A local’s advice on where to stay in Singapore and the best hotels in Singapore for all budgets. We break down 5 different Singapore neighborhoods and the best things to do in each one.
Singapore resident and local travel writer Charmaine Leow of Bunnyhoptravels shares the knowledge she’s picked up over the years spent living in this incredible city.
Singapore may not be a massive city but with all the choices on offer, it can still be confusing when looking for the best place to stay or the best place to base yourself.
Don’t be deterred by its reputation as being an expensive city. There is something for every budget level.
Whether you a first-timer or a veteran visitor you will learn about some the best places to stay and the best things to do in Singapore.
Best Places to Stay in Singapore
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- Orchard Road – One of the oldest and most popular streets of Singapore, surrounded by distinctive shopping malls.
- Marina – Iconic architectural works based on Singapore’s skyline and its main landmarks.
- Sentosa Island – A famous tourist spot, where you can find sandy beaches, various attractions and Resorts World Sentosa.
- Clarke Quay & Chinatown – Located along the Singapore River, with a vibrant nightlife and traditional Chinese cultures entwined.
- Little India & The Arab Streets – A hipster neighborhood with boutique shops, hotels, and unique street arts.
- Plan Your Singapore Trip – Before you go, find flights, book tours and Singapore Quick Tips
Singapore officially has 28 districts.
In this small city of only 278.6sq mi, almost everywhere is easily accessible by car or bus and it has and efficient public transportation system.
Walking and navigating around Singapore on foot is easy. The attractions in Singapore have been planned out so well that you can explore each unique place on foot if you like.
So enjoy planning your next trip to Singapore with this comprehensive city guide.
1. Orchard Road -The Best Area to Stay in Singapore
Major Shopping Belt in Central Singapore
Orchard Road is a 2.2km shopping belt in the Central Area of Singapore Street.
Being one of the most famous shopping streets in Singapore, Orchard Road attracts both locals and tourists to shop, enjoy, dine or have a pleasant stroll.
You can discover this bustling boulevard either underground, walking from Mall to Mall or walk along the swanky, tree-lined street, enjoying the exteriors of all the shopping malls.
As you stroll along the tree-lined street, you will find huge, grand luxury shops like Michael Kors, Gucci, Armani and many more on your right-hand side.
Staying here is a great option if you want to have the best shopping experience! Staying in Orchard gives you access to all the shopping malls in just a few steps.
Where to stay in Singapore Near Orchard Road
- Best luxury hotel near Orchard Road: Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore – A 5-star Luxury hotel set In the midst of exotic gardens. It is 7-minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road that costs over S$350 per night.
- Best mid-range hotel near Orchard Road: Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway – A beautiful outdoor swimming pool set right in the middle of Orchard road, giving you direct access to the MRT Station and Luxury shopping malls.
- Best budget hotel near Orchard Road: Hotel Supreme Singapore – A friendly, clean hotel that provides you with all the basic amenities during your stay. Walking distance to Singapore’s famous shopping street!
Things to see in Singapore near Orchard Road
Shopping Belt Walk – Take a 20 minute Walk from Ion Orchard Mall to Plaza Singapura.
Fort Canning Hill – One of Singapore’s most historic Landmarks. An ideal place for Nature Seekers, and History lovers.
National Museum of Singapore – Located in front of the Fort Canning Hill, this Museum is one of the oldest in Singapore, dating back to 1849. Inside, you can learn about the history and culture of Singapore.
Emerald Hill Road – If you fancy a drink or two, Emerald Hill is a hipster place which is full of local pubs that are open to the wee hours of the morning.
Singapore Botanical Gardens – This 158-year-old Tropical garden is located on the fringe of Orchard Road. It is a colossal rainforest with a fantastic Orchid Garden.
Take the Hippy Hop on and Hop Off Bus using the MRT’s Yellow Line. There are several stops that you can take from Number 14 to Number 19, depending on where you are going.
Buses: Several buses run from different parts of Singapore to Orchard road.
MRT: Travel by MRT is also very convenient! Alight at Orchard and Somerset stations. You can purchase train tickets from the ticketing counters, or you can get the Singapore Tourist Pass which gives you unlimited access to transportation all around the city.
2. Downtown Core: Marina Area
The Downtown Core
An area of iconic architectural works featuring the Singapore Skyline and her main Landmarks.
