Introduction to Singapore!Built upon a foundation of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European influences, Singapore is a city buzzing with diversity. As you spend your days wandering through the impeccably clean streets, you may find yourself surprised by the ease of which locals switch back and forth between English and their mother tongue in casual conversation. Perhaps you’ll notice the vibrant murals and detailed sculptures, created by a new wave of budding artists in Singapore, adding an artistic flair to this futuristic city. Inevitably, you’ll come across one of the city’s infamous hawker centres, a food court of epic proportions showcasing the delicious impact Singapore’s multi-ethnic heritage has had on it’s robust food scene. So what are some of the must do things in Singapore? This 4 day Singapore Itinerary (that can easily be adapted to be a 3 day Singapore Itinerary) will help you make the most out of your few days in the Garden City!
- Read more about the country in our Singapore Guide.
- Check out the best hostels in Singapore.
- Also see our article on the top 10 things to on a budget in Singapore.
How many days should you spend in Singapore?
4 Days in Singapore – Our Recommendation!The itinerary that we have created below is based on spending 4 days in Singapore, which is the most popular amount of time for visitors to stay in the city. During four days in the city, you will have plenty of time to check out the various neighbourhoods, from Little India to Chinatown and Arab Street. You will not need to rush around so much and you can sample a variety of tourist spots and hidden delights, as well as trying a variety of delicious foods! In our opinion, 4 days is the perfect amount of time in Singapore and we highly recommend that you follow the 4 day Singapore Itinerary below to help you plan the perfect visit to the city!
2 or 3 Days in SingaporeIf you have only two or three days in Singapore, you can easily adapt this itinerary to suit your time-frame. Simply miss off a day at the end of the itinerary (Day 4) or choose to miss some of the experiences out that we have listed. But don’t worry – you will still have enough time to experience the best places to visit in Singapore in 3 days! In 2 days, your Singapore Itinerary will be tight le’s be honest, but it is still doable. Just make sure you have comfortable shoes for walking around and experiencing as much as possible in those 2 days!
5 or More Days in SingaporeIf you have 5 days in Singapore, you can really get to know the city and also add some more relaxing, eating and drinking time into the below jam-packed itinerary! You may like to spend a full day on the beach at Sentosa Island or even take a day trip to Melaka in Malaysia! Why not check out the other articles on this website for inspiration and add some more things to do from our Singapore Guide if you have even more time!
The Ultimate Singapore Itinerary!
Day 1 in Singapore
Day 1 – Morning – What’s For Breakfast?Start your morning with a traditional Singaporean breakfast of Kaya Toast and Kopi! You’ll see this breakfast advertised as a “set” in cafes and food stalls across the city; a couple good places to try are Toast Box and Con Chee Confectionary. A few pieces of crispy, crustless toast are slathered with a sweet spread known as kaya, a mixture of coconut milk, sugar, eggs, and pandan, topped off with a generous pat of butter. The other half of the set comes in the form of two ultra runny, soft boiled eggs, served in a small bowl with a spoon on the side. If you want to enjoy this dish like a local, add a dab of the syrupy “soya” sauce and a dash of pepper to your eggs. Round out the set with a cup of Kopi, the Singaporean take on coffee! There are various ways you can order your Kopi, but here are a few different options to get you started:
- Kopi – Coffee with condensed milk and sugar. Beware this drink is mighty sweet!
- Kopi C – Coffee with evaporated milk and sugar. A little less sweet than Kopi since evaporated milk is subbed for condensed milk.
- Kopi O – Coffee with sugar. Sort of like an Americano with sugar added!
- Kopi Peng – Iced coffee with condensed milk. A great way to stay cool in the Singapore heat!
