Singapore is one of the most visited cities in Asia, receiving over 14 million of them each year. If you are one of those curious travellers planning a trip here, you will be in for a nice surprise as Singapore is not only a modern cosmopolitan, but also filled with traditional delights hidden in plain sight.
While not many have heard of Singapore a few decades ago, this tiny red dot is now on the map of throngs of visitors, and figuring out a good itinerary is key to enjoying the Lion City.
What to do in two days in Singapore – A simple guide
The average traveller to Singapore typically spends about 3 days here, which means there is more time to explore deeper into this island nation. With 2 days in Singapore, it might be a stretch to cover all the bases, but this itinerary has got you covered. If you are sitting on the fence, you might want to learn more reasons to visit Singapore!
You will be the envy of your friends when you get home to share your experience here!
- Day 1 – Modern and cutting-edge Singapore
- Day 2 – Discover the traditional side of Singapore
- Tips to plan your two days in Singapore
What to see in Singapore in 2 days
Day 1 – Modern and cutting-edge Singapore