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Vacation in Singapore: An Underrated Gem in Southeast Asia

The island state of Singapore is both a city and a country. In the middle of Southeast Asia you will find a vibrant financial city combined with a tropical climate. The country is unique due to its multiculturalism and ultra-modern architecture.

A city trip to Singapore is a must-do on your bucket list!

Unlike Bangkok or Saigon, Singapore gives the impression of a perfectly functioning, ultra-modern metropolis. But if you make the effort to look behind this polished facade during a long vacation in Singapore, you will be rewarded with a multifaceted city full of highlights. Plan at least a week!

Climate and Best Time to Visit Singapore

Singapore has a tropical climate and the city-state is an attractive vacation destination all year round.

Find out at a glance when the perfect time for your trip is:

Best time to travel: March to September

  • Low temperature 75 °F - High temperature 90 °F

  • 6 hours of sunshine a day

  • Monsoon season: US winter, but still 85 °F and 4 hours of sunshine a day

  • Beach vacations possible all year round with a water temperature of around 80 °F

Singapore: Melting Pot of Cultures

British Colonial Singapore

The British established their first settlement on the right bank of the Singapore River. Here you can still see magnificent colonial buildings, churches, various museums, and the legendary Raffles Hotel.

The Historic Chinatown

The imported workers settled on the left bank of the river. Behind the mighty skyscrapers of the CBD (Central Business District) lies the old Chinatown with beautiful Chinese temples and the largest Hindu temple in Singapore, the Sri Mariamman Temple.

Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam, and the Raffles Hotel: the names of well-known places in Singapore are evidence of the multi-ethnic population of the island. Originally settled by just a few Malay fishermen, Singapore was bought by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the Sultan of Johor, in 1824 and declared a British colony. In order to build up the colony, the British lured hundreds of thousands of Chinese to the island, who to this day make up the majority of the population at around 76 percent. Indians and Tamils ​​were added later, making up around 8 percent of the current population. Added to this are 14 percent Malays and numerous expats from all over the world. In this melting pot, you often only need to take a few steps to immerse yourself from one culture to the next.

Pirate tip: In Chinatown you can buy cheap souvenirs of your vacation in Singapore and try delicious local dishes in the food stalls.

Singapore's Newest District: Marina Bay

In recent years, the mall has faced increasing competition from Marina Bay, the huge land reclamation project at the mouth of the Singapore River with its luxury hotels and shopping malls. Free concerts and other events are often held along the esplanade, next to the Durian Cultural Centre.

The Original Singapore of the Malays

The Malay quarter of Kampong Glam, with the golden onion domes of the Masjid Sultan, has been carefully restored in recent years and is reminiscent of the original inhabitants of Singapore. Arab Street is a pedestrian zone and is ideal for strolling.

What Must You See in Singapore? The Best Sightseeing Tips

When you're on vacation in Singapore, use the excellent public transport network to explore the island inexpensively. You shouldn't miss these places:

  • The Gardens by the Bay behind the Marina Bay Sands Hotel

  • The 541-foot-high Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel

  • The newly restored National Museum, which tells the history of the island

  • The charming trading houses at Clarke Quay and Boat Quay that have been converted into restaurants

  • The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with the last virgin forest of Singapore

  • The Jurong Bird Park with over 600 different bird species

  • The historic Fort Canning Park with the “Battle Box”

  • and of course the Merlion, the landmark of the city at the river mouth

Singapore Vacation: 5 Free Highlights

Anyone who goes on a city trip to Singapore will immerse themselves in a foreign, exotic but also incredibly interesting culture and history. Singapore may be by far the smallest Asian city-state, but the city has now developed into a real world metropolis that can easily compete with other Asian cities in terms of glamor and tourist flows. Last but not least, the fact that Singapore is considered a shopping paradise and has a lot to offer tourists makes this city even more interesting than it already is.

Those who visit Singapore are often just passing through. A city trip to Singapore, a major Asian city that is more than 20 hours by plane from the US and also involves a significant time difference, is something that very few people visit for just a weekend. But if you are staying in Singapore for a few days on the way to a beach vacation or as the start of a tour, there are a whole range of sights that are inexpensive and interesting. This way you can get the most out of your Singapore vacation without having to dig too deep into your pockets.

To give you a little wanderlust, we have selected a few tips for Singapore that we would like to present to you here. But above all, we want to show you where you can enjoy free highlights in the city. So immerse yourself with us in one of the most magical cities in Asia.

