Tailor-make your trip in Singapore
Singapore is best experienced as a part of a stopover, either at the beginning or end of your trip to somewhere else in the region. It is not a place you would normally visit in its own right - it's just too small.
As a major hub within Southeast Asia it is perfect for visiting most countries in the region, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and of course Malaysia.
You can also easily pair it with other countries such as Cambodia and Malaysian Borneo in an Audley tailor-made itinerary.
48 hours in the city
We'd say you really need a minimum of 48 hours in Singapore to learn a little of its history and get a feel for the main sights.
Discover the Raffles legacy
A great place to start is the Raffles landing site and Cavenagh Bridge area by the river at Boat Quay.
After admiring the legacy of Raffles and Cavenagh, who governed the Straits Settlements for eight years, head into the Asian Civilisation Museum. Here impressive displays cleverly document some of the many cultures found in Asia.
Take a river trip in a bumboat
A relaxing and informative way to explore the river is on traditional bumboats which depart from regular piers on the quays.
At lunchtime you may like to relax in shady Fort Canning Park with great views over the city.
Visit a past POW camp
Continuing, a worthwhile trip just out of the city is to Changi Museum with poignant reminders of Changi Prison’s history as a Second World War POW camp.
A good contrast on day two would be to visit Chinatown, one of Singapore’s most historically intact areas.
Amongst the highlights are Amoy Street with tastefully renovated shophouses, the Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple and stunning Thian Hock Buddhist Temple. The nearby Chinatown Heritage Centre is our favourite museum in Singapore.
To continue your exploration of Singapore’s diverse culture continue to Little India where the fortune tellers, spice and aromatic curry stalls and Indian music around Serangoon Road recreate the subcontinent in miniature.
Take in the views from the Singapore Flyer
In the evening you might like to take a sunset trip on the Singapore Flyer – Singapore’s larger version of the London Eye. The Esplanade Theatres on the Bay often host world class concerts, musicals and plays which are worth booking in advance. Or simply relax by the river and sample some of Singapore’s sensational cuisine.
A further 24 hours in Singapore
Encounter Singapore's wildlife
Having spent a day or two exploring the main highlights of the city you may like to spend a day relaxing on the beach or familiarising yourself with some of Southeast Asia’s wildlife.
Sentosa Island - beaches, parks and gardens
Sentosa Island is Singapore’s playground for all ages with attractive beaches, amusement parks, gardens and a fascinating underwater world. There are a couple of good hotels on the island that offer a different option to staying in the city.
Visit a tropical jungle
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve takes you back to a time when Singapore was swathed in virgin rainforest. Home to an incredible variety of insects, birds and plants with good walking trails this is a great place to acclimatise before exploring other tropical jungles of Asia.
Try a zoo and night safari
To see larger animals as well as some of the continent’s most endangered species we recommend the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. Sensitively managed and run with a strong emphasis on conservation the zoo and safari provide great opportunities to get up close to the wildlife.
Recommended hotels in Singapore
Singapore offers interesting accommodation options for all budgets. Choose from a plethora of excellent international hotel brands, characterful independent properties that make the most of grand colonial buildings, and boutique hotels converted from former shop houses.
The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore
Premier harbour room, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
Grand Hotel Suite, Raffles Hotel, Singapore
Rendezvous Hotel Lobby
Swissotel Merchant Court Hotel, Singapore
Desire restaurant, The Scarlet, Singapore
Bobs bar and terrace at Capella
Offering luxurious accommodation in the heart of Singapore’s arts and financial districts, the Fullerton offers understated comfort and elegance.
Transformed from the original Fullerton building which was built in 1928 and home to the city's post office and most Government departments, its rich heritage, neo-classical architecture, strategic location and excellent service make it one of the best places to stay in Singapore.
Just minutes from Boat and Clarke Quays, the hotel is ideally located for access to a wide choice of Singapore's restaurants, bars, theatres and shopping areas.
Located a ten minute walk from City Hall train station and within easy access of shops, bars and restaurants, this modern hotel has been refurbished to extremely high standards, making it one of the best in town.
Hotel facilities available include a modern gym with outdoor patio for yoga, large spa and 25 long metre lap pool overlooking the harbour. There is a choice of six restaurants and bars to cater for every taste (Morton's Steakhouse has a very good weekday happy hour) and the breakfast buffet is one of the best we have visited.
