Singapore : Travel Guide | Itineraries and Highlights

To the point Lush vegetation, impressive skyscrapers and vibrant cultural districts. See how to plan a fantastic trip to Singapore, the city in a garden.

Singapore is the perfect first or last stop on a trip to Southeast Asia. Often referred to as the Garden City, green spaces and parks abound. The government wants to go even further and turn Singapore into a city in a garden. All these measures help to counter heat islands and improve residents’ quality of life.


It’s a destination that has something for everyone, from the very young to the very old. Honeymooners, backpackers, families – there’s something for everyone. Singapore has enough to keep you busy for a whole month!

In this article, you’ll find some of my favorites, as well as practical tips to help you plan your trip to this magnificent city.


Singapore is a city full of attractions and things to do. Here are some of the most popular and interesting.

Jewel Changi Airport

Attached to Changi Airport, the Jewel is a large shopping mall with the famous indoor waterfall. Visits to the impressive waterfall and the 4-storey tropical garden are free of charge. Access to the Canopy Bridge is subject to a fee (S$14). What’s more, suitcases are not allowed and must be left at the cloakroom for around S$10.

It’s an incredible place to visit, whether you’re in transit or not. Set aside an hour to three hours for the visit. There’s also a host of activities for kids, including mazes (S$19), a suspended net (S$19), slides and an interactive games room (S$25).

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If you have access to the Jewel Changi Airport lounge, kindly ask reception if it’s possible to leave your suitcases for the duration of your visit to the Jewel. I was able to do this and save on luggage storage fees.

Gardens by the Bay

My great favorite in Singapore. I loved these gardens so much that I went back four times! The gardens are enormous, and most of the site is free to visit. Places where you have to pay for access are detailed below. Tickets can be purchased online, and the park offers free wireless Internet, so there’s no need to wait in line at the ticket counter.

Despite their large size, Gardens by the Bay can be visited in their entirety on foot or by bike. Shuttle buses between the main points of interest are also available (S$3 for 2 trips).

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The park is divided into several attractions:

  • Cloud Forest (S$53 with access to the Flower Dome): This gigantic dome is a reproduction of a tropical rainforest or cloud forest. At the time of my visit, the garden had been transformed into Pandora for the release of the film Avatar 2. It’s a sublime visit not to be missed, despite its high cost. The combined ticket is valid for one entry to Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. It is not possible to purchase access to a single conservatory.
  • Flower Dome (S$53 with access to Cloud Forest): Slightly less impressive than the Cloud Forest, but still magnificent, the Flower Dome contains flowers from the four corners of the globe grouped into 9 themed gardens. Exhibitions change with the seasons and special events.
  • Supertree Grove (free): The iconic attraction and architectural marvel of Gardens by the Bay. The 12 giant trees rise 50 metres into the air and light up in the evening to create an impressive musical light show. Garden Rhapsody is presented twice a night, at 7.45pm and 8.45pm. The best places to watch the show: from the OCBC Skyway (book your tickets and time slot in advance) or on the steps below the Fruits and Flowers garden.
  • OCBC Skyway (S$12): This glass-floored platform offers impressive views of the Supertrees and Marina Bay.
  • Supertree Observatory (S$14): Nestled atop the highest Supertree, this observation platform offers 360-degree views of the gardens and the city.
  • Floral Fantasy (S$15): Smaller than its cousins Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, Floral Fantasy is Gardens by the Bay’s third indoor garden. An exhibition of floral arrangements accompanied by light and sound projections to create a magical atmosphere.

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is a fabulous destination for a family day out. It is renowned for its beaches, amusement parks, big resorts, casinos and golf courses. Access is by car, bike, foot or public transport with the Sentosa Express. This monorail links Sentosa Island to the Harbourfront MRT station. Access to the island itself is subject to a fee, details of which can be found here.

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Among the most popular sites are :

  • Universal Studios Singapore (S$82 per adult, S$61 per child): A cousin of the famous Universal Studios in Florida and California, the Singapore park is made up of seven themed zones, including Jurassic Park, Ancient Egypt and Sci-Fi City. Access is easy from the monorail station or the cable car.
  • S.E.A. Aquarium (S$41 per adult, S$30 per child): One of the world’s largest aquariums, it offers breathtaking views of over 100,000 marine animals, including sharks, rays and dolphins. Visitors can explore different marine ecosystems through a series of interactive galleries and tunnels.
  • Adventure Cove Waterpark (S$39 per adult, S$31 per child): This waterpark features a dozen slides, a wave pool, a lazy river and even a beach. You can also swim with tropical fish or rays.
  • Beaches (free): Ideal for swimming on hot days, there are three small beaches on Sentosa Island.

