Best Time for Sightseeing: Singapore is unique. Unlike many destinations, there isn’t a particular season that’s better for sightseeing in Singapore, though certain events and holidays can swell the crowds and increase the already high hotel prices. The best things to do in Singapore (and the weather) are great year-round, with high heat and humidity to be expected no matter when you go. The winter months are the wetter months, however, but you shouldn’t let the weather deter you from planning a trip during that season as there really isn’t that much of a difference between the wet season and the slightly drier summer season. For more enjoyable sightseeing; however, you may want to avoid going between May and September (May and June in particular), as the heat is at its peak and the smoke and haze that is produced from clearing fires that burn in Sumatra may cause eye and throat irritation; many residents wear masks when particle levels climb to dangerous levels. No matter which month you’re here, it’s best to get up very early in the morning to beat the crowds and high afternoon temperatures. You may want to start by visiting outdoor attractions like the Singapore Zoo or Jurong Bird Park, and by afternoon when the heat gets to be too much, you can head to one of the many air-conditioned malls like Ngee Ann City. By 5 or 6pm the temperature will be more tolerable and you can get back to outdoor activities.
Best Time for Shopping: While Singapore is renowned as a year-round shopping paradise, the best time to visit is during the annual Great Singapore Sale, when all kinds of discounts, as much as 70%, in addition to extended shopping hours, can be enjoyed at the shopping outlets across the island for eight weeks between late May and the end of July. If you miss it, the post-Christmas and New Year sales are also a great time for promotional offers and big savings. If you plan to shop the markets in Chinatown, going in the late afternoon/early evening hours is best. The time of year here makes a difference too, with the best time to visit in January or February, a month before the Chinese New Year, when the area is decorated with dazzling lights and ornaments, and streets are filled with stalls touting all sorts of wares from pottery, clothes and a variety of household items to a wide array of food.
Best Time to Ride the Singapore Flyer: Singapore’s answer to the London Eye is one of the world’s largest observation wheels, standing at nearly 550 feet high. It offers 360-degree views of the urban landscape from Marina Bay, and many travelers feel the bird’s-eye view of the F1 circuit is a highlight. Head here at the start of your visit to get an idea of the layout of Singapore, ideally just before dusk when the entire row of downtown skyscrapers is softly lit.
Singapore Travel Seasons
High Season (November through early January, June and July): Singapore doesn’t have a definable high and low season, though crowds tend to be at their peak during the holidays due to the combination of winter travelers, holiday festivals and the usual business traffic. Accommodation rates are at their highest, and negotiating any kind of discount is unlikely. Winter also brings a bit more rain as it falls during the Northeast Monson season, though you won’t notice a significant difference in the weather no matter what time of year you arrive. The crowds peak again in June and July during the Great Singapore Sale, with hotels and other accommodations filling to capacity. During this time, you may also experience throat and eye irritation from the smoke and haze produced from the clearing fires.
Shoulder Season (mid-January through May): There really isn’t what would be considered a “shoulder season” in Singapore; however, mid-January through May falls between the high and low “peaks.” April in particular is a good time to be in Singapore as there are no public holidays during this month and it doesn’t fall during monsoon season, though you can expect high heat and humidity year round.
Low Season (August through October, except mid-September): There is a slight break in the tourist traffic during late summer and early fall, with the exception of mid-September due to the Singapore Grand Prix. Although the Southwest Monsoon arrives around this time, it’s less severe than its Northeast counterpart. Temperatures are also slightly higher than what you’ll find during the rest of the year. Although there aren’t noticeable differences in hotel rates, this is probably your best time to negotiate a price that’s a bit more favorable.
