There is a lot of things to do in Singapore, being both a modern metropolitan city and a tropical island country. Singapore is very different compared to the rest of Southeast Asia, and it is by far the easiest country we have ever traveled to in Southeast Asia. It is a modern, well organized, and spotless city where everyone speaks perfect English. In some ways, it is more comparable to cities in the USA and western Europan towns than to other Asian cities.
Singapore is probably best known as “the country that banned gum and spitting” as it is illegal to spit on the street, sell or own chewing gum, and gum can only be bought with a prescription from a doctor.
We first visited Singapore on a backpacking trip in 2005. It is a city we keep coming back to almost every year as it is such a fresh and comfortable city to visit. Singapore has a well-functioning public transport system, high-quality restaurants and cafes, beautiful architecture and art, great shopping, and stunning parks. There is never a dull moment in Singapore.
Singapore also has some of the best hotels and boutique hotels in the world with very high quality and standard. It is a popular city to visit, not just for tourism but for business and conferences, so you should consider booking your hotel in Singapore in advance. The most popular hotels tend to be fully booked especially during peak seasons: January – February, June – July, and September – October. If you are wondering where to stay in Singapore have a look at our Where To Stay In Singapore Guide HERE.
Singapore is a very safe city to visit as the crime rates in Singapore are some of the lowest in the world. There is lots of different food to try at high quality and hygiene standards, it is very tourist friendly, and many languages are spoken as the city is very international with inhabitants from all over the world.
The downside is, however, that Singapore is more expensive than its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. Budgetwise Singapore can be compared to Europe, Australia, Japan, and the USA.
Even though Singapore is a rather compact city, it is divided into several districts each with a unique and very different atmosphere, culture, people, and food. A visit to Little India feels like being in real India, while Sentosa Island makes you wonder if you have come to California, and walking around Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay feels like having stepped into the future.
The diversity of Singapore`s attractions is one of the reasons why we love this city so much and why I`m confident that you will too! ♥
Here we give you our Singapore travel guide with what to do in Singapore for an amazing 3-5 days packed with the all the highlights. We hope you find it useful when planning your own Singapore itinerary! 🙂
What To Do In Singapore
– The Ultimate 3 Day Singapore Itinerary
What To Do In Singapore – A Singapore Itinerary: Day 1 = Pink, Day 2 = Yellow, Day 3 = Green, Day 4 = Blue, Day 5 = Violet
DAY 1 – Exploring the Past & Future of Singapore
Colonial District, The Quays & Marina Bay
1. Old-school Singapore Breakfast
If you don´t have breakfast included at your hotel, start your first day in Singapore like a real old-school Singaporean and visit a “Kopitiam” (cafe) and have kopi (coffee) or tea, Kaya toast (toast with coconut jam), and a soft-boiled egg. The right way to eat it is to crack open the egg, add some soy sauce and pepper, and dip your toast with Kaya in the egg, and eat it with your fingers. Delicious! 🙂
One of the most authentic places that still serve this kind of old-style-Singapore breakfast is the cafe Killiney Kopitiam that you will find many places in Singapore. The first and original one is located at 67 Killiney Road, and I must admit that the atmosphere here is still the best even though newer and posher branches of this cafe keep popping up all over Singapore and the airport as well. Killiney Kopitiam also serves delicious Laksa, Chicken Curry, and Nasi Lemak.
Morning Walking Tour Day 1
After this filling traditional Singapore breakfast, it is time to explore the heart of Singapore; the Colonial District. The Colonial District area is packed with stunning grand colonial buildings, a relaxing park, and several awesome museums. It is the perfect area to explore by foot as everything is within a rather small geographical area.
See our recommended Morning Singapore Walking Tour – Day 1 in the map below:
2. Fort Canning Park & Colonial District
Start your sightseeing walk of the Colonial District in Killiney Road (A on the map above), and walk east to Fort Canning Park (B) for a morning stroll in the shade of the gigantic green trees.
Walk east and out of the park and into the Colonial District of Singapore. See the National Museum (C), Peranakan Museum (D), St Andrew´s Cathedral (E), built in 1862, National Gallery (F), Asian Civilisations Museum (G), and the old grand Raffles Hotel (H), which is under construction at the time of writing. End your morning walk with lunch in Purvis Street (I).
