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Downtown Singapore from Marina Bay Sands
Downtown Singapore from Marina Bay Sands


This city-state is a mix of cultures and a modern metropolis with British influence.

Money and Tipping

Singapore's currency is the Singapore Dollar (SGD). You can find currency exchange outlets downtown, in malls including Harbourfront Center. Credit cards are widely accepted. Tipping is not expected for both restaurants and taxis.


Singapore outlets are UK style, three rectangular prongs and 230V.


SIM cards can be purchased at convenience stores from Singapore's three major operators - Singtel, StarHub and M1.

Climate and Weather

Singapore is almost on the equator and is hot year round. Afternoon thunderstorms are common.

Singapore Weather Forecast


Most Singaporeans speak English and signs will be mainly English and Chinese.

Local Transportation

Singapore's expansive metro, the MRT, can get you to most of the main areas. For single MRT trips, a new standard ticket was introduced Mar 2013. This ticket has a 10 cent deposit and can be reused up to six times but only two trips (initial journey and return) can be prepaid for. Fares are based on distance and start at $1.30. It is more convenient to purchase a EZ-Link stored value card (valid on buses and with discounted fares). These can be purchased at MRT ticket offices for $12 with $7 in credit and $5 non-refundable or at 7-11 but for $15 with $10 credit. Minimum top up with Ez-Link is $10.

Stage 1 of the new Downtown Line opened Dec 2013 connecting Chinatown to Downtown Marina Bay to Bugis.

You can also buy a Singapore Tourist Pass for $10 (plus $10 deposit, single day, Jan 2014) good for all day travel on the MRT and buses. The card is only available at certain stations including Changi Airport, Raffles Place, Orchard, Chinatown and Harbourfront.

Taxis are metered and color-coded by company. Credit cards may be accepted with a surcharge. Surcharges also apply for evenings, late night and pickups at the airport, downtown and Marina Bay Sands.

To/From the Airport

Taking the MRT to Changi Airport (SIN) requires changing trains at Tanah Merah station. 24-hr shuttle buses to hotels in the city center are also available for $9. Taking a metered taxi should cost between $18-$38 plus airport surcharge dependent on the time of day and take approx. 30 minutes.


Search hotels in Singapore here

Must See Sights

  • Orchard Road - This area spans three MRT stops and has a high concentration of modern malls. MRT Dhoby Ghaut, Somerset and Orchard.
  • Merlion - This half lion, half fish fountain is the symbol of Singapore. The original one is downtown (MRT Raffles Place) with a copy on Sentosa Island.
  • Chinatown - This area is full of outdoor markets and restaurants. Sample some bakkwa (see below) and visit the Hindu temple. MRT Chinatown.
  • Marina Bay Sands - This brand new complex features a rooftop swimming pool and observation deck. The swimming pool is only for guests but the observation deck is open to the public. The casino is in the large mall across the street. MRT Bayfront (opened Jan 2012) or walk across the Helix bridge from MRT Promenade.
  • Gardens by the Bay - Opened in 2012, these gardens near Marina Bay Sands include conservatories and covered domes.
  • Sentosa Island - This area includes Universal Studios, a casino, beaches, restaurants and many tourist attractions. The top attractions are Fort Silo and Underwater World. Take the monorail from Vivocity, cable car from Harbourfront or bus.
  • Little India - come to this neighbourhood for authentic indian food
  • Singapore Zoo - This world class zoo is one of Singapore's top attractions. You'll need to take the MRT to Ang Mo Kio and then bus 138 or MRT to Khatib and then taxi to get here. Night safaris are also offered in the evening.

Shopping & Restaurants

  • You won't have trouble finding a shopping mall in Singapore. Orchard Road has a high concentration of malls.
  • Bugis Street houses almost 800 shops, and is the largest street shopping location in Singapore. MRT Bugis EW12
  • Have lunch at hawker centers which were originally food carts moved under cover to create outdoor food courts. Seah Im Food Centre is across from Vivocity. Vivocity has two food courts, one in the basement and a more expensive Food Republic on the top floor.
  • Singapore is famous for it's Hainanese chicken rice. A recommended spot is Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre, Chinatown (look for the biggest lineup). Vivocity has a few chicken rice options including The Chicken Rice Shop, and stalls in both food courts.
  • Have a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel. This will set you back 26 SGD however.
  • Try an ice cream sandwich from street vendors on Orchard Rd or Chinatown. It's literally a slice of ice cream between a slice of bread or wafer.
  • For meat lovers, try some addictive bakkwa. Bakkwa is a sweet meat jerky, more tender than it's American counterpart and available in pork, beef or other meats. Recommended shops in Chinatown are Kim Hwa Guan in People's Park Food Center or the chains Bee Cheng Hiang (location in Harbourfront also) or Kim Hock Gwan.
  • Clarke Quay is an entertainment/restaurant complex on the banks of the river. Not too busy during the daytime but you can take a river cruise from here.
  • Boat Quay (south bank of the Singapore River) is lined with riverfront restaurants busy with the downtown lunch crowd.
  • There is a large Cold Storage Supermarket in Vivocity and a smaller one in Harbourfront.
  • Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong's famouse dim sum restaurant, opened a location in April 2013 in Plaza Singapura on Orchard Rd. (MRT Dhoby Ghaut)
  • Lau Pa Sat - Boon Tat street beside this hawker center downtown transforms into an outdoor satay street in the evening.
  • Crystal Jade - This chinese restaurant chain specializing in soup dumplings (XLB) and found throughout Asia actually is from Singapore. Dim Sum available. The flagship restaurant is in Ngee Ann City Mall on Orchard Rd (MTR Orchard). Other restaurants can be found at Vivocity and Suntec City Mall (MRT Esplanade).
  • Hot-Star - This fried chicken cutlet chain has expanded from its roots in Taipei to stores at Ion Orchard and Resort World Sentosa.

Post Offices

There is a post office on the top floor of Harbourfront Center by the walkway to Vivocity. At Orchard MRT, the ION mall has a post office. Downtown, there is a post office by Raffles Place on Change Alley.


Restaurants and cafes may provide free wifi for customers. Marina Bay Cruise Centre has free wifi if you are docked there.

Maps (right-click to save)

Singapore Downtown and Orchard Road

Singapore Downtown Map

MRT map

Singapore MRT Map

Suggested City Guides


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Page last modified on October 07, 2019, at 03:40 PM
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