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Singapore is very special to us. Reggie was born and raised in Singapore. Sue is a native New Yorker but fell in love with Singapore the first time she went there with Reggie. Last winter, we lived in Singapore. We see it from the unique perspective of a local, an expat and a visitor. That makes this Singapore Itinerary 4 Days unique. We will challenge the Singapore Myths and tell you where to go based on your interests. You can’t do everything in 4 days, but we’ll help you pick the best places to visit in Singapore.

 

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8 Singapore Myths & Misconceptions

1. Singapore is just a stopover on the way to a more exotic Asian destination. Not So. Singapore has tons of things to do for every kind of traveler—family, nature, culture, food, history and more.

2. Singapore is expensive. It doesn’t have to be. There are things to do, places to eat and stay for every budget.

3. Singaporeans don’t speak English. Everything is in English in Singapore.

4. Singapore is part of China. FALSE. It has never been part of China.

5. Chewing gum is forbidden. You can actually chew gum in Singapore—but you cannot bring it in. You are allowed to buy it at pharmacies.

6. Crazy Rich Asians are Everywhere in Singapore. Yes, there are wealthy people in Singapore, but not everyone is. Here’s our Singapore myth-busting commentary on the Movie.

7. You’ll get fines for dropping trash on the Street. Compared to New York, Singapore is amazingly clean. People do not eat on the subway (MRT in Singapore) and usually, don’t walk down the street eating (New Yorkers do that all of the time).

8. Singapore is just malls and high rise buildings. It’s true. There are a lot of malls and high rises in Singapore. But, it is so much more than that. It is a very green city with a lot to do (see the 50+ things to do below).

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple near Chinatown.

Our Top 6 Favorite Things about Singapore—Why you need to go

The food is amazing. Singaporeans are foodies and will argue incessantly about where to go for the best chili crab or Hainanese chicken.

It’s one of the most multi-cultural places in the world. Little India, Arab Street, Chinatown. Hindu Temples, Chinese Temples, Churches, Mosques all right next to each other. There’s even a synagogue.

There is so much to see—museums, gardens, nature reserves, WWII history, shopping, anything else you could imagine can be found in Singapore.

Singapore is easy to get around. The MRT and buses are cheap and efficient.

There’s a trip for every budget in Singapore. You just need to know how to do it.

The people are friendly and helpful. It is also one of the safest cities in the world.

It is a great place to be based while exploring the region.

 


Getting to Know Singapore

Language

Singapore has 4 official languages—English, Malay, Chinese/Mandarin and Tamil. Signs are in English and Chinese. Most people speak at least some English.

Currency

Currency is the Singapore Dollar (S$). Credit cards are widely accepted. Cash is needed in the hawker centers.

Public Transport/MRT and buses

Singapore has good, inexpensive and efficient mass transit. The subway is called the MRT and is well connected throughout the small island.

You need to buy an EZ link card which is a prepaid card that allows you to travel on all public transportation. You will even get a discounted fare when you transfer from a bus to MRT or the other way around. Simply tap at the turnstiles or the fare card reader when you get on and off and the fare is automatically deducted. There are control booths at every station with staff to assist as needed.

Observe the signs above the seats right by the doors. They are reserved for riders with physical challenges. You’ll get a good tongue lashing from a Singaporean if you don’t give up your seat to the elderly, pregnant women or physically challenged riders.

Singapore Tourist Pass

The Singapore Tourist Pass give you unlimited rides on the MRT – 1 Day is S$20, 2 Days is S$26 and 3 days is S$30 (US$14.50, US$19 and US$22).

When is the Best Time to Visit Singapore?

In our opinion—Anytime.

Singapore is near the equator. This means that it is hot all year round. Almost everywhere is air conditioned. Monsoon or rainy season occurs from December to March and June to September. It usually rains very heavily for a short time. There are plenty of things to do indoors during the rain so anytime of year is fine for a Singapore trip.

Singapore tourism is on the rise. Peak tourist season is in December, January and June. You should also pay attention to Chinese New Year (some businesses close for at least the first 3 days). There is a Formula 1 event in September that draws crowds to Singapore. Book your hotel well in advance if you travel during that period.

Getting There

Many international airlines fly to Changi International airport. Check if you require a visa to visit Singapore. The airport is served by its own MRT station which connects you to the city and the rest of the island.

The Singapore Airport is one of the best in the world. It has everything from an orchid garden to an indoor waterfall to places to eat and shop. Some Singaporeans go to the airport just to eat, see movies, shop and hangout.

Directions: Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are connected by Skytrain to MRT Changi Airport at T1 on the east west line. Terminal 4 is serviced by shuttle bus and buses 24, 27, 34, 36, 53, 110 and 858 stop in each of the 4 terminals in the basement of the airport.

Local Time Singapore

Singapore is +8 GMT. From New York it’s either a 12- or 13-hour time difference depending on the US daylight savings time. Since it’s near the equator, sunset and sunrise is roughly the same time year-round (around 7:00). Singapore does not observe daylight savings time.

