Itinerary Overview

Singapore is one of the safest, cleanest, and most efficiently run cities in the world. It is also one of the most expensive to visit. Fortunately, its compact design is perfect for exploring – nothing you’ll want to see is more than an hour by car from the central business district. Few things bring people together like food does and Singapore’s world renowned food scene is an essential part of its culture and the thread that unifies its diverse population.

Day One of the below itinerary will guide you through Downtown, Chinatown, and Marina Bay, Day Two includes Little India, Arab Quarter, and Museum districts. Day Three features the resort-island Sentosa, Singapore’s famous shopping district, and the world’s first night safari.

Day 1

1. National Gallery of Singapore

2. Merlion Park

3. Chinatown

4. Gardens by the Bay

5. Marina Bay Sands

Time: 6+ hours

Budget: $85+ per person

(all $ figures in USD; includes entrance fees, food, and transport)

Day 2

1. Little India

2. Haji Lane

3. National Museum

4. Raffles Hotel

5. Clarke Quay

Time: 6+ hours

Budget: $90+ per person

(all $ figures in USD; includes entrance fees, food, and transport)

Day 3

1. Mount Faber Park

2. Singapore Cable Car

3. Sentosa

4. VivoCity

5. Night Safari

Time: 6+ hours

Budget: $135+ per person

(all $ figures in USD; includes entrance fees, food, and transport)

Fast Facts

BEFORE YOU GO

UTC/GMT +8

Advanced English proficiency

G Sockets (British); 230V / 50Hz

Tap water is considered safe for drinking, cooking, and brushing

No tourist visa needed for AUS, EU, or US passport holders

The CDC recommends Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines for most travelers

When You Arrive

$1.00 (USD) = 1.3 Singapore Dollars (SGD)

Tipping is not customary for restaurants or taxis

MRT (mass rapid transit), Taxi, Uber, and Grab (Uber-like mobile app) are all clean, safe, and similarly priced

Drive on left side

Airport to City Center: MRT from Terminal Two or Three, then transfer to the westbound train at Tanah Merah station (75 minutes; $2). Taxis and Uber are available from all terminals (25 minutes; $15-25)

Preferred accommodation type is luxury hotel, Airbnb, or hostel

Best Time To Visit

Spring and Fall is the best time to visit Singapore

The best time to visit Singapore depends on whether you like to avoid the crowds or embrace them. Singapore has a warm, tropical climate year-round; however, it averages 178 rainy days per year. November to June is considered high season due to winter vacationers and holiday festivals such as Chinese New Year. November to December is also the time of year with the most rain. July to October has slightly lighter tourist traffic and rain, but the steady flow of business travelers and cultural festivals celebrated by the diverse Chinese, Malay, and Indian population result in a steady influx of visitors in Singapore all year.

Neighborhood Guide

Edit
Marina Bay Clark/Robertson Quay Chinatown Burgis/Kampong Glam
Description Waterfront, skyscrapers, city center Riverside, party hub, touristy Local cultural sights, budget and some luxury, centrally located Independent shops and restaurants, low-cost, outside city center
Affordability
Nature [Beach]
Dining
Landmarks
Nightlife

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Downtown core

1) National Gallery of Singapore – The National Gallery of Singapore resides in the Old Supreme Court and City Hall buildings and is the result of a $375 million investment and ten years of planning and development. The gallery draws from Singapore’s National Collection, the world’s largest public collection of contemporary and modern Southeast Asian Art. Start your tour at the rooftop which has a terrace and restaurant that offer amazing vistas for taking in the skyline.

 1-3 hours $15+

2) Merlion Park – A ten minute walk from the National Gallery, across the Anderson Bridge, is Merlion Park. The Merlion is an twenty foot statue of a lion’s head with a fish’s body that spouts water from its mouth. It is widely used as the national mascot of Singapore. The park offers unobstructed views of Marina Bay Sands and is best enjoyed early when the sun is rising and the crowds are thin.

 Up to 1 hour  $0

3) Chinatown – A short walk to the south of Merlion Park, along South Bridge Street, you’ll come across the city’s Chinatown neighborhood on your right hand side. Here you’ll find shophouses selling artwork and clothing, Buddhist temples, medicine halls, tea houses, and street-side eateries. In typical Singaporean fashion, it is incredibly clean and well organized. Make a right turn where South Bridge Street splits and you’ll find the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, a colorful Buddhist temple and museum reputed to have a canine tooth of the Buddha himself. Directly southeast of the Temple is the Maxwell Food Centre, one of Singapore’s best “hawker centers” (open-air food stalls selling a variety of cheap food). One block to the north on Smith Street is the hawker Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, known to serve the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world, starting at just $1.

1-2 hours $10+

4) Gardens by the Bay – To reach the Gardens by the Bay from Chinatown is a forty minute walk or a ten minute car ride. The Gardens are a nature park spanning 250 acres, including a Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, and Supertree Grove. There is an elevated walkway between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a panoramic aerial view of the park. At night, the Supertrees come to live with a light and music show called the OCBC Garden Rhapsody. This is one of the places in Singapore you must visit!

 2-3 hours  $20+

5) Marina Bay Sands – A ten minute walk to the west of the Gardens is the unmistakable Marina Bay Sands Hotel. For an evening bite or drink, head to Flight Bar & Lounge on the 57th floor of the hotel. This is a great vantage point for the Wonder Full Light & Water Show, an amazing convergence of light, music, and sound with the stunning cityscape of Singapore in the backdrop.

