The best area to stay in Singapore: An accommodation guide + map!
So much of your general impression of a city depends on where you stay. Your hotel has to feel like home, and the surrounding area needs to feel vibrant and meet certain criteria that are important to you. At least for us it does. And Singapore is no exception!
The ideal hotel should be within walking distance of the closest subway station in an area with at least a few sights and restaurants nearby, and of course the price needs to be right too.
So it’s a good thing there are some great hotels in Singapore’s central districts that tick all of those boxes!
We want to save you the trouble of searching for these gems all by yourself, so we explored the city to find the best areas to stay in Singapore.
This post is the fruit of our labor: a practical guide to the best areas to stay in Singapore to help you figure out which one is the right area for you.
So let’s get started – our accommodation guide provides a brief profile of Singapore’s hippest districts and our hotel recommendations for each area.
The best areas to stay in Singapore on a map
We’ll be presenting 7 districts that we consider the best areas to stay. If this is your first time in Singapore, you’re probably best off staying in Marina Bay or the Civic District.
Or if you’re a bit more budget-conscious, then Chinatown, Bugis and Kampong Glam, and Little India might be good options for you. And the other two areas, Orchard and Clarke Quay, also both have their pros and cons.
We recommend staying in the following districts in Hong Kong:
- Marina Bay
- Clarke Quay
- Little India
- Bugis and Kampong Glam
- Civic District
This map shows the recommended areas in Singapore to give you a better overview.
Where we stayed in Singapore
Last time we were in Singapore, we stayed at the YOTEL Singapore located directly on Orchard Road. We can definitely recommend it, especially if this is your first time in town.
We had a
Our room was 14 square meters, but it made perfect use of the space. There’s a slot to slide your suitcase (up to about 70 liters) on each side of the bed. You can also raise the top part of the bed, giving you more space in the room during the day.
The Orchard Road subway station is right around the corner, there are lots of great dining and shopping options nearby, and you can get to anywhere in no time.
Staying in Marina Bay
Marina Bay is no doubt the most famous area in Singapore. Due to its location by the bay, all of its sights, and of course its world-famous landmark, Marina Bay Sands, it’s the city’s biggest tourist magnet.
Its central location is also a major advantage if you want to quickly get to other parts of the city: It borders on the hip Clark Quay with its active nightlife scene to the north, the Central Business District with its sparkling skyscrapers to the west, and the Civic District, the historic heart of Singapore, to the east.
Of course, all these amenities and entertainment options come with a price tag attached: Marina Bay is one of the most expensive places to stay in Singapore.
Pros of staying in Marina Bay
- Many of the city’s major sights are located here.
- You can quickly and easily get to other attractive areas from here.
- There are countless stylish bars and restaurants with a view of the skyline.
Cons of staying in Marina Bay
- Room rates are generally pretty high.
- It doesn’t really have that typical Singapore flair.
- There aren’t that many options besides luxury hotel chains like the Ritz-Carlton or the Westin.
The best places to stay in Marina Bay
Our favorite search engine booking.com lists 8 hotels in Marina Bay, all of them with high prices and at least 5 stars. Unsurprisingly, these are mainly luxury hotel chains.
Staying in Orchard
The area around Orchard Road is Singapore’s prime shopping district. There are shopping malls, shopping malls, and even more shopping malls, with a few shopping streets peppered in between.
But don’t imagine it as some kind of soulless retail park. The streets sparkle in colorful lights, there are countless trendy cafes and bars, and even some pretty parks to sit and relax.
In a nutshell: This is where you can experience the authentic Singapore vibe.
Pros of staying in Orchard
- Endless shopping possibilities
- Countless pretty restaurants and bars
Cons of staying in Orchard
- There’s not much going on in the evening or at night.
- It can get really crowded, especially on weekends.
The best places to stay in Orchard
There are many hotels around Orchard Road with a good selection of boutique hotels, hostels, and larger hotel chains. Room rates are also a little lower than in Marina Bay. We stayed at the YOTEL Singapore and can highly recommend it.
Staying in Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay is fairly central and is known for its active nightlife scene. It’s home to Singapore’s hottest clubs, including Attica, Canvas, and Zouk, countless bars, waterfront restaurants, and pretty much everything you could wish for after the sun goes down.
“After the sun goes down” is the operative phrase here – there’s not much to do here during the day. But that soon changes once Happy Hour is underway and the music starts!
