Deciding how to spend your time in Singapore can be a challenge. Although full of history and culture, Singapore is also a world class city that at times feels like stepping into the future, and therefore the abundance of things to do can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to planning.
We recently spent a few days exploring this major world city and have put together a list of some of the things we did in order to help you plan your time there!
Singapore can definitely be on the more expensive side, so make sure to plan your time and budget wisely. We’re breaking up our things to do by free things and those that have an entrance fee (tickets required) or a cost involved, to better guide you.
So, without further ado, let’s get this list underway:
Free Things to do in Singapore:
Gardens By the Bay
Going to visit Gardens by the Bay and their Supertrees is an absolute must-do when visiting Singapore. The entire outdoor park is completely free, although you have to pay in order to walk around the outdoor walkway/deck that leads from tree to tree. As impressive as the trees are during the day, the light/music show that takes place twice each evening is spectacular and trust us, you’d definitely be missing out if you skip it.
Nearby to the Gardens by the Bay is the Helix Bridge (aptly named as it’s in a helix shape), although you likely won’t spend long here, it’s worth the walk across to take in the great views of the river and the city that surrounds it.
Visit Haji Lane
One of the hippest streets in Singapore, Haji Lane is full of restaurants and bars and really comes alive at night. You’ll also find some really unique boutiques, so if you’re looking for an interesting souvenir to commemorate your time in the city, this might be a good place to start. Be sure to venture up and down the various alleyways to check out all the street art.
Visit the Katong area
If you’re looking for an off the beaten path area and also a great place to grab some unique and amazing Instagram photos, head to the Katong neighbourhood. We never would have discovered it if our hotel wasn’t located here. It’s quite a ways from the main area of Singapore but more than worth checking out. Find out more about the unique Peranakan culture as you venture through the colourful streets, and definitely make a stop at Koon Seng Road where you’ll be able to check out the colourful shophouses and take some incredible shots.
Another really unique area of Singapore is Chinatown, although much easier to reach than Katong. Along the main streets you’ll encounter colourful lanterns criss-crossing the streets, you’ll also come across many Buddhist and Hindu temples. There are loads of dining options in this area, from authentic Chinese to high end spots, to Hawker Food Centres.
Visit the Merlion
Definitely one of the more crowded places to visit, it’s still worth it (if you’re already in the area) to drop by and grab a snapshot of Singapore’s mascot. Half lion, have fish, the iconic Merlion statue is the symbol of the city, stop by when visiting the river and surrounding landmarks.
Entrance fees/Tickets Required in Singapore:
Essentially an indoor garden that’s built upwards, the cloud forest is in a dome like structure and feels a lot like a large, intricate greenhouse. Filled with loads of plants, an indoor waterfall (!!) and a walkway that continues to wind its way up and up, this place is like nothing we’ve ever seen. For some reason we were having problems purchasing tickets online, but when we showed up we had no issues purchasing tickets at the kiosk and there were no lines.
Even the outside of this building is majestic, shaped like a lotus flower, you’ll likely pass by this museum as your explore the Marina Bay Sands complex/area. There are various exhibits but we visited Future World. We purchased our tickets online and didn’t need to wait in any lines, access was simple and quick. Future World has five main themes/areas, Nature, Town, Sanctuary, Park and Space. To be honest a few of them were a bit underwhelming, and felt a bit like connecting areas of the exhibit. But the price of the ticket is absolutely worth it when you reach the Space portion of the exhibit (picitured above-left)!
There’s no entrance fee or tickets required, but this is a brewpub (one of the highest in the world) and therefore you’ll need to get some food or drinks if visiting here. This brewery has some absolutely fantastic views over the city, and pretty good beer as well! If coming in the evening we’d definitely suggest making a reservation first.
Looking for tickets/tours in Singapore, check prices and availability here:
Where to stay in Singapore:
This hotel couldn’t be in a better location. It’s only about a 10 minute walk to two different MRT stations (although they are currently in the process of adding a new stop right next door to the hotel), and is situated right in Chinatown. The hotel is rich in history and has one of the more unique designs and layouts where every room is a little bit different. It also happens to be right across from one of the more famous Hawker markets, Maxwell Food Centre. This is a great place to stay if you’re looking for something historic that’s also in a really cool neighbourhood but easily walkable to the main centre of Singapore.
Read the full review of our stay at the Scarlet here.
We sadly only got to spend one night here but absolutely loved it! This hotel has a very modern design and one of our favourite hotel rooms that we’ve stayed in recently. It also has an absolutely incredible rooftop pool with views overlooking the city. If one of your goals while visiting Singapore is to try the original Singapore Sling, you’re in luck that the historic Raffles Hotel is just across the street and their bar was the originator of the Sling (unfortunately the entire Raffles complex was closed for renovations during our stay).
As we already mentioned, the Katong neighbourhood is a definite must visit while in Singapore, so why not base yourselves here and stay at Hotel Indigo. This hotel is great if you’re looking for something a bit more unique or you’ve previously explored the main parts of the city and are looking for something new. You definitely won’t be disappointed in the beautiful hotel which based its design from Peranakan culture and style in the area. The rooms are incredibly gorgeous and colourful and you don’t want to miss out on the rooftop pool which overlooks the area.
Search for the best hotel deals in Singapore:
Where to eat in Singapore:
You can’t go to Singapore without visiting at least one hawker food centre. Not only is it one of the most affordable ways to eat in an expensive city, you’ll also find some absolutely amazing, authentic dishes and a huge variety of different foods. If you want to know what Singaporean food is all about, you have to visit one!
This restaurant couldn’t be in a better location (1 Fullerton), and although it’s a definite splurge, if you’re into brunch and seafood this place was made for you. On the weekends they have an unlimited champagne brunch that also includes unlimited food! So while the price tag may look high, you can indulge until your heart's content on small plates (lobster, crab, clams, sliders, salads, etc.) and champagne!
We already mentioned Haji Lane as a thing to do, but it’s also a great place to eat. You’ll find loads of restaurant options here and the pedestrian street really comes alive at night with lots of people and live music!
A historic district in central Singapore (next to Chinatown), this area is full of a wide range of restaurants, from trendy to high end to pubs and bars you’ll definitely be able to find whatever you’re in the mood for. We ate in the area a couple of times, once for Korean fried chicken and another time for Italian style pizza.
Getting to Singapore and getting around:
Singapore’s Changi airport is one of the biggest in Asia and best rated in all the world, you can find direct flights from many different cities/airlines worldwide.
Once you’ve arrived at the airport you can actually hope on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) to get to many locations around the city. Tickets and passes can be purchased at the airport. We also found Grab and taxis to be relatively affordable considering the high price of many things in the city!
Did we miss your favourite thing to do, place to stay or eating establishment in Singapore? Comment below to let us know!!
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