Marina Bay Sands

This imposing building is also an emblem of the city of Singapore. Inaugurated in 2010, Marina Bay Sands is a complex featuring a luxury hotel, high-end restaurants, the world’s largest infinity pool and a huge shopping mall. Here you’ll find luxury brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, etc.

If you’re interested in the experience, rates for one night in one of the 2,561 rooms start at S$629. Only hotel guests have access to the infinity pool.

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Inside the Marina Bay Sands, you’ll also find the ArtScience Museum (S$66 for access to all exhibitions). I absolutely loved the Future World: Where Art Meets Science section. This is an exhibition of immersive digital art by the same artists as teamLab Planets in Tokyo.


Singapore Zoo

It’s a fabulous place to visit with the whole family. The zoo is very large, and the animals seem well taken care of in their spacious enclosures. There are animals from all over the world, including ourangutans, lions, kangaroos, sloths, penguins, giant tortoises and more. You can even feed the animals during special sessions. Admission is S$50 per adult and S$36 per child.

In addition to the zoo, the Singapore Zoological Gardens group owns other parks such as River Wonders, specializing in aquatic animals, and Bird Paradise, a park with over 3,500 birds in huge aviaries. Finally, the Night Safari is another park to visit in the evening to observe all kinds of nocturnal species.


Cultural districts

Singapore is a city rich in cultural diversity and is home to several neighborhoods that celebrate this diversity. Here are some of the most popular neighborhoods.

  • Chinatown: One of Singapore’s oldest neighborhoods, Chinatown bears witness to the Chinese influence on the country’s history and culture. Don’t miss a visit to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and take a stroll through the streets to feel the pulse of this lively district. There’s also plenty of street food and hawker centers.
  • Little India: A colorful neighborhood that represents Indian culture in Singapore. You’ll find plenty of stores selling saris, spices, jewelry and other Indian products. The Sri Veeramakaliamman temple is also a nice visit to add to your list.
  • Kampong Glam: This is where you’ll find everything Malay and the famous Sultan Mosque. You’ll find traditional Malay clothing, handicrafts and Persian carpets.
  • Katong: This pretty, picturesque district has its origins in Peranakan culture, a Chinese-Malay fusion. It’s famous for its colorful buildings adorned with floral motifs and beautifully carved wooden windows.

In each of these neighborhoods, you’ll also find festivals and events throughout the year, showcasing the traditions and arts of each community.


Clarke Quay

Located on the banks of the Singapore River, this lively district is packed with restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shops. It’s the ideal place to enjoy the city’s nightlife, shop, dine on a lovely terrace and admire the river. The famous Merlion statue is also nearby.


Pulau Ubin

For a break from skyscrapers and urban action, head to the island of Palau Ubin off the coast of Singapore. This island is a large park where visitors can rent bikes, hike and explore traditional fishing villages. It’s a lovely place to spend a peaceful afternoon away from the sometimes sweltering heat of the city. It is reached by a short boat trip from the Port of Singapore (15 minutes, S$4).

To eat

Singaporean cuisine has Chinese, Malay and Indian influences. Dishes are generally rich and well-seasoned. I recommend you try Kaya toast: a traditional breakfast consisting of toast with coconut jam and a poached egg. The Ya Kun Kaya Toast and Toast Box chains are the most popular.

What’s more, coffee is an integral part of life in Singapore. The cafés are called kopi tiam and serve several variations of filter coffee. A must-try: the traditional Kopi. It’s a blend of concentrated coffee, water and sweetened condensed milk. Delicious, but diabetics should abstain!

Hawker centers are a veritable institution in Singapore. These are huge complexes (indoor or outdoor) with a host of kiosks selling local dishes. Each kiosk specializes in one cuisine and offers one or a few dishes.

These are wonderful places to try out a variety of cuisines at a very modest price. Perfect for travelers on a tight budget! Dishes generally sell for under S$5 and portions are generous.

The most popular hawker centers are Lau Pa Sat, Maxwell Food Centre, Amoy Street Food Centre and Chinatown Complex Market and Food Centre.

