Is Singapore a Senior Citizen Friendly country to travel?

If you are confused where to take your senior citizen parents on a foreign holiday then you have come to the right place. Singapore is one of the most senior citizen friendly countries in the world. Nothing is foreign here. A melting pot of different cultures, cuisines and ethnicities. There’s no dearth of choices here – from art galleries to vast green spaces to museums to top-notch shopping to modern public transit system, Singapore has it all. Above all Singapore is spotlessly clean with zero crime rate.

Here’s my experience of visiting Singapore with my parents

Visiting Singapore with your Senior citizen parents

Day1: Arriving in Singapore

Mom…dad lets go. Someone is waiting for us at the pickup area

Wait, let me click some pictures and share with your uncle. I haven’t seen such a beautiful Orchid Garden anywhere.

Beta, wait na. These massage chairs are so comfortable. Not that I am tired but I am loving their foot massage.

This was the first impression my parents had as soon as we landed at Changi Airport. No, it wasn’t their first foreign trip but role reversal had happened. I was the organiser and they were the guests. And who wouldn’t fall in love with an airport like Changi, which has regularly been voted as one of the world’s best airport. There is so much to explore – Orchid Garden, Butterfly Garden, Sunflower Garden, Entertainment Zone, Ice Rink, a rooftop swimming pool with a Balinese theme and the tallest slide in the city, Free Cinemas, Wellness Centres, Food court and outlets for every possible cuisine in the world and at least 300 different retail outlets.

Changi Airport, Singapore. Pic by firesock under creative common license Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Changi Airport, Singapore. Pic by firesock under creative common Free to use and adapt license 2.0

But I didn’t want to spend our entire trip at the airport so I coaxed my parents to leave. At the arrivals, we had a luxury travel van waiting for us with a warm escort. After twenty minutes we were at the grand and spacious lobby of Conrad Centennial Singapore, where a soothing piano was being played. Conrad is one of the best 5 star hotels in Singapore, located within the business, historical, cultural and shopping districts of Marina Bay. At the reception, a Singapore Tourism Board executive with three bags full of Singapore goodies welcomed us.

Our check-in was smooth into the two suites. The rooms came with Marina Bay view, were spacious, had complimentary fresh fruit, chocolates and different varieties of tea and coffee. Bathroom and minibar were tastefully done. The in-room dinning service was good and the food tasted delightfully Indian not the watered down version to suit the western palate.

Marina Bay view from my room at Conrad Hotel, Singapore

Marina Bay view from my room at Conrad Hotel, Singapore

In the evening, we decided to take a walk around the Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay. Couples, families and friends flocked around the area to get their selfies clicked in front of the Merlion. It is not just any ordinary statue but this solid concrete, 70-tonne, water-spouting, half mermaid-half lion is a mythical symbol of Singapore, and the most sought-after photo-op place in Singapore. After getting our share of the clicks at the Marina Bay, we visited the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay where an art exhibition and a live performance were going on.

I went to sleep with an excitement to revisit my favourite part of Singapore the next day.

My dad at Merlion, Marina Bay, Singapore

My dad at Merlion, Marina Bay, Singapore

Day 2: Rediscovering Sixties Singapore at Pulau Ubin

Chek Jawa Wetlands, Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Chek Jawa Wetlands, Pulau Ubin, Singapore

I was invited by Singapore Tourism board with my family, thanks to a story I wrote on Pulau Ubun earlier. It is an island still stuck in the sixties and looks starkly different from the swanky malls and fancy attractions of mainland Singapore. Until sixties it was used for quarrying and as the quarrying stopped so did its development. But that’s what makes it so special.

Us at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Us at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Palm trees fringed coastline, few kampongs (traditional villages) scattered in the wild, a well-defined trail to explore the Chek Jawa Wetlands (laced with intricate mangroves, corals and sandy beaches) and a well-marked biking trail that earned it the reputation of ‘Bicycle Island’. Though my parents appreciated the nature but somehow the tropical heat wasn’t ideal for walking.

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The best part of the trip was our guide, Rai. Not only did he speak in our native language but he was also of the same age as my parents. my decision to choose Pulau Ubin over other famous attractions surprised him. We spent the entire day chatting about different topics – how his great grandfather moved to Singapore during British colonisation, how World War II affected Singapore and how life changed in the last many decades. Though born and brought up in Singapore he still feels an umbilical connection with India. Listening to him I realised you can uproot an Indian from India but can’t take India out of an Indian.

