Lion City. City in a Garden. Southeast Asia-lite. Singapore is called many things…because it is many things. The small island nation is both a city and a country. Intriguing man-made marvels rise from lush nature parks. Posh cocktail bars are found steps away from inexpensive hawker stands. People of differing ethnicities and religions co-mingle to create a vibrant multicultural environment. But, rather than seeming contradictory, it feels complimentary. It’s a city to be experienced – and we’ve created a Singapore itinerary that highlights the best places to visit in Singapore in 3 days.
Singapore Budget Trip
One more thing Singapore is: expensive. There is no need to argue the point; experts have labeled Singapore as the most expensive city in the world. Thrifty travelers let us assure you: there are many things to do in Singapore on a budget! Let this DIY Singapore Budget Trip Itinerary be proof. Note: Even if your Singapore travel expenses allow for excessive spending or splurges, you can still use our Singapore tour itinerary as a base for your travel plans!
Top Tip: A Singapore sightseeing pass can help reduce Singapore expenses for tourists – we’ve included cost-saving pass tips at the end of the post.
Singapore Itinerary 3 Days
Our itinerary outlines what to do in Singapore for 3 days. The days are designed in the format of self-guided Singapore walking tours that highlight the top sights in the city’s most popular districts – and a bit of nature, too. We include sight details, links to more information and/or reviews, and a map for each day of our Singapore city tour itinerary. Tip: Depending of what time your flights arrive/depart, this can be a Singapore Itinerary 3 days 2 nights (instead of 3 nights), but the activities will fill 3 entire days!
Note: Singapore trip itinerary tips for what to see in Singapore in a day – and up to a week – are included at the end of the post.
Day 1 in Singapore
Spend the first day of your three days in Singapore in the city’s most iconic districts: Downtown Core, Chinatown and Marina Bay – but first, immerse yourself in nature at a city-center retreat. Each district could take as little as an hour to explore on foot, but only without making stops. We recommend using the provided links to the district walks to help plan your Singapore day one travel tour itinerary.
Fort Canning Park
Located in the heart of the city is Fort Canning Park. The small hill has played a big role in the history of Singapore. It was home to kings in the 14th century, British Army Barracks in the 19th century and is the site where Singapore surrendered to Japan in 1942. Shaded trails meander through the forested hill that is sprinkled with relics from the past: The Battlebox, Gothic Gate and Fort Canning Lighthouse shouldn’t be missed!
Information plaques are found throughout the park to help visitors better understand the history of Fort Canning Park. Strolling among the tropical plants and learning about the city’s past should definitely be included in your Singapore three-day itinerary!
In the Downtown Core, sleek high-rises tower over ornate temples and traditional dwellings that sit along the Singapore River. The district is the financial center of Singapore, which grew from the colony established on the banks of the river in 1823 by Sir Stamford Raffles and the British East India Company. As the location marks the beginning of modern Singapore, it’s a great place to kick off your Singapore travel itinerary!
Museums, monuments and mementoes from the past are found throughout the district. Top sights include the iconic Raffles Hotel, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Boat Quay, Cavenagh Bridge, Fullerton Hotel and Yueh Hai Ching Temple. Discover the Singapore Downtown Colonial Sights on foot using our Singapore Downtown Core Walking Tour.
Top Tip: Before you set off on your Day One Singapore Itinerary, make sure you are prepared for the weather! Wear comfortable shoes, slather on the sunscreen – and bring a hat or umbrella for shade. Staying hydrated is essential – so make sure to bring a bottle of water, too!
Long before Singapore became Singapore, Chinese people inhabited the island. However, it was during the development of the colony, by Sir Raffles in the mid-1800s, that a specific district was designated for the Chinese people to live and work – and that district remains today as Chinatown. Although the intent was to segregate society, there was much diversity within Chinatown, evidenced by the different houses of worship – a Hindu temple, Muslim mosque, Buddhist temple and Christian church are all just steps apart.