Singapore Weather by Month
Singapore Weather in January: January is typically one of the wettest and windiest months in Singapore – unless the Northeast Monsoon makes an early exit, which it occasionally does. In that case, this month can be quite dry. But be prepared for lots of rain along with hot temperatures by bringing a small, portable umbrella that you can take with you on the go. While temperatures may be slightly cooler now, because Singapore is just 85 miles from the equator, you can expect it to be hot year round. This month, high temperatures reach an average of 30°C, while 238mm of rain falls over 18 days. Loose, comfortable clothing that dries quickly is recommended. Due to its location near the equator, there isn’t much difference in the length of days either, with sunrise at around 7am and sunset around 7pm all year long. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 238mm.)
Singapore Weather in February: In February, the average high temperature creeps up slightly to 31°C, while the rain decreases with the end of the Northeast Monsoon season to 165mm coming down over 13 days. This is typically when the country has the least amount of rain, the lowest humidity and the most sunshine. You’ll get a little break from the extreme heat at night, with low temperatures dropping to 24°C. Pack loose, lightweight clothing and be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen. A wide-brimmed hat can keep you a little cooler and add sun protection too. Because it can be quite cool indoors with air conditioning blasting in places like malls, hotels and buses, you may want a light cardigan as well. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 165mm.)
Singapore Weather in March: March is another one of Singapore’s sunniest months. The country has transitioned out of the Northeast Monsoon season, and the weather becomes less windy, though thunderstorms occur more often. Plan to carry a portable umbrella to help keep you dry, and as the average high is 31°C, you’ll need plenty of sun protection too. As you should do no matter which month you visit, pack light, comfortable clothing, along with a cardigan or two for those times when the air conditioning indoors gets to be too much. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 174mm.)
Singapore Weather in April: April in Singapore is hot, the wind is light and thunderstorms are common. The average high temperature remains a steady 31°C, and rainfall is not significantly different from March, with 166mm coming down over 20 days this month. Keeping a small umbrella with you, and a light cardigan for spending time indoors is still advised, as is slathering on the sunscreen and wearing a wide-brimmed hat. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 166mm.)
Singapore Weather in May: While there is no discernible difference in temperature or rainfall as compared to March and April, May brings the smoke and haze that’s produced from the clearing fires that burn in Sumatra. This means that in addition to the high heat and humidity, you may experience throat and eye irritation. Travelers who have asthma or sensitive respiratory tract issues, as well as the elderly and small children, should bring face masks for protection. As usual, sunscreen, hats, light clothing and a small umbrella are also advised. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 171mm.)
Singapore Weather in June: June is the start of the Southwest Monsoon Season, a time when you’ll experience showers and thunderstorms frequently between pre-dawn and midday, although thunderstorms typically last for less than half an hour. Overall, there is slightly less rainfall than May, with a total of 163mm coming down over 19 days this month. During June, Singapore may also be engulfed in the smoke haze, so you may want to bring a face mask for protection in addition to keeping yourself protected from the searing heat and sunshine. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 163 mm.)
Singapore Weather in July: As it always is in Singapore, the weather in July will be hot, though just slightly drier than other times of the year. Sudden, unexpected downpours are common, but the rain stops just as quickly as it starts, and then it will be hot and humid again as if it never rained. If you bring a portable umbrella with you, you’ll stay relatively dry. Keep in mind that the haze may continue throughout the summer months, if you or anyone traveling with you has breathing issues. The average high temperature remains a steady 31°C, and there is an average of 150mm of rainfall that comes down over 19 days this month. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 150mm.)
Singapore Weather in August: August is similar to July in that it will be hot and only slightly drier than it will be in other months. The smoke and haze may still be a problem, and flash thunderstorms are common. Remember that even the so-called “drier months” experience a fair amount of rain, 171mm falls on average in August, so be prepared for unpredictably wet weather at any time of the year. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 171mm.)
Singapore Weather in September: September marks the end of the Southwest Monsoon Season. It will be hot and humid with only slightly less rain, and mist is quite common. The wind is often quite strong in the morning, and temperatures are still soaring to 31°C. The consistent heat and urban humidity, particularly away from the waterfront, is often oppressive on sunny days, but you will find refuge inside air-conditioned cafes, shops, and businesses. As it may be quite cool indoors, a light cardigan may be necessary. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 163mm.)