What to do in Singapore—Top 50+ Places to go

Below is a complete list of Singapore attractions on- and off-the-tourist track. After this section, we’ll give you ideas for Singapore Itineraries of varying length.

 

Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands features a very expensive luxury hotel, shops, dining, theaters and a casino. It costs S$8B to build and is an engineering marvel. It is one of the signature instagrammed sights of Singapore and sits at the mouth of the Singapore river. It is near the iconic Merlion, Gardens by the Bay and the Art Science Museum.

Marina Bay Sands Light Show

The Light Show is free and can be seen from the Waterfront Promenade at the Event Plaza. We recommend seeing it. Get there 20 minutes before the show to get close to the railing. If you watch at the lower level, you (and your camera) will get sprayed by the fountains.

Address and Hours: 10 Bayfront Ave. The Sky Park Observation deck is open daily from 9.30am-10.00pm from Monday to Thursday and until 11pm Friday to Sunday.
Entry Fee: Day pass for the infinity pool S$23 adult (US$17), S$20 seniors (US$15) and S$17 child (US$13). Free for hotel guests and children under 2 years old.
Directions: MRT to Bay Front, buses 97, 106 and 133.

 

Art Science Museum

The Art Science Museum is one of our favorite museums in the world. It uniquely showcases art and sciences and the exhibits are eclectic. One month, it will be interactive digital art and another might have a street art exhibit. This is also within the Gardens by the Bay/Marina Sands area.

Address and Hours: 6 Bayfront Ave. Open daily from 10.00am to 7pm
Entry Fee: All access pass S$40 adult (US$29), S$30 seniors and child between 2-12, and students (US$22) and S$110 for a family of four, 2 adults and 2 children (US$80). Discounted prices apply for Singapore citizens. Free for child under 2.
Directions: MRT to Bay Front, buses 97, 106 and 133.

 

Singapore’s Merlion symbolizes the country’s history as a fishing village and the meaning of Singapura (Lion City in Malay).

Merlion Park

The Merlion is the symbol of Singapore. Everyone seems to get a picture in front of the Merlion while in the country. The body of a fish comes from Singapore’s history as a fishing village while the head of a Lion refers to the original name, Singapura, which means Lion City in Malay. One of the best ways to get a good picture of the Merlion is from a boat. There is a great view of Marina Bay Sands from Merlion Park.

Address and Hours: 1 Fullerton Road. Open daily 24 hours.
Entry Fee: Free
Directions: MRT to Raffles Place and buses 10, 57, 70, 75 and 100.

 

Supertrees

The Supertrees are another iconic site in Singapore. From 25-50 meters tall, they are beautiful vertical gardens with an ecological purpose—collecting rainwater and solar energy. We like the night view best when the trees light up.

 

Gardens by the Bay

The Supertrees are part of Gardens by the Bay, a 101 hectares park that includes three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. The gardens are lovely to walk around. Inside the domes, you’ll find the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. They are pricey but worth seeing.

 

Address and Hours:  18 Marina Gardens Drive. Open daily from 9am-9pm.
Entry Fee: S$28 for adults for 2 conservatories (US$21). There is a reduced rate for Singapore citizens. You can bundle attractions for the conservatories, shuttle rides and floral fantasy at S$46 adult (US$34) and S$25 child (US$18).
Directions: MRT to Marina South Pier, bus 400.

From the Gardens it is a short walk to Marina Bay Sands and shops.

Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer

 

The Singapore flyer is like other flyers around the world. There is a beautiful view of the island and especially Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay.

Address and Hours: 30 Raffles Avenue. Open daily from 8.30am to 10.30pm.
Entry Fee: S$33 adult (US$24), S$24 seniors (US$18) and S$21 child 3-12 (US$15).
Directions: MRT to Promenade and buses 56, 75, 77, 97 and 171.

 

Singapore Zoo and Night Safari

The Singapore Zoo houses animals in naturalistic and open spaces with hidden barriers between visitors and animals. The zoo has been offering the night safari for many years. It’s a great opportunity to be at the zoo at night when most of the animals are awake. It does get very crowded at night so you will need to be prepared for lines.

 

River Safari

The River Safari is right next to the Singapore Zoo, so both can be done in one day. There are exhibits on all kinds of river habitats which you explore while walking to the river cruise. The cruise takes you along the Upper Seletar reservoir to see wildlife.

 

Wildlife Reserves of Singapore: Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari

Address and Hours: 80 Mandai Lake Road. Open daily from 8.30am-6pm (zoo).
Entry Fee: S$35 adult (US$26), S$17 seniors (US$13) and S$25 child between 3-12 (US$18).
Directions: MRT to Khatib and switch to the shuttle bus (S$1 per ride) to the entrance or buses 138 and 927.

