A Filipino Traveller’s Guide to Visiting Singapore for the First Time

Article originally appeared on Let’s Go Wander

As requested, here’s a travel blog post/itinerary guide about the country I’ve considered home for the past two years. There are so many things to see and do in Singapore but this entry should be able to cover the basics and must-see. Please don’t forget to share appreciate this to your friends who are planning to visit the Garden City soon!

Where to stay?

Pillows & Toast — My friend, Cariza, stayed here last November and she said it’s a nice place to stay. The hostel is located a few minutes away from Chinatown MRT. {website}

Fragrance Hotel Selegie — Stay here if you’re under a really tight budget. Don’t stay here if you’ll be in Singapore for more than 3 days. There are a lot of Fragrance Hotel in Singapore but I recommend the one in Selegie because it’s near Little India Station. {website}

V Lavender Hotel — I absolutely love the location of this place. It’s right on top of Lavender MRT and there’s a 24-hour convenience store and Wendy’s on the ground floor. {website}

Marina Bay Sands — Going 5-star, huh? Lucky you! If you have the money to burn, then why not? Don’t forget to swim at the infinity pool! {website}

Also read: Staycations in Singapore: 10 Brand New Hotels You’ll Absolutely Love

Where to eat?

I’m not really a foodie person, but I’ll recommend two places:

Hawker Centres — You’ll see this almost everywhere in Singapore but if you’re very particular with hygiene, eat at the Singapore Food Trail.

Marché — I finally popped my Marché cherry last January and I’ve never been so proud. LOL! Eat here when you’re reaaaaally hungry, like starving to death kind of hungry.

Also read: 16 Local Foods You Must Try in Singapore

What to see and do?

Merlion Park – Visit Merlion Park and take a photo with Singapore’s iconic landmark or symbol. Marina Bay Sands, ArtScience Museum, Singapore Flyer and Esplanade Theatre are also within the area.

Singapore Flyer – It’s currently the tallest Ferris wheel in the whole world.

Gardens by the Bay – The latest attraction in Singapore. This is where you will discover why Singapore is known as the Garden City of Asia.

Sentosa Island – Chill at Palawan Beach or go for the rides at Imbiah Lookout. You can also check out the attractions in Resort’s World, including Universal Studios! If you have money to burn, try indoor sky diving with iFly (also in Sentosa).

Museums – There are a lot of museums in Singapore, so take your pick. I’ve only been to the following:

  • Art: Singapore Art Museum (SAM). Free admission every Friday from 6PM-9PM. {website}
  • Design: Red Dot Museum. Free admission during MAD week.  {website}
  • Kids / Nostalgia: Mint Museum of Toys. {website}
  • Science: Science Centre in Jurong East. It’s a bit far from the city, so allot one whole day. {website}
  • Interesting Exhibits: ArtScience Museum. {website}

If you can, you should also check out the National Museum of Singapore and Asian Civilizations Museum.

Shopping – Oh wow. Where do I begin? I always feel like there’s a mall in every corner here in Singapore.

  • Orchard Road for high end brands like Louis Vuitton and Prada.
  • Bugis Village for that Divisoria-but-not-exactly kind of shopping experience aka (sort of) cheap stuff!
  • Haji Lane for independent brands, mostly managed by young people. If you’re watching ABS-CBN’s Got To Believe, I think this area was featured in their Singapore episode.
  • Funan IT Mall for all of your gadget needs.
  • Mustafa Centre if you want to shop at 2 in the morning. I’ve never been here before.

There’s one more place that I’ve been meaning to go to and that’s called Thieves’ Market in Sungei Road. It’s a flea market and I heard some sellers sell their vintage cameras here.

Also read: A Guide to Shopping for Clothes On a Budget in Singapore

Nature and wildlife – There are a lot of parks/zoos in Singapore, so please do your own research and decide which one you want to visit. But if you decide to go to the Chinese Garden, please don’t visit in the morning because IT IS SUPER DUPER HOT! Don’t worry, they are open until 11PM.

If you want to join the Night Safari, be there around 7PM. We went there around 9PM and did not appreciate the tour that much because we can barely see any of the animals.

Also read: 10 Thrilling Activities in Singapore that Only Daredevils Should Try

Group and private tours – I’m not a big fan of tours but sometimes, they’re your best option when pressed for time or would like some special access to a certain attraction. Here are some of the tours you can choose from:

Party @ Night – You can go to 1-Altitude, Zouk or any bars in Clarke Quay. I’m sorry, I’m not much of a party person.

Lockdown.sg – A real-life escape the room game. Located in The Central at Clarke Quay. Reservation is required for 3 or more customers. {website}

When to go?

Singapore is a tropical country with high humidity and abundant rainfall. And to be frank, I absolutely hate the rainfall when I’m outside the house. I’ve ruined 2-3 pair of shoes because of the rain.

As much as possible, avoid going to Singapore during December (Christmas), January (New Year), February (Chinese New Year), September (F1 Season). If shopping is not your thing, you should also avoid June and July because of the Great Singapore Sale.

What else?

It’s pricey in Singapore but if you spend more than a $100 in one store, make sure you ask for a tax rebate. Then claim this tax rebate at the GST counter at the airport.

Buy a sim card if you need to access the Internet while outside. Just bring your passport.

If you want to know the rates and directions on how to get from Point A to Point B, then you need to bookmark GoThere.sg. It’s a comprehensive and interactive map of Singapore.

The budget per day depends on your lifestyle but I think you can survive with $300 cash for 3-4 days. Food costs $5-30, depending on where you eat. A $7 ez-link (the ordinary card) will last for 2-3 days. But you should take advantage of the Singapore Tourist Pass because you get unlimited rides when you use the MRT, LRT or basic bus service for $20/3 days.

Also read: How to Travel Singapore on a Budget

I’ve also included a downloadable itinerary for you to print and fill out:

Download: Singapore Sample Itinerary

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