- Estimated time: 2-3 hours
3. Visit a Museum and The National Gallery
Visit the National Gallery and one of the many brilliant museums of Singapore, which are all within walking distance of each other (my favorite is the National Museum so I would pick that one if I were you):
- National Museum of Singapore (C) – Shows six centuries of Singapore history, also the recent history of the city. We loved the digital 3D artwork presented in the Glass Rotunda, Story of the Forest.
- Peranakan Museum (D) – Tells the story of the rich heritage of the Peranakans which are the Chinese descendants in Singapore, their culture, arts and crafts, spirituality, and food.
- National Gallery Singapore (F) – This is the most stunning national gallery we have ever visited. The building in itself is impressive (the old City Hall and Old Supreme Court buildings), housing more than 8000 pieces of 19th-century and modern Southeast Asian art pieces. Make sure to head up to the rooftop bar/ restaurant for a fantastic Singapore skyline view.
- Asian Civilisations Museum (G) – Located in a beautiful yellow and white colonial building, its galleries give you a great insight into Singapore´s heritage as a port city of trade between Southeast Asia, China, India, and Europe. One of the highlights is the Tang shipwreck that sunk more than 1000 years ago, where lots of the ceramics (the ship had over 60 0000 ceramics) is on display. We joined a free guided tour of the museum which was awesome! Highly recommended!
The museums have opening hours: 10:00 – 19:00, although some of them close later on Fridays and Saturdays (21:00 or 22:00, check their web pages).
- Estimated time: 2-3 hours
4. Lunch in Purvis Street
Purvis Street (I on the map above), next to the Raffles Hotel, is filled with excellent restaurants and cafes. You will find something for every taste and budget, like Garibaldi serving Italian food (a bit expensive), Jai Thai that has mouth-watering and cheap Thai food, Killiney Kopitiam where you can get old Malaysian inspired food, Mexican food (we had some delicious tacos here), and French food at Saveur. Plenty to choose from and I promise that you will not leave Purvis Street hungry! 🙂
- Estimated time: 1 hour
Afternoon Walking Tour Day 1
After lunch, it is time to head towards the waterfront for another walking tour through the Marina Bay district and the Quays district.
This part of Singapore is filled with modern architectural masterpieces, some spectacular light-and-music shows, and lively restaurants and bars by the river.
See our recommended Afternoon Singapore Walking Tour – Day 1 below:
From Purvis Street where you had lunch (A on the map above), walk south to the river and the Quays district. Cross the Esplanade Bridge to the Merlion Park where you find the famous Merlion statue (B) – the official mascot of Singapore.
Merlion is a statue of a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. It was created as a PR-stunt by the tourism board back in the 1980s, and it soon became the icon of Singapore.
Enjoy the view of Marina Bay with the iconic Marya Bay Sands and the glittering The Esplanade Theatres on The Bay.
You can also jump on a boat cruise to get a full guided tour of Marina Bay and the Singapore River.
- Estimated time: 1 hour
6. Gardens by the Bay
Head north along the Esplanade Bridge towards Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, and continue to walk east along Marina Promenade to the Helix Bridge (C). Take in the stunning view of the Singapore skyline while you cross the Helix Bridge. Have an ice cream at the ice cream vendor (an old man) standing at the end of Helix Bridge.
When you get to the Marina Bay Sands side, take a left and walk over to Gardens by the Bay South (D).
Spend at least a couple of hours wandering around the Gardens by the Bay, and don´t miss the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest Dome and Supertree Grove with its OCBC Skyway (a 22 m high walkway between the Skytrees).
And last but not least, see the daily light-and-music show Garden Rhapsody at 19:45 and 20:45 when the Supertrees come alive in a spectacular colorful light show.
⇒ Read more about Gardens by the Bay and what you should not miss here
- Opening hours: The Gardens is open every day 05:00 – 02:00, the Domes and OCBC Skyway is open 09:00 – 21:00 (last ticket sale is 20:00)
- The Gardens by the Bay show: 19:45 and 20:45 every day
- Ticket price Gardens by the Bay: Free
- Ticket price Flower Dome + Cloud Forest Dome: S$28 (adult) = US$20, and S$15 (child 3-12 years old) = US$11
- Ticket price OCBC Skyway: S$8 for an adult = US$, S$5 for a child (8-12 years old) = US$4
- Estimated time: 3-4 hours
7. Marina Bay
From Gardens by the Bay, walk over to the nearby Marina Bay Sands (E) along the bay promenade. Marina Bay Sands looks like a gigantic stranded ship, but it´s an architectural masterpiece by an Israeli-born architect housing a hotel, casino, theatre, exhibition, museum, and a huge shopping mall. The price for building this glittering architectural star was S$5,7 billion!