The Marina area is built on reclaimed land and today it gives you the best views of the city landscape, especially since it overlooks the world’s most expensive standalone Casino & Resort, the Marina Bay Sands, worth S$8 billion alone.
If you are a nature lover, you will also love the scenic stroll along the Singapore River with a beautiful landscape as your backdrop.
Best Places to stay in Singapore near The Marina
- Best Luxury Hotel in the Marina area: The MBS Hotel – Iconic Hotel in Singapore with World’s Largest Infinity Pool, a world-class casino and dining experience. This Luxury Hotel offers you fantastic views from your Hotel Room and the Rooftop Pool.
- Best mid-range hotel in Marina: Conrad Continental – Ranked as one of the top Picks in Singapore in Marina Bay. It gives you easy access to the Top attractions around Marina Area like the Singapore Flyer and shopping! Great location!
- Best Budget hotel in the marina area: The Orchid Hotel – This spacious chic hotel situated In the heart of the city centre is within walking distance to restaurants, bars and the MRT Train Station. Getting anywhere with the MRT Train is easy and convenient!
Things to See Near The Marina Area
The Merlion – Residing at the waterfront is the official mascot of Singapore which attracts an enormous number of tourists to Singapore every year.
Marina Bay Sands – A 2,561 room hotel, topped by a Sky-park giving you a 360-degree view of the city. There is also the world’s largest Infinity pool offering you one of the best views of Singapore’s landscape.
Singapore Light Show – On every weekend and Thursday, there are light and water shows held at the event plaza, in front of the Marina Bay The Shoppes. Click here to find out more about show timings!
Singapore Flyer – A giant Ferris Wheel which gives stunning views of the city’s landscape and historical landmarks.
Gardens by the Bay – An attraction that has appealed to many tourists; A colorful, and futuristic park of Singapore. It is known for its supertree structures, skywalk and Conservatory domes.
Singapore Pass with 3 or 5 Attractions – Ride on the Hippo Sightseeing tours & gain access to 3-5 top attractions that you can choose from at discounted prices. This pass is valid for five full days of validity.
Hippy Tours: If you are taking the Hippo Tour (“Hop On Hop Off” bus tour), hop on the Green Lines. These buses travel the entire Marina Bay Area.
Buses: Several buses run from different parts of Singapore to Marina Bay. Click here to find out which bus you can take.
MRT Train: You can also conveniently purchase MRT train tickets from the ticketing counters, or you can get the Singapore Tourist Pass which gives you unlimited access to transportation all around the city.
3. Sentosa Island
An Island Getaway in Singapore
Sentosa Island is Singapore’s most famous offshore island where you can find beaches, attractions and Resorts World Sentosa.
Sentosa, also known as “The State of Fun,” is a leisure destination and a human-made island getaway.
It is the city’s most exciting playground offering you clean golden sandy beaches, luxurious resorts and spas, and mega theme-parks which includes the Universal Studios Singapore (USS), S.E.A Aquarium, and Adventure Cove.
Visiting Sentosa Island would require a day or two.
You can spend time relaxing on the beautiful beaches, grab a ride on Sentosa Luge, have some fun, or even spend a day catching the Hollywood themed and Sci-fi themed rides in Universal Studios Singapore!
Best Place to Stay near Sentosa Island
- Best luxury hotel on Sentosa Island: Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort – Just a 2 Minutes walk to Silosa Beach on Sentosa Island, it offers you spectacular views of the south china sea and an environment like a modern tropical holiday experience.
- Best mid-range hotel on Sentosa Island: RWS (Hotel Michael) – Spacious room situated in a prime location of Sentosa Island. The hotel is accessible to all the various attractions in Resorts World Sentosa, like Universal Studios and S.E.A Aquarium.
- Best budget hotel on Sentosa Island: Costa Sands Sentosa Kampung Hut – Away from the bustling city, the hotel is just 4 minutes walk from the beach. Providing you with all the basic amenities that you need for a great stay.
Things to see in Singapore near Sentosa Island
Beaches – There are different beaches in Sentosa that you can choose from: Sentosa Beach, Tanjong Beach, and Siloso Beach.
Performances – Catch the Wings of Time which showcases colorful lights, lasers, water fountains and 3D effects.