Today, although the boundaries have shifted and the dynamics of the district have changed, the history remains. Preserved shophouses and traditional medicine shops can be found throughout the district. The scent of sizzling meat and mouth-watering spices hangs heavy in the air, while smoky incense burns at temples and shrines then floats on the breeze (really, more of a draft, which is mostly created by oscillating fans).
Visiting Chinatown should be on every Singapore trip itinerary – if not for the history, then for the food! We recommend wandering through the streets of Chinatown and letting your senses lead the way – or use our Singapore Chinatown Self-Guided Walking Tour to make sure you see the highlights of the district!
Top Tip: There is so much fabulous food in Chinatown! We recommend eating lunch at one of the Hawker Centers in Chinatown to get a taste of the local cuisine (suggestions on where – and what – to eat can be found in our Singapore Chinatown Walking Tour).
Marina Bay Singapore
Marina Bay is Singapore’s modern, man-made marvel. The entire district sits on reclaimed land – and the creative architecture creates an other-worldly atmosphere. The center of attention is the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel, but it is far from the only attraction at Marina Bay. The water-spouting Merlion, SuperTree Grove of Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Flyer are other top Marina Bay sights.
Visiting some of these attractions will certainly add to your Singapore sightseeing cost, but for those determined to budget travel in Singapore, there is much to see at Marina Bay for free. Follow our self-guided walk of Marina Bay Singapore Attractions to discover the best of the vibrant district.
Top Tip: In Marina Bay, there are two nighttime laser light shows: Spectra Light and Water Show at Marina Bay Sands and Garden Rhapsody Light Show at Gardens by the Bay. Both shows light up the sky at least two times every night – so plan your time right and you can watch both! You can find the times in our walking tour post – but check official websites to confirm, as times can change.
Day 2 in Singapore
On Day 2 of Singapore in three days, take a walk in the treetops of Southern Ridges, then discover more of the city’s history and vibrant culture in some of Singapore’s best neighborhoods – Kampong Glam, Bugis and Little India.
Southern Ridges Park
Located on the southwest side of the city, Southern Ridges is a 10km stretch of green space that connects Mount Faber Park to Hort Park, west of the city center. Trails can be accessed on the forest floor, but walking along the elevated path gives visitors a birds’ eye view of the forest canopy and a glimpse at some of the Singapore skyline.
A highlight of the walk (from Hort Park to Mount Faber Park) is Henderson Waves – a pedestrian bridge modeled to look like the waves of the sea that stands 36m above a busy road. The park, which is surrounded by developments, feels miles away from the city and offers a unique way to view the natural flora and fauna of the region. We saw many birds and butterflies on our walk…but didn’t spot any monkeys.
In Raffles’ plan of division, Kampong Glam was designated for native Malays and Muslims. Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor, who signed the treaty with the British East India Company to establish a colony and trading port, resided in Kampong Glam. As the district evolved, it attracted other ethnic groups, such as Arabs, and grew into a multicultural community (although, it is often still referred to as the Muslim Quarter).
The district boasts a few sights and a multitude of trendy coffee shops and traditional fabric and carpet stores. When visiting Kampong Glam, be sure not to miss these sights:
Malay Heritage Center
Opened in 2005, the Malay Heritage Center aims to educate visitors on the history of the Malay people through six permanent exhibits. The building that houses the museum was part of the Sultan’s palace complex. (Fee to enter.)
Sultan Arts Village
At the southeast entrance/exit to the Malay Heritage Center (opposite the fountain), is the Sultan Arts Village. The small building houses a few artist galleries and features expressive wall murals and graffiti art on the walls around it. Perhaps not a must-see for all travelers, but a delight for fans of street art.
Designated a National Monument in Singapore in 1975, the Sultan Mosque (or Masjid Sultan) dates to the year 1928 – and has changed little since then. With large golden domes, it’s almost impossible to miss. The mosque remains an important place of worship for Muslim people, but is open to all to visit. Guests not appropriately dressed will be loaned (for free) clothing to wear. Informational displays are set up at the back of the mosque and friendly staff are available to answer questions.
Arab Street & Haji Lane
Two colorful streets – Arab Street and Haji Lane – run parallel to each other in Kampong Glam. Lined with restored shophouses that host hip cafes, restaurants and bars, these two streets are a highlight for many visitors to the area.