The “ship” on top of the three 55-story towers is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel´s infinity pool. Yep, the view from the rooftop swimming pool is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Sadly, only guest staying at the hotel are allowed to use the infinity pool, but you can head up for a drink in the Cé La Vi Skybar and enjoy the same view just not with the same Instagram-wow-factor. 🙂
You can either pay the S$30 entrance fee to the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck, but instead, you should just come to bar and order something to drink and enjoy the same kind of view, and you get a drink included. Supersmart if you ask me 😉 You enter the bar via the lobby of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
But the real reason why should head over to Marina Bay Sands is to catch another impressive light-and-music show, called Spectra. The show is shown at the outside and on the actual Marina Bay Sands building every night at 20:00 and 21:00 + 22:00 on Fridays and Saturdays.
Grab a seat at the benches in front of the shopping mall Marina Bay Sands and take in the lights, water fountain, and music that will appear in front of you. The show lasts about 15 minutes and is free. You can also watch it from the other side, the city side, but I think it is more spectacular from the Marina Bay Sands side of the bay.
- Estimated time: 1 hour
8. Dinner at Makansutra Gluttons Bay
End your great sightseeing day with some delicious food at the Makansutra Gluttons Bay hawker stall market (F) on the other side of the bay (outside the Esplanade Mall). If you want to stay closer to the Marina Bay Sands shopping mall, an alternative is the nice hawker style food court in the basement serving local Singapore food.
- Opening hours Marina Bay Sands foodcourt: 07:00 – 22:00
- Opening hours Makansutra Gluttons Bay street food market: 17:00 – 02:00 Monday – Thursday, until 03:00 Friday and Saturday, and 16:00 – 01:00 on Sundays
9. Clarke Quay Nightlife
If you have more energy left, you can head over to Clarke Quay (G). The Quays is the area by the riverfront and consist of three quays connected by the Singapore River: Boat Quay, Robertson Quay, and Clarke Quay. Clarke Quay is the most popular and lively part of the Quays, lined with restaurants, bars, and clubs. Have some drinks and dance the night away.
Or you can end your night a more sophisticated way by heading up in the sky to the previously mentioned “Cé La Vi Skybar” at Marina Bay Sands or the rooftop bar “Smoke and Mirrors” on the top of National Gallery. Both have an excellent view of the Singapore skyline.
DAY 2 – Shopping & Wild Life
Orchard Road, Little India, Kampong Glam & Night Safari
1.Shopping Bonanza In Orchard Street
Take the MRT to Orchard Station or Somerset Station and start your day in the famous shopping mecca Orchard Road. Here you can shop till you drop or till your credit cards are empty.
Orchard Roads is packed with huge shopping malls. Here is the best shopping in Singapore:
- ION Orchard Mall – Singapore´s poshest and biggest megamall with the observation deck ION Sky on level 56. This shopping mall is located directly above Orchard MRT Station. The basement floors have brands like Zara, Esprit, Uniqlo while the upper floors have more posh and expensive brands like Singapore´s famous fashion label In Good Company.
- Paragon – A see and be seen kind of shopping mall with very posh and expensive upper-class brands like Burberry, Prada, Gucci, Armani, and Jimmy Choo.
- Ngee Ann City – An old mall that looks a bit old fashion on the outside, but it´s great on the inside with seven floors of shopping bonanza and a cinema. It has the best bookshop in Asia, the Kinokuniya, and also houses the best food court in Orchard Road, the Takashimaya Food Village.
- Orchardgateway – A shopping mall that spans on both sides of Orchard Road and is connected by an underground walkway as well as an above-ground bridge. It has a dedicated floor for men clothes and stuff. Has big brands like Zara and H&M and lots of nice restaurants and cafes. There is a hotel, the Jen Orchardgateway Hotel on the upper floors (reception is on the 10th floor of Orchardgateway mall). We stayed at this hotel and loved it, especially their rooftop swimming pool which is gigantic with a fantastic view of the Singapore skyline.
- Tanglin Shopping Centre – A retro mall that has Asian art and antiques like carvings, jewelry, paintings, furniture and so on.
- Estimated time: 3 hours
2. Wind Off In Emerald Hill Road
Have a well-earned break and something cold to drink at one of the bars in the renovated shophouses in the cozy and atmospheric Emerald Hill Road.