 

Night Safari is open nightly from 7.15pm to 12 am.
Entry Fee: S$49 adult (US$36) and S$33 child between 3-12 (US$24).

 

River Safari is open daily from 10am to 7pm.
Entry Fee: S$30.50 adult (US$22) and S$20.70 child between 3-12 (US$15).

 

Jurong Bird Park

Jurong Bird Park is the largest bird park in Asia with 3,500 birds on 20+ hectares. There are a number of large aviaries that you can walk through, including the waterfall aviary. It’s a great place for families and children.

 

Directions: Jurong Bird Park located at 2 Jurong Hill is also part of the Wildlife Reserves of Singapore. Open daily from 8.30am to 6pm.
Entry fee: S$30 adult (US$22), S$14 seniors (US$10) and S$20 child between 3-12 (US$15).
Directions: MRT to Boon Lay interchange and then bus 194.

 

It is recommended to bundle your tickets and get the 4-park hopper admission for S$76 adult (US$55), S$57 child between 3-12 (US$42) if you plan on visiting all 4 parks.

There is also a Parkhopper Plus which includes tram, boats and carousel rides for an additional S$18.05 (US$13) per person. The park pass must be use within 7 days of redemption of ticket with the Night Safari being used on the initial day.

Botanic Garden and National Orchid Garden

Established in 1859, the Botanic Gardens and Orchid Gardens is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Singapore. The gardens are large and Singapore’s climate is perfect for orchids. The surrounding gardens cover 82 hectares. Wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water. Best to go early in the morning before it gets too hot and humid.

 

Address and Hours: 1 Cluny Road. Open daily from 5am to 12 midnight.
Entry Fee: Free except for National Orchid Garden which is open from 8.30am to 7pm. S$5 adults (US$4), S$1 for seniors and students (US$0.75), free for child under 12.
Directions: MRT to Botanic Gardens (Bukit Timah Road entrance) and buses 7, 75, 77, 105, 106, 123, 174 to Holland Road (Tanglin entrance).

 

Singapore Itinerary 4 Days

Giant Monitor Lizards at the Sungei Boluh Wetlands Reserve

Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve

Singapore has a number of nature reserves. A visit to the Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve takes you into the mangroves and wetlands of Singapore. It is a major stop for migrating birds and there are many viewing places built in the reserve. There are also mangroves, mudflats and forests. You may also catch sight of the large monitor lizards.

 

Address and Hours: 301 Neo Tiew Crescent. Open daily 7am to7pm.
Entry Fee: free.
Directions: MRT to Kranji station and then bus 925 to Kranji Reservoir Carpark B. The visitor center is a short walk from there.

 

Note: To return to the bus stop you will have to retrace your steps back to the visitor center. We left the park via a different gate and ended up walking in the hot sun along New Tiew Crescent. It is much more pleasant to stroll through the park.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

A hike through Bukit Timah brings you to the rainforest. You will experience what Singapore was like when Sir Stamford Raffles arrived in 1819. The park gets crowded on the weekends and it gets very humid in the afternoon, so plan on going early in the morning.

 

Address and Hours: 177 Hindhede Drive. Open Saturday and Sunday between 7am to 6pm.
Entry Fee: free.
Directions: MRT to Beauty World or buses 67, 75, 170, 171, 173, 184, 852 and 961 to Upper Bukit Timah Road.

 

Tree Top Walk

If you are interested in walking at the tops of the trees, you’ll want to go to on the MacRitchie Tree Top Walk. After walking up a series of steps, you’ll arrive at a suspension bridge with a great view of the forest canopy.

There are several trails leading to the Tree Top Walk. Start at MacRitchie Treetop Walk Trailhead.

 

Address and Hours: 601 Island Club Road, open daily 9am to 4.45pm except Saturday and Sunday 8.30am, closed on Monday
Entry fee: free
Directions: MRT to Marymount, buses along Upper Thomson Road 52, 130, 132, 162, 163, 165, 166, 167, 855, 980.

 

Seletar, Marina and Bedok Reservoirs

Singapore has 17 reservoirs throughout the island. Some of these reservoirs are used recreationally and Seletar is one of them. You can walk or bike around the reservoir or rent a kayak. There are many activities, including dragon boat racing on the Marina reservoir, the largest in Singapore. You can wakeboard and water ski at the Bedok reservoir.

 

Seletar Reservoir

Address and Hours: bounded by Yishun Avenue 1 and Lentor Avenue, open daily 24 hours, park is lit from 7pm to 7am
Entry fee: free except for kayak rentals
Directions: MRT to Khatib or buses 39, 85, 103, 117, 851, 852, 853, 854, 855, 857, 858, 965.

 

Marina Reservoir (aka Marina Barrage)

Address and Hours: 8 Marina Gardens Drive. Open daily 24 hours.
Entry Fee: free
Directions: MRT to Marina South Pier or bus 400.

