Singapore is the very definition of a cultural melting pot. There are four official languages in Singapore, which goes to show what a diverse nation this is. Malay, English, Mandarin and Tamil are all widely spoken. There is a strong Chinese community here, as well as a seemingly ever-expanding expat community. Did you know that Singapore is a country, a city, and an island too? All rolled into one.
There are many different reasons to visit Singapore. As a bustling business center, Singapore sees business travelers fly into the city center at all times of the day and night. Being a major transport hub means that Singapore, for many people, is an in-between kind of place. Some layovers in Singapore last more than 24-hours, and if that is the case, there are no excuses to remain stuck in the airport terminal – get out and explore. The public transport network in Singapore is one of the most efficient in the world. You can be in the heart of the city within a matter of minutes.
There is a neighborhood to suit every kind of travel style in Singapore. Let’s take a look at where to stay in Singapore.
If you are heading to Singapore in holiday mode, then there is only one neighborhood for you, and that is Sentosa. The family-friendly southerly tip of Singapore is jam-packed with attractions and fun-filled activities.
From the palm-lined sands of Palawan Beach to the adrenaline-fueled Universal Studios, there is something to keep every member of the family beaming from ear to ear. Admittedly, the beaches around Sentosa are totally man-made; the sand has been imported from Malaysia. Despite the slightly artificial nature, the beaches are sun-kissed and incredibly relaxing.
Thanks to Singapore’s incredible public transport network, you can be in the iconic Marina Bay within a matter of minutes. That said, with so much to see and do in Sentosa, you won’t be leaving the neighborhood in a hurry.
KidZania is a must visit if traveling with children, it’s a whole other world.
Good For: Active Travelers, Beach Bums, Families, Fun Loving Travelers, Holiday Makers, Young Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Palawan Beach, Tanjong Golf Course, Universal Studios Singapore, Tiger Sky Tower, Fort Siloso, Trick Eye Museum, Port of Lost Wonder, Wings of Time, KidZania Singapore
- Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa – White-washed and wonderfully unique in style, the Amara Sanctuary Resort in Sentosa is totally dreamy. The deluxe rooms come with a garden or sea views, but it’s the villas that offer next level luxury. Many of the villas feature views of the swimming pool and have an outdoor deep soaking bathtub.
- La Méridien Singapore, Sentosa – La Méridien Singapore is just a five minute walk from the beach. This is a world-class hotel offering modern, luxury accommodation and great service. Many rooms offer views of the tropical garden and all come with a private ensuite bathroom. There is a swimming pool and great fitness center.
- Siloso Beach Resort – Siloso Beach Resort is an affordable, family-friendly hotel a seven minute walk from Siloso Beach on the northern curve of Sentosa. The rooms are minimalist yet homely, and many offer views of the sun-kissed garden. All rooms come with complimentary toiletries and walk-in shower unit.
Marina Bay is the most iconic neighborhood in Singapore. If you are just on a whistle-stop visit to Singapore and want to tick off the must-visit highlights, Marina Bay is the place to stay.
Encompassed by towering skyscrapers and ultra-modern architecture, Marina Bay is an urban paradise. After dark, watch as the lights dance on the water and the office workers scurry about in the offices above.
Marina Bay is a great place to stay if you are coming to Singapore on business; this neighborhood is home to the vast majority of the big business office blocks. This does, however, make Marina Bay somewhat more expensive to stay in than, say, Chinatown.
If you are a bit of a foodie traveler, you will love the fine dining options in Marina Bay. With restaurants serving up modern Indian cuisine, traditional Thai, and Malay-Chinese fusions, there is so much food culture to explore.
Good For: Active Travelers, Business Travelers, Big Budget Travelers, City Slickers, Culture Vultures, Luxury Travelers, Whistle-Stop Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Gardens by the Bay, ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Golf Course, Marina Bay Sands Casino, Singapore Flyer, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
- The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia – If you are going to stay in Marina Bay, why not stay in style? The Ritz-Carlton is the most luxurious hotel in the neighborhood and offers 5-star service and accommodation. Many of the premium rooms offer spectacular views over Marina Bay. All guests are welcome to relax by the outdoor pool.
