Singapore - the best Southeast Asian escapade


Singapore - view of Marina Bay Sands
Singapore
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.

















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e-Visa service
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An increasing number of countries are offering facilities to apply for tourist or travel e-Visa online. If you are eligible you can apply and receive an e-Visa by email in a short time. 

We at TravelsAndHolidays.Com have partnered with such a service provider, and you can apply for travel e-Visa or e-Permits online via our website.

What is an e-Visa?

An e-Visa is an official document that allows you to enter and travel within a specific country. The e-Visa is an alternative to visas provided at border checkpoints or visiting the embassy/consulate to obtain a conventional paper visa. E-Visas are electronically linked to the passport of the passenger. 

Do you require a visa to travel? Find out on our e-Visa page

You can use the Visa Requirements tool on the website to check if you need a travel visa. It's as easy as informing us where you're from and where you're going. Based on this information, our service provider will instantly tell you whether you require a visa and how much will it cost, the number of entries, the start date, and then you can apply directly through the platform!

How long will the e-Visa be valid? And How much will it cost?

You can get this information by using the Visa Requirement Tool on the website. Every country has different rules for entrance and visa charges. You can also apply electronically if you're in a hurry, and the form will guide you in this regard as well.

How long does it take to get the e-Visa?

It varies from country to country. For some countries such as Australia ETA and Turkey e-Visa, the procedure can be carried out within fifteen minutes with an urgent application process. For other countries such as the Indian Tourist Visa (if eligible), the procedure normally takes twenty-four hours. The exact time for each application can be found on the form on our website. What we assure is that your application with our affiliate would be the quickest way to apply anywhere.

E-Visa Printing

The e-Visa has no sticker to be pasted on your passport. The e-Visa must be printed on a blank sheet of A4 white paper. Do not use double-sided or reduced size printing. These are not allowed. Changes in the printing criteria, if any, will be notified during or after the online application process. You will need to follow the printing instructions.

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Our affiliate partner, depending on your destination, provides two kinds of visas: electronic visas (e-Visas) and conventional paper visas. Our affiliate partners also offer the following services/documents needed by some countries: ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization), Tourist Cards, pre-registration/approval of Visa on Arrival Form, Tourist Invitation Letters, and Embassy Registration service.

Visa application process

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Where to go for a visit during coronavirus pandemic times?

Picture showing empty beach with no tourist due to Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic
Coronavirus has affected tourism and travel. Traveling was banned outright during the worst times of the pandemic and limits on travel were enforced during the first half of 2020. Routine Consular Services at several countries' embassies and consulates remain in suspension. There is also no resumption of regular consular services for all countries, and only restricted emergency appointments are available for passports from their own countries. 

So, getting visas and/or permissions is not easy these days to go for travel. You will likely need to obey strict SOPs and dos and don'ts during the trip, whether it's flight or public transportation on the ground. COVID-19 vaccines are also not expected to become available until early 2021. Thus, traveling with relative ease and convenience will only be possible after winter in the northern hemisphere.

Travel now or wait?

Ideally, I prefer to wait at least until April 2021 so that it is clear that the pandemic is disappearing, that vaccinations are in place and accessible to the public, and that it is safe to fly to destinations as well as on flights and in public buses, trains, and taxis. After all, during your journey, you want to relax and enjoy and not have to stress about your health and catching coronavirus.

Why travel in business class and stay in luxury hotels?

Many people who wish to travel before April 2021 may consider traveling in flights of business class and staying in luxury hotels. The explanation for that is clear. During flights, a safe distance is easy to maintain if you are traveling in business class and if you avoid budget hotels and stay in luxury hotels, the chances are that your housekeeping service can take better care of sanitation and hygiene rooms, lobbies, and restaurants.

Is there any country that doesn't have coronavirus?

The countries below have either no coronavirus or minimal prevalence, but it may be difficult to visit these places these days. These are remote places or ‘out of bounds’ and have travel restrictions of some kind in place. There may be mandatory quarantine restriction as well as the traveler may have to bear additional quarantine fees as well. 

  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • North Korea
  • Palau

Traveling not only to these distant areas is challenging, but also to the most popular destinations is not easy these days. While most scheduled international commercial flights are not operating due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of flights and the number of passengers is, however, slowly rising every day. How is it safe to fly these days?

How safe is it to fly these days?

Flights are not very frequent these days. Many flights are subject to regulatory approvals and are also subject to periodic adjustments. No, it's not as easy as it was in pre-COVID days. You've got to be able to face uncertainty if you're trying to catch a flight. Maybe you're all set to fly the next day, then you'll get a call or text message telling you of the flight's postponement. And you may need a longer stay at the hotel, so be ready to bear such costs.

But even though everything goes smoothly, and you're able to get a flight confirmation and get to the airport to board an airplane, there may be a lot of hassle waiting for you.

In some countries, civil aviation authorities have now asked airlines to put those passengers on the 'no-fly list' who breach the standard operating procedures or do not wear masks during a flight. This means, if you don't wear masks or comply with COVID-19 related protocols, you will no longer be allowed to fly.

Most of the countries now only allow short-term visitors if they are on a short-term business trip. Before they can travel, however, they need to monitor their health status, get some kind of pre-clearance COVID-19 (PCR) tests, etc. and observe quarantine or follow stay-home orders for a specified period. Isn't this all a hassle if you are going on a relaxing vacation? Of course, it is. But if it's a business trip, you need to follow and proceed with SOPs.

Travel is one major aspect for many people in handling mental health. Yet most are not supposed to do this, these days. Nearly two-thirds of people are said to have no plans to take or do not know whether they will take any domestic or international holiday in 2020. Even if you're not taking a holiday in 2020, you might consider at least at-home breaks, free of work duties, to be close to a holiday. The object is to completely separate yourself from work. It may not be equal to destresser but it can help to keep you emotionally stable, at least until April 2021.

Will the year 2021 be the year of tourism?

Not many people have gone out in 2020 because of travel restrictions and quarantines. But once the vaccine is in place in January 2021, and COVID-19 continues to withdraw, travelers will have a boon. And as demand increases, rates for airlines, or hotels, may go up. So, some think booking travel for the summer of 2021, now, is a good move. What would you think?

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