 

Bedok Reservoir

Address and Hours: Bedok Reservoir Road. Open daily 24 hours.
Entry Fee: free
Directions: MRT to Bedok Reservoir or buses 5, 18, 21, 22, 28, 46, 59, 65, 67, 69 and 168.

 

Religious Sites in Singapore

Singapore is a multicultural country with many religious sites and festivals. The Singapore Thaipusam (add link) festival is a major festival for Singapore’s Hindu community. Chinese New Year is a major celebration ion the city. Muslims celebrate Eid al Adha and Eid al Fitri (the end of Ramadan).

 

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

Built in 2007, this temple can be found in hundreds of Instagram photos. It houses one of Lord Buddha’s teeth in a large stupa within the temple. A museum is also located on the second floor. Definitely worth visiting.

 

Address and Hours: 288 South Bridge Road, open daily from 7am to 7pm, museum hours are 9am to 6pm.
Entry fee: free.
Directions: MRT to Chinatown or Telok Ayer, also buses 61, 166 or 197 to South Bridge Road, alight opposite Sri Mariamman Temple or 80 and 145 to Maxwell Road food court.

Singapore Itinerary 4 Days

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple one of the Hindu Temples in Singapore and the starting point for Thaipusam.

Hindu Temples:

Sri Srinivasa Perumal, Sri Mariamman Temple, Sri Sivan Temple, Sri Thendaythapani Temple

 

There are many Hindu Temples in Singapore. The four above are among the more well known. The Thaipusam Festival begins at Sri Srinivasa Perumal, passes by Sri Veeramakalianmman Temple and ends at Sri Thendaythapani Temple. It takes place in January or February every year. There are many other festivals throughout the year. And, you don’t have to wait for a festival to visit a Temple.

 

Address and Hours: 397 Serangoon Road, open daily from 6.15 am to 12pm and 6pm to 9pm.
Entry fee: free.
Directions: MRT to Farrer Park or buses 21, 23, 64, 65, 66, 67, 130, 139, 141, 147 and 857 to Serangoon Road.

Muslim: The Sultan Mosque (Masjid Sultan)

 

The Sultan Mosque is located in the Kampong Glam section of Singapore. The original mosque was built in 1824 and re-built in 1928. Make sure to take a look at the glass bottle fragments embedded at the bottom of the golden domes. Poor Muslims donated the bottles to signify that the Mosque was for and of all people, including the poor.

 

Address and Hours: 3 Muscat Road, open Saturday to Thursday from 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm, Friday from 2.30pm to 4pm.
Entry fee: free.
Directions: MRT to Bugis or buses 100, 107, 961 and 980 to Beach Road or 2, 12, 33 and 133 to Victoria Street.

 

St. Andrews Cathedral

 

St. Andrews was Reggie’s family’s church. It is Anglican and dates back to 1861. It’s still one of the most influential churches in Singapore. Especially beautiful to see at night.

 

Address and Hours: 11 St Andrew’s Road, open daily except public holidays. Tours are Monday to Friday at 10.30am and 3pm, Thursday at 3pm only. There are no tours on Sunday.
Entry fee: free.
Directions: MRT to City Hall or buses 61, 124, 145, 166 and 174.

 

Chesed-El Synagogue

 

The Synagogue was built in 1902. Singapore has had the largest Jewish population in Southeast Asia. Many Jews migrated from Malaysia to Singapore during World War II to try to escape the Japanese invasion.

 

Address and Hours: 2 Oxley Rise, open daily except Sunday, opening hours vary.
Entry fee: free.
Directions: MRT to Dhoby Ghaut or buses 64, 123, 139 and 143 to Clemenceau Avenue.

Bukit Brown Cemetery

Bukit Brown Cemetery is a traditional cemetery for the Teo Chew and Hokkien communities in the early 1900s.

Bukit Brown Cemetery

 

One of the most interesting things we did during our last trip to Singapore was to go on a free tour of the Bukit Brown Cemetery. It was a very unique way to learn about the history of the Chinese community in Singapore and the religious and burial rituals of the different Chinese clans. The cemetery was also the site of an important battle with the Japanese during WWII. It’s best to do the tour instead of going on your own. Wear long pants and bring plenty of insect repellent.

Go to the Bukit Brown Facebook Page to find out about tours.

 

Address and Hours: 36C Lorong Halwa. Open daily 24 hours.
Entry Fee: Free.
Directions: Take bus 52, 74, 93, 157, 165, 852 or 855 to Kheam Hock or Lornie Roads, under the Lornie Highway. Turn into Lorong Halwa. This is not easy to locate, so we recommend taking a Grab (Singapore does not have Uber)

 

Haw Par Villa

 

If you want to understand the Chinese folklore, you have to visit Haw Par Villa. We went the first time that Sue was in Singapore. It was built by Aw Boon Haw, one of the sons of the creator of Tiger Balm. The displays depict Chinese myths and folklore. Reggie’s parents brought her to The Ten Courts of Hell as a child. Many Chinese parents bring their children here to teach them about the consequences of misdeeds. Some of the dioramas are bloody so take care with young children.

