So, you’ve got a stopover in Singapore, or only 24 hours in the tiny island nation, and you’re wanting to know exactly what are the best things to do, where to eat and maybe what you should avoid? Well we’ve travelled on 6 different occasions to Singapore while exploring Southeast Asia, and always seem to only have one or two days to explore! So, after many trial and errors on our part, we have put together the perfect one day in Singapore itinerary.
We’ve also tested this itinerary on many a friend living in Singapore so that we’re not only giving you the advice as tourists, but also got the lowdown from people who know the secret spots and hidden gems! As always, if you need any more advice than what’s in our article, drop us a note in the comments below or get in touch with us, we’d love to give you more in depth insights into the do’s and don’ts for any trip to Singapore.
Why go to Singapore?
Now we imagine that you are already planning to head to Singapore, either as part of a larger Southeast Asia itinerary or a layover. But just in case you need a few more reasons as to why you should spend time in Singapore, here is some inspiration:
- If you are looking for the most gentle way into Southeast Asia and not quite ready to explore the sights, smells and sounds of the likes of Bangkok, then look no further than this very safe, island state. Worried about the cleanliness of tap water? Singapore’s is totally drinkable. Concerned you’ll you’ll get sick from street food? Not here. Worried about your safety? Singapore is one of the safest countries on the planet.
- If you’re on a longer trip to elsewhere in the world then there is no better layover city or country. In one day you can explore so many famous landmarks or shop till you drop and that’s even without leaving the airport! Changi International Airport is one of the most beautiful and best connected airports in the world.
- Where do we start with the food? The fact that Singapore has been a major international trading port has brought together a fabulous mix of cultures and cuisines – making the fare some of the best in the world. Whether it’s testing the hawker stalls in Little India or the best Chinese delicacies in Chinatown, your taste buds will be blown.
- And of course, it’s not the cheapest place in the world to visit, especially by Southeast Asia standards, but we were surprised by how many awesome free things you can do in the city! So, if you do it right, you aren’t going to spend a fortune…
The perfect one day in Singapore itinerary
- Morning – Explore Little India & Chinatown
- Afternoon – Helix Bridge, ArtScience Museum & Gardens by the Bay
- Evening – Supertree Grove lightshow & Night Safari
Is 24 hours in Singapore enough?
It’s funny as there aren’t many major cities in the world where we’d say you can get away with one day in… but Singapore is one of those places that you can.
In 24 hours you aren’t going to be able to see everything, there are actually a surprising number of amazing landmarks in Singapore – but you should at least see the bigger bucket list items in one day.
So, if you are looking for the perfect layover location for a longer flight, or just want to squeeze in a quick stop over while travelling through Singapore and Malaysia and beyond then we’ve got you covered with all the best things to do in Singapore.
However, if you are able to extend your stay to 2 days in Singapore then great news, and we have added quite a few bonus activities that you can add to your one day in Singapore itinerary.
Travel Insurance for Singapore
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One day in Singapore itinerary
We imagine that you’ve landed into Singapore’s Changi Airport, so we’ve got a breakdown of how to get from there into the city. But just in case we also have a section about getting around the city, as you may well be arriving to Singapore by bus from Malaysia, check that out below.
Explore Little India
Time: allow 2 to 3 hours, maybe a bit more if you’re stopping for breakfast!
And first up, it’s time for you to explore our favourite part of Singapore: the very vibrant Little India. We’d suggest that if you haven’t managed to grab any breakfast yet, then head to Race Course Road to try some of the best Indian cuisine outside of India!
Don’t worry if delicious dhal and roti is not your thing. We’ve got some other breakfast ideas in our ‘Where to Eat in Singapore’ section.
But if you are keen for it, then we’d suggest that you try some fish head curry. Similar to mohinga (an absolute must try when visiting Yangon), you have to try this at least once when in Singapore!
Refuelled and raring to go, the other must do things in Little India are to check out the stores, an exquisite example of a traditional shophouse and at least one temple.