Singapore Weather in October: October (as well as November) is considered pre-Northeast Monsoon season. During this month, a cool sea breeze helps to slightly reduce the afternoon heat, although average high temperatures remain a constant 31°C. Storms often occur in the evening, with showers that are typically sudden and heavy, but often only last for a short time; winds generally remain reduced. Have a backup plan in case the rain is too heavy on any given day, but keep in mind that an umbrella will usually keep most of the rain off allowing you to enjoy everything as usual. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 191mm.)
Singapore Weather in November: November is very similar to October in that this is pre-Northeast Monsoon season, a time when afternoon and evening rain showers are likely – and most often sudden and heavy, lasting only for a short time. Carry a small umbrella, be aware of the weather forecast and be prepared to shuffle days around for best effect. The average high temperature drops a degree this month to 30°C, but it’s not a noticeable difference, so you’ll need to plan for high heat as well. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 250mm.)
Singapore Weather in December: December marks the official start of the Northeast Monsoon season. This month’s weather is Singapore’s coolest, though it’s only a couple of degrees lower than the year’s hottest month with temperatures reaching an average high of 29°C. December does stand out for having the highest rainfall, with an average of 269mm coming down this month, as well as the most humidity and the lowest amount of sunshine. Plan to pack that umbrella, along with light, loose clothing and a cardigan for those times you spend indoors in air-conditioned areas like malls, taxis and the cinema. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Precipitation: 269mm.)
Singapore Events and Festivals
Singapore in January
New Year’s Day – New Year’s Day is a national holiday in Singapore, and a day off school and work for most people. When it falls on a Sunday, January 2 will be a public holiday. Many people celebrate the day with family by enjoying lavish meals, and sometimes champagne brunch or afternoon tea. While most shops and restaurants are open as usual, filled with tourists visiting for the holidays, some establishments may be closed or have shorter opening times.
Thaipusam – This Hindu festival takes place over two days, with the first day considered the Eve of Thailpusam. The main event on this day is a colorful chariot procession that begins from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Serangoon Road and runs to Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple at Keong Siak Road. The ceremony starts in the early hours of January 24, with a batch of devotees carrying milk pots and wooden kavadis. Some pierce their tongues with skewers and carry a wooden kavadi decorated with flowers and peacock feathers balanced on their shoulders, while others carry spiked kavadis that require elaborate preparations.
Chinese (Lunar) New Year – Chinese New Year is based on the lunisolar calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar, so dates change slightly each year. The 15-day festival is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world, and in 2017 will be held on January 28. The year is ushered in with floats and performances, including stilt-walkers and lion dancers, at the Chingay parade in Marina Bay. Temples open their doors and stalls sell raw fish, while decorations glow under the lanterns of the night bazaar.
Singapore in February
Singapore River Hong Bao – Usually held in early February, this extravaganza is part of the Chinese New Year celebrations and includes a variety show in which top local and regional artists perform, complete with fireworks, hawker stalls and merchant kiosks.
Valentine’s Day – Valentine’s Day isn’t a public holiday, but it is celebrated much the way it is in other countries, with the exchanging of chocolate hearts and the enjoyment of romantic, candlelit dinners. Many restaurants offer special menus for couples in Singapore on February 14.
Singapore in March
Singapore International Jazz Festival – This more recent annual tradition is held in early March at Marina Bay Sands and offers three nights of jazz and jazz-inspired music, including world-renowned artists.
Singapore Design Week – Taking place over about two weeks in mid-March, this event features international and local trade shows, conferences, workshops and exhibitions focused on design.
St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival – This Irish holiday is celebrated in Singapore with live performances of folk music, dance and hearty Irish fare along with lots of Guinness, of course. The Singapore River is dyed greened and a Harley-Davidson convoy typically leads the pack at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.
Good Friday and Easter – Singapore’s general population doesn’t celebrate Easter, though there are many Christians who do. Good Friday, which falls March or April, is a public holiday, though all of the shops, malls, and restaurants are open as usual.
