tour of the city if you have more than five hours of transit at the airport.
- By Rail: There are two trains that run between Singapore and Malaysia that you can take if you want to travel to Singapore by train. In the first line, one can travel between Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru, where one can change for Bangkok (Thailand). This line has three trains in total. Another train line, also known as Jungle Line, runs through Malaysia until the northeast coast, which is again served by three trains. On the second line, there are two stops - Tanah Merah and Wakaf Bharu .Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Malaysia have luxury trains that travel to Singapore.
- By Road: Singapore can only be reached by road from Malaysia via two causeways. The most popular route connects the island to downtown Johor Bahru. The baggage must be disembarked however to pass through passport control and customs and the ticket must be presented to board the next bus. In total, the entire process takes around an hour.
Weather and climatic conditions of Singapore
Due to its location, Singapore is characterised by a tropical climate throughout the year. This makes Singapore a hot and humid country all year round. The island is located near the equator, so there are hardly any distinct seasons there.
- Summer (July to September): In Singapore, the temperature peaks around 35°C in May and June and remains that way until the end of September. It feels even hotter because of the high humidity. The Southwest Monsoon may bring showers during this time, but it will not be as severe as the Northwest Monsoon. Take advantage of indoor activities during these months while exploring outdoor attractions like Singapore Zoo, Sentosa Island and Gardens by the Bay. Even though tourists visit Singapore the whole year, this time being the festive period, is the best time to visit Singapore. There is a big celebration of the National Day on 9th August followed by Hari Raya Haji in September. During mid-autumn, when the moon is at its brightest, Lantern Festival is celebrated. A plethora of traditional moon cakes and other food items is available in China Town.
- Winter and monsoon (November to February): Even though the temperatures remain relatively stable for the most part of the year, the north-eastern winds lead to frequent rainfall as well as a cool temperature. Singapore's winter season technically stays from December to February, but the only thing cold about these months is the occasional rainfall. Bring an umbrella on your trip and make indoor plans in case of rain, as showers during this time can last for a long duration, especially between November and January. Despite the constant rain, temperatures hover between 28°C and 32°C, adding to the humidity. To escape the humidity and rain, Singapore's indoor attractions are ideal. You can also enjoy Sentosa's ZoukOut Festival, New Year and Thaipusam during this time. Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated in honour of Lord Subramaniam, while Zoukout is a dance and music festival.
- Spring (March to June): Singapore is a great destination year round, but early spring is perhaps your best bet for avoiding the worst of the heat and rain. Singapore enjoys its most pleasant weather during this period. When the weather is bright and sunny and relatively cool, a wide range of activities are available for you to discover. Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is the biggest event of this period, with festivities lasting nearly a week. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to see Singapore International Film Festival in April.
Best time to visit Singapore
Singapore is at its best from February through April. It is considered a dry season during these months given that there is less rainfall than the rest of the year. With its hot and humid climate, Singapore is a year-round destination. Singapore's weather is consistent and is warm enough for tourists to visit the city all year round. The best time to visit Singapore's beaches is between June and August. The Great Singapore Sale takes place between July and August, so if you are a shopaholic, this is the ideal time to visit Singapore.
Singapore is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is a great city, has a great location and offers plenty to do. Singapore Changi Airport is considered the best airport in the world, making flying there a unique experience. There are countless reasons to visit and experience the beauty of Singapore. So, pack your bags!
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