Singapore is certainly one of the most visited cities in the world. Although very small, it has everything you’d want in a travel destination – it is progressive, safe, clean, and family-friendly. It is also a melting pot of cultures and offers varied attractions in a postcard-pretty setting.
The city-state is known as the perfect layover destination. Many travellers en route to Europe and the Middle East would gladly plan a stopover in Singapore because there is so much to do there, even during the briefest stay.
And since the city is compact and boasts one of the most modern and efficient train systems in Asia, it is also very convenient to get around in. It is easy to plan a travel itinerary that covers all the top things to do and attractions to visit. Check out the 3-day itinerary below that will maximize your stay in Singapore.
A few tips…
If you want to save on transportation costs, skip the cab or ride shares and go for Singapore’s MRT instead. You’ll save a great deal with the Singapore Tourist Pass – choose the 3-day pass if you plan on staying 3 days or more.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Changi Airport. It’s the one airport in the world where people wouldn’t mind to get holed up in. The airport has been voted ‘best airport in the world’ a staggering 9 times in the last 20 years. It features movie theatres, a swimming pool, green spaces, and an entertainment area in addition to numerous shopping and dining options and a host of free and paid services. They even have numerous foot massager machines you can use for free. How cool is that?
Day 1: Breakfast, River Cruise, Chinatown, Maxwell, Merlion Park, Gardens By The Bay, Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show
Your first activity is to have an authentic Singaporean breakfast. Head to Tiong Bahru Food Center in Bukit Merah for a sampling of kaya toast, eggs, and kopi. Kaya is actually coconut jam while kopi is just strong sweet coffee. And don’t be surprised if the eggs are served runny and topped with soy sauce and pepper, because that’s how the locals like it. If Bukit Merah is too far away from your hotel, you can also have breakfast at Ya Kun Kaya. Their kaya toast is just as good. Ya Kun Kaya has more than 25 outlets across Singapore so you’ll surely find one near where you’re based.
After breakfast, get ready for a relaxing cruise through the historic Singapore River. It’s a great introduction to the city’s highlights. Check out Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, and Robertson Quay. Singapore River cruises also comes with an audio guide so you’ll be able learn much about the metropolis’ history and relive moments from its maritime past.
Your next stop is Singapore’s busiest district – Chinatown. Do a DIY walking tour of Chinatown and see myriad stores and Chinese restaurants in addition to cultural attractions like the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, and the Chinese Heritage Center.
After discovering Chinatown on foot, you’ll have worked up an appetite so make your way towards the Maxwell Food Center. The absolute must-try here – among a sea of options – is the Hainanese chicken sold by Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, a food stand that became famous after it was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s hit show “No Reservations.” You can also try Ah Tai Chicken’s version of the dish because a lot of people say it is at par, if not better than Tian Tian’s.
Next, it is time to see the Lion Head at Merlion Park in One Fullerton. The Lion Head is Singapore’s national icon. Have your picture taken with the iconic attraction in the background. Merlion Park also offers great views of Marina Bay and the Marina Bay Sands.
From the Merlion Park, head towards the Gardens by the Bay, one of Singapore’s top tourist attractions. This public garden is famous for the Supertree Grove, Flower Dome, and the Cloud Forest. You’ll find the world’s tallest indoor waterfall in the Cloud Forest while the Supertree Grove features 16-story high man-made trees. The gigantic man structures light up at night and even change colours to upbeat music during the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show.
Another thing you shouldn’t miss when in Singapore is the Marina Bay Sands light and water show. The best spot to watch the spectacular extravaganza is at the Event Plaza on the waterfront promenade, which is about a 20-minute walk from Gardens by the Bay. If you’re visiting Singapore on a weekend, the show is at 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm. The light and water show spans 38 acres and definitely among the best in the region.
After a day of sightseeing, you’re ready for a huge satay and seafood dinner at Lau Pa Sat. One of the most popular hawker centres in Singapore, Lau Pa Sat is literally brimming with hawker stalls selling mouthwatering local food.
Complement your daytime sightseeing activities in Singapore with a nighttime tour of Gardens by the Bay. Explore the Supertree Grove, Flower Dome, and Cloud Forest. Don’t miss out on 35-metre waterfall within Cloud Forest, said to be the the tallest indoor waterfall in the world.
Day 2 – Singapore Botanic Gardens, Orchard Road, Bugis Street Market, and Little India
Start your 2nd day in Singapore with a visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts over 10,000 plant species spread over an 82-hectare green space. Located within the main gardens is the National Orchid Garden, a section that houses a collection of 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids, considered the largest in the world.
By midday, it is time to explore Orchard Road, a major shopping district in Singapore. Pop into Takashimaya, Paragon, and Ngee Ann City for the ultimate shopping experience. For lunch, try the food court at the basement of Ngee Ann City.
If you prefer markets over shopping malls, proceed to Bugis, the historic area that was once the city’s premiere red-light district. Bugis is now transformed into a street-shopping destination dotted with malls, shops, and stores favoured by bargain-hunters.
As the sun sets, proceed to the Little India neighbourhood for more shopping options, especially if you’re looking to buy jewellery and spices. The bustling ethnic enclave is also a foodie’s playground where you’ll find eateries and restaurants offering South Indian and Singaporean cuisine and a mix of international fare. Before leaving Little India, drop by Mustafa Centre – the most popular market-style retail hub in Singapore. The shopping complex is open 24/7.
The Singapore City Tour is perfect for travellers who want to see Singapore’s highlights in half a day. Explore the National Orchid Garden and Little India and see the historic Padang, Parliament House, and City Hall, among other attractions.
Day 3: Sentosa Island
Spend your last day in Singapore in Sentosa Island. Sentosa is an island resort that features a wide range of attractions from sandy beaches to spas, interactive zoos, and theme parks.
Sentosa is easily accessible from the CBD and is just a short cable ride from VivoCity, Singapore’s largest shopping mall. Highlights include Universal Studios Singapore, Palawan Beach, Tiger Sky Tower, S.E.A. Aquarium, Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom, Skyline Luge Sentosa, Tiger Sky Tower, Sentosa Nature Discovery, and Resorts World Sentosa, among other attractions.
Make the most of your last day in Singapore with a morning tour to Sentosa Island. Enjoy a scenic cable ride, be fascinated by the thousands of butterflies and other insects in the Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom, and visit Resorts World Sentosa’s S.E.A. Aquarium, the world’s largest aquarium. By the end of your tour, you still have time to explore Universal Studios Singapore. With the Universal Studios One Day Pass you will experience world-class rides and attractions based on iconic films and TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Shrek, Transformers, and Madagascar.