Singapore in April
Qingming Festival – This festival in early April, also known as the “Ching Ming Festival” or “Tomb Sweeping Day,” is a Chinese Festival in which dead ancestors are remembered. In Singapore, you’ll see people tossing fake money in the air as a form of an offering for their deceased loved ones at Chinese cemeteries.
World Gourmet Summit – Held annually throughout much of the month of April, the World Gourmet Summit is hosted by some of the world’s most renowned master chefs, along with Singapore’s own culinary talents and visiting industry experts. This is Southeast Asia’s premier haute cuisine festival, offering back-to-back epicurean experiences from themed and celebrity meals to vintner dinners.
Singapore in May
Vesak Day – This is a public holiday and a holy day celebrated by Buddhists which usually falls in May, on the 15th day of the fourth month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The life of the Buddha is celebrated, with the release of caged birds to symbolize the liberation of captive souls. The celebrations are carried out at all Buddhist temples, with some of the best locations to watch the festivities including the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Temple at Jalan Toa Payoh and Buddhist Lodge at River Valley Road.
Singapore Spring Fashion Week – Singapore Spring Fashion Week/Asia Fashion Exchange is a one-week extravaganza held in mid-May that puts Singapore on the map as Asia’s fashion capital. It covers all aspects of the industry, including everything from industry dedicated talks to trade shows and consumer events.
Singapore International Festival of Arts – Held annually throughout the month of May, this island-wide celebration of the arts offers high quality, free and ticketed outdoor performances in theatre arts, dance, music and visual art from around the world.
Mother’s Day – In Singapore, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. The day is celebrated by individuals with flowers and gifts of appreciation for the mother’s role, but not recognized as a public holiday. Many restaurants offer special menus for brunch, lunch or dinner for mom’s special day.
Singapore in June
Great Singapore Sale – This popular annual event begins in June. The shopping extravaganza means discounts of up to 70% off the usual prices at retailers across the island.
Dragon Boat Festival – This festival occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional lunar calendar. Its main celebration is at Bedok Reservoir where there is a race of Dragon Boats from all over the world. This is also a great time to enjoy traditional rice dumplings, which is why the festival is also known as ‘The Dumpling Festival’.
Ramadan – Ramadan is a month-long celebration in the Muslim community that is celebrated robustly in Singapore. It includes night markets and the Geylang Serai neighborhood is beautifully lit up. During the day, food stalls typically serve only snacks, but at night there is a wide range of offerings at the Ramadan Bazaars.
Father’s Day – Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June, recognizing fathers for their role. Similar to Mother’s Day, many restaurants in Singapore offer special menus for brunch, lunch, or dinner.
Singapore in July
Singapore Food Festival – This festival takes place throughout July at various venues and is a melting pot of tasty cuisine with Chinese, Indian, Malay and more represented.
Racial Harmony Day – This day is celebrated annually on July 21 in Singapore to commemorate the 1964 Race Riots, which took place on July 21, 1964. Students across Singapore are encouraged to wear ethnic costumes, and fashion parades are often held to showcase the variety of attire.
Hari Raya Puasa – This important religious festival celebrated by Singapore’s Muslims is marked as the end of Ramadan. On this day, Muslims go to the mosques for prayers in the early morning hours before visiting graves of their loved ones. Oil lamps at homes and in mosques are lit from the 20th day of Ramadan and continue lighting bright until the end of the festival.
Singapore in August
National Day – This day celebrated annually on August 9 is Singapore’s birthday, commemorating the country’s independence from Malaysia in 1965. It promises fun-filled festivities that include fireworks and cultural dances. The National Day Parade is usually held at the Padang or National Stadium.
Hungry Ghost Festival – This festival takes place on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month in the Chinese calendar, usually in August. Observed by Taoists, Buddhists, and Chinese folk religion believers, the festival is believed to be the time when the gates of hell open, resulting in a mixed environment of living and deceased. The main festivities are circled around warding off the deceased, which is done by burning incense, joss paper, candles and fake money. Performances are held in which the first row is left empty for the dead.
