The glimmering gateway to the South East, Singapore is a tried and tested family favourite city in Asia.
The country houses a unique blend of modern skyscrapers and glittering architecture, with a backdrop of lush parks, rainforests and hidden beaches. A small but mighty and multicultural nation, Singapore should be seen as far more than just a stopover city, it is worthy of a complete family vacation.
As borders continue to open and the prospect of international family vacations in the tropics become more than just dreams, here’s how you go about planning a Singapore family retreat.
Visa rules and entry requirements for Singapore
As you’d expect, exact requirements and permitted entry to Singapore is a constantly changing situation since March 2020.
Most nationalities are eligible to apply for the electronic SG Arrival Card at least 3 days before arrival. Other nationalities will need to apply for an eVisa in advance – the rules are explained here.
“Green Lanes” have opened since September 2021 requiring passengers from permitted countries to apply for an Air Travel Pass online in advance of their arrival.
Timing your trip to Singapore
Sitting almost on the equator, Singapore is really a year-round destination. Expect hot and humid weather with average temperatures around 27°C throughout the year.
There are no real seasons per se, but you will find it slightly cooler in January and February and slightly hotter in the traditional northern hemisphere summer June to August. There is a short rainy season though it shouldn’t dampen travel plans too much from November to January.
How long do I need in Singapore?
In the past, Singapore has very much been seen as a fly through city. With one of the world’s best airports, Changi Airport – some travelers feel they don’t even need to come into town!
We’ve always recommended as a minimum families spend 3-days to explore the highlights of the city. This will be long enough to get a taster of what Singapore is about, but not really long enough to relax and enjoy all that the city has to offer.
For a longer family break in the tropics, we’d recommend allowing 7 to 10 days, splitting your time between the city highlights then spending some time relaxing and enjoying the warmth (and the food, did we forget to mention the food?!).
Where to stay in Singapore
So, assuming we have 10 days to spend in Singapore, where is it best to stay with kids?
The good news is, Singapore is an easy to navigate city. You can base yourself somewhere central, close to an MRT station and easily get around even with a stroller.
The downside to accommodation, Singapore is far from one of the cheapest cities to stay in southeast Asia, and doesn’t always cater well to the larger family. Those with 3 kids+ will need to consider getting adjoining rooms or paying more for a serviced apartment.
Around Clarke Quay, a good mid-range choice is Holiday Inn. If budget will stretch the Shangri-La Singapore is truly one of our all-time favourite family hotels offering themed rooms through to baby sitting and bottle warming services.
For a true tropical escape for the family in Singapore, we recommend you head to one of the country’s beautiful islands. Sentosa is an obvious choice, being home to Resorts World and a plethora of family entertainment venues.
However, don’t forget some of the smaller nearby islands to extend your trip. These make an ideal choice if you’ll be traveling as a larger family group and want to rent your own private villa. Most can be reached by ferry within just a few hours.
What can families do on a Singapore holiday?
An incredibly family-friendly city, there’s a great range of activities and attractions for families to enjoy. Our top choices include:
- Explore Gardens by the Bay
- Plan a day trip to Singapore Zoo
- Visit the hawkers markets and try the amazing street foods
- Spend a day on Sentosa including Universal Studios and Adventure Cove Waterpark
If this isn’t your first trip, a few more attractions and places to add to your Singapore bucket list include:
- Jurong Bird Park
- Night Safari
- Lazarus Island
- MacRitchie reservoir and treetop walk
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