Known as the Little Red Dot, Singapore is actually a collection of 63 islands with one main island. It’s one of our favorite family destinations because even though it’s small, there are so many things to do in Singapore for both grownups and kids, the local food is fabulous, and the hotels are lovely.
It’s hard to pin down Singapore culturally because of its tumultuous history. There are four main languages spoken here — Malay, Chinese, English and Tamil — and you’ll see a unique mix of Asian and European culture.
On this page, you’ll find my best Singapore travel tips, guides to Singapore attractions, and information about where to stay, what to do, and where to go, whether you’re traveling alone or with kids.
Singapore Travel Advice
Singapore is one of the easiest destinations in Asia to navigate in because English is spoken so widely. However, it helps to know a bit about the island before you arrive. This is the Singapore travel advice I share when friends and family express an interest in visiting.
Know the Rules
This may be the most important piece of Singapore travel advice I can offer. Things we take for granted in the US (like chewing gum in public and feeding pigeons) are illegal in Singapore, and being ignorant of the laws won’t save you from having to pay the fine if you break them.
Have a Plan to Keep Cool
The heat in Singapore is no joke and so it’s important that you build downtime into your itinerary to rest and relax indoors (especially if you’re not used to heat or you’re visiting Singapore with kids). Carrying a handheld fan that can mist water when you’re out and about is a good idea.
Visit in the Driest Season
Singapore is humid year-round, and there’s not exactly a dry season. There’s always a chance of rain, but the rainfall is lowest in June, July, or August. Visiting in the summer doesn’t guarantee you won’t find your plans interrupted by thundershowers, but you’ll probably enjoy more sunny days.
Ask Your Hotel for a Handy
A lot of US mobile phones won’t work in Asia and roaming charges can be expensive, depending on your phone plan. A lot of hotels in Singapore have cell phones — known as handies — guests can borrow for free. You may not even have to ask. Handies are a standard amenity at luxury hotels in Singapore.
Take a Cab
Given the heat, it’s not surprising that locals will usually grab a cab instead of walking a few blocks. That means cabs are plentiful and inexpensive in Singapore (one of the few things that is inexpensive here). You can also download the Grab app, which is Singapore’s version of Uber.
Wear Natural Fibers
One of my top Singapore travel tips is to pack natural fibers. You’ll be much more comfortable in linen and light cotton than you will be in synthetic fibers. I love wearing linen tunics when I’m here because they protect me from the harsh sun without getting too hot.
Use the Go Singapore Sightseeing Pass
You can save up to 52% on Singapore’s top attractions with the Go Singapore sightseeing pass. The best options are the All-Inclusive pass or the Explorer pass which allows you to see 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7, attractions across 30 days.
Traveling to Singapore with Kids
Singapore is one of the most kid-friendly cities in the world, making it a great destination for a family vacation. I’ve never run out of things to do when I’ve traveled to Singapore with kids.
One of our favorite things to do in Singapore with kids has been visiting the Night Safari. This is one of the few nocturnal zoos in the entire world, and the resident animals have room to roam around habitats that are designed to be as close to natural as possible. The Singapore Zoo has a similar open-concept design, and you can get surprisingly close to animals like tigers, kangaroos, and orangutans.
Jurong Bird Park is another kid-friendly Singapore attraction — one that’s perfect for a half-day outing. It’s worth booking the private Feeding Frenzy tour because you’ll get a closer view of some pretty unusual birds. Plan to take lots of pictures.
There’s also Universal Studios Singapore, which has rides and attractions you won’t find at any other Universal Studios® park. Universal Studios Singapore is divided into seven themed zones based on popular movies and TV shows. Kids will love the rides and encounters based on animated favorites like Madagascar and Shrek. One of the Singapore tips to keep in mind is that this park limits the number of tickets sold each day to control crowding, so be sure to buy yours well in advance.
Singapore Hotel Tips
There are so many stylish, well-appointed hotels in Singapore that it can be hard to choose one. Your itinerary can help you narrow down your options. A lot of visitors choose hotels in the newer Marina Bay area because it’s close to many of the most popular Singapore attractions like the ArtScience Museum, Merlion, and Gardens by the Bay. If you want to spend your vacation shopping till you drop, an Orchard Road hotel might be a better choice.
Singapore is like a lot of Asian destinations in that rooms tend to be small and the maximum occupancy in most hotel rooms and suites is three people of any age. Finding a hotel for a family of four can be a challenge, and one of the most important Singapore tips I can offer related to hotels is to always ask about a hotel’s maximum occupancy and age restrictions before you book.
I’ve stayed in many Singapore hotels, and some of my favorites are the historic and luxurious Raffles Hotel Singapore (where the classic Singapore Sling was invented and discreet butler service is available 24 hours per day), the Four Seasons Singapore (which has a homey luxury we love), and the Ritz-Carlton Millenia (which Travel & Leisure has called the best hotel in Singapore).
What to Eat in Singapore
There are a lot of fabulous Michelin starred restaurants in Singapore, but so much must-eat Singaporean food can be found outside them. The food in Singapore has been influenced by so many nations and cultures (including nearby Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and south China) that a lot of it is truly unique to this locale. People here love food — so much so that “Have you had your lunch yet?” is a greeting frequently used in place of “How are you?”
Some of the best food in Singapore can be food in food centers and in street stalls. You could easily eat your way around the city and never reach the end of the interesting local dishes available, but one of the Singapore travel tips I always share is that visitors absolutely must try are Singaporean chili crabs and Hainanese chicken rice (Singapore’s national dish). The former can get messy. Restaurants may or may not help you crack the crab shells in this dish that’s nice as spicy as it sounds, so be prepared to get messy.