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As one of the world’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan countries and cities, the best time to visit Singapore is simply anytime. Year-round festivals encompass Singapore’s multifaceted cultural patchwork that offers travelers all the more reasons for visiting. While the weather is befitting its tropical location, a relatively stable climate means the nation is tourist-ready every day of the year.
With a tropical climate year-around, the best time to visit Singapore may largely depend on your reason for visiting and not the climate. With a hot and humid equatorial climate, the country experiences stable and sultry weather throughout the year. Expect daily highs in the low to mid 30s and daily lows in the mid to high 20s.
While the weather may not change much, it’s important to consider the country’s two monsoon seasons when deciding the best time to visit Singapore. The northeast monsoon takes place between December and March, while the southwest monsoon takes place from June to September. Regardless of the monsoon season, precipitation is largely consistent throughout the year with common heavy thunderstorms. The country’s two main monsoon seasons may simply entail a few more heavy downpours and a typhoon or two to contend with.
With a multiethnic culture reflected in an array of festivals held throughout the year, the best time to visit Singapore may largely depend on the city’s many colorful and entertaining events. While tourists flock to festivals, business travelers often miss the vibrant festivities that make Singapore a great cultural destination. As a result, it’s a great idea to know what’s going on in order to mix in a little of the city’s cultural pleasures, along with business.
Best time to visit Singapore – Thaipusam in January
Thaipusam is an ancient Hindu festival celebrating the new year which follows the movement of the auspicious star Pusam at its highest point in the sky (as well as coinciding with the first full moon of the Tamil month of Thai). Thaipusam is a day of thanksgiving and spiritual asceticism—as such it is a festival that highlights the renunciation of the material (i.e. possessions, sensual and physical pleasures, etc.) in order to establish a closer connection to the divine. It’s also a day to honor and celebrate the fulfillment of one’s vows, either to oneself, one’s partner, or to the Supreme Being.
In Singapore, this day takes the form of thousands of Hindus who embark on a walk from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple just a short 4km away. There are many activities to participate in, including communal prayers at various temples where devotees are free to make their offerings and well wishes for the new year. Participate in the “head-shaving” vows, or follow the chariot (thought to be the personification of Sri Marugame) which makes its way from Sri Thendayuthapani to Vinayagar Layan Sithi Temple (where his brother is housed). Though the chariot makes many stops among its literal and figurative journey, conceivably the most important is the Sri Mariamman Temple which is said to be the home and manifestation of the Goddess Parvathi, his mother and key goddess in the Hindu pantheon.
Best time to visit Singapore – Chinese New Year in February
The Chinese New Year is arguably the biggest and most popular celebration in the whole of Singapore, and definitely a festival you will not want to miss. Come February, anywhere you look you’ll be seeing red. Thought of as the color of passion and life, you’ll be hard-pressed to miss it; from the paper envelopes containing money and good wishes, to lanterns hanging outside residences, as well as decorative ribbons adorning walkways and doorways, you name it!
It’s not just scarlet red that is omnipresent during Chinese New Year, everywhere you look you will see streets decked out in intricately-crafted, hand-made lanterns. Aside from decorations, bells, whistles and entertainment, what festival is complete without a feast? As it is considered one of the most important festivals in the Chinese calendar, many families hold a reunion dinner in order to commune with family and relatives throughout the city.
Once full of new year’s treats and good cheer, check out Chinatown’s Street Light Up where fire eaters and masked lion spirits dance and commune in good fun. Awe at the lively, playful processions that make their way down the streets. Don’t forget to check out Chinatown’s markets during the festival as seasonal goodies unique to the city go on sale.
Often considered the Chinese/Singaporean version of Brazil’s Mardi Gras, the Chingay Parade is Singapore’s liveliest, filled with sparkling floats, skilled acrobats, and loads of different entertainers and music. For a more relaxed vibe, pay a visit to the River Hongbao Happening in NS Square where you can hone your calligraphy skills and soak in a truly authentic Chinese experience of food and crafts. Finally, buy yourself or your significant other a Mandarin orange for good luck heading into the new year!
Best time to visit Singapore – Dragon Boat Festival in June
A very special holiday with an even more interesting history behind it. The so-called Dragon Festival has its roots in the time of the warring states of China. The event honors Qu Yuan, who was truly a man of the people, and as such, an incorruptible statesman. Banished and excommunicated by the Chinese emperor due to a political falling out, Qu Yuan fell into a serious episode of depression. With seemingly no way out, he threw himself into a river and drowned.
As the story goes, the village folk saw this and tried to save his life, they beat their river boats to create a distraction, in hopes to buy him some time before the man-eating fish in the river could devour his flesh. Others threw their rice-wrapped meals near his body so the carnivorous fish would eat that instead. This was no use though, but their efforts and his memory still live on to this day. Nowadays, the holiday is commemorated with the fusion of two typical Chinese motifs, namely dragons and dumplings. An ancient Chinese myth has been incorporated into the festival—namely the racing of dragon boats which was said to appease the spirits of the river (a custom and legend that found prominence in the latter half of the Han dynasty).
Expect countless, colorful dragon boats and rowers vying for top prize. Enjoy a generous serving of dumplings and cheer on your favorite team in an energetic and lively atmosphere. Events take place at Bedok Reservoir, the Kalang River, where you can try out the sport for yourself (as well as DBS Marina Regatta at Marina Bay). Don’t forget to pay respects to the great Yuan as well!
Best time to visit Singapore – The Great Singapore Sale & Singapore Food Festival from June to August & from July to August
Shop ‘till you drop and eat to your heart’s content during the summer months with The Great Singapore Sale and Singapore’s Food Festival.
