Solo Travel in Singapore
If you are thinking of solo travel in Singapore, you can’t pick a safer country to travel to. Laws are very strict and you can get fined for just throwing chewing gum on the floor. People are friendly so you’ll have no problems if you get lost and need to ask for directions. Clean, extremely safe and a wonderful city to explore, Singapore is an ideal location for women wanting to travel alone.
An independent city-state, Singapore is a good mix of old and modern. Known for its shopping, this city state is worth more than a two day stopover and has enough to keep you busy even if you’re not a shopper. You’ll find temples, skyscrapers and even a man-made beach in this Asian metropolis.
Raffles Hotel has got to be the most famous building here, and enjoying a Singapore Sling in the courtyard of this 1887 five star hotel (although it’s pricey) is one of the top tourist attractions.
Temples and Architecture
For more colonial architecture (without the cocktail) head to the Cathedrals of St Andrews and the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. One of the nicest buildings here is the gorgeous Thian Hock Keng Temple, dedicated to the Taoist goddess of the sea, and a national monument. Sri Mariammam Temple is the oldest Hindu temple built in a Dravidian style, and located in Chinatown. Don’t forget to take photos of the Merlion either, a mythical creature with the body of a fish and a head of a lion, which you’ll find dotted all over the city.
For the culture vulture, head to The Intan, or the Peranakan Museum to learn more about Peranakan culture, Singapore’s vibrant community. There’s also a preserved fort called Fort Siloso, part of Singapore’s colonial past and worth checking out if you like history.
The main attraction in Singapore is Sentosa Island: a theme park built on an island south of Singapore linked by road. The best way to arrive here is by cable car which takes you from Faber Peak to Sentosa. Sentosa Island can also be reached by bus outside Orchard Street. Unlike British theme parks where there is only an entrance fee to pay, you have to pay for each land that you enter. Half of the sights are free but the rides and shows are additional. You can easily spend a whole day here watching a parrot show, strolling through the spice garden or just relaxing on the manmade beach. If you prefer more adventure, explore Universal Studios, the Underwater World, or fly through the air at the Megazip Adventure Park.
My favourite attraction is the Night Safari, the only zoo that I’ve ever seen it in. The journey can take up to an hour but it’s definitely worth it, and you can use the simple train system from various points in the city and then catch a bus. The whole experience is surreal as you see nocturnal animals in an environment similar to their natural habitat. Rhinos walk alongside the tram and you can even touch fruit bats. There are also walking trails which bring you closer to the animals on foot. Singapore Zoo is one of the best zoos in the world as the animals are able to roam in natural and open habitats.
River Quay and Clarke Quay are buzzing with all kinds of restaurants. Clarke Quay is more historical and it’s a nice walk along both quays with the river alongside and high rise buildings in the background. You can jump on a river cruise or just sit outside in the sun and grab a coffee.
If the city gets too much, head to MacRitchie Reservoir Park for some well-deserved nature where you can walk along a suspended bridge and get some forest action. If you love flowers, the Singapore Botanic Gardens has an orchid garden to die for. This is Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a 80-hectare space of tropical paradise with waterfalls and a rainforest to lose yourself in. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve should also be on any eco-tourist’s itinerary. It’s outside the city centre but it is the place to go if you fancy spotting some birds and wildlife. For more nature, visit the Chinese Mythological Theme Park in Jurong and the Chinese and Japanese Gardens.
Shopping in Singapore
If you do come to Singapore for the shopping, Orchard Road is the main place to shop and it seems to go for miles. Full of department stores it has all the goods you need including those cheap electrical items. Large video screens dominate the buildings so you have entertainment as you shop. You could spend a whole day window-shopping. Orchard Street also comes alive at night with bars open past 12pm and clubs until the early hours of the morning but dress smartly as many seem to have a strict door policy. Like most things in Singapore they can be costly to enter but sometimes offer beer as an incentive. You’ll find a taxi rank here to jump in a cab at the end of the night without worrying how to get home plus newsagents are late-opening for that midnight snack.
Singapore is also known for its fine dining with a mix of cuisine. The price for eating out is quite expensive and if you want to reduce your costs, it’s worth visiting one of the many food courts situated on ground levels of department stores. These are always busy and offer a canteen style alternative of Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Western and even have a bakery. If you can stand the hustle and bustle you will save yourself some cash with the average meal at $5. However if you do prefer restaurant-style, there are Italian, Greek and plenty of seafood restaurants to choose from with produce as fresh as live crabs. You can find good Indian muslim cuisine at Arab Street, a traditional textile district with batiks, silks and sarongs.
Little India is a buzzy area with a main market and the Temple of 1000 Lights. It is a good place to browse but beware on Sunday nights where workers congregate and have a party. The streets get packed so avoid the area unless you want to be an onlooker.
A great way to see Singapore from an aerial view is by helicopter. Scenic flights operate frequently and leave from the smaller airport. It’s advisable to book early to avoid disappointment.
How long do I need?
Three to five days are plenty of time to shop, dine and sightsee. Some people just use Singapore as a stopover en route to Australia or New Zealand but there is so much to see here.