Hippy Tours: If you are taking the Hippo Tour (“Hop On Hop Off” bus tour), hop on the Green Lines. These buses travel from the Marina Bay Area to Resorts World Sentosa.
Buses: Several buses also run from different parts of Singapore to Harbourfront, which leads you to the MRT Train station to Sentosa!
Bus into Sentosa: Once you have arrived at Harbourfront Station or Vivocity (they are just next to each other), you can board RWS8 from bus stop 14141 at Vivocity or bus stop 14121 at Harbourfront and alight at Sentosa drop off point.
Cable Car into Sentosa: Another option would be by the cable car, which is more popular. Walk toward exit B within Harbourfront train station, walk towards directional signs leading to Singapore Cable Car Station at Harbourfront tower 2 and board the cable car. Cable car rides cost S$3 per person.
Walking: Walking is also available via the Sentosa Boardwalk. It takes about 20 minutes from Vivocity, and it cost about S$1 entry into Sentosa.
Click here for more transport information into Sentosa Island.
4. Clarke Quay & Chinatown
The Night that Never Sleeps
Located along the Singapore River, with a vibrant nightlife and traditional Chinese cultures entwined.
Clarke Quay runs along the Singapore River. It is a unique place with preserved historic landmarks.
Yet, it is famous for its bustling nightlife and vibrant nightclub spots, cementing its reputation as one of the liveliest areas in Singapore.
Many restaurants are located facing the waterfront, giving you stunning views and cool breeze from the Singapore River. Over here, you will find vintage shops and restaurants.
Clarke Quay provides a range of family-friendly activities as well, and cultural restaurants where many tourists and locals hang out.
Chinatown is just a few streets away from Clark Quay.
It offers many historical and cultural experiences.
You can still find old Peranakan Shop-houses which have been standing since the 60s.
There are also market stalls and restaurants, lit by traditional Chineses lanterns and strings.
If you are hoping to find cheap accommodations in Singapore, Chinatown is an excellent place to start.
There are higher-end hotels available as well at Clarke Quay!
In Clarke Quay, you can book a hotel facing the Singapore river and have fun till late nights!
Where to stay in Singapore near Clarke Quay and Chinatown
- Best luxury hotel in Clarke Quay: Novotel Clarke Quay – Novotel is known for its prime location for accessing the active nightlife spots and it offers you beautiful views of Singapore’s City Skyline.
- Best midrange hotel in Clarke Quay: The Quay Hotel – A heritage Hotel nestled in The Central Business District and Singapore’s River. Easy access to 2 MRT Stations. Complimentary breakfast is served.
- Best budget hotel in Chinatown: Zen rooms JinShan Hotel – This 3 Star Hotel is located in the very cool Chinatown District. This is a neighborhood where you can immerse in culturally diverse food and trips.
Things to See near Clarke Quay & Chinatown
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple – A famous Buddhist temple with a museum concept that has attracted numerous tourists.
Traditional shopping in Chinatown – Walk Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street, Sago Lane, Smith Street and Temple Street to explore and learn more about the Chinese woodwork handicraft shops, Chinese medical halls, and the local wet market.
Sri Mariamman Temple – Oldest Hindu temple in Singapore where you can explore ancient Indian culture.
G-Max Reverse Bungy – If you are up for an adventure, go for a ride on this Reverse Bungy. It even illuminates light at night which makes it a fascinating show to watch!
Hippy Tours: If you are taking the Hippo Tour (“Hop On Hop Off” bus tour), hop on the Red lines. You can alight on bus stop number 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. Brown Line Hippo buses go to Chinatown. You can light on Bus Number 5.
Buses: Several buses run from different parts of Singapore to Chinatown and Clarke Quay. Click here to find out which bus you can take.
MRT Train: You can purchase train tickets from the ticketing counters, or you can get the Singapore Tourist Pass which gives you unlimited access to transportation all around the city. You can alight at Chinatown Station and Clark Quay Station.
5. Little India & Arab Streets
A hipster neighborhood with boutique shops, hotels, and unique street arts.
Little India is a cultural district in Singapore.
Here you’ll find Hindu eateries, shops, florists, and many India travel agencies.
With the sounds of cars honking in traffic jams, and people jaywalking brashly ignoring vehicles in front of them, it does give a very authentic feel of being in India!
