Backpacking Singapore

Looking for important travel information while backpacking around Singapore? Here you will find information on working in Singapore, entry visas, Singapore hostels, and much more.

Table of Contents

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 it’s 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

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.

Singapore climate map including average rainfall and temperature by month. Find the best time to backpack Singapore based on your climate preferences.

Things to see and do

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.

Travel

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.

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.

Health

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 is to be considered safe and only normal everyday precautions need to be taken.

Useful Links

The Singapore Hotel Association can offer more information on hotels in Singapore

Entry Visas 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 Commision.

Addresses

Visa and immigration enquiries should be directed to the local Singapore High Commission:

High Commission for the Republic of Singapore 
9 Wilton Crescent 
London 
SW1X 8SA 
Tel: (020) 7 235 8315
Fax: (020) 7 235 5874

If you require UK representation while abroad you should contact the British High Commission:

British High Commission 
Tanglin Road 
Singapore 247919 
Singapore 
Tel: + [65] 4739333
Fax: + [65] 4759706 
Consular. Email: brit_hc@pacific.net.sg

Tourist information is dispensed by the Singapore Tourism Promotion Board:

Singapore Tourism Promotion Board 
1st Floor 
Carrington House 
126 - 130 Regent Street 
London 
W1R 5FE 
Tel: (0171) 437 0033 
Fax: (0171) 734 2191

How to Say Common Mandarin Phrases

Meeting People

English
Cantonese
yes
hai
no
m hai
thank you
doh jeh, m goi
you are welcome
m sai haak hei
please
m goi, ching
excuse me
ching yeung, dui m chu
hello
nei ho
goodbye
joi gin
Good morning
jo san
Good night
maan on, jo taau
I do not understand
ngoh m ming baak
Do you speak…?
lei sik gong…ma?
English
ying man
What is your name?
lei giu me ye meng?
Nice to meet you
rho go hing ying sik lei
How are you?
nei ho ma?
good
ho
bad
m ho

Directions

English
Cantonese
map
dei to
left
joh
right
yau
straight on
jik hui
far
yuen
near
gan

Methods of Transport

English
Cantonese
Where is…?
bin do hai…?
How much is the fare?
che fai gei doh chin?
ticket
piu
A ticket to…, please
yat jeung piu hui…, m goi
Where are you going?
nei yui hui bin?
Where do you live?
nei ju hai bin?
train
foh che, tit lo
bus
gung gung hei che, ba si
underground
dei ha tit
airport
fei gei cheung
train station
foh che jaam
bus station
gung gung hei che jaam, ba si jaam
underground station
dei tit jaam
departure
chut ching
arrival
yap ching
parking
ting che cheung

Time

English
Cantonese
What time is it?
gei dim jung a?
today
gam yat
yesterday
kam yat
tomorrow
ting yat

Accommodation

English
Cantonese
hotel
lui goon
room
fong
reservation
ding, yue ding
Are there any vacancies?
ching man gam maan yau mo hung fong?
No vacancies
mo saai hung fong
passport
woo jiu

Places

English
Cantonese
post office
yau ching guk
bank
ngan hong
police station
ging chaat guk
hospital
yi yuen
chemist
yeuk fong
shop
dim po
restaurant
chaan teng, jau lau
museum
bok mat goon
church
gau tong
square
gong yuen
street
gaai do, ma lo

Shopping

English
Cantonese
How much does this cost?
ni goh gei doh chin?
I will buy it
ngoh yiu maai ni goh
I would like to buy…
ngoh seung maai…
Do you have…?
lei yau mo…?
open
hoi
closed
yau sik
postcard
ming shun pin
stamps
yau piu
little
siu-siu
lot
taai doh
all
chuen bo

Meals

English
Cantonese
breakfast
cho chaan
lunch
ng chaan
dinner
maan chaan
vegetarian
so sik jeh
cheers!
ging jau, yam booi
The bill please
maai daan, m goi

Drinks

Drinks

English
Cantonese
drink
yam ban
coffee
ga feh
tea
cha
juice
jap
water
shui
beer
beh jau
wine
jau

Food

English
Cantonese
meat
yuk
fish
yue
vegetable
sho choi
fruit
shui gwoh
potato
ma ling sue
salad
sa laai
dessert
tim ban

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Singapore Hostels

Hostels are a cheap form of accomodation, and so they are essential to backpackers and other budget travellers. We have compiled a list of hostels in Singapore to help you plan your journey. If you are looking for a hostel in Singapore, you’ve come to the right place.

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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