If you are planning a solo trip to Singapore, then you must have a lot of questions about the city, culture and everything else in between. I know I did when I first travelled to Singapore!
And I’ve been back to Singapore several times since my first visit. And since one of my best friends moved there, I knew I had to go back often. I’m so lucky that I stayed with her (and saved a lot of money on accommodation), and I was able to take my time to see the city and experience all the best parts of the city and appreciate all the different cultures of Singapore.
Every country is a little different, and Singapore is no exception. So I’ve compiled all the information about Singapore for solo travel. Keep reading and learn everything you need to know before travelling to Singapore.
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15 Things to know before going to Singapore
If you are travelling to Singapore for the first time as a solo traveller, you might have a lot of questions about Singaporean culture, how to get around, money, etc.
I’ve been to Singapore multiple times over the last couple of years. I’ve gathered a lot of information about Singapore and sharing everything I know about Singapore and all my best Singapore travel tips for travelling to Singapore alone. Hopefully, they will answer all of your important questions before your first trip abroad.
1. Do I need a visa for travelling to Singapore
All travellers will arrive at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). The airport is rated as the best airport in the world as there are many amenities in all four terminals.
But before you travel to Singapore, make sure you have the following:
- A passport that is valid for at least six months
- Filled out SG Arrival Card
- An onward or return ticket
Most nationalities are allowed to stay in Singapore for 30 days. Click here to determine if you require a visa for Singapore.
*Note* – Singapore entry requirements change quickly and often. Make sure to check the IATA website for the most updated entry requirements.
2. Is Singapore safe for solo female travellers
Singapore is one of the best first time solo female travel destinations. The city-state in Southeast Asia is the eighth safest place in the world.
I’ve been to Singapore many times, and I haven’t had any issues with safety. And I feel it is safe to walk around at night too.
But as much as I like to talk about how safe it is to travel to Singapore, I always advise solo female travellers to always practice your regular safety precautions even if you are travelling in one of the safest countries. As a solo female traveller, always be aware of where you are, don’t walk around any sketchy neighbourhoods, and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in your home country.
3. What is the official language in Singapore
Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil.
Most Singaporeans speak perfect English so there is a minimal language barrier. As solo travellers, sometimes we feel intimated when we are in another part of the world when people do not speak the same language. But this is not the case for Singapore.
And if you speak the other official languages, it can help you with ordering food or buying things.
Besides the spoken language, all major signages and wayfinding around the city are written in English. That means it is super easy to get around the city.
4. Where do I get money in Singapore
Singapore’s official currency is the Singapore Dollar (SGD). There are many automated teller machines (ATMs) across the city where you can take out “sing dollars”. You can withdraw money from any ATMs linked to PLUS, Cirrus or Maestro networks. Be aware of bank fees.
Hawker centres and small local restaurants will only accept cash. So make sure to always have some cash with you.
But don’t leave your credit card at home because bigger restaurants, hotels and shops will take credit card as payment. For most payments, you can tap your credit card without entering your PIN.
And I like to use Exchange Rates app on my smartphone when I have to check different exchange rates.
5. Do I have to tip in Singapore
Tipping is not required especially in smaller restaurants and hawker centres. But some restaurants (especially touristy places) may add a percentage of surcharge on your final bill.
6. How much should I budget for Singapore
Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world. I would say the cost is comparable to travelling in North America and parts of Europe.
But the great thing about Singapore is that you can travel exactly the way it fits your budget. There are many high-end options for accommodations and food. But there are also just as many budget options as well.
From accommodation, transportation, eating, going out, shopping and everything in between, you will need a bigger budget compared to other Asian destinations.
Generally, I would allocate the following daily budget in Singapore:
- Accommodation – about $100SGD for a mid-range hotel and up to $250 for a boutique hotel
- Transportation – subway ride starts from $1.5SGD and Grab rides can range from $5-20SGD depends where you go
- Food – a cheap hawker centre meal can cost $5SGD and a sit-down meal can be between $10-30SGD
- Entertainment – from museum entrance fee to a night out, budget around $10-30SGD or more
7. Where do I get a prepaid SIM card in Singapore
Staying connected is essential especially if you are a solo traveller in Singapore. And it is especially useful for having a data connection so you can use data to navigate your way around a city.