The most famous temple in Little India is the Sri Veeramakaliamman temple. This is the most impressive and one of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore, and definitely worth a stop to take a great photo and learn more about how the religion plays an important role in Singapore culture.
Location: 141 Serangoon Rd, Singapore
Open: 5.30am to 9.30pm daily
Next it’s on to visit the beautifully coloured Tan Teng Niah shophouse. Thought to be the last remaining Chinese villa in the area, as with many of the original colourful shophouses, it was owned by a local Chinese businessman, Mr Tan (hence the name).
Location: 37 Kerbau Rd, Singapore
And the final place to check out in Little India is the Mustafa Centre. Whether you’re looking for electronics, jewellery, books or groceries – everything can be found at this 24-hour shopping centre. It’s pretty much a Singaporean institution and the total opposite of the famous Orchard Road (see our bonus section for more on that).
Location: 145 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore
Note: to get from Little India to Chinatown, you’ll probably want to jump in a Grab (Southeast Asia’s Uber), as it’s about a 4km walk. So to save time as you only have 24 hours, better to take the 10 minute taxi ride!
Stuff yourself in Chinatown
Time: allow yourself a couple of hours (and maybe a bit more if you eat lunch at one of the hawker centres).
First up in Chinatown, and another Singapore landmark is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. Although the temple was only opened in 2007, it holds a hugely significant Buddhist relic – the tooth of the Buddha, which is housed in the huge gold stupa.
Location: 288 South Bridge Road, Singapore
Open: Daily from 9am to 6.30pm
And then onto the oldest temple in Singapore, the Sri Mariamman Temple. Originally built in the early 1800s this Hindu temple was then updated in the middle of that century to what you see today. If you like temples, we’d also recommend a quick stop at Thian Hock Keng Temple (also known as Tianu Temple), a temple built as an ode to the Chinese sea goddess, Mazu.
Location: 244 S Bridge Road, Singapore 058793, Singapore
And onto your final stop in Chinatown on your one day in Singapore itinerary – and it’s a good one. Lunchtime!
Although there are a number of hawker centres in Chinatown, we’d suggest that you head to the Chinatown Complex. The huge floor (second floor) houses over 260 different food stalls, offering some of the best street food in Singapore. Whether you’re dying to try out the famous Hainanese chicken rice or a bowl of laksa, this is the place to go.
Location: 335 Smith Street, Singapore
Open: 8.00am to midnight daily!
Not sure about eating at the Chinatown Complex? No worries, we’ve got you covered with more options in the ‘Where to Eat’ section further down the article.
Head to the Helix Bridge
Time: allow 15 to 30 minutes just to get those perfect shots.
After you’ve had your fill of delicious Singaporean food – and yes, it is some of the best – it’s time to walk around some more of those famous Singapore landmarks. First up, head to the Helix Bridge, which connects the Singapore Flyer, the Marina Promenade and Esplanade areas to the Marina Bay Sands and all its attractions.
This bridge is one of our favourite photo spots in Singapore. The 650-ton stainless steel design wraps it’s way around the walkway, providing a really stunning visual effect.
Note: Again it’s around 10 minutes in the taxi (or 4km) to the Helix Bridge, but you’ll want the driver to take you to the Singapore Flyer side of the bridge, so you’re not doubling back on yourself.
Top tip: The Singapore Flyer is a little bit like the London Eye (a must visit on any London itinerary) and although we haven’t been on it, have been advised by a local that it’s one of the best things to do in Singapore at night!
Get creative at the ArtScience Museum
Time: allow 1 to 2 hours
As you reach the end of the bridge, you’ll arrive at the ArtScience Museum, and if you’re keen on getting that perfect shot for the ‘Gram, the Future World Exhibition makes it another must-visit attraction in Singapore.
