Why go to Singapore ?


You will find here the results of our backpackers' survey as well as comments on some aspects of Singapore.

We asked backpackers who had traveled in Singapore for more than three days already to answer the followings.

Do you like Singapore ?  88% of the backpackers surveyed (58) say yes !

Absolutely ! Most travelers have a great time in Singapore ! This is particularly true with those who have been traveling for a while on the dirty roads of Asia. The clean attractions of this very modern city are a great way to relax !


Would you happily come back ? 81% of the backpackers surveyed (58) say yes ! (up)

Again, the majority really would not mind coming back. To visit the excellent attractions again, to meet more people, to eat more delicacies or to do more shopping !


Would you recommend Singapore ?  86% of the backpackers surveyed (58) say yes ! (up)

"To my parents, yes. To my friends, no" This was the answer of one backpacker. He has a point but this is a minority one. Most travelers would recommend Singapore to their friends. But, of course, as a break on the way to other countries...

We also asked them to rate the followings :

The tourists attractions        Backpackers : 14.14 /20 (down)
Singapore boost some top-notch attractions : its zoo is one of the best in the world, its night safari is extraordinary, its Sentosa Island very colorful & relaxing,... You understood : most of Singapore's attractions are fairly modern with little connection to Asia. There are of course some Temples and colonial buildings but nothing spectacular worth a special trip.

The city scenery       Backpackers : 15.66 /20 (up)
Singapore is basically a city. Fortunately, it is a nice one. It does not have the lights of Hong Kong nor the colonial charm of Kuala Lampur but it is nevertheless a charming, reasonably relaxed and fairly green place with colorful ethnic districts and lots of markets and food courts. 

The natural scenery         Backpackers : 11.76 /20 (down)
People do not usually think of Singapore as a place to get in touch with nature. Looking closely, and with no reference to all those attractions which let you meet the animals kingdom, there are however a few great green escapes.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, one of the world's only two primary rainforest located by a city, is one of them and should be high on everybody's itinerary. The island of Ubin is another relaxed spot to forget the City. 

The cultural opportunities        Backpackers : 12.34 /20 (up)
This is the lowest rate for all the countries surveyed and it is surprising as Singapore boost some good museums as well as English-speaking people to converse with. The clinical look of the city and the lack of big historical sights may explain it. 

The food         Backpackers : 16.83 /20 (same)
For such a developed and expensive place, the food offering of Singapore is surprisingly wide and reasonably priced, hence this excellent rate. Clean food courts can be found at nearly every corner while excellent restaurants cater to richer gourmets. Eating is a good pastime in Singapore... 

The infrastructures         Backpackers : 19.52 /20 (up)
Singapore number one ! Everything in this clean city works efficiently. But it is not very surprising is it ? 

The cost of living and traveling        Backpackers : 10.55 /20 (down)
OK, so the above has a cost : Singapore is the second most expensive place covered  after Hong Kong (actually the most expensive if visiting the attractions). Backpackers therefore do not really retire there. But, to be fair, Singapore comes out much cheaper than most western cities : by western standard, guesthouses, transports and attractions are reasonably priced while the food is much cheaper. And if you start shopping...

The safety        Backpackers : 19.10 /20 (up)
Do you know any place in Asia safer than Singapore ? Myanmar maybe... Singapore enjoy one of the lowest rate of criminality in the world. To be enjoyed at any time of the day or night !

The cleanliness        Backpackers : 19.10 /20 (up)
Singapore number one again ! This is indeed an area where Singapore is famous for and, in dirty Asia, it is striking indeed. But leave the city and its fine and it becomes far from perfect : I spotted one of the dirtiest beach of Asia and lots of rubbish on natural Pulau Ubin !

The pollution        Backpackers : 15.52 /20 (down)
Being a city, is it not surprising that Singapore receives the best mark in this field ? No, it is not : come and breathe ! 

