Singapore is one of the world’s most unique countries. Often overlooked as a holiday destination, our 5 day Singapore itinerary will show just how much there is see and do on the little red dot.
Half the size of London and yet with a higher population than Norway or New Zealand, Singapore is a fascinating place to visit.
We’d recommend staying for five days in Singapore. Often overlooked as just a stopover between flights from and to other destinations, Singapore is well worth taking the time to explore.
A vibrant garden city, Singapore is crammed with colourful neighbourhoods and an ever-growing list of sights to explore. The Lion City is very much a destination in its own right.
Absolutely. You could easily spend more than five days in Singapore and still not manage to see everything there is to do here.
Known for being an ultra-clean mini metropolis, Singapore has been a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan and European cultures for centuries.
With world famous landmarks, historic temples, a fascinating blend of cultures and history and some of the world’s best food there is much to see in Singapore.
Before moving to Tokyo we lived in Singapore for three years. With that in mind, we’ve created this five day Singapore itinerary to blend the city’s most iconic sights and neighbourhoods alongside a few lesser-known treasures.
Occasionally wandering off the beaten path, we’ve added some of the city’s often overlooked hidden gems along with the Lion City’s biggest hitters.
For this reason, we haven’t included Singapore Zoo or the resort island of Sentosa Island as part of our five day itinerary as we’re aware that theme parks and zoos aren’t to every traveller’s taste.
However, we’re also aware that many people come to Singapore to see the island’s two most popular attractions. If Singapore Zoo and Sentosa are part of your Singapore travel plans then don’t panic – we have included detailed information about both Sentosa and Singapore Zoo at the end of the post.
Simply swap out a day or two from our suggested five day Singapore itinerary and replace it with a trip to Sentosa or Singapore Zoo. Both will easily fill a whole day each.
We’ve also included a whole host of additional ideas and suggestions on top of our five day itinerary, just in case you want to add to or amend any part of your Singapore trip.
The most common way for most travelers to reach Singapore is by plane. Singapore is served by Changi Airport, consistently voted one of the world’s best airports.
→ Find the best deals on flights to Singapore on Skyscanner here.
It takes around 50 minutes to reach the centre of Singapore from Changi via the MRT. A single ticket to the centre of Singapore from Changi MRT stations costs around S$3 and even less with an ez-link travel card. See below for more information on how to get around Singapore.
Alternatively a taxi takes around 20 minutes and should cost around S$20.
If you’re spending five days in Singapore you’ll need somewhere to stay. There’s a huge range of accommodation to be found throughout central Singapore.
Luxurious top of the range hotels are plentiful in Singapore, as are excellent 3-4 star hotels. Good quality cheaper accommodation is a little thin on the ground – especially compared to neighbouring countries – but if you are on a budget you can find good options that won’t break the bank.
You can search for a whole range of accommodation in Singapore by clicking here.
If you need a few suggestions here are a few places that we recommend:
Good quality budget accommodation isn’t always easy to find in Singapore, yet Hotel 81 Heritage stands out as an excellent low-cost hotel. Rooms are cosy (i.e small) but clean, well equipped and affordable. Hotel 81 Heritage is also in a fantastic location, right on the edge of the vibrant Kampong Glam district and just a five minute walk from Nicholl MRT station.
Housed inside a row of beautifully converted traditional shophouses on one of Chinatown’s most picturesque streets, KeSa House Hotel blends traditional heritage with contemporary style. Nestled amongst the trendy bars and restaurants of Keong Saik Street and just a short walk from the nearest MRT station, KeSa House is a wonderful place to return to at the end of a busy day.
Top of the Range
If you’ve got the means why not stay at one of the world’s best hotels and an iconic Singaporean landmark, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where you can take in the breathtaking views from the famous rooftop infinity pool? With countless high-end restaurants, it’s very own mall, Marina Bay Sands is the perfect place to stay for those who can afford it. Many visitors decide to treat themselves to one night in Marina Bay Sands Hotel as part of their stay.
If you’re looking to save money on your Singapore trip you might want to buy the Singapore Go City All-Inclusive Pass.
The Singapore Go City All Inclusive Pass covers the cost of entry for over 40 different attractions in Singapore, including many of those on our 5 day itinerary. You can potentially save up to 40% on entrance fees with the Go City All-Inclusive Pass compared with paying for entry individually.
The pass comes as a QR code that can be downloaded to your phone and covers the cost of entry to Universal Studios, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Zoo, the National Gallery of Singapore and many more attractions. You can also use the pass for a number of tours and river cruises in Singapore.
Start your five day trip to Singapore by diving straight in to some of the city’s biggest sights.
