Places You Must See In Singapore – Most You Can Visit In 1 day
Who would have thought that a tiny little sovereign city-state would be such an impressive destination to visit in Southeast Asia? We were aware of the cleanliness reputation that Singapore is so famously known for but didn't know of the numerous places it offered for visitors to experience and see. In an area that stretches only fourteen miles from north to south and takes only 40 minutes to get from one end to the other, it sure is packed with some extraordinary scenery both in natural and architectural form.
Located only one degree from the equator, Singapore has ideal temperatures practically year-round so you just can't go wrong whenever you go for a visit. The Gardens By The Bay and Marina Bay are among the more well-known, top places to see but it doesn't end there. There are a variety of locations we suggest you check out, even if your stay in Singapore is a short one. While some of the places on our list may take up an entire day, there are lots of must-see suggestions that can be grouped on a one-day visit. Make sure to put these all on your Singapore bucket list when you're planning your trip!
Aside from a visual feast, travel to Singapore also leaves you with a feeling that with conviction and some effort, cities can be turned into something of a "functioning paradise" on this planet for both us humans as well as the flora and fauna that share it with us.
Since even before it's independence, Singapore has been a commerce, finance, and transport hub. Therefore, it has become home to people from many different backgrounds and cultures. There are four official languages. English is the first language and most commonly used. Most of the locals are bilingual so you may hear them speaking in Malay, Mandarin or Tamil as well.
Singapore had always been on our wish list of top places to travel to in Southeast Asia, and we never thought we would get a chance to go so soon. Luckily, an opportunity arose while we were living in Thailand and since the flight was so short and affordable, we couldn't resist. Also, it was a birthday treat from my lovely husband so, naturally, I was thrilled!
Based on our four days in Singapore, I've divided the following attractions into an itinerary in order to make it easier to see how much time should be spent at each location. Hopefully, this will help anyone planning a visit regardless of how many days they have and can easily be customized.
How To Spend One Day In Singapore
Itinerary Of What To See Day 1
Merlion Park In The Morning
Start your day early and head over to Merlion Park before the crowds get there. If you're staying near Boat Quay, it should be fairly close and easy to get to for you. We walked from Boat Quay to Merlion Park and enjoyed the scenery along the way, which was a bonus! Here you can take in the sights across the bay and capture that cheesy tourist photo. Tourists have their fun posing in creative ways with their background attractions in the distance. I've seen people pose in such a way that it looks as if they are holding up the top part of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It's fun just to watch other tourists stand in hilarious positions only to capture that tricky photo.
The Merlion statue from which the park is named after may seem a bit curious. After all, why would a lion have a fishtail? Or a fish have a lion head? Well, apparently the body was designed to symbolize the humble beginnings of the country during which it was a fishing village. The lion head refers to the country's original name, "Singapura," which is Malay for "Lion City."
Time To Spend Here: One Hour (more or less depending on how many pictures you may want to take here :))
Gardens By The Bay In The Afternoon & Evening
This is the place you will want to spend the bulk of your day and part of your evening. On their website, they state that they are a "showpiece of horticulture and garden artistry that presents the plant kingdom in a whole new way, entertaining while educating visitors." This description is spot on! The "green" game is strong in Singapore and the Gardens By The Bay is the best example of it. With the Supertree Grove, Flower Dome, and cloud Forest, visitors are exposed to a myriad of species of plants from around the world, kept alive in various temperatures and environment that are specially created for them. It's all very fascinating, to say the least.
- Flower Dome
Yes! There is a garden within the Gardens! In 2015 Guinness World Records listed this as the largest glass greenhouse in the world. You may want to download their free "Plant Explorer" App to help you learn some fun facts about the plants and their origins and navigate through the regional gardens. Explore through a variety of exotic flowers and plants presented in nine different gardens. You will see species brought in from five different continents around the world.
- Cloud Forest
The second columnless greenhouse, the Cloud Forest's best feature is the indoor waterfall. Both climate-controlled indoor conservatories are a great place to go and escape the heat while being encompassed by diverse vegetation and sprinkled with the mist of the water falling from atop the mountain sculpted with orchids, ferns, begonias, and even carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants
Cost: $28 for visiting both (You can also purchase separate tickets if you only prefer to go to one. If you are short on time, we recommend just going to the Cloud Forest)
Time To Spend Here: about an hour and a half at each conservatory.
- Supertree Grove
This futuristic looking "forest" is both beautiful and functional as eleven of the Supertrees are equipped with solar panels that harvest the power of the sun and turn it into electricity. A close-up of these 25 to 50 meter-tall, man-made, "trees" reveals that they are actually more like vertical gardens. The structures are home to more than 200 species and varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers!
