Singapore is one of the most advanced cities in South East Asia and over time has become a very strong tourist destination and one of the premier destinations in the region as well. The city-state is quite small but packs in a lot in the confines of its island country. It’s incredibly diverse both ethnically and culturally and has been termed as the melting pot of Asia. If you are new to Singapore and planning to visit the country here’s a basic guide about everything you need to know about it. So let’s just jump right in.
Singapore’s official currency is the SGD - Singapore dollar. The value of 1 SGD is about 0.7 USD. To simplify things 1 USD will get you about 1.3 SGD when converted. First-time travellers might be wondering about currency exchange. Well, it’s not really a huge problem in Singapore, you have a lot of exchanges in the city and most of them give you a good and fair exchange rate. If you want the best possible value though, check out the Mustafa Centre in Little India. They have some of the best rates and they’re open 24/7.
Singaporeans come from various ethnicities so predominantly most of them are bilingual. They speak English and usually either Malay, Tamil or Mandarin. Communication is pretty here as most locals speak English fluently.
Singapore has a brilliant metro/subway system called the MRT. It’s a great and inexpensive way to get around the city and fares are of course dependent on how far you want to travel but generally speaking, they are around 4 SGD or about 3 USD. If you are only visiting for a short amount of time, check out the Singapore Tourist Pass. It allows you to do unlimited travel on Singapore’s public transport which includes the MRT and buses as well. You also get a few other perks and discounts, check the official site to know more about the latest perks and discounts to make the best use of the transport card.
Apart from the MRT and buses you also have taxis which are quite expensive but there is an app called Grab Taxi which is quite popular and very similar to UBER. The rates on the app are cheaper compared to hailing taxis directly but generally speaking if you are planning a budgeted trip. Taxis can turn out to be very expensive.
Where to stay in Singapore is pretty straightforward. If you are looking for budget or value for money options then Little India or China Town are going to be the best areas to stay in. They each have their own unique flavour. Little India is where the Indian community of Singapore resides in and the cultural influence can be clearly seen and the same goes for China Town as well. If you are looking for a more upscale experience then look at options in Orchard Road, Marina Bay and Sentosa. Orchard Road is the premier shopping district of Singapore and if you are a shopaholic this is the place you want to be at. Marina Bay is home to the glorious and iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The entire area is very upscale and filled with luxurious hotels, restaurants and malls. If you are looking for luxury then look no further than Marina Bay. Last but not the least we have Sentosa which is a small island to the south of Singapore that holds a resort and theme park and also houses the prominent Universal Studios Singapore theme park as well. If sun, sand and the ocean are your calling, Setosa will be perfect.
The Gardens by the Bay is one of the most iconic attractions in Singapore. It’s basically a large nature park with 2 main conservatories and the SuperTree Park which holds 25 tree-like structures that range between a height of 25-50 meters each. These supertree structures hold various types of ferns, orchids and vines and at night the treelike structures light up with the lighting rigs that have been set up. It’s a wonderful sight to behold. There are a lot of different units within the gardens so you can end up spending a lot of time here.
The Merlion is one of the most iconic symbols in Singapore that is known the world around. The statue is based on a mythical creature with a lion’s head and the body of a fish. It has come to be synonymous with Singapore and is seen in a lot of places as a mascot to the city and in a lot of promotional material as well. Merlion Park is where you get to see the statue in real life and it's definitely worth checking out.
Singapore Zoo was one of the first zoos in the world to adopt the concept of keeping animals in large enclosures that mimic their natural habitats. It’s on the list of top Zoos in the world and there is a huge variety of animal species housed in the compound. The way the zoo is set up and the openness of how animals are allowed to live are all very unique and captivating to see. The night safari is very renowned and I would highly recommend visiting the Singapore zoo at least once.
The Marina Bay Sands is THE hotel that is synonymous to Singapore and is a very unique structure with three main towers with what can be considered as a 4th tower that sits on top of the three main ones horizontally, the top is shaped to look like a ship. It’s a huge casino/hotel with a bunch of other things throw-in. What matters the most though is the view from up top at the Skypark which stands on the 57th floor that offers incredible views of the city. If that isn’t to your taste and you want something a bit more fancy. Well, short of booking a room at the hotel one thing you can do is grab a drink at one of the many rooftop bars and spend the 20 dollar entrance fee to the Skypark more “resourcefully”.
Universal Studios is a theme park inside Sentosa that offers rides that are themed after various characters and franchises that Universal Studios is known for. This can range from rides that are based on the Transformers, Sesame Street, Jurassic Park, Puss in boats and so on. It’s like any good theme park and if you are a child at heart. Well, the characters and settings do invoke a great sense of nostalgia and the rides are super fun. It’s a good way to spend a day or two in Singapore especially if you have kids.
So those are all the major attractions and the basics you need to know to get started. If you have any specific questions. Well, feel free to reach out to us in the comments section below and we will do our best to answer them for you. If you are planning on booking a package to Singapore. Well, check out Pickyoutrail which is India’s leading customised vacations platform. You can book what you want and skip the things you don’t need and plan your entire day-wise itinerary and book everything all under one roof. Book your customised itinerary now.
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