Start with a morning of culture at the National Gallery Singapore. Close to the banks of the Singapore River, the National Gallery is right at the heart of Singapore’s historic civic quarter.
Mixing contemporary and traditional art, The National Gallery’s vast permanent collection and rotating exhibitions showcases an illuminating array of artwork and artists from Singapore and across South East Asia.
Housed inside the former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings, The National Gallery building is also a reminder of Singapore’s colonial past.
The two buildings have been beautifully merged and modernised to create the National Gallery.
The courthouse inside the former supreme court building has even been repurposed as an exhibition space, with the original defendant’s box and judge’s chair still in place.
Before you leave make sure you check out the wonderful views of Marina Bay Sands and the Central Business District from the Padang deck on the sixth floor of the City Hall wing.
→ You can buy discounted entry tickets for the National Gallery in advance here.
From the National Gallery, cross over Anderson’s Bridge and then Esplanade Bridge, past the famous Merlion, and follow the path around Marina Bay.
The walk around the bay offers some of the most spectacular views of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the skyscrapers of the Central Business District.
Once directly opposite the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, cross the Helix Bridge to reach the lotus-shaped Art Science Museum.
A remarkable building, the Art Science Museum hosts a number of playful, thought-provoking and often interactive exhibitions that explores the connections between science and creativity.
The museum’s permanent exhibition has been created by teamLab, the art collective most famous for the teamlab Borderless exhibition in Tokyo.
→ You can buy discounted tickets for the Art Science Museum on Klook here.
Singapore’s lotus-shaped Art Science Museum and an inflatable artwork by Momoyo Torimitsu from the Floating Utopias exhibition
Dwarfed by the Marina Bay Sands hotel is The Shoppes, one of the most high-end malls in Singapore.
The Shoppes is lined with luxury fashion stores, fine dining restaurants and posh cafes that specialise in high tea.
Adding to the Shoppes’ extravagance is the mall’s very own Venetian-style indoor canal, on which you can even take a sampan boat ride.
At the very top of the towering Marina Bay Sands Hotel is one of the best views in Singapore.
Sharing the skydeck with the hotel’s famous infinity pool (which is strictly for the use of hotel guests) the Marina Bay Sands’ Skypark towers over central Singapore and Gardens by the Bay.
At 57 stories high you can also look out over the hundreds of ships that are docked in the Singapore Strait.
For the very best views try to arrive in the late afternoon in order to capture a glorious sunset.
→ You can buy discounted tickets for the Marina Bay Sands Skypark here.
In the early afternoon make your way to Gardens by the Bay, one of Singapore’s most popular attractions.
At the centre of the gardens are the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, home to a stunning array of flowers and trees from all over the world.
The Flower Dome is home to a regularly changing display of flowers from Mediterranean and sub-tropical climates.
The floral displays are frequently updated, and are often curated and colour-coded to commemorate public celebrations such as Halloween and Christmas.
The Cloud Forest is much less manicured, recreating a misty mountainside in a tropical rainforest. Split into nine stages, the highlights of the Cloud Forest are the Treetop Walk and Cloud Walk.
These two walking platforms ascend around a 35 metre high stretch of mountainside and beneath the spray of what is now the second tallest indoor waterfall in the world.
→ You can buy discounted tickets to Gardens by the Bay on Klook here.
Allow around an hour to fully explore each dome before heading through Gardens by the Bay to the Supertree Grove.
One of the most symbolic images of Singapore, the Supertree Grove is a collection of twelve of the eighteen man-made trees that can be found inside Gardens by the Bay.
The steel framed trees are all adorned with colourful tropical plant life indigenous to countries as far away as Costa Rica and Brazil.
Two of the tallest trees amongst the Supertree Grove are connected by the OCBC Skyway, a long, narrow curved walkway that gives a bird’s eye view over Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay and central Singapore.
As night falls make sure to stick around in Gardens by the Bay in time to see the Garden Rhapsody, the music and light show which brings the bay’s supertrees to life.
The Garden Rhapsody takes places twice every night, at 7.45pm and again at 8.45pm.
After the rhapsody, explore more of the vast gardens, which are beautifully lit at night beneath the spectacular Marina Bay Sands hotel.
When you get hungry, try some of the best Singaporean dishes at surprisingly affordable prices at Satay By The Bay, just a short walk along Marina Bay from the Cloud Forest.
If you’d prefer something a little more sophisticated, head up to the Ce La Vie’s Skybar next to the infinity pool at the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel for stunning nighttime views of the city.
Begin day two of your 5 day Singapore itinerary in Tiong Bahru, one of Singapore’s most fashionable and beautiful neighbourhoods.
