When to Go
With little variance in the weather, travel at any time of the year except during the Chinese Lunar New Year in January or February. Most Chinese shops, restaurants and businesses close for anything from three days to two weeks. Prior to the Chinese New Year, prices are grossly inflated for everyday items. Asian travel routes and hotels are fully booked, so it’s best not to go at this time when most of Asia takes its annual leave.
Due to its location slightly north of the equator, Singapore has no distinguishable seasons, except for the Northeast Monsoon season from November to mid-March when showers can be sudden and heavy and temperatures slightly cooler, and the Southwest Monsoons between June and September when temperatures are much higher. Strangely, the least rains falls during the latter monsoons.
Whilst Singapore may be more expensive to visit then surrounding countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, its compact size means that exploring the city's sites is more easily done on a smaller budget or time frame.
Walking is always free, and there is something to see everywhere. From window shopping on Orchard Road to strolling through Little India or Arab Street, there is a lot of culture to take in. Simply gazing at the wonderful architecture will entertain you for hours. Singapore also offers free attractions that you will not want to miss: enjoy the incomparable Botanic Gardens and its world famous National Orchid Garden. Escape from the balmy outdoors into the National Singapore Museum. Many exhibits are completely free.
Enrich your knowledge of various world religions: area churches and temples are open to visitors. Leave a small donation if appropriate and enjoy an afternoon marveling at the incredible design of these great buildings. From the Renaissance-style Church of the Good Shepherd and the neo-Gothic St. Andrew’s Cathedral to the Middle Eastern-inspired Sultan Mosque and the famous Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, you will see the diversity of Singapore’s citizenry through their houses of worship.
You may not be able to afford a room at the posh Raffles Hotel, but you can certainly enjoy its charm free of charge. Built in 1887, this is the home of the original Singapore Sling. Wander around the museum, which features photos of the hotel’s most famous guests, or look into the Writers’ Bar where literary luminaries like Joseph Conrad and Somerset Maugham visited. Splurge for a Singapore Sling and take in the ambience.
View the art at the Esplanade Theaters on the Bay in Merlion Park, have fun and see some of the best views in Singapore at the City Gallery, stroll along the beautiful Marina Bay and enjoy some inexpensive seafood. Take advantage of the free passes handed out by the Singapore Tourist Authority at Changi Airport, walk through the air-conditioned malls and window shop, eat at hawker centers or in Little India and Chinatown. Stay at inexpensive hostels. You can budget your money and get the most out of your trip to Singapore.
Singapore is a secular City State and because of its multicultural population, it celebrates Chinese, Muslim, Indian, and Christian holidays.
New Year's Day (January 1)
Chinese New Year (February 14-16)
Good Friday (April 2)
Vesak Day (April 28)
Labour Day (May 1)
National Day (August 9)
Hari Raya Puasa (September 10)
Deepavali (November 5)
Hari Raya Haji (November 16)
Christmas Day (December 25)
There are many cultural customs to observe when visiting Singapore. There is so much to learn, but the great thing about Singapore is that the people are used to diversity and convergent cultures. They will be more understanding of social blunders as long as you are respectful. And the island nation also cares about its tourism trade, so you will likely be forgiven for mistakes – but do take the time to learn about the area’s wonderful cultures.
The Singapore government recognises four official languages: Mandarin Chinese, Malay, Tamil, and English. English, introduced by the British in 1819, is the first language and is the language of instruction in education, in government administration and in business. There is a strong colloquial dialect, often referred to as “Singlish”, a mix of Malay, Hokkien, Tamil, Punjabi, Teochew, Cantonese, and even some Australian and American slang.
Business Hours and Banking
Business hours vary throughout the city. In general, you will find most shops and stores open around 10:00am. In their effort to cater to tourists, many businesses remain open until 7:00pm and even later. It is not unusual for stores to be open until midnight, especially during certain parts of the year, such as the Great Singapore Sale. Banking hours also vary: most typical banks open at 9:30am and close at 3:00pm Monday through Friday. Many banks are open from 9:30am to 11:30am on Saturday. Again in an effort to provide the utmost convenience for visitors – and residents – many banks offer extended hours and are open on weekends.
Singapore isn’t a smoker-friendly city: tobacco products are taxed heavily, and you are only allowed to bring one pack of cigarettes into the city. You will find smoking bans in all air-conditioned places, including clubs and bars, many hawker centers, and in all public transportation. Outside, smoking can only be done in designated areas, which are usually marked with yellow outlines or signs that read “smoking zone.” And do not even think of flicking a cigarette butt onto the ground.