 

Address and Hours: 262 Pasir Panjang Road, open daily from 9am to 10pm
Entry fee: free
Directions: MRT to Haw Par Villa and buses 10, 30, 51, 143, 175, 176, 188 and 200 along West Coast Highway.

Clarke Quay

 

Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay & a touring Bumboat

Clarke Quay is known for the nightlife and restaurants, but there is more to do there. It is the starting point for the bumboats that tour the river. It’s walking distance from the Asian Civilizations Museum and the Victoria Theater. And, if you need an adrenaline rush, then try the G-Max Reverse Bungy to get launched in a capsule over the Singapore River.

 

Bumboat River Cruise

 

One of the best ways to see Singapore and its famous sites is to take a bumboat ride along the Singapore River. The ride is narrated (mostly very cheesy) and last about 45 minutes. Some boats allow you to get off and back on. Others do not. The sunset cruise is great for sunset pictures, but any time is nice if it’s your first time in Singapore. You can purchase your tickets and board along Clarke Quay.

 

Address and Hours: 3 River Valley Road, daily from 10am to 10pm
Entry fee: free.
Directions: MRT to Clarke Quay or Fort Canning, buses 32, 54, 195.

 

River Hongbao

 

If you are in Singapore during Chinese New Year, the River Hongbao is a must do. It’s full of Chinese New Year decorations, performances and fireworks.

 

Address and Hours: 20 Raffles Avenue, the Float at Marina Bay. This is only during Chinese New Year – cruise along Singapore River around Marina Bay, from 2pm to 11pm, check website for events.
Entry fee: free
Directions: MRT to Esplanade, Promenade or City Hall, buses 36, 56 and 75.

 

World War II and Japanese Invasion Sites

 

Many westerners are not familiar with the Asian battles of World War II. Singapore was a British colony at the time it was invaded by the Japanese. The fall of Singapore is considered one of Britain’s major defeats during the war. The Japanese tried to create Singapore in Japan’s image and brutally murdered and imprisoned Chinese men and boys over the age of 14. Many survived by going into hiding.

 

Former Ford Factory (National Archives Museum)

 

The Former Ford Factory is now a museum about the Japanese invasion of Singapore during WWII told from three perspectives—Singaporean, British and Japanese. We highly recommend taking the tour, especially if you are not familiar with the Asian history of WWII. This is the site where the British surrendered to the Japanese.

 

Address and Hours: 351 Upper Bukit Timah Road, open daily from 9am to 5pm except Monday
Entry fee: S$3 adults (US$2.20) and free for Singapore citizens
Directions: MRT to Beauty World and switch to buses 67, 75, 170, 171, 173, 178, 184 and 963. Alight after Old Jurong Road, or to Hillview and alight after The Hillside condominiums.

 

Fort Canning Park

 

Built in 1860, Fort Canning was the site of the British Command Center during WWII. The Battle Box is now a Museum that tells the story of its operations during the war and the British surrender to the Japanese. During the Japanese occupation, Fort Canning became the Japanese headquarters. Fort Canning today is also a park where musical and other events are held.

 

Address and Hours: River Valley Road, open daily 24 hours
Entry fee: free.
Directions: MRT Fort Canning Station or Dhoby Ghaut. Buses 32, 54 or 195 to River Valley Road, or 124, 145, 147, 166, 174, 190 and 851 to Hill Street as the hill is bordered by Hill St, Canning Rise, Clemenceau Avenue and River Valley Road, can be approached from various points.

 

Museums in Singapore

 

Singapore’s museums include: the Asian Civilizations Museum, Peranakan Museum, the National Museum of Singapore, the Singapore Art Museum and the Art Science Museum.

 

Asian Civilizations Museum

 

The Asian Civilizations Museum houses an extraordinary collection of 500 years of Asian art and culture with a focus on Singapore and all the ethnic communities that have historically made up the nation. Don’t miss the exhibition of the Tang shipwreck. There are exhibits on Ancestors and rituals, Islamic Art, Chinese ceramics and many more.

 

Address and Hours: 1 Empress Place, open daily from 10am to 7pm except Fridays to 9pm
Entry fee: General admission S$20 adults (US$15), S$15 seniors and child between 7-12 (US$11), free to children under 6 and Singapore citizens. Special exhibitions S$25 adult (US$18), S$20 seniors and child between 7-12 (US$15), Singapore citizens all access pass S$15 adult (US$11), S$10 seniors and child between 7-12 (US$8).
Directions: Across from Merlion Park, accessible via the pedestrian only Anderson bridge. MRT to Raffles Place or Clarke Quay, buses 195 and 961 to Supreme Court or 75, 100, 107, 130, 131, 167 to Connaught Drive.

 

The National Galleries of Singapore

 

National Gallery

National Gallery during the Singapore Night the Light Bicentennial Celebration.