Day 1 – Morning – Join a Singapore Walking TourOnce you’ve fuelled up for the day, get a crash course in Singaporean history by taking a free walking tour with the Indie Singapore tour company. Tours are offered at different times throughout the week and are completely free (although tips are highly appreciated!). This is a great find if you’re on a Singapore budget trip, as this city is expensive, so be sure to take advantage of tours like this! Although Indie Singapore offer several walking tours, we recommend starting with the Singapore River and Marina Bay tour, which runs on Monday morning. During the tour, you’ll spend three hours acquainting yourself with the city’s notable landmarks in the Civic and Business Districts, while learning valuable gems of Singaporean wisdom from a friendly local guide! The walking tour begins at the Raffles MRT station at 9:30AM and ends by the Esplanade Theatre in the bay area around 12:30PM. Be sure to sign up ahead of time as the tour group is purposefully kept small to provide a more intimate experience.
Day 1 – Afternoon – Did Somebody Say Lunch?Hit the Singapore Food Treats Hawker Centre to sample your first taste of Singapore’s infamous hawker culture! Beneath the city’s famous observation wheel, lies a unique food centre styled to look like 1960’s Singapore. Here, you’ll find local Chinese, Malay, and Indian fare, like barbecued seafood, fried oysters, satay, and soup for affordable prices. It’s a fun atmosphere to grab a snack before you board the Singapore Flyer for some of the best views in the city. After lunch, climb into the antique, decorative rickshaw and snap a picture to commemorate your first hawker experience!
Day 1 – Afternoon – Ride the Singapore FlyerCatch a glimpse of the city from 165 meters above ground in the world’s second largest observation wheel, known as the Singapore Flyer. This famous apparatus is a staple landmark in Singapore’s cityscape and your ticket to a breathtaking, panoramic view of this modernised city! For 33 SGD ($24 USD) you can enjoy a narrated 30 minute ride in an air conditioned cabin as you slowly ascend to the peak, where you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the Marina Bay and Singapore’s vibrant neighbourhoods (like Little India, Arab Street, and Chinatown). Each cabin has a max capacity of 28 guests, meaning the entire wheel can host 784 guests at once! If you crave a more intimate experience, consider visiting the flyer on a weekday as opposed to the weekend.
Day 1 – Afternoon – Explore the Gardens By The BayThe Singapore government places high importance on protecting the environment and honouring nature in one’s daily life. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Singapore is oft referred to as the “Garden City” for its emphasis on sustainability, conservation, cleanliness, and lush greenery. Gardens by the Bay is the perfect encapsulation of Singapore’s ode to Mother Nature. A staggering 101 hectares in the Marina Bay area, Gardens by the Bay is the exquisite brainchild of Singapore’s top horticulturists, arborists, engineers, plant health, and garden experts. Three distinct waterfront gardens, a cloud forest, flower dome, skywalk, and many other attractions make Gardens by the Bay a must-see for any nature lovers (or just those seeking air conditioning on a hot day) visiting Singapore. Many of the gardens are free to wander, however, visitors can purchase a ticket to both the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome for 28 SGD total ($21 USD).
Day 1 – Evening – Wander the Marina Bay Sands HotelYou can’t explore Singapore without noticing the three glittering towers (connected by an eye-catching boat shaped rooftop) that are the Marina Bay Sands Hotel! If you’ve done your research, you’ve probably seen artfully curated images of Instagram models posing in the alluring infinity pool providing sweeping views of the city. Sadly, the infinity pool is for exclusive use by hotel guests, however, the Marina Bay Sands still offers plenty of other activities to the general public where you can spend as much or as little as you wish. Some of the attractions you’ll find in your exploration of Marina Bay Sands include a high end shopping mall, a casino, a theatre, and numerous bars and restaurants!
Day 1 – Evening – Dinner at The ShoppesWhile exploring the maze that is Marina Bay Sands, why not grab a bite to eat along the way? The sprawling shopping complex, known as “The Shoppes”, has a wide range of restaurants to choose from, including fancier options with fancier price tags or more budget friendly, yet equally tasty options in the food court. Blacktap is a hip restaurant, offering juicy burgers, milkshakes, and craft beer. A more affordable and casual option is Rasapura Masters, located in The Shoppes food court, offering Indonesian classics at a fair price.