1. Singapore Botanical Gardens

The Singapore Botanical Garden is as old as the city itself. The garden was founded in 1822 by the explorer Stamford Raffles. He is considered the discoverer of Singapore and wanted to grow cocoa and nutmeg in the garden in order to achieve a certain economic independence by selling the produce. However, after his death the site was closed. The gardens were reopened in 1859, but shortly afterwards they came under state control. They disappeared into insignificance. It was not until the 1960s that the then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew wanted to make Singapore the greenest city in Asia.

And what better place to grow the plants that would then be distributed throughout the city? The gardens once again served a purpose. The area is now 128 acres in size and features a primeval forest, uniquely beautiful flowerbeds and many exotic flowers, blossoms and bushes. An orchid farm can also be admired here. 4.2 million visitors now find their way to the botanical gardens in Singapore every year. Due to their size, the influx of visitors and the ever increasing focus on international research and scientific work, the Singapore Botanical Gardens are the most important and famous botanical gardens in Asia. And entry to the gardens is free today, just as it was then; you only have to pay a small entrance fee if you want to visit the orchid farm.

2. The Hindu Temple Sri Mariamman

This is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. And one of the most beautiful. The temple, whose original structure was built in 1827, has stood as it is today since 1862. Due to the age of the building, a number of precautionary measures are taken to keep the temple in the best possible condition. In addition, this temple is of course still used for the practice of the Hindu religion. In this respect, tourists are required to show even more decency and tact.

In this respect, the rules are similar to those found in European places of worship . The temple is particularly beautiful to look at later in the day , when the sun has already set and the interior of the temple is bathed in a peculiar light from a multitude of warm, yellow and other colored lamps.

3. The Colonial Quarter

This is probably the most original district in Singapore, as many houses have been standing here since the original discovery and founding of the city of Singapore. You can get to the colonial district by crossing the Singapore River over the Cavenagh Bridge. In the colonial district you will find all kinds of historical buildings, some of which are now used as museums, but some of which still serve their original purpose. For example, the Victoria Memorial Hall now houses the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. You can also admire the parliament building from 1827 there. All in all, it can be said that nowhere in Singapore can you get such a good impression of the beginnings of this metropolis as in the colonial district.

4. Sentosa Island - Singapore's Leisure Paradise With All the Trimmings

One of the most visited attractions in Singapore is the island of Sentosa. With over 5 million visitors a year, the leisure and recreation island has long since overtaken the botanical gardens as the most popular tourist attraction in the city. Sentosa was originally nothing more than an English military base that served to defend Singapore.

Today the island is home to an amusement park, the huge aquarium called “Underwater World Singapore”, an old Ford where you can admire various military exhibitions, and some artificially created palm-lined beaches. There are also a number of resorts on the island, as well as a huge statue of a Merlion, a mythical creature that is half fish, half lion, which is the tallest in Singapore at 121 feet, there are also a variety of other sights and tourist attractions here. The list of attractions is so long that we can’t list them all here. And while visiting the island and the beaches themselves is of course free, there are various attractions on the island that do charge an entrance fee.

5. Free City Tours of Singapore

It's not just people who want to spend a vacation in Singapore who land at Singapore Airport. Singapore Air is one of the most popular airlines from the Far East. Anyone who flies with Singapore Air and has a longer stay in Singapore (at least 5.5 hours) can take one of the airline's free city tours and get an overview of the city. The airline offers various tours that cater to a wide range of interests. You can find more information on the Singapore Air website.

But even those who are on a "real" Singapore vacation and not just stopping off in the metropolis can enjoy other free city tours. These tours are offered in Singapore, for example, through Chinatown or in other parts of the city with different focuses. Further information and some general Singapore tips can be found, for example, on the association IndieSingapore.

It's no secret that Singapore is a real shopping paradise. And yet, if you get a few Singapore tips before you start your Singapore vacation, it is possible to make it affordable. Of course, there are also a number of interesting sights in Singapore that are subject to payment. But if you combine the paid and free offers to a certain extent, at the end of the day you will be able to plan your Singapore vacation so inexpensively that you will still have enough money in your vacation fund when you leave the city and perhaps travel on to spend another lovely week or two on the beach.

Off to Singapore!

From the jungle in Bukit Timah, to the still completely unspoilt island of Pulau Ubin, to the ultra-modern skyscrapers and shopping malls at the mouth of the Singapore River, a vacation in Singapore will delight you with its diversity. Embark on a journey of discovery in this fascinating metropolis!