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Singapore with Kids: A Local’s Complete Guide [2020]

While travel to Singapore isn’t an option now, it is possible to start planning for a Singapore family trip in 2021. Here’s a local’s guide to Singapore with kids.

Vibrant, tropical and multi-cultural: Singapore is a fantastic destination for kids. Over the past 10 years, Singapore has shed its sterile concrete jungle image to become an exciting garden city. These days, it’s studded with plenty of green spaces, cultural attractions and kid-friendly parks.

I might be biased since I’m originally from Singapore, but Singapore is really an awesome destination for family travelers.  I visit Singapore at least twice a year with my 5-year-old daughter, and we’ve visited and tested all the kid-friendly spots in Singapore. Trust me, there are a lot!

For those planning to explore Singapore with kids, here are some practical advice to help you plan your Singapore Family Trip.

singapore with kids - gardens by the bay supertree grove

Why Singapore is Great for Kids

Traveling Singapore with kids is easy and fun thanks to the great infrastructure and kid-friendly amenities. The country has low crime rate and one of the highest per-capita GDPs in the world. It’s safe and clean, with efficient public transport. Food is outstanding, and there’s cheap local eats everywhere.

Kids are welcome everywhere, and almost every restaurant and mall has facilities like diaper changing pads, nursing rooms and kid toilets. Everything from the immaculate, buggy-friendly pavements to themed hotels makes traveling with kids easy.

A Singapore family trip usually involves visits to theme parks and museums — but it can also include cultural experiences in museums and exploring lush gardens, while devouring delicious, authentic Southeast Asian food.

singapore with kids - esplanade in cartoon


Fun Facts about Singapore

Most people have heard of Singapore by now, but exactly where is Singapore? And is it a city, island, or country?

All three! Singapore is actually a city, an island and a nation located just off the southern tip of Malaysia. Singapore is an anomaly, and  we are quite proud of it. The country is currently the only city-island-nation in the world.

Singapore is a very young country, having gained independence only in 1965. We are a multi-racial nation: our ancestors came from neighboring Malaysia, India and China and brought with them their food and cultural traditions. This is what makes us so different and unique.

singapores colorful architecture - singapore for kids


How to Get to Singapore with Kids?

Singapore’s airport is a big hub in Southeast Asia, and serves many major cities around the world. Singapore Airlines is one of the best in the world, with excellent carriers and customer service.

You can get flights from New York to Singapore for around US$800 return (with transits in Tokyo or HongKong). Flights from Los Angeles to Singapore are slightly shorter (around 20 hours) and cost $700 return.

Flying London to Singapore is quite affordable and usually takes no more than 16 hours. I always fly Qatar Airways or British Airways as both have great track record and good prices.

Search for Flights to Singapore

singapore from above


Best Time to Travel Singapore with Kids

Thanks to its location close to the equator, it’s HOT all year round in Singapore. The average temperature ranges from 26 to 30°C (or 78 to 86°F) throughout the year. Check out these wet activities to cool off with your kids!

The best time to visit is probably during the dry season (June to August). It is typically when the country has the least amount of rain, the lowest humidity, and the most sunshine.

Be warned: Singapore gets a lot of thundershowers. The monsoon season (November to January) is when Singapore receives the most rain. Fortunately, they usually don’t last long, and the sun returns to raise humidity. 

my daughter in chinatown with mural art- singapore with kids    singapore family trip - chinatown singapore


How Long to Travel Singapore with Kids?

Singapore is a small city state. It’s so small that you can’t even see the country on a world map. With a land area of around 280 square miles (725 square km), Singapore is 0.5% the size of New York and 0.3% of London.