Additionally, there is an elevated walkway between the canopies, the OCBC Skyway, that allows you to see the surrounding landscapes and Supertrees as well as the Marina Bay skyline in panorama. The aerial pathway is raised to 22 meters and stretches a length of 128 meters. There is a cost of $8 admission, but well worth the chance to take an elevator that is located within one of the Supertrees and have a bird's-eye view of this beautiful area.
(Note: the Skyway may be restricted due to weather or chance of lightning. Initially, we were not allowed admission, but after about half an hour of waiting and hoping, it was declared safe, and we were allowed to go up.)
If you're on a tight budget, you can roam around the gardens and take in the beautiful landscapes and sculptures for free. Hang out long enough, and you're in for a treat once night falls:
- Garden Rhapsody Show - twice nightly, (one show at 7:45 pm and another at 8:45 pm) you'll be treated to a light and sound show where the Supertrees seem to come to life. As the orchestra plays the trees dance with changing and flickering lights. The twinkling and changing colors will have you mesmerized!
Time To Spend Here: Allow for at least two hours here (this includes the 15 minutes of watching the Garden Rhapsody Show)
Itinerary Of What To See Day 2
If you have a second day in Singapore, we have suggestion on some other amazing things you can do, all in one day.
Chinatown In The Morning
We spent the first part of our trip to Singapore in this area and stayed at the 5Footway Inn Ann Siang. The hostel proved to be in just the perfect spot! We were able to check out Chinatown on our first night after a two-minute walk across the street. If you want to be close to Chinatown, the 5Footway Inn provides excellent accommodations for the best value in Singapore.
Chinatown offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of Singapore. Smaller, much more humble architecture can be found here in contrast to the high-rise and modern buildings elsewhere in town. It's in this part of the city that visitors are presented with more colorful surroundings and different aromas which show the character and culture that makes this country.
Here are our suggestions on how you can spend your day and do some fun sightseeing of the major attractions in the area:
- Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
Buddhist artifacts from all around Asia including China, Thailand, Myanmar, and Pakistan are on display in the museum here, and free tours are available. Every Tuesday and Thursday tours are offered in English, but be sure to call ahead and grab a spot, so you don't miss out on this beautiful temple rich in history and art.
- Sri Mariamman Temple
The second must-see temple on your visit should be Sri Mariamman, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore dating back to early 19th century. If you happen to be visiting during October/November, don't miss the Theemithi (Fire Walking Ceremony). The most exciting aspect of this temple is the ornamental and elaborately decorated tower entrance (gopuram), which has been a landmark to generations of Hindu worshippers.
Time To Spend Here: Time to spend here: 2-3 hours (depending on how long you may want to browse around for some shopping as well)
Arab Quarter In The Afternoon
Originally named Kampong Glam, this area is one of Singapore's oldest quarters to be developed as well as being the first trading district. Along with a plethora of restaurants and shops you can spend your afternoon wandering through, there's a lot of street art here which is hard to find elsewhere in Singapore. Don't miss the most eye-catching structure:
- Sultan Mosque - The largest unofficial center of worship for Muslims locally dating back to 200 years ago.
Time To Spend Here: Time to spend here: 2 hours
Chinatown In The Evening For Dinner
Eat the celebrated Singaporean chicken and rice dish at Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice Noodle Star foods - Michelin-Starred food at hawker stall prices
Eat Chili Crab - Another must try Singaporean favorite that can be found at the trendy Chinatown Seafood Restaurant.
Clark Quay In The Evening
- Eat Bak Kut Teh at Xiao Chen Gu Shi - Try the pork rib cooked in broth along with other delectable pork dishes.
- Drinks - Harry's Clark Quay
- Shanghai Dolly at Clarke Quay - Th only cabaret-style club in town with mandopop live music.
Must See In Singapore That Will Take All Day
For those that may have more time in Singapore. Here are some ideas on what to do on your third and fourth day visit. The attractions below are likely to take up an entire day, so there may not be time to combine anything else with them.
Sentosa Island - Go to the island of the island! Enjoy a relaxing day at the beach, and you may forget that a metropolitan city is just minutes away.
Universal Studios - This one is for the fans like us who just HAVE to try out the craziest rollercoasters wherever they go!
Sip On The Famous Singapore Sling - Raffle's Hotel is where it was created so pop in and grab the tasty invention!
Our Top Recommendations for Budget Friendly Places To Stay
- 5Footway.inn Project Ann Siang - Read Our Review Of This Hostel
- 5Footway.inn Project Boat Quay - See why we think it's The Best Location To Stay in Singapore
About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!