Location: 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore
Open: Daily from 10.00am to 7.00pm
Head to the Gardens by the Bay
Time: rest of your afternoon and early into the evening. We’d suggest a minimum of 3 hours… especially if you stay on for the famous lightshow – Garden Rhapsody.
The number one attraction in Singapore, and rightly so, the beautiful Gardens by the Bay is the one thing that we’d say you HAVE to do when in Singapore!
You can wander around the Supertree Grove, which is amazing in it’s own right and probably the best free thing to do in the city, pay to go onto the walkways or also buy tickets for some of the domed attractions – the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome both offering unique experiences.
Location: 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore
Open: Daily from 5.00am to 2.00am
Lightshow at the Supertree Grove
After you are done with exploring the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, try and work out the timings to be back at the Supertree Grove for their free evening light shows. Taking place at 7.45pm and 8.45pm, if you can, you may want to try for the latter as it tends to be quieter.
Dinner at the Bay
We’d suggest that you try and grab a quick bite before your final activity of the one day in Singapore itinerary! And just for the convenience (and because it is very good), try out Satay by the Bay – there is a great selection of options.
Enjoy a night safari
And onto the last activity in your Singapore itinerary, is to take a night safari… The first of its kind, the Singapore Zoo night safari is a 35 minute tram ride that showcases all the nocturnal animals of the zoo. Expect to see everything from leopards to lions, as well as being amazed at the ‘Creatures of the Night’ segment in the outdoor amphitheatre.
Location: 80 Mandai Lake Rd, Singapore
Times: 7.15pm, 8.15pm, 9.15pm and 10.15pm
Top tip: Go for the later times and there are less people.
One day in Singapore interactive map
Where to stay in Singapore
Now just in case you actually need some accommodation options, and it’s not an in/out day trip to Singapore, here are some of our favourite options:
Budget: Located in Little India (and also perfect to drop off your luggage in the morning), is the best capsule hostel in town, the Vintage Inn Boutique Capsule. Singapore is not the cheapest place for accommodation, so capsule hotels offer a great option for those on a budget.
Mid-range: Located in Chinatown (which you could alternate with Little India as your first stop on the itinerary), AMOY gets our vote for the best rated 4* in the area. A super charming boutique hotel, modern and traditional Chinese vibes all in one.
Luxury: Although if you’ve got money to burn then there are two options that should be on your list. First up the traditional opulence of Raffles. And you’ll probably have a few Singapore Slings during your stay… or with the best views in town, check out the options at Marina Bay Sands. Both landmarks in their own right and offering very different 5* experiences.
How to get around Singapore
If you’re relatively fit and like your hiking, then there is no better way to see Singapore than walking the streets. In fact, our one day in Singapore itinerary is built so that you can pretty much walk all of it…
Although don’t forget that it is pretty hot and humid all year round in Singapore, so make sure that you dress with loose comfy clothing.
We’ve mentioned it a few times in the article already, and if you’ve read many of our other posts will know that we are huge fans of Grab.
Southeast Asia’s answer to Uber, but it’s good to note that if you’re on a budget, the taxis in Singapore aren’t cheap!
Possibly the fastest way to get around the city, and a really clean, reliable and fun experience is to use the Singapore MRT (or Mass Rapid Transit).
What’s more, you can get a Singapore Tourist Pass that costs 10 SGD for one day (7 USD/5.75 GBP). Buy them at stations or Changi Airport and you can use the MRT as much as you like. They also throw in unlimited travel on the Singapore bus network – which is very easy to use!
Getting to Singapore
The obvious way to get to Singapore is to fly into Changi Airport! Let’s be honest it’s one of the best-connected airports in the world.
If you are planning on flying to Singapore, why not check out the latest deals on Skyscanner?
Alternatively, maybe you are in Malaysia and want to check out Singapore before you depart? Well if that’s the case, then you’ll most likely take a bus from the likes of Kuala Lumpur or Melaka to Singapore. The buses are a great option, with multiple operators offering a very cheap, clean (sometimes luxurious) and reliable service.
