Singapore is South East Asia’s most prosperous city and smallest nation by land area. In recent years, newly developed mega-attractions and casino driven integrated resorts had transformed this “all work” economic powerhouse into one of the region’s most popular destinations for leisure travel.

Because of its compact size, Singapore is very easy to travel and generally safe. It is a top choice for first-time international travel, family trips, and those seeking to indulge in metropolitan luxuries. While costs are significantly higher than the rest of Southeast Asia, a lot of people continue to visit Singapore because of its unique and top-notch attractions that cater to almost every type of traveler.

I honestly didn’t expect to travel to Singapore as often as I have, considering the high number of seemingly more “exotic” and adventurous destinations elsewhere in the region. Singapore was just too irresistibly accessible with so many direct flights to other cities all over the region as well as convenient border crossings to Malaysia & Indonesia.

Singapore continues to be a worthwhile jump-off point to Southeast Asia and a fitting “last stop” for indulging in urban comforts before the journey home.

Traveling to Singapore for the first time? This detailed travel guide will make it easy for you to plan a trip, save money, and maximize your time.

Scroll down to read must-know travel tips before you go, followed by a sample itinerary + budget breakdown, recommended hotels/places to stay, things to do/places to visit and lots of extra travel tips.

Singapore Travel Guide Blog Contents

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Singapore Itinerary

Singapore Budget

Where to Stay in Singapore

Singapore Travel Tips Before You Go

Things To Do in Singapore + Places to Visit

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How to Go — Touchdown at Singapore-Changi International Airport, which serves direct flights from Manila (3h 45m), Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Denpasar, Ho Chi Minh, Taipei, Sydney & more. From the Philippines, you can also fly directly from Cebu, Clark, Kalibo, Iloilo & Davao. Flights are operated by Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Scoot, AirAsia, Jetstar & Singapore Airlines.

See cheap flightsManila to Singapore

Visa-free travel for Philippine citizens — 80% of all nationalities, including Filipino tourists, do not need to apply for a visa before arriving in Singapore for short visits. Scroll down to the extra tips for the list of things you might need to prepare.

Book your hotel early — Grab rock-bottom rates and avoid fully-booked rooms by booking online as soon as you know you’re going. Click below to compare discounts and read reviews by other travelers.

Cheapest ratesBest hotel reviews

Check prices online and pre-book discounts — Save money by checking discounts on tours, airport/city transfers & sim card/WiFi hotspots. Booking before you leave also saves you time by avoiding the hassles of bringing large amounts of cash & exchanging currency/money during your actual trip.

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Get P175 OFF Klook booking with promo code “HOLIYAYDTR” — This is on top of existing discounts on the Klook app & website! Promo ends on December 31, 2018. Valid for first-time PH users & P5,000 minimum spend.

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Traveling on a tight budget is possible — I’ve included a lot of money saving tips on this guide in case you are traveling on a limited budget. Spending less does not mean that you have to miss out on awesome travel experiences in Singapore. You can achieve cheaper expenses by knowing where to find and book the best travel deals.

Getting around Singapore — Getting between different areas of the city is very convenient. Singapore has a small land area and the infrastructure is highly developed. It’s easy to go on a do-it-yourself (DIY) trip, even on your own. Plus all signs are in English and most Singaporeans can speak/understand English. Public transport is very efficient. It’s the best way to get around if you want to travel cheaply.

Singapore 3G/4G internet data sim card & pocket WiFi rental

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Best time to visit Singapore — Singapore gets little weather variations the whole year round. Any month is generally good to schedule your visit. If you just want to go sightseeing, however, you need to be aware of popular holidays and events, which usually happens from January-February, June-July, September-October. It’s super peak season for hotels. Book your accommodations well in advance.

Spend two days or more — With a 2-day trip in Singapore, you can already see most of the major travel highlights. Though, I recommend spending three days or more, especially if you want to enjoy multiple theme parks/attractions and explore the different cultural districts. If you are spending a long layover at Changi Airport, don’t miss the free city tours for transit passengers.

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Singapore Itinerary

Day 1: Old & New Singapore

1000 AM: Singapore-Changi Airport arrival.

1100 AM: Singapore hotel check-in

1130 AM: Lau Pa Sat hawker center

1230 NN: Merlion Park & Singapore River

0300 PM: Gardens by the Bay

0745 PM: Garden Rhapsody Light & Sound Show

0930 PM: Marina Bay Sands Wander Full Light and Water Show

Day 2: Universal Studios Singapore + Sentosa

0900 AM: Sentosa Island.

1000 AM: Universal Studios Singapore.

0530 PM: Option 1 — Marina Bay Skypark.

Option 2 — Singapore Flyer.

