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The 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 perfect 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. Additionally, we provide more Singapore travel budget tips at the end of the post. 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 – like the iVenture Singapore Card – 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, some of the best food in the city and a bit of nature, too. Most of our recommended activities are free and the food and drink recommendations are suitable for budget travel to Singapore.
We include sight details, links to more information and/or reviews, and a map for our Singapore city tour itinerary.
Top Tip: Depending of what time your flights arrive/depart, this can be a Singapore Itinerary 3 days 2 nights (instead of 3 nights), but our outline of Singapore things to do fills 3 entire days!
Shorter and Longer Singapore Itineraries
Wondering what to do in Singapore for 1 day or are you planning a Singapore One-Week Itinerary? To help you plan your longer or shorter trip, we include Singapore trip itinerary tips for what to see in Singapore in a day and up to a week at the end of the post.
3-Day Itinerary for Singapore
In this 3-Day Itinerary Singapore, we detail the top things to do in Singapore in 3 days in a day-by-day format. This Singapore trip blog is massive – and it contains everything you need for planning your vacation!
Save, Pin or Bookmark this blog post so that you can easily access it as you plan – and during – your trip!
Day 1 of your 3 Day Singapore Itinerary
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 the city-center retreat of Fort Canning Park.
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 each of 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 – and it marks the first stop on your Singapore trip plan. 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!
Informational 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 burn at temples and shrines then floats on the breeze (really, more of a draft, which is mostly created by oscillating fans).
Use our Singapore Chinatown Self-Guided Walking Tour to make sure you see the highlights of the district!
Top Tip: Visiting Chinatown should be on every Singapore trip itinerary – if not for the history, then for the food! There is so much fabulous food in Chinatown – you could create an entire Singapore food itinerary in this one district alone! 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 – and an absolute must-see in your Singapore tour plan. The entire district sits on reclaimed land and the creative architecture creates a surreal 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 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 Marina Bay walking tour guide – but check official websites to confirm, as times can change.
Day 2 of your Singapore 3 Days Itinerary
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 west of the city center, Southern Ridges is a 10km stretch of green space that connects Mount Faber Park to Hort Park. 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 iconic Singapore skyline. The uniqueness of the park makes it one of the top places to see in Singapore.
A highlight of the Southern Ridges walk 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 – and, today, it’s one of the top tourist spots in Singapore.
Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor, who signed the treaty with the British East India Company in the 1819 to establish a colony and trading port, resided in Kampong Glam. As the district evolved over the decades, 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 during your 3 Days in Singapore Itinerary, be sure not to miss the district highlights (outlined below). Use this link to Google Maps for a Kampong Glam and Bugis Singapore Walking Route or join a highly rated Singapore day tour – like this one – of the area.
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 clothing to wear (for free). 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 offer some of the best sightseeing in Singapore and are a highlight for many visitors.
Eating in Kampong Glam
Located in the vicinity of Kampong Glam is the Golden Mile Food Centre. Slightly out of the way, we think it is well worth including in a Singapore 3 Day Itinerary. We recommend trying 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 depicts 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, there are many things to do in Bugis Singapore for visitors, like visiting the shopping malls and temples at the heart of the district. Below, we have outlined the top 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. The market is a place for both bargains and bartering – and visiting is one of the top things to do in Bugis. 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.
Little India is the third district you will visit on Day 2 of your trip in Singapore. 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. Below, we highlight the must-see sights in Little India. 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.
Top Tip: Use the handy guide in English available near the entrance to better understand the interior of the temple.
Dinner and Drinks on Day 2 of Your Singapore Trip Planner
Swee Choon Dim Sum
Eating is one of the top things to do in Singapore City – and Swee Choon is a classic establishment. 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!
Top 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 facade 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 of your SG Itinerary 3 Days
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 on a Singapore city trip 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 (and perfect for a budget trip to Singapore!), 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 – the most famous Singapore 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 are definitely one of the things to explore in Singapore. In addition to reveling in the free air-conditioning, we found several worthwhile sights on Orchard Road, which we outline below. Use this link to Google Maps to find your way.
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, however, 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
Another mall you can visit and keep your Singapore trip budget in check is Orchard Central. On the top floors of Orchard Central is an open and free 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).
Singapore Map of Sights
Sights are listed in the order they appear on our Singapore Itinerary. Zoom in/out of the map using the + and – signs. Click on individual markers for more information. Blue Markers = Day One; Green Markers = Day 2; Orange Markers = Day 3; Yellow Markers = Food and Drink; Purple Markers = More Sightseeing Options.
Top Tip: Use the map links provided for each section for more detailed maps of district sights.
