Earlier this year on our way back from Australia and Thailand we spent a weekend in Singapore. The main reason for this is my very good friend lives there and we wanted to spend as much time with her as possible, but I was also intrigued about many reports that Singapore is an "easy" place to be with a toddler. The prospect of spending time with my good friend plus keeping a little boy happy was a win-win situation for me.
It turned out that this was exactly what happened - a ton of time with my friend and a very happy little man who spent a lot of time outside playing, often getting very, very wet, but more about that later.
Here are some photos of the things we did, and below you'll find some of the places we went listed, as well as a few other tips for things to do (or not do!) in Singapore with a toddler!
Things to do in Singapore with a toddler
Where we stayed....
We stayed at the Fullerton Bay hotel which is an expensive hotel that is possibly outside of peoples' budgets. I fully understand this, however, the location was good for seeing my friend and very central to the things we wanted to do. We also found reviews that mentioned how family-friendly the hotel was and also how good the babysitting service was, which we fully planned on using to get a night out with my friend and her partner. The investment paid off as we had a very easy and relaxed stay and ALL the staff were incredibly sweet with Baby Bird.
The lobby area of the hotel is very open with people wandering around from outside so we found Baby Bird could make as much noise and toddle around as much as he wanted. Baby Bird even got a colouring book and a toy bear to play with during his stay and getting warm milk before his bedtime was easily done. The rooftop swimming pool was less child-friendly (but we did time our visit with happy hour which was a bit of a mistake) but it had good shallow areas for him to splash around in and the views were nice to look at (very briefly!). We didn't spend much money on activities or travel while we were in Singapore so for us we often choose to splash out a bit on accommodation. Here are some other affordable luxury hotels in Singapore you may want to consider.
Gardens by the Bay
Our first stop was somewhere I probably wanted to go to more for selfish reasons than for pleasing my toddler (let alone my partner!), because when I first visited Singapore back in 2011 I saw the Gardens by the Bay being built and I told myself I would come back to see it when it was finished, so that's what we did.
And it wasn't a total disaster for Baby Bird. There was a lot to look at, he could get out of his buggy and run around (most of the areas) and it was a good place to be when the weather was a bit stop-start in terms of rain as there was a lot of cover around. And then when it cleared for long enough we found the childrens' play area... which was basically like a water park so Baby Bird got wet there too. But he at least he got to run around and I somehow managed to dry him with a spare nappy. So yes, the Gardens by the Bay was a big hit for us.
Marina Bay Sands Shopping Center
After a morning in the Gardens of the Bay, we headed to Marina Bay Sands Shopping Centre to stock up on nappies and snacks for our flight home. We found a small Cold Storage supermarket that had Huggies nappies and a surprisingly good range of baby food and toddler snacks, including Ella's pouches. They also had formula and dummies so would have been good for younger infants too. The shopping centre is also a good place to wander around to try and get a baby to sleep (we tried but failed) and there are lots of different lunch options for food if you want an easy place to get fed!
Walk around Marina Bay harbour
Later that afternoon we met our friend and we planned to go to ArtScience Museum which is just next to Marina Bay Sands. However, due to it being a weekend, it was very busy and we also didn't have pre-booked tickets for the exhibit so it wasn't possible to go in, but I've heard good things about the museum for children of most if not all ages. If you would like to go I recommend getting tickets in advance via this link - that's definitely what we'll be doing next time!
So instead we chose to go for a walk around the marina there. In doing so we stumbled across a very strange installation - Art-Zoo - which was basically a huge collection of giant inflatable animals. Part-bouncy-castle, part-inflatable-cartoon-style animals we paid the entry fee and went inside. It was a crazy but brilliant way to spend a few hours with Baby Bird running and jumping around and us adults pretending not to be quite as sweaty as we were because man it was hot even though these photos make it
look overcast and dreary.
Sadly Art-Zoo is no longer on but I can still recommend wandering around the waterfront area of Marina Bay. There are places to stop for a coffee, a drink or an ice cream, and even some break-out areas for kids to run around in.
Royal Botanic Gardens
The following day (after the adults had a night out - yay! Thank you babysitters at Fullerton Bay!) my friend and I headed off to the Royal Botanic Gardens with Baby Bird. It was another great place for him to run around and also a good spot for another humid and hot day.
There was a family-friendly canteen style cafe with a playground outside and we headed straight for the childrens' play area which had more than enough things to keep Baby Bird happy... until the heavens opened and a brilliant tropical storm kicked off. I'd like to say this was the point we all took shelter and waited for the rain to pass, but not Baby Bird. He wriggled out of my arms and out of the shelter we were waiting under... After realising he wasn't going to come back without a fuss, my friend vetured out into the rain with him and they had the whole playground to themselves... in the pouring rain.
We caught an Uber back to our hotel where we got dry and got packed and then headed to the airport via our friends' house for some good byes and a take away burger!
Below you'll find some additional tips for visiting Singapore with a toddler...
A few tips for travelling to Singapore with a toddler:
While we chose a hotel that we could walk easily from, to get further afield and back to the airport we used taxis which are easy to get off the street in Singapore at designated bays or by going to hotel entrances, and they are also relatively cheap. Drivers were also happy for us to sit with your child on your lap.
Singapore is definitely a pushchair friendly city with most of it quite flat and pavements are well-maintained. It's also easy to travel by taxi with a buggy as most will have boots big enough to throw a collapsible stroller in the back. Our pushchair the YOYO BabyZen folds up as small as a large briefcase, weighs 5kg and did great being pushed around town and being folded up etc for taxis' backseats and boots.
Like Thailand we found most things we needed for our 18-month old without problems in Singapore. Supermarkets stocked Huggies and Ella's pouches and we found lots of baby- and child-suitable medicines or remedies in the pharmacy at the airport.
Overall we found Singapore to be very family-friendly with lots of other families out and about, both local and tourists. The few restaurants we went in had high-chairs and we certainly didn't come across any problems when out and about with our son in the street or the above mentioned places. I'm looking forward to going back when Baby Bird is a bit older so we can try some new things and hopefully the ArtScience Museum again
Oh and one last tip...
Prepare for downpours!
As you can see we got caught out by the rain a few times and I wish I'd had a towel with me and a change of clothes for when my boy was so eager to be in the rain (or the water features in the playgrounds we found) so that is definitely something worth remembering!
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Frances M. Thompson
Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before putting down some roots with her Australian partner and having a baby boy in July 2015. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her son around Amsterdam.
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Find Frankie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.