Finally, traditional dishes to try in these centers include Hainanese chicken rice, chili crab, satay skewers, laksa, nasi lemak and chai tao kway(fried carrot cake in English).


Getting to Singapore with points

Singapore-Changi huge airport is an air transport hub, serving some 380 destinations in over 100 countries. Many visitors begin or end their Southeast Asian journey in this city.

So there are plenty of options for getting to Singapore with points. Airlines from all three major alliances (Star Alliance, Oneworld and Skyteam) are present in the region. The choice is yours, depending on the cards and points already in your wallet.

With Aeroplan points

From Montreal, the fastest and cheapest options in points will include a stopover at a major European airport (e.g. CDG, LHR, FRA, MUC). You’ll need around 60,000 Aeroplan points and $145 for a one-way economy ticket. The first segment is often on board Air Canada, and the second is with Singapore Airlines. These routes are ideal for two-in-one vacations. For an additional 5,000 Aeroplan points, you can add a stopover of up to 45 days. So you could visit Europe and Singapore in the same trip.


Here are the best cards for earning Aeroplan Points:

With Avios miles

Qatar Airways serves the Montreal-Doha-Singapore route for 47,500 Avios miles (fixed fare) and around $200 in taxes in economy class. This is the cheapest option in points.

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Avios miles are easy to collect in Canada with credit cards. Here are the main options:

With Flying Blue miles

On Air France, the cheapest one-way economy fare starts at 55,000 Flying Blue miles and nearly $260 in taxes. Flexibility is required, as these rates are not available for all dates.

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Air France and American Express are exchange partners, so you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to your Flying Blue account at a ratio of 1:0.75.

The best cards for earning American Express Membership Rewards points are :

Flights to other Southeast Asian countries

Singapore shares a border with Malaysia and Indonesia. Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, can be reached in just over 5 hours by bus. A ferry links the island of Batam in Indonesia with the port of Singapore in less than an hour.

To travel to other Southeast Asian countries, a flight is required.

Fortunately, low-cost airlines such as Scoot, Jetstar and Air Asia serve a wide range of destinations from Singapore. These flights are short and affordable. For example, Bangkok can be reached in 2 hours 30 minutes for less than $100.

Since low-cost airlines often don’t have frequent flyer programs, you can pay for these tickets by applying points as a statement credit of one of the many flexible programs:

These programs allow you to benefit from attractive discounts on your travels.

If you’re looking for a more upscale travel experience, national carrier Singapore Airlines is an excellent choice. Renowned for its business class and luxury first class, this carrier is highly reliable, with impeccable on-board service.

As a member of the Star Alliance group, Singapore Airlines enables travellers to book flights using Aeroplan points. These short-haul flights follow the partners’ fixed pricing according to the distance flown. For example, the SIN-BKK, SIN-SGN, SIN-REP, SIN-KUL routes fall within the 0-1000 mile range of the Pacific zone. They cost 8,000 Aeroplan points in economy class and 20,000 points in business class.

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Singapore Airlines has its own loyalty program called KrisFlyer. In Canada, KrisFlyer miles can be earned by transferring points from HSBC Rewards (25,000:9000 ratio) or Marriott Bonvoy (3:1).

Flights from Singapore to other destinations in Southeast Asia will cost you between 13,500 and 25,000 KrisFlyer miles. Although taxes are lower, booking via Air Canada with Aeroplan points is still the best option.

Accommodation in Singapore with points

Hotels are expensive in Singapore. Using your reward points wisely can save you a lot of money.

Marriott Bonvoy

The Marriott Bonvoy group has 15 hotels in Singapore. Rates range from 30,000 to 60,000 points per night. It’s a great destination to use your annual one-night free certificate if you’re a Marriott Bonvoy American Express cardholder. I stayed at the superb The Westin Singapore for 35,000 points.


Hilton Honors

There’s less choice when it comes to Hilton, which offers 4 well-located hotels in Singapore. Rates start at 30,000 points per night.

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In Canada, there are no credit cards affiliated with the Hilton Honors program. The best way to earn points in this rewards program is to transfer them from American Express Membership Rewards. The redemption rate is 1:1, so you can convert 30,000 Membership Rewards points from American Express Cobalt® into 30,000 Hilton Honors points.

Getting around

Public transportation

Getting around Singapore is easy. The public transport network is well-developed and extremely convenient. The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) subway network is fast and frequent, with stations all over the city. In addition to the MRT, there are also buses and a light rail system (LRT).