- Pan Pacific Singapore – Pan Pacific Singapore is a modern and comfortable hotel on Raffles Boulevard. It is just 200-meters from Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, making it ideal for business travelers. Each room has a seating area and work desk, as well as an ensuite bathroom. A buffet breakfast is included in the rate.
- Conrad Centennial Singapore – This is a luxury 5-star hotel in central Marina Bay area. There is an amazing rooftop terrace and bar that offers incredible city views. There is a 24-hour front desk and check in, so don’t worry about landing in Singapore late. The decor is modern with homely furnishings.
If you are heading to Singapore with the desire to party, then be sure to make a beeline for Clarke Quay – this neighborhood is party central in Singapore. Along the river lie dozens of hip and trendy bars and clubs catering to every kind of party person.
Clarke Quay is a bright and sociable place to stay and is great for travelers keen to make new friends. Even the expats hang out here, and the busy business professionals hit the bars after a hectic day in the office.
Budget travelers may feel a little more at home in Clarke Quay, and there are a few decent hostels in this area too. More adventurous foodies will be blown away by Clarke Quay. Forget fine dining in Marina Bay, Clarke Quay is another breed. The restaurants of Clarke Quay are more daring in their menu choices, which makes for quite the culinary journey.
Good For: Adventurous Travelers, Backpackers, City Slickers, Foodies, Like a Local Travelers, Party People, Young Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Dozens of Bars & Clubs, Fort Quay Shopping Mall, Fort Canning Flagstaff, Fort Canning Park, Malacca Bridge, Coleman Bridge, Singapore Philatelic Museum
- Jayleen Clarke Quay Hotel – Jayleen Clarke Quay Hotel is an affordable hotel in the center of the neighborhood. Some rooms offer city views and all come with air conditioning and free WiFi. The rooms exhibit simple decor but are more than comfortable. The hotel is just 300-meters from the famous Zouk Singapore nightclub.
- Swissotel Merchant Court – Set just 200-meters from Clarke Quay’s central hub, Swissotel Merchant Court is a modern and bright hotel. All rooms have air conditioning, a work desk and a flat-screen TV. There are tea and coffee making facilities in each room and a fridge too. Breakfast is included in the room rate.
- Novotel Clarke Quay – Novotel Clarke Quay is an ideally located hotel in the Clarke Quay neighborhood, just 200-meters from Zouk Nightclub. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a great fitness center that guests are free to use throughout their stay. A breakfast buffet is included in the room rate.
Singapore is a truly multicultural city. Alongside the Chinese and Malaysian influences, there is a little pocket of the city that has been dedicated to the Indian immigrants who reside here. Unsurprisingly, this neighborhood is called Little India.
This is a great neighborhood for backpackers or budget travelers who want to get to grips with Singapore’s International atmosphere. Start on Seragoon Road and branch off from there. There is no need to follow a map, just follow your nose. The sweet smell of masala wafts from the alleys out on the main streets. You’ll be hard-pressed to ignore those hunger pangs.
There are some great bazaars in Little India selling all sorts of trinkets and souvenirs. If you want to get a whole new wardrobe made, you totally can. There are dozens of local tailors who would be happy to help you reinvent yourself.
Good For: Adventurous Travelers, Budget Travelers, Backpacker, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Shopaholics, Like a Local Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Little India Arcade on Seragoon Road, Little India Bazaars, Curry Houses, Street Art and Sculpture, Dozens of Authentic Indian Restaurants
- Santa Grand Hotel Little India – Cozy and homely, Santa Grand Hotel is an affordable accommodation option in Singapore offering both double rooms and single rooms. Santa Grand Hotel has something for everyone. Rooms are basic but ample – they have air conditioning and free WiFi. Laundry facilities are available and parking too.