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! We have a few more travel planner Singapore ideas, but do note that they do not all fit into the category of Singapore Budget Travel.
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 (all of which will increase your Singapore cost of travel). 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, it is 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. The water features are created for kids (of all ages!) to help beat the heat – and splashing around in them is one of the things to do in Singapore for cheap (as in, free!).
Singapore Riverside: Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay
On the banks of the Singapore River, there are three quays in the heart of the city that have been developed into tourist attractions.
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.
Top Tip: When the restaurants at Boat Quay are not busy, you can sometimes score special pricing, like we did. Once when we arrived before 7pm, we were wooed by each hostess with free drinks and discounted prices. We agreed to terms of two free drinks each and 20% off all menu prices with front row riverside seats. Heaping plates of spring rolls and seafood fried rice for less than $20 satisfied our taste buds and our wallets.
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. While this is an interesting district to visit, it doesn’t necessarily exude the Singapore atmosphere that we seek when visiting the city.
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 – and a fantastic place to find cheap eats in Singapore. 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 Fried Kway Teow found at stall #18 Zion Road, which will likely have an incredibly long line.
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 are cheaper, but 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.
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! Day trippers can see the highlights of Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, on their own (sights include Petronas Twin Towers and Batu Caves). Or hire a guide for a private, full-day trip, which also includes visiting Malacca, a colonial-era UNESCO town full of history and charm.
Singapore Round-Island Tour – Tour the city-nation island in a bus. The Singapore one-day tour includes 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). Alternatively, plan a self-guided full-day Singapore tour to Batam, Indonesia via ferry boat.
More Itineraries: 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! To plan the best trip, you will want to squeeze the best things to see in Singapore in 1 day.
Singapore One-Day Trip
We think the best 1-day Singapore itinerary is to stick to the top sights that are centrally located. To plan your day, 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. Use our 3-day plan and select your top choices of places to visit in Singapore in 2 days…then fit them all into two days of sightseeing.
Singapore 2-Day Itinerary
When planning things to do in Singapore in 2 days, we recommend using our tips for things to see in Singapore in 3 days…but rearranging it a bit. Start your trip plan by following the above One Day Itinerary Singapore and then begin Day 2 at the Botanical Gardens, skip the Southern Ridges walk, and continue with neighborhood exploration outlined in Day 2 (Kampong Glam, Bugis and Little India).
Singapore Itinerary 4 Days
Planning what to do in Singapore in 4 days is easy if you use our 3-Day outline as a base for your trip. When planning things to do in Singapore in 4 days, you can either decide to spend more time in nature (a cheaper option) or splurge a little for a fun day at the amusement parks.
Singapore 4-Day Itinerary
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
There is no problem finding things to do in Singapore in 5 days. In fact, with a Singapore Itinerary for 5 days, you can expand your sightseeing to regional discovery.
Singapore 5-Day Itinerary
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 (morning at the park and afternoon at the beach or Sentosa Island).
Singapore Itinerary 6 Days
With 6 days in Singapore, you can have a much more relaxed trip to the city! Rather than stuffing all the sights, attractions and places to visit in Singapore in 5 days, spread out the sightseeing over 6 days.
Singapore 6-Day Itinerary
To plan things to do in Singapore in 6 days, 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! Visitors with a week in Singapore will find that they can do and see a lot – at a comfortable sightseeing pace.
Singapore One-Week Trip
For the best plan of what to do in Singapore for a week, we recommend following our tips for 6 days in Singapore and then, on your last day, either revisit a neighborhood you liked best for further exploration. Another idea for a 1-Week Itinerary Singapore would be to spend one entire day at Sentosa Island, East Coast Park or MacRitchie Reservoir.
Singapore Itinerary 10 Days
With 10 days in Singapore visitors have plenty of time to see the sights, eat the food, enjoy the nature and relax at the pool. To create your perfect 10-Day Singapore Itinerary, we recommend using our suggestions for things to do in Singapore in 7 days and then select more sightseeing options to include in your trip from our More Singapore Things To Do section.
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 by highlighting the top cheap things to do in Singapore (including many of the very best things to do in Singapore for free!). Rather than paying for a guide, you can save the Singapore city tour cost by using our self-guided walks. Instead of paying for high-dollar attractions, you can explore the city’s natural beauty.
That said, there are some concrete costs involved when planning a trip to Singapore. Getting to the city (and around it!), accommodations and food all contribute to the overall trip to Singapore cost. Visiting ticketed attractions and drinking alcohol can significantly inflate your Singapore trip cost, too.
