The Island of Singapore, conveniently situated off the coast of Malaysia, is a paradise for those wanting a luxurious cultural trip away from the confines of home. It’s time to fly across the world, leading you on a trip away from your western ways, and the Lion City is roaring for you.

What makes Singapore so exceptional?

Singapore proves itself to be a cultural center of diversity, with four official languages (including English, Malay, Tamil, and Mandarin) and several accepted faiths. When visiting, one may comfortably feel welcomed and get to explore walks of life they might never otherwise have experienced.

In more ways than one, variety makes a happy traveler. With a variety of cuisines caking the city, your belly will be as satiated as your knack for language and religion, with Singaporean food being just the start of it. You’ll never be in want, from Hainanese chicken rice to laksa and kaya toast.

This city is cleaner than any country in Southeast Asia where you have set foot. Thanks to tight anti-littering laws, you will be forced to reflect on the beautiful architecture that surrounds you, rather than on the polluted side of the street. Besides, the tap water is safe to drink (something all Southeast Asian travelers would find relieving), giving you one less thing to think about as you prepare your itinerary for Singapore.

Avoid the wet season to make the most of the weather

Singapore is mild throughout the year as is the rest of its regional neighbors. Regardless of the season, rain can arrive at a moment’s notice, but if you want to avoid showers as much as you can, it is better to schedule your trip between February and September. With cool nights, spring is relatively dry, while summer offers a variety of outdoor festivals and events to enjoy. Be sure to pack a lightweight raincoat, whatever the month might be.

Getting there is a breeze

Whether you’re coming from an Asian mainland or an American coast, actually getting to Singapore is likely the first thing you’ll want to organize. If arriving by plane, you’ll find yourself at the Singapore Changi Airport, where you can easily take a quick taxi or an affordable train into the city center. From there, the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) can get you anywhere in the city, and public buses galore only add to the convenience. Whether by air, sea, or road, you likely won’t have to worry about snagging a visa in advance of your Singaporean escapades. Most visitors can enter the country for up to ninety days without a visa, so you should have plenty of time to explore your traveling heart’s desire. [Need a visa? Look for a link on this site]

Your Singapore itinerary starts with the stay

Everyone wants something different out of their travels. Whether you prioritize nightlife or are aiming for a luxurious island respite, Singapore can deliver.

Orchard Road is a shopper’s haven, so stay in this district if you envision yourself taking to the storefronts. Upscale clothing and modern malls (like ION Orchard) make up the area, as does the world’s largest bookstore, Kinokuniya.

Staying in the Colonial/Historic Area places you central to all that Singapore has to offer. With beautiful architecture dappling the area, you’ll be able to go from the National Gallery Singapore to the St. Andrew’s Cathedral in one fell swoop.

If you’ve got the budget for it, stay within Marina Bay. With unforgettable views from your posh hotel room, including that of the mythical Merlion Statue, you’ll wind up with memories (and photos) that can’t be beaten.

Sentosa Island is a resort region chock full of ways to busy yourself. From golf to theme parks to beachside lounging, you and your family (even the little ones) will feel comfortable, all while being a short trip from the city center.

Travelers can also stay in The Quays for easy access to nighttime shenanigans, or Bugis and Kampong Glam for a taste of trendy music and art. Both Chinatown and Little India offer their bustling take on food and worship for a more niche stay.

Make time for the experiences

Figuring out where to stay is just the beginning. Filling your days with experiences is what really makes an international trip one for the books, and Singapore has plenty of offerings.

A variety of festivals make their way to the island throughout the year. Chinatown throws down for Chinese New Year, so if you find yourself in the area during January or February, you’ll want to add this to your list. During October or November, Little India celebrates Deepavali, or the Festival of Lights, showing off vibrant energy through decor and activities. Though slightly more serious, May’s Vesak Day celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha, and even offers tons of vegetarian food to enjoy as you revel in religious history.

Regardless of when you’re visiting Singapore, you must check off Gardens by the Bay. This site joins the urban and natural with the world’s largest greenhouse and largest indoor waterfall, among other unbelievable intricacies.

Hawker centers, or uninhibited food courts, throughout the city offer street food galore. From Lau Pa Sat to Maxwell Road, visiting one (or many) of these will allow you to integrate into the local lifestyle and try a plethora of delicious food to boot.

More noteworthy stops

Universal Studios Singapore, a theme park located on Sentosa Island, offers a load of attractions for families and couples alike. Even better, it’s open every day of the year.

Whether you’re staying on Sentosa Island or not, this resort area is a blast. With striking waterside views and plenty of fun to keep you busy (think Adventure Cove Waterpark or Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom), you’ll want to make a stop. You can even take the Singapore Cable Car to the island for an added layer of amusement; just catch it at Faber Peak.

iFly Singapore also found on Sentosa Island, allows the adventurous of the bunch to conquer their fears amidst the largest themed wind tunnel in the world.

If you plan on checking off attraction after attraction, you may want to look into the iVenture Card Attraction Pass. This streamlines the payment and even grants discounts, allowing you to spend your days enjoying the world around you rather than worrying about your wallet. [Click on the ‘Activities’ link in the menu and search all these activities and tickets]

Not everything in Singapore costs money

If you’re a backpacker on a budget, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy in Singapore without spending a fortune.

Visit the Sisters Islands Marine Park for a spectacular view of wild dolphins amidst beautiful blue waters.

Worship is available at Buddha’s Tooth Temple, where you can even get a free or donation-based vegetarian meal to complement your visit.

Movie Mob offers outdoor cinema showings throughout the city, granting you entertainment as you enjoy the sky and stars.

See a different way of life by taking a trip to Kampong Lorong Buangkok, a place many Singaporeans haven’t even seen. This area will give you a true peek into minimalistic existence without the most modern amenities.

Know the Rules in Singapore

Singapore has a reputation that it seeks to uphold, and it does so by keeping many rules in place.

Smoking is illegal in most places in Singapore, so avoid doing so in public. Tipping is not required and is even deemed disrespectful by many, so keep that in mind as you make your way through the city’s restaurants. Possessing and using chewing gum is also illegal, so leave it at home. Do not litter (it’s wrong to do anywhere, but particularly illegal in Singapore).

Perhaps most importantly, respect the conservative culture you’re in with everything you do.

Be a Smart Traveler

Singapore is highly regarded as one of the safest places to travel in Asia, but it’s best to keep your wits about you wherever you roam. Avoid falling victim to pickpocketing by keeping your phone and money in a safe space. When traveling in taxis, always take note of the company and vehicle number and ask for meter rates before agreeing to the ride.

In an emergency, you can always call emergency call numbers.