Where to stay in Singapore for first time: 8 Safest areas

Finding where to stay in Singapore as a first-timer can be overwhelming. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find the safest places to stay in Singapore for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Singapore for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Singapore and recommend some of the best hotels in Singapore for visitors with various budgets.

Singapore is a sovereign city-state and island country in Southeast Asia, bordering Malaysia and Indonesia. It is often noted for its cleanliness and strict laws governing public behavior. 

This country has a rich blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Western influences. The official languages are English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. English is widely used in business and education.

It has a well-developed and efficient transportation system, including a world-renowned airport (Changi Airport) and an extensive public transportation network.

One of the iconic landmarks in Singapore, Gardens by the Bay is a large garden where you can find the famous Supertree Grove and the Flower Dome. It is a popular tourist attraction.

Another notable landmark, Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort with a distinctive skyline featuring a rooftop infinity pool, observation deck, and a casino.

When visiting Singapore, you can not miss Sentosa Island, which is a resort island with various attractions, beaches, and entertainment options.

Is Singapore safe to visit?

Yes, Singapore is generally a safe country. It consistently ranks high in global safety and security indexes. The city-state has a low crime rate, efficient law enforcement, and strict regulations.

But, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and practice common-sense safety measures to have a safe experience in any location. Also familiarize yourself with Singapore’s laws. For example, chewing gum is prohibited, and penalties for littering and jaywalking can be strict.

Singapore has a tropical climate, and it can be hot and humid. You should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially if you’re exploring outdoor attractions.

It is also recommended to stick to reputable transportation options like official taxis or rideshare services. If you’re using public transportation, be aware of your belongings and stay alert.

Where to stay in Singapore for the first time?

The best and safest areas in Singapore for first-timers and travelers are Marina Bay, Singapore River, Orchard Road, Sentosa, Colonial District, Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam. Always exercise common travel precautions and follow local laws/customs no matter where you stay.

Marina Bay is one of the most popular areas in Singapore for a first visit. It is best suited for luxury travelers and those who want to be close to iconic Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, and the Singapore Flyer.

Singapore River is a great base for vibrant nightlife. It offers a mix of dining, entertainment, and cultural experiences. Clarke Quay and Boat Quay are popular riverside spots.

Orchard Road is perfect for shopping enthusiasts. Colonial / Civic District is rich in history and home to landmarks like Raffles Hotel, the National Gallery, and the Singapore Cricket Club.

Sentosa Island is the best option for families and those seeking a resort-style atmosphere. It is the location of the kid-friendly Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium, and beautiful beaches..

Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam are great choices for those who want a more cultural experience and want budget-friendly accommodations. 

While Singapore is generally safe, you should take extra caution or avoid Geylang, known for its red-light district, which may not be suitable for families. 

During my trip to Singapore, I stayed for 3 nights at the lyf Funan Singapore. It was a great value for money hotel in a central location, a great base to do sightseeing and explore major sights such as the Merlion Statue, Clarke Quay, and Gardens by the Bay. My room was quiet and the bed was comfortable.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Singapore for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Singapore first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Singapore first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Singapore, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Singapore have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

8 Safe areas to stay in Singapore for first-timers and tourists

1. Marina Bay

Marina Bay is an excellent choice for first-time visitors who want to be surrounded by some of Singapore’s most famous landmarks, including Marina Bay Sands, an iconic integrated resort with a stunning rooftop pool, SkyPark, and the ArtScience Museum.

This area is also home to the futuristic Gardens by the Bay, which is known for its iconic Supertree Grove, Cloud Forest, and Flower Dome. The Supertrees are vertical gardens that light up at night, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.

You will also be close to the Merlion statue, which has the head of a lion and the body of a fish. Merlion Park offers a picturesque waterfront setting and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.

You can enjoy a wide range of dining, shopping, nightlife options along the waterfront, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, and the surrounding area. The rooftop bars and clubs offer breathtaking views of the city skyline.

Being centrally located, Marina Bay provides easy access to other parts of Singapore. The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system and public transportation make it convenient to explore the city.

While Marina Bay tends to be on the higher end in terms of accommodation prices, this area is well worth it if you’re looking for a blend of luxury, modernity, and convenience.

Best places to stay in Singapore in Marina Bay for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Marina Bay Sands, 5-star iconic hotel, conveniently located in a prime location on Bayfront Avenue, adjacent to Gardens on the Bay attractions such as The Shoppes, Sands SkyPark, ArtScience Museum and the Casino. The infinity pool has amazing views. Easy access to taxis and the MRT station. 

Luxury ($$$): The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, 5-star good value for money hotel centrally located in downtown Marina Bay, close to some of the most important sightseeing attractions. Within walking distance to Singapore Flier, Marina Square Shopping Mall, Gardens by the Bay, and the Theaters on the Bay. Easy access to the Promenade/Esplanade MRT train stations.

