Singapore is a city-state composed of the main island, over 60 islets, and reclaimed lands. From one of the developing countries in Southeast Asia, it managed to catapult itself to becoming the most developed in the region. Aside from being a global hub for education, finance, entertainment, and business, it is also a transport and tourism hub, with direct connections to almost every major city in the world.
As a developed country, Singapore has mastered the art of public convenience, which is apparent in its efficient transport system, clean streets and public facilities, strictly-implemented laws, among others. As a tourist destination, it is easy to navigate (senior- and kid-friendly!), so getting to one attraction to the next is not a problem. Do you like shopping and dining? Are you into history and culture? Perhaps nature-tripping is your thing? Maybe theme parks? But whatever your reason for visiting Singapore is, it has something for everyone.
Here are some of the best things to do in Singapore with a sample itinerary!
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
If it’s your first time in Singapore, visit Sentosa, a resort island that is bursting with exciting adventures for the entire family. The countless activities you can enjoy here are pretty diverse. But some of the most popular are the Luge, Tiger Sky Tower, Sentosa Merlion, and Cable Car.
If you’re planning on spending a day in Sentosa, consider getting a Sentosa FUN Pass to skip the lines and maximize your time. It’s available in 3 types: 55, 80, and 120 tokens. Each attraction collects tokens. This serves as your currency in the island. For the list of attractions you may enjoy and the corresponding number of tokens, check this out.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE
Located within Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, Universal Studios Singapore is the first ever movie theme park in Southeast Asia and second in the whole of Asia. The park has seven themed zones and more or less 28 rides, attractions, and shows dotting the 20-hectare of land. These are the themed zones: Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away, and Madagascar. Each zone has its own themed restaurants, shops, characters, and rides.
Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM (M-F & Sunday) / 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM (Saturday)
How to Get There: Board Bus 123, 188R, 963R, NR1 or NR6. Get off at Resorts World Sentosa bus stop 14519. Go inside The Forum and take the escalator to the first level. Turn left and continue walking. This will lead you to the Universal Studios Globe. Read more here: How to Get to Universal Studios Singapore
Note: Free Wi-Fi inside USS
Ticket Prices: S$79 (Adult, Age 13-59) / S$59 (Child, Age 4-12) / S$41 (Senior, Age 60 and above)
Discounted Tickets! Save time by booking in advance online. Klook offers one-day passes at a discounted rate inclusive of worth S$5 Meal Voucher (with a minimum spend of S$10) for adult tickets.
GARDENS BY THE BAY
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Singapore, drawing millions of visitors yearly, Gardens By the Bay spans 101-hectare of reclaimed land beside the Marina Reservoir. The nature park comprises three main areas: the Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay Central Garden. The Bay South Garden is the largest and houses the famous Flower Dome, Cloud Forest (featuring the tallest indoor waterfall in the world), and the Supertree Grove (boasting the iconic 16-story manmade trees). Flower Dome and Cloud Forest are part of the conservatory complex and require tickets to enter, while the Supertree Grove is free for all.
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM (Flower Dome & Cloud Forest) / 5:00 AM – 2:00 AM (Outdoor Gardens)
How to Get There: The nearest station is Bayfront MRT Station. From there, take Exit B and continue walking along the underground linkway. Cross either the Dragonfly Bridge or Meadow Bridge into Gardens by the Bay.
Admission Fee: Flower Dome + Cloud Forest – S$28 (Adult & Senior) / S$15 (Child)
Discounted tickets are available at Klook!
MARINA BAY SANDS SKYPARK
The Marina Bay Sands SkyPark is a one-hectare roof terrace connecting the three 55-story hotel towers of the Marina Bay Sands. Aside from the observation deck that offers a panoramic view of the bay and the surrounding areas, the SkyPark also features the world’s longest elevated swimming pool (infinity pool). You can still access the SkyPark and Observation Deck even if you are not staying in any of the three hotel towers. Yay!
Opening Hours: 9:30 AM – 10:00 PM (Monday-Thursday) / 9:30 AM – 11:00 PM (Friday-Sunday)
How to Get There: Nearest station is the Bayfront Station (10-minute walk) and the Promenade Station (15-minute walk). If you are riding a bus, take Bus 97, 97E, 133, 502, 518 or 106. Alight at the bus stop “Marina Bay Sands Hotel” along Bayfront Avenue.
Admission Fee: S$23 (Adult) / S$17 (Child, 2-21 y/o) / S$20 (Senior, 65+) / FREE (Below 2 y/o)
Save time and get good deals when you book with Klook!
