Hiring a tour guide in Singapore can have its good sides as well as its bad sides. This is true for hiring a guide anywhere in the world. You never know until you try. But by reading this blog, you’ll be able to figure out if there are more benefits for you on your trip by hiring a tour guide or if it would be disadvantageous. This depends greatly on what kind of person you are and what you expect to experience during your trip, so just think of this as a general guideline.
The Pros of Hiring a Tour Guide in Singapore
Usually, when you plan a trip somewhere, you choose that place because you want to see the sights there or you want to experience something. This means you need to plan ahead and create some kind of itinerary for yourself. And if it’s your first time in Singapore, you’ll probably want to see the most famous sightseeing spots. It takes a bit of research to decide on the spots you want to visit, and figure out which ones you can actually visit in the amount of time that you have. If you hire a private tour guide, you don’t have to think about this at all. They’ll pick you up and take you to the best sightseeing spots, and just by following them around you’ll be able to see the popular sights of Singapore. There are different types of tours that you can choose from so you can find the perfect tour for yourself.
2. Access around the city
For some people, wandering around a foreign place can be a bit scary. You have to depend on your own navigation skills to get to the sightseeing spots, and to get back to your hotel. If you’re a person who finds reading a map difficult, this could seem pretty impossible. Singapore has a developed train system and it is easy enough to navigate the different routes. People who are from cities where cars are the main mode of transportation just need to consult the train map a lot more than people who’re used to riding the train. For those of you who don’t want the hassle of doing this, having your own personal guide is great. They’ll tell you which train to get on, what stop to get off at, or which exit is closest to the sightseeing spot, so you don’t have to think about it. Just follow them around save time trying to figure out the trains.
3. Local knowledge
Do you like visiting off the beaten path places? Would you like some real advice on where the best places to get a good deal on souvenirs are? Restaurants advertised in guidebooks tend to be geared toward tourists, so wouldn’t you rather try some local food the actual people living in Singapore eat? These are things you won’t be able to find the answer to in a guidebook of Singapore. But a local guide will be able to provide answers to all these requests. A normal tour at a normal travel agency have predetermined itineraries and they won’t be able to take you to any places that isn't part of the itinerary. But at TripleLights, you can actually request a tour to the local guides. Just write down what kind of things you want to see or what kind of things you want to eat and see what they suggest. You only need to book a tour after you see what the local guides suggest so you won’t be blindly signing up for an original tour of Singapore.
4. Detailed explanations
When visiting sightseeing spots, some people prefer to have detailed explanations about the history or the cultural aspects of that particular place. Of course you can often find brochures or plaques with simple explanations, but it’s not the same as having someone tell you about that place. Maybe it’s a place so important to the country that school kids visit to learn about it, or maybe it’s only a place that usually only tourists visit, or maybe it’s a place that locals also like to visit during their daily lives. This kind of “living” knowledge can only be learned from an actual person. And you’ll also be able to ask questions. Having a tour guide accompanying you is essential if you’re a person who wants to be able to have a really deep understanding of the history, culture, and traditions of Singapore.
5. Moving at your own pace
Having a private tour guide means being able to accommodate groups of all ages. If you’re a family with small children, you’ll probably want to take it slow. And you’ll want to visit more kid friendly places. Or, if you have elderly family members with you, you’ll probably want to take frequent breaks and go places that don’t require too much walking. Wheelchair access is also something you will probably be interested in if you have a member in your group that uses one. If you have a guide with you, this task along with others like finding bathrooms or nursing rooms will be easier and not so time consuming. It’s also a good idea to have the guide schedule your itinerary so that all the sightseeing spots are wheelchair accessible.
You can also request a half day tour instead of a full day tour if you feel a whole day of sightseeing will be a little too much. You could spend the morning at Singapore Zoo or the Botanical Gardens and have the guide pick you up after lunch or you could go on a tour in the morning and have the guide drop you off at one of the shopping areas in Singapore before lunch so you can spend a leisurely afternoon shopping to your heart’s content. You’ll have your own private tour guide so anything is possible.
The Cons of Hiring a Tour Guide in Singapore
1. Quality of guides
If you’re hiring a tour guide for a tour of Singapore, you want to make sure they are good . You don’t want to have a guide who doesn’t really know about the history or culture of Singapore. And you of course want to have a guide who speaks good English or whichever language you’re looking for, because what’s the use of hiring a guide who you can’t understand half of the time. At most tour agencies, you can’t choose your guide so it’s a big risk. However, at TripleLights, you can check out the guide's profile page and see their introductory videos and figure out if they’ll be a good fit for you. There’ll be reviews from other previous customers so you can also use those as reference too.
Compared to sightseeing on your own, hiring a tour guide is a bit of an extravagance. However, if you only have a limited time to see the sights and you want to see as many main sightseeing spots as possible, or you don’t have time to research the places you want to see before your trip, you could just leave everything up to the guide and not worry about a thing. Compared to the time you need to spend planning your itinerary, paying for somebody to do it for you could turn out to be money well spent. It just depends on your priorities.
3. Walking Tours
Unfortunately, a walking tour means exactly that, walking. The tours use the public transportation system to move around the city so you can’t just sit on a bus or in a car and relax. For people who are used to walking, this shouldn’t be a problem. For people who usually use a car to get to places that are just a 5 minute walk away, walking for 8 hours around Singapore could be a real challenge. You can of course take a lot of breaks to rest your feet, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’ll probably feel the strain on your soft feet. But if you’re really adverse to walking, you can ask the guide to use taxis for transportation. Or you can request a shorter tour that only takes up part of the day.
There are many pros and cons about hiring a local guide for a private tour in Singapore. From full day tours to part time tours, the reasons will differ from person to person, group to group, and they may or may not include the reasons I listed above. So before making a decision about going on a tour or not, you should decide what you’re looking for in Singapore. If you’re starting from scratch and don’t know what there is to see in Singapore, see this blog. When you have some idea of the things you’d like to see on your trip, then you can make a decision whether hiring a guide during your trip is a good idea or not. With or without a tour, Singapore is an amazing city to visit. It’s a small but modern city that has managed to save its natural tropical environment as popular sightseeing spots by preserving it in the shape of gardens, zoos, and safaris. Make sure you visit at least one of these natural environments when traveling to Singapore instead of just enjoying the city full of skyscrapers.