The Shopkeepers' attitude        Backpackers : 14.69 /20 (down)
Number one again ! Indeed, shopkeepers in Singapore are relaxed, helpful and honest. A little bit pushy in some places maybe but why not ? As long as it comes with a smile... 

The Local people's attitude        Backpackers : 15.59 /20 (down)
An excellent rate again to thanks the Singaporean for their excellent English, their smiles and their courtesy toward foreigners. The government can be proud of them.  My personal rates would however be slightly lower as I found in Singapore some of the rudest guesthouses owners of Asia.  Fortunately, the people in the streets looked genuinely friendly. 

Entertainment        Backpackers : 13.55 /20 (same)
A fair rate as it is now possible to have reasonable fun in Singapore. The night scene indeed developed over the last few years and restrictions have been relaxed. It is not as crazy as Hong Kong or Thailand and it is expensive but it is at least there. 

Shopping        Backpackers : 18.04 /20 (down)
Another best rate ! Everything you need and more is indeed available in Singapore, the true shopping paradise of Asia ! Well, kind of. Shops are numerous, prices for electronic goods are cheap and shopkeepers are fairly honest (but not all of them so be suspicious with very cheap prices and check the product carefully) but the choice of goods looked more limited than on the night markets of  Hong Kong, Malaysia or Thailand for example. As for souvenirs, they are fairly kitschy or expensive. 

Generally, the country        Backpackers : 15.03 /20 (up)
This good rate should finish to convince you to visit Singapore. Of course, not on a special trip : Singapore might not be worth a plane ticket ! But, if in the area, make sure to buy that bus or boat trip to this very spectacular city !

Value for money        Backpackers : 12.48 /20 (up)
It may not be such a good rate on the Asian scale (only Macau is rated lower) but Singapore is certainly an excellent bargain from a westerner's point of view. There are only a few places in the world with so much modernity for so little cost !


Backpacker's Tips : Mark Holleman, Dutch (Jan 04)
I think most travellers, especially backpackers, have the wrong idea of Singapore, which usually corresponds to the stereotype of Singapore being very expensive, boring, with too many rules and fines. There is much to do in Singapore for backpackers and it is definitely worth spending a few days (3 or 4 would be ideal) to explore this unique city. Singapore is unique in Asia (but very much part of it) and I believe it is worth exploring this city for a few days to see how much they have achieved in such a short time. Things to do for backpackers which will not 'break the bank' include: Spending a day hiking or cycling on Pulau Ubin, exploring Little India, visit some of the excellent museums (including the recently opened Asian Civilisations museum on Empress Place), have a stroll along Orchard Road, shopping for electronics (Sim Lim Square or the much better Funan IT Mall) which are still much cheaper than in Europe and last but not least, trying out all the food! Recommendations for food are the Geylang Serai Market for Malay food (the best Nasi Padang I have ever tasted at the Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang stall), the various Indian stalls and restaurants in Little India, Newton Hawker Centre (although a bit touristy, the food is still very nice), famous Peranakan restaurants like Chilli Padi on Joo Chiat Place and more, much more!

Backpacker accommodation in Singapore has much improved and there are now a handful of very nice and very good value-for-money hostels, where you will get a bunk bed, with bed linen and blanket, security locker, breakfast and Internet access, for S$18 per night! These hostels are the A Traveller's Rest Stop, the Betel Box Hostel, Chill'Inn and The InnCrowd.

Although more expensive than other destinations in Southeast Asia, a visit to Singapore does not have to be that expensive and is still significantly cheaper than backpacking through Australia or New Zealand.

As for the strict rules and regulations, there are some things you simply should not do, such buying/ selling/ importing/ consuming illegal drugs and littering. As a result of Singapore's strict rules, the city is clean, safe and the public transport is cheap and probably the most efficient and comfortable anywhere in the world.

Give your opinion !  If you have traveled in Singapore for more than 3 days, please participate to our surveys !

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