Port Guide: Singapore

Singapore is the world’s second-busiest port city and a crown jewel of the former British colonial empire. The mostly Chinese ethnic city also has significant populations of people with Malay and East Indian lineage. With English as its official language, Singapore is a true international melting pot and one of the world’s best cruise ship destinations.

Singapore has two cruise ship terminals. One is located near the iconic Marina Bay Sands. The other is the Singapore Cruise Centre located between the main island and Sentosa Island to the south. Both give you quick and easy access to the island nation that contains 5.7 million people and some of the most modern infrastructure anywhere in the world. When you step off your cruise ship in Singapore, you’re probably wondering what there is to do. Here are some suggestions for your port day in Singapore! 

Hawker Center

Singapore Hawker Centre

Getting Around Singapore

Singapore is a very clean, safe, and exceptionally modern city. It has excellent public transportation the runs around the clock. You can use a subway and surface rail or buses to go just about anywhere you want. A day pass is very affordable and will let you go anywhere for just a small amount of money. Bicycle and scooter rentals are very affordable and give you more range. If you are in a hurry, you can find a cab just about anywhere. 

What to Eat in Singapore 

Singapore is one of the world’s best locales to dine on food. From outstanding street hawkers to five-star fine dining, Singapore has it all. And, frankly, it’s all great. With its location on the South China sea, busy port, and highly active airports and rail systems, fresh food is plentiful.

If fine dining is your preference, Singapore is an outstanding destination. The Marina Bay Sands is located near one of the island nation’s outstanding cruise port facilities. That makes it very easy to visit one of the many great restaurants there. You also can visit the adjacent Gardens by the Bay for more dining options. The one suggestion would be Raffles Hotel. The colonial-era hotel reflects the resplendent days under English rule and offers many great fine-dining restaurants. A stop by the world-famous Long Bar for an iconic Singapore Sling before returning to your cruise ship.

For the Tourists 

Singapore is full of outstanding tourist destinations. If you have a week to spend in Singapore, you could not take in all the great sites and locations. Picking which tourist spots to visit is made easier when you know where your cruise ship docks. When docked near Marina Bay Sands, a visit to that casino, plus the adjacent Gardens by the Bay is a great way to spend at least some of the day.

You also can take a boat tour of the harbor to see the iconic Merlion and relax and dine on You can ride the Singapore Flyer, which is one of the world’s tallest observation wheels. Nearby Clarke Quay offers riverfront fun and excitement without the portside roughnecks. You get a feel for early Singapore and its wild waterfront days, but in a much more civil and relaxed setting with great food and drinks to while away the evening hours.

RELATED: Your Guide to the Best Hawker Center Food in Singapore

If your cruise ship docks near Sentosa Island, you can find lots of fun just a short distance away. There you can visit Underwater Word, Universal Studios, and hang out on one of the few beach locations in Singapore. A more family-oriented stop is the Singapore Zoo on the island’s north end.

Singapore’s Many Neighborhoods

Singapore is a compact island with about 5.7 million citizens. That adds up to lots of great places in just a short distance. Singapore is well-known for its hawker fares. Those are street vendors and other small vendors located in ethnic enclaves, like Chinatown, Little India, Haji Village, and other small enclaves.

You can tour the vibrant and colorful ethnic neighborhoods, eat, shop, and take in local culture. You get to eat fantastic foods prepared by highly regulated and insanely delicious street vendors. You also can find great deals on clothing, curios, and other items for yourself or as gifts for friends and loved ones back home.

More Bites 

Singapore is one of the world’s best places to try a wide variety of foods. You get a blend of traditional Chinese, English, and hybrid foods. A particular food variety native to Singapore is the Peranakan foods. That is a blend of traditional Chinese foods mixed with Malay and English influences. Mix in locally sourced seafoods, and you have a feast awaiting that reflects many different cultures.

Hawker Center

Singapore Street Food

To get a truly local flavor, try Singapore’s national dish – Chili crab. Hainanese Chicken, pork rib soup, and Nasi lemak, which is a local Malay dish, also give you a taste of local flavors. Mornings in Singapore often start with simple kaya toast with kopi. It all tastes great and made with foods that are lean and truly good for your body.

There really is no food to avoid in China. Just let your nose guide you to great food aromas. Your taste buds will affirm what is best. Of course, if you have any food allergies, that needs to be your top guide. Otherwise, your taste buds will savor a full range of foods you never have experienced.

-Mike H.