Option 3 — Esplanade Roof Terrace.

Option 4 — Wings of Time Open-Sea Light Show.

Dinner at Makansutra Gluttons Bay

Day 3: Heritage & shopping

0900 AM: Singapore Chinatown.

1200 NN: Shopping.

0300 PM: Hotel check-out & Singapore Airport transfer.

0330 PM: Singapore Airport & flight check-in.

0630 PM: Singapore Airport departure.

If you only have 3 days to spend in Singapore, you can skip “Day 3” of the itinerary posted above

Go to the 4 days Singapore itinerary guide for the budget estimates, expenses breakdown, and step-by-step do-it-yourself (DIY) tips for the itinerary above. Scroll down for more budget & money saving tips.

Singapore Budget

Your travel expenses in Singapore will largely depend on your traveling style and how much you plan to spend on activities, accommodations & food. To help you set your own budget, here are budget estimates if you follow the 3 days and 2 nights (3D2N) itinerary posted above. Make sure to review all discounts & online booking prices.

Transport expenses breakdown
SGD 203 Days Singapore Tourist Pass — Unlimited rides on MRT & buses for 3 days. Also, priced at SGD 10 for the 1-day pass & SGD 15 for the 2-day pass.
Activities/attraction costs breakdown
SGD 68Universal Studios Singapore — 1-day admission discount price per adult.Book discount here
SGD 22Gardens by the Bay (Cloud Forest + Flower dome) — 1-day admission discount price per adult.Book discount here
Budget Trip – Backpacker Expenses
SGD 20Transport — Singapore Tourist Pass (3 Days).
SGD 30Accommodations — Food budget at Hawker stalls x 3 days.
SGD 30Food — Per person. 2 nights in a budget hostel.
SGD 80Total (excluding activities) — Including food, transport & accommodations for 3 days. Excluding flights.
SGD 170Total — Including activities & 3 days expenses above. Excluding flights.

I’ve included backpacker budget estimates for food & accommodations to give you an idea of how cheaply you can travel in Singapore. If you have money to splurge on hotels, food, and luxuries, simply use the expenses posted to calculate your own budget.

Other activities
SGD 22Singapore Cable Car Skypass — Discount price per adult.Book discount here
SGD 8OCBC Skyway at Gardens by the Bay admission — Walk-in price per adult.
SGD 12Wings of Time — Discount price per adult.Book discount here
SGD 22Marina Bay Skypark — Walk-in price per adult.Check price
SGD 33Singapore Flyer — Walk-in price per adult.Check price
SGD 24Legoland transfers — Return trips on shared shuttle. Discount price per adult.Book discount here
SGD 51Legoland admission — 1-day admission discount price per adult.Book discount here
Other expenses
SGD 15Singapore 4G SIM Card.Book discount here
PHP 1,620Philippine Travel Tax — For outbound Philippine residents only. Paid before flight departure from the Philippines.

Where to Stay in Singapore

Book your stay near MRT train stations if you plan on getting around conveniently by public transport.

Clark Quay (Riverside), Chinatown, Little India & Bugis are the most popular places to stay for backpackers and budget travelers.

You can find most of the mid-range and luxury hotels in Orchard Road, Marina Bay, Promenade/City Hall area & Sentosa Island.

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Singapore hotels & hostels

Here’s a list of recommended hotels, hostels & places to stay in Singapore. Click below to check prices, discounts & guest reviews.

Top picks by other travelers

Best hotels and top-rated places to stay:

Rucksack Inn @ Lavender Street

Budget Backpacker | Farrer Park MRT

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Adler Hostel

Budget | Chinatown MRT

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Chic Capsules

Budget | Chinatown MRT

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Fragrance Hotel-Riverside

Budget | Clarke Quay MRT

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Holiday Inn Clarke Quay

Mid-Range | Clarke Quay MRT

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PARKROYAL On Pickering

Splurge | Chinatown/Clarke Quay MRT

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Raffles Singapore

Splurge Luxury | City Hall/Esplanade MRT

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Marina Bay Sands

Splurge Luxury | Bayfront MRT

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Where to book

Book your stay online through these trusted booking sites. I use them frequently to grab rock-bottom prices & enjoy convenient bookings.