- Aqueen Heritage Hotel Little India – Aqueen Heritage Hotel is a beautiful hotel in the center of Little India. Exhibiting traditional Indian design elements and all the modern amenities you could wish for, Aqueen is a little gem. The rooms are simple but spacious and the beds are extremely comfortable. All rooms have a work desk.
- Park 22 Hotel Little India – Park 22 is the most modern, urban hotel in Little India. The grey tones add an urban element to the space and there are modern furnishings throughout. There is a 24-hour front desk so you can check in any time. All rooms have an ensuite bathroom with hair-dryer.
As we have established, Singapore is a real cultural melting pot. The most influential culture, however, is Chinese. Singapore’s Chinatown is one of the most vibrant and thriving in the world. Seemingly open all hours, there is something new to discover around every corner in Singapore’s Chinatown.
Aside from the incredible hole-in-the-wall style eateries, there is a vast, sprawling market selling everything from knock-off trainers to traditional Chinese fans.
In terms of cultural gems, Chinatown does not disappoint. There are a wonderful array of temples to visit in the neighborhood. At the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, you can explore the Tang-dynasty temple and beautiful gardens. This is a working temple and throughout the day, you can quietly sit and observe the resident monks chanting and making merit.
The Thian Hock Keng temple is the oldest Hokkien temple in Singapore. This temple is dedicated to Mazu, the Chinese goddess of the sea.
Good For: Adventurous Travelers, Budget Travelers, Backpacker, Culture Vultures, Foodies, Shopaholics, Like a Local Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Dozens of Authentic Chinese Restaurants, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Thian Hock Keng, Masjid Jamae, Chinatown Heritage Centre, Chinatown Complex, Singapore City Gallery
- Adler Hostel – Set in the heart of Chinatown, Adler Hostel is one of the most affordable accommodation options in all of Singapore. They offer single, capsule-style bunks and double capsules for couples There are shared bathroom facilities that are immaculately clean at all times. Each capsule has a power outlet and reading light.
- The Scarlet Singapore – The Scarlet is an ornate, luxury hotel in Chinatown. Each room has a slightly different set of design features and furnishings, which helps to make the hotel feel that little bit more luxurious. There is a fantastic breakfast buffet served each morning in the extravagant dining hall.
- The Southbridge Hotel – The Southbridge is a simple and affordable accommodation option in the heart of Chinatown. The Chinatown MRT station is just 350-meters walk away. The hotel is Cuban-themed, and at the bar you will find the hotel’s cigar selection – all imported from Cuba. Bottled mineral water is provided daily.
Bugis & Kampong Glam
These two neighborhoods have seemingly merged into one and it is no bad thing. Traditionally, Kampong has been known as the Arab Quarter, and to this day it retains much of its Middle Eastern charm. In addition to mosques and Arabian-influenced bazaars, you will find a whole heap of high-class shopping malls.
If you want to shop in Singapore, Bugis and Kampong Glam are the best places to come. Here you can buy everything from fabulous silks to Turkish lamps.
This is an up and coming neighborhood for travelers. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a trendsetter, be sure to book your stay in the Bugis and Kampong Glam area. There are hipster coffee shops galore and an increasing number of fancy cocktail bars too. If you are a fan of a craft beer, you will want to move into Bugis and Kampong Glam right now. So much choice.
Good For: Adventurous Travelers, Budget Travelers, Backpacker, Culture Vultures, Coffee Lovers, Foodies, Shopaholics, Like a Local Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Malay Heritage Centre, Masjid Sultan, Masjid Malabar, Singapore Art Museum, Burlington Square Shopping Mall, Sri Krishnan Temple, SAM at 8Q, St Joseph’s Church, Aliwal Arts Centre
- Hotel Clover 33 Jalan Sultan – Set in a heritage building, Hotel Clover 33 is a boutique hotel neighboring Masjid Sultan. There are both rooms and suites available, and many offer amazing city views. There is a fitness center in the hotel and an onsite restaurant. The decor is classic Asian style and there is luxury bedding.