Day 1 – Evening – Catch a Free Light ShowThe Marina Bay Sands offers a free light and water show, Spectra, each night at 8PM and 9:30PM (a third show is offered at 11PM on Fridays and Saturdays!). After dinner, catch the show at the Event Plaza right outside of The Shoppes. Across the bay, another enchanting (and free!) light show, Garden Rhapsody, is offered each night at the Supertree Grove at 7:45PM and 8:45PM. Come a few minutes before the show to grab a spot on the cement benches and lie down (really!) to get the best view of the whimsical show in the enchanted supertree forest.
Day 1 – Night Time – Marina Bay Sands Rooftop BarEven if you aren’t staying at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, you can play pretend for a night! Consider taking the elevator up to one of the swanky rooftop bars like Lavo or Ce La Vi for a nightcap. Drinks are not particularly cheap at about 25 SGD ($19 USD) a pop, but you’ll get an excellent view of the city and some beautiful pictures to show for it!
Day 1 – Night Time – Check out the Casino!Feeling lucky!? Head to the two level, luxury casino at Marina Bay Sands to join your fellow hopeful tourists in a game of roulette or craps. However, you won’t find many locals hanging out here, as the government imposes a 100 SGD fee to all Singaporeans who come to the casino, as a way to deter them from gambling! Inside, the casino echoes Singapore’s futuristic theme. You might even be offered a beverage from a busy robot, roaming the floor. Coffee, tea, water, juice, and soda are provided free of charge, but you’ll need to pay for any alcoholic beverages you wish to consume. Don’t forget to bring your passport with you, as you’ll need it to enter and exit the casino.
Day 2 in Singapore
Day 2 – Morning – What’s for Breakfast?In addition to the numerous hawker centres you’ll find across the city, there are plenty of trendy cafes worth checking out, especially if you’re craving more of a traditional kind of breakfast (re: pancakes, eggs, french toast). Begin your day at Robertson Quay, a spot well known for its hipster coffee cafes and delicious brunches. Some recommended breakfast joints in the area are Common Man Coffee Roasters (known for some of the best coffee in all of Singapore), Toby’s Estate (known for their Australian take on coffee), and The Book Cafe (where you can flip through a diverse selection of reading materials while you brunch). Take your time and enjoy a leisurely start to the day as you explore the quaint and budding area of Robertson Quay.
Day 2 – Morning – Discover Singapore’s Art SceneTwo words you wouldn’t expect to go together…art and government. Yet, Singapore has managed to intersperse the two in a most unusual way in the city’s Civic District! As its name suggests, the Art House at Old Parliament is an art showroom that has been erected in Singapore’s first Parliament House! Focused primarily on literary art, the Art House features work from talented artists across Southeast Asia. The Art House hosts literary, musical, and theatrical performances, as well as festivals. You can enjoy many of the exhibits for free or you can purchase tickets to a show! The Art House is open from 10AM – 10PM daily. When you’ve finished browsing the Art House, consider stopping by the National Gallery of Singapore, housed in two of Singapore’s historic buildings: City Hall and the former Supreme Court! The National Gallery showcases work from Singaporean and other Southeast Asian artists in an effort to reflect Asia’s unique heritage. You can browse many exhibits for free or purchase a ticket for 20 SGD ($15 USD). The National Gallery is open from 10AM – 7PM daily (until 9PM on Fridays).
Day 2 – Morning – Explore the Historic Fullerton HotelFormerly known by the names of Fort Fullerton, Singapore’s General Post Office, and the Singapore Club, this historic building (and Singapore’s 71st national monument) is presently known as the Fullerton Hotel. A 400 room boutique hotel, the Fullerton is consistently rated among the best hotels in the city. This poshly decorated building houses several ritzy restaurants, a bakery, a rooftop bar, and a luxury spa. It’s a fun (and air-conditioned) place to wander through whilst exploring Singapore’s Civic District.