Built during and just after the Second World War, Tiong Bahru’s unique Art Deco-inspired housing blocks are noticeably different from the huge high rise blocks that now dominate Singapore.
In recent years Tiong Bahru has become known as a hipster hangout, yet this historic neighbourhood features a wonderful balance between the old and new.
Today, the neighbourhood is dotted with a number of fashionable cafes, laid back restaurants and independent shops alongside typically old school chicken rice and porridge shops.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at one of Tiong Bahru’s many chic cafes – 40 Hands and Tiong Bahru Bakery are the most popular. Alternatively, head upstairs in Tiong Bahru market for breakfast at one of the most popular hawker centres in Singapore.
Afterwards take a stroll around the neighbourhood’s charming streets and independent shops. Cat Socrates on Yong Siak Street is a great place to pick up some uniquely Singaporean momentos.
Next, head to Tanjong Pagar, just two stops from Tiong Bahru on the East West Line to start exploring Chinatown.
One of the most historic areas in Singapore, Chinatown is a feast for the senses, with some of the most stunning temples in Singapore, as well as some of the best food in the city.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Chinatown is merely made up of the few streets selling tourist tat outside Chinatown MRT station. There’s much more to Chinatown than this and you can easily spend the majority of a day here.
From Tanjong Pagar station stroll along Telok Ayer Street to the Taoist Thian Hock Keng Temple.
Thian Hock Keng temple is one of the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore, as well as one of the most beautiful.
Dedicated to the sea Goddess Mazu, Thian Hock Keng temple features a glorious entrance of intricately carved stone pillars and wooden beams decorated in dazzling gold leaf.
Two stone lion dogs stand at the front doors, themselves featuring two elaborately decorated Door Gods. Inside the temple is the main hall, a riot of gold and exceptional hand carved wooden dioramas.
Afterwards wander along historic Amoy Street that’s directly behind Thian Hock Keng Temple.
Along with Amoy Street’s beautifully conserved old shophouses, here you’ll also find Yip Yew Chong’s huge painted mural that celebrates the diversity and history of migration to Singapore.
At the southern end of Amoy Street is a narrow alley for Ann Siang Hill Park. Follow this along Ann Siang Road until it reaches South Bridge Road.
Here you’ll see two of Singapore’s most iconic temples practically next door to each other, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and the Sri Mariamman Temple.
The enormous Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is much more than just a temple.
The ground floor is a beautiful place of worship, with a central prayer hall dominated by three huge golden statues of Buddha. All around the perimeter walls are thousands more tiny Buddha statues.
The upper floors contain museums dedicated to the history of Buddhism in Asia, whilst hidden on the roof is a beautiful garden with a grand pagoda featuring a large ornate prayer wheel.
A stone’s throw away is Sri Mariamman Temple, instantly recognisable from the lavish tower adorned with Hindu gods and mythical beasts that stands over the entrance.
Dating from the 1820s, Sri Mariamman is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore.
Inside, the temple’s roof is just as spectacular as the entrance tower, similarly covered in expertly crafted colourful Hindu deities and mythical creatures.
For a flavour of how life in Chinatown used to be, take a tour of the excellent Chinatown Heritage Centre.
The Chinatown Heritage Centre has faithfully recreated the interior of a traditional Chinatown shophouse as it would have looked during the early 20th century.
Over a hundred people would often live under one roof as landlords subdivided rooms and packed in tenants to maximise profit.
The museum shows how a diverse range of tenants lived on top of each other whilst having to contend with some pretty horrific living conditions. As well as documenting Chinatown’s history, the museum also shows just how far Singapore has developed in a short space of time.
When you start to feel peckish join the crowds at either of Chinatown’s two excellent hawker centres, the Chinatown Complex Food Centre or the Maxwell Food Centre.
There are over 200 food stalls to choose from in the Chinatown Complex Food Court, where you can find a huge variety of Singaporean staples, Chinese food and even a few stalls that specialise in other Asian cuisines, such as Thai and Japanese dishes.
The most famous stall here is Hawker Chan, which won a Michelin Star in 2018. Hawker Chan proudly boasts of offering the world’s cheapest Michelin starred meal. Their soya sauce chicken rice costs only S$2.80.
Alternatively try the Maxwell Food Centre opposite the Buddha Tooth Relic Centre. Consistently praised as one of the best hawker centres in Singapore, Maxwell is popular lunch spot for many of the office workers from the neighbouring tower blocks.
Maxwell Hawker Centre has its own Michelin recommended stall in Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. Famously praised by Anthony Bourdain, Tian Tian was awarded a Bib Gourmand by Michelin in 2016.