Top Tip: Located in the vicinity of Kampong Glam is the Golden Mile Food Centre. Slightly out of the way, we thought it was well-worth the trip to try the much-raved (and 2016 Michelin Guide-mentioned) char kway teow from stall 91 Fried Kway Teow Mee. With only one dish available (the broth of which takes hours to make), the long line is sure to move quickly – and can be ordered S, M or L ($3, 4, 5 SGD). Need a break from Asian cuisine? Go to Burgs’ stall, where they cook up tasty burgers and fries at inexpensive (for Singapore) prices.
Some might be familiar with the name Bugis Street – a movie of the same name depicted the lives of the Singapore transgenders and prostitutes who frequented the area from the 1950s until the 1980s. However, since the redevelopment in the 1980s, none of the exotic sex culture remains in the area. Instead, tourists will find shopping malls and temples at the heart of the district. These are the Bugis Singapore sights to see:
Comprised of more than 30 restored pre-war shophouses, Bugis Village features compact stalls selling everything from clothing to souvenirs to food. This is a place for both bargains and bartering. Note: Visitors more interested in shopping at a typical mall should head into Bugis Junction Shopping Center.
Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
The Buddhist Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple was built in the late 1800s and survives today as a place of worship. Devotees believe praying to Kwan Yim (Goddess of Mercy) will bring them good luck, encouraging many faithful worshipers to visit the temple.
Sri Krishnan Temple
Next to the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Buddhist Temple is the Sri Krishnan South Indian Hindu Temple, which was built in 1870. As a fine example of Singapore’s acceptance of multiple religions, worshipers of both temples will often visit the neighboring temple with offerings.
Temples, spice shops and flowers team together to make Little India one of the most colorful districts in Singapore – but as is true in the many labeled ethnic districts in Singapore, the area isn’t solely Indian. The area was first developed in the 1840s when a racetrack was built at nearby Farrer Park, attracting Europeans to the area. Shortly after, the Indian-run cattle trade, which took place along the Serangoon River, was taking hold and many Indian immigrants moved to the district.
Today, many historic sights, temples and Indian shops can be found along Serangoon Road – these are the must-see sights in Little India:
Top Tip: Use this link to Google Maps for a Little India Singapore Walking Route.
The Tekka Centre is a hawker center, wet market and fabric store all under one roof. The ground floor features food stalls – many of which serve classic Indian dishes. On the second floor, shoppers will find an array of fabrics, including beautiful silk used to make saris.
Tan Teng Niah
The Tan Teng Niah house, built by a Chinese businessman in 1900, is one of the last Chinese villas remaining in Little India. Although the colorful house is what attracts many visitors to seek out the historic abode, it was originally painted plain white.
Sri Veramakaliamman Temple
Dating to 1881, Sri Veramakaliamman Temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore. An ornate and detailed tower (gopuram) rises over the main entrance and inside are a number of shrines.
Open 24 hours a day with seamless boundaries between two mega-department stores, Mustafa Centre offers one of the more unique shopping experiences in Singapore. Shelves are piled high with designer brands, electronics, jewelry and toys – most at discount prices. Tip: Make your way to the rooftop garden for an aerial view of the district.
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
A national monument since 1978, the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple was built in 1855 and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The striking feature, a 20m tower (Gopuram), was added in the 1960s when the temple was renovated with funds provided by a successful immigrant shop owner.
Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple
Often called the Temple of A Thousand Lights, the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple houses a 15m seated Buddha (which weighs almost 300 tons!). At night, lights are illuminated around the Buddha, which is the reason for the nickname.
Leong San Temple
Across the street from Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple is the classic and ornate Leong San Temple. Built in 1926, the interior features multiple shrines and glitters with gold. Tip: Use the handy guide in English available near the entrance to better understand the interior of the temple.
