After living in Singapore for 2 years, we can honestly say we are VERY familiar with the ins and outs of what to do/see in this incredible city! Here are our MUST SEES while visiting the Lion City, which you can do in 3 full days…
A sight to see in itself, Changi Airport has been voted the number one airport in the world four years in a row. It offers up amazing duty-free shopping, a Butterfly Garden and a Sunflower Garden.
How To Get Around…
The public transport system in Singapore is one of the best in the world and VERY affordable.
Taxi/Uber/Grabtaxi/ComfortDelGrado: Taxis are super cheap and available everywhere. Unless you pre-load your credit card information in the app, you’ll only be able to pay with cash or local debit card (called NETS). It can be difficult at times to hail one, especially on main streets/crowded areas, so try to find a taxi stand instead.
Bus: The bus system is very easy to Navigate…be sure to download the ‘City Mapper’ app, which will tell you what bus to get on/cost/etc., when you enter your destination. This app also works for the MRT. You’ll need to go to a subway to get a card/add money to it.
MRT: The subway system in Singapore is easy to navigate, timely, clean and inexpensive. To be more cost affective, you’ll need to purchase a MRT card from the teller at the gentry booth. You can purchase individual trip tickets from the kiosk, but it’s more time consuming and costly (unless you’re only planning to ride one or two times on the MRT).
Where To Stay…
Marina Bay Sands:
The iconic rooftop pool is an attraction in itself that you’ll want to spend an entire day at (if time and budget permit). You’ll have two options for rooms: city view and garden view (go with the city view). $500USD+/night
Established in 1887 and named after the founder of Singapore, this colonial-style luxury hotel doesn’t disappoint. Even if you don’t stay here, be sure to go inside for a the iconic drink: Singapore Sling! $450USD+/night
This hotel is in a great location, Marina Centre. $180+USD/night
Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway:
Located right on the famous shopping street, Orchard Road, this hotel has its own rooftop pool with skyline views of Singapore.
Airbnb isn’t allowed in Singapore, so I wouldn’t advise going that route, although you’ll find some listings. There are many hostels available and, since Singapore is super safe, you don’t have to worry. TripAdvisor is always my go-to for accommodation!
What To Do…
Photo Credit: Google
Marina Bay/Merlion/Helix Bridge/Shopping:
Hours: Always Open
Length of Stay: 2+ Hours
Take a 1.5 mile stroll around the entire circle of Marina Bay…you won’t be disappointed! Be sure to see the iconic Merlion, Helix Bridge and walk inside the Marina Bay Sands Hotel for some 5 star shopping. Tip: Take the river taxi to/from Marina Bay to Clarke Quay for some really cool views from the water. There’s a light show on the weekdays off of Marina Bay Sands at 8pm and 9:30pm and additionally at 11pm on weekends.
Singapore River Taxi (Singapore River Explorer):
Cost: $3SG per trip, commuters can get on/off at any of the locations listed below
Hours: 7am-10pm (last boat departs 9:30pm). Peak Hours 8am-9:30am, 5:30pm-7pm). Peak frequency 10 min intervals, off-peak 20 min.
Departs: Jiak Kim, Kim Seng, Havelock, Fort Canning, Eu Tong Sen, North Bridge, Raffles Landing, Raffles Place, Clifford Pier
Length Of Stay: 30 minutes
TIP: Get on at Clark Quay and go through Robertson Quay, get off in front of Raffles Hotel and go inside for a Singapore Sling.
Gardens By The Bay:
Hours: Grounds 5am-2am
Hours: Two Conservatories: Flower Dome & Cloud Forest, Skyway Bridge 9am-9pm
Length of Stay: 3-4 Hours
Cost: Trees Free!
Cost: Conservatories, Skyway Bridge (see table below)
|Rates||Non-residents (Two conservatories)||Residents (Two conservatories)||Residents (One conservatory)||Aerial walkway|
|Senior citizen(over 60)||
80-150ft tall trees that are connected by a skyway bridge (be sure to go on the bridge!). They’re a sight to see by day and night. Gardens by the Bay also offers an epic Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, which aren’t at the top of our ‘Must See’ list (unless you love flowers, then it’s a must!). If you’re in Singapore during Christmastime, be sure to go at night when it’s all lit up for Christmas Wonderland…a beautiful sight to see!
Do note there’s also a restaurant at the top of the Super Trees,called IndoChine, and though we’ve never eaten there we heard great things, although it’s overpriced.
MacRitchie Reservoir’s Tree Top Walk:
How To Get There: Take a taxi to Venus Drive off upper Thomson Road. This is the starting point for the walk and the route is clearly marked at the end of the car park on Venus Drive.
Hours: T-F 9am-5pm, S/S and PH 8:30am-5pm
Length of Stay: 3+ Hours (5 miles roundtrip)
Note: DO NOT feed the monkeys, it’s a big no-no. Wear comfortable shoes, bring water and mosquito repellant.
Cost: Adult $33SG ($23USD), Senior $24SG (60+years), Child $21 (3-12yrs)
Hours: 8:30am-10:30pm daily, Last flight 10:00pm
Length of Stay: 2+ Hours
The world’s largest Ferris Wheel! If you can time it right, go at sunset and see the city light up while riding!
Cost: Free! (unless you go shopping!)
Hours: Most Malls/Stores 10am-10pm
Length of Stay: 2+ Hours
The Rodeo Drive of Singapore, Orchard Road offers up posh, 5-star shopping for miles! Be sure to get tax free receipts and redeem them at the airport prior to your departure. TIP: Tell the taxi driver to take you to Ion Orchard, it’s a great starting point.