Don’t leave Chinatown without heading to the skybridge at the top of [email protected].
This behemoth of a tower block that dominates the skyline over Chinatown is the largest public housing building in the world. At the very top you’ll also find the world’s largest sky garden.
For just S$6 you can take in the truly spectacular views from 50 floors above Chinatown from the 500 metre skybridge.
If you’re travelling to Singapore on a budget this is an excellent alternative to the Marina Bay Sands Skypark or the Singapore Flyer.
Once you can tear yourself away from the view, take a walk along some of Chinatown’s gorgeous back streets.
Stop in for a coffee and something sweet at the Katasumi Koohii on Bukit Pasoh Road, a combined cafe and bookstore.
If you’d prefer something stronger check out the stylish bars all along Keong Saik Street. Though alcohol is eye-wateringly expensive in Singapore, many bars have good happy hour deals every day.
The iconic Potato Head is one of the best bars on the street with fantastic views from the roof terrace.
Later, head over to Duxton Road, another street full of colourful shophouses that are now home to countless bars and restaurants.
End the night at one of the rooftop bars on Club Street and Ann Siang Road. The swanky roof terrace at the Screening Room has wonderful views of Chinatown and the skyscrapers of the CBD, as does the more wallet-friendly Fry Rooftop Bistro Bar.
Begin the day by strolling the dazzling streets of Joo Chiat. Much like Emerald Hill, Joo Chiat is home to some of the most spectacular surviving Peranakan shophouses in Singapore.
The most famous of Joo Chiat’s historic houses are along Koon Seng Road. Here the narrow row of houses are painted in a rainbow of colours and adorned with beautiful patterned Peranakan tiles and floral motifs.
TOP TIP: The nearest MRT station to the beautiful houses of Koon Seng Road is Eunos, around a 15 minute walk away.
If you’d prefer not to walk for that long in the heat and humidity, take the MRT to either Lavender or Kallang stations and then take the 33 bus, which stops directly opposite Koon Seng Road.
Afterwards, wander south along Joo Chiat Road, taking a detour to see the spectacular Sri Senpaga Vinayager Temple on Ceylon Road.
The entrance of Sri Senpaga temple is marked by another fantastic tower, painted in resplendent gold and pink. Dedicated to Ganesha, the temple’s interior is just as colourful.
Inside, fabulous wall paintings depict Hindu teachings and statues of Gods and deities adorn the roof of the inner shrines.
Later, walk down to East Coast Road, the main shopping street lined with more picturesque old shophouses.
Here you’ll find a number of stores that specialise in traditional Singaporean and Peranakan food. Heavenly Wangs located inside the historic Red House is a great place for a belated breakfast.
From East Coast Road make your way to Kampong Glam, another of Singapore’s historic neighbourhoods.
With streets named after Bagdhad, Oman and Muscat, Kampong Glam is rich in of Malay, Arabic and Muslim heritage and is today one of Singapore’s most buzzing areas.
A warren of narrow streets, Kampong Glam is centred around the sparkling golden dome of Sultan Mosque.
Nearby you can learn about the Malay influence on Kampong Glam and Singapore at the Malay Heritage Centre, housed inside a former palace just opposite Sultan Mosque.
Sultan Mosque, Haji Lane and the colourful backstreets of Kampong Glam
The streets around Sultan Mosque are a great place to eat, home to some of the finest Turkish and Middle Eastern restaurants in Singapore.
Nearby, the shophouses of Arab Street stock the finest of fabrics, whilst tiny Haji Lane is another explosion of colours, full of super trendy shops, cafes, bars and street art.
In the afternoon head over to Little India, just a short walk north of Kampong Glam.
A constant hive of activity, Little India is another colourful neighbourhood, where the constant aroma of freshly cooked Indian food fills the air.
Tan Teng Niah and the incredible entrance tower of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Just around the corner from Little India MRT station is Tan Teng Niah. Tan Teng Niah is the last remaining Chinese villa in Little India.
Built in 1900 the villa is the former home of Tan Teng Niah, a Chinese businessman who once ran several businesses in the area. Today the house is a commercial space and one of the most popular photo spots in Singapore.
For such a small area Little India has an impressive collection of temples of many different faiths.
The most famous is Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple just around the corner from Tan Teng Niah on Serangoon Road.
The first Hindu temple was built on the site as far back as 1881, dedicated to the goddess Kali, known as the Destroyer of Evil.
Sri Veeramakaliamman features a typically spectacular entrance tower whilst inside altars, wall paintings and statues are dedicated to a number of Hindu Gods and deities.
