Singapore Pictures

Singapore Pictures - Marina Bay purple

Marina Bay daily lightshow, Singapore pictures.

Marina Bay waterfront and the largest light and water spectacular in Southeast Asia, Wonder Full.

This is a free twice daily event, about 8.30pm and 9.30pm depending on the day. It is wonderful, and wonderful from many angles, near and far. In the picture on the right is the Science Museum, in the centre Marina Bay Sands hotel and shopping centre, on the left is the fascinating double-helix bridge.

Singapore Pictures of Attractions

Singapore Pictures - Marina Bay Palm trees and cocktail

Prior to the light show an exotic drink by Marina Bay, with an exotic view.

Singapore is a tiny city state, just 20×30 kms (13×19 miles) in size but wielding huge ambition and a dynamic, mixed population composed mainly of Chinese, Malays and Indians, numbering about 5 million.

Singapore and its 60 or so islands is located at the far south end of the Malay peninsula, connected to its large northern neighbour Malaysia by two causeways. Entry is possible by bus, train, car or bicycle (the Japanese army introduced that last idea quite dramatically in 1942). To the south is Indonesia.

In Malay language this is called Singapura, Lion City, even though lions never lived here. Tigers did and still do, albeit in the fantastic city zoo.

Love it or hate it, if you’re travelling in Southeast Asia you’ll almost certainly pass through Singapore at some point. A few years ago government surveys showed that most visitors were only staying a couple of days on layovers, so a policy was established to attract visitors for longer. It worked for us. We spent 5 days there and loved it. Paradise found! Albeit expensive.

Travellers taking a Singapore holiday should be ready for an immaculate, organised but sterile metropolis,  Asia without the poor: no beggars, stray dogs, aggressive touts, dirty streets, bag snatchers, stinky buzzy motorcycles or biting insects, but with drinkable tap water, delicious food that doesn’t give you the runs, air-conditioning, wide roads, manicured green spaces and clear, logical road signs.

Sentosa Island, Siloso beach, Singapore girl

Sentosa island, Silosa beach, Singapore

This city state has many attractive features for travellers not least of which are that it’s a great hub for flights, its sheer efficiency and reliability, spectacular buildings, beautiful landscaping, appealing tourist attractions and the ease of communication for both English and Chinese speakers. And this is not Public Relations talking!  I’m writing this in Bali and thinking, how could Singapore get it so right and Bali get it so wrong?

The answer of course is/was  smart, authoritarian, uncorruptible, forward-looking  leadership. This started with the foundation of Singapore in 1819 by British national Stamford Raffles. The process accelerated with Lee Kuan Yew – a star law student at Cambridge University- Singapore’s first Prime Minister.

Lee is the founding father of modern Singapore,  taking it “from the third world to the first world in a single generation”.

Lee Kuan Yew’s son, Lee Hsien Loong is now the Prime Minister of the city state.

Singapore Weather

Very best season for tourism? We’d say February – May but there’s not a lot in it.

Singapore is hot and humid year-round with an average temperatures range from about 30C (86F) during the day down to 23C (74F) at night, with highs up around 34C (93F).

The slightly hotter months are May and June, while August-October months often get hazy from bush fires in Indonesia to the south.

The wet season is from November to January, though the rain tends to fall torrentially for a short time. Humidity on most mornings is an energy-sapping 90%, with afternoons falling to around 60% unless it rains.

We spent five days wandering everywhere in shorts and T shirts without any form of mosquito repellent and neither of us saw a mosquito or were bitten by any insect. In our experience of the tropics, that is a first.  Total eradication complete, in the city at least. Which is not a completely good thing, of course, because there are creatures that live off mosquitoes and chopping out part of the food chain can have unexpected consequences…just a thought.

Mosquito avoidance tips from bugbog

Singapore Downsides

Singapore tourism’s principal downsides are the oppressive humidity, the high cost of living compared to Asian neighbours and the lack of soul, with only rare glimpses of its exotic, trading-post past. Somewhere along the line cleanliness has overtaken culture – censorship still demands that women’s breasts in major art works be covered on television, there is not a leaf out of place in the Botanic Gardens and forward planning is of Brave New World proportions.

That being said, in an increasingly unstable world of disease, terrorism and failure travellers who want safety and efficiency can’t go wrong in Singapore.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel Complex

Singapore Pictures - Marina Bay Sands Hotel lights

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel and shopping centre, the city’s $6. 3 billion icon.