Singapore mrt map nov2022

It is not possible to pay for your MRT passage with cash. Only transport cards or contactless cards (debit, credit, mobile wallet) can be used as a means of payment. Don’t forget to use a card with no conversion fees! Cash is only accepted on board buses.

The pricing system is based on distance. The further you go, the higher the price of your passage. A regular passage costs between S$0.99 and S$2.26.

If you plan to travel several times a day, a transport pass is a good, cost-effective option. You have two options: the EZ-Link card or the Singapore Tourist Pass. The EZ-Link card is a reloadable card where you have to put in funds. Since credit or debit cards are accepted to pay for passage, the EZ-Link is not really attractive to tourists.

On the other hand, the Singapore Tourist Pass gives you unlimited access to all types of transport for 1, 2 or 3 days (S$10, S$16 and S$20). The card is sold at major MRT stations, including Changi Airport at Terminal 2. (Mind you, this kiosk only accepts cash… which is rather contradictory with their system).

A deposit of S$10 is required to purchase a Singapore Tourist Pass. This is refunded when the card is returned.


Other options

I don’t recommend renting a car. Parking spaces are limited and indoor parking is expensive. If you’d like to get around by car, cabs are plentiful and Asia’s equivalent of Uber is Grab.

Singapore is also very bicycle-friendly, with a well-developed network of bike paths. Several companies offer bike-share rentals, including SG Bike and Anywheel.


Practical information

Here’s some essential information to help you plan your trip to Singapore.

How long does it take to visit Singapore?

Personally, I spent 6 days in Singapore and didn’t have time to see everything I wanted to. It’s possible to visit the main attractions in 3 busy days, or in a week at a more relaxed pace. It all depends on your style of travel, but there’s plenty to see and do!

When is the best time to visit Singapore?

It’s possible to visit all year round, as the temperature doesn’t vary much with the seasons. However, the period between February and August sees the least rain. February is the driest month. Spring (March to May) is also when gardens are at their best.

What currency is used in Singapore?

The currency used in Singapore is the Singapore dollar (S$ or SGD). The exchange rate is approximately 1:1 with the Canadian dollar.

What language is spoken in Singapore?

Singapore‘s official languages are English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. Signs and announcements in the metro are in all four official languages. The vast majority of the population speaks English, so you’ll have no trouble communicating. In Chinatown, Mandarin is frequently spoken.

Do Canadians need a visa to visit Singapore?

Canadian passport holders do not need a visa to enter Singapore. The maximum stay is 30 days. However, you must fill in the SG Arrival Card on the border services website up to 3 days before your expected arrival.

Is Singapore an expensive city?

Singapore is Asia’s most expensive city, and the second most expensive place in the world to live! You’ll certainly spend more in Singapore than in any other city in Southeast Asia. Expect to pay around S$60 per day for backpacking, S$165 per day for a medium budget and S$460 for more luxury.

Is Singapore a safe city?

It is the second safest city in the world, after Tokyo. The crime rate is extremely low. So there’s no need to worry if you’re traveling alone or going out when it gets dark.

What's the weather like in Singapore?

Due to its proximity to the equator, Singapore has no defined seasons. The climate is tropical, so hot and very humid all year round. The temperature varies between 25°C and 32°C. In winter, precipitation is more frequent than in summer, but often consists of short, intense afternoon showers. There is no dry season.

What sockets are used in Singapore?

Sockets are G-type (UK plugs). The voltage is 230V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You’ll need a converter and an adapter for your Canadian devices.

Do I need any vaccinations or medication to visit Singapore?

Tropical diseases are less prevalent in Singapore than in neighboring Southeast Asian countries. Routine travel vaccines are recommended (hepatitis A and B, tetanus, typhoid). The risk of malaria is very low, and anti-malarial drugs are generally not necessary. As the risk of Zika and dengue fever is present, you still need to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Consult a travel health professional or your pharmacist for advice tailored to your medical situation.

Bottom Line

Singapore is an extraordinary destination that combines modernity and tradition. From skyscrapers to bustling cultural districts, culinary delights to lush parks, this city offers an unforgettable experience. Singapore has it all, for families as well as for travelers seeking a luxurious experience.

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Alexandrine Bertrand
Always on the lookout for exotic destinations, Alexandrine shares her strategies for traveling while saving with points and miles. She's an avid cook, both at home and abroad.

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