Further along Serangoon Road near Farrer Park station is Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, another spectacular Hindu temple that is often a lot less crowded than Sri Veeramakaliamman.
A beautiful blue tower decorated with deities marks the entrance, whilst inside the temple’s ceiling is decorated with a series of gorgeous mandalas.
On Race Course Road just behind Sri Srinivasa are two more fascinating temples.
The first is Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, whose eclectic architecture blends Thai, Chinese and Indian influences.
Inside the temple is a stunning 15 metre high and 300 ton statue of a seated Buddha. All around the base of the seated Buddha’s platform is a case with figures that depicting the story of Buddha’s life.
In a small room beneath the seated Buddha is another statue of the reclining Buddha surrounded by mourners.
Directly opposite is Leong San See Temple, one of the most visually stunning temples in Singapore.
Decorative wall motifs and a spectacular roof are an indication as to Leong San See’s incredible interior. The temple’s thick beams are decorated with richly detailed wood carvings and covered with gold leaf, whilst countless statues of Buddhist Gods fill the temple. At the main altar stands a statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy.
After checking out the temples cut along the luminously coloured narrow streets of shophouses that run south of Serangoon Road to see lively Little India in action.
Taking up a huge chunk of Little India is the Mustafa Centre, Singapore’s only 24 hour department store. Spread across several floors in two connected buildings the Mustafa is home to a huge range of absolutely everything.
From cosmetics, clothes and jewellery to cameras, washing machines, and everything in between, if it’s not for sale at Mustafa then it probably doesn’t exist.
Kebabs ‘n’ Curries, the restaurant on the top floor, is a great place to eat with great views over the rooftops of Little India.
In the heart of Little India is the Indian Heritage Centre. Set inside a modern purpose-built four-storey building, the Indian Heritage Centre tells of the history and vital role played by Indian communities in Singapore and many other nations across South Asia.
The Indian Heritage Centre also looks at the important part that the Indian community has played in shaping today’s Singapore.
End the day at with dinner at Lau Pa Sat Market, right in the heart of Singapore’s financial district.
Now dwarfed by gleaming skyscrapers, Lau Pa Sat is a 19th century masterpiece of engineering and design. The market is an octagonal structure made of cast-iron columns and beams.
Officially called Telok Ayer market, Lau Pa Sat was originally built as a wet market. The oldest hawker market in Singapore, Lau Pa Sat is easily the most beautiful.
Here you’ll find a huge range of Singaporean, Chinese and Indian hawker stalls, alongside a handful of international stalls, including Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese food.
At 7.00pm each night, the section of Boon Tat street that runs alongside Lau Pa Sat is closed off to traffic and becomes Satay Street.
Tables and chairs are laid out on the street and around ten satay stands line the road, grilling satay skewers of chicken, lamb and prawn long into the night.
On day four, start the day at the National Museum of Singapore, the perfect place to discover more about the history of this tiny island.
The National Museum is the oldest museum in Singapore, and housed inside another of the city’s most beautiful colonial buildings.
The permanent exhibitions in the National Museum explore the entire history of the country, from its earliest days as a port island to how it became a vital crown colony in the British Empire.
The National Museum also details the horrendous conditions during the capture and occupation by Japan during the Second World War.
Singapore’s modern history is also covered in detail, documenting how Singapore gained independence from Malaya in 1965 and the island’s subsequent transformation into one of the world’s most highly developed countries.
A stone’s throw from The National Museum is Fort Canning Park. Here you’ll find the Battlebox, an underground bunker buried deep beneath the park.
The Battlebox was the British Army’s command centre during World War Two, from where it directed the operations to defend Singapore from invasions and attack.
It was in this underground bunker that the British Army eventually conceded defeat, making the fateful decision to surrender to the Japanese army. That day remains one of the darkest moments in Singapore’s history.
The bunker is a fascinating sight to behold, taking up a huge underground space. Incredibly, the command centre had been almost completely forgotten about for decades until it was rediscovered by chance in 1988.
If you’re interested in history you’ll definitely want to add a trip to the Battlebox to your Singapore itinerary. Access to the Battlebox is by guided tours only and there are five tours a day (only three tours on Mondays).
The tour recounts the fateful events that lead to the British Army’s surrender, a decision taken by senior army figures shut away inside the bunker as the advancing Japanese army approached ever closer.
At just over two kilometres long, Orchard Road is Singapore’s answer to Oxford Street or Fifth Avenue.
Even if you’re on a budget, you can’t spend five days in Singapore with taking a walk along the mega malls of Orchard Road.
