Last Updated on April 5, 2021 by queenie mak
I’ve been to Singapore dozens of times and each time I was in and out of the city relatively quickly. The reason being is that it is pretty costly to visit Singapore. However, as one of my best friends recently moved there, I knew I had to go back! 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. I’ve discovered more on this trip than all my previous trips combined. Moreover, I was able to experience all the best parts of the city and appreciate all the different cultures of Singapore.
Why Singapore is Great for a Solo Female Traveller
Visiting Singapore is super easy for any traveller, especially for a solo female traveller.
As a big hub in Asia, many flights fly into Singapore Changi Airport. The airport is rated as the best airport in the world as there are many amenities in all four terminals. Moreover, there are many options to fly in and out of Singapore. Jetstar and Scoot are Singaporean low-cost carriers which means lots of inexpensive flight options within Asia. And Singapore Airlines, one of the world’s best airlines, has many international routes.
In terms of communicate, it couldn’t be easier to travel through Singapore! Everyone speaks English, so there is a minimal language barrier. As a solo traveller, 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. Signages, wayfinding and everything is written in English. And if you are ever lost, people are friendly and are willing to help.
What you need to know before visiting Singapore
Before you visit Singapore, check out some of my travel tips that you may find useful for travel for your solo trip to Singapore:
- The best way to get around Singapore: Singapore’s subway system, MTR & LTR trains
- Get a rechargeable subway card called 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.
- Walking is the best way to see Singapore
- You can see all the attractions in Singapore in 2 days
- And if you learn all the tips before going to Singapore, you will definitely have no problem travelling in one of the safest cities in the world.
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Where to Stay in Singapore
Accommodation is not exactly cheap, but there are affordable options in Little India, Chinatown and Bugis. But Singapore has some of the nicest hotels. If you can spend more money on accommodation, this is the time to do it!
- Adler Hostel ($) – A classic single capsule (which is a bed with a curtain for privacy) is pretty affordable (in Singapore standard). The shared bathroom is clean, and the staff is nice. I stayed at Adler Hostel during my first visit to Singapore and really enjoyed the close proximity to Chinatown.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Lloyd’s Inn Singapore ($$) -A small boutique hotel near Orchard Road welcomes guests with their minimalistic guest rooms. The property isn’t big but the overall space is welcoming and peaceful. I wrote a full review of Lloyd’s Inn Singapore.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Hotel Mono ($$) – A monochromatic hotel set in a row of traditional shophouses in Chinatown. The black and white colour theme is used throughout the exterior and interior creating clean and crisp aesthetics.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- The Warehouse Hotel ($$$) – The 4-star hotel in a heritage building in Clarke Quay. The guest room is designed to perfection. I am particularly impressed by the use of space and materials (I was an interior designer pre-blogging). Everything from the toiletries, to the personal touch of a welcome note and gift, are all well thought of. If staying at this hotel is out of the question, you should still have a drink in the lobby lounge.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Andaz Singapore – A Concept by Hyatt ($$$) – The 5-star hotel is one of the best in the city! The king room is spacious and designed well. And the hotel has an awesome rooftop bar called Mr. Stork where you can sip cocktails in a teepee tent.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
What to Eat in Singapore
The best parts about eating in Singapore is the variety and cost. From the different types of cuisine like Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Peranakan, Japanese, Korean to any western food that you can imagine.
Moreover, you can have the most delicious meal for very little money. Singapore has the cheapest Michelin one-star restaurant in the world. You can eat high-quality chicken rice for only SGD$2!
Typical Singaporean Cuisine
There is so much to eat in Singapore! Here is a quick glossary of all the different types of food you should try:
Classic Singaporean dishes
- 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
Where to Eat in Singapore
Hawker Centres are synonymous with the food culture in Singapore. You can get delicious local food for very little money. Most dishes range from SGD$2 to $5. Similar to a food court in the western world, food vendors are grouped in a marketplace type of environment, and many tables and chairs are placed in between. Don’t worry too much about the grungy-ness of the hawker centres; the best food comes out of hawker centres! Here are some must-try hawker centres:
- Chinatown Food Complex:
- soya sauce chicken rice (the cheapest Michelin meal in the world) at Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle
- mixed rice at Lian He Ben Ji Claypot Rice
- Maxwell Food Centre:
- Hainanese chicken rice at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice or Zhen Zhen Porridge
- char kway teow at Marina South Delicious Food
- fish soup at Jin Hua Fish Bee Hoon
- desserts at Xing Xing Tapioca Kueh
- Hong Lim Food Centre:
- char kway teow at Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee
- shrimp hor fun at Tuck Kee Ipoh Sah Hor Fun
- laksa at Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa
- The Old Airport Food Centre:
- Hokkien mee at Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee
- lor mee at Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee
- fishball noodles at Ru Ji Kitchen
- Tiong Bahru Food Centre:
- chicken curry rice at Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice
- white rice cake at Jian Bo Shui Kueh
- lor mee at 178 Lor Mee
- traditional peanut pancake at Tiong Bahru Mian Jian Kueh
- ABC Brickworks:
- barbecue pork at Fatty Cheong Roast
- barbecue pork buns at Bao Zai
- Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice ($) – a local restaurant serving delicious chicken curry rice
- Boon Tong Kee ($$) – there are various locations. Try their famous chicken rice is excellent and the cereal shrimp is excellent! I never had this anywhere else before!