You can get discounted tickets if you book with Klook! Klook offers a package inclusive of the single entrance ticket to the Observation Deck and 1 Day FunVee Hopper Pass.
SINGAPORE CABLE CAR
Opened in February 1974, this is the first ropeway system in Singapore. Spanning the Keppel Harbour, it connects Mount Faber on the mainland to Sentosa and presents a panoramic view of the stunning landscape. As you ride the monocable gondola lift, it’s not hard to spot the iconic sites such as Mount Faber Park, Universal Studios, and Resorts World Sentosa.
Opening Hours: 8:45 AM – 10:00 PM (Daily)
Last Ride Departure: 9:30 PM
Routes: Mount Faber Station, Harbour Front Station, and Sentosa Station for Mount Faber Line / Imbiah Lookout, Merlion Station, and Siloso Point Station for Sentosa Line
Admission Fee: Singapore Cable Car Sky Pass Round Trip – Adult S$35 / Child S$25
You can score discounted tickets if you book with Klook. You may choose between these two options: Sky Pass only or Sky Pass + Meal.
SINGAPORE RIVER WALK
What better way to explore one of the safest countries in the world than by walking along the river. For those who don’t mind traveling on foot or save some bucks, this activity is for you. You may take Raffles Place as your jump-off point to these attractions: Merlion Park, Esplanade, Marina Bay Sands, and Gardens by the Bay.
Here are the other stops along this walking trail: Fullerton Hotel, One Fullerton, Asian Civilisations Museum, Makansutra Gluttons Bay, Helix Bridge, Art Science Museum, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay. Note: This is best done in the late afternoon when the sun is not too harsh and you will see the city’s transition from day to night. This is a pretty long walk and can take long hours. Rest if you need to.
More info: SINGAPORE RIVER WALKING TRAIL DIRECTIONS
SINGAPORE RIVER CRUISE
Not really a fan of walking? The river cruise might be a better option for you to see some of the iconic landmarks and listen to the informative commentaries about them while sitting comfortably on a bumboat. For this 40-minute river cruise, indoor and outdoor seats are available.
Attractions and Landmarks to See: Clarke Quay, Read Bridge, Boat Quay, Fullerton, Merlion Park, Bayfront South, and Esplanade. You may alight at any of the stops, BUT you cannot board again unless you purchase another ticket. You may also reserve your slot and get a discounted ticket via Klook.
Embarking on this tour will let you appreciate Singapore’s high regard for diversity in culture and religion. The Chinatown breathes life to different traditions and practices. It is also peppered with various temples, shrines, churches, and other religious structures. Here you will spot Chinese temples, a mosque, an Indian shrine, and a Methodist Church. If you want a DIY-style tour, here’s a more detailed walking guide: Chinatown Heritage Walk
Want to join a group tour?
Joining a group tour will give you a better understanding of the landmarks and structures as you will have a guide to tell you more about the place at every stop. Klook offers this tour. Gems of Chinatown Tour includes these highlights: Thian Hock Keng Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, and Hawker Food Centers.
A quaint ethnic hub which showcases the culture of India. It’s a microcosm of rich and colorful culture that has somehow established itself in the country that embraces diversity. You can explore its nooks and crannies on your own, just like Chinatown. Satisfy your senses with the colorful sights and delicious cuisines. Marvel at the pre-war shophouses and streets lined with vendors and peddlers.
Want a better understanding of the place? A guided tour allows you to have a backstory about the places you will cover. Klook’s Little India Walking Tour includes these landmarks: Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Campbell Lane, Little India Arcade, and Tekka Centre.
Have you ever wondered how it feels to go skydiving? iFly features the first themed wind tunnel in the world. Through the sport called “bodyflying”, it allows you to experience skydiving INDOORS. Kids and adults alike can enjoy this ride; however, age restriction applies. Only children seven (7) years old and above are permitted to try this. There is also a weight limit for participants –must weigh less than 120kg for those whose height is below 180cm and 140kg for those over 180cm.
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 9:30 PM (Daily except Wednesdays) / 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM (Wednesday)
How to Get There: The nearest station is Beach Station. iFly is located beside Beach Station. From there, take a short walk (43 Siloso Beach Walk) at Siloso Beachfront in Sentosa
Admission Fee: S$89 (The Teaser, for beginners aged 7 and above)
Save time and avoid the long queues by booking online. Klook offers discounted tickets.
SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS
This 74-hectare botanical garden is being considered for a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition; it’s application was submitted in December 2012. The top attraction here — the National Orchid Garden, which houses over 1000 species of orchids — collects a SGD5 admission fee, but the rest is accessible for free. Explore many of its other zones including the Evolution and Ginger Gardens for a refreshing time with our chlorophyll-colored friends!
Opening Hours: 5am-12mn
Nearest MRT Station: Botanic Gardens (Circle Line)
Regarded as the retail and entertainment center of Singapore and one of the most vibrant shopping centers in Southeast Asia, Orchard Road is a busy belt of a good number of malls and shopping centers. Some of the malls here are:
- Tangs – one of the earliest department stores here and is easily noticeable because of the building’s Chinese-style roof.
- Ngee Ann City – the largest shopping mall in this Orchard shopping stretch.
- Wisma Atria – has a 900-seat food court.
- The Paragon – Very high-end. A lot of stores were having big sales, too.
- Lucky Plaza – One of the more budget-friendly places in Orchard. There are also Pinoy shops here.
How to get here: From Chinatown, take the North-East line to Dhoby Ghaut Station then switch to the North-South line and take the train bound for Jurong East. Get off at Orchard Station.
After undergoing a major overhaul that began in 1985, Bugis has developed into a buzzing retail district from being a red-light district in the 1950s until the early 1980s. Touted by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board as the country’s largest street-shopping destination, Bugis is really living up to that title. Flanked by retail shops and food places, this area is really one of the busiest in Singapore, especially during weekends. Bugis is located east of the city center and is near another shopping district, Kampong Glam.
How to get there: The nearest MRT station is Bugis Station. Just take the train and get off at the station. You can also get off at Lavender Station.
Kampong Glam is situated north of Singapore River. As the oldest urban district, it breathes history interlaced with contemporary art and ethnic customs, giving the area an eclectic mix of culture. The majority of the residents trace their roots to the early settlers who are mostly merchants as this used to be a port town — Malay, Arab, Chinese, Indian, and Bugis. The most famous landmark is the Sultan Mosque, a marrying of Islamic and European architecture and design. Another prominent area is Haji Lane, a colorful commercial district where you can find bars, restaurants, cafés, boutiques, and fashion stores. If you like to bring home some traditional local products, you may head to Bussorah Street and Arab Street.
How to get there: The nearest MRT station is Bugis Station. The distance between these two points is 500m – 800m. From Bugis Station, you can take a 10- to 15-minute walk to Kampong Glam (Haji Lane) or you can take a northbound bus from Bugis (Victoria Road).
You can explore Bugis or Kampong Glam on foot, but if you want a different kind of getting around the district, you can take the Trishaw Uncle Guided Tours. Trishaw is a bicycle with a sidecar that can accommodate two passengers. The meetup point is at Albert Mall Trishaw Park on the right side of Albert Centre along Albert Street. The trishaw service operates from 11AM to 9PM. The tour duration is 30-60 minutes. You can book this tour through Klook.
SAMPLE SINGAPORE ITINERARY
Here’s a sample Singapore itinerary. You may use it but make the necessary adjustments.
Day 1: ARRIVAL IN SINGAPORE, RIVER WALK TOUR, MARINA BAY SANDS
07:00 am – ETA Singapore Changi Airport
10:10 am – Check in: Hostel, Lunch
01:00 pm – Singapore River Walking Tour (Sightseeing: Fullerton, Merlion Park, Esplanade, Makansutra, etc)
03:30 pm – Gardens by the Bay
06:00 pm – Marina Bay Sands
Day 2: BOTANIC GARDENS, SENTOSA ISLAND
07:00 am – Singapore Botanic Gardens
10:00 am – Universal Studios Singapore
05:00 pm – Explore rest of Sentosa
Day 3: CHINATOWN WALK, ORCHARD ROAD, SINGAPORE FLYER
07:00 am – Chinatown Heritage Walk
10:00 am – Orchard Road (Shopping)
03:00 pm – Bugis, St. Andrews Cathedral
Day 4: LITTLE INDIA, RETURN TO MANILA
06:00 am – Little India Walking Tour
10:00 am – Check out: Hostel, Proceed to Airport
02:20 pm – ETD: Changi Airport
You may also add several other attractions.
TOP SINGAPORE BUDGET HOTELS
- Hotel Bencoolen @ Hong Kong Street. Check Rates & Availability!
- Hotel 1888 Collection. Check Rates & Availability!
- 30 Bencoolen. Check Rates & Availability!
- Hotel G Singapore. Check Rates & Availability!
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Additional words by Yosh Dimen