A shopper’s paradise, there is a degree of diversity amongst Orchard Road’s malls, from the high end luxury stores at ION Orchard to the more youthful and edgy Far East Plaza.
As well shopping, almost every mall has a food court stocked with an enormous range of restaurants and cafes, making Orchard Road a great place to get a reasonably priced bite to eat. Head to the basement of any mall and you’ll find an enormous range of places to eat.
Whilst on Orchard Road, keep an eye out for the street vendors who specialises in a Singaporean speciality, ice-cream sandwiches.
A sign of old Singapore amongst the modernity of the malls, the ‘ice-cream uncles’ are an institution and can usually found around the Ngee Ang City Mall most afternoons.
Pick from an array of ice cream flavours and a casing of either wafers or rainbow bread for a delicious sweet treat that’s worth every cent at just S$1.20.
For another unexpected glimpse of old Singapore, take a walk along beautiful Emerald Hill, just off Orchard Road opposite Somerset MRT station.
In the early 20th century Emerald Hill was home to some of the wealthiest traders in Singapore. Now dwarfed by Orchard Road’s malls, Emerald Hill is lined with gorgeous grand shophouses, each adorned with beautiful details and decorated in a range of dazzling colours.
Today Emerald Hill is a conservation area and a wonderful reminder of the how the whole area once looked.
From Orchard Road take the MRT to Botanic Gardens. A genteel oasis just a hop and a skip from central Singapore, the Botanic Gardens is a wonderful place to while away a peaceful few hours.
The Botanic Gardens was founded in 1859 and are Singapore’s first (and currently only) UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Containing over 10,000 species of flora, the Botanic Gardens occupies 82 hectares of land just a few hundred metres to the west of Orchard Road.
The entrance from Botanic Gardens MRT is at the north-west edge of the gardens.
There are four different sections of the gardens, with the oldest section being the Tanglin zone at the southern end of the Botanic Gardens.
At the heart of the gardens is the National Orchid Garden, home to the largest display of orchids in the world, the national flower of Singapore.
End the day by calling in for a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar at the legendary Raffles Hotel. The Long Bar is where the Singapore Sling was invented by Ngiam Tong Boon, a Hainanese bartender.
According to the legend, Ngiam noticed that it was forbidden for women to drink alcohol in public. He decided to create a drink that could be mistaken for fruit juice (in appearance at least) that women could drink without causing suspicion, and the Singapore Sling was born.
Now the cocktail is the national drink of Singapore and the Long Bar of the recently refurbished Raffles Hotel is still the best place to sip on this iconic (and pricey!) drink.
On the last day of your five day Singapore itinerary, head off the beaten path and discover some of the city’s hidden treasures. Begin the day at Haw Par Villa, possibly the strangest theme park in the world.
Haw Par Villa is a Singaporean icon, where hundreds of statues depict fables and tales from Chinese and Buddhist mythology.
The villa itself didn’t survive the Second World War, but the gardens and hundreds of dioramas and figures still remain.
Haw Par Villa and the gardens were built by Aw Boon Par, one of the brothers who gave the world Tiger Balm ointment.
The purpose of the gardens was to teach the importance of good behaviour and family loyalty.
All of Haw ParVilla’s statues have a moral message and warn of the dangers of going astray. The brutal punishments depicted inside the Ten Courts of Hell are enough to deter anyone from wandering from the straight and narrow.
From Haw Par Villa, take the MRT two stops to Labrador Park to see some of the finest contemporary art at Gillman Barracks.
What was once an army base for British soldiers is now the site of several art galleries who have repurposed the old colonial barracks into modern exhibition spaces.
A sprawling site, the buildings of the former army headquarters now host a huge range of exhibitions by artists from across Asia and all over the world.
In recent years the galleries at Gillman Barracks have hosted exhibitions by world famous artists such as David LaChapelle, Yayoi Kusama and Ai Weiwei
If you need to cool off, pick up a scoop or two of delicious home-made ice cream at Creamier.
Next, explore some of Singapore’s incredible natural environment at the Southern Ridges.
Part of a wider 10km stretch of greenery that cuts through southern Singapore, the Southern Ridges consist of a number of connected parks and open green spaces, eventually leading to sweeping views at the peak of Mount Faber.
There are various starting points for the Southern Ridges, including one above Lock Road at the northern entrance of Gillman Barracks. Here an elevated walkway winds its way through the lush and humid forest of the Southern Ridges.
This is a great place to try and spot some of Singapore’s colourful native birds, as well as birds of prey. If you’re especially lucky you might also spot monkeys on the trail too.
Before reaching Mount Faber the walk crosses Henderson Waves.