Check out the latest prices on Bookaway. They have great cancellation policies and offer 24-hour online support.
We took the bus as part of our larger Singapore Malaysia itinerary and would definitely look to book buses in the region again.
Getting from Changi Airport
Not sure how to make your way into the city? It’s relatively simple with three options on offer.
MRT: Clean, quick and usually on time, the MRT is a great way to get from Changi airport to the city centre. A ticket costs around 2 SGD (1.40 USD/1.20 GBP). Do keep in mind that you’ll need to change stations en route.
Airport shuttle bus: The bus will get you to the Singapore city centre in about 30 minutes or so, making this is quick way to transfer. You’ll find the Ground Transport Desk in the arrival hall, where you ca purchase your ticket for 9 SGD (6.20 USD/5.30 GBP).
Taxi: Definitely the most convenient and also the most expensive. Either hail a taxi from outside the Arrivals Hall or book a Grab for pickup there. You’re looking at a cost of about 20 SGD (13.80 USD/11.80 GBP) for the 20 minute route into the city which of course differs depending on your final destination.
Bonus things to add to your Singapore itinerary
Not quite sure that we’ve got you covered with the perfect one day in Singapore itinerary? Or you’ve been to Singapore before and covered off some of these ideas? Well here are some bonus activities that you can add into your Singapore itinerary, or even add to make this a longer 2 or 3 day Singapore trip.
Visit Fort Canning Hill
Not one that often makes the list of things to do in Singapore, but if you’re like us and you want to find a bit of green space in the city, then look no further than Fort Canning Park and Hill. We actually find it a great place to head to early in the morning for a run (before it gets too hot).
Fort Canning was originally where the Malay royal family lived and the site of the British surrender to Japan during World War II. Places in the grounds to check off include the Maritime Corner, the Fort Gate (remnants of the original fortress), the Spice Garden and Battle Box, a former underground military complex.
Location: River Valley Rd, Singapore
Open: 24 hours a day
Note: When you’re in the Fort Canning area, you should also look at stopping in at the National Museum of Singapore as well as heading to Clarke Quay if you want a great selection of bars and restaurants.
Kampong Glam – Haji Lane and Arab Street
This is one place that we’d love to add to the one day in Singapore itinerary, but in all honesty, with everything we’ve crammed in it just doesn’t quite make the list!
Kampong Glam is the historical Muslim Quarter of Singapore, most famous for the beautiful, colourful and vibrant Arab Street and Haji Lane. It reminds us a little of the wonderful Bo Kaap area of Cape Town, which is not too surprising as this was the historical Malay part of Cape Town.
If you’re able to visit this area, we’d suggest that you head to Haji Lane first up, the perfect place to find some unique clothing boutiques, before heading to Arab Street to take some more Instagram worthy photos!
Shop till you drop on Orchard Road
Probably the most famous road in Singapore, if not Southeast Asia, Orchard Road is THE place to go shopping in Singapore. From luxury brands like Louis Vuitton at ION Orchard mall to more affordable outfits at Far East Plaza, you can definitely spend some cash here!
Sip a Singapore Sling at Raffles
We’ve also recommended this place as one of the luxury accommodation places in Singapore – and rightly so, it is a Singapore institution. But what many people don’t realise is that the hotel’s bar is where the Singapore Sling cocktail was invented way back in 1915! So, if you can’t stay there (not many can afford it) then if you can find the time, it’s well worth stopping in for a drink!
Location: 1 Beach Rd, Singapore
Bar opening hours: 11.00am – midnight Sunday to Thursdays, 11.00am – 1.00am Fridays and Saturdays
And if you’re looking for something completely different and want to head away from the Singapore main island, then why not take a day trip to Sentosa Island?
Located just south of Singapore, you can take a cable car over to Sentosa, which is quite the experience on its own, crossing over the Singapore River.