Honestly, you don’t need much time to explore Singapore. Most people spend 3-4 days in Singapore and that’s enough to get a good feel for it. If you have the time, I recommend 1 week in Singapore, and combining it with a trip to Malaysia (just a causeway away).

sentosa island with kids


How to Get Around Singapore with Kids

By Public Transport

The efficient MRT train system is an easy and cheap way to get around Singapore with kids. It usually costs around US$1.50 to 2 per ride. Almost every part of the city is connected by the MRT. It’s air-conditioned and comfortable, although it gets crowded at rush hours (try to avoid it around 7-9am and 6-8pm).

I definitely recommend buying an EZ-Link card, a prepaid smart card that allows you to use the public transport (subway and buses) in Singapore. You can get this at any MRT station. Children below 90cm tall travel free on trains and buses.

By Taxi/Uber

Taxis are reasonably priced in Singapore, especially if you’re just traveling around the city centre area. Uber is also an easy and convenient way to get around the city island. But if you’re taking the taxi from the airport to the centre, it can cost more than S$30.

The airport has an MRT station and it takes around 45 minutes to reach the city centre. You can also book an airport shuttle that will bring you to any downtown hotels for less than $10.

By Car

If you’re traveling with a baby or toddler, consider renting a car as that might be the most convenient way to get around. You can book a 3-day car rental in Singapore for US$250 or S$350. I always use DiscoverCars.com as they have consistently given the best rates and customer service.

Driving is easy in Singapore as roads are wide and well signposted. Also Singapore is a small island, and driving from one end to the other takes no more than 1 hour. 

Book Your Car Rental!

singapore mrt system - public transport is a great way to get around singapore with kids


Internet and Data in Singapore

It’s easy to find free WiFi everywhere in Singapore. Most malls and public spaces have free WiFi networks. You just need to register with your foreign mobile number at any [email protected] hotspot and receive your login details via SMS.

Alternatively, if you prefer internet data on your phone, you can easily get a 5-day tourist sim data card  for $15 at the airport upon arrival. For a cheaper deal, get this prepaid SIM card (100GB of data for $8.50) in advance and pick it up at the airport.

haji lane arab street in singapore


Things to Do in Singapore with Kids

Hang Out at Singapore Jewel

If you’re not too tired from your flight to Singapore, kick start your Singapore family trip at the airport! Jewel Changi Airport has just opened to the public, and it’s a seriously impressive indoor entertainment area. The complex includes gardens, museums, retail, F&B dining, a hotel, and more.

Its iconic centerpiece, known as Rain Vortex, is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall surrounded by terraced forest settings. Admire the doughnut-shaped exterior framed in steel and glass from the top level, where you’ll find the lush gardens and fun kids-oriented park.

Almost of Jewel is free to enjoy, except for the Canopy Park on the top level. With an admission ticket, you’ll gain access to all 4 different areas: Play around on the Discovery Slides and mess about in the mist of the Foggy Bowls; Appreciate the artistic skill on the Topiary Walk and enjoy flowers from the world over in the Petal Garden. 

jewel changi airport singapore - great place to start exploring singapore with kids

Explore Gardens by the Bay

At first I was skeptical about Singapore’s latest big-ticket attraction, but it blew my daughter and I away. The luscious Gardens by the Bay is home to over 16,000 plant species and floral displays, all tastefully assembled in a natural way.

The iconic Supertree Grove is the first stop for most people. You can also pay to walk on the Skyway, a network of walkway that hangs over the gardens. The Flower Dome is one of the two world’s largest columnless greenhouses, while the Cloud Forest houses the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

Walking around the park won’t cost you a cent but there is a fee if you want to step inside the climate-controlled conservatories. The main park area is open from 9am to 9pm.

singapore for kids - gardens by the bay lush gardens

Watch the Rhapsody Light and Sound Show

By night, the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay are lit up in technicolor rays, with music in the backdrop. My daughter was especially impressed by the Rhapsody Light Show — it felt like Mother Nature was putting on a musical.