You can spend an entire day at the The National Galleries. With more than 8,000, it has the largest collection of Singapore and Southeast Asia works in the world. It is housed in the former Supreme Court and City Hall. There are free guided tours daily at 11 am and on the weekends at 3 pm. 

 

Address and Hours: 1 St Andrew’s Road, open daily from 10am to 7pm except Friday until 9pm
Entry fee: General admission S$20 adults (US$15), S$15 seniors and child between 7-12 (US$11), free to children under 6 and Singapore citizens. Special exhibitions S$25 adult (US$18), S$20 seniors and child between 7-12 (US$15), Singapore citizens all access pass S$15 adult (US$11), S$10 seniors and child between 7-12 (US$8).
Directions: A few blocks from Asian Civilizations Museum. MRT to Raffles Place or City Hall, buses 195 and 961 to Supreme Court or 51, 61, 63. 80, 124, 145 to North Bridge Road (alight at Parliament Houses).

 

The Istana

 

The Istana is the home of the Singapore President. The grounds and the building are beautiful. We were lucky to be able to visit when it opened to the public during Chinese New Year. It is also open to visitors during other religious and national holidays, including Deepavali, Hari Raya, Labor Day and National Day. If you are there on one of these days, we highly recommend going. Get there when it opens. Many Singapore families take the opportunity to spend the day and the lines become very long.

Singapore Istana

Istana is the home of the Singapore President. It open to the public several times a year.

 

Address and Hours: 35 Orchard Road, open daily 8.30am to 6pm, and to the public on certain holidays
Entry fee: S$2.
Directions: MRT Dhoby Ghaut. Buses 7, 14, 16 and 36.

 

Orchard Road Shopping

Singapore is known for designer shopping on Orchard Road. And, if that’s your thing, you have 2.2KM and 5,000 stores to visit. In the 1830s, this was the location of fruit orchards and nutmeg plantations. It is especially pretty at night and during the holiday season. You should also take a short detour to Emerald Hill Road to see the Peranakan houses just as they were in the early 1900s.

 

Address and Hours: Orchard Road, open daily 24 hours
Entry fee: free to walk along the roads and boulevards
Directions: MRT to Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut, buses 36, 77, 124, 128, 143, 162, 167, 171 and 174 to Orchard Road and Orchard Blvd.

 

Bugis Street Market

 

Check out the Bugis Street Market if you are in Bugis. It’s pretty touristy, but a good place to get reasonably priced souvenirs and also to exchange foreign currencies. There are also a few air-conditioned malls like Bugis Junction and Bugis+ along Victoria Street.

 

Address and Hours: the alley between Queen Street and Victoria Road, open daily 24 hours
Entry fee: Free
Directions: MRT to Bugis or buses 7, 12, 63, 80, 175, 197, 851, 960 and 980.

 

Johor, Malaysia

 

If you want to shop like a local, then you need to go to Johor. It’s like going from NYC to Jersey City. In Johor, goods are much cheaper due to the conversion rate from Singapore Dollars to Malay currency. It is very easy to get there by bus—just make sure to bring your passport! And while there, go outside of the mall to have the famous banana cake at Hiap Joo Bakery.

 

Directions: MRT to Kranji then bus 170. You will need to alight twice – once at Singapore Immigration and Customs Checkpoint and then again at the Malaysian Checkpoint. You can board any bus that goes through the check points and they will stop at JB Sentral.

 

Hiap Joo Bakery: 13 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, a 13min (1km) walk from JB Sentral.

 

Ethnic Areas

 

Singapore was one of the first planned cities. The Brits brought over Chinese, Arabs, Indians and Malays and designated areas of the city for each community. Lee Kwan Yew, the first leader of Singapore, tried to integrate the city by establishing quotas for each of the new housing developments. The old neighborhoods still remain.

 

Chinatown

 

Chinatown is full of restaurants, shopping, old style buildings and occasional outdoor performances in Chinese. It’s especially lively during Chinese New Year where there are street fairs and vendors selling decorations and Chinese New Year goodies. It is also a great place to shop for souvenirs.

 

Address and Hours: Chinatown is bordered by Eu Tong Sen St/New Bridge Road, Cross St, Tanjong Pagar and South Bridge Road. Open daily 24 hours.
Entry fee: free.
Directions: MRT to Chinatown, Outram Park, Telok Ayer or Tanjong Pagar. Buses 54, 124, 143, 147, 166, 190, 851 and 970 go along Eu Tong Sen ST and New Bridge Road while 51, 63, 124, 174, 186, 851, 961 and 970 ply along Cross St.

 

Little India

 

Little India is always alive no matter what time of the day or night. There is a great deal of Street art in Little India. Many of the Hindu Temples are in Little India.