Go for a short stroll along this road and admire Singapore´ s most beautiful terrace houses, some of them dating back to early 1900. Although this road is just a stone throw from the busy Orchard Road, it feels like a completely different area.
- Estimated time: 1 hour
3. Little India
The Little India district of Singapore is excellent to explore by foot. Here is our recommended walking tour of Little India Singapore:
Take the MRT to Little India Station (A on the map above), where you start your walking tour of Little India.
Once you step out of the station, it is like you have teleported yourself to India! It is just completely different from the rest of the posh, clean, and glossy Singapore.
Walk around in the small lanes between Serangoon Road and Jln Besar and take in the smells, sounds, and the bustling and vibrant atmosphere. The area gets very crowded on Sundays.
Although Little India has some beautiful temples, we come to this part of Singapore for the delicious and authentic Indian food. So make sure to grab some Indian food. Our favorite place is the Shish Mahal Restaurant next to Village Hotel Albert Court just on the outskirts of Little India (close to Little India MRT Station). Try their butter chicken with naan bread; it is heavenly good.
If you are a coffee addict and like hip and cool cafes, visit Chye Seng Huat Hardware cafe (in Jalan Besar, close to Lavender MRT Station). Housed in an old shophouse, this was originally one of many hardware stores in Jalan Besar area (a part of Little India) but has been restored into a cozy hipster cafe selling delicious coffee, tea, cakes, and other small dishes. You can also take home a bag of coffee beans roasted in the cafe. They also arrange coffee workshops and a one-hour coffee tour where you can learn about the process of roasting coffee beans.
This walking tour includes the best things to do in Little India Singapore:
- Tekka Centre (B on the map above) – A bustling shopping center with lots of spices, saris, Indian textiles, shoes, and so on. It also has a street hawker section that serves some excellent and cheap Indian street food like Murtabak (stuffed pancake), Roti (dough-flour pancake), Biryani, Dosa (very thin lentil-flour pancake), and Teh Tarik (pulled tea, my favorite). The perfect place to grab something to eat!
- Indian Heritage Center (C) – A relatively new (opened in 2015) museum and cultural center, costing S$12 million to build. It shows the heritage of Singapore`s Indian community and people and has artifacts, maps, and photos on display, as well as multimedia and a lovely rooftop garden. The building in itself is pretty cool where the facade becomes transparent at night where you can see a colorful mural.
- Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (D) – The most impressive and colorful Hindu temple in Singapore, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali, built in 1881.
- Mustafa Centre (E) – A 24/7 shopping mall that has absolutely everything! So if you can´t sleep at night due to for instance jetlag, head of to Mustafa Centre and go shopping. 🙂
- Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple (F) – A Buddhist Temple with a huge 15 m tall Buddha weighing 300 tonnes. You will also find Hindu gods Brahma and Ganesh, which is a bit odd for a Buddhist Temple. The entrance is flanked by two big yellow tigers and a huge mother-of-pearl footprint of Buddha (to your left when entering the temple) which is a replica of the footprint on the top of Adam´s Peak in Sri Lanka.
End your walking tour of Little India at Farrer Park Station (G). From here, take the MRT to Bugis Station to explore the next district of Singapore – Kampong Glam & Bugis.
- Estimated time walking tour of Little India: 2-3 hours
4. Kampong Glam & Bugis
Kampong Glam district, also called Arab Street, is located right beside Little India. You can either walk here from Little India or take the MRT to Bugis Station.
Start your walking tour of Kampong Glam and Bugis from Bugis MRT Station (A on the map below):
Kampong Glam area has a great mix of hipster cafe, trendy restaurants, cool shops, and Islamic culture and mosques.
The most famous and fashionable street is Haji Lane (B on the map above). Haji Lane is a walking street full of street art murals, packed with relaxed cafes and trendy boutiques selling everything from hipster clothes, design stuff, shoes, backpacks, and third-wave jewelry. I love walking around in this area, popping into the small boutiques and cafes.
Check out shops as Supermama (local designers, excellent for souvenirs and gifts to bring back home), the neighbouring Scene Shang (cool furnitures, stone wear, and art), the textile and silk shops along Arab Street, Kapok in the National Design Centre (sells cool designer clothes and sandals), and the many trendy boutiques in Haji Lane.
Make sure to visit the Sultan Mosque (C on the map above) with its beautiful golden topped dome sparkling in the sun. The mosque is the signature building of Kampong Glam.