The show takes place everyday at 7.45pm and 8.45pm. Best of all, the 15-minute show is absolutely FREE. Drop by early to grab a good spot to enjoy the performance!

gardens by the bay light and sound show - great fun activities singapore   rhapsody light show singapore gardens by the bay

Cool Off in the Free Splash Pools

Within Gardens by the Bay, you’ll find Children’s Garden and Water Play, a water splash area that’s FREE for all. This is a favorite among families on sunny days: there’s a designated area for tots, where fish-shaped fountains send out water in gentle arcs, and plenty of seating for parents to sit back and relax. Designed for children aged 6 to 12 years, this water play area is perhaps the best in Singapore.

But this is just one of the many free-entry water play areas in Singapore. Almost every mall has a water splash area for kids, and they are all free to enter. Here’s a list of our favorite splash pools:

  • Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden at Singapore Botanic Gardens
  • Marina Barrage Water Playground
  • Splash-n-Surf at Singapore Sports Hub
  • VivoCity SkyPark
  • KidzPlay at NEX Skygarden
  • Happy Park at Waterway Point
  • IMM Water Play Park

gardens by the bay water play area - traveling singapore with kids

Fly Kites at Marina Barrage

Within walking distance from Gardens by the Bay, you’ll find the wide and green spaces of Marina Barrage. It’s actually a reservoir, built across the mouth of Marina Channel, in the heart of the city.

The area has a huge green area that’s popular with families who come here to fly kites and enjoy a picnic. There’s also a water play area that kids love (mentioned above), and a handful of restaurants and bars.

marina barrage green space - singapore family vacation

Visit the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck

Drink in the best views of Singapore from above at the Sands SkyPark on the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands. If you’re not staying at this world-famous hotel, you can still visit by paying an entrance ticket to go to the SkyPark. Book your tickets here!

Both adults and kids alike will be impressed by the scenic views of Marina Bay. Tickets cost S$19.10 for adults and S$14.90 per child (2-12 years old). You can also buy a combo ticket for the SkyPark and Gardens by the Bay.

singapore marina bay sands skypark observation deck

Watch the Marina Bay Sands Light Show

Every night, Marina Bay Sands put on a spectacular light and water show at its waterfront. Known as Spectra, the light show is a FREE nightly event that you can catch from the boardwalk. There are lots of seating space on the boardwalk and steps. The 15-minute show takes place every night at 8pm and 9pm (and 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays).

marina bay sands light show - great for singapore family trip

Visit the ArtScience Museum

Housed in one of Singapore’s most impressive architectural structures is the ArtScience Museum with its equally impressive range of exhibits. Located next to Marina Bay Sands is a unique building that resembles a water lily rising from the Singapore River.

The name ArtScience is certainly apt here as the different galleries highlight the relationship between the arts and the sciences.  It has the same exhibition as Tokyo’s MORI Digital Museum, with fascinating digital artwork and interactive displays for both kids and adults. Different exhibitions have different prices but I recommend getting a discounted All-Access ticket.

artscience museum - things to do in singapore with kids

Visit the National Gallery Singapore

Overlooking the green open Padang field, the newly opened National Gallery Singapore is housed in two impressive colonial buildings in downtown Singapore. They gallery has the world’s largest public collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art, consisting of over 8,000 artworks.

Don’t worry about kids being bored! On Level 1 of the National Gallery Singapore you’ll find the Keppel Centre for Art Education, a wonderful art facility dedicated to nurturing children’s creativity and curiosity. Kids can make their own virtual ceramic pots at an interactive station.

national gallery singapore - kids attractions singapore   rooftop of national gallery singapore

Explore Nature at HortPark

There is no shortage of greenery in Singapore: HortPark is an excellent spot to learn about the flora and fauna of Singapore. Children will love exploring the Pitter Patter Potter Garden with its vibrant colors and a playground to top off the fun. There’s also a nature play garden, themed gardens and workshops for kids.