We love Mustafa Center. You can find anything you want at Mustafa’s at a good price—photography equipment, electronics, clothes, spices and food (on the top floor) and much more. We liked to wander the store and point out amusing things we see. Once we found power banks in 7 different areas within the mall including in the sporting goods area. The top floor is a great place for purchasing spices to bring home.

 

Address and Hours: Little India is bordered by Race Course Road, Bukit Timah Road, Serangoon Road and Lavender Street, open daily 24 hours
Entry fee: free to walk around
Directions: MRT to Farrer Park and Little India, buses 23, 64, 65, 66, 67, 130, 139, 147 and 857 to Serangoon Road.

 

Arab Street, Kampong Glam/Haji Lane

 

Arab Street was the area designated by Sir Raffles for the Arab merchants and sailors. It is now a quaint area full of shops and restaurants. The Sultan Mosque, Singapore’s largest mosque is located nearby. Istana Kampong Glam, the home of the Sultan that ruled Singapore before the British arrived, and The Malay Heritage Center is also in this area. Haji Lane is a small street with tons of quirky shops, restaurants and some of the best street art in Singapore.

 

Address and Hours: 85 Sultan Gate, open daily 24 hours
Entry fee: free
Directions: MRT to Bugis and buses 2, 12, 33 and 133 to Kallang Road and Victoria Street, 100, 107, 961 and 960 to Beach Road

 

Golden Mile Complex

 

The Golden Mile Complex started out as one of the first multiuse buildings, housing commercial shops, offices and residences. Today it is frequented by many Thais and has turned into a mall with Thai restaurants and shops. Some of the best Thai food in Singapore can be found at the Golden Mile.

There is also a flea market across the street where you can purchase inexpensive outdoor clothes and equipment. You can also buy tickets and board cheap tour buses from there to many places in Malaysia.

 

Address and Hours: 5001 Beach Road, open daily 24 hours (check for individual establishment hours)
Entry fee: free
Directions: MRT to Nicoll Highway, bus 100.

Beaches in Singapore–Sentosa

 

Sentosa is a resort island that has grown as travel destination over the past 20 years. It has many attractions and you can spend days exploring Sentosa: Universal Studios, the Casino, S.E.A. Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterparks Sentosa Cove, the Boardwalk, Tanjong Beach, Palawan Beach, Fort Siloso & Skywalk, Tanjong Rimau.

Address and Hours: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Sentosa Island, located within Resorts World Sentosa, open daily 10am to 7pm
Entry fee: Varies from Free to Expensive
Directions: MRT to Harbourfront, exit E to VivoCity, board Sentosa express on level 3, alight at Resorts World Station. Buses 10, 30, 65, 80, 93, 97, 100, 131, 143, 145, 166, 188, 855.

 

St John’s and Kusu

 

Looking for a beach all to yourself? Consider going to St. John’s and Kusu Island. This trip takes the whole day, but you’ll have peace and tranquility, not far from the main Island.

Address and Hours: off the coast of Singapore and open daily 24 hours (check for ferry schedules)
Entry fee: free
Directions: Singapore Island Cruise and Ferry Services has regular ferries to the islands.

 

Singapore Street Art

 

Believe it or not, Singapore has some great street art. We’ll be doing a full post on the street art scene, but for starters, here are the main places to see Singapore Murals:

 

Singapore Myths

Street Art in Little India

Arab Street, Kampong Glam and Haji Lane are full of murals

For more information about Singapore Street Art, see our Complete Guide to Singapore Street Art.

 

Iconic Singapore Itinerary 4 Days

 

Singapore Day 1: Marina Bay Sands Area

 

We’d recommend spending your 1st day around Marina Bay area. Visit the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Bay. Get lunch at Satay by the Bay then walk it off toward Marina Bay Sands. Buy a pass to enjoy the views from the Observation deck or a drink or swim at infinity pool at the top of Marina Bay Sands hotel. The views from up there are amazing and photo opportunities excellent. Have an early dinner either at the food court or any of the fine dining restaurants inside Marina Bay Sands.

Take the underpass to Gardens by the Bay via Bayfront MRT and check out the Supertrees for sunset. Make sure to leave enough time to catch Spectra, the light and water show back at the Events Plaza on the Promenade of Marina Bay Sands hotel. The show lasts 15 mins and goes on every night at 8pm and 9pm. There is an additional show at 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

 

Singapore in 2 Days

 

Do Day 1.

On your second day, visit the Merlion and then have lunch at One Fullerton. Spend an hour or two at the Asian Civilizations Museum. Then stop for a drink at the Fullerton Hotel which used to be the General Post Office Building. After being sufficiently hydrated, head towards Chinatown, poke around for souvenirs, take in some street art by Yip Yew Chong and visit the Buddha’s Tooth Relic Temple.

Have dinner in Chinatown and either end the evening by taking a ride on a bumboat from Clarke Quay and cruise along the Singapore River for spectacular shots of the Singapore skyline or visit the Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo.