- Destination Singapore Beach Road – If you have dreamed of swimming in a pool overlooking Singapore’s skyline, then Destination Singapore Beach Road is the place for you. The rooms are light, bright and airy. All feature an ensuite bathroom with spacious shower cubicle and complimentary toiletries. Each room has a work desk and unlimited WiFi.
- Aliwal Park Hotel – Aliwal Park Hotel is a cheap and cheerful accommodation option just a five minute walk from the Malay Heritage Centre. All rooms come with bed linen and an ensuite bathroom. There is a small work desk in each room and free WiFi throughout the hotel. Mineral water is provided.
For long-term travelers, digital nomads, and like-a-local style travelers, Tanglin has some serious appeal. Home to much of Singapore’s expat community, there is plenty to keep yourself occupied and on budget, away from the city’s main touristic hub.
If you want to get to grips with a more authentic version of Singapore, you will find it in the Tanglin neighborhood. Grab a stool at one of the swanky cocktail bars and get mingling with locals. Find out what events are on and perhaps tag along. The expat community is always up for a good time and there is always something happening, from live music to games nights.
The Singapore Botanic Garden offers paved walking trails and beautifully manicured flower beds. This is a welcome place to retreat to should you want to escape the bustling Marina Bay and Clarke Quay areas. This is a great neighborhood for families too.
Good For: Active Travelers, Digital Nomads, Families, Like a Local Travelers, Trendy Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Singapore Botanic Gardens, Orchard Towers Shopping Mall, Jacob Ballas Children Garden, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Far East Flora @ Queensway, Former Malayan Railways Historical Marker
- YOTEL Singapore – YOTEL is an ultra-modern hotel in the heart of Tanglin and Orchard Road. There is an outdoor swimming pool and sun terrace. The rooms have an urban design with colorful finishing touches. The beds have an ergonomic design and have plenty of pillows. There is a hotel bar.
- Orchard Parade Hotel by Far East Hospitality – Orchard Parade offers understated luxury in Tanglin neighborhood. The bathrooms come with fluffy towels and complimentary toiletries. Guests can dine at the in-house restaurant and relax at the cocktail bar. Breakfast is included in the room rates. The swimming pool and sun terrace are very impressive.
- Hilton Singapore – Hilton Singapore is a world-class hotel set in the heart of Tanglin. There is a fantastic in-house restaurant serving excellent European inspired food. There is an expansive outdoor swimming pool and an excellent fitness center. Many rooms offer a city view. The continental breakfast is a great start to the day.
Singapore International Airport
If you have to make an early getaway in the morning or are just in the city on a long layover, there are a great selection of hotels within a five minute drive of the international airport terminals.
Although the public transport into Singapore city center from the international airport is affordable and efficient, sometimes you just don’t want to explore or venture very far. After a long flight, you may just want to get through immigration and fall in a heap. Who can blame you?
It may not be the most picturesque or exciting area of Singapore, but in the International Airport neighborhood you can get a good night’s sleep and a decent feed before you head back to the airport and fly away.
If you need a breath of fresh air during your layover, you can take a wander to Tampines Eco Green park or even head down to Changi Beach Park.
Good For: Business Travelers, Whistle-Stop Travelers, Budget Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Airport Layover Hotels, Changi Beach Park, Changi Boardwalk, Tampine Eco Green
- Ambassador Transit Hotel – Terminal 3 – With family rooms, double rooms and single rooms available, Ambassador Transit Hotel has a room to suit every kind of traveler and every budget. They offer rates based on a six hour occupancy or a twelve hour occupancy. Some rates include access to the fully equipped gym.
- The Haven by JetQuay – The Haven is a bright and modern hotel located within Changi Airport Terminal 3. Guests have access to a nap room and shared bathroom facility. The rooms can be booked on an hour by hour basis. There is free WiFi throughout the complex and a 24-hour reception.
- Aerotel Transit Hotel – Terminal 1 – Areotel is one of the most luxurious transit airports around. Guests have access to the outdoor swimming pool and well-equipped fitness center. The Hotel is open 24-hours and staff will help in any way that they can. Rooms can be booked for six or twelve hours at a time.