Dinner and Drinks
Swee Choon Dim Sum
Since 1962, the cooks at Swee Choon have been using quality ingredients to prepare handcrafted dim sum. We arbitrarily picked items from the list, marking our choices with a pencil, and feasted as plate after plate was brought to our table. Hailed by foodies as the best dim sum in Singapore, we highly recommend eating dinner – or at least dessert – at Swee Choon! Tip: If there is a wait, don’t worry – tables free up quickly!
Druggist Craft Beer Bar
Located in the former Chinese Druggists Association building, the façade of Druggist Craft Beer Bar is only the beginning. Step inside and find 23 taps of craft beer from all over the world. Note of warning: Druggist – or any other craft beer bar in Singapore – will not make the cut on a Singapore budget itinerary, as the price of craft beer in Singapore is exorbitant. During our visit to Druggist, prices ranged from 15 to 29 SGD for a single half-liter of beer (that’s 11 to 21 USD!). For a less expensive pint of local mass-produced beer, head next door to The Tiramisu Hero or across the street to Broadway Food Center.
Day 3 in Singapore
On Day 3 of this 3-day Singapore Itinerary, experience some of the best nature in the city before retreating to the glamorous air-conditioned malls on Orchard Road.
Nature: Botanic Gardens and/or Treetop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir
While Singapore is a thriving metropolis, enclaves of nature can be found throughout the city. Two of our favorite spots to get a real breath of fresh air are the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Treetop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir. Note: An ambitious traveler could probably experience both in one day, but those who would rather slow down and enjoy the scenery, should choose one or the other.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens were established in 1859 and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. Free to enter, the park features multiple gardens and lakes encompassing 82 hectares of land. Stroll aimlessly through the Botanic Gardens or choose specific features to visit (maps provided at the entrances and information stands). Top Tip: Keep an eye out for local critters. During our visit, we spotted swans, butterflies, a clouded monitor lizard and a smooth-coated otter. Note: The Gardens are free to visit, but the Orchid Garden requires a ticket, which costs 5 SGD.
Treetop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir
MacRitchie Reservoir Park is a large nature reserve in the center of the Singapore island. Many trails cut through the park, but the Treetop Walk is, by far, the most intriguing. The 2-hour hike begins on boardwalks hovering over swampy land, then moves to dirt paths in the dense forest. The actual Treetop Walkway is a gated bridge that connects the two highest points of the park: Bukit Peirce and Bukit Kalang. The 250m one-way bridge sits 25m above the forest floor. Both ends of the bridge (and the bridge itself!) are hang-out spots for the popular macaque monkeys – of which we saw several during our hike. Note: There are sign-posted maps at the park, but no paper maps. Take a look at this online map before you go. The walk is easily accessible by public bus, but takes 45 minutes to an hour each way, so be sure to calculate that into your plans.
Top Tip: Bring a large water bottle! Although the hike itself is not the strenuous, the humidity can take a toll on hikers not used to it. Water bottles can be refilled at the Ranger Station and Venus Drive parking lot facilities.
Orchard Road – Singapore’s most famous shopping street – got its name from the 19th century plantations that once covered the area. Today, the 2.2km street is chock-a-block with 20 mega-malls and a plethora of hotels – and is surrounded by affluent neighborhoods (The Istana – the official residence of the President of Singapore lies at the east end, the former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s house to the south, the Singapore Botanic Gardens to the west and Emerald Hill to the north).
Numerous luxury brands have retail space in the malls on Orchard Road – some high-end stores even create a queue outside their doors, only allowing a few shoppers inside at one time. Although many budget travelers may not be interested in shopping on Orchard Road, the malls are designed to entertain and we found a few worthwhile sights on Orchard…in addition to reveling in the free air-conditioning! (Find the following sights on Google Maps)
Opened in 2009, ION Orchard is home to high-end retailers such as Prada, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and Cartier. On the 4th floor, ION Art is a free art gallery within the mall. In the mornings, guides lead guests on a cultural food walk through the mall for free. ION Sky, an observation deck, sits on the 55th floor, offering panoramic views of the city. Note: ION Sky is accessed with tickets that are acquired through spending $20 in the mall. Read the details here.
