Your Guide to Visiting Singapore for the First Time

Singapore, a cosmopolitan country that is also in touch with its rich heritage, promises an unforgettable experience for travellers. If it is going to be your first time in the Lion City, here are some essential insights to keep in mind.

Choosing Where to Stay

Singapore is home to diverse neighbourhoods, each offering something different to experience along with diverse accommodation options to suit varying budgets. For a convenient base for sightseeing, shopping, or business, consider a hotel in the historic Civic District near an MRT station and key attractions. Ideal options include Grand Park City Hall which not only offers luxurious rooms with contemporary comforts, but also family suites for those travelling kids, dining options, a pool, fitness centre, free Wi-Fi, and complimentary parking.

Planning Your Itinerary

With so many attractions in the city, planning your itinerary is key. Staying in the Civic District at hotels near Singapore CBD allows you to visit sites like the National Gallery Singapore at the historical Supreme Court and City Hall buildings as well as the Peranakan Museum; you can also easily access Fort Canning Park, the stunning Gardens by the Bay and iconic Marina Bay Sands.

You can enjoy fascinating insights at the ArtScience Museum and the Asian Civilisations Museum, encounters with wildlife at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari and retail therapy galore at Orchard Road and Chinatown Street Market. Don’t forget there are also theme park thrills at Sentosa Island home to Universal Studios Singapore along with bar- and club-hopping escapades at Clarke Quay!

Foodie Discoveries

Singapore’s multicultural nature is evident in its eclectic cuisine as well. From Michelin-starred restaurants to hawker centres (open-air food courts) brimming with local delights, there’s something for every palate. Hawker centres like Maxwell Food Centre and Chinatown Complex Food Centre are great places to embark on a culinary adventure. Must-try dishes include Hainanese chicken rice, chilli crab, laksa, satay, nasi lemak and char kway teow each with its own signature flavours.

Getting About

MRT – Photo by shawnanggg on Unsplash

Singapore has an efficient and fast public transport system in place. The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) as well as bus services are clean, safe, and affordable. Purchase a Singapore Tourist Pass (STP) for unlimited travel for one, two or three days during your stay. Alternatively, contactless payment with foreign-issued Visa and Mastercard cards is widely accepted as well. Taxis are readily available, or you can use ride-hailing apps like Grab. For an eco-friendly option, hire a bicycle and explore the city’s well-connected network of cycling paths.