Singapore is a modern and dynamic city-state located just south of Malaysia with loads of family friendly attractions
It offers a wonderful mix of cultures and cuisine and you can explore Little India, Chinatown and Little Arabia to sample their culinary delights. There are loads of baby and toddler friendly hotels in the city offering cots, baby food and more.
Loads to do for families
The city is very cosmopolitan and modern and its skyline is choc a bloc with skyscrapers. Orchard road is a shopping Mecca and Clarkes Quay is home to river boat tour companies and endless amounts of restaurants and bars. Singapore is a great place to stop off on a longer journey or you could incorporate a trip to Malaysia or Thailand with a few days in Singapore. There are also some fantastic activities that toddlers will enjoy such as Singapore Zoo and the Sky Gardens.
Singapore has a tropical climate and is hot and humid all year round. It lies almost on the equator and has average daily temperatures of around 31 degrees Celsius, although it is slightly cooler in December and January and at its hottest in April and May. It is very sticky and humid during the summer months and this may be difficult for some babies and toddlers. There are loads of department stores in the city with air conditioning and most restaurants and hotels will also offer a break from the heat.
Getting Around Singapore
The city has an excellent transportation system and you can travel by taxi, MRT train, buses or boat. It is also a great city to explore on foot. The MRT stations are very clean and have free toilets. There is also a platform door between train and platform so your pram wheels won’t get stuck in the tracks. The public transport system is very stroller accessible however if you decide to take a taxi, they are reasonably priced although you may find it difficult to find one with a car seat. Car seats are not mandatory in Singapore in taxis and most people travel with infants and toddlers on their laps however, this is highly dangerous in case of an accident. If you want to use a car seat you will need to bring one with you and most airlines operating flights to Singapore from the UK and Ireland allow you to carry two pieces of baby equipment free of charge so you could bring your stroller and your car seat.
Baby & Toddler Essentials in Singapore
You will be able to find nappies, formula and baby food in many department stores. The grocery section tends to be in the basement of department stores in the city centre. Toys R Us sell nappies and wipes, Watsons sell nappies and baby bathing products and Carrefour and FairPrice supermarkets sell the range of baby products. Pampers and Huggies are sold there however they can be expensive. You will not be able to find the same formula as in the UK and Ireland and it is advisable to bring your own. You will be able to buy Nan, Enfagrow/ Enfamil, Promise and Neslac formulas in Singapore. Baby food is also widely available. Ella’s Kitchen is on sale in many department stores however it is very expensive. Heinz baby and Gerber the popular American brand (owned by Nestle) are all readily available. Most restaurants have high chairs and kids menus, especially in the Clarkes Quay area.
Using a babysitter abroad would not be for everyone but it is your decision. Most good hotels in Singapore will offer babysitting services with experienced babysitters. If you are going out at night, ask to meet the babysitter earlier in the day and introduce them to your child. Ask them about their experience and make sure they are qualified to mind your little one. For information on using babysitting services when abroad and a checklist of questions to ask a babysitter click here.
Health and Medical Care
A good first aid kit is essential for any trip abroad. Click here for advice on first aid and how to treat minor injuries, burns and bites yourself. Doctors and hospitals in Singapore are excellent and if you or your family get sick or are injured you will be well taken care of. Make sure you take out adequate travel insurance before going to Singapore.
Ensure that you bring sunblock for babies, many brands of sun block cannot be used on babies under the age of 6 months and therefore it is important to ensure that their skin is protected by keeping them away from direct sunlight and using UV protected clothing. Very light baby grows and vests might let the sun’s rays through so be mindful of this also even when you think your baby is completely covered. It is useful to buy swimwear with long sleeves also as this will protect your baby while in the water. Make sure that you also bring a sun hat for your baby as their heads can burn very quickly. A parasol will assist in keeping the sun off your baby’s skin and certain ones can be attached to your baby’s buggy. For further information on protecting your baby from the sun click here.
Malaria and Dengue fever are both serious illnesses, particularly for babies and toddlers. Both malaria and dengue fever have been reported, the most recent outbreak of Dengue fever occurred in April 2015. The NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ site states that antimalarial tablets are not usually advised. This is because the rate of occurrence is so low. Travellers are advised to avoid mosquito bites and report any fevers promptly to a doctor. For more information on insect protection click here.
Singapore is 6 (during Winter in the UK and Ireland) 7 (during summer in the UK and Ireland) hours ahead of Ireland and the UK. Singapore is 12 hours ahead of New York and 15 hours ahead of California. You will also need to help your child to acclimatise to the time change. See ‘Handling Jet Lag’ for more information.
Singapore is a melting pot of cuisines from around the world.
You will find quality Chinese, Malay, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Italian, French, American and other food in this city-state. Many restaurants and most hotels will offer high chairs and there are plenty of baby changing facilities in the larger more family oriented restaurants. You will also find changing facilities in the department stores around the city and in the museums. A fold away high chair is useful to bring just in case there are no high chairs where you are eating and this also allows flexibility. You can find some great food in the basement of the many department stores.
China Town is a great place to eat and many of the restaurants offer outdoor seating in pedestrianized areas. Babies and toddlers will be very welcome here and will get loads of attention from the restaurant staff. Clarkes Quay on the riverfront is also great for eating out where there are loads of family friendly restaurants serving all manner of cuisine from Mexican food to Italian, Japanese and Malay foods. The area is expensive however, so be prepared to pay a lot for your meal if you eat here!
Eating habits run the gamut, but most foods are eaten by fork and spoon: push and cut with the fork in the left hand, and eat with the spoon in the right. Noodles and Chinese dishes typically come with chopsticks, while Malay and Indian food can be eaten by hand, but nobody will blink an eye if you ask for a fork and spoon instead. If eating in a group, serving dishes are always shared, but you’ll get your own bowl of rice and soup. It’s common to use your own chopsticks to pick up food from communal plates, but serving spoons can be provided on request.
Keep an eye out for the Singapore Food Festival, held every year in July.