Having a layover or coming to Singapore for a quick visit? From exploring Chinatown to late-night shopping at Mustafa Centre, here’s our list of fun activities for you to do before moving off to your next travel destination
If you are coming to Singapore for just a day, or two, or if this sunny island is a pit stop for your very long arduous plane ride to somewhere far away, this one’s for you. Presenting to you: our very own curated layover itinerary of exciting things to do in Singapore, as you race against time before you have to unfortunately, bid us farewell. Chop chop; no time to waste!
48 hours left…
They say you haven’t really been to Singapore until you’ve explored the treasures these cultural heartlands have to offer.
Venture off to Chinatown
Take a train directly from the airport, and venture off to Chinatown. This heritage-rich, kitschy tourist-chic spot has pretty much everything you can think of, from fascinating temples and souvenir shops to local food hawker stalls and interesting cafes. Must-visits include Thian Hock Keng Temple, one of the oldest Hokkien temples in Singapore located on Telok Ayer Street; Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple at South Bridge Road; Luxe, a contemporary Australian restaurant at Keong Saik Road that offers scrumptious brunch options; and Chinatown Street Market that spreads over four streets, providing affordable souvenirs and knick-knacks.
45 hours left…
With its long list of amazing world-class spots that offer a bunch of fun-tastic activities, it’s seemingly impossible to conquer every nook and cranny of this popular island resort – but die trying!
Soak in some sunshine and island life at Sentosa
When in Sentosa, you’ll definitely have to appreciate the interactive exhibits at Fort Siloso to learn the history behind the island. Then, make your way to the Singapore outpost of Madame Tussauds and hop on the Spirit of Singapore boat ride for an audio-visual journey to uncover more about Singapore. Next, make a date with the Merlion, the tallest one that stands at an impressive 37 metres, out of six other Merlion statues in Singapore, and also discover Sentosa’s 3.2-kilometre long coastline on Asia’s one and only thrilling Segway® Eco Ride. But if you’re solely seeking for pure entertainment (especially if you’re with kiddos), forget all that, and head straight to Universal Studios Singapore® (USS) at Resorts World Sentosa for a good few hours of adrenaline pumping fun – you’ve got to try Battlestar Galactica!
40 hours left…
Back to discover yet another treasure trove that’s full of surprises at every corner.
Tour around Kampong Glam
Once an ethnic enclave for the Muslim community, including Arab and Bugis traders, Kampong Glam is now a thriving neighbourhood peppered with hole-in-the-wall boutiques, quaint restaurants, cool bars and charming cultural spots. Feeling hungry? Warong Nasi Pariaman (742 North Bridge Road) serves kickass Indonesian-style Nasi Padang. Just a heads up, things get spicy in there! Also, explore the Sultan Mosque’s (3 Muscat Street) impressive architecture (for free) – its gold dome interior is made entirely out of glass bottles. Visit the oh-so-hipster alleyway, Haji Lane, that offers an eclectic array of street art by local and international names such as Didier Jaba Mathieu, Sheryo x The Yok, Oak and Bindi and more. Afterwards, catch a breather and grab a drink, or two, at Blu Jaz Café, Bali Lane’s magnet for the hip and funky.
37 hours left…
It’s not exactly a wholesome traveling experience without the partying. Lucky you, ’cause the nightlife scene here is absolutely alive and kicking.
Party time at Boat Quay
From a spate of R&R havens to a smorgasbord of afterhour beer spots, Boat Quay has something for everyone to dip into. Before you crank the party up, why not enjoy an oil massage and foot/shoulder/neck massage at Sabaai Sabaai Thai Massage, to take the edge off? Next, fill your tummy (again!) at swanky French Restaurant, Absinthe where the menu is an amalgamated awesomeness, pleasing even the most finicky of critics. Then spend the rest of your evening at the amazing rooftop bar, the Mad Men Attic Bar, where you can enjoy awesome live music – remember to try their infamous black forest mojito. Or if you need a good ol’ rave, clubs like Canvas and Attica are just around the corner at Clarke Quay.
32 hours left…
Recharge and recuperate at a hotel
Crash and sleep. Our recommendations for accommodation include 1920s Peranakan-style hotel at Keong Saik Road called Naumi Liora, or Bunc, a 233-bed boutique hostel with all the fixings of a swish establishment at Upper Weld Road.