Tucked amidst the lush greenscape of HortPark is a charming “garden-to-table” French-Italian restaurant, called Vineyard. This is a good spot to chill out and treat yourselves to a decadent dinner after a day out in the sun.

hortpark - great place to enjoy nature in singapore with kids

Do the Treetop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir

Located around Singapore’s largest reservoir, the MacRitchie Reservoir Park offers extensive hiking trails. The most interesting of which is the TreeTop Walk, a 800 ft (250m) suspension bridge that brings hikers over the forest canopy. It is far enough away from the city that you can even spot monkeys, monitor lizards and even flying lemurs. It’s not very well known among visitors, which makes it all the more worth visiting during your Singapore family trip.

singapore kids attractions - treetop walk in macritchie reservoir

Stroll through Botanical Gardens

Located close to the shopping boulevard of Orchard Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens is a really pleasant green space in the heart of the city. I love going there with my daughter for a picnic or evening stroll, and a walk in the orchid centre. It’s home to over 10,000 species of plants and some animals. We’ve even seen monitor lizards roaming the park — don’t worry, they’re harmless.

singapore kids activities - visit botanical gardens

Explore Chinatown

Give your kids a crash course in Singapore’s culture at Chinatown. You’ll not only find the best Singaporean food here, but also a vibrant market, ethnic Chinese shops and impressive Buddhist temples. Chinese New Year is the best time to visit Chinatown as several of the streets here are closed off to make way for a big outdoor festive market.

Head straight to the Chinatown Heritage Centre, a kid-friendly interactive museum that showcases the Chinese history of Singapore. Continue to stroll along the open-air market on Pagoda Street, where you’ll find colorful cheongsams (traditional dress), lion dance puppets and Singaporean souvenirs.

singapore chinatown buddhist temple - visit singapore with kids

singapore chinatown - great place to visit in singapore with kids

Hang out at the Hipster Haji Lane

In recent years, Haji Lane has transformed from a traditional Malay quarter to a trendy hipster neighborhood. It’s tons of fun thanks to the colorful cafes and museums, perfect for Instagram-addicted teens. If your kids love animals, don’t miss Meomi Cat Cafe, a purr-fect cafe for all cat lovers.

First, learn about Singapore’s Malay culture at the Malay Heritage Centre and visit the beautiful golden Sultan Mosque or Masjid Sultan. Then check out the authentically Singaporean ‘Children Little Museum‘, a place that showcases Singaporean retro collectibles, antique toys and old-school gramophones. Stepping into the store is almost equivalent to you stepping into a time machine that travelled back in time. 

singapore's trendy haji lane

Get Cultured in Little India

Of all the ethnic enclaves in Singapore, Little India is probably my favorite. The buzzing district is vibrant and distinctive, plus it’s just a short MRT ride from the centre. Introduce your kids to Hindu temples steep in history, soak up authentic Singaporean Indian food and visit the famous stores for Indian sweets and knick knacks.

The best temple to visit in the area is Sri Veeramakakaliamman Temple, dedicated to goddess Kali. Tekka Market is a senses-assaulting place with spice stalls and shops selling saris and jewelry. Don’t miss Mustafa Centre, a 24-hour mall that sells everything from Indian ingredients to electronics and home appliances. Also be sure to stop by for an Instagram shot at the rainbow-colored Tan Teng Niah’s former house, which is the only surviving Chinese villa in the area. 

places to visit in singapore with kids - little india    hindu temple in little india singapore


Day Trips from Singapore with Kids

Go Wet and Wild on Sentosa Island

There’s loads of family fun to enjoy at Singapore’s own tropical playground, Sentosa Island. The offshore island is super easy to reach on public transport, and it’s jam-packed with theme parks. There are a few beaches here (which are sadly reclaimed and overlook big cargo ships), but the cool kid-friendly beach bars kinda make up for it.

To get there, just take the MRT (subway) to Harbourfront station and transfer to the Sentosa Express tram, cable car or bus 123. There is seriously A LOT to do here, as well as family resorts where you stay for the night. If you want to visit a few attractions, I recommend booking combo tickets that’ll you save a few bucks.

