Although a relatively small country in size, Singapore’s global presence is anything but small. A rapidly expanding country filled with high-rises and public spaces, it’s unique blend of cultures and beliefs only adds to its enticing appeal to the traveler wanting a diverse and multicultural place to explore.
Neighborhoods to Visit : as alluded to, Singapore is a true mix of cultures, leading to distinct and interesting neighborhoods that each offer their own experiences upon visiting.
Little India – the most well-known area in Singapore for backpackers to flock, Little India is a colorful area known for its affordable lodging choices as well as its fabulous (if not a bit spicy) Indian cuisine.
Chinatown – also known for its affordability and unique vibe, Singapore houses one of the oldest and largest Chinatown’s. Backpackers love exploring the old temples and buying inexpensive souvenirs from the stalls that flank the sidewalks.
Orchard Road – on the opposite side of the cost spectrum, Orchard Road is generally a bit flashier (and thus pricier) than other neighborhoods. It hosts the main shopping area as well as the well-known nightlife attractions. Because of the price, it’s not recommended to stay in this area if you’re on a typical backpacking budget, but it would definitely be worth a visit.
Things to Do
See the Night Zoo- explored by foot or by tram, this attraction is open until midnight, and offers a unique way of viewing the animals.
Take a class at the Food Playground- learn about Singapore’s culinary culture from the locals, prepare traditional delicious dishes, and meet fellow travelers during Food Playground’s culinary class. A great daytime activity for travelers of all kinds.
Explore Bukit Timah Nature Reserve – one of only two rainforest reserves located in close proximity to a city, this nature reserve is a true escape from the hustle and bustle of urbanity. It offers both hiking and biking trails for visitors to venture on and take pictures of the beautiful scenery and wildlife.
Go to the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery – Singapore’s largest Buddhist temple, visitors can spend quite a bit of time exploring its halls and learning a bit about one of many religious foundations Singapore is home to.
Eat Chili Crab – if you’re not a seafood lover, feel free to ignore this section, but for those of you who like good crab — make sure to get the country’s famous Chili Crab dish, consisting of crab slathered in thick and spicy chili sauce.
Visit the Asian Civilizations Museum – due to its interactive exhibits, this museum is significantly more fun than others in the area, creating a unique atmosphere to learn more about Singapore’s overall history and culture.
Stroll along the Waterfront Promenade – for a night when a quiet evening walk is preferred over other activities, the waterfront is the place to go. Always a popular spot for people taking pictures of the skyline and water, a casual stroll along the promenade is a great way to unwind after a day of sightseeing.
Where to Stay
This site has a great list of backpacker lodging options, showing pictures and reviews for each. One top place mentioned is Betal Box Hostel, which is located relatively close to the city center and offers extensive and inexpensive food tours to those travelers interested. Another place listed is The Sojourn, which they assert as the best-located for the best price, offering a location minutes away from central city as well as clean rooms and hospitable staff.
While that’s not even remotely all that can be seen in Singapore, I hope this gives you a start in planning your trip to one of the densest and most unique countries in the world. Travel on!