You can buy prepaid SIM cards at the airport, mobile retailers (Singtel, Starhub and M1) or convenience stores (7-Eleven).
Here are some sample prices for prepaid SIM cards in Singapore:
- Singtel prepaid SIM cards
- $10SGD for 10 days with free incoming calls
- $25SGD for 30 days and up to 30GB
- StarHub prepaid SIM card
- $12SGD for 100GB data for use in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia and more; unlimited incoming calls
8. What is the standard voltage for Singapore
The standard voltage in Singapore is 230V. The power socket is type G. Check here to determine if you need to bring a travel adapter.
If your home country is not the same as Singapore, bring a universal travel adapter for your travel so you can make sure all your electronic equipment can be charged.
9. How long should I stay in Singapore
There are many things to do in Singapore for a solo traveller. You can see most major attractions in 3 to 5 days at a comfortable and relaxing pace.
However, accommodation can be quite expensive so you may not want to stay in the city for too long. If you only have 2 days in Singapore, you can still see all the highlights of the city. Follow my 2-day itinerary if you are visiting the city for the first time.
10. Where do I find accommodation in Singapore
Personally, I prefer to stay in a hotel in Singapore than an Airbnb. I didn’t find any good Airbnbs but found many mid to high-end hotels across the city.
And in general, accommodation in Singapore is not exactly cheap. But there are affordable options in Little India, Chinatown and Bugis.
Singapore has some of the nicest boutique hotels. If you can spend more money on accommodation, this is the time to do it! Here is a quick summary of a few hotels that I like:
- Lloyd’s Inn Singapore ($$) – a small minimalist boutique hotel near Orchard Road. I wrote a full review of Lloyd’s Inn Singapore.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Wanderlust ($$) – a boutique hotel in a 1920s Art Deco building in Little India.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- The Warehouse Hotel ($$$) – the most luxurious boutique hotel in Clarke Quay.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
11. How do I navigate around Singapore
My favourite way to navigate around any city is by using Google Maps.
Typically, I pin all the attractions, restaurants and other places I want to visit. And whenever I am out in the city, I can follow my saved pins on the map and find all the places I want to visit.
By using the pins in Google Maps, I can plan my trip efficiently. Check out more details on how I plan my travels by using Google Maps and saved pins.
11. How do I travel around Singapore
Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is an efficient transit system where it can get you from point A to point B efficiently and in the air-conditioned subway train. Take a look at the map and get yourself oriented before hopping on the subway.
Get a rechargeable subway card called the EZ-link card and use it for the subway. When you use the EZ-link card, you pay the discounted rate instead of the full fare. Purchased one at the MRT station or any 7-eleven.
But if certain places are not reachable by subway or you just want to get there quick, download the Grab app and order a car. Grab is also very affordable in Singapore. You can hire a car for very little money, and you can order a car directly from your smartphone.
12. What to do in Singapore as a solo traveller
Singapore is a compact city where the majority of attractions are centralized and can be accessed by public transportation. Here are some of the must-dos in the city and check out some of the free things to do in Singapore as well.
1. Iconic Attractions in Singapore
Every time I go to Singapore, I always visit some of the iconic landmarks because these are the things that make Singapore so special.
- The Merlion – Singapore’s most iconic statue. Even though it is the unofficial mascot of Singapore, people tend to think of the Merlion when they think of Singapore. The lion-head and fish-body statue represent Singapore’s origin as a fishing village, and its the original name (which means lion city).
- Marina Bay Sands – a distinct silhouette from near and far. The hotel has three vertical towers connected by a horizontal structure on top.
- Helix Bridge – a pedestrian bridge that resembles the double-helix DNA strands. It links Marina Bay and Marina South and it has many Instagram photo opportunities.
- Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay – a national performing arts centre also known as the “Durian”.
- Boat Quay – a waterside promenade with many restaurants and cafes.
- Clark Quay – a touristy waterside area next to the Singapore River.
- The Jewel – has the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and is part of Changi Airport.