Day 2 – Afternoon – Lunch in Little India!For lunch, take the MRT to Little India and grab a bite at the Tekka Centre. It should come as no surprise that Little India has its own rendition of the infamous hawker centres sprinkled throughout Singapore. Conveniently located by the Little India MRT station, it’s a bit hard to miss as the warehouse is painted with bright, inviting colours. Inside the warehouse you’ll have your pick of delicious Indian fare from hundreds of tempting food stalls. Consider trying an Indian donut, known as “vadai”, or the crepe like dosai! Tekka Centre is open daily from 6:30AM – 9PM.
Day 2 – Afternoon – Get Lost in the Mustafa CentreA sprawling, 24/7 shopping centre, the Mustafa Centre offers anything and everything you could possibly want to buy. Throughout it’s 6 floors, you’ll find a wide range of more than 300,000 items for sale including electronics, clothing, jewellery, groceries, cosmetics, and house-ware (just to name a few..,). If you’ve a good sense of direction and a growing shopping list, take a stroll through this 400,000 square foot shopping complex where you’re sure to find something that sparks your fancy.
Day 2 – Evening – Explore Arab StreetWhen you’ve finally found the exit of the enormous Mustafa Centre, make your way to the Muslim quarter of Singapore, known as Arab Street. Lined with brightly colored textile shops, Middle Eastern restaurants radiating tempting waffs of spicy food, and quaint cafes selling Teh Halia (ginger infused tea), Arab Street is an adventure for the senses. If you’re not in the market for a Persian rug, spend some time exploring the magnificent Masjid Sultan Mosque, considered the national mosque of Singapore. No matter what your religious inclination, the golden dome makes for the perfect photo opportunity, especially at night time when it’s less crowded. Walk in visiting hours are Saturday – Thursday, from 10AM – 12PM and 2PM – 4PM. Conservative dress is recommended.
Day 2 – Evening – Dinner time!For dinner, make your way to Haji Lane, a colourful strip of hipster cafes, restaurants, and shops set to a backdrop of amazing street art. At Juice Clinic you can order your green juice with a side of decadent lamb chops if you prefer! Feeling a bit thirsty? Head to Good Luck Beerhouse for an interesting combo of craft beer and dim sum. Before you turn in for the evening, consider a stop at the Blu Jazz Cafe for a nightcap and live music.
Day 3 in Singapore
Day 3 – Morning & Afternoon – 5 Hour Food Tour of Singapore!In a city as culturally diverse as Singapore, there’s no better way to explore the culinary nuances than a five hour food tour! For 151 SGD ($110 USD) you can arrange a tour through Singapore’s unique neighbourhoods and infamous hawker centres led by a seasoned local through the Hello Singapore tour company. During your tour, you’ll learn how Singapore’s multiculturalism has contributed to making it a top destination among foodies around the world. You can expect to sample a bit of everything, from Singaporean kopi and kaya toast, to Malay laksa, Arab inspired murtabak, Indian dosa, Chinese sweets, and many more. Word of advice: request your tour to be led by the lovely Kristie and don your stretchy pants!
Day 3 – Evening – Catch a Show at the Esplanade TheatreAfter a half day’s worth of sampling Singapore’s robust foodie scene, it’s likely that you’re feeling just a little bit full. While you’re digesting, why not catch a show at the Esplanade? Referred to by locals as “the durian” on account of the building’s spiky exterior, this architecturally intriguing theatre offers a wide variety of performances and workshops, including a handful of free ones. You can check out the schedule for what’s playing at the Esplanade here. If you’re arriving by MRT, don’t forget to check out the free art exhibit displayed in the Esplanade Tunnel!
Day 3 – Evening – Dinner at a Hawker CentreStop for dinner at Makansutra Gluttons Bay, an understated hawker centre located near the Esplanade. A mix of old school names and up-and-coming restaurateurs, each of the 12 hawker stalls are handpicked by the centre’s founder, KF Seetoh. You can expect to find a selection of local fare including chili crab, chicken rice, BBQ seafood, and fried carrot cake. Makansutra opens each night at 5PM.