Orchard Gateway Library
Orchard Gateway, which connects Orchard Central mall to 313@Somerset, has six levels of retail space…but we visited to see the state-of-the-art library. Library@Orchard is the most modern, hip library we have ever seen!
Orchard Central Rooftop Garden and Art Trail
On the top floors of Orchard Central is an open rooftop garden. The space feels like a secret retreat high above the busy road and provides views to the north. The mall also displays art throughout – and offers handy pamphlets (in English) about the art (and where to find it in the mall!).
Emerald Hill Road
On the north side of Orchard Road is the curving and picturesque Emerald Hill Road. The houses lining the street were built in the early 1900s featuring Chinese Baroque architecture and today it is a highly-desirable place to live. The pleasant and peaceful street has little traffic – a portion of it is designed as a pedestrian zone. After walking the length of the street, retrace your steps to Orchard and stop in one of the many bars on Emerald Hill near Orchard Road for a drink (check for the great happy hour specials at No. 5 Emerald Hill, Alley Bar and Ice Cold Beer).
More Things To do in Singapore
Although we’ve packed in a lot of places to visit in Singapore in 3 days, our list is by no means exhaustive! Here are a few more travel planner Singapore ideas:
The military-base-turned-entertainment Sentosa Island is a must-see for many Singapore tourists. The island, which has a tagline of “The State of Fun”, features beaches, resorts, water parks, adventure activities and theme parks. The island is home to Universal Studios Singapore, Madam Tussauds, SEA Aquarium, 4D Adventure Park, zip lines, Sky Tower and more. Explore the island on your own – or join one of the highly-rated Sentosa Island Organized Tours:
- Sentosa Island (with Cable Car, Madame Tussauds and Tiger Sky Tower) – Let a guide lead the way to Singapore’s Sentosa Island. Arrive via cable car and visit top attractions on the island, like Sky Tower, Images of Singapore LIVE, Madame Tussauds, 4D Adventuraland and Wings of Time night show. You can book this Sentosa tour online!
- Sentosa Island (with Cable Car) – Ride the Cable Car to Sentosa Island then visit the Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom, with an option to also visit SEA Aquarium. Book this Sentosa Island tour online!
If you are heading to Sentosa Island without a guide, you will want to buy these single attraction tickets in advance:
- Universal Studios Singapore – Buy Tickets Now!
- 4D Adventureland – Buy Tickets Now!
- Madame Tussauds – Buy Tickets Now!
- SEA Aquarium (Skip the Line) – Buy Tickets Now!
- Cable Car from mainland to Sentosa Island – Buy Tickets Now!
Most of the Sentosa Island attractions require a ticket, but there are a few free things to do in Sentosa for those on a tight Singapore tour budget.
East Coast Park
The 15km stretch of coastline to the northeast of the city center offers a place to escape the city and enjoy the outdoors. At East Coast Park, relax on the beach, have a picnic lunch, ride a bike or take a stroll – and, when you get hungry, head to East Coast Food Lagoon, a seaside hawker center cooking up classic Singapore dishes. Top Tip: While in the area, make the effort to find Koon Seng Road, which features some of the most colorful peranakan shophouses in the city!
Singapore Zoo and Bird Park
The Singapore Zoo, opened in 1973, hosts 315 species of animals – some of which are threatened species. The zoo strives to house the animals in natural settings and features the largest captive colony of orangutans in the world (and guests are invited to have “Breakfast with an Orangutan”).
The Jurong Bird Park is the largest bird park in the world (based on number of birds): 5,000 birds live in the park. The large, walk-in aviaries allow birds to fly freely in the exhibits. Flamingos, parrots and penguins are just a few of the birds that visitors will see at Jurong Bird Park.
With a location practically on the Equator, Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate – meaning, hot and humid…year-round. Dipping into a swimming pool is a good way to beat the heat in the city. If it’s in your budget, we recommend booking a hotel with a pool (more on places to stay in Singapore below!). Entire afternoons could easily be spent in cool waters of Singapore hotel swimming pools. However, if your hotel doesn’t have a pool – or if you just need a quick mid-day refresher – look for free sprinklers and water fountains located throughout the city that are created for kids (of all ages!) to splash around and beat the heat.
Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay
Lined with historic shophouses, all of which are occupied by restaurants and bars, Boat Quay was the busiest port in Singapore in the late 1800s. Today, the tourist-driven strip offers riverside dining and local specialties.
Located upstream from Boat Quay is another historic port, Clarke Quay. Revitalized into an entertainment district, visitors will find nightclubs, international chain restaurants (like Hooters) and a mall.
Even further upstream is Robertson Quay, the largest of the three wharfs in central Singapore. The area has been redeveloped into mixed-use space, including several casual eateries and bars along the waterfront. Although visited by many tourists, both expats and locals frequent the area as well. Top Tip: One of our favorite hawker centers, Zion Riverside Food Centre, is just a short walk from Robertson Quay. If you make the trip to this very local hawker center, our top recommendations are the ‘Carrot Cake’ (not a dessert!) at Lau Goh Teochew Chye Thow Kway made by a famous deaf cook or wait in the incredibly long line for stall #18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow.
Craft Beer and Tiger Beer Brewery
Craft Beer is taking hold in Singapore – as it is around the world – and visitors can find several craft beer bars around the city. While we are budget-conscious travelers, we have an affection for craft beer and seek it out wherever we go. During our time in Singapore, we found a few craft beer bars that were too good to pass by (especially if they were offering happy hour deals!):
- Hospoda Microbrewery – small microbrewery brewing onsite
- Druggist – hip craft beer bar with 23 taps
- TAP Craft Beer Bar at Robertson Quay – good selection of beer; $10 SGD pints – all beer, all the time
- LeVel 33 – world’s highest brewery with view of Marina Bay
- Freehouse – fun craft beer bar tucked away in the skyscrapers of downtown
- Little Creatures – our favorite beer from Australia, which just opened in Singapore Chinatown
- Smith Street Taps – multiple taps of craft beer at an upstairs hawker stall at the Chinatown Food Complex
However, even with happy hour specials, don’t expect cheap beer…craft or otherwise. Drinking in Singapore will likely put a dent in any budget. Keep an eye out for happy hours or buy beer from the convenience store, Cheers, where cans of beer still cost about $3.
Singapore’s most famous locally-produced beer, Tiger Beer, offers brewery tours. The Tiger Beer brand dates to 1932. The tour educates visitors on the brewing process, the history of beer in Singapore and includes tastings.
Singapore Map of Sights
Sights are listed in the order they appear on our Singapore Itinerary. Green Markers = Parks; Blue Markers = Districts; Yellow Markers = Food and Drink; Purple Markers = More Options. Top Tip: Use the map links provided for each section for more detailed maps of district sights.
Day Trips from Singapore
Because of its location, Singapore day trips are somewhat limited. Short trips from Singapore city center include island tours, Sentosa Island (see above) and Malaysia. Day-long organized tours can introduce travelers to more cities in the region:
Kuala Lumpur and Malacca – Sharing a border with Malaysia, it is difficult to be so close and not venture into the neighboring country! Hire a guide for a private, full-day trip to see the highlights of Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur: Petronas Twin Towers and Batu Caves. Then continue to Malacca, a colonial-era UNESCO town full of history and charm.
Singapore Round-Island Tour – Tour the city-nation island in a bus, visiting attractions like the Henderson Waves pedestrian bridge, a Chinese folklore and history park, the Kranji War Memorial and Bright Hill Temple.
For DIY day trips from Singapore, consider traveling across the Malaysian border to Johor Bahru, perhaps to visit LegoLand, (a journey, which in itself can be a fascinating experience) or taking a ferry to Batam, Indonesia.
Singapore Sightseeing Tickets
Sightseeing in Singapore can be expensive, but choosing the right sightseeing pass can certainly save you money! Each card has benefits; we recommend researching the benefits of each card to make sure the card is the right one for you!
iVenture Card Singapore
There are two types of Singapore iVenture cards: one that allows users to select a specific number of sights to visit (3 or 5 from the list) OR one that allows unlimited entry to sights for a set number of days (2, 3 or 5). Depending on your style of travel and sightseeing ambitions, choose the card that will provide the most cost-saving benefit. Top Tip: Read our review of sightseeing in London with the iVenture Card and how it saved us money.