2. Art & Culture
While I like visiting all the touristy places and historical sites, I enjoy the art and culture in the city as well. Here is a summary of the best art and culture in Singapore:
- Art&Sceince – a museum that resembles a lotus flower and it has many art exhibitions including an incredible light installation called Future World: Where Art Meets Science.
- Digital Light Canvas – a permanent light and music installation at Marina Bay Sands by teamLab. The lights move to the music and along with human interactions.
- National Gallery Singapore – a large museum displaying modern Southeast Asian art.
- Red Dot Design Museum – a boutique museum dedicated to contemporary design.
- Singapore City Gallery – learn about the history of Singapore in this free gallery.
- The Parkview Museum Singapore – a private museum has a rotating exhibition of contemporary art.
- Peranakan Museum – learn about the Peranakan culture (everyday life, food, fashion and religion).
- Katong Antique House – browse through a two-storey shophouse and learn about the Peranakan way of life.
- Peranakan Houses – find traditional shophouses with colourful facades and intricate design details in these areas:
- Koon Seng Road
- Joo Chiat Road
- Emerald Hill Road
- Tanjong Pagar and Outram Park
- Mural Art in Singapore – see some of the best street art in Singapore in these neighbourhoods:
- Haji Lane
- Little India
- Armenia Street
- Joo Chiat Road in Katong
3. Nature in the City
While the city is full of modern architecture and skyscrapers, you can find nature within the city just minutes away. Here are some of my favourite places to visit when I want to escape the city:
- Sentosa Island – a small island in Singapore that has beaches, hiking trails, golf courses and resort hotels.
- Gardens by the Bay – one of the best gardens in Singapore and it has many attractions like the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, Supertree Grove and OCBC Skywalk.
- Marina Barrage – Singapore’s 15th water reservoir and the first one in the city. It also has a lawn on the rooftop where people picnic, fly kites and watch the sunset.
- Southern Ridges – consists of a 9-kilometre chain of green open spaces spanning several parks including Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Kent Ridge Park and West Coast Park.
- Singapore Botanic Garden – see Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Fort Canning Park – a historical part in the middle of the city with a very Instagrammable spot, the Tree Tunnel
- Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden and Lakeside Garden – several parks on the west end of the city that has pavilions, stone bridges and a tea house.
- Bukit Timah Nature Reserve – hike up Singapore’s highest peak on Bukit Timah Hill.
- MacRitchie Nature Trail – walk across the reservoir park including the TreeTop Walk.
- East Coast Park – an urban coastal park lining the southeast coast of the city state.
- Pulau Ubin – an island northeast of Singapore with hiking and cycling trails.
4. Shopping Haven
Perhaps it’s part of the culture, shopping is a big deal in Asia. And Singapore has many shopping malls, department stores and boutique shops that are worth checking out. I’m not a huge fan of shopping but I always want to look when I am in Singapore. And if you want to find good deals in the city, there are places for budget shopping too.
Here are some places to check out if you love to shop:
- Orchard Road – the famous street where many shopping malls line both sides of the road.
- ION Orchard – a shopping mall on Orchard Road that hosts many international brand name stores.
- Takashimaya Department Store – a well-known Japanese department store.
- Vivo City – a large shopping centre near HarbourFront and also the gateway to Sentosa.
- Chinatown – shop for food souvenirs and other knick-knacks along pedestrian streets.
- Haji Lane – many boutique shops along the graffiti-filled street.
- Tanjong Pagar – find many independent boutique shops in traditional shophouses.
13. What to eat in Singapore
Eating solo in Singapore is very common. Many locals and tourists eat by themselves at restaurants and hawker centres.
And the best part about eating in Singapore are the variety. From the different types of cuisine like Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Peranakan, Japanese, and Korean to any western food that you can imagine.