Pros of staying in Clarke Quay
- A huge range of nightlife options
- You’ll meet people from all over the world.
- It’s centrally located, well connected, and Marina Bay is within walking distance.
Cons of staying in Clarke Quay
- The noise level can be pretty high at night.
- There’s not much to see in the way of culture.
- Room rates are relatively high due to its proximity to Marina Bay.
The best places to stay in Clarke Quay
Unfortunately, there isn’t much variety in the accommodation options for Clarke Quay – booking.com only lists five different hotels.
Staying in Chinatown
Chinatown is one of the city’s oldest districts and Chinese people have been settling here from the very beginning.
The old timey charm of temples, night markets, and traditional shops has been preserved to this day, although sadly enough, the area is slowly but surely being swallowed up by the adjacent Central Business District. But for now, you can still fully enjoy the exotic vibe of this historic district.
Chinatown is also a prime destination for many backpackers because it has some very cheap, but not-so-good hotels.
Pros of staying in Chinatown
- It has a good mix of luxury hotels and cheap budget hotels.
- There are lots of sightseeing and shopping opportunities, especially if you’re into traditional Chinese handicrafts and antiques.
- Clarke Quay is within easy walking distance.
Cons of staying in Chinatown
- If you want to go shopping for modern brands and haute couture, you’ll probably be disappointed.
The best places to stay in Chinatown
Staying in Little India
We stayed in Little India the first time we were in Singapore and we weren’t disappointed! The area is a great alternative to the city’s more expensive districts because there are several affordable boutique hotels here.
India lovers will feel right at home! Seragoon Road is the district’s main thoroughfare and its most vibrant area. There are countless delicious Indian restaurants, colorful bazaars, cheap fashion, and electronics malls.
It’s also lively in the evening when locals get together on the corner for a cool beer and the restaurants start filling up.
Pros of staying in Little India
- A good selection of cheap hotels
- Indian cuisine as far as the eye can see
- Other ethnic districts of Singapore are within walking distance.
- Lots of shopping and entertainment options
Cons of staying in Little India
- The sidewalks can get pretty crowded, especially in the evenings.
- There are hardly any luxury hotels.
- Not much going on in terms of nightlife
The best place to stay in Little India
As we mentioned earlier, we stayed in Little India ourselves, at the Wanderlust Hotel. The hotel is in a prime location, is in the mid price range, and has some very whimsically themed rooms.
Staying in Bugis and Kampong Glam
Bugis and Kampong Glam are actually two separate quarters, but they blend together seamlessly. Bugis is the part with the shopping malls, restaurants, and modern residential buildings, while Klampong has more to offer in the way of culture.
It’s also known as the “Arab Quarter” – a great place to shop for silk or just while away the afternoon in hip cafes and independent designer boutiques. The area also has a small but dedicated nightlife scene.
Pros of staying in Bugis and Kampong Glam
- Good selection of luxury hotels and cheap boutique hotels
- The famous Bugis Street Market
- Good mix of shopping malls and independent boutiques
- Active night life
Cons of staying in Bugis and Kampong Glam
- The area is a bit out of the way – it takes about half an hour to get to Marina Bay and Clarke Quay.
- There aren’t many taxis to take you to the center at night.
The best places to stay in Bugis and Kampong Glam
There are several hotels in Kampong Glam with a good mix of price categories.
Staying in the Civic District
The Civic District is particularly worthwhile because of its wide range of museums and monuments, as well as its immediate proximity to Marina Bay, Clarke Quay, and the Arab Quarter.
The range of restaurants and nightlife also leaves nothing to be desired, although food and drink prices aren’t as cheap as in Little India or Kampong Glam. This area is also known for one of the most famous hotels in the world, the Raffles Hotel.
Pros of staying in the Civic District
- Many museums and sights within walking distance
- Well-connected via two MRT lines
- Many gourmet restaurants and an active nightlife
Cons of staying in the Civic District
- The prices are generally pretty high.
- The nightlife isn’t as exciting as in Clarke Quay.
The best places to stay in the Civic District
Accommodation in the Civic District is generally quite pricey and there are no hostels for budget travelers. Most of the hotels here are of the luxury variety.
Your hotel tips for Singapore
That just about wraps up our hotel tips for Singapore. We hope we could help you find the perfect area for your stay. Have you ever been to Singapore? Where did you stay and would you recommend it to others? Please let us know in the comments below!