But when you get to Sentosa, it’s time for activities, whether you’re keen on bungy jumping, the wild rides at Universal Studios Singapore, playing golf or even just relaxing on the beach – there is pretty much something for everyone.
Singapore River Cruise
While our itinerary definitely has you on your feet for most of the 24 hours, perhaps you want to trade in some of that traipsing for a river cruise. It’s a great way to see some of the city’s legendary landmarks and sights, all while gliding down the Singapore River.
You’ll do the same route as the bumboats, the small boats that used to ferry the supplies to larger ships moored in the ocean, starting at Clarke Quay and passing some historic sites like the Merlion, the Esplanade, Marina Bay Sands and the Boat Quay.
Marina Bay Sands Skypark
If you can’t afford the steep prices of the hotel rooms at the opulent Marina Bay Sands, you can still pay it a visit, to get the views!
The hotel offers a Skypark with an Observation Deck on the 57th floor with incredible views.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Of course Singapore is a bit of a steel city, with so many skyscrapers and beautiful buildings to admire. Which means that green spaces like Gardens by the Bay as well as the Singapore Botanic Gardens become even more important. The latter is actually the first UNESCO World Heritage site in Singapore, and well worth a visit.
The gardens are free to visit except if you want to head into the National Orchid Garden.
Location: 1 Cluny Rd, Singapore
Opening hours: 5.00am – 12.00am daily
When to go to Singapore?
If you’re looking for the best weather to visit Singapore, then the ‘dry season’ runs from February to August each year. Although the later that you leave it in that period, the more likely that you might encounter a shower – so if you can, February to April are your best bet, with the fewest rainy days (although even during those months you could well encounter a little rain).
From September to January is the wet season in Singapore and if travelling during that time, it’s worth carrying an umbrella at all times – those monsoon showers can be heavy, with November and December getting the worst of the wet weather.
Singapore is pretty close to the equator, meaning that it’s hot and humid year-round – expect highs of 31C or 32C degrees (90 F) year round, with the evenings never really dropping colder than 24C (75 F).
Where to eat in Singapore?
Now Singaporeans take their food very, very seriously. So seriously that they travel to towns like Malaysia’s Ipoh, just to eat! With that in mind, there are honestly so many great places to tuck in – from restaurants, to open air markets and hawker stalls – that we couldn’t really cover them all. That said, here are a few of our favourite places to fill your gurgling belly with delicious cuisine:
- Racecourse Road in Little India: Technically not one hawker centre or location, but the best Indian restaurants in Singapore are all dotted along the length of Race Course Road. Some of the more famous include Banana Leaf, Spice Junction or Fifth Season, where you can dine on a good breakfast of dosa or uthappam with sambar and chutney.
- Pacamara: If you’re wanting an English fry-up with a difference, check out Pacamara. With heavenly scrambled eggs, perfectly seared bacon and crunchy hash browns, this breakfast is a triumph, paired with sides like grilled corn and a fresh salad.
- Halia: A particularly Instagrammable table awaits at Halia, which is known for its multi-coloured breakfasts and small sharing plates that make for the perfect photo opportunity. Of course the food is pretty spectacular too, as you eat your way through nasi lemak made with Wagyu beef and coconut pandan rice, or just try their chia seed breakfast with marvellous mango and strawberry accents.
- Chinatown Food Complex Centre: We mentioned it above in our itinerary, so we hope you do head here for lunch! It’s one of the largest hawker centres in Singapore with over 260 food stalls so even the fussiest of eaters should find something to snack on here. This hawker centre is particularly good if you like Chinese-inspired dishes and has some stand-out dishes including bak kut the (pork rib dish cooked in broth) and char kway teow (flat rice noodles stir-fried with shrimp, bloody cockles, sausage and sprouts) on offer.