There is so much to eat in Singapore so here is a quick glossary of all the different types of food you should try:
- Hainanese Chicken Rice – rice, chicken, broth, with chilli and ginger sauces
- Char Kway Teow – stir fry flat rice noodles with fish cakes, bean sprouts, onions, Chinese sausage, cockles and crispy pork skin
- Bak Chor Mee – noodles with minced pork, liver, meatball, fish cake slices and vinegar-based sauce
- Hokkien Prawn Mee – egg noodles, rice noodles in rich prawn stock with pork fat, prawns, fish cake and squid
- Satay – skewered marinated chicken, beef, lamb, prawns
- Curry Laksa – vermicelli, coconut milk, beancurd puffs, fish slices, shrimp
- Chili Crab – stir-fried crab with chilli sauce
- Fried Carrot Cake – egg, preserved radish, white radish flour cake
14. Where to eat in Singapore
1. Hawker Centres
Hawker Centres are synonymous with the food culture in Singapore. Similar to a food court in the western world, food vendors are grouped in a marketplace type of environment, and many tables and chairs are placed in between.
And you can get delicious hawker food for cheap. Most dishes range from $2-5SGD.
Don’t worry too much about the grunginess of the hawker centres; the best food comes out of hawker centres including Michelin-level street food! Here are some must-try hawker centres:
- Chinatown Food Complex
- Maxwell Food Centre
- Hong Lim Food Centre
- Amoy Street Food Centre
- Tiong Bahru Food Centre
- Lau Pa Sat
- Old Airport Food Centre
- Newton Food Centre
- East Coast Food Centre
- Food Republic @ Vivo City
2. Local Restaurants
Besides eating at the hawker centres, there are many local restaurants worth trying while you are travelling solo in Singapore. From local Singaporean food to any type of international cuisine that you can dream of, here are some of my favs:
- Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice ($) – a local restaurant serving delicious chicken curry rice.
- Boon Tong Kee ($$) – there are various locations. Try their famous chicken rice is excellent and the cereal shrimp is excellent! I never had this anywhere else before!
- Da Chi Jia Big Prawn Mee ($$) – they are famous for their wok-fried big prawn white bee hoon. Add a fresh green apple juice with sour plum to your meal.
- Enjoy Eating House and Bar ($$) – try their ugly cabbage and silky egg crispy hor fun.
- The Blue Ginger Restaurant ($$$) – delicious Peranakan food in a well-designed restaurant. Everything we ordered was fantastic! Including beef rendang, and ayam buah keluak. And if you are a fan of durian, try the durian cendol for dessert.
- 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken ($) – the chicken wings remind me of the ones I love back home in Canada. I can’t get enough of this place! There are many locations throughout Singapore!
3. Coffee shops & Cafes
I love finding good coffee shops around the world. And it is no exception in Singapore. There are some excellent cafes around the city. Here are a few:
- Dapper Coffee – a welcoming coffee shop on the second floor of a shophouse on Amoy Street. Try their Earl Grey Yuan Yang – it looks like a cocktail!
- Chye Seng Huat Hardware – delicious coffee and pastries in an old restored hardware store but no wifi.
- Apartment Coffee – a pristine white coffee shop with amazing coffee but no wifi.
- Mellower Coffee Singapore – there are several Mellowers in Singapore.
- The Populus – a cute coffee shop that has good coffee and cakes.
- My Awesome Cafe – they have a good drink selection in an eclectic space.
- Tiong Bahru Bakery – famous for their kouign amann.
15. Where else can I travel from Singapore
1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Take a weekend trip to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and visit the famous Petronas Twin Tower, the colourful steps of Batu Caves and sample the best Malaysian food at Bukit Bintang.
You don’t have to fly if you don’t want to; the bus from Singapore to KL takes only a few hours and the bus is super comfortable.
2. Bintan Island, Indonesia
Bintan Island is a dreamy getaway with beautiful beaches and scenery. The Indonesian island has epic sand dunes, turquoise blue lagoon and many high-end luxury resorts.
Take a highspeed catamaran ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Bintan. The ride takes about 60 minutes.
Are you ready to take a solo trip to Singapore?
Phew! That was a lot of information! Hope it was helpful in planning a trip to Singapore.
And if you don’t have any current plans to visit Singapore, hopefully, this will give you more insights into this city and will want to visit someday.
And if you learn all the tips before going to Singapore, you will definitely have no problem travelling to one of the safest cities in the world.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions about Singapoe.