Singapore is just one degree north of the equator – meaning that four distinct seasons are non-existent here. Constant hot and wet weather will not play a big part in determining the best time of the year to enjoy the wonders of this sunny island; but the abundance of ethnic festivals, national holidays and seasonal sales do.
From January to December, each month is a time to experience a facet of Singapore’s multicultural diversity that most catches your fancy.
Singapore kicks off the year with a number of cultural offerings like the 12-day Singapore Art Week and the colourful Thaipusam Festival. The Singapore Art Week would be a delight for any lover of visual arts – as art exhibitions, walking tours, talks, art fairs and after-parties all clamour for your attention.
If art isn’t really your thing, watch out for Thaipusam – a ceremonial event where the Tamil Hindu community in Singapore come together to show their gratitude to Lord Subramanian. The event involves male Indians praying to Subramanian while carrying Kavadis – a giant steel-made structure rack almost 40 kilograms in weight and decorated with flowers and fruits – to show their gratitude. Men attach it to their bodies using hooks and skews piercing through their skin, and walk down a 4.5km route. The grandeur and sanctity of the procession is a sight to behold.
Rainfall: 5 days
Temperature: 79° F (26.1° C)
Chinese Singaporeans prepare to celebrate Chinese New Year this month. Even though the actual dates may vary from year to year according to the Chinese lunar calendar, they usually fall on late January or early February. During the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, you can expect Chinatown to come alive with festive cheer, and burst at the seams with crowds of people hunting down New Year goodies.
Also in February is the Chingay Festival, where a colourful procession of street floats, dancers and many other performers make their way around the city centre and heartlands, spreading festive gaiety and multicultural splendour.
Rainfall: 10 days
Temperature: 79.9° F (26.6° C)
Singapore in March is awash with light – when Marina Bay is aglow with numerous light art installations as part of i Light Marina Bay. This sustainable light art festival is usually held at Singapore’s Marina Bay waterfront, with various festival hubs like Art-Zoo Inflatable Park at The Float and GastroBeats at The Promontory. The outdoor art installations along the bay are nothing short of spectacular.
Rainfall: 14 days
Temperature: 88° F (26.9° C)
With a normally higher amount of rainfall and temperature this month, you might want to escape the humidity by moving indoors. Head to Marina Bay Sands for the annual Singapore International Jazz Festival, usually held in early April. Renowned and emerging jazz talent around the world will serenade you with beautiful jazz melodies to chase away the tropical heat.
Rainfall: 19 days
Temperature: 88.3° F (27.2° C)
As we come to May, Singapore turns into meditative mood with the coming of Vesak Day on the 18th. A major event on the Buddhist calendar, this day is also a public holiday in Singapore where devotees fill up various Buddhist temples across the island with offerings. Visit the beautiful Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery where caged animals are released as a show of compassion, and a carnival is held where different activities help you understand the intricacies of Buddhism.
Rainfall: 17 days
Temperature: 88.3° F (27.4° C)
Less rainfall this month means it’s a great time to enjoy some outdoor activities; but lather up with sunscreen, for the heat this month will be no less relenting. Head to beaches in Sentosa and enjoy the cool, sea waters. Or hit the shopping centres in Orchard Road where sales abound – thanks to the annual Great Singapore Sale. Shop to your heart’s content in the air-conditioned spaces as sales of every kind beckon you with incredible bargains.
Rainfall: 9 days
Temperature: 81.1° F (27.3° C)
As a famous food capital, Singaporean food can be savoured any time of the year. But the annual Singapore Food Festival takes it to another level. The month-long event gathers all Singapore’s favourite dishes in one place – whether it’s hawker food like Nasi Lemak or Hainanese Chicken Rice, or innovative creations from international chefs showcasing their culinary skills. July is definitely the time to go on a culinary adventure in Singapore, and feast on the local delights.
Rainfall: 18 days
Temperature: 81.1° F (27.1° C)
Singapore gears up for its biggest national celebration in August, as National Day approaches on the 9th. The small city-state gained independence in 1965, and has been proudly celebrating its independence from Malaysia every year since. At the main event venue at Marina Bay, an impressive showcase of Singapore’s defensive capabilities wows the audience. The Parade then begins with songs and performances, ending with a stunning display of fireworks – a spectacular tribute to how far Singapore has come since independence.
Rainfall: 19 days
Temperature: 81.1° F (26.9° C)
Even though high rainfall is the norm this month, it does not daunt the spirits of spectators at the annual Singapore Grand Prix. People from all over the world gather at the Marina Bay Street Circuit to watch the motorsport event. The final rounds of the F1 championship are the most electrifying, so make sure you book your flights and accommodation real early so you won’t miss out on the event.
Rainfall: 18 days
Temperature: 81.1° F (26.9° C)
Heading into the homestretch of the year, Singapore slows down to take a breather from a first half packed with events. Enjoy a slight break in the tourist traffic this month and chill out like the locals. It’s also starting to rain like crazy from this month onwards – so you can enjoy a quieter Singapore at its numerous cafes. The hip Tiong Bahru neighbourhood – home to old-school bakeries and stylish cafes – is a good place to start.
Rainfall: 24 days
Temperature: 81.1° F (27 ° C)
Little India starts to light up this month as the Tamil Hindus in Singapore prepare for another national holiday – Deepavali. The festival could also be in October depending on the Hindu calendar. The streets of Little India are adorned with colourful decorations and sparkle with thousands of lights. Street parades, Indian craft heritage exhibitions and countdown concerts bring the excitement to the hilt.
Rainfall: 23 days
Temperature: 81.1° F (26.6 ° C)
As we come to the end of the year, be prepared for a lot of rainfall and an excess of merry spirits. Singaporeans busy themselves with year-end Christmas shopping and New Year’s Eve parties this month. The main action happens in Orchard Road as it transforms into a dazzling Christmas paradise – all shopping centres are adorned in Christmas lights and restaurants come up with a variety of delectable Christmas menus. If you are still in Singapore on New Year’s Eve, join the ZoukOut countdown dance party at Siloso Beach in Sentosa. Ushering in the New Year with thousands of other excited Singaporeans on the beach promises to be unforgettable.
Rainfall: 25 days
Temperature: 81.1° F (26.1 ° C)
Singapore is blessed with sunshine all year, but more rainfall in the last few months of the year. However, the slight changes in weather should not deter you from visiting the country at any time, as it’s more often than not, hot and humid. If you really hate the rain, you could skip the northeast monsoon season which is in November and December. Yet again, having an umbrella on hand and always having a plan B when it pours suddenly, will do the trick.