 1-2 hours  $40+

Day 2: little india & arab quarter

1) Little India – Consider starting day two in one of the city’s most vibrant districts, Little India. The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) will take you to the Farrer Park station which is just around the corner from Serangoon Road, the main commercial street in Little India. As you walk south along Serangoon Road, you can bargain shop for saris at the open-air Tekka Center, enjoy a local “teh tarik” (‘pulled’ hot milk tea), or tour one of the many Hindu temples. At 555 Serangoon Road is the Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple, a colorful Hindu temple believed to have been started in 1830 by a single female devotee. The sights and smells of Little India do resemble that of actual India, but expect to pay Singapore prices.

 1-2 hours $5+

2) Arab Quarter – A fifteen minute walk to the east of Little India is Haji Lane, a collection of narrow yet colorful shophouses in the heart of Kampong Glam, a.k.a Arab Quarter, that have been transformed into a hip stretch of retail shops, local eateries, and shisha bars. This neighborhood is well worth exploring; it is home to Singapore’s best street art and is one of the only areas largely untouched by the extensive modernization in Singapore over the last sixty years. A ten minute walk to the northeast is the Lau Pa Sat Food Centre, another of Singapore’s best hawker centers.  Here you will find Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, the second of two uber-cheap, Michelin-starred noodle stands in Singapore.

1-2 hours $10+

3) National Museum of Singapore – A thirty minute walk southwest towards Fort Canning Park is the National Museum of Singapore. The museum is housed in a magnificent renaissance structure and describes Singapore’s meteoric rise to one of the most successful metropolises in the world.  

1-2 hours $11

4) Raffles Hotel – A ten minute walk to the east of the National Museum is the legendary Raffles Hotel, a five star hotel that first opened its doors in 1887 and is an enduring monument to the city’s rich colonial history. Its classic colonial architecture has been well preserved and provides a lively contrast to its modern-skyscraper neighbors. Through the decades, the hotel’s Sikh doormen have welcomed famous writers, celebrities, politicians and members of royalty. Visitors can take in the rich heritage with a leisurely stroll through the hotel or indulge in some window shopping at the Raffles Hotel Arcade. Consider making a stop at The Long Bar where the famous Singapore Sling was created.  

Up to 1 hour $25+

5) Singapore River Cruise and Clarke Quay – A fifteen minute walk southwest from Raffles Hotel is Clarke Quay. To purchase tickets for a Singapore River Cruise, visit the Clarke Quay Jetty Ticket Counter at the corner of Canning Lane and Clarke Street. Boats depart every twenty minutes and a complete trip around the river lasts forty minutes, including several pickup/drop off points along the way. If you choose to return to Clarke Quay, one of the liveliest night time areas of Singapore await you. Clarke Quay is five blocks of old warehouses restored into trendy restaurants and nightclubs. There are also several Chinese junks (sailboats) that have been refurbished into floating pubs and restaurants. The Indian fare at RAS or Chinese cuisine at VLV Singapore are notable dinner options in the area, both with terraces overlooking the water.  

2-3 hours $40+

Day 3: Sentosa, vivocity & night safari

1) Mount Faber Park – Your trip to Singapore would not be complete without a visit to Sentosa Island and experiencing Singapore’s world renowned shopping districts. To begin the day, consider taking the MRT to the Harbourfront stop. From here it is a twenty minute walk via the Marang Trail to Mount Faber Park, one of the oldest parks in Singapore with panoramic lookout points along the way.

1-2 hours $0

2) Singapore Cable Car – The fastest way from Mount Faber to Sentosa is an aerial cable car, which offers stunning views of the horizon from above.

 Up to 1 hour  $25

3) Sentosa – Sentosa is a small island connected to Singapore by causeway and for all intended purposes a giant amusement park. In addition to fourteen hotels and resorts, attractions include three beaches (try Siloso Beach for good restaurants and bars or Tanjong Beach for solitude), Universal Studios Singapore theme park, Fort Siloso (a former coastal gun battery from World War II and now military museum), S.E.A. Aquarium (the world’s largest aquarium), zip-lining, a giant luge, and countless others.

 2-4 hours $75+

4) VivoCity – From Sentosa you can use the return portion of your Cable Car ticket and get off at the Harbourfront Station.  Next door to the station you’ll find VivoCity, Singapore’s largest retail shopping center, which boasts a cinema multiplex (including one of the largest cinema screens in Asia), al fresco dining with waterfront views, and a rooftop amphitheater with regularly occurring concerts.

 1-2 hours  $0+

5) Night Safari – If you have any energy left after the busy day, consider taking the 30 minute car ride north to see Night Safari, the world’s first nocturnal zoo. It can be explored either on foot or by tram and the animals range from Indian rhinoceros and Nile hippos to Malaysian tigers and Asian elephants. The park is made visible by lighting that resembles moonlight and the naturalistic enclosures simulate the animal’s native habitat. Last entry is around 11pm.

 1-2 hours  $35

BOTTOM LINE

This guide should immerse you in Singapore’s rich and diverse cultural districts, modern downtown, and futuristic waterfront. If you have some extra time, consider visiting other outdoor spaces such as the Botanical Gardens, Labrador Nature Reserve, or the waterfront at East Coast Park and exploring more of the city’s food scene. Singapore’s compact layout can be deceiving; there are endless hidden food stalls, local boutiques, and new attractions to experience.

Previous Guide:

3 Days in Dubai

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3 Days in Bangkok

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