24 hours left…
Explore new sights and sounds of Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) by joining a fun day trip
Hop on a fun day tour
As touristy as it can get, Ducktours is actually an eye-opening yet fun experience that you cannot miss when you’re in Singapore. Jump on board a remodelled WWII Vietnamese war craft and explore Singapore’s CBD by land and sea. For comprehensive coverage of the city’s biggest attractions, choose the Duck with Singapore HoHo, which includes an hour-long guided tour around famous landmarks including the Singapore Flyer.
22 hours left…
Head over to must-see art galleries, cultural attractions and historical exhibitions at the plethora of museums on our sunny island.
Where to see (and feed your curious mind with) rare masterpieces, historical artefacts, revolutionary sculptures, thought-provoking paintings and cultural relics in Singapore? Our recommendation: the National Gallery Singapore, Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris, and the newly furbished National Museum of Singapore. Fortunately for your weary legs, these museums are fairly near to each other – either by bus or walking.
16 hours left…
Uncover Singapore through its obsession over food
Cafehopping along Jalan Besar
Jalan Besar is a gastronomic heaven with its unbeatable dining options for foodies everywhere. Chye Seng Huat Hardware is a must-visit for all caffeine addicts; this specialty coffee joint houses Singapore’s first 360-degree coffee bar. Next stop: The Refinery – for yakitori on the first floor, bespoke cocktails on the second floor, and the third is where you’ll even find a craft workshop. Then, check out the Tiramisu Hero where you can get a taste of the finest – what else – tiramisu in town. They come in flavours like original, Ovaltine, matcha, lemon lavender, and cinnamon – just to name a few. And while you’re at Jalan Besar, why not visit Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant where you can devour amazing Cantonese delicacies like har kao and liu sha bao?
11 hours left…
Immerse in an enriching cultural experience at this buzzing, hectic neighbourhood.
Discover Little India
Little India is quickly earning a rep as one of the hip and happening neighbourhoods in Singapore – no doubt thanks to the vibrant mix of heritage sites, hipster cafes, boutique hotels, and of course, the best Indian food around town. The Banana Leaf Apolo is one spot you cannot miss, for sure. Though it offers a mix of North and South Indian fare – like chicken masala, mutton curry, and tandoori chicken – its signature is definitely the rich fish head curry. For a hefty dose of arts and culture, visit the Indian Heritage Centre for its permanent and temporary exhibitions that traces the history of the Indian and South Asian Communities in the Southeast Asian region. Next, pop by the famous Old Hen Coffee Bar (88 Rangoon Road) for its ingenious bottled cold brews, and its buttermilk waffles served with blueberry compote, strawberries, and honey-infused Greek yogurt.
8 hours left…
Grocery shopping at wee hours – why not?
Late night shopping at Mustafa Centre
Night owls with an aversion to crowds can get their shopping fix at Singapore’s only 24-hour shopping mall. From fresh produce to electronic gadgets, jewellery, DVDs and rare Indian products, Mustafa Centre is truly an Aladdin’s cave located in the heart of Little India. But be warned: at such low prices, the temptation to buy everything will be hard to resist.
5 hours left…
Pack up; it’s time to explore Changi Airport
Take a selfie at 5 instaworthy spots in Changi Airport
Trying to capture as many photos for keepsakes? Changi Airport offers 5 Instaworthy places for you to capture any last-minute gorgeous photos to remind you of Singapore. Our recommendation: its Sunflower Garden at Terminal 2 and Butterfly Garden at Terminal 3.
3 hours left…
Before you bid farewell, you’ve got to shop till you drop, naturally.
Last minute shopping at Changi Airport
Aside from being the world’s best airport, Changi Airport Singapore is also a fantastic spot for some good retail therapy session, brimming with upscale boutiques and duty-free stores. Must-see shops include Shilla Duty Free Cosmetics & Perfumes, where you can find the widest range of makeup and skincare in any Asia-Pacific airport and enjoy its relaxing in-house spa services (!); and the spectacular double-storey Wines And Spirits Duplex Store where you can shop for a mind-boggling selection of fine wines, spirits, and tobacco from the likes of Dom Pérignon, Hennessy, and Martell, with savings of up to 70 per cent. And you fancy a pre-flight cocktail, stop by the in-house Long Bar to sample the world-famous Singapore Sling.