The highest bridge in Singapore, Henderson Waves connects the treetops that are separated by the road below. With wonderful views and often a lovely breeze, Henderson Waves is one of the best hang-out spots in the city.
From Henderson Waves it’s a short walk to Mount Faber. The peak of Mount Faber offers some of the best views in Singapore.
Looking to the south there are views of the sea and the cable car that connects Mount Faber to Sentosa Island. To the north are the colourful jungle of apartment blocks and towering skyscrapers of central Singapore.
Once you’ve taken in the views, end your five days in Singapore by taking the cable car from the top of Mount Faber all the way across the water to Sentosa Island. You can buy discounted tickets for the Cable car on Klook here.
Though most famous for its theme parks and tourist attractions, the south side of Sentosa is lined with three glorious (if man-made) beaches.
Overlooking the Singapore Straits and with a sea breeze passing through the palm trees, it’s a lovely spot to wind down at the end of a day.
The cable car at Mount Faber crosses over to Sentosa via Harbourfront. Once on Sentosa, take the (free) Sentosa Express monorail to Beach Station and take your pick of the bars on Siloso Beach.
As mentioned at the start, for many people no visit to Singapore will be complete without visiting the resort island of Sentosa or Singapore Zoo.
Here’s all the info you need if you’re looking to add two of Singapore’s biggest tourist attractions to your Singapore itinerary.
Loaded with almost every conceivable kind of tourist attraction, Sentosa island is a huge resort just off the southern tip of mainland Singapore.
Though probably most famous as the home of Universal Studios Singapore, the only Universal Studios resort in South East Asia, there is much more on the island to explore.
Sentosa’s other big attractions include the Adventure Cove Waterpark, Madame Tussauds, the Trick Eye Museum and the incredible S.E.A Aquarium.
Sentosa also offers everything for adrenaline junkies, with an adventure park complete with zip-wires, bungy jumps and much more.
→ You can find a huge range of discounted tickets for various attractions at Sentosa here.
If you’d prefer something a little more relaxing then there are golf courses and numerous nature trails on Sentosa Island too.
Sentosa’s three beaches are perfect for soaking up the sun, and the island is packed with a wide range of cafes, restaurants and bars.
There are plenty of resort hotels on Sentosa too, so if you’re planning a relaxing trip to Singapore based around the resort’s big attractions, this is the perfect place to be based.
The easiest way to reach Sentosa is to take the MRT to Harbourfront Station and then take the Sentosa Express monorail from Level 3 of Vivocity mall.
A ticket to Sentosa on the Sentosa Express costs S$4 for adults and $2 for children. Once on Sentosa, the Sentosa Express is free to use between the three stops on the island.
Singapore Zoo, the River Safari and the Night Safari are easily amongst Singapore’s most popular tourist attractions.
Grouped together around an hour away from central Singapore, you can easily spend a whole day with the animals here. In 2022, Jurong Bird Park is scheduled to relocate to a new site that is currently under construction right next to Singapore Zoo.
With over 300 species of animal, Singapore Zoo is one of Singapore’s biggest tourist attractions.
Singapore Zoo is huge, made up of 12 different zones that each represent a different ecosystem or region of the world.
Designed to blend in with the surrounding rainforest, many of the animals are housed in seemingly open enclosures; orangutans swing from treetops overhead and lemurs roam freely near the entrance to the zoo.
A walk through the Fragile Forest lets you get completely up close with tamarin monkeys, lemurs, mousedeer, and a whole range of exotic birds.
A number of educational animal shows and activities are held across the zoo twice a day, including the chance to learn more about (and feed) rhinos and elephants. Arrive early enough and you can even have breakfast with the orangutans.
If you plan on visiting Singapore Zoo then the River Safari and Night Safari are also well worth seeing. The River Safari is home to a huge range of animals that traditionally live in or near to some of the world’s great rivers.
Along with a huge selection of tropical fish are alligators and crocodiles as well as manatees, otters and turtles.
You can take a boat along the Amazon River Quest past jungle animals such as jaguars and flamingos. The River Safari’s biggest draw are easily Kai Kai and Jia Jia, two giant pandas.
The Night Safari gives you the chance to see some of the world’s greatest animals after dark.
Over the course of a nocturnal 40 minute tram ride you can see lions, tigers, leopards, elephants and more and witness how they behave at night. Spread across a huge area, there are around 900 animals from nearly 100 species to see at the Night Safari.
A unique experience, the Night Safari is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Singapore.
→ You can also get money off combined tickets for Singapore Zoo, the River Safari and the Night Safarion Klook here.