Singapore Pictures - Marina Bay Sands Hotel pool

This is the view of the  Sands Hotel’s swimming pool from one of the two bars. The pool is not open to non-guests, though the Sky Park is, at a price, a sky high price as it happens. Better to fork out 50 Singapore dollars for a beer in one of the top floor bars, but make it before 6pm when the smart folk and dress codes arrive and sightseeing tourists are encouraged to disappear.

Singapore Pictures - Marina Bay Sands Hotel city view

The Sands Sky Park is the ship’s deck thing on top of the magnificent  Sands Hotel, view as above. Visitors can enter for $25 ($14 for little kids! ! ), see the view, admire the architecture, the landscaped garden, the infinity pool (but no swimming! ). Alternatively buy a pricey drink and feel rich and comfortable for a couple of hours (before 6pm). Recommended by us!
At night they say the view is basically dark and uninteresting.

Clean, safe and entertaining but not at all exotic!

Singapore Pictures - Marina Bay Gardens Domes

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay Domes.

Singapore city is fundamentally a huge, modern metropolis that has had its exotic Asian growths surgically removed and replaced by new-millennium transplants so it’s not a place for activity freaks or lovers of exotica – apart from the Thaipusam Festival early in the year. Nor is it a place for those who like to live on the edge, get wasted, smoke or chew gum. There is zero tolerance for non-prescription drugs. Hanging is one way of keeping the streets clean and Singapur does like a pristine path.

It is however, safe, spectacular, warm and home to excellent food thanks to its mixed-race background.

Main tourist activities


Singapore Pictures - shopping centre

Shopping, which tends to be in the designer-brand category! This is Orchard Road.

• visiting Sentosa Island’s broad, soft beaches, theme park, oceanarium and more.
• ambling the massive, superb open-plan, zoo, even trying a  unique Night Safari.
• wandering the Botanic Garden and especially the Orchid Garden.
• losing money at casinos.
• strolling Chinatown and Little India.
• riding the Singapore Flyer, the world’s largest observation wheel even if the Marina Bay Sands Sky Park is now higher.
• taking a harbour cruise in a motorised junk (traditional Chinese ship) or a River Boat Tour along the Singapore River – tho’ we’d suggest a walk is better and not at all strenuous.

Outside the glass and concrete downtown core of the city – which is in the central-south of the main island where the river meets the sea – there are a few exotic remnants, such as Chinatown and Little India, where some ethnic culture and great food survive, the ‘bohemian enclave’ of Holland Village and even beaches around tranquil Changi fishing village or on Sentosa Island.

Singapore Pictures - Clarkes Quay riverboat

Taking a walk or a boat along the Singapore River from Clarke’s Quay down to Marina Bay.

Clarke Quay is a famous evening drinking zone, mainly for expatriates who enjoy getting hammered and, errr, boisterous, to put it politely.

Singapore Pictures - gardens by the bay supertrees

The stunning Supertrees in the Gardens by the Bay, at night make endless amazing Singapore pictures. The Gardens are free to enter though the two domes cost. Don’t do drugs in Singapore, just have a drink and lie underneath the Supertrees at night. You will feel so spaced out!

Spend up to a day, an afternoon, or an evening in Gardens by the Bay wandering free of charge from themed garden to themed garden (some are a bit weak; Chinese was best we thought). Pay to enter the two biodomes –  Flower Dome and Cloud Forest Dome. There are tons of eating and drinking establishments inside the Gardens.

A few facts

Language: 50% of the population speak Mandarin Chinese, others Malay and Tamil but most Singaporeans are well educated and use English as a common language between each other so communication should be no problem.

Religion: 33% Buddhist, 18% Christian, 15% Moslem, and the rest Taoist, Hindu or Dudeists.

Local tap water is safe to drink.

Electricity is 220 – 240AC and sockets usually take UK style 3 pin plugs but adapters are cheap and widely available.

Smoking is banned in air conditioned areas and public transport as well as in taxis and lifts.

Tipping is not common even in taxis, though residents may round up the fare to the nearest coin.

There are strict laws against littering of any kind (chewing gum was banned in 1992 but the rules were relaxed in 2004 under the United States/Singapore Free Trade Agreement to allow the sale of chewing gum considered to have health benefits).


Americans, Canadians, British, Australians and citizens of the EU receive a Social Visit Pass on arrival, providing their passport has more than 6 months validity. Officially tourists should also hold sufficient funds for their holiday, a confirmed return air ticket (or bus ticket if coming by land from Malaysia! ) and entry permit for their next destination.

The length of the Pass depends on nationality. British and Irish get 30 days, others get 7 or 14 days but all can request an extension to 90 days on arrival.