My parents with our guide, Rai, at Pulau Ubin, Singapore

My parents with our guide, Rai, at Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Like us, Rai was a foodie and he took us to one of the best Indian restaurant in Little India – Banana Leaf, famous for its fish head curry and chicken tikka. The service was quick, portions were large and the food was similar to what you’ll get in India. After our sumptuous south Indian lunch, we strolled through the lanes of little India and visited the Vis Konsep Chocolate Factory near 787 North Bridge Road. My chocolate fantasyland was in front of my eyes – in all kinds of shapes, sizes and flavours.

Day 3: Relishing Gardens by the Bay and National Museum

Pedestrian walkway through Giant Skytrees, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Pedestrian walkway through Giant Skytrees, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

After seeing the hidden gem of Singapore, we shifted gears to see one of the top 20 most checked in places in the world – Gardens by the Bay.

Gardens by the Bay contains more than 1,000,000 plants on 101 hectares of reclaimed land.

Rai explained while we were awestruck by the Super-sized trees (orchid flower shaped vertical gardens of 9 to 16 storeys tall), Cloud forest (35 metre tall mountain covered in lush vegetation amidst the world’s tallest indoor waterfall) and Flower Dome (unique plants from all over the world bloom in an ever changing display of flowers). My parents were ecstatically clicking pictures of almost everything – flowers, trees, ferns, cherry blossoms, waterfalls, super trees, domes etc.

Cherry Blossoms in full bloom at Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Cherry Blossoms in full bloom at Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Our eyes feasted on the colossal gardens beauty but our stomachs were growling. What we didn’t know was Singapore Tourism Board had organised a special lunch for us. Our lunch restaurant was not only amongst the top Asian restaurants but had a great history behind it. Situated in the oldest section of the oldest museum in the world, it was originally opened to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. Yes, we were fine dinning at Flutes, a modern European-inspired smart casual dining experience with an impressive menu inspired by its rich heritage.

National Museum of Singapore

National Museum of Singapore

After stomachs full, we explored the oldest museum of Singapore – the National Museum. It not only acquainted us with Singapore’s history but also engaged through imaginative and immersive techniques. Instead of staid exhibits it had lively multimedia galleries. All the major events as well as personal stories of individuals (who witnessed the history of Singapore) were well documented. It had Living galleries with 4 themes: Fashion, Food, Film & Wayang and Photography.

National Museum of Singapore

National Museum of Singapore

We wound up the day by having the most delicious meal of the trip at Rang Mahal, a MICHELIN star awarded fine-dining Indian restaurant serving Pan-Indian cuisine. The food was so lip-smacking delicious that my parents miss it even today. Although be prepared to shell out at least 250$ for a la Carte meal of daal roti sabji salad & raita.

Day 4: Exploring Singapore through Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour

Botanic Gardens, Singapore

Botanic Gardens, Singapore

On the second last day of our trip we decided to do the touristy things. Oh wait! Wasn’t I doing that all the while? Well when you are with your parents you want everything to be comfortable and hassle-free so doing touristy stuff wasn’t a bad deal. We decided to use the free passes provided by the Singapore Tourism board. We started with the full day unlimited hop-on, hop-off bus tour, which covered all the major 37 attractions along the City and Heritage routes! Every 20 minutes there was a bus and we could change our route as we liked. We were provided with pre-recorded on-board audio commentary in 9 languages. The best part was we could explore each attraction at our own leisurely pace.

Orchid Garden, Botanic Garden, Singapore

Orchid Garden at Botanic Gardens, Singapore

The places we covered were:

  • Clarke Quay 

    One of the city’s trendiest nightspots with a variety of restaurants, wine bars, entertainment spots and retail outlets.

  • Botanic Gardens 

    A must visit for nature lovers, the Botanic Gardens is a living museum of a wide variety of flora and fauna. The National Orchid garden within the Botanic Gardens houses over 3,000 species and hybrids of Orchids.

  • Orchard Road 

    The most famous shopping street in Singapore.

  • Little India & Little India Walking Tour 

    One of the ethnic enclaves that provide some of the best insights into the Indian community in Singapore.