Budget Travel Singapore
When trying to plan cheap travel to Singapore, there are certainly things visitors can do to ensure their trip will come in under budget.
Generally speaking, accommodation in the city is expensive. Finding the best place to stay in Singapore on a budget can be a real task (we give a few specific tips in a minute).
On the other hand, public transportation is cheap…which can help balance out the high cost of lodging.
As we have already mentioned, many attractions cost a small fortune, which is why we eliminated them from our 3 Day Itinerary Singapore. Visitors who can (or want to) splurge for these sights can still save money with sightseeing discount cards (which we detail momentarily!).
One thing that can be found affordably throughout the city is food – and really good food, at that! The best place to find cheap eats in the city is at hawker stands – and we shared our favorite places throughout our Singapore 3 Days Itinerary blog post.
How To Travel in Singapore on a Budget
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)!
Everyone’s budget is different – so it is difficult to say how much to budget for a Singapore trip. However, using our sightseeing in Singapore tips outlined above – and using our accommodation tips below – it is possible to keep Singapore trip expenses to about $100 USD per day for a single person (and less, if traveling as a couple or in a group and splitting accommodation costs).
Top Tip: During our visit to Singapore, the exchange rate was $1 USD to $1.34 SGD. Check current conversions for your trip.
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 Sightseeing Pass 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.
Taxis are notoriously expensive in the city but, with the incredible network of public transportation in Singapore, we never had to take a taxi! Instead, we relied solely on the incredibly cheap buses and MRT to get around the city.
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.
Singapore Transportation Cards
There are two types of transportation cards, one of 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 (like 7-11).
However, 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: Plan a Trip to Singapore
Now that you know how to plan a trip for Singapore on a budget, we have a few more tips to ensure you have a fabulous trip!
Singapore Travel Planner Tips
If you are planning a budget trip, you will likely have to forego hiring a Singapore city tour guide…but we have a few insider tips that will help you plan your time in the city.
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.
Where To Stay in Singapore on a Budget
Accommodations are often the biggest cost of a Singapore trip. Finding affordable places to stay can be a real challenge – but it is not impossible!
We usually use Airbnb as our go-to resource for finding inexpensive places to stay in locations around the world. However, short-term rentals are technically illegal in Singapore. There are still listings on Airbnb that are available for rent, but due to the strict nature of the country, we are not inclined to break laws in Singapore.
Finding Affordable Places To Stay in Singapore
On our trips to Singapore, we have stayed in hotels near the city center, at a hotel across the border in Johor Bahru, Malaysian and in apartment as pet and housesitters.
Finding inexpensive hotels 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 a few Singapore hotels that fit the bill.
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 conveniently located right next to an MRT station.
Doubletree by Hilton in Johor Bahru – The luxurious Doubletree Hilton across the border in Malayasia, with an incredible pool and inexpensive room service, was surprisingly cheaper than the other two Singapore hotels we stayed in (listed above). But (and this is a really big but), it was a 2-hour commute to and from the Singapore city center. The lengthy travels included a somewhat entertaining, yet cumbersome, border crossing – but overall, we really enjoyed our stay in Johor Bahru.
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!). For our visits to Singapore we have arrived on direct flights from Brisbane, Australia and Helsinki, Finland and departed to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Hanoi, Vietnam. When we need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner.
What To Pack for Your Trip
In this travel guide to Singapore, we have covered just about everything you need for your trip! Our final tips cover a few items you will want to be sure to pack. Check out all of our Packing Tips here!
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 comfy shoes by Columbia that are perfect for hot and humid cities and these flip flops, which I can wear on long days of sightseeing. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell for city adventures. Read more of our tips about the Best Shoes for Traveling!
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. We travel with a Canon Rebel and use an everyday 18-135mm lens that is perfect for city shots.
Wifi and City Map
Throughout our itinerary for Singapore, we include links to maps and more information – but the only way to access them on your trip is with a WiFi connection. Travelers can inquire about adjusting their phone plans to include international data or – if your phone in unlocked – buy a local SIM card.
However, we think the better option is to travel with a personal mobile WiFi hotspot. We own a GlocalMe hotspot – and love it! Top features are that we can buy data online (rather than having to buy SIM cards), which means we are connected from the moment we land and we connect up to 5 devices at one time (which is perfect when traveling as a couple and with friends). Additionally, the hotspot doubles as a power bank, so we can keep devices charged throughout the day!
That said, devices do run out of juice and WiFi connections are not guaranteed – which is why having a good paper city map is essential.
We think travel insurance is essential! Not only does it protect against delayed flights and lost luggage, but it can be a lifesaver if you get sick or injured abroad. 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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