Singapore travel guide for dummies

Located in Southeast Asia; Singapore is one of the most popular destinations for people seeking a combination of culture, local cuisine and rich shopping experiences to make the most of a vacation abroad.

Are you planning a vacation to Singapore or are trying to determine if this would be the next hot vacation spot for you and your family? Singapore has been hailed one of the world’s most prosperous countries and is rich not only in merit, but in culture and tourism which can be experienced in every city of Singapore.

A Singapore Highlight Video.

What makes Singapore such a popular tourist destination? The country experiences tropical weather throughout the year.  This makes Singapore the “Garden City”, a premier destination for those seeking a modern vacation spot that is not short on culture.
Traveling to Singapore is relatively safe. Each person that is entering the country from the United States through flight or other means must encompass a valid passport for entry to the country, which is valid for ninety days from the date of entry. It is important that the passport be valid from at least six months to the date of exit of the country. Taking these considerations into account is important before planning a trip to Singapore.

When to Travel to Singapore

Singapore is unique in the fact that there are popular tourist destinations which are available year-round, therefore a very small off-season is observed. Experts recommend traveling to Singapore through the months of July and August as the tourist market may see a slight lull and it can be easy to negotiate with accommodations and tours. July and August is the best time to travel to Singapore for those seeking the best rates for hotels, flights and tourist destinations and therefore, the best time for those traveling to Singapore on a budget.
The highest occupancy rate of tourists in Singapore falls between December and February with the onset of the Lunar New Year. Although there are many festivals which occur through this time which can increase the culture the traveler is exposed to, getting accommodations within popular areas becomes increasingly difficult as many people are traveling at this time.
During the months of November to January, Singapore experiences its wet season with the highest precipitation of rainfall that occurs through this time. Through these months, if you are seeking a sunny tropical vacation, Singapore should be avoided, as there is increased risk of monsoon activity.

Staying In Singapore

There are a myriad of choices when it comes to Singapore accommodations from Hostels, budget hotels and resorts which have become popular worldwide through famous names like The Four Seasons and The Marriott.  Staying in Singapore on a budget is simple with bed and breakfasts and internationally recognized hostels that can be booked for as little as $40.00 per night and upwards of $100.00 per night in private accommodations. Staying in Singapore through the off-season of July and August can yield the best deals on hotels and accommodations. For travelers seeking the familiarity that comes with resort and brand name hotels, Singapore offers a wide variety of these familiar hotels such as The Grand Hyatt, or the Marriott. Although, when booking these hotels in Singapore, be prepared for prices to begin at $300.00 per night. Use the internet to find travel deals and vacation packages that include airfare as well as hotel to make the most of your money while traveling to Singapore.   Cheaptickets and Expedia are great resources to purchase tickets from.   If you can find a cheaptickets promotion code or an expedia coupon you save even more.  Although tourist destinations and food can be found on a budget, it may be more difficult to find a low price for accommodations, especially through the high season.

Experiencing Singapore Culture and Festivals

Singapore culture consists of Chinese traditions combined with modern amenities that we would expect from one of the most affluent countries in the world. The culture of Singapore is evident through various times of the year, but at an all-time high through the season of the Chinese New Year when local residents and travelers have come from thousands of miles away to experience the elaborate celebrations, parades and other festivals that are seen through this time.


The Chinese New Year Celebrations

The first celebration occurs on the first day of the New Year. The celebration lasts an average of two weeks and includes festivals, feasts and celebrations within homes and throughout the community – an amazing experience for travelers choosing to visit Singapore at this time.
Remember, when traveling to Singapore through this time the traveler must be ready to deal with mobs of people shopping and trying to accomplish all of the holiday errands that must be accomplished by the beginning of the New Year. Markets and shops are sure to be the busiest, so this may not be the best time to experience the local culture at a saunter. After the celebrations have begun, there are many smaller businesses and markets that will remain closed for the entire duration of the Chinese New Year celebrations, which can last up to fifteen days.


Dragon Boat Races and Rice Dumpling Festivals

These festivals occur in the fifth month of the Lunar year, usually through the month of June and include popular local fare of rice dumplings wrapped in leaves while the dragon boat races are enjoyed. Rather than the dated tradition of throwing rice in the river to support cultural tales, rice dumplings are enjoyed by the tourists and locals while watching this spectacular event.


The Festival of the Hungry Ghosts

The festival of the Hungry ghosts occurs in August and includes street shows, elaborate feasts and fake paper money which are offered to the spirits of the departed which are thought to wander the streets through this festival.  All of these acts are taken advantage of to appease the ghosts and include elaborate shrines and festivals which are remarkable to view. Through this time, people are discouraged from spending time outside late at night, as well as closing business deals and purchasing property – as these are all seen as measures of bad luck. It is an interesting glimpse into Taoist culture to visit Singapore through this time. 



Popular Tourist Destinations

A trip to Singapore is not complete without experiencing the many popular tourist destinations that Singapore has to offer.


The Singapore Botanical Gardens

The Singapore Botanical Gardens offers more than one-hundred fifty acres of groomed green space and exotic flowers combined with lush spice gardens which are encompassed by the meticulously groomed hedges. Walking through the lush gardens can give the traveler a sensory experience that is rivaled by no other destinations. Admission to the gardens is less than $5.00 USD for adults and less than $1.00 USD for children, which leaves plenty of room within the budget for a souvenir from the renowned gift shop.
Free tours are offered through the garden with the price of admission on the second and third Saturday of the month. Guests to the botanical garden can register for the tours through the visitor’s center prior to the tours beginning. The tours are offered multiple times per day through the second and third Saturday and are an informative and engaging session that provides the visitor with the history and culture that can be found within the Singapore Botanical Gardens.


The Bukit Timah Rainforest and Nature Reserve

Are you seeking another natural destination to experience while in Singapore? The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is the second most popular tourist destinations where visitors can experience more than four-hundred acres of rain forest trails that can be walked, hiked and biked upon. Through the visit to the rainforest, the traveler can experience more than five-hundred species of animals that are uncommon in any other destination. Travelers can experience a swim in the quarry that is present in the rainforest, while experiencing the lush and exotic greenery that surrounds the pool. Searching for a structured guided tour of the rainforest? The first Sunday of each month brings tours to visitors of the rain forest at 9:30 and 10:30 in the morning which is free to visitors wanting to learn more about the rainforest. 


Orchard Road

Orchard road has been hailed one of the premier shopping destinations worldwide and has come a long way since the nutmeg orchards that were present – and is incidentally where the popular shopping strip has received its name after. Orchard road shopping is made simple with the use of air conditioned, underground walkways which line the popular strip. It is located centrally, in the business district and is a great way to spend the afternoon, if nature is not your forte, or to simply cool off from the tropical weather.


Singapore Art Museum

The Singapore Art museum can be enjoyed, like many other popular Singapore tourist destinations by those on a budget. With admission prices less than $3.00 USD and Friday nights from 6-9 being free of charge, the exhibits showcase local and modern art from Singapore and the surround countries.
Daily guided tours are available through the museum to showcase the artists and their work at 11:00 and 2:00. The museum is opened daily from 10:00 to 7:00 and should be enjoyed while shopping at the popular destination, Orchard road.



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Last updated by traveldude on 4/17/2009
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