Arab Street is just a stone’s throw away from Little India.
As the name suggests, there are many Middle East inspired shops selling textiles, perfumes, and traditional Arabic items.
It is also a hipster place as you can find decorative street arts, boutique shops, and cafes littered along its lanes.
Finding accommodation here is suitable for those who love being around a hipster environment, surrounded by great vintage-like cafes.
Where to stay in Singapore near Little India
- Best luxury hotel in Little India: Village Hotel Bugis by Far East Hospitality – Just 5 minute walk away from a huge range of Shopping options and the MRT Station. Family rooms are available for those coming in huge groups.
- Best mid-range hotel in Little India: The Park Hotel in Farrer Park – Lovely boutique hotel where you can immerse in the culture, have easy access to the biggest shopping places in Singapore and stay in their beautiful loft.
- Best budget hotel in Little India: The Hotel Eighty One Rochor – This hotel is just a 5-minute walk to the MRT Station, it is located at a convenient place if you want to sightsee and tour all around Singapore.
Things to See near Little India & Arab Streets
Haji Lane – One of the Narrowest streets in Singapore. Tons of tourist flock here to get that perfect picture with the street arts and vintage-like shops. It is a fashionista’s paradise!
Masjid Mosque – Along Muscat Street is this impressive Sultan Mosque. Many tourists enjoy taking pictures with the mosque and palm trees in the background as it makes it picturesque.
Mustafa Centre – A 24-hour Shopping Mall in Little India which offers you everything that you need. They sell utensils, glasses, groceries, luggage, electronics and many more!
Hippy Tours: If you are taking the Hippo Tour (Hop on and Hop Off Bus Tours), hop on the Blue lines. You can alight on bus stop number 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.
Buses: Several buses run from different parts of Singapore to Little India and Arab Streets. Click here to find out which bus you can take. (Info?)
MRT Train: As usual, you can purchase train tickets from the ticketing counters, or get a Singapore Tourist Pass which gives you unlimited access to transportation all around the city, alighting at Little India, Farrer Park or Bugis station (leading you to Haji Lane).
Singapore, situated at the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia in Southeast Asia, has the perfect skyline and a bustling commercial center. It is an independent city-state that many call “The Lion City.”
Being one of the smallest countries in the world, spanning a land area of about 719.9 km², it is also known as “The Little Red Dot.” Though physically small, Singapore is an economic giant.
Though Singapore has developed so extensively, it still retains its culture and traditions. As a multi-racial country; its wide diversity will astonish you.
Singapore Travel Tips
Singapore is on the Singapore Dollar (SGD). 1 SGD = 0.74 USD. For up to date conversions, get the XE Currency Converter App.
Singapore is not as seasonal as the other countries in the world. Singapore has only two seasons: wet and dry.
The dry season is from March to August, while the wet monsoon season is from September to February. However, it can get cloudy and rainy during the dry seasons too. It is advisable to carry an umbrella in your daypack as the weather conditions can be unpredictable.
For more advice on how to save money and a complete Travel Guide, Check out my Singapore’s Travel Guide.
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Phew! There you go for the best places to stay and see in Singapore!
Though being a small city in Southeast Asia, there are so many things to see, eat and experience. I am sure you will have the time of your life during your trip here!
Hope this article helped in your search for the best places to stay in Singapore on your impending trip!
Planning a trip to Singapore? Save to Pinterest for future reference.
Singapore Tourist Pass: If you intend to tour around the city for multiple days, it is best to purchase the Singapore Tourist Pass.
It gives you unlimited travel on public buses, MRT & LRT. Single-Day Passes cost about S$10, Two-Day Passes cost about S$16, while Three-Day Passes are S$20, all purchasable from here.
As mentioned, moving around Singapore is very convenient and is not a huge issue; buses and MRT Trains travel throughout the entire city with stops commonly found right in front of your hotel or apartment.
For more information on Singapore you may enjoy these articles:
- The Best Things to do in Singapore – A Local’s Guide to the City
- 3 Days in Singapore – The Perfect Singapore Itinerary for First-Timers
- How to Travel Singapore Like a Local
- Outdoor Activities in Singapore
- A Tour of Haw Par Villa in Singapore
- The Best and Biggest Festivals Around The World
Have you visited Singapore? Share your tips or ask us for advice advice. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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