Singapore Super Saver: Universal Studios and SEA Aquarium
See two of the top Sentosa Island attractions in one day with a discounted combo ticket for Universal Studios and SEA Aquarium. With the two-attraction pass, visitors can split the day between the two sights for a full day’s worth of fun! If these are the only two attractions you want to visit, this is the pass to get!
Singapore City Pass
The 5-Day Singapore Sightseeing Pass includes admission to Universal Studios, a 2-day Hopper Pass, Open-Top bus tour, plus two more attractions of your choice! This is a great sightseeing pass for tourists who like to see and do it all.
The Singapore Pass
The HiPPO Singapore Pass is based on number of sights (with upgraded options available). The Singapore Pass also includes some sights not available with other cards, like the Singapore Flyer and Tiger Brewery Tour.
Singapore Trip Planner Tips
We think our outlined itinerary suggests the best things to do in Singapore in 3 days – but what if you have less or more time? Use the following travel planner Singapore itinerary tips to help plan your time in the city!
One Day in Singapore
Let’s be frank: 1 day in Singapore is not enough! But, if a Singapore one-day trip is all you have, then we suggest making the most of it! Start with our Singapore Day 1 Itinerary (above) and consider joining a Night Sightseeing Tour with River Boat Cruise.
Singapore Itinerary 2 Days
Wondering what to do in Singapore in 2 days? Well, you can certainly cover some ground! We recommend following the above One Day Itinerary Singapore and then starting Day 2 at the Botanical Gardens, skip the Southern Ridges walk, and continue with neighborhood exploration outlined in Day 2 of our itinerary of things to see in Singapore in 3 days.
Singapore Itinerary 4 Days
With 4 days in Singapore, use our suggestions of the top things to do in Singapore in 3 days and then start your last day in Singapore at either the Botanic Gardens or MacRitchie Treetop Walk (whichever you skipped on Day 3) and spend the afternoon relaxing at East Coast Park – or rachet it up a notch and experience the fun of Sentosa Island.
Singapore Itinerary 5 Days
Spending 5 days in Singapore allows for plenty of time to explore! We recommend following our guide of places to see in Singapore in 3 days, then on the fourth day, take a day trip around the island or to Malaysia (either on your own to Johor Bahru or on an organized tour to Kuala Lumpur). Then on your last day, follow our tips for Day 4 of what to do in Singapore in 4 days.
Singapore Itinerary 6 Days
With 6 days in Singapore, you can have a much more relaxed trip to the city! We suggest following our advice of places to visit in Singapore in 5 days (above) – but spread out some of the sightseeing. Instead of spending full days touring neighborhoods, spend the afternoons swimming at your hotel pool and then combine the missed neighborhoods into one more day of sightseeing.
Singapore Itinerary 7 Days
A full week in Singapore allows plenty of time to get to know the city! We recommend following our tips for 6 days in Singapore and then either revisiting an area or neighborhood you liked best for further exploration. Another idea would be to spend an entire day at Sentosa Island, East Coast Park or MacRitchie Reservoir.
Top Tip: Truly, we think the best itinerary for Singapore is one that fits your interests, timeline, sightseeing style and budget! We hope you can use our tips of what to visit in Singapore in 3 days as the base for your itinerary planner for Singapore.
Budget for Singapore Trip
We tried our best to make our 3 days in Singapore budget-friendly. Most travelers will find that accommodation is expensive, but public transportation is cheap. Many attractions cost a small fortune, but food (really good food!) can be found affordably at hawker stands. Our best advice for you as you plan your Singapore trip in 3 days is to create a budget which allows you to save when you can (take buses and eat at hawker stalls)…so you can splurge when you want to on top attractions and a few drinks!
Top Tip: During our visit to Singapore, the exchange rate was $1 USD to $1.34 SGD. Check current conversions for your trip.