Singapore in September
Lantern Festival – In this festival, also referred to as the mid-autumn festival, lion dances entertain locals who head to Chinatown, stocking up on seasonal moon cake pastries. The pagoda and bridges of Jurong’s Chinese Garden are covered in novelty and animal lanterns. The highlight is the Children’s Lantern Parade, with hundreds of children parading down the streets of Chinatown with their colorful lanterns. It takes place on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, when the moon is full.
Singapore Grand Prix – One of the biggest events of the year in Singapore, the Grand Prix is held in mid-September. Considered the “jewel in the Formula One crown”. In addition to racing, it features award-winning bands and five-star cuisine.
Singapore in October
Deepavali – This important Hindu holiday takes place in October, with Little India’s streets and temples festooned with lights and garlands, while crowds fill into the Sri Mariamman Temple to watch barefoot Hindu devotees walk across red hot embers without flinching. Visitors can join walking tours that point out the best henna artists and sweetmeat shops, or see shrines garlanded in the temples.
Singapore Fall Fashion Week – Singapore Fall Fashion Week/Asia Fashion Exchange is a one-week extravaganza held in mid-May that puts Singapore on the map as Asia’s fashion capital. It covers all aspects of the industry, including everything from industry dedicated talks to trade shows and consumer events.
Nine Emperor Gods Festival – Held during Aipasi from the first to the ninth day of the ninth lunar month among Chinese communities in Singapore (usually mid-October), this festival begins with the welcoming of the gods into the temple where they are to be worshipped for nine days, and ends when the gods are sent off on the ninth day. Visitors can enjoy watching the temple processions that take place during the celebrations, when images of the nine gods are paraded, each in a decorative sedan chair carried by eight men.
Halloween – Halloween has become increasingly popular in Singapore, although trick-or-treating is generally not practiced. It’s celebrated by dressing up in costumes, getting frightened at haunted houses and going to parties.
Singapore in November
Singapore Writer’s Festival – This festival is held annually around the first 10 days of November as a celebration of literature notable for encompassing all four of Singapore’s main languages: Chinese, Malay, Tamil and English, which makes it one of the few multi-language festivals in the world. International authors often attend, and talks, readings and workshops are held in a variety of venues across the city.
Singapore River Busker’s Festival – This unique festival is held for 10 days in November every year and features a variety of activities, including some of the best street performers, including magicians, comedians, sword-swallowers, jugglers and more, who take over the walkways of Orchard Road.
Singapore International Film Festival – The largest film event in Singapore and one of the premier film festivals in Asia, the SIFF is held annually in November every year and screens over 200 international films of all genres, with a focus on groundbreaking Asian cinema. In addition to film screenings, workshops, exhibitions and seminars focused on film-making are also featured.
Singapore in December
ZoukOut – Mega-club Zouk organizes this massive weekend-long beach party on Sentosa, usually on Siloso or Tanjong Beaches. Local and overseas music acts and big-name DJs play in tents and outdoor arenas playing everything from rock to hip hop, lounge to house.
Orchard Road Christmas Markets – This shopping street is transformed into a tropical winter wonderland for Christmas in December, featuring giant snow scenes, trees, candy canes and toys along with dazzling light displays.
Christmas Day – Christmas Day is a public holiday and a parade is held on Orchard Road, although the city doesn’t completely shut down as many Singaporeans don’t celebrate Christmas. A parade is held on Orchard Road.
New Year’s Eve – Singapore celebrates New Year’s Eve in a big way, with a televised national countdown that includes performances by local celebrities, followed by several big public parties hosted across various venues. A big fireworks display over Marina Bay that’s set against the skyline of the city caps off the night, before settling afloat “wishing spheres” that take place in the Bay of Hope and Light. Bars and restaurants across town also throws parties, as do popular entertainment hubs like Esplanade and Clarke Quay.