  • Wholesale Market 

    Known as the Thieves Market years ago, this unique flea market is good place to find second-hand merchandises and Knicks and knacks

  • Boat Quay 

    Situated along the Singapore River and distinguished by conserved shop houses, Boat Quay is the place to visit for entertainment & dining. A perfect place to sit & relax after a day of sightseeing.

  • Chinatown & Chinatown Walking Tour 

    Best place to immerse in Singapore’s Chinese culture and history and witness how early Chinese Immigrants lived & worked during its golden years.

The first leg of our unforgettable trip had come to an end.  My parents were excited like a kid in a candy store throughout the trip. Seeing their happy faces I felt there is nothing more precious than their smile. So if you too are thinking to take your Senior citizen parents on a foreign holiday don’t think too much Singapore is one of the most senior citizen friendly country.

Disclaimer:

I was in Singapore on an invitation from Singapore Tourism Board in March-April 2016. We flew by Singapore Airlines and stayed at Conrad Hotel. All the views expressed here are mine and all pictures were clicked by me.

60 Comments

  • Paulina says:

    Wow Singapore seems to be a vool place. I loved the flower arrangement at the airport. And the pic in the botanic garden is amazing

    • Thanks Paulina for your comment. You are right. I too love Changi Airport for embedding nature in an airport area. Really soothes the travelers have to spend hours at airport layover. I am sure nobody complains for long layovers here 😛

      And Botanic Garden is really very beautiful and huge. You need full 2-3 days to explore it well.

  • Only By Land says:

    The Hop on Hop off bus is very regular at every 20 minutes, perfect for senior citizens! In your photos your parents look to be comfortable and having a good time so I’d say Singapore is perfect for senior citizens! What a place to take wedding photos at the National Museum of Singapore!

    • Absolutely. My parents loved Singapore. They can’t wait to go back. Such a hassle-free city. And yeah, the National Museum was a fantastic choice for the would be couple. I couldn’t have imagined it if I had not seen it myself 🙂

  • Anyone would be amazed by Changi Airport, it is a destination on its own. I was impressed when I visited it 7 years ago and it didn’t have all the things you mentioned that it has now. I think I’ll go to Singapore just to see the airport itself. :p

    I thought there’s only one 7 star hotel in the world and that’s Burj Al Arab in Dubai, I didn’t know that there’s another one in Singapore.

    Pulau Ubun looks like it’s not Singapore! I didn’t know that such a place exist in this very vibrant city!

    • I so agree on that. Changi Airport is the world’s best airport. Equipped with all kinds of facilities. You name it and changi has it.

      Pulau Ubin was actually a surprise factor for me as well 🙂

  • So funny that your parents didn’t want to leave the airport! I kind if want to check it out, too, now :). Pulau Ubin looks so lovely and great that you got the perfect tour guide for your family. As a plant lover, I would definitely want to check out the Gardens by the Bay. And hop on hop off bus tours are always a nice way to get around and see as much of a place as you want (and a good way to get to the botanic gardens!).

    • Thanks a lot Mel for your lovely feedback. I am so glad you liked what i wrote. I am a nature lover so Pulau Ubin, Gardens by the Bay and Botanic Gardens were really a good surprise for me. Couldn’t have asked for more 🙂

  • Vicki Louise says:

    We loved Singapore and totally get how it’s a good place for older travellers. I think it helped your folks that you were there though. I scheduled a stopover for my folks in Singapore on their first trip to see me in Australia (I wasn’t there) and it went terribly! I still have faith though that it is the perfect destination for older travelers. Just not my parents!

    • Oh really! I am so sorry to hear about that. Usually Singapore is pretty senior citizen friendly. Which airlines were your parents flying in? Was it the airlines at fault or something else went bad?

  • This is such a super interesting post to me, and my grandad travels to Australia from the UK and didn’t know whether a stop in Singapore would be suitable. I can now tell him with confidence it will be! I had also heard Changi airport was really beautiful, your story about your parents there really made me laugh!