Click below to see more places to stay and compare rates/discounts:


Here are some of the top reasons why I prefer to book online & why you should too:

Wide selection of Singapore hotels/hostels for all budgets.

Often cheaper prices than walk-in rates. Earn rewards points for every booking. The more you book, the more you earn!

Trusted by millions of travelers. Read reviews from actual staying guests.

Instant confirmation & free cancellation on most properties.

Pay in your home currency. Worry less about bringing cash/exchanging currencies. Convenient & secure payment by credit card or Paypal.

Fast customer support.

How to find affordable yet decent hotels perfect for your budget

Step 1 — Go to

Step 2 — Show the best locations only by filtering results by neighborhood. Tap the filter button and scroll down to “Neighborhood.” Then, select these places in Singapore:

Clark Quay (Riverside)


Marina Bay

Sentosa Island


Little India

Promenade/City Hall

Orchard Road

Step 3 — View all properties within your price range by tapping on the “Filter” button. Then, scroll down to “Price per night” and select your price range. Tap on “Filter” to see the results. For desktop users, you can find the filters on the left side of the page.

Step 4 — See properties with the highest guest reviews by using the “Guest Rating” filter. Select “9+ Exceptional”. In case there are few results displayed select “8+ Excellent”.

To check the cheapest rooms/beds, simply sort the results by price from lowest to highest.

To check the best places to stay, sort the results by guest ratings. Tap the “Sort” button. Then, choose “Guest ratings” > “All guests” or any of the choices you like. For desktop users, the sort button is located on top of the results.

Carefully check the number of reviews, not only the review score. A higher number of reviews mean a more reliable review score.

Pro tip — Go to to check more properties, reviews and rates. Use the “Location Score” filter to narrow down to hostels/hotels with the best location. Select “Superb location: 9+.”

Singapore Travel Tips Before You Go

How to get to Singapore

Unless you’re traveling by land from Malaysia, flying to Singapore is the best way to get to Singapore. Many budget airlines, including AirAsia, Tiger Air, Jetstar, Cebu Pacific, fly to Singapore from all major destinations in Southeast Asia.

If you’re coming from the PhilippinesPhilippine AirlinesCebu Pacific, and AirAsia offers direct flights to/from Manila, Cebu, Clark, Iloilo, Kalibo & Davao.

How to find cheap flights to Singapore?

The easy way is to search on airfare comparison sites that can show you the lowest fares on many airlines in one go.

Start your search on Wego, Momondo, and Skyscanner.

Check Singapore promo alerts several weeks or months ahead of your trip if you are planning your trip early. The cheapest promos are sold up to a year in advance of the travel/flight departure date & are often only available if you book directly with the airline.

To learn more, visit the guide on how to book cheap flights.

What to prepare for a trip to Singapore?

Singapore Tourist Visa — Tourists from around 80% of all nationalities do not need to apply for a visa or entry permit to travel in Singapore. If you are a citizen of one of these nations, you may be able to visit Singapore visa-free for a maximum stay of 30 days, to up to 90 days depending on the passport provided.

Go to the Singapore Immigration website to check if you need to apply for a visa before going on your trip. Foreign visitors from countries not listed in the “Assesment Level Countries” can visit Singapore visa-free.

If you are from a country that is not listed under the visa exception scheme, see if you are eligible to apply for a Visa on Arrival (VoA).

Travelers can enter Singapore through immigration checkpoints found in various international airports, seaports, and land border crossings. Including the Singapore-Changi International Airport, Singapore-Malaysia land border, and international ferry terminals.

Always remember that all countries have the right to refuse entry to any person. Even if you are eligible for the free tourist visa or already have one in hand at the border.

Make sure that you are able to provide the following:

Passport not expiring within 6 months.

Evidence that you are visiting for travel or holiday purposes only.

Evidence that you are able to fund your stay for the entire duration of your visit.

Have confirmed flight tickets back to your home country or an onward destination that you are allowed to enter.

Visa for Filipino citizens — Philippines nationals can enjoy visa-free travel in Singapore, for up to 30 days.

Filipino citizens (Philippine passport holders) do not need to apply for a visa before arriving in Singapore granted that the purpose of the visit is for tourism or transit only. Simply show up at the immigration checkpoint and get your passport stamped. Filipinos usually get a maximum stay of 30 days in Singapore.

How many days is enough?