Here’s a list of the kid-friendly attractions on Sentosa:

  • S.E.A. Aquarium — one of the biggest aquariums in the world
  • Universal Studio Singapore — giant theme park perfect for kids above 7
  • Adventure Cove Waterpark — a water play with massive slides and a Rainbow Reef where you can snorkel with fish
  • Skyline Luge and Chairlift — an exciting ride up the hill on a chairlift and whizz down on a cart
  • Mega Adventure Park — ziplining, rock-climbing and outdoor trampolines for the teens
  • KidZania — let your kids role play in this mini replica city
  • iFly Singapore — both kids and adults can experience ‘skydiving’ indoors
  • Tanjong Beach Club — dog-friendly beach bar with its own infinity pool overlooking the sea

sentosa beach bar - great place to visit in singapore with kid    sentosa universal studios and merlion - things to do in singapore with kids

Take a Step Back in Time at Pulau Ubin

Add a bit of adventure to your Singapore family trip with a visit to the old-fashioned, outlying islet of Pulau Ubin. Getting there is half the fun: take the MRT to Tanah Merah MRT Station, then board Bus No. 2 to Changi Village bus interchange. Changi Point jetty is not far from the bus interchange. From the jetty, take a bumboat ride (S$2 per adult one way) to Ubin. The island itself is bucolic bliss – rent bikes and go exploring.

This small, relatively flat island is the perfect place to spend a day cycling and exploring. Kids will love the Sensory Trail and Chek Jawa Wetlands, both filled with plenty of flora and fauna. Kids bikes are available for hire, as are child seats and helmets.

pulau ubin walking tour - singapore family trip


Where to Stay in Singapore with Kids

Hotels in Singapore aren’t the cheapest, as estate prices are high. That said, you can find many hotels with themed rooms or kid-friendly facilities in Singapore if you’re willing to splurge on your Singapore family trip. Those with limited budget can also opt for hotels that are further out of the city.

Marina Bay Sands

The newest addition to Singapore’s epic skyline, Marina Bay Sands is an iconic landmark of the city now and definitely worth splurging. We’ve stayed here 3 times and it’s never disappointed. The rooftop pool is only open to guests. Check rates here.

Furama Riverfront

Located close to Chinatown, Furama Riverfront has themed bedrooms specially designed for kids. The rooms even include bean bags, kid sized table / chairs and a playstation. This is definitely suitable for toddlers and tweens. Check rates here.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa

Located on Sentosa island, the family-friendly resort has a large central swimming pool, with a shallow kid’s area, a splash park, as well as safari-themed water slides. They also offer a family package which includes a family room, breakfast and dinner buffet, as well as access to the kids club and water-sport facilities. Check rates here.

Capella Singapore

Also located in Sentosa, this is a premium resort housed in a colonial complex. Capella Singapore boasts a beautiful three-pier swimming pool and upscale restaurants that serve a fantastic breakfast spread. We stayed here with our daughter when she was just 6 months ago, and were really impressed. Read my review and check the rates.

marina bay sands rooftop swimming pool


What to Eat in Singapore with Kids

Singapore food is a vibrant melting pot of flavors from different ethnic groups: a reflection of how multi-cultural we are. And no matter where in the city, there are always plenty of choices when it comes to Singapore food: from traditional hawker food to gourmet heritage restaurants serving authentic Singapore dishes.

The megadiverse cuisine consists of a huge array of food types. Here’s a short list of local dishes to try on your Singapore family trip. Click here for the full list of the best Singapore dishes to try!

  • Char kway teow — flat rice noodles fried in black sweet sauce
  • Oyster omelette — cruncy omelette with fresh oysters
  • Bak chor mee — minced meat noodles
  • Hainanese chicken rice – braised chick served in fragrant rice
  • Satay — BBQ meat skewers served with peanut sauce
  • Chilli crabs — Singapore’s national dish!

singapore food - where to eat in singapore with kids   singapore mango dessert - a favorite among kids


Where to Eat in Singapore with Kids

The best places to eat in Singapore are in hawker centers: open-concept food courts but an institution of their own. They serve what you would call Singapore street food, with each hawker stall specializing in one dish.  