Taxis are notoriously expensive but, with the incredible network of public transportation in Singapore, which is also incredibly cheap, we never had to take a taxi! The minimum fare for a ride on the MRT (underground) and buses is 77 cents SGD and a ride will never cost more than $3 SGD. Fares are calculated based on distance and most of our rides within the city center cost less than $1 SGD. There are two types of transportation cards, which need to be purchased in advance of using the system.
Choosing which card is right for you requires a bit of thought. The Standard Ticket is a popular choice for visitors, but it doesn’t work on buses. A stored value SmartCard (either EZ-link or Nets FlashPay), however, can be used on the MRT and buses. The SmartCard can also be used in some convenience stores. There are a few drawbacks to the card; first, there is an actual cost to the card ($10 with a $7 credit on purchase) and the top-up minimum is $10 (which can be frustrating if you are on your last day and only need a couple more rides). That all being said, we knew we were going to ride buses (the MRT doesn’t go to MacRitchie Treetop Walk, for example – and the buses are more convenient than finding an MRT station most of the time), so we opted for the SmartCard. There is an option to refund the remaining value at the airport, but instead, we used our small balance to buy a few snacks from the 7-11 at the airport.
Top Tip: Fare calculators, route maps and an explanation of card types can be found on the official public transport website.
Top Tips for your trip to Singapore
What to expect
Singapore recognizes four official languages: English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. Most government signs and information plaques will include all four and English is widely spoken. It is important to note, however, that due to the many languages and dialects, spelling variations of sights in English often occur.
Underground air-conditioned walkways connect the city below the surface – usually leading to MRT stations, but pedestrians can often use the underground passages to get from one side of the street to the other to avoid traffic (and the heat!).
Singapore has a reputation for strict laws and stiff penalties. On buses and trains, there is a $500 fine for consuming food or beverage; $1000 fine for smoking and $5000 fine for carrying flammable gas. We never actually saw anything which stated the infamous ‘no chewing gum’ law, but we also didn’t see anyone chewing it or selling it…and it certainly wasn’t stuck to the ground anywhere.
If you have never been to Singapore before, read our Impressions of Singapore from our first visit to the city in 2014; even after spending a lot more time in the city, our first impressions still ring true!
Where To Stay
On our trips to Singapore, we have stayed in hotels near the city center, in an apartment as pet and housesitters and at a hotel across the border in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Finding inexpensive accommodations in Singapore isn’t easy. As much as we would have loved to book a room at the Marina Bay Sands (for no other reason than to walk around in the bathrobes and swim in the ridiculous pool!), it just wasn’t in our budget. After searching high and low for affordable Singapore accommodations, we found these three places:
Kam Leng Hotel – located near Little India, the basic, no-frills room was suitable, but the hotel doesn’t have a pool and breakfast was not included (the Nasi Lemak restaurant next door, however, is amazing!)
Hotel Mi – the rooms were quite small, but modern, and the hotel has a wonderful pool and a breakfast cafe onsite (extra cost) – and it’s right next to an MRT station
Doubletree by Hilton in Johor Bahru – the luxurious Hilton, with an incredible pool and inexpensive room service, was surprisingly cheaper than the other two hotels we stayed at, but (and this is a really big but), it was a 2-hour commute to and from the Singapore city center and included a somewhat entertaining, yet cumbersome, border crossing.
To find a hotel in Singapore within your budget, we recommend searching for highly-rated hotels on Booking.com – it’s how we start all of our hotel searches!
Singapore is best reached by plane. The Changi Airport is the main (and world-famous) airport in Singapore (seriously, the airport has gardens, art installations – check out the mesmerizing Kinetic Rain feature, movie theaters and a rooftop pool!). When we need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner.
Before You Go
- Singapore is a walkable city…but only if you have the right shoes! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia, Skechers and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell and Sanuk.
- We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos (that can later be beautifully compiled into a travel photo book). We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
- It’s easy to get turned around in any foreign city…and especially Singapore! Make sure to have a good city map and/or guidebook before arriving.
- We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
We want to know: Have you visited Singapore on a budget? What would you add to our Singapore Itinerary? Give us your best tips and advice of the top things to do in Singapore in the comments!
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