In many parts of the world, wait staff, hairdressers, bellhops, housekeepers, and others in the service industry make the bulk of their income from tips, and citizens are accustomed to giving tips, however in Singapore this practice is frowned on for the most part.
Singapore is possibly the safest city in the world to visit. Single women can walk along the streets at night. But keep an eye out for pickpockets in crowded areas.
The cleanliness of Singapore has been achieved through stringent laws against spitting, littering, drinking and eating on public transport, and jaywalking. Chewing gum, long since banned, is allowed for medical purposes and obtainable from pharmacies on production of your passport.
Prohibited imports include chewing gum, cigarettes except for one opened packet (not carton),controlled drugs or psychotropic substances, firecrackers, endangered species of wildlife and their by-products, all pornographic films and literature, reproductions of copyright publications, video tapes, video compact discs, laser discs, records or cassettes.
Prohibited exports include arms and ammunition, explosives, animals, telecommunications equipment, films, video tapes, discs, precious metals and stones, drugs and poisons. One can apply for export permits for the above.
Punishment in the form of caning is meted out for crimes such as illegal entry and overstaying a 90-day visa. Never offer a bribe or gratuity to a police officer. Unauthorised possession of firearms, drug trafficking or manufacturing, or merely being in possession carry the death sentence. You can be charged for unauthorised consumption when traces of illicit narcotics are found in your system, even if they were consumed outside the country, which will earn you either a maximum of 10 years in jail, a fine of $20,000, or both. You will also be charged for drug-trafficking if drugs are found in bags in your possession or in your room.
Homosexuality is illegal and in theory is punishable by life in prison and/or caning, a law rarely enforced. Despite this, Singapore has a fairly vibrant gay community.
Disabled travelers will find accommodations throughout Singapore, though improvements are needed for better accessibility. The Disabled People’s Association, a nonprofit Singaporean organization, provides more information on services and accommodations. The Disabled Traveler’s Guide also provides information on Singaporean accessibility and encourages more specific questions. SMRT recently added wheel-chair accessible buses.
Singapore charges a seven percent sales tax for goods and services. This is refundable for foreign visitors. Look for Premier Tax Free or Global Refund signs when you shop and ask the clerk for a voucher. Make sure to attach your receipts, which must total more than S$100 from a single store. You may get the tax refunded within 60 days of purchase by presenting your voucher, goods, and receipts at Changi Airport Customs counter. Bring the approved documents to the Premier Tax Free or Global Refund counters for your refund.
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80 Middle Road, Singapore, 188966
Located in the heart of Bugis, InterContinental Singapore Hotel is one of the most prominent buildings in Singapore. Conveniently situated 20 kilometers from Changi International Airport, this modern Peranakan-styled InterContinental Singapore Hotel offers travellers...
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317 Outram Road, Singapore, Singapore
Hotel DescriptionHoliday Inn Atrium Singapore is a spectacular 27 storey atrium style hotel strategically located at the crossroad of Outram and Havelock Roads. It is just a short drive from Shenton Way financial centre, fascinating Chinatown and the fashionable...
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100 Orchard Boulevard, Singapore, 238840
Le Meridien Singapore Hotel offers guests all the amenities of a world-class hotel. Situated along the renowned Orchard Road, this Singapore hotel is the perfect place for business and leisure travellers. Changi International Airport (SIN) is just 22 kilometres away,...
2 Stamford Road Singapore Singapore
The hotel is located in the crossroads of Singapore's business, historic, cultural and shopping districts and just 20 minutes from the airport. The MRT station is located just beneath the hotel. The complex comprises of two hotels, convention centre, shopping centres... more
80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore, 189560
The magnificently appealing Raffles Singapore Hotel is a remarkable structure situated in the heart of Singapore. Declared a national monument in 1987, Raffles Singapore Hotel stands out as one of the finest hotels in Singapore. Raffles Singapore Hotel... more
190 Orchard Boulevard, Singapore, 238840
Hotel Description: An Oasis of Calm just minutes from the financial district, is around the corner from Orchard road, Singapore's fifth avenue and features the Exclusive Club, with the country's only Air-Conditioned Tennis Courts.
