Singapore - 48 hours of surprises

Mihai Simionica
Mar 11
So much to see, so little time... From the lush parks, to the daring architecture, to the incredible food variety and mix of cultures, Singapore will keep surprising you at every step!

Welcome to Singapore

08:00 AM

The main gate to this world class city is Changi Airport, possibly the world's best airport. Take a taxi, an Uber or the public transport and head on the hotel to refresh and start exploring!

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

One of the most iconic landmarks of Singapore invites you into a world of pure luxury... and tops it up (literally) a fantastic rooftop infinity pool.

Tip: even if you're not staying here, you can still enjoy the view and the rooftop tropical garden which is open to the public. 

Rich cultural heritage

Chinese, Malay, Hindu, Spanish, American... you'll find them all

Start your tour of Singaporean culture and heritage in Little India (to make things easy, there's even a metro stop with the same name). Ornate temples, little shops and a totally different vibe from the futuristic downtown. 

You can visit temples, admire the beautiful flower-garlands and Instagram all the brightly coloured houses. If you haven’t had breakfast yet, look for the hot milk tea brewers and maybe some roti.

Raffles Hotel

Make your way towards the Raffles Hotel for a very different perspective – a carefully preserved colonial one. The luxury hotel was initially built as a private house in the 19th century and was expanded over the years to accommodate some of the world’s most discerning guests.

*Note: currently under renovation, it will reopen in the second half of 2018

Art break at the National Gallery

Art buff or not, the National Gallery is the best place to find out more about Singapore & Southeast Asian arts. The museum has a lot of great exhibitions and tickets are around £11. Last year the museum hosted a Yayoi Kusama exhibition that flooded Instagram with tons of photos of polka dots and infinity rooms.

Lunch in Chijmes 

All that art might have made you hungry or in need of a coffee fix. Head over to the historic Chijmes complex, a former convent (yes, not only the British like to repurpose buildings) turned into a dining and shopping centre with great local restaurants. If not hungry yet, just enjoy a walk through the courtyards and covered walkways (very useful in the afternoon sun).

Nankin Street

Celebrating the city's heritage

If the thought of art or cute photos does not spark an interest, you can walk towards Chinatown and Nankin Street where old shophouses have been renovated and you can read about the history of the local Chinese population. This is also one of the best places to have food or treat yourself to some sweets and drinks (best coconut water and ice-cream).

ParkRoyal Hotel

Green architecture on Pickering Street

Singapore is “a city in a garden” and I love seeing its green infrastructure, so I would recommend that on your way to Clark Quay you go past the ParkRoyal Hotel to see its amazing gardens overflowing concrete facade.

Clarke Quay

Your lazy evening stroll or a boat cruise around the bay...

In the evening, after stopping by a Chinese temple, walk along the Singapore River or take a river cruise to see the renovated riverfront and Chinese shophouses against the modern high-rise backdrop of the downtown.
If you’re still high on energy you can check out the popular nightclubs or even try a reverse bungee ride.

Marina Bay and The Merlion 

A must see sunset laser & music show

At the sunset, watch the light show from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and check out the Merlion, a statue of a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. 
Alternatively you can enjoy the Merlion at sunrise if you don't like crowds (but you'll miss out on one of the best laser & music shows).

Louis Vuitton Centre

For an art exhibition, for some luxury shopping or simply to admire the architecture, definitely check it out at night, when the cleverly designed light installation brings the building's volumes to life.

Coffee with a 100 years history

Start your day with kaya

Not sure what I loved most about the Killiney franchise: the coffee or the story behind it? Founded in 1919 as just an ordinary Hainanese Kopitiam, it promised well-brewed coffee and tea, not to mention traditional charcoal-grilled bread toast. Fast forward 75 years later and we find Mr. Woon, a regular customer, so in love with the place that it bought the business.
Today, Killiney Kopitiam has an extended menu offering a wide range of local delicacies.

Haw Par Villa

A... rather special theme park

Continue your morning at Haw Par Villa (named after the creators of the famous Tiger Balm), a large theme park that showcases Chinese heritage. It’s always amazing to see how other cultures depict the world, the good and the bad. Entrance is free and you can experience a lot of folklore and mythology displayed through miniature or massive statues that impart a moral lesson with each scene.

Botanic Gardens

Orchids galore and so much more

One of my absolute favourite places to visit in Singapore are the Botanic Gardens and I would definitely recommend you spend a good couple of hours walking through the different gardens. You can visit the gardens for free, with the exception of the National Orchid Garden which is more than worth the £3 entry fee. Some of my favourite areas were the Rain Forest, the Palm Valley and of course, the Orchid Garden.

Gardens by the Bay

From where James Cameron surely drew some inspiration for Avatar :)

Finish the day off by watching the sunset from the skywalk at Gardens by the Bay. Walking through the outdoor gardens and admiring the huge trees is free but for the Skywalk you will need to pay around £5 (totally worth it!). I am still amazed by how green focused the city is considering the limited space available.

Sentosa Island

Optional extra day

If you are more of a movie or amusement park enthusiast, a trip to Sentosa Island is a must so you will probably change you booking to stay one extra day.
You can go and have some fun at the Universal Studios amusement park where tons of theme sets and rides are available from around £45 a day (will vary based on your preferences), soar in the sky on the cable car, catch some rays on the beach, get your adrenaline pumping on the zip line, go underwater at the SEA Aquarium, question your senses in the Trick Eye 3D Museum (and get some awesome selfies) and much, much more. 
So yes, it literally takes at least a full day for you to enjoy it all. 

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