- 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken ($)- the chicken wings remind me of the ones I love back home in Canada. I can’t get enough of this place! There are many locations throughout Singapore!
- Tsuta Ramen ($$) – choose either the shoyu soba or shio soba. Chef Yuki Onishi’s ramen is recognized and listed in Singapore Michelin Bib Gourmand 2017
- Salted Plum ($$) – lots of savoury pork dishes
- Da Chi Jia Big Prawn Mer ($$) – 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 chendol for dessert.
Coffee shops & Cafes
- 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 – cute coffee shop that has good coffee and cakes
- My Awesome Cafe – they have good drink selection in an ecclectic space
- Tiong Bahru Bakery – famous for their kouign amann
What to do in Singapore as a solo traveller
Every time I go to Singapore, I always visit some of the iconic landmarks, discover a new neighbourhood and try a new type of food! The city itself is relatively compact, and 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.
Iconic Attractions in Singapore
If you come to Singapore, you have to see the iconic statue, The Merlion. 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 it’s the original name (which means lion city).
Like the Merlion, other iconic attractions are beautifully displayed along Marina Bay. The Marina Bay Sands has a distinct silhouette from near and far. The hotel has three vertical towers connected by a horizontal structure on top. The ArtScience Museum resembles a beautiful flower from a distance while the remarkable Helix Bridge links Marina Bay and Marina South. And don’t forget to visit the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay for modern architecture and creative performances.
While you are in Singapore, visit other iconic attractions like the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Sri Mariamman Temple in Chinatown, and Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India. Both neighbourhoods have lots to see and full of Instagram photo opportunities!
Art & Culture
While I like all the iconic attractions and historical sites, I enjoy the art and culture of the city. I especially enjoy the National Gallery Singapore because of all the different exhibits. The last time I was there, there was a temporary exhibit of Yayoi Kusama‘s work. So check out the museum’s website to find out about upcoming events and exhibitions.
A while ago I learned about teamLab and their exhibit in Shenzhen. I went to their website and found other art installations that they create, and they have a couple of them in Singapore as well! At Marina Bay Sands, there is a permanent installation called Digital Light Canvas. The lights move to the music and along with human interactions. And teamLab has another incredible light installation called Future World: Where Art Meets Science, and it is part of a permanent exhibit at ArtScience Museum.
While you are in Singapore, tour some of the neighbourhoods and see traditional Peranakan shophouses. Koon Seng Road in Katong has some of the prettiest two-storey houses and Emerald Hill Road was is part of Singapore’s conservation area and one of the most expensive real estate spots. Pay attention to the colourful facade and intricate design details. If you want to learn more about the Peranakan culture, check out Peranakan Museum and learn about the Peranakan culture in terms of everyday life, food, fashion and religion.
And if you are a fan of street art, check out a few neighbourhoods in Singapore including Haji Lane and Chinatown for some of the best street art in Singapore.
Nature in the City
While the cityscape is full of modern architecture and skyscrapers, you can find nature within the city just minutes away.
Sentosa Island has beaches on the south part of the island, various golf courses and resort hotels. You truly feel you are out of the city even though Sentosa is just a few minutes away from the city.
Gardens by the Bay has everything you want! The park has many attractions like the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome where you can see tropical vegetation and colourful flowers under the two beautiful domes. During the evening, check out Garden Rhapsody, a signature light and music show in the 50-meters trees in Supertree Grove. And if you are brave, you can even walk on the OCBC Skywalk and enjoy the panoramic view of the city.
There are countless amazing things to see and do in Singapore. However, my favourite is the Marina Barrage. It is Singapore’s 15th water reservoir and the first one in the city. Not only does it bring in a new source of water supply, but the reservoir also has many water activities like kayaking and dragon boating. Moreover, the building itself is a beautiful modern contemporary building drawing locals and tourists during the weekends. People fly kites, set up picnics on the green lawn and enjoy the fantastic view of Marina Bay and all the downtown buildings (the main photo is taken at Marina Barrage).
Perhaps its part of the culture, shopping is a big deal in Asia. And there’s no exception for Singapore either. Orchard Road is the famous street where many shopping malls line both sides of the road for several blocks. One of the newer spots called ION Orchard hosts a lot of international brand name stores. And not to mention the futuristic modern exterior! Other notable places include Vivo City and Suntec City.
Check out the boutique shops at Haji Lane and the neighbourhood of Tanjong Pagar. They both have cute independent boutique shops in traditional shophouses and lots of restaurants and bars too!
And if you want to find good deals in the city, check out some of these places for budget shopping in Singapore.
Get your tickets to some of the best Singapore attractions!
On a backpacker’s budget? Check out these other budget travel ideas in Singapore
Day trip from Singapore
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Take a quick day trip to Kuala Lumpur, 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.
Are you ready to take a solo trip to Singapore?
Phew! That was a lot of information! Hope it was helpful for planning a trip to Singapore.
And if you don’t have any current plans to visit this city, hopefully, this will give you more insights into this city and will want to visit someday.