Looking for important travel information while backpacking in Singapore? Here you will find information on working in Singapore, entry visas, Singapore hostels, and much more.
Table of Contents
- Facts About Singapore
- Things to do in Singapore
- Entry Visa Requirements for Singapore
- Singapore Hostels and Budget Accommodation
Facts About Singapore
Singapore is a sprawling city-state which is considered by many to be the jewel in Asia’s crown. Keen to impress the international community the city has a reputation for impeccable cleanliness to the extent that chewing gum has been banned from the city.
The best thing about Singapore is definitely the rich mix of influences, ranging from the hi-tech modern chrome and glass building via its colonial past and stretching deep into its ancient cultural roots. Within the city, you can do everything from Jungle trekking in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, to the usual Asian temple pilgrimages or just spend the day shopping in the unparalleled Orchard Road
- Currency: Singapore Dollar (Sing $) = 100 cents
- Time Zone: GMT + 8
- Language: Mandarin
- Telephone Services: Country code +65, International Access code 005
- Emergency Numbers: 999 for all services
Climate in Singapore
Singapore sits almost on the equator and enjoys a tropical climate. Temperatures are hot and humidity is high all year round with no distinct rainy season. Despite this, the time between November and January has marginally more rainfall so visitors might want to avoid this time. The best time to visit Singapore is from June to August during the dry season.
Things to do in Singapore
Singapore has a lot of distinct influences on its culture, the most famous of which is probably the colonial influence. In particular, Sir Raffles was responsible for the building and development of most of the infrastructure during colonial rule.
The famous Raffles Hotel is world renowned as one of the most luxurious and high-class hotels in Asia. Also, impressive remnants from this era of Singapore’s history is the fantastic Empress Palace building which now houses an exclusive restaurant as well as a museum and an art gallery. With colonial rule came the mark of Christianity and you can see excellent examples of architecture at both the St Andrew’s Cathedral and the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.
It is impossible to visit Singapore without paying a trip to Chinatown, this area is still very much the city’s cultural hub and is representative of Singapore’s ancient oriental roots. The entire area is bustling with activity and boasts some of the best food on the island. During the day it is possible to find plenty of traditional shops selling everything from incense and herbal remedies to Chinese style teahouses.
Although the growth of the financial district and redevelopment has to a certain extent suppressed the charm of this area it is still possible to find plenty of examples of traditional Chinese style life, one superb example is the Thian Hock Keng Temple which is notable for having been assembled entirely without nails.
Orchard Road is one of the most fashionable streets in Singapore, it is here that all of the luxury 5-star hotels jostle with the most trendy of boutiques and shops. The nightlife here is unparalleled if pricy and there are enough shops to keep even the most demanding shopper satisfied all day.
Unique Activities in Singapore
Another good way to get an idea of things to do in Singapore is to scan the activities offered by Get Your Guide or Viator. They work directly with local tour operators, so you won’t have to scour the internet or roam around town trying to find the best deal.
How to Travel Around Singapore
If you’re flying to Singapore or plan to take short flights within the country, we recommend using a few different flight comparison search engines. Kiwi is a new favourite among travellers. On average, we have found the cheapest flights to Singapore with them compared to the other websites out there.
Of course, it is always worth checking Skyscanner to guarantee you’re getting the best deal. Both websites offer great flexible search options, allowing you to search the whole country of Liechtenstein to find the cheapest airport to fly into, and also see prices for a full month if you’re flexible on travel dates.
Travel within Singapore
Singapore has an excellently maintained underground system which is both easy and cheap to use, this is supplemented by a good bus service and together there isn’t anywhere that you can’t reach easily. An increasingly popular way to travel the city, however, is by rickshaw, small carriages towed by an energetic bike rider. When using these services or taxis always be sure to agree on a fare beforehand to avoid a nasty shock when it comes to time to pay.
Backpacking Tours in Singapore
Though part of the fun of backpacking Singapore is exploring on your own, there are situations, especially when venturing off the tourist trail, when it does make sense to go with a guide or a small group. For these times, a popular option among backpackers is G Adventures. They hand-select local guides to ensure authenticity and quality. This is especially a good option for those travelling Singapore alone who would like to meet up with like-minded travellers. Their most popular trips that include Singapore are their 14-day Bangkok to Singapore on a Shoestring, or their 21-day Southeast Asia on a Shoestring.
Health and Safety in Singapore
Singapore General Hospital provides healthcare of an exceptionally high standard and generally treats emergency cases. There is also a huge private sector also with very high standards. There is no reciprocal health agreement with the UK at this time so travellers will be asked to find a way to pay for any medical costs incurred. This, of course, means that a comprehensive travel insurance policy is a necessity.
There are no vaccinations required for entry to Singapore. It should be noted that hepatitis A and B are widespread so appropriate precautions should be taken especially during sexual contact. Rabies is also present and travellers bitten should seek medical assistance immediately.
The water and food in Singapore are to be considered safe and only normal everyday precautions need to be taken.
Entry Visa Requirements for Singapore
All visitors must hold a passport which is valid for at least six months after the date of departure and be able to provide evidence of either a return ticket or enough funds to purchase one. British or Irish Nationals do not require a visa for stays up to 30 days, other EU nationals or US nationals do not require a visa for a visit of up to 14 days.
Those exempt from visa requirements must obtain a Social Visit Pass which is issued on arrival at the airport for about $15. Those wishing to stay longer require a long-term Social Visit Pass which can be obtained from the Singapore High Commission.
Singapore Hostels and Budget Accommodation
There is an absolute wealth of choice when it comes to accommodation in Singapore. There are ample hotels of all types ranging from luxurious international standard hotels like the Raffles to cheap budget places. The Singapore Hotel Association can offer more information
There are a reasonable number of youth hostels in Singapore including a YMCA International hostel. In general, it is easy to find a night in dormitory accommodation for under $10. We have had good experiences finding hostels on HostelWorld. They have the largest inventory of hostels worldwide, and with over 10 million reviews and ratings from other travellers, you know exactly what to expect.
Another good way to find accommodation in Singapore is by checking hotels.com and booking.com. With both sites, you’ll not only find hotels, but also homestays, hostels, and other unique accommodation. We have discovered some great finds and have appreciated the ability to book ahead.
You can use their advanced filtering to narrow your results by budget, location score, overall review score, and amenities. Many of the places on booking.com also offer free cancellation, which takes the pressure off the planning phase of your trip.
Useful Links for Backpacking in Singapore
- The Singapore Hotel Association can offer more information on hotels in Singapore
- Kiwi, Skyscanner, and Opodo – Flight comparison search engines to find the cheapest flights to Singapore and within the country
- GetYourGuide and Viator – a collection of local tours and things to do in Singapore. Also offers Skip the Line tickets for crowded attractions
- Tiqets – Website selling entrance tickets and skip the line tickets for tourist spots in Singapore
- G Adventures – guided backpacking tours in Singapore, great for solo travellers or for those interested in a more adventurous trip which would require a guide
- HostelWorld – #1 hostel search website to find accommodation while backpacking in Singapore. Thousands of hostels and millions of reviews from fellow travellers
- Booking.com – commonly used booking site for Singapore. Hostels, hotels, and other unique accommodation with advanced filtering and millions of reviews
- Travel Insurance – read our comprehensive overview of Travel Insurance and some recommended providers for your backpacking trip to Singapore
There you have it, the ultimate Singapore backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Singapore.
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