A country smaller than the Loch Lomond National Park in Scotland. One of the most prosperous and clean places, where you need to be careful about chewing a gum. Full of the tourist attractions and places to visit. Is one day enough to visit Singapore? What are the top places to see in Singapore in 24 hours?
Singapore in 24 hours
After my trip to India, I had a day to spend in Singapore. The flights to my next destination, Bali, were going through there. And since, I’ve never been to Singapore, instead of having a short layover, I extended my stay. That’s one of the ways how you can travel more, even with limited time.
The main part of Singapore city is located in the south – with Marina Bay, Riverside, Orchard Road and financial district. There are also small neighbourhoods, where you can find a taste of other nationalities residing in Singapore. Little India, Chinatown or Bugis are all vibrant and colourful places to visit. There are beaches, resorts, museums, nature and wildlife, parks and gardens, temples, skyscrapers, shopping and good nightlife. A lot to choose from.
Unfortunately, my flight to Singapore was delayed 4,5h, so I had less time in the country than I anticipated. I did my research and had a list of places to visit, but I needed to focus on the best ones to make the most of my one day stay. What to do in Singapore in 24 hours?
Eat – and eat well
I started my trip from finding food. I was starving after the flight and was craving some Singaporean delicacies. The best place to eat in Singapore are the hawker centres. They are the huge food halls with the stalls from different countries. I tried the spicy Laksa soup with coconut milk, dragon fruit juice and traditional coffee – very sweet and always with milk.
On the way back from town I stopped for a meal in Chinatown, where I noticed the century eggs on the menu. Century egg, also called millennium egg, is a Chinese delicacy. It’s made by preserving an egg in the mixture of ash, salt, clay, quicklime and rice hulls for several weeks to several months. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad. When it comes to preserved products, the Icelandic rotten shark was much worse.
Admire the Super Trees in the Gardens by the Bay
City in the Garden is a concept heavily promoted in Singapore. The country is very proud of its parks and gardens and for a reason. Especially the Gardens by the Bay which is an unforgettable experience. It’s a large public garden with two cooled conservatories and gigantic (and unreal) Super Trees. It’s located next to the Marina Bay Sands.
It was the main point of my visit in Singapore and the reason, that I extended my stay in the country. I’m not a city person. I like cute little town and old buildings, but huge metropolises are not my thing. However, when I heard about the Gardens by the Bay, I knew that I needed to visit them. How was my experience? The Gardens by the Bay post is coming soon!
Read more: Planning a trip to Asia? Read how to plan the perfect trip to Asia
Visit the iconic Marina Bay
Marina Bay is a famous bay in Singapore. That’s where you can find the Olympic Walk and all the tall buildings, dominated by the world-known Marina Bay Sands resort. The resort includes a shopping mall, the luxury hotel, casino and a convention centre. The hotel is renowned for its world’s largest rooftop infinity pool overlooking the whole city, where everyone wants to take a selfie. Unfortunately, it’s only available to the hotel guests, but there is a way of having a sneak peek of it for free (see below). The mall has an artificial lake, expensive shops and reminds me a lot of Dubai. You can walk by the water or take a boat and cruise along the bay.
Have a walk by the Riverside
Riverside, also called the Civic District, is filled with museum, theatres and various restaurants, bars and clubs. That’s where the Singapore’s nightlife takes place and where you can find the symbol of Singapore – Merlion.
- Boat Quay & Clark Quay – is said to be a place for a dinner and drink, followed by some clubbing. I was planning to go there in the evening, but I got delayed by staying longer in the Marina Bay Sands clubs.
- Merlion – Singapore’s mascot, a creature with a body of a fish and lion’s head. In my short time in the city, I managed to get there only after 1 am, on my way back from clubbing in Marina Bay Sands. It was empty and quiet. Only the city lights were reflecting in the calm bay waters. The Merlion, which is actually a fountain, was gently throwing the water into the air.
Party on the top – taste the Singapore’s nightlife
If you are a girl and it’s Wednesday – you are lucky. Wednesdays are ladies night in Singapore, which means that girls get into the clubs for free and even get a complimentary drink with that. Pretty sweet, especially if you take alcohol prices in Singapore into consideration. Where to go partying in Singapore?
Spago Bar and Lounge & how to get to the infinity pool of Marina Bay Sands for free
The highly popular infinity pool on the top of Marina Bay Sands is open only to the hotel guests. However, you can go to the Spago Bar and Lounge to enjoy a drink and the views to the pool and the city below. Spago is a restaurant and a bar, located directly behind the Marina Bay Sands pool. Its entrance is directly next to the pool and you can see the people swimming from the pub’s couches.
To get there you need to take an elevator to the 57th floor. The lifts in Marina Bay Sands hotel are grouped by the floors, so make sure you take the correct one. Once on the top, go outside and you’ll see the pool and the entrance to the restaurant with a welcome desk at the front. There’s no entrance fee and no reservation is needed (it might be different if you want to eat there, I was just having a drink). When I arrived, it was already quite late and there were still plenty of spaces in the bar. The prices for drinks are of course a bit on the high end, but the experience is worth it. And you can always go for water – it’s free.
