As a tourist, what is the best area of Singapore to stay in?

2 Answers
Jeremy Wang, Knows where to have good coffee and cake
Answered December 19, 2017

Singapore is a small city state that has a super-efficient public transportation system. Going from your hotel to a popular tourist spot won’t be a problem. However, there are certain areas that are recommended depending on your budget and preference.

Chinatown-SingaporeImage: hin255/123rf

My most preferred area to stay in is Chinatown because of the availability of affordable hotel choices. It is also within walking distance from Marina Bay and the Central Business District. Another plus is the presence of hawker food stalls that offer a wide variety of affordable food choices. After a heavy lunch, I try to burn off the calories by walking around, exploring the temples and street markets.

Marina-Bay-Singapore-Countdown-2018Image: Wenjie, Zhang

A short distance from Chinatown is Marina Bay, where most of the iconic Singapore landmarks are located. It has a beautiful view and is accessible to many shops and restaurants. Popular tourist attractions in the area include Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, ArtScience Museum, Esplanade, Singapore Flyer, and Merlion Park. Staying here could be pricey so be prepared to spend a good amount for your room.

If you are on a tight budget, then you should stay at one of the hostels at Little India. My backpacker friends always stay here whenever they visit. The neighborhood shows a different aspect of the city and gives travelers a taste of India in Singapore. Don’t miss the bargains at the shops and make sure to get a taste of authentic Indian cuisine.

Shangri-La's-Rasa-Sentosa-Resort-&-SpaImage: Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa

Sentosa is recommended for families on vacation. Universal Studios, S.E.A. Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark, Trick Eye Museum, and Skyline Luge are all located here so there is no lack of fun and family-friendly activities to choose from. Accommodation at the island is a bit on the higher end. Beach lovers will love the beachfront, resort-type hotels here.

If you love to shop and you have the money to spend, then Orchard Road is the choice for you. This 2-kilometre shopper’s paradise is lined with malls, luxury brand shops and 5-star hotels. Ngee Ann City, Paragon, and ION Orchard are just some of the top shopping malls located along Orchard Road. You can take a breather from shopping by visiting the Istana Heritage Gallery at Istana Park or the Singapore Botanic Gardens located beyond the western end of Orchard Road.

Ahmad Khaw, Photographer, Avid Traveler
Answered October 03, 2020

Singapore caters to travelers with any budget, from backpackers to glampackers. What area of the Lion City should you stay in depends on your finances and favorite activities. Wherever you decide to book your holiday accommodation, efficient public transport can take you anywhere.

So, let’s see what areas of Singapore tourists like to stay in.

The Quays

The Quays, consisting of Boat, Clarke, and Robertson quays, are the high-end district teeming with dining and nightlife facilities. Winding west from Marina Bay, it is a centrally-located neighborhood and the city-state’s nightlife hub.

From there, you can walk to Chinatown and Marina Bay. By MRT/LRT trains, buses, and taxis, other areas in Singapore and Changi Airport are easily accessible.

Marina Bay

While you may find a mid-range, even low-cost accommodation, in the Quays, it’s not the case for Marina Bay. Also located in the downtown, Marina Bay features several top points of interest of the city-state. Gardens by the BaySingapore Flyer, and the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel are some. 

Note that shopping, nightlife, and other activities are on the expensive side of Marina Bay. Still, the downtown area features an excellent transport connection to other parts of the metropolis. 


Chinatown is near Marina Bay and the Quays. Here, you can book an economical, mid-range, or upscale accommodation. Since the area is near various attractions and famous for great dining and shopping, it is among the top Singapore districts for travelers to stay in.

Several MRT lines serve Chinatown. However, many visitors choose to walk its streets to admire authenticity. If you stay in this neighborhood, visit Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple, and Night Market.

Before booking a room here, though, note that the area becomes noisy during evenings since it is among the city-state’s nightlife hot spots. 

Given that you don’t spend much money, learn how long can S$200 cover you in the Lion City

Orchard Road

If you have a big travel budget and spend most of your time shopping, Orchard Road should be your Singapore destination. With dozens of shopping malls, including ION Orchard and Plaza Singapura, lining the thoroughfare, you can spend months browsing stores here. Don’t worry about distances since MRT stations are omnipresent.

Once you satisfy your appetite for shopping, explore the side streets to relax at cozy restaurants and bars. From Orchard Road, you can get to Singapore Botanic Garden within 30 minutes by MRT. Also, visit Istana Park near the shopping area.

The selection of accommodations comes down to luxury establishments, such as 5-star Four Seasons and Mandarin Orchard. Occasional mid-range (3-star Hotel Supreme) options are available nearby.

Little India

Little India is a paradise for budget holidaymakers fond of delicious food. You can stay in some of Singapore’s top hostels (7 Wonders) here, or book a room in a mid-range hotel. Get to downtown and Orchard Road in under 30 minutes by train.

If you like to walk, you’ll have a great time exploring Little India. Top tourist attractions of this compact district are Sri Veeramakaliamman and Sri Srinivasa Perumal temples. Also, put your bargaining skills to the test along Serangoon Road.

Bugis and Kampong Glam

Located next to Little India, Kampong Glam and Bugis form an Arab quarter. Sultan Mosque and Malay Heritage Centre Museum are top attractions here. Still, it is a cosmopolitan area teeming with international restaurants and hotels catering to all types of travelers.

Sentosa Island

On Sentosa Island, enjoy the benefits of a beach resort and entertain yourself at S.E.A. Aquarium, Universal Studios, and elsewhere. The accommodation is upscale, while the mainland Vivo City offers shopping opportunities.

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