Singapore Zoo, the River Safari and the Night Safari are all grouped next to each other around an hour away from the centre of Singapore.
The easiest way to reach Singapore Zoo by public transport is by taking the MRT to Khatib on the North South Line. From there take the Mandai Khatib shuttle bus that runs straight to Singapore Zoo.
The shuttle bus runs every ten minutes and takes around 15 minutes to reach the zoo. Journeys cost S$1 dollar, but you will need an ez-link card to pay the fare.
If you need even more inspiration, here are some extra ideas to make the most of your five days in Singapore that we couldn’t cram into our itinerary:
If you’d prefer to see wild animals in their natural habitat then take a hike along the MacRitchie Trail to the HSBC Treetop Walk.
Around a two hour looped trek through the forests alongside MacRitchie Reservoir, the walk eventually leads to the Treetop Walk, a suspended rope bridge with views high above the surrounding forests.
Pack insect repellent and carry plenty of water with you, and keep an eye out for the roaming long-tailed macaques monkeys that live along the trail.
A monkey spotted on the MacRitchie Trail and a crocodile at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
If you’d like to discover more about Singapore’s wartime history, visit the Former Ford Factory in Bukit Timah. This is where the British Army officially signed their surrender to the Japanese Army during the Second World War in 1942.
The Former Ford Factory now houses a fascinating exhibition that documents the reasons for the surrender, life under the Japanese occupation and the eventual liberation of Singapore.
The free Parkview Museum also hosts excellent art exhibitions and is well worth a visit. Afterwards treat yourself to a gin or high tea at the staggering Atlas Bar on the ground floor of the same building.
For even more Peranakan culture, book a tour at the Baba House near Outram Park MRT between Chinatown and Tiong Bahru.
This restored 19th century town house is open to the public via guided tours. Decorated and furnished in a style typical of the time and is a fascinating way to explore the heritage and incredible wealth of the Peranakan traders who settled in Singapore.
Afterwards, stroll around the beautiful backstreets of Blair Road and Everton Road to see more of Singapore’s stunning vintage shophouses.
Finally, when leaving Singapore, don’t depart without visiting The Jewel, the gleaming centrepiece of Changi Airport.
A part of Changi’s obsession with being a destination as much as a place of departure, The Jewel is an incredible sight.
A huge retail complex combined with huge natural elements, The Jewel is a hybrid of Orchard Road and Gardens by the Bay.
Alongside a huge number of shops and restaurants, The Jewel also features the incredible HSBC Rain Vortex – the world’s largest indoor waterfall – surrounded by a forest valley.
At the top of The Jewel is the flower-filled Canopy Park, which even finds room for a hedge maze. Take a stroll along the Canopy Bridge for the best views looking out over The Jewel.
If you need even more inspiration for your trip, here are a few of the best Singapore guidebooks.
Lonely Planet’s guidebooks are always the cream of the crop. The latest Lonely Planet Singapore guidebook was updated and reissued in 2022, is crammed with information and insights for the perfect trip to Singapore.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for an excellent overview of what to see and do in Singapore, as well as a ton of great practical advice, try Lonely Planet Pocket Singapore, which covers all of the island’s main neighbourhoods and offers suggested itineraries.
Pick up a copy of Secret Singapore and go way beyond the beaten path. If you want to see the real Singapore and discover many of the hidden treasures that are dotted around the island then this is an essential travel companion.
Public transport: Singapore has a fantastic and very affordable public transport system.
Singapore’s MRT system is made up of six lines that criss-cross the whole island. There are also an additional three lines currently being built. Buses are also a great way to get around the city.
Though you could buy a Singapore Tourist Pass, if you have five days in Singapore a regular EZ-link travel card will probably be more cost effective.
Taxis: Taxis in Singapore are also surprisingly affordable. Grab is the equivalent of Uber for most of South East Asia – download their app to book a taxi whenever you need one.
Alternatively you can usually flag down taxis easily on the street. Fares for average journeys across town should never be more than S$10.
Singapore is a popular destination to visit at any time of year. Being 70 miles north of the equator means that Singapore enjoys a tropical climate all year round.
The temperature in Singapore consistently hovers around 30 degrees and humidity is always between 70-90%, meaning that it can feel a lot hotter.
Both the humidity and temperatures drop a little during the rainy seasons, which run from December to January and June to September. Storms are more frequent during rainy season though they happen frequently throughout the year.
Singapore gets incredibly busy during the Chinese New Year celebrations which takes place in February each year. As Chinese New Year is a national holiday many shops and museums also close for a few days around this time.
Also be aware that hotels get booked up during the Singapore Grand Prix, which takes place over a weekend every September.
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