CÉ LA VI Club on top of Marina Bay Sands + free entry and a drink
Next to the Spago Bar, on the other side of the hanging platform, is the club CÉ LA VI. It’s a party place with loud music and tables overlooking the Marina Bay – with a huge drop below. Standing on the balcony with your drink and looking 57 floors below to the water level is quite an experience. The view is gorgeous. There’s normally an entrance to get to the club, but as I mentioned before – Wednesdays are ladies night. If you get there before 11 pm, the entrance for ladies is for free and you also get a complimentary glass of bubbles or a cocktail.
Stroll around the airport
Changi airport in Singapore is said to be one of the best in the world. With an indoor garden, a small cinema, a gaming room, a music listening area with couches, a lake and many other amenities, it definitely sets a high standard. There’s even swimming pool and jacuzzi (accessible for a fee) and a butterfly garden. If you’re travelling in the morning try traditional Singaporean breakfast. A toast with Kaya spread, made from egg and coconut, accompanied by the runny eggs and sweet coffee (kopi) will keep you running for a day.
You can register for free sight-seeing trips organized from the airport. They depart fives times a day and you need at least 5 hours to join them. I haven’t tried myself, but you can book in the Free Singapore Tours Registration Booth located in terminal 2 and 3.
There’s so much more to see in Singapore. It is not a city for one day, but it also depends on what you’re interested in. Many of the attractions are created specifically for tourists. Places like the Singapore Zoo and night safari (that I don’t recommend, because of the not always good treatment of the animals there), an amusement park on the Sentosa island or various shopping opportunities.
There were a few of the off the beaten path activities, that I was considering to do, but they turned out to be too far away. The Canopy walk, the cable car and the Henderson Waves bridge in Hort Park and Southern Ridges look like fun. It brings you closer to the Singaporean nature. However, you definitely need at least half a day for it alone.
I really wanted to visit Haji Lane and Tiong Bahru district, famous for its colourful street art, and hipster cafes and independent shops. Unfortunately, I run out of time.
Where to stay in Singapore?
Singapore is not cheap and the accommodation prices vary from surrounding countries. However, it is still possible to find a nice budget place to stay. The best and the cheapest hostels are located in the Chinatown. It’s a culturally rich district located 15-20 min walk from the Marina Bay.
On my visit to Singapore, I had an opportunity to stay in the Wink Hostel. It’s a budget boutique hostel, that allows you to “indulge in on a budget”. They offer sleeping pods in the mixed or female only dorms. You get your own space with a curtain and a lamp, where you can rest and close off from the world if you need to.
As I was travelling alone, it was a perfect place for me. For a solo female traveller, Wink Hostel provides a well-needed privacy, safety, and comfort in the female only dorm. On the other hand, being a backpackers hostel, it still gives you an opportunity to mingle with other like-minded travellers in the common areas.
The towels are provided and umbrellas are ready to be borrowed. This was a lifesaver for me since the weather in Singapore decided to be very unusual and instead of hot and humid it was… rainy and humid 😉
I really liked the sleeping pod concept. It allowed me to quickly catch up on sleep in the peaceful and quiet environment and be ready for my next travels to Indonesia. Want to try it yourself? Book your stay here.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Wink Hostel, but, as always, all the opinions are my own.
Useful travel tips for Singapore:
Transport from Changi airport to Singapore
The ride usually cost around $30-$40SGD. You can also try Uber or Grab (Asia version of Uber)
- MRT (Subway)
The trains operate between 7am and 11pm. You would most probably need to change at least once if you choose that option, so it’s better to take it if you travel light. Cost is ~$3 per adult
- The airport shuttle
The bus departs every 15 minutes during peak hours and up to 30 minutes during non-peak hours. You can book it at the Ground Transport Desks at the Arrival halls. The fare is $9 per adult and $6 per child below 12 years of age. They often drop you at your chosen hotel. You can also book the return way from your hotel and the bus driver will pick you up from there.
When you get to Singapore, make sure you withdraw/exchange some cash at the airport. I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to find ATM in the city center, that would work with foreign cards. There were many banks with cash machines but they worked only with card coming from this particular bank. I walked quite a lot back and forth trying to find one for me.
Singapore has several rules, that might be a bit unusual for foreigners. One of them is huge fines for spitting out the chewing gum on the street or littering. It’s even prohibited to sell the chewing gum in the normal shops – you can only find it in the pharmacies for medical purposes. There is also a ban for importing the chewing gum into the country – some people say, that even for personal purposes. Better be safe than sorry, but I had some with me, which I forgot about and survived fine 😉
It is safe to drink tap water and sanitation standards are generally high.
What to wear
Any type of clothing of men and women is fairly acceptable.
Would you like to visit Singapore? What else would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
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