The Great Singapore Sale is one of the world’s top shopping events. Prepare to find designer digs at a great bargain and see your dollars stretch like silly putty, as virtually everything goes on sale. With deals and steals at every corner, get ready for bargain hunting, luxury-style. Aside from reduced prices on fashion and accessories, you can also find bargains for hotels, local attractions, spa treatments and entertainment; deals which are designed to complement The Great Singapore Sale experience and elevate it to a lifestyle event. When your wallet is ready for a little break, get ready to eat at Singapore’s Food Festival.
Celebrating its 26th anniversary in 2019, the Singapore Food Festival is a city-wide party that celebrates the city’s culinary traditions. Dining culture, both high and low are showcased as the city’s chefs and cooks take center stage. More than just food, the festival serves as a way to showcase culinary innovation and artistry. Through new perspectives on what the city’s food reflects, Singaporeans seem to ponder the very meaning of their city. The Singapore Food Festival gathers top gourmet chefs from around the world for a one-off culinary experience that would make other cities jealous. Expect one-of-a-kind inventions that last during the extent of the festival, for a limited time only, while quantities last.
Best time to visit Singapore – Hungry Ghost Festival in August
The Chinese equivalent of Halloween, Singapore’s Hungry Ghost Festival, known as Zhong Yuan Jie, is a feast and party dedicated to those dearly departed. Hungry Ghost Festival is said to be the day when the souls of the dead roam the earth.
In order to make their visit all the more worthwhile and comfortable, offerings are made to appease these ghost’s hefty demands. As such, offerings are made to the dead, which are considered the evening’s ‘special guests’. Offerings not only include special candies, booze and food that are placed in metal bins scattered throughout residential areas. But also, stacks of something called ‘hell money’ and even paper cars, watches, and jewelry, that are later burnt as offerings.
If fine food, candy, drink, and gifts weren’t enough, the ‘special guests’ are also in town to party! As such, large tents are arranged in open fields and parks throughout the city. These tents hold raucous dinner parties and performances of Chinese operas, stand-up comedy acts with a macabre twist, as well as ‘Getai’ or live stage performances of tales of gods and goddesses, and finally song and dance numbers.
Enjoy the lively and energetic atmosphere that permeates this special night in Singapore, but do make sure you refrain from sitting in the front row—because if you find yourself the forlorn soul sitting in an empty row, or worst yet, in someone’s else’s special seat, you may just be sitting on the lap of someone’s dearly departed aunty or uncle.
Best time to visit Singapore – National Day in August (09/08)
By the time the mid 1960s rolled around, many believed that Singapore would find it difficult, if not impossible, to establish itself as an independent nation. But against all odds, it did. Because of its lack of natural resources, as well as a stormy political landscape and regional infighting, Singapore’s future did not always spell out good fortune. Today however, it’s a completely different story, as the Merlion city is internationally recognized as a major commercial and financial hub, as well as a pivotal economic player in Southern Asia. Because of this Cinderella story, Singapore’s National Holiday is a day to commemorate the struggles and journey it took to get to where it is now.
On this day, get your fill of military parades, loads of music festivals and dance processions hosted in Chinese, Malay, Tamil and English. A great spot to catch the fireworks is Marina Bay; grab a bite to eat from one of numerous award-winning eateries that line the promenade, or just take a second and sit by the water to marvel at the Airforce flyover. Singapore’s firework display is truly a sight to behold in its exuberant array of white and red due to the fantastic backdrop of the city’s Marina Bay.
While you’re partying with the locals, be sure to check out the Singapore Flyer, a towering Ferris wheel hovering 165 meters from the ground. Observe the breathtaking panorama that is Singapore’s skyline right before sunset. Wherever you are on this holiday, it’s hard not to catch the contagious energy—so sit back, relax and enjoy the festivities. Oh yeah, don’t forget to wear the country’s red and white colors and you’ll blend in just like a local!
For more tips about traveling to Singapore, don’t hesitate to read this blog post too: Singapore Travel Tips.
Singapore essentially has two seasons for travelers. Even so, these two seasons do not vary in any extensive way. The essential difference depends on the festivals, holidays, as well as changes in the monsoon season that takes place during the year. As a result, travel plans may differ for different travelers, and can be adjusted accordingly.
November to June
November to June could be considered Singapore’s ‘high’ season. November, December and January see a higher volume of tourists due to winter leisure travelers and world-hopping snow birds making their way to destinations in Southeast Asia. This also coincided with the northeast monsoon season, which dumps heavy amounts of rain on the city. In addition, the year’s most popular and frequented festivals, including Thaipusam and the Chinese New Year, take place during the early months of the year. By June, things stay relatively drier, but just as busy with the city’s annual Dragon Boat Festival and The Great Singapore Sale.
July to October
July to October can be considered Singapore’s ‘low’ season due to a slight break in tourist traffic. The southwest monsoon season also settles in between June and September, although it’s less powerful than its northeastern counterpart. The southwest monsoon does not aggressively increase precipitation averages (unlike the northeastern monsoon’s November and December drenches), but it may cause a typhoon or two. October sees a slight decrease in precipitation from September and November averages. In addition, during the fall, Singapore is great for travellers trying to avoid excessively large crowds.
For travelers who wish to explore what Singapore has to offer, but are concerned as to when the best time to visit is, there’s no need to fret! Due to the city’s extensive tourism infrastructure, year-round shopping opportunities as well as great cultural experiences held throughout the year, any time of the year is the best time to visit Singapore.
If you decide to visit Singapore during the busy months, make sure you book your accommodation in advance. Here are few tips on where to stay in Singapore.