If you are hungry, Kampong Glam is the perfect area to eat or grab some snacks, coffee, or a cup of tea. You will find Malay, Italian, Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern food. We had delicious woodfired Italian pizza at cozy Cicheti.
Make sure to grab some pastries at the Konditori, a Swedish bakery and cafe. They have the best pastries in Singapore!
If you have the time and love movies like us, then a visit to the independent and supercool cinema Projector (D on the map above) is a must. They also have a cool cafe in the lobby of the cinema.
Bugis is a small part of Kampong Glam where you among other shopping centers will find Bras Basah Complex (E on the map above) with some cool shops like the Basheer Graphic Books (fourth floor). They sell lots of film books, art books, photography books, as well as books on design, typography, interior and architecture. The bookshop also has Singapore´s best selection of international niche magazines. Love this bookstore!
- Estimated time: 1-2 hour
5. Night Safari
After all this city sightseeing, it is finally time to leave the urban jungle and head into the wilderness in the north of Singapore. Jump in a taxi or use the Grab app, and head north to join the famous Night Safari, which is located next to Singapore Zoo. The drive takes about 30 minutes.
The Night Safari part of Singapore Zoo opens at 19:15, and the park closes around midnight. If you want to see the animals in daylight, you should instead visit the Singapore Zoo (opening hours: 08:30 – 18:00), or you can, of course, visit both the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.
At Night Safari you take open-sided shuttle trams that drive you on a guided tour of the park where you get to see leopards, babirusas, Malay tigers, giant flying squirrels, etc. You can also walk specific trails of the park. Don´t miss the Creatures of the Night show; an interactive 20-minutes show that is great fun especially for kids. The show is at 19:30, 20:30, and 21:30 + 22:30 on Fridays and Saturdays.
⇒ Read our experience of the Singapore Zoo here
- Estimated time: 2-3 hours
DAY 3 – Beach, Entertainment & Dining
Sentosa Island & Chinatown
After all that city sightseeing, museums, temples, and shopping, it is time to head to the “tropical beach” and have some fun on Sentosa Island.
There are several ways to get to Sentosa Island from Singapore city: Cable car (take the MRT to HarbourFront Station where the cable car runs from between 08:45 to 21:30), The monorail Sentosa Express (goes from VivoCity beside HarbourFront Station), taxi, or just walk across the Sentosa Boardwalk from VivoCity (the walk takes about 15 minutes).
1. Universal Studios & SEA Aquarium
There are plenty of fun activities to join on Sentosa Island. Head there early in the morning to beat the crowd.
Here are the best things to do on Sentosa Island:
- Universal Studios – A gigantic theme park packed with activities, rides, and shows. Great fun, especially for the kids!
- SEA Aquarium (SoutEast Asia Aquarium) – The world´s biggest aquarium with sharks, mantas, octopus, jellyfish, seahorses, and lots of colorful fish.
- Wave House – An artificial wave where you can try out your surfing skills.
- MegaZip Line – Tempting to go in 60 km/h on a zip line 75 m above the ground through the jungle and down to the beach? Then this is it!
You can easily spend a couple of days exploring everything on Sentosa, but since this is your last day in Singapore, you should try to wrap up your time in Universal Studios and SEA Aquarium during the afternoon.
Wind down and relax your feet at one of the three beaches on Sentosa:
- Palawan Beach – A relaxed part of Sentosa popular among families with kids as you will find a children’s playground here
- Siloso Beach – Singapore’s hippest beach with bars and discos and parties in the evening
- Tanjong Beach – Relaxed and quiet, a nice place to chill. It has beach hammocks, Tanjong Beach Club and FOC Sentosa. This beach is very romantic in the evening with candlelit tables where you can have dinner, also infinity pools with comfortable daybeds.
And best of all, visiting the beaches is free! Yay!:)
- Estimated time: It depends on what you want to do, but after around 8 hours you will be pretty exhausted
In the evening, head back to Singapore city and take the MRT to Chinatown Station (A on the map below).
Walk around Chinatown where the best things to do in Chinatown Singapore are (in our opinion):
- Chinatown Heritage Centre (B on the map above) – This museum tells the story of Chinatowns colorful and chaotic history. There is an excellent audio tour included in the ticket.
- Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (C) – A beautiful and huge five-story temple that has the left canine tooth of the Buddha. The tooth is kept inside a 420 kg heavy gold stupa on the 4th floor. The temple is packed with Buddha figures and has a nice rooftop garden. (opening hours: 07:00 – 19:00, free entrance)
- The mural by Yip Yew Chong on Thian Hock Keng Temple (D) – A 44-meter long mural painted on the rear wall of Thian Hock Keng Temple. It is painted by the famous Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong. The mural is beautiful and tells the story of Immigrants to Singapore, from leaving China to arriving at their new home in Singapore. Start from the right end to “read” the mural.
After a stroll around Chinatown, you must be hungry and thirsty. Grab some street food at the hawker center Maxwell Food Centre (E on the map above) or Chinatown Complex (F). If you want some more up-class dining, head to Amoy Street (G) or Telok Ayer Street (H).
Time to finish off your time in Singapore with a drink or two in one of the many cool rooftop bars in Club Street (I) or Ann Siang Rd (J) which becomes a walking street after 19:00 on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Estimated time: 3-5 hours (depending on how many drinks you want to drink….)
DAY 4 – Wild Life, Greenery & Flowers
Singapore Zoo & Botanic Garden
1. Botanic Garden
Start your day with breakfast at the lovely PS Cafe before heading over to Botanic Garden for a morning walk.
Or stack up on delicious hawker dishes at the Holland Village Market & Food Center (address: 1 Lor Mambong) like chicken rice and prawn noodles, or buy food at one of the many gourmet delis at the streets Holland Village and Dempsey Hill, and head to the Botanic Gardens for a picnic.
There is also a nice collection of hawker food stalls outside the Botanic Garden´s Healing Garden called Food Canopy (next to the Raffles Building). There you find everything from the old traditional Singapore breakfast kaya toast (toast with coconut jam) and kopi (coffee), to Indian roti (bread), noodles, and roasted duck.
After all this food for breakfast, go for a walk around the stunning Botanic Garden. For me, the highlight is the National Orchid Garden (opening hours: 08:30-19:00), the largest display of orchids in the world. Orchid is my favorite flower, so I love walking around in this part of the Botanic Garden.
The Ginger Garden part of Botanic Garden is also beautiful and houses the atmospheric Halia restaurant with several ginger-based dishes on the menu. The Learning Forest with its elevated walkways and boardwalks is the newest part of the Botanic Garden. It has a cool canopy web where you can lay down and listen to the sounds of the forest. If you have kids, head to the Jacob Ballas Children´s garden.
⇒ Read more about our visit to the Botanic Garden HERE
- Estimated time: 3-4 hours
2. Singapore Zoo
If you only have done the Night Safari part of Singapore Zoo, and you have more days in Singapore, you should visit the Singapore Zoo part. Make sure to take a break and an ice cream at Ben&Jerry´s (our favorite ice cream).
⇒ Read more about our visit to the Singapore Zoo HERE
- How to get there: It is easiest to take a taxi or Uber (a 30 min ride)
- Opening hours: 08:30 – 18:00
- Ticket price: S$33 for an adult, and S$22 for a child under 13 years old
- Estimated time: 5-6 hours
DAY 5 – Cafes & market in a cool hipster neighborhood
Take the MRT to Thiong Bahru Station, and you will find yourself in the hippest residential neighborhood of Singapore with hip boutiques, cool bars, and cozy cafes. You will not see any high skyscrapers here, mostly low-rise buildings as this was Singapore´s first public-housing area. The apartments now have an art deco vibe and are very popular among young hipster Singaporeans and expats.
Thiong Bahru is said to be where rich Chinese businessmen housed their mistresses. Now you find a refreshing mix of chic cafes and old Chinese restaurants and shops.
Go for a walk in the neighborhood and visit:
- To Market or Thiong Bahru Market & Food Centre – Dating back to 1955. Here you will find a wet market on the ground floor selling vegetables, fruits, flowers, fish, and meat. They sell some delicious Thai mangoes! Upstairs, however, is a hawker stall center with all kinds of Asian dishes and drinks. (opening hours: 08:00 until late)
- BooksActually – A cool independent bookstore. There is a small museum in the back. (opening hours: 10:00 – 20:00 Tue-Sat, until 18:00 Mon & Sun)
- Tiong Bahru Bakery – Love this cozy bakery that sells delicious and cute French pastries and coffee of high quality. It has a nice sitting area both inside and outside. (opening hours: 08:00 – 20:00 Sun-Thur, until 22:00 Fri-Sat)
- Merci Marcel Cafe – Another cool hipster-like cafe (French) selling quality coffee and pastries. Located next to Thiong Bahru Bakery. They have a lovely back garden area with tables.