Singapore may be a small country but there’s a ton of interesting things to do that could keep most travelers busy for weeks on end. A shorter visit of three to four days is the tourist norm and is enough to get a feel of Singapore and skim through the main highlights.

For a weekend trip, squeezing most of the highlights in two full days is doable but depending on how many stops you make and how you choose to get around, there might not be a lot of time to explore each stop extensively or at a relaxed pace. Regardless, you can see a lot of the city in two days or even less. Though, taking three or more days is recommended to allow for time to explore Singapore at a more relaxed pace. Take an early morning flight to Singapore and a late evening flight on your return to maximize your stay in Singapore.

For travelers on connecting flights through the Singapore Airport, a long layover can provide a decent visit to one or two sites. The downtown area is just a 30-minute taxi ride away from the airport. There are many short tours that can be booked at Singapore-Changi International Airport.

How to get Singapore Dollars (SGD)?

To be safe, bring US Dollar bills if you already have them in hand. Money exchange stalls in Singapore, including those at the airport, accept a wide range of currencies and it’s not a problem if you bring other major currencies. Popular foreign currencies include USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, THB, MYR, TWD, PHP, CAD, AUD, NZD, INR, CNY, and HKD.

For convenience, carry enough cash to last the first night or two and then withdraw cash in SGD using your ATM card (bring a backup just in case). ATMs that allow international withdrawal are found all over Singapore. They accept ATM cards with a logo from major interbank networks (American Express, Discover, Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, and the like). Don’t forget to activate your card for international withdrawal before leaving your home country.

Philippine Peso — Bringing Philippine Peso for your trip is possible since most currency exchange stalls in Singapore accept them. Exchange a small amount at the airport and then the rest at the city center for better rates. When exchanging large amounts or if you happen to be in the area, the stalls at Lucky Mall along Orchard Road are your best bet for favorable exchange rates.

When is the best time to visit?

Singapore gets little weather variations the whole year round. Any date is generally good to schedule your visit. However, if you are traveling from the second half of September to the first week of October, be mindful of Singapore Grand Prix (F1 Race) schedule. It’s a super peak season for hotels. Book your accommodations well in advance.

How to get around Singapore?

Singapore has a convenient, extensive, and affordable Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and bus network. From the airport, the MRT is the cheapest way to get to the city center. Bus and train fares range from SGD 0.80 to 2.

Buy an EZ-Link Card sold at Changi Airport station & many ticket offices around Singapore. This prepaid card can be used to pay for train and bus rides. Enjoy discount fares if you use this card. The cost is SGD 12 per card. Includes SGD 7 stored value and SGD 5 non-refundable card cost. You can top-up at any 7-Eleven store. Only 1 person is allowed per card.

You can also buy the Singapore Tourist Pass, which offers unlimited rides on non-premium trains and buses. The price is SGD10 for the 1-day pass, SGD15 for the 2-day pass & SGD20 for the 3-day pass.

Private airport transfers

Book airport transfers online for stress-free private transfers between Singapore airport and your city hotel. Cars can seat up to 3, 5 and 9 people.

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By taxi

Taxi stands can be found at the Arrival levels of each Terminal. A ride to the city takes around 30 minutes and costs between $20 and $40. Better yet, avoid the taxi queue with the Grab or Uber app. You can book Grab vouchers online & enjoy additional discounts on your rides.

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Useful travel apps

Google Maps — This travel app will make it a lot easier to navigate around Singapore on your own. The directions feature only works online. Available on iOS and Android.

MyTransport.SG — Useful information on MRT, LRT & bus services in Singapore. Available on iOS and Android.

XE Currency — Free & easy currency converter. Available on iOS and Android.

Get rent a Pocket WiFi or buy a mobile data SIM card.

Stay connected online during your whole trip. Not only does it make it possible to share your travel moments instantly, you can also travel better by having access to all your favorite travel apps anytime.

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Where to book tours & attraction tickets

As mentioned, booking online can save you money, time and let you enjoy cashless convenience. In case you want to see more discounts and options, here’s a list of sites that you can check.


Typical travel costs in Singapore

Here’s a list of typical costs when traveling in Singapore. This country is one of the most expensive travel destinations this side of Asia. It is generally twice as expensive as Malaysia or at least three times more than traveling around other countries in Southeast Asia including Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Transport — One train or bus ride within the city costs between SGD 0.8 to 2. For a whole day of sightseeing, you may likely spend between SGD 5 to 10. The Singapore Tourist Pass, which offers unlimited MRT & bus rides, costs SGD 10 for a 1-day pass and SGD 20 for a three day pass.