Prices are really affordable: A plate of noodles costs around S$3 (or US$2), while a full seafood meal sets you back less than S$30 (US$21) per person. They are clean and organized, and vendors have to adhere to certain hygiene levels by law. Check out the best places to eat in Singapore.

There are also food courts, that are air-conditioned eateries usually located in shopping malls. If your kids aren’t adventurous eaters, there are plenty of fast-food outlets and international restaurants, like Burger King, Shake Shack and Black Angus Steakhouse.

Best Hawker Centres in Singapore

  • Tiong Bahru Food Centre  
  • Maxwell Food Centre
  • Golden Mile Food Centre
  • Chinatown Complex
  • Lau Pat Sat Festival Market 

Best Singaporean Restaurants

  • No Signboard Seafood Restaurant (my favorite for chilli crabs)
  • Mellben Seafood (another popular place for crabs)
  • Violet Oon (famous for Peranakan food)
  • The Banana Leaf Apolo (excellent Indian biryani)
  • Boon Tong Kee (well-known chicken rice chain)

hawker centre in singapore - where to eat in singapore with kids


How to Pack for a Singapore Family Trip

Because of the tropical weather, you won’t have to fret too much about dressing for the weather in sunny Singapore. Keep it light, comfortable and cool.

I recommend packing lots of singlets, shorts, dresses and thin pants for your Singapore family trip. Don’t forget your swim wear, kids’ floaties, UV protected swimming shirt, and hat. Be sure to bring sunscreen and mosquito repellant.

The subway (MRT) in Singapore is often packed and commuters are in a rush. It can be a challenge walking around with a toddler who can’t keep up with the pace. Decide if a stroller is useful as it can be a pain getting strollers in and out of the subway and along busy walkways. 

  singapore family trip - fun art installation at city hall   author Nellie with her daughter in Singapore at Jewel


Final Tips for Traveling Singapore with Kids

  • Singapore is nicknamed the “fine city” for good reasons. There are strict laws and fines are imposed upon violation. For example, there’s a fine of $300 for littering in public spaces.
  • Carrying durian in public transport and taxis (and some hotels) is forbidden. The durian is a tropical fruit famous throughout Southeast Asia, characterized by its prickly shell and strong smell!
  • Tap water is safe to drink in Singapore. You can save money and cut down on plastic by refilling a water bottle.
  • There are public toilets everywhere and most toilets in malls have baby-changing platforms — but some places still have the squat toilet (hole in the ground), so get your kids prepared for that.
  • Breastfeeding is generally not done in public, though you can use a shawl to cover. Many malls have nursing rooms where you can breastfeed in private if you prefer.
  • Most restaurants have high chairs and kids’ dining set. Only certain hawker centers will have high chairs, bring a portable booster seat if your kids are still too small to sit on an adult chair.
  • If you’re in need of some childcare, hire an experienced and trustworthy babysitter online at NannySOS.

singapore with kids practical travel tips

Phew! That’s it from me for now. Thanks for reading all the way to the end.

On an ending note, I’d like to remind you not to plan too much when traveling Singapore with kids. Because there’s SO much to do, many people end up trying to pack too many places into their Singapore family trip.

Keep in mind that you’re in Singapore to have fun and explore, so slow down and enjoy the beautiful country with your family in a relaxing pace! I hope this guide has been useful to help you plan your Singapore family trip. Feel free to leave me any questions or comments you may have below.

Disclaimer: This article was sponsored by Visit Singapore, but all opinions expressed are my own. The article also contains affiliate links i.e. if you book through my links, I will be getting a commission at NO extra cost to you.

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This post first appeared on Just A Moment..., please read the originial post: here

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Singapore with Kids: A Local’s Complete Guide [2020]

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