Hawker Center for Lunch: Chinatown Food Court

 

3 Days in Singapore Sentosa & Har Par Villa

Do Day 1 & 2 above.

Devote Day 3 to visit Haw Par Villa in the morning and then head to Sentosa Island. You can spend the entire day at the beaches, check out Resorts World Universal Studios, the SEA Aquarium and Butterfly Park and stay for the evening Crane Dance.

If Sentosa is not of interest, then head to Arab Street and Haji Lane in Kampong Glam. You can easily spend the entire day wandering the streets and boutique shops. There’s wonderful street art in the area. Be sure to take a tour of the Sultan Mosque and the Malay Heritage Center.

4 Days in Singapore: Gardens and Shopping

Do Days 1-3.

Save the Botanic Gardens for the morning of your last day, start at the Bukit Timah Road entrance and make your way towards Cluny Road entrance. Go early to avoid the heat and humidity.

Walk along Holland Road and Tanglin Roads toward Orchard Road. Spend your afternoon in air conditioning as you stroll the famous Orchard Road Malls. Don’t forget to walk up Emerald Hill to see the original Peranakan Style Houses.

After you’ve had your fill of Orchard Road, go to Little India. Walk around to see the street art and stop by Mustafa’s 7 floors of shopping. Have dinner at one of the Indian restaurants.

If you’d rather shop like a Singaporean, take the bus to Johor. Prices are cheaper due to the exchange rate and you can sample Hiap Joo Bakery’s banana cake.

Alternative Singapore Itineraries

Below are some areas to go to if you have special interests: Nature, culture ethnic neighborhoods, off-the-tourist track and cultural interests.

Ethnic Singapore

Chinatown and Buddha’s Tooth Relic Temple
Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple
Little India and Street Art
Arab Street/Haji Lane/Kampong Glam
Golden Mile Complex
Haw Par Villa
Bukit Brown Cemetery

Singapore Nature/Outdoors

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Sungei Buloh
Tree Top Walk
Seletar or MacRitchie Reservoir
Botanic Gardens
River Safari
Fort Canning Park
St. John’s Kusu, Sisters Island

Off the Tourist Track Singapore

Former Ford Factory is up the road from Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Sungei Buloh
St John’s/Kusu
Bukit Brown Cemetery
Street Art
Johor

Singapore Religious and Cultural

Art Science Museum
Peranakan Museum
National Galleries
Asian Civilizations Museum
Sri Srinivasa Perumal, Sri Veeramakalianman Temple or Sri Thendaythapani Temple
St Andrew’s Cathedral
El-Chesed Synagogue
Former Ford Factory/National Archives

 

Eating in Singapore

We love Singapore and have been to dozens of Hawker Centers. Some of the list below are well known tourist spots. Some of the best food can be found in the neighborhood hawker centers and coffee shops (the latter are really smaller hawker centers). We’ll be posting a more in-depth post on Singapore food in the future.

Here are some of the more popular Hawker centers:

Old Airport Road

Address and Hours: 51 Old Airport Road, open daily from 6am to 11pm
Directions: MRT to Dakota or Mountbatten, buses 10, 16, 30, 31, 32, 33 to Old Airport Road

Maxwell Hawker Center

Address and Hours: 20 Maxwell Road, open daily 8am to 2am
Directions: MRT to Telok Ayer or Chinatown, buses 61, 166 and 197 to South Bridge Road or 80 and 145

Tiong Bahru Market

Address and Hours: 30 Seng Poh Road, open daily from 7am to 8pm except Monday
Directions: MRT to Tiong Bahru and buses 5, 16, 33, 122, 123, 195, 851

Makansutra Gluttons Bay (expensive)

Address and Hours: Next to River Hongbao, 8 Raffles Avenue, open daily from 5pm-2am except Friday until 3am and Sunday from 4pm-1am.
Directions: MRT to Esplanade, Promenade or City Hall, buses 36, 56 and 75.

 

8 tips for the perfect trip to Singapore

  1. Remember to tap your EZ link card when alighting from the bus otherwise you will be charged the maximum fare.
  2. Always bring an umbrella with you as you never know when the clouds may suddenly open up.
  3. Wear a hat or a cap and always apply sunscreen when venturing outside.
  4. Bring insect repellent for nature and outdoor adventures. 
  5. Keep a refillable bottle with you – the water is potable and you can always fill up from the drinking fountains.
  6. The MRT (subway) does not run 24 hours so make sure you know when the last train leaves the station.
  7. If you fly Singapore Airlines to South East Asia, the stopover to Singapore is free. In addition, if you’re simply transiting, you can take advantage of the free city tour. You will need to register in advance. After deplaning, go to the free city tours booth in Terminals 2 and 3 within the transit area. Simply present your boarding pass and they will guide you through customs and immigration.
  8. In addition, your boarding pass gives you discounts to attractions, restaurants and transportation.

 

Have you Been to Singapore? How Many of these Places Have You Visited? Leave a Comment.

 

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