Length Of Stay: 1-2 Hours
The ‘Central Park’ of Singapore-a 156-year-old tropical garden located in the central area of Singapore. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight.
Haji Lane in Little India:
Hours: Most stores/restaurants 10am-10pm
Length of Stay: 1-2 Hours
A little, colorful street that has boutique shopping, great restaurants and coffee shops.
Length of Stay: 1-2 Hours
A GREAT place to get souvenirs and many other goodies. Ne sure to see the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple while you’re here!
Length of Stay: Entire Day
A bit overrated, in my opinion, but a popular tourist destination if you’re interested in seeing Universal Studios. It also includes the tallest Merlion statue, the S.E.A. Aquarium, two golf courses, 2km of beach, and Resorts World Sentosa. Tanjoing Beach Club is a popular place to eat and have a drink.
Mont Fabre Cable Cars:
Cost: $29SGD Adults, $18SG children (round-trip)
Hours: 8:45am-10pm daily
Length of Stay: 1 Hour
Connecting Mount Fabre to Sentosa, each cabin seats up to 8 people.
Singapore Zoo and Night Safari:
CosT: Park Hopper (combo of both) $28SGD Adult, $14 Child
Cost: Separate Zoo $15SG Adult, $7.50 Child (age 3-12)
Cost: Separate Night Safari $20SG Adult, $10 Child
Hours: Zoo 8:30am-6pm, Night Safari 7:30pm-Midnight
Length of Stay: Half Day
Where To Eat…
Singapore is a food lovers paradise. You can eat for $3 per person or $300! The wide range of cuisine is overwhelming, but we tried to make a list of our favorites.
Cut by Wolfgang Puck:
Located inside the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, it’s one of the BEST steaks we’ve ever had, but at a very steep price.
Seoul (Regent Hotel):
Our favorite Korean BBQ Restaurant in Singapore! Be sure to get the all you can eat buffet at around $50USD per person. For a cheaper option, go at lunch for $30USD. Top off your meal with a mix of Soju (Korean rice wine) and Hite Beer= a delicious conception called For Tan Jao. Note: the atmosphere in Seoul is less than impressive, but the food is worth it.
Lim Chee Guan Bakkwa (snack):
Bakkwa is a Chinese salty-sweet dried meat product, similar to beef jerky but a million times better. Lim Chee Guan is the best brand, located at B4 Ion Orchard.
With multiple locations all over the city (our favorite is on Martin Road), this western food franchise offers up great pizza, sandwiches and pasta. Our favorite pizza is the Waiki.
One of Singapore’s famous dishes is it’s chili crab, and this place is the best and most well known.
The BEST pulled pork in Singapore. They literally shipped a smoker in from Texas to make the BBQ just perfect. Get the corn bread and mac & cheese, you won’t be disappointed.
Hawker Food…a MUST MUST MUST MUST DO!
If you follow only one of my recommendations for food, let this be the one! A Hawker Center is basically a giant outdoor food court full of delicious Singaporean food!
The 3 best locations are:
Satay By The Bay (Gardens By The Bay)
Chomp Chomp (Serangoon Gardens)
Lau Pa Sat (Central Business District)
Our favorite dishes to order are:
Chicken Stay: The BEST Sinagporean dish of them all…if you like peanuts. BBQ chicken on a stick, dipped in this amazing peanut sauce.
Chicken wings: strikingly simliar to the USA (fried) with their own twist
Roti Prata: a fried flour-based pancake that is cooked over a flat grill (in oil) and dipped in a curry sauce. Think of an elephant ear without the sugar dipped in a yummy curry sauce.
Laksa (Katong): A heavy dish and not for everyone (especially if you don’t like fish or coconut milk). A coconut milk soup with rice noodles, prawn and fish cake.
Hawaiian Mee: strir fried round noodles with prawn
Carrot Cake: A Chinese breakfast dish. and not anything like the sweet dessert you’re thinning of- it doesn’t actually contain any carrot. Picture scrambled eggs with a Chinese twist. There are two types: white and dark-one with soy sauce and one without.
Char Away Teow: stir fried flat noodles with sou sauce, prawns and bean sprouts
BBQ’d Stingray: self explanatory…try this, its delicious!
Where To Drink (with great views)…
Ce La Vie:
A 57th floor rooftop bar located on top of Marina Bay Sands and one of our favorites to bring out of town guests.
1 Altitude Rooftop Bar:
Located at 1 Raffles Place. The 360 degree views of Singapore from the 63rd floor are epic, but it’s really loud.
A riverside festival village dedicated to bars and shopping. It’s open late into the night and you can just hop from bar to bar and enjoy the atmosphere. TIP: After exploring here, take the water taxi from Calark Quay to Marina Bay.
Our favorite pub overlooking Marina Bay. They brew their own beer, which is a bonus!
Smoke & Mirrors:
A posh, sheik bar with great views of Marina Bay and an eclectic drink menu.
A historic building complex that was once a Catholic convent and is now boasting with dining, shopping and entertainment (ironic, I know).
No visit to Singapore is complete without drinking a Singapore Sling at this outstanding historical building, which was formerly the post office.
This is a tough one, as most gyms in Singapore only allow residents to use their facilities. It’s best to get a hotel with a gym. Most yoga studios will let you pay a one-time visit/weekly pass, but that’s about it.
Things To Note…
Singaporean currency is the Singapore Dollar
There are moneychangers EVERYWHERE in this city!
English is spoken by almost everyone, which makes it very easy to get around
Singapore is the second safest country in the world!
Don’t tip here! Coming from the USA, it was a hard adjustment not to tip anyone, but it is not customary
Singaporeans are very kind, but, must like any other big city, they are in a hurry, so don’t be offended if they aren’t warm and fuzzy/inviting initially