Established in 1887, Raffles is as much a landmark of Singapore as it is an accommodation option. The first choice for travellers since its opening, the hotel is centrally located and is renowned for its immaculately landscaped gardens and polished service.
The 103 suites are all furnished in period style and the property retains much of its original character. Raffles’ high teas are always a highlight and a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar (almost an institution in itself), is an essential part of any visit to Singapore. It is a beautiful place to treat yourself or a loved one on a special occasion.
Located in the heart of civic and cultural centre is the Rendezvous Hotel Singapore.
The property boasts 298 rooms and three suites, each with a host of modern conveniences such as in-room Internet access, air-conditioning, mini-bar and more. The hotel has a Balinese inspired swimming pool, a fully equipped gym and a variety of restaurants, while the Superior and Deluxe rooms feature a shower only (no bath tubs).
Only a short walk away is Orchard Road, famed for its shopping. There is also a metro station nearby, making it easy to travel around the city.
Swissotel Merchant Court
Centrally located on the Singapore River at Clarke Quay, Swissotel Merchant Court offers good value for a property of this calibre.
The 476 rooms and suites are compact yet well appointed and stylishly furnished. Recreational facilities include a tropically landscaped pool area with jacuzzi, and a fullyequipped fitness centre and spa. Orchard Road, Chinatown and the numerous bars and restaurants on Clarke and Boat Quay, are all within easy reach.
The Fullerton Bay
The Fullerton Bay is the only hotel in Singapore to be built directly on the waters of Singapore's Marina Bay. The prime waterfront location in the sparkling Marina Bay waterfront encompasses breathtaking architecture that combines both modernity and heritage.
Vintage nautical maps and local artwork line the hotel's walkways, while the 100 rooms and six individually themed suites are arguably the best in the city. A unique feature of all the guest rooms is the balcony they all have which offers views of both the Marina Bay waterfront and Singapore's skyline.
The Scarlet is arguably Singapore's best boutique property.
Like many buildings in the area, the hotel was converted from former Chinese shop houses. All of the compact rooms are individually and theatrically styled with rich, luscious fabrics and the unique furnishings are comfortable while you are also supplied with a good range of amenities.
For an early evening drink or an alfresco meal head to the rooftop restaurant with its tasty and creative Mediterranean cuisine and suave atmosphere.
Things to see and do
1. Little India
Be amazed by the sights, sounds and smells of the nightly hawker stalls in Little India.
Wander around the streets of Chinatown and enjoy a visit to one of the excellent restaurants, galleries or cafés of Ann Siang Hill.
3. Gardens by the Bay
Covering a square kilometre, this incredible horticultural showcase has a variety of plant species from all over the world.
4. Asian Civilisations Museum
Exploring the history of Asia as a whole, the Asian Civilisations Museum offers displays on ancient culture, textiles and ethnicity.
5. Raffles Hotel
Throw your nut shells on the floor and enjoy a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar or indulge in a sumptuous traditional afternoon tea.
6. Sentosa Island
An island of family-friendly attractions including beaches, Underwater World and Universal Studios.
From the glossy malls on Orchard Road to the more local goods on Arab Street, Chinatown’s Sago Street, or the Tekka Centre in Little India, Singapore is a shopper’s heaven.
Celebrate Singapore’s ethnic and cultural diversity at one of its many festivals such as Chinese New Year, the Hindu Thaipusam and the illuminations of Hari Raya Puasa at the end of Ramadan.
Take a train trip
Did you know?
- Singapore’s recorded history began in the early 1800s, when it found a role as a trading post with the Orient.
- It is one of only three city-states in the world, the other two being the Vatican City and Monaco.
- Apart from Monaco, it is one of the most densely populated cities on Earth.
- There are four official languages in Singapore: English (most people speak English), Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.
- You can find the national anthem in microtext on the back of the $1,000 Singapore dollar (UK £474 / US $741).
- It has the largest tropical orchid garden in the world.
When to go to Singapore
Singapore is a year-round destination and is consistently hot and humid with an average temperature of 27°C (80°F).
There are two distinct wet seasons: from December to March and from June to September. During these times you can expect light winds and some spectacular but brief thunderstorms.
Meet our specialists
Many of our Southeast Asia specialists have visited Singapore and spent some time here.
They have visited the hotels (often staying in them), and they have been to the places of interest and mingled with the locals.
We believe this is the only way that we can genuinely offer you a tailor-made service and enable you to discover a side to Singapore that other travel companies might miss.