Luxury ($$$): Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, Singapore, 5-star good value for money accommodation situated on Raffles Boulevard, offering stunning views of the Singapore skyline. Easy distance from City Hall MRT Station, The Esplanade, and Suntec City Convention Center.


2. Singapore River

The Singapore River is a great choice for those who want to be close to the heart of the city’s activities while enjoying the charm of the riverfront. This area has a central location and vibrant nightlife.

The Singapore River is surrounded by a vibrant atmosphere with a mix of historic and modern architecture. You can enjoy leisurely walks along the riverbanks and take in the picturesque views.

Clarke Quay and Boat Quay, two popular riverside areas, are known for their bustling nightlife, numerous restaurants, bars, and entertainment options. Grreat choice for a lively atmosphere in the evenings.

You can explore cultural attractions like the Asian Civilisations Museum, the Fullerton Hotel, a former colonial-era post office turned luxury hotel, and the Cavenagh Bridge.

You can also consider taking a relaxing river cruise to enjoy the scenic views and learn about the history of the city. This is a great way to see the city from a different perspective.

Best places to stay in Singapore River for first-time travelers:

Luxury ($$$): Paradox Singapore Merchant Court at Clarke Quay, 5-star accommodation conveniently located on Merchant Road along Singapore River, easy access to MRT and Clarke quay jetty. You can enjoy many bars and restaurants at night on Clarke Quay and River Boat Cruise next to the hotel.

Mid-range ($$): Citadines Raffles Place Singapore, 4-star sustainable condo hotel located close to Boat Quay on the Singapore River. Close to numerous attractions such as the Asian Civilisations Museum, Sri Mariamman Temple, City Gallery, and Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles. It has Laundry services, BBQ facilities, and an outdoor swimming pool.

Budget ($): Heritage Collection on Boat Quay – Quayside Wing – A Digital Hotel, one of the best places to stay in Singapore on a budget for adults, located close to the Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, and Raffles City. Easy access to City Hall MRT Station for exploring the city.


3. Orchard Road

Orchard Road is the best base for first-timers and visitors who love shopping and want to be in the heart of Singapore’s retail and entertainment hub. You will find many shopping malls and high-end retail outlets with a wide range of international and luxury brands.

In addition to shopping, Orchard Road offers a plethora of dining options, ranging from fine dining restaurants to casual eateries. Many malls also have cinemas and live performances.

Orchard Road is well-connected to public transportation, including the MRT, making it convenient to explore other parts of Singapore. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also readily available.

This area is also close to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Best places to stay in Orchard Road for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Four Seasons Hotel Singapore, great 5-star good value for money hotel close to Orchard Boulevard, and Singapore Botanic Gardens (first UNESCO World Heritage site in Singapore). It has 2 swimming pools, family rooms, paid airport shuttle, and Good Breakfast.

Mid-range ($$): JEN Singapore Orchardgateway by Shangri-La, great 4-star accommodation, situated in an amazing location in the heart of Orchard Road right above the shopping center and Somerset MRT station. The hotel is also close to many restaurants and food courts.

Mid-range ($$): YOTEL Singapore Orchard Road, 4-star hotel situated in the heart of the Orchard Road, close to Orchard MRT Station, DFS Galleria Scottswalk Duty Free Shopping, and Lucky Plaza. The hotel has a 24-hour front desk, a fitness center, private parking, and good breakfast.


4. Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is a great area for families and for those who want a more relaxed beach holiday. It is home to the kid-friendly Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark.

Sentosa is home to beautiful beaches such as Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach, and Tanjong Beach. It’s an ideal destination if you want to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea without leaving the city.

There are several high-end resorts on Sentosa Island, providing luxurious accommodations with scenic views. Many of these resorts offer spa services, golf courses, and other recreational facilities.

You can access Sentosa Island via a cable car, providing stunning panoramic views of the city skyline and the surrounding seas. There are several world-class golf courses, making it great for golf enthusiasts.

Despite being a resort island, Sentosa also features natural attractions like Fort Siloso and lush greenery, providing a balance between entertainment and nature.

Best places to stay in Singapore in Sentosa Island:

Luxury ($$$): W Singapore – Sentosa Cove, great 5-star accommodation located on Southern Singapore’s Sentosa Island. You can find many eating and drinking options nearby. Great base for families to explore Universal Studios, and Aquarium.

Luxury ($$$): Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa, Singapore, 5-star beachfront hotel with a private beach. It is a kids paradise where kids can enjoy animal-themed water slides at the children’s pool, and various activities at the Toots Club and Mini Toots Club. Also close to Universal Studios Singapore.

Mid-range ($$): Village Hotel Sentosa by Far East Hospitality, 4-star accommodation located on Artillery Avenue, in the Sentosa Island district. It is a great base for families with kids wanting to explore the sentosa world.


5. Colonial District

The Colonial District, also known as the Civic District, is a good area for those who want to be surrounded by historical landmarks while still being close to modern attractions in Singapore.