- Plain Vanilla Bakery – We first fell in love with this bakery at the ION Orchard Mall, but they have a bigger cafe and bakery in Thiong Bahru. They sell Singapore´s best and cutest cupcakes, along with other delicious temptations. (opening hours: 08:00 – 19:00 Mon-Sat, 09:00 – 18:00 Sundays)
- Nana & Bird – A cool little boutique next to Plain Vanilla Bakery that sells independent fashion clothes, shoes, and accessories.
- Creamier – On the other side of the street from Nana&Bird, they make delicious handmade ice cream and coffee.
- Forty Hands – Close to the ice cream place Creamier, a small cafe serving excellent brunch and coffee.
There you have it, our recommended Singapore Itinerary with all the coolest things to do in Singapore. In our opinion, you need at least three days to explore the highlights of Singapore fully. With five days you don´t have to rush around that much and can spread out this itinerary over more days.
Where To Stay In Singapore
There is no getting around that Singapore is a pretty expensive city when it comes to accommodation. But on the plus side, the hotel standard is very high, and there are some genuinely wonderful hotels here. Below are some of our favorites hotels at different price ranges.
The Fullerton is widely regarded as Singapore’s most luxurious hotel. While the Raffles hotel is under renovation, the Fullerton Bay Hotel is the best choice for old-school five-star colonial style luxury and world-class service. If it is within your budget staying here is an experience in itself. The 25m rooftop swimming pool overlooking Marina Bay is truly spectacular!
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Hotel Fort Canning
Surrounded by the green and peaceful Fort Canning Park this beautifully restored old colonial fort made heritage boutique hotel is a quiet oasis in the heart of the city. The rooms are large and beautiful with high ceilings, hardwood floors, and super comfortable beds. We loved the spacious bathroom with the stylish bathtub.
There are two large swimming pools and a well-equipped gym. It has a very central location, within walking distance to both the main shopping street Orchard Road and the Colonial District with all the main museums and sights.
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Parkroyal on Pickering is something as rare as an eco-conscious five-star hotel. It shows through in everything from the small touches like the daily refilled glass water bottles to pens made of bamboo to the architectural marvel of the green hanging terraces that decorate its facade.
The rooms are modern, spacious and very comfortable. The view of the Singapore Skyline from the room and also the bathtub is amazing! There is an infinity pool as well as a well-equipped gym. The breakfast buffet is spectacular, and the location is excellent with both the Chinatown MRT Station and the Clarke Quay MRT Station very close by.
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If you want a modern, comfortable hotel that is close to the shopping along Orchard Road, then look no further. Occupying the top floors of the Orchard Gateway mall the location just simply can’t be beaten. The rooms are very comfortable, but the real standout is the enormous infinity rooftop swimming pool with its spectacular evening views of the city. We also loved the room service robot (yes, indeed a robot!) 🙂
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If you are looking for something unique, then the Amoy Hotel might just fit the bill. This renovated old temple building at the edge of Chinatown has become a world-class boutique hotel.
Every room is unique, and the old building creates a special and cozy atmosphere.
The staff is always friendly and helpful. There is an MRT station, Telok Ayer MRT Station (blue Downtown Line), right across the street, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes around.
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Located in a quiet residential neighborhood only a few minutes walk from the main shopping street of Singapore, Orchard Road, Lloyd’s Inn has a perfect central location and is excellent value for the money.
The rooms are small but stylish and well decorated like out of an Ikea catalog with some unique touches. Our room had a fantastic open-air shower. It is worth paying a little extra for a garden facing room.
The garden is beautiful and contains a lovely wading pool and resting area. Breakfast is served in a local Kopitiam (coffee shop), Killiney Kopitiam, on the adjacent road, Killiney Road. This road has plenty of affordable restaurants serving everything from Vietnamese to Indian food.
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Hotel G was a positive surprise to us! While the rooms are tiny, the standard is excellent for the price with clean, modern and comfortable rooms with flat-screen TVs and private bathrooms with rainwater showers.
We opted for a slightly larger room since we were traveling with a lot of luggage and we were extremely comfortable.
Downstairs is a classy and cool wine bar, and the burger bar “Twenty Five Degrees” on the corner serves some of the best burgers in Singapore. Try the truffle chips, they are heavenly!
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