    • Thanks a ton Samantha for your kind words. I am humbled. I am so glad you liked the post. And trust me your grandad would love Singapore. I too had my apprehensions but thank god they were proven wrong. If you ever need any help, please feel free to reach out 🙂

  • What an original take on a post and a great topic. Seniors have more time and money to travel. I can totally see my mother in law wanting to stay in one of those massage chairs after a long flight. Singapore Tourism did an amazing job organizing your stay, lucky you! Loved how you added one black and white photo to your post, it really made the National Museum stand out. Singapore has been on my list for years, can’t wait to visit.

    • Thanks a lot Debra for your appreciation of my writing. I am so glad you liked it. You are right, senior citizens have both money and time to travel. I wish brands started giving as much importance to senior citizens as they give to young adults.

      And yes, Singapore Tourism Board really took good care of us 🙂

      Hope you get to visit Singapore soon. I’d love to hear about your experience. Till then take care 🙂

  • Great post! I used to live in Singapore but have never been to the National Museum. Will plan to go on my next visit!

  • Gareth says:

    Now this is a really great idea for a post and certainly one that I think I may well take advantage of. You see, my parents, who are getting on a little bit now, have always been keen to visit me wherever I’ve lived but frankly, most of the poorer places simply weren’t suitable for them. Singapore however, looks like it would be a great place to visit and would supply a little bit of adventure with the knowledge that people of a certain age are catered towards. Great post!

    • Hey Gareth,

      I am smiling ear to ear reading your comment. Thanks for a heartfelt appreciation. Can’t thank you enough. I am so glad you liked it. Even when I was planning to take my folks out on vacation I was lil nervous where to take them as I didn’t want anything to go wrong. I wanted their comfort at all cost. And Singapore happened to be a great choice. It’s a wonderful place for senior citizens. You must take your parents to Singapore. I can assure you they would love it.

      If you need any advice, please feel free to contact.

  • Suzanne says:

    I really enjoyed how you started this blog post. It gave such great insight into what it must be like to travel with your parents! I visited Singapore many years ago and loved its diversity, especially when reflected in its food. It also liked the little enclaves in the city like Little India and Chinatown. Such an easy going place and perfect for older travelers.

    • Thanks a lot Suzzane for your kind words. I am humbled. I am so glad you liked my writing style. Like New York Singapore is famous for its diversity. Nothing is foreign there. Everything finds a place. Totally love this cosmopolitan city 🙂

  • That is so awesome that the Singapore Tourism Agency invited you with your family!! What a wonderful experience, one I am sure you will all remember forever. It looks like you had a wonderful time

    • Hey Christie,

      It was really a fantastic experience. I was happy because my parents had a good time in Singapore. Thanks to Singapore Tourism Board who took such good care of us 🙂

  • Glad to see you had a great trip with you parents. I have been thinking of taking them on a trip for a while, maybe Singapore is the place to go. You made me consider it now 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this!

    • Hi Torgeir,

      I am so glad I could bring Singapore in your consideration. It’s a beautiful and thoughtful city. Trust me your parents would love it. Just go ahead and book it 🙂

  • clare says:

    I love singapore its a great city. The gardens by the bay are amazing and I spent a day looking around them and did go back a couple of times in the evening to see the light show!! I have never heard of Pulau Ubin but I will certainly be checking it out on my next visit, looks like the type of place I visit.

    • Pulau Ubin isn’t a very popular place. And I am glad it isn’t otherwise it’s rustic charm might have been lost by now.

      Hope you get to see it soon. In case you need any help, please feel free to contact.

  • Cat says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you that Singapore is a safe country for seniors to visit. It is small and easy to get around. You don’t have to travel too far to see the different attractions! Glad your parents had a great time there. I’ll need to visit again soon – so many new attractions have popped up!

    • Hey Cat,

      Thanks for echoing my thoughts. You are absolutely right, the small and easy to get around qualities of Singapore makes it an ideal destination for senior citizens.

      You must visit Singapore soon. There’s always something new coming up 🙂

  • Riely says:

    By the sounds of it, Changi Airport would be hard to leave! It seems that the Singapore Tourism spoiled you and your parents. Pulau Ubun looks so different from the rest of Singapore, which would be a nice place to explore apart from the more touristy spots. Your guide seemed very lovely as well. Glad you enjoyed your trip with your parents.