22 Scotts Road, Singapore, 228221
Guest Rooms and Suites 235 guest rooms on 3 floors, including 118 single rooms and 118 double rooms, 117 suites and a Business CentreRoom and Suite Facilities Minibar Colour TV with satelite/cable... more
10 Scotts Road, Singapore, 228211
The Grand Hyatt Singapore Hotel is conveniently located near the world-renowned Orchard Road, and set amidst restaurants, entertainment, shopping and businesses. Only 30 kilometres from Changi International Airport and 15 kilometres from the financial district, this... more
6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, Singapore, 039594
On the waterfront of Singapore's picturesque harbour. Directly opposite the Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre and a 20-minute drive to the Singapore Expo in Changi. Part of the Marina Square Complex with department stores, cinemas, restaurants and... more
333 Orchard Road Singapore 238867, Singapore
With the hotel's $52 million renovation, there are a total eight deluxe room categories, highlights being the new Premier Rooms and Meritus Club Panoramic view of the skyline and neighbouring islands from higher floors. First and tallest revolving restaurant... more
581 Orchard Road, Singapore, Singapore
Hilton Singapore is conveniently located on Orchard Road, the heart of Singapore's shopping, entertainment and commercial district. The 423-room hotel is a leisurely 20-minute drive from Changi International Airport and a five-minute walk from the Mass Rapid Transit... more
20 Merchant Road, Singapore, 058281
Hotel Introduction The Swissôtel Merchant Court, Singapore is ideally located near the banks of the Singapore River, next to the new North-east Line (NEL) at the Clarke Quay Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station. The hotel offers guests the best... more
2 Stamford Road, Singapore, 178882
Locaded in the crossroads of Singapore's business, historic, cultural and shopping districts and just 20 minutes to the airport. Located on the Interchange of Subway. Easily accessible to all parts of Singapore. All guest rooms have a private balcony. more
7 Raffles Avenue, Singapore, 039799
Hotel Description: Offering classic decor, exquisite dining, friendly personal service and stunning views, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore is the centerpiece of the Millenia Singapore complex in the heart of Marina Center and is designed to be... more
Two Temasek Boulevard Singapore 038982
The vibrant Conrad Centennial Singapore hotel, an award winning luxury business hotel, is brilliantly located in the heart of Singapore.... more
7500 Beach Road,Singapore 199591,
The Parkroyal on Beach Road, Singapore is a convenient, friendly neighbour to many of Singapore's prime office addresses, and the hotel is a tropical haven skirting Singapore's central business area and major conference centres. Quaint shops and Singapore's exotic Arab... more
25 Scotts Road Singapore 228220 Singapore
The Royal Plaza's elegant style is evident from the moment you step into its spacious lobby, with white Italian marble floor, magnificent stained-glass dome and sweeping wrought-iron balustrades. You'll enjoy all the convenience of being located in one of the most exclusive... more
50 East Coast Road, Roxy Sq (Via Marine Parade Rd), 428769 Singapore, Singapore
Hotel IntroductionExperience a world of difference from Singapore hustle and bustle, but with the convenience of being just 10 mins drive to Changi International Airport, Suntec City,Singapore Expo and Orchard. With 520 guest rooms and suites featuring... more
47 Bencoolen Street, 189626 Singapore, Singapore
Hotel IntroductionWelcome to an oasis for travelers right in the heart of the busy metropolis of Singapore. Built in 1968 and remodeled in 1999, our cosy hotel has a resort-like ambience that will make your stay the most enjoyable and memorable one. The... more
177a River Valley Road, 179031 Singapore, Singapore
Hotel IntroductionThe Novotel Clarke Quay Singapore is conveniently located near the famed Orchard Road Shopping Paradise, the Suntec City convention centre and the Singapore Exposition Hall. It is also next to Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and Robertson Quay,... more
181 Kitchener Road ,Singapore 208533,
At the Parkroyal on Kitchener Road, Singapore, enjoy the amenities and comfort of a modern hotel at affordable prices. Towering over the exciting ethnic district of Singapore, Parkroyal on Kitchener Road, Singapore puts you within walking distance of the famed Mustafa... more
201 Balestier Road Singapore Singapore
Quality Hotel Singapore offers all features that Choice Hotels are renowned for: affordable rates, comfortable lodging and convenience. Quality Hotel Singapore also offers courtesy transportation at scheduled times to Novena Square Shopping and Orchard Shopping Belt... more
173 Bencoolen Street, 189642 Singapore, Singapore
Hotel IntroductionModern standard class hotel with 100 rooms located in heart of Singapore, near the business district. The hotel's primary purpose is to provide both business travellers and vacationers a comfortable stay. Our tastefully furnished bedrooms... more
30 Bencoolen Street, 189621 Singapore, Singapore
Hotel IntroductionCombining convenience and comfort, City Bayview Hotel features all the comforts you would expect from a 3 star hotel and maintains the meticulous standards required by the travel and tour operators worldwide. Our hotel has been recently... more
95 Beach Road, 189699 Singapore, Singapore
Hotel IntroductionCharming and comfortable tourist class hotel with 33 rooms, located in the city centre. All the bedrooms are tastefully furnished and equipped with modern facilities. For the comfort of our guests we also provide babysitting service, round-the-clock... more