The Colonial District is home to several historical Raffles Hotel, National Gallery Singapore, and Raffles City. These landmarks showcase Singapore’s colonial history and architectural heritage.

History buffs can visit museums such as the National Museum of Singapore and the Asian Civilisations Museum, which provide insights into the rich cultural history of the region.

You can check cultural performances, concerts, and events at the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. it is an iconic performing arts center known for its distinctive architecture.

This area is home to the colonial-era City Hall and the Supreme Court buildings, which are significant architectural landmarks in the area.

Best places to stay in Colonial District for travelers:

Luxury ($$$): Raffles Singapore, 5-star iconic great value for money hotel located in the heart of the city, 5-10 mins walk/train ride from City Hall MRT Station, Raffles City Shopping Center, and Orchard Road. You can enjoy Singapore Sling at the Long Bar in Raffles Arcade and afternoon tea at the Grand Lobby.

Luxury ($$$): Swissotel The Stamford, 5-star hotel in a great location, above City Hall and Esplanade MRT Station, next to Haji, National Gallery, Suntec, and Raffles City. You can enjoy fabulous views at night, especially with all the light.

Mid-range ($$): lyf Funan Singapore, great 4-star good value for money hotel located in the Funan Mall, on Hill Street, easy access to major attractions. It has a 24-hour front desk, a shared kitchen, Family rooms, and laundry services.

6. Chinatown

Chinatown is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a vibrant neighborhood with an authentic experience of Chinese culture in Singapore, budget-friendly accommodations, and delicious food. 

You can explore traditional architecture, colorful streets, cultural/heritage sites such as Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, and Thian Hock Keng Temple, one of the oldest and most important Hokkien temples in the city.

You can gain insights into the history of Chinatown and the lives of early Chinese immigrants at the Chinatown Heritage Centre.

Chinatown is renowned for its hawker centers and street food. You can savor a variety of Chinese and local dishes at places like Chinatown Food Street and Maxwell Food Centre.

You’ll find markets selling traditional Chinese goods, antiques, and souvenirs alongside contemporary boutiques. It comes alive in the evenings with vibrant night markets, especially on Pagoda Street and Smith Street.

Best places to stay in Singapore in Chinatown for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): The Clan Hotel Singapore by Far East Hospitality, great 5-star good value for money hotel located close to both Chinatown and Singapore River. You will have easy access to the subway and Hawker Centre for food.

Mid-range ($$): The Scarlet Singapore, 4-star hotel located in  a great location in Chinatown in a preserved pre-war shophouse. It has a rooftop restaurant, paid laundry/dry services, and Currency exchange for guests. Short walk from MRT Stations, restaurants/bars at Club Street.

Budget ($): Heritage Collection on Chinatown – A Digital Hotel, great budget-friendly good value for money hotel chain in Singapore located in Chinatown. No children are allowed in this accommodation though. Great for backpackers, solo adults and couples. 


7. Little India

Little India is a vibrant neighborhood that celebrates the Indian culture in Singapore. You’ll find colorful streets, traditional Indian shops, and a lively atmosphere.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is a significant religious site in Little India, known for its stunning architecture and vibrant sculptures.

A 24-hour shopping mall, Mustafa Centre, is a famous landmark in Little India. It offers a wide range of products, including electronics, clothing, and groceries.

You can explore traditional markets like Tekka Centre and the Little India Arcade for a variety of Indian goods, spices, clothing, and souvenirs.

Little India is a haven for food lovers. Sample a diverse range of Indian dishes at local eateries, from savory snacks to delicious curries.

This area also has colorful street art and murals that add to the vibrant and artistic atmosphere of the neighborhood.

Best places to stay in Singapore in Little India:


8. Kampong Glam/ Bugis

Kampong Glam is known for Arab Street, a vibrant area lined with colorful shophouses. Explore boutique stores, art galleries, and cafes along this historic street.

Kampong Glam has a rich Malay and Arab heritage, offering visitors a chance to explore the history and traditions of these communities.

Sultan Mosque is a prominent landmark in Kampong Glam, while Haji Lane is famous for its trendy boutiques, street art, and eclectic mix of shops. It’s a popular spot for those seeking unique and hip shopping experiences.

You can explore Bussorah pedestrian street known for its cultural performances, art installations, and a variety of dining options, providing a lively atmosphere.

Bugis is where you can find Bugis Street Market, Bugis Junction with lots of retail shops, Bugis Junction Towers and Bugis Village, providing a glimpse into the area’s history.

Bugis is known for its street food stalls and hawker centers. It also has a vibrant nightlife scene with bars, clubs, and entertainment options. 

Best places to stay in Kampong Glam/ Bugis for tourists:


In conclusion, Marina Bay, Singapore River, Orchard Road, Sentosa, Colonial District, Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam are the best places to stay in Singapore for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas, but it’s essential to take usual precautions to ensure an enjoyable stay.

You can continue reading about Singapore and other southeast asia destinations in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Singapore. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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