- Market Street Interim Hawker Centre: The clue is in the name – this is a temporary centre set up (near the Telok Ayer MRT station) when the nearby Golden Shoe Food Centre was demolished for a new construction. But we assure you there is nothing temporary about the food, as this hawker centre offers some of the best in the city! It can be chaotic around lunchtime as many of the workers from the central business district converge there but definitely worth fighting your way through for some of the more popular dishes (and the experience!). Try the nasi biryani at Golden Nur (or any of their Indian food really), the steaming Claypot Chicken Rice from Transit Market Claypot or the lor mee (thick starchy gravy with thick flat yellow noodles) from Wei Nan Wang Lor Mee.
- Satay by the Bay: To be fair, Satay by the Bay can be visited any time of the day, but it’s a lovely location in the evenings, with a cool breeze coming off the Marina Reservoir and the city skyline illuminated before you. It’s also right near the Gardens by the Bay so you can pair it with a trip to see the light show. Obviously the key item available is satay, where the City Satay stall reins supreme.
- Lau Pa Sat Food Court: More than just a hawker centre, Lau Pa Sat (also known as Telok Ayer Market) is a true Singaporean landmark, and became a national monument back in 1973. This beautiful building has an unusual octagonal shape and soaring ornamental columns, making it a more upmarket hawker experience. The food court offers some of the best fare in Singapore but the highlight is definitely the Hainanese chicken rice, with the runner-up being the cornflake shrimp!
- Newton Food Centre: Now it might not be the most acclaimed food court in terms of the quality of the cuisine but Newton Food Centre is famous for another reason – it’s the hawker centre featured in the blockbuster movie, Crazy Rich Asians! As fans of the film, we think you can’t pass up the opportunity to visit this iconic food centre. The best dishes to try are the satay (yes, again), the barbequed seafood stall with spicy sambal sides and the tasty hap kee fried oyster omelette.
What camera equipment and other gear do we use?
We’re living proof that you don’t need the most expensive gear to travel the world and take good photos. Here are some of our must have items that make it into the packing list for all our travels.
- Main Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
- Drone: DJI Mavic Air – Fly More Combo
- GoPro: Hero 7 Black
- GoPro Dive Case: Go Pro Housing
- GoPro Case: Smatree GoPro Carry Case – Small
- Packing Cubes: Eagle Creek Packing case
- Backpack: Osprey Farpoint 70
- Powerbank: Anker Powercore
- Phone: Xiaomi Mi 9
- Hard drive: Transcend Slim Storejet 2TB
- Laptop: Lenovo IdeaPad 720s
- Headphones: Bose Quiet Comfort 35
- Wifi Hotspot: GlocalMe G4
Frequently Asked Questions
What to do with luggage in Singapore?
Well the big question if you’re just on a short layover and won’t be needing accommodation is what to do with your luggage!
Good news is that there is an easy solution, with Changi Airport offering luggage storage facilities… starting from 10 SGD (7 USD/5.75 GBP) for a small bag under 10kg to 15 SGD (10.50 USD/8.60 GBP) for over 10kg for 24 hours, it’s a great solution so that you don’t have to drag your luggage around town!
Check out the prices and how to store your luggage here.
Do I need travel insurance for Singapore?
Yes! Make sure that you have travel insurance if you’re heading anywhere on holiday or travels.
What is the one absolute must-visit attraction if you’re in Singapore for one day?
In our opinion it has to be Gardens by the Bay. Not only is there the free Supertree Grove to marvel at, but the Walkway, Cloud Forest and Flower Dome are all amazing attractions in their own right. Then of course the free evening lightshows, Garden Rhapsody at the Supertree Grove. What a win!
Are there any free guided tours?
Yes! If you are travelling through Changi Airport, have a layover of at least 5.5 hours, and shorter than 24 hours, then you could be eligible for a free tour! How cool is that?
See here for more information about this walking tour, if you qualify, where to register and more.
What do you think of our Singapore Travel Guide, the perfect itinerary for 1 day in Singapore? Let us know in the comments below, or we’d love to hear from you if you’ve got any suggestions to make this one day Singapore itinerary better – so drop us a note here!
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