Why go backpacking in Singapore?
If you’ve been searching for delicious food, fabulous shopping, and cutting edge sustainability, backpacking in Singapore definitely belongs on your gap year itinerary! Singapore is quickly rising as one of the most popular backpacking destinations in South East Asia because of its unique mix of cultures, exciting urban sights, and picturesque natural attractions.
Backpacking in Singapore will give you the opportunity to explore the pristine calm of Palau Ubin, get up close and personal with tigers and elephants on a night safari, or browse a multitude of beautiful pan-Asian treasures in the Asian Civilisations Museum.
For both nature lovers and city dwellers, Singapore is a fantastic destination that offers the best of both worlds!
Singapore on a Stopover
Most backpackers don’t stay in Singapore for a long time, instead visiting during a stopover or for a few days. With its many urban attractions, distinctive skylines, and natural wonders, Singapore has plenty of sensational spots to fill a short time. Whether you’re looking to shop for the latest trends, eat until you’re stuffed, or feast your eyes on a lovely landscape, Singapore’s got you.
Singapore’s urban scene is renowned for its exciting sights, smells, and sounds. You can find some of the liveliest spots around Orchard Road, a three-mile street that houses a grand total 22 malls and six department stores featuring some of the world’s trendiest fashions and brands. When you’re done picking an outfit for your next night out, make your way over to Kampong Glam’s Arab Street and Hajj Lane, where you’ll find an array of indie boutiques, unique textiles, and an aromatic variety of spices.
Where to go next
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Chinatown, to Smith Street Market and Food Centre or Maxwell Road Food Market for a bite. Here, you can find delectable local foods, including Oyster Omelettes from Katong Keah Kee Fried Oysters and Tian Tian pork porridge, for affordable prices. And because travelling is the best excuse to try something new and a little adventurous, make sure to try the Dried Chili Frog Porridge from Geylang Lorong 9.
After eating everything, you’ll probably have a massive food coma and want a soothing garden or serene landscape to accommodate your mood. Feel free to take a stroll through Singapore Botanic Garden to take in the National Orchid Gardens, the world’s largest display of orchids. And if you’d like to burn some calories, join the complimentary exercise classes! Gardens by the Bay, Singapore’s retort to London’s lovely Hyde Park, features 165ft ‘super tree’ structures alongside Flower Dome, the world’s largest column-free greenhouse, and Cloud Forest, a huge man-made cloud mountain, complete with an indoor waterfall.
Before your time in Singapore is over, make sure you take in some of Asia’s rich history during a visit to the National Gallery, held in what was once Singapore’s City Hall and Old Supreme Court. The collection is touted as one of the world’s greatest displays of colonial and post-colonial Asian art, with work by famous Singaporean artists like Cheong Soo Pieng and Liu Kang, as well as artists from Indonesia and the Philippines. Or if you’d like to see a more dynamic display, stop by the Singapore Zoo, known for its conservation efforts and humane treatment of animals. Here, you can spend time with Malaysian flying foxes, rare reptiles, or another member of the zoo’s population of 2,800 animals.
Countries Near Singapore
After adventuring in Singapore, the rest of your trip awaits! Whether you choose to take the bus, train, or extremely short plane trip to Malaysia, you can have a great time checking out the Batu caves, taking in the view from the Petronas Towers, or soaking up some sun on the beach in Langkawi.
Singapore is also a short flight away from Indonesia. During your stay at this beautiful island nation, you can relax on the beaches of Bali, see a volcano in Manado, or bask in foodie heaven at Locavore, Ubud’s premier culinary destination. After dark, enjoy a drink at one of Bali’s beautiful rooftop bars.
A two-hour flight away, Vietnam is also a fabulous destination following your stopover in Singapore. Drenched in history, steeped in delicious food, and covered in Instagram-worthy views, Vietnam has all the makings of a great gap year destination. Make sure to walk through the Old Quarter, take a boat ride to the Phong Na Caves, and sip on the notorious weasel coffee in Hanoi before you leave!