Singapore has many hostels to choose from with dorm rooms holding up to 16 beds. You’ll find a range of accommodation from budget accommodation to resorts on Sentosa Island. Most of the accommodation is in the heart of the city and a hostel in Singapore will set you back approx 20 SGD. InterContinental Hotels have hotels in Singapore if you are looking for something more luxurious.
Plus there’s Airbnb which connects you to unique travel experiences and isn’t just limited to staying in a local’s spare room. Save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link. Singapore can take hours to walk around, so if you are only there for a few days, it’s worth choosing a more central area to stay at. Here are our favourite accommodation for women travelling alone.
Solo Female Favourite – MET A Space Pod *
This space pod is so cool! You get your own TV, charging station and mirror without your personal pod. Plus breakfast is included and the hotel can arrange walking tours for you too. It’s a very Asian concept and should definitely be on your bucket list. Prices from £20 p/n for a bunk bed. Find out more…
Solo Female Favourite – Rucksack [email protected] ***
Its name may not sound very enticing but the Rucksack Inn is in a good location, just a short walk from Little India, and 10 minutes from a 24-hour shopping centre. The rooms come with a flat-screen TV and the cheapest ones are without windows but if you’re out all day sightseeing, it’s worth the saving. Prices from £36 for a standard single room. Find out more…
Solo Female Favourite – Fragrance Hotel, Rose **
Sometimes you have to pay a little bit more to stay more central and the Fragrance Hotel is in a good location, near public transport and perfect if you plan to visit Universal Studios during your stay. It’s clean and the staff are really helpful and can help book any tours. Plus there is free mineral water and tea and coffee too. Prices from £46 p/n for a superior double room. Find out more…
You won't really find any group tour companies just going to Singapore. Companies such as G Adventures and Intrepid Travel only include Singapore within their Southeast Asia itineraries which are ideal if you are looking to combine Singapore with Malaysia and Thailand.
Singapore is so accessible to see independently that you don't really need to take a tour here but if you do, these local tours have been recommended by solo female travellers.
- The Real Singapore Tours – run by Betel Box. They have all sorts of tours including many food tours such as a Chinatown Food Walk, and a glam food walk of the Royal Malay District. You can also see Kampung Geyland Serai uncovered. They run tours throughout the year except on Mondays and public holidays.
- Indie Singapore – Using only local guides, Indie Singapore offers three different walking tours to take you away from the shopping malls. Although the tours are free, you just give a donation at the end.
Getting Around Singapore
There is a good bus system in Singapore but if you are travelling by bus into Singapore, be prepared to get dropped off in the middle of nowhere.
Walking is the best way to get around and a chance to visit stores as you walk around the city. There is a good subway system, and metered taxis but hop on the MRT which runs throughout the country for a small fee. You could even take a rickshaw but make sure you agree a fee before getting into a rickshaw.
If you do decide to drive, Singapore used to be colonised by the British so motorways are easy for British tourists. Road signs are also in English.
Buy a Singapore Tourist pass which offers you unlimited travel on basic bus services, MRT and LRT trains.
From Singapore Airport
Singapore Airport – Buses run from the airport into the city and cost approx $2 depending on which area you are travelling to. There is also an express bus #36A to Orchard Road in the city centre. You can also take the MRT train which runs from 0530 – 2350 every day except Sundays. This costs SGD $3 plus you need to pay a $1 card deposit. Taking a taxi will cost up to $40 depending whether you arrive in rush hour or off peak. The journey takes 30 minutes by taxi.
Feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females.
Travelling onwards (check visas before you travel)
To Malaysia – There are buses from Singapore to various parts of Asia. Direct buses run to various place in Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur. There are many towns just a few hours outside of the border and you can travel by bus to Melaka for example. Some buses offer Wifi and meals on-board. Expect to pay from $30 to $40 for the journey depending on which company you go with. KTM operate trains direct from Singapore to Johor Bahru in Malaysia.
To Indonesia – There are several ferry terminals which connect Singapore with the Riau Islands in Indonesia. Take a ferry to Bintan, Karimun or Batam for $30 one way.
Where can I go from here?
Kuala Lumpur – 1.5 hours
Bangkok – 2.5 hours
Brunei – 2 hours
- Can I drink the water? Yes.
- Is tipping expected? In restaurants a 10% service charge is usually added to the bill. It's not expected to tip your taxi driver or tour guide.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed price but you can try to barter in markets in Little India for example.
- Any ATMs? Bureau de Changes are everywhere and you’ll find ATMs outside every corner store and all over the city.
- Which side of the road do they drive? The left-hand side.
- Good for vegetarians? There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants and even vegan restaurants.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No.
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Capital – Singapore
Population – 5.4 million
Language Spoken – Malay, English, and others such as Tamil
Local Currency – Singapore Dollar
The Best Time to Go – February.
Did you know? Singapore has the largest fountain in the world, located at Suntec City.
Find cultural treasures and experiences at Your Singapore
Visit the island of Pulau Ubin where the locals live in kampongs – traditional villages.
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