Singapore is one of the most popular destinations in Asia; a big favourite among tourists and business travellers. It is a city-state, small in size, but has so much to offer its visitors.
There are many must-see attractions in Singapore. And quite frankly, you would need at least four days to cover everything there is to see, try, and do. But if you’re visiting for a short period or a one-day layover, here’s how you can spend 24 amazing hours in Singapore:
1. Have breakfast at Tiong Bahru.
Breakfast should be your first activity during your short stay in Singapore. For a sampling of what the locals love to eat for breakfast, head to Tiong Bahru Food Center in Bukit Merah. There, you can order a hearty breakfast of eggs, kaya (coconut jam) toast, and sweet coffee. Just a note, though, Singaporeans like their eggs soft and runny with a dash of soy sauce and pepper.
2. Go on a river cruise.
After Tiong Bahru, you can embark on a river cruise through Singapore River that will take you to three quays: Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, and Marina Bay. The river cruise is a great way to see some of the historic sights within the city-state. There’s also a prerecorded English guide so you’ll be learning about the city’s maritime history as well.
3. Explore Chinatown.
After you get off the cruise, walk over to Chinatown, one of Singapore’s busiest districts, where you’ll find many stores, shops, and authentic Chinese restaurants. There are also a number of cultural attractions in the area – the Chinese Heritage Center, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, and the Sri Mariamman Temple. Both beautiful, the Buddha Tooth Relic and the Sri Mariamman temples are a reminder of Singapore’s cultural diversity. The religious monuments are among the most photographed attractions in Singapore.
4. Sample local hawker fare at Maxwell Food Center.
The next stop after Chinatown is the Maxwell Food Center, a hawker centre that’s a big hit among locals. While there are many food stalls offering delicious and affordable food at Maxwell, tourists flock here to sample the Hainanese chicken from Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, a hawker stall whose main claim to fame is that it was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. If the line is too long at Tian Tian, you can order the Hainanese Chicken Rice from Ah Tai Chicken Rice just a few stalls away. Rumour has it that the owner of Ah Tai was the chef of Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, and many say that their chicken is just as good, if not better.
5. Take a picture of yourself with the Lion Head at Merlion Park.
After your sumptuous lunch at Maxwell, proceed to Merlion Park. There, make your way towards the Lion Head. Ok, this may sound a bit touristy, but you really have to have your picture taken with the Lion Head in the background because it is the most iconic landmark in the city after all. Merlion Park is located at One Fullerton near the Singapore CBD. It is also a nice spot for sightseeing as it provides a spectacular panoramic view of the bay and sits across the famous Marina Bay Sands.
6. Witness the magical beauty of the Gardens by the Bay at nighttime.
The Gardens by the Bay is one of Singapore’s most popular tourist spots. This public garden features attractions like the Supertrees and the Flower Dome, plus a breathtaking view of the majestic Marina Bay Sands. If you’re wondering what the Supertrees are, they are tree-like structures about 25 to 50 metres tall that light up at night. Watch the OCBC Garden Rhapsody and witness the Supertrees’ lights change colours to the beat of lively music.
7. Enjoy a dinner of satay and grilled seafood at Lau Pa Sat.
Another local food court that’s not to be missed is Lau Pa Sat. In fact, it is considered the best hawker centre in Singapore. While it is also a favourite lunchtime haunt among tourists and locals, the best time to drop by Lau Pa Sat would be at night, when the street adjacent to it is closed to traffic. Starting 7pm, the area is filled with stalls selling satays, grilled seafood, curries, dumplings, noodle soups – everything you would want in a comforting evening meal.
8. Watch the Marina Bay Sands light and water show.
One thing most travellers love about Singapore is that the whole city comes alive at night, especially the Marina Bay waterfront promenade. Thousands head to the promenade each week to watch Wonder Full, Marina Bay Sands’ light and water show. Spanning 38 acres and providing spectators with a spectacular viewing experience, it is by far the largest show of its kind in Southeast Asia.
Preparing for your Singapore stopover? Experience the best of Singapore with these recommended tours and excursions.
By: Brendelyn Balaga