Whether it’s your first time traveling by yourself or you’ve had plenty of experiences going on solo trips, Singapore is a great place to explore all by you’re lonesome. Aside from being one of the safest cities on the planet, it’s also modern, tourist-friendly, and cosmopolitan.
Visitors often book tour packages to Singapore for stress-free sightseeing and because they can be a fun way to meet new people if you’re going it alone! A well-curated tour package will often already include the staples and highlights of the city, allowing you not only to save money but also to save time. However, this is not the only way to enjoy a trouble-free holiday in Singapore. Read on below for other practical tips on how to best experience this charming garden city-state independently.
Grab a Singapore Tourist Pass
The city’s public transport network is nothing short of excellent, and getting around couldn’t be easier. Most people in Singapore commute and you should, too. To make things even more convenient, grab a Singapore Tourist Pass as soon as you arrive; they’re available at Changi Airport at several automated kiosks, as well as in Transitlink ticket offices all over the metro. It’s also available in four variants and can be used for up to 3 days over the duration of your stay.
All passes grant holders unlimited rides on public transport, including bus services, the MRT, and the LRT. They also offer exclusive discounts to some of the most popular attractions in Singapore, such as the Sentosa Merlion, Gardens by the Bay, Universal Studios Singapore, and much more.
Pack light, but with foresight
Its equatorial location means that Singapore sees plenty of sun throughout the year. The tropical climate and high level of humidity mean that you’re better off sticking to light and comfortable clothing that’s easy to move around in. Good walking shoes are a must, though it’s just as common to see people wearing sandals and flip-flops. Keep a small folding umbrella in your go-bag for shielding against the harsh rays of the sun and to stay dry when a sudden downpour occurs; they do occur regularly, though most rain showers don’t last for more than an hour.
When packing for a trip to Singapore, think “versatile”—you’ll want pieces that can take you easily from day to night, hot to cool, in a snap. If you’re female and thinking of visiting religious sites, bring along a thin cardigan or pashmina to cover up with. Lightweight layers are always a good idea.
Look into free walking tours
Singapore is a very pedestrian-friendly city, and there are plenty of independent tour groups around offering free or pay-as-you-wish guided walking tours of some of its most interesting neighborhoods. These are often staffed by volunteers and university students with a passion for their city, and it can be a great way to meet new people and make friends while seeing Singapore through a local perspective. Besides tipping your guide, you’ll only have to pay for entrance to certain attractions and any snacks you consume, so it’s also a wonderful way to explore the city on a budget.
We recommend Monster Day Tours and Sneak peek Singapore as two of the tour groups you can look into. Both have dedicated websites detailing what they offer, from tour schedules and meet-up points to comprehensive information on what you can expect on one of their guided tours.
Hawker centers are a foodie’s best friend
Singaporean food is one of the major draws of the island, and there’s no place better to experience its diverse array of flavors than at a hawker center. You can even score some Michelin-starred meals out of these establishments: Hawker Chan’s Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle’s flagship branch at the Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre still attracts long lunchtime lines, as does the Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle stall at Tai Hwa Eating House on Crawford Lane.
Anthony Bourdain couldn’t sing enough praises for Tian Tian’s Hainanese chicken rice, and countless gourmets from all over the world can’t get enough of hawker classics such as char kway teow, bak kut teh, curry laksa, and chili crab. You miss out on a lot when you favor expensive restaurants or fast food joints over local food in Singapore since hawker center food is safe, cheap, and ubiquitous. As for drinks, tap water is safe to drink in Singapore, and you shouldn’t have any problems drinking water straight from the faucet.
Take advantage of the tourist refund
Although Singapore is recognized all over the continent as a premier shopping destination, you can expect commensurate premium prices for premium goods and services. Shopping in Singapore’s high-end designer boutiques and glittering malls can be costly, but you can offset expenses by taking advantage of the country’s Tourist Refund Scheme.
Visitors can claim a 7% Goods and Services Tax refund on any purchases totaling over 100 Singapore dollars at participating shops and retailers all over the city, identifiable by a “Tax-Free” logo or sign. Your GST tax refund can be claimed at the airport just before you depart the country at Electronic Tourist Refund self-help kiosks or at GST refund counters. You can choose to receive your refund in cash, have it credited back to your card, or into your Alipay Account.
Small but packed with things to see and do, Singapore is one of the best places in the world to get your feet wet when it comes to solo traveling. Keep in mind that this country has plenty of strict rules against littering and other public nuisance activities, so it could be a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the most common offenses before going. Aside from that, enjoy your trip!