[All content and prices updated August 2013]

Why you should add Singapore to your RTW travel list

Singapore has a reputation that often confuses people. Being known for ultra-strict police control and littering laws doesn’t make it sound like an ideal holiday spot, but when you are actually there it just seems like a clean and well-run city and it doesn’t feel like there is a cop always following you.
  • It's the perfect introduction to SE Asia - western enough to not overwhelm but still with plenty of culture shock.
  • The modern SE Asia is here to serve you
  • Due to its location very near the equator this tiny city-state looks like a modern city built on a tropical paradise, probably because that’s what it is.
  • The tropical climate, sound of Chinese traders and sweet aroma of Indian food gives it away: You're in Singapore
  • Singapore. SE Asia as seen in the 21st century
  • Raffles Hotel, Arab Street, Little India, Chinatown, Jurong – Can you say "diversity"?
  • Singapore: Probably the best place to eat in Asia
  • There are raucous bars and clubs to satisfy the tourists and sailors who’ve been visiting for centuries.

Indie travel tips for Singaporep

One of the best parts about trying to have an indie experience in Singapore is that it shouldn't cost much. Part of that experience is simply wandering around its various markets and neighborhoods, which costs nothing.
  • There are plenty of great hostels and budget accommodations in Singapore, so don't fall prey to the high priced hotels that dominate the city.
  • One thing you can do cheaply in Singapore is eat, and it will provide you with great indie travel memories. Wander around the various markets or pop in a street stall to sample some amazing, local cuisine.
  • Get in touch with a local via sites like Couchsurfing and Tripping and have him or her take show you where the locals go.
  • Take the Canopy Walk at McRitchie Reservoir to rub elbows with a lot of locals.
  • With a mostly-Chinese population it’s not surprising that the Chinatown is more than just a little authentic.
    • There are ancient temples mixed in with more modern delights making this area a must-see.
  • Singapore has been a huge shopping destination for decades and there are stores with international appeal lining Orchard Street in the heart of the tourist district, but if you stray a bit from the center you can find more interesting merchandise at a fraction of the cost.
  • Nearly everyone makes a stop at the Raffles Hotel, birthplace of the Singapore Sling. The hotel is very nice, but the drink sold in the bar is massively overpriced due to the tourist draw of it all.
    • Walk through the hotel and have a sling elsewhere for half the price.
    • In the harbor area, the district of Boat Quay is a great place for a relaxing cocktail during the steamy afternoons and it’s home to some very active nightlife after dark.
  • There is monorail from the harbor that takes passengers to the resort island of Sentosa.
    • If you’ve got the budget for it there are high priced resort hotels and golf courses, but just for a day visit you can check out several theme park-like attractions and the city’s best beaches. Things tend to be overpriced on Sentosa, but it’s an interesting place for a stroll even if you don’t buy anything.

Transportation

Singapore can be reached by car or by train as it’s connected by a bridge to southern Malaysia, but most people will want to fly into Singapore’s world famous Changi Airport, which is often rated the best airport on the planet for its gorgeous setting and efficient service. Singapore is a major hub and has its own airline so good deals are often available. The light rail system connects the airport with the city and there are airport shuttles as well.

Accommodation

There are several hostels in Singapore and a wide variety of hotels in all price ranges. They tend to be mostly in the center, but there are some corners of the island and you should be careful of your location. Boat Quay has the best nightlife so depending on your style you may want to be near or far away from it.

Photo credits: chenisyuan