Accommodations — Booking a room or bed in Singapore is noticeably more expensive than neighboring countries. A dorm bed in a backpacker hostel or guesthouse starts from SGD 11 per night and averages from SGD 15 to 30 per night. A room for two in a budget hotel would set you back SGD 50 to 90 per night. Most mid-range hotels offer rooms for around SGD 100 to 200 per night. If you are staying in a luxury hotel or resort, room prices usually start at SGD 300 to 500 per night.

Food — A meal at hawker centers costs around SGD 3 to 15. Hawker stalls are Singapore’s version of side street stalls and low-cost eateries. Mains at casual restaurants start at SGD 10 to 15.

Activities — Admission fees may take up a huge chunk of your expenses if you plan on visiting many themed attractions, rides, and museums. Many museums offer free admission, while most usually cost SGD 10 or less. Entry to theme parks & attractions are priced between SGD 20 to SGD 70.

Money-saving tips

Eat at hawker centers & taste Singapore’s multi-cultural food — Meals are cheap and the food is prepared in relatively high quality and sanitation. A long line of people queueing at a stall is usually a sign that it serves good food that is safe to eat.

Ride MRTs and buses — This is the cheapest way to get around. Public transport in Singapore is quite efficient and safe. However, when traveling in a group, particularly in a group of 3 or 4, consider taking the taxi for short rides around the city center. The price difference (calculated per person) is not a big wallet buster. Your feet will thank you from the tiring walk to/from train stations, especially if you’re planning to spend the whole day sightseeing

Stay at hostels — There are a lot of reliable hostels in Singapore that cater to budget-conscious travelers. They are not only cheap, but a good way to socialize with other travelers.  Boutique hostels in Singapore are particularly good. If you are traveling in a group of 3 to 6 people, consider getting a family room in hostels or guesthouses to save money on your stay.

Get a good map and explore the city on your own tour — Go on a do-it-yourself (DIY) around Singapore’s different cultural districts if you want to save yourself from expensive admission fees at themed attractions. There are a lot of awesome things to do in Singapore that doesn’t cost a dime.

Here’s an exclusive Detourista discount for you

Enjoy an additional P175 OFF on Klook with promo code “HOLIYAYDTR“. This is on top of existing discounts on the Klook website and mobile app! Simply type the promo code upon checkout to redeem.

Book promo here

Available now until December 31, 2018 only. Valid for first-time Philippines users with minimum spend of P5,000. The promotion can be redeemed when booking any Klook activity except Universal Studios Japan Tickets.

Things To Do in Singapore + Places to Visit

Check out these top tourist spots, best places to visit & things to do in Singapore.

1. Merlion Park

Pretty hard to miss anyway because of its prominent location at the mouth of the Singapore River. Not only could you get a good photo with the Merlion statue, Singapore’s most iconic monument, but there are amazing views to be seen of the Singapore Skyline, Marina Bay Sands, The Esplanade: Theatres by the Bay, and the Singapore Flyer.

2. Singapore Riverside and Civic District

This relaxing promenaded riverside area is a short walk away from the Merlion Park. Take a stroll down memory lane and get acquainted with the city’s early development and colonial history. A happening nightlife scene can be experienced at Clark and Boat Quay.

3. Chinatown

Experience Singapore’s multi-cultural diversity by taking a walking and food tour of Chinatown. Visit a church, a mosque, Indian and Chinese temples all in one walk. Go on a food adventure and try dishes from Singapore’s different cultural influences at affordable hawker centers of Chinatown.

4. Marina Bay

Marvel at Singapore’s new urbanscape by taking a walk around Marina Bay. Visit Marina Bay Sands, the Helix Bridge, Singapore Flyer, and Esplanade: Theatres on the bay. Amazing overlooking views can be seen from the Skypark of Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.

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5. Gardens by the Bay

An ambitious project set to transform Singapore from a “Garden City” to a “City in a Garden.” The main attractions here are the 25 towering man-made Supertrees and two equally extraordinary biodomes.

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6. Singapore Zoo

An impressively maintained zoo where you can find a wide array of animals from around the world. The River Safari is also worth checking out.

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7. Sentosa Island

Spend a fun day on rides and themed attractions or relax at the beaches of Sentosa. The island is home to Universal Studios Singapore, the first theme park of its kind to open in Southeast Asia and the second in Asia after Universal Studios Japan.

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Don’t Stop Here

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