    • Hey Reily,

      Thanks a lot for the heartfelt appreciation. I am a firm believer of the fact that happiness grows when shared. So I had to share my experience. Probably this post would help people who are confused where to take their senior citizen parents on a holiday 🙂

  • I would love to visit Pulau Ubin the most as it looks so different from the rest of Singapore. The history behind Singapore fascinates me and it is truly incredible how the residents were able to build up Singapore to become one of the most economically developed countries in Asia in such a short time. Maybe I’ll take my parents there one day 🙂

    • Hey Diana,

      Thanks for dropping by. I am so glad you liked the post and took out time to share your feedback.

      Hope you get to visit Singapore soon with your parents.

  • sophie says:

    yes I would say it is. I had a personal experinece with my parents traveling last year. they had no such problem infact they had the best time of their lives over there with feeling so safe.

    • I am so glad to hear that, Sophie. Singapore is a wonderful place, which never disappoints anyone – whether you are a kid or a couple or a senior citizen. Love the city!

  • Pratibha says:

    Singapore is on my bucket list. Thanks a bunch for this informative post. I’ll share the link with my mom so that she can plan a travel too!

  • Obi Ka says:

    beautiful pictures and great place to visit. Looks like it is friendly to all.

  • Elizabeth O says:

    What a wonderful way to enjoy a trip with loved ones and build new and loving memories… I love Singapore.

    • First of all many thanks for sharing your feedback, Elizabeth. You are right, nothing is more important than seeing your loved ones happy. I am so glad they had a great time.

  • This is such an amazing post for me, I had also heard Changi airport was really beautiful.
    thanks for mention little wondering Post.

  • I enjoyed reading this. I keep advocating people on why they should travel more and more with parents. It is so good to see someone write about that. My parents are my priority and I hope I can travel more with them in the years to come.

  • Bhushavali says:

    I agree. I haven’t been to Singapore yet but my inlaws have been to and they found it incredibly a comfortable and enjoyed the trip completely. I dunno when I’d go there, let’s see!!!

  • Julianne says:

    I love your post! It’s so true that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been the one to start organizing trips and my parents are along for the ride (though my mom has always been a planner, so sometimes she will still plan trips, haha). The Conrad Centennial sounds like the kind of place my parents would enjoy! And being California natives, we all like nature, so I’d definitely take them to Pulau Ubin. Great post!

    • Thanks Jullianne for your generous comment. I am glad you liked my post. Singapore is a lovely place. Your parents would love it. And Conrad hotel is a wonderful property at a great location. I totally loved it.

  • Joanna says:

    It’s great to know that Singapore is a very friendly place to visit together with your parents. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Singapore and I had no idea it has such amazing landscapes and islands. I would like to cycle on the bicycle island, it sound like such a fun place to see. The traditional villages also sound very interesting, I would love to visit and learn about the local crafts and traditions.

    • Before visiting Singapore I too thought it to be a concrete jungle but i was so happy to be proved wrong. I absolutely loved it. There’s so much to explore. Hope you get to travel soon to Singapore 🙂

  • Sonja says:

    Haha I love the picture of your Dad with the Merlion! I went to Singapore with my parents too, and then again with friends and I totally agree that it’s a great place to visit with older people, and actually people of all ages. There’s something there for everyone!

  • Pradhan says:

    It seems this is one of very interesting place in the world. ‘Sooner or later, I will be there’.
    Interesting to know there is also a Little India.

  • Visited Singapore last year and absolutely loved the place. Your mom and dad seem to be enjoying the trip. Though we missed few of the places you have mentioned 🙁

  • Changi airport is one of the best airports that I have ever been to. It is huge, modern, and beautiful. I have traveled with my parents too. They are keen to try a lot of things but it can be exhausting for them. We have not been to Singapore yet but maybe we will in the future. We just need to plan everything smoothly so that they will feel comfortable during the trip. Btw, I would want to dine at the Banana Leaf too because I like fish curry.

  • Lovely post Archana! So nice to see your family too in the pics 🙂

    • Hey Sidd,

      Thanks a lot for your comment. It was really special to take my family along on one of my adventures. Wish I could take them out more often.

      Best,
      Archana

  • Great post Archana! Beautiful snaps.The ultramodern country Singapore has lot to do and visit. I have been there for 3 months last year, had a great memories of Palawan Beach, and Universal Studios. Didn’t you try them?

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