Day 3 – Night Time – Bar Hop on Clarke QuayAssuming you’ve brushed up on your Singaporean geography, you’ve likely learned that there are three major quays (pro tip: pronounced as “keys”) along the Singapore river: Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, and Robertson Quay. Of these, Clarke Quay is the place to go for a laid back atmosphere and late night libations. Consider spending your evening bar hopping along Clarke Quay, where you’ll find tons of pubs, restaurants, night clubs, and live music. If you’re feeling sporty, stop by Holey Moley, a trendy bar that doubles as a spot for indoor mini-golf!
Day 4 in Singapore
Day 3 – Morning – Breakfast at Maxwell Food CentreHead to the Maxwell Food Centre to start your day with a hawker style breakfast! Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken and Rice is the most popular stall due to its Michelin Star rated chicken and rice dish, but you’ll also find a mix of classic Chinese fare at Maxwell such as rice porridge (try Zhen Zhen Porridge), carrot cake (try Marina South Delicious Food), and wonton noodles with fish balls (Fu Ji Fuzhou Fish Ball Wanton Noodles). However, if you’re more so in the mood for a cup of coffee stop by the Hangar Coffee Express, an artisan coffee stall located right in the hawker centre! The Maxwell Food Centre is walking distance from the Chinatown MRT and is open daily from 8AM – 10PM.
Day 3 – Morning – Explore ChinatownDid you know that over 75% of Singapore’s population is Chinese? That makes Singapore’s Chinatown one of the best places you can visit to experience an authentic taste of Chinese culture (aside from China, that is)! Consider taking yourself on a self-guided tour of the area, stopping by the beautiful Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (where you can view the sacred Buddha tooth), intriguing Keong Saik Road (the former red-light district of Singapore), and trendy Everton Park (great stop for coffee and street art). An alternative option is to sign up for Indie Singapore’s free tour of Chinatown, offered on Wednesday evenings.
Day 3 – Afternoon – Lunch at the Chinatown Complex!After you’ve gotten the lay of the land in Chinatown, consider stopping by the largest hawker centre in Singapore, known as the Chinatown Complex. With over 260 food stalls, this hawker centre is the perfect place to try an array of local Chinese fare like dim sum, dumplings, carrot cake, chili crab, and barbequed stingray at wallet friendly prices! You’ll even find a food-stall, Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodles, serving up Michelin star rated soya sauce chicken and rice.
Day 3 – Afternoon – Visit Sentosa Island!If you’re craving a little rest from your city explorations, consider an afternoon trip to one of the three beaches at Sentosa Island. Siloso is the most lively of the three, offering a slew of coastal restaurants and enticing activities like trapeze and zip-lining. Palawan Beach is a great spot for families and watersport activities. The remote Tanjong Beach offers the perfect adult atmosphere to chill and soak up the sun! Other attractions on Sentosa include Universal Studios Singapore, Tiger Sky Tower, and Resort World Casino. To get to Sentosa Island, take the MRT to the Harbourfront MRT Station then transfer to the Sentosa Express.
Day 3 – Evening – Head to the airport early!Consistently rated as one of the best airports in the world, Singapore’s Changi Airport is the only one where you might actually want your flight to get delayed. If you’re flying out of Terminal 4, the pilot (pun intended) site of Changi Airport’s initiative to automate the flight experience of the average consumer, you may find yourself pondering if you’ve somehow managed to time travel into the future. From the check in process, to security screening, and even boarding you’ll notice that far less human interaction is required of you than at a traditional airport! Don’t worry, however, your aircraft will still be operated by a human pilot! Beyond the check in experience, the Changi Airport offers a plethora of restaurants, shops, and entertainment (like the animated mural in Terminal 4) to keep you occupied while you wait to board the flight onto your next adventure!
South East Asia Backpacker Newsletter
Keep up to date with the latest travel news. Be the first on the plane when travel opens up.