Since the forming of the world’s only island city state in 1965, Singapore has become a world leading global commerce and financial hub. The densely populated island has a rich diversity of languages, cultures and religions with a complex history steeped in colonial tradition thanks to the East India Company trading post set up by Stamford Raffles in 1819. The harmony between these different cultures has made Singapore a mixing pot where western and eastern traditions blend together to form one of the most dynamic countries in the world. What’s even more impressive is that it has achieved all this whilst being one of the smallest countries in the world by area, with only 692.7km2 to its name. This has resulted in extensive land reclamation projects which now play host to many of the cities iconic buildings including the Marina Bay Hotel and financial district. Whether you’re after some high-end retail therapy and splashing out on Michelin star restaurants or a peaceful break exploring the UNESCO Botanical Gardens whilst eating street food, Singapore really does have it all...
Accommodation – There is no shortage of hotels around the main Marina Bay area with budget hotels offering double rooms between 160-200SGD per night and luxury hotels costing anywhere north of 450SGD per night. There are plenty of rental apartments available that consist of a studio apartment with shared amenities like swimming pool, gym and outdoor areas. Prices of rental apartments depend greatly on their location with an average city center apartment costing in the range of 200SGD per night and one further out of the city being more around 140SGD. Make sure you check the location of your accommodation in relation to the public transport links as that could save you some expensive taxi rides.
Food – Food is one thing Singapore is not short of thanks to the shopping mall culture that has developed throughout the city and is very popular with the locals. Most shopping malls will have a dedicated food court which will house a range of different cuisines in a street food style environment. There are of course dedicated areas where you’ll find specific types of cuisine like Little India and China town, both of which boast a range of regional specialities. Singapore’s regional dishes included chilli or pepper crab which is widely available throughout the city (but can be expensive) and chicken with rice which is a much simpler (and cheaper) option. We got caught out a couple of times with all menu prices being subject to a service charge (typically 10%) and 7% tax, so make sure you include this into your budgeting when choosing a restaurant.
Transportation costs – Tax’s are widely available throughout the city with a ride from the airport to the city centre setting you back less than $20 during off peak times. A clean and efficient tube network (MRT) is available throughout most of the city, with a three day tourist pass setting you back $20 that can be used across both the MRT and bus network.
Safety – Singapore is without a doubt the safest city we’ve ever visited. I didn’t feel the need to hide away my camera gear when walking around the city at night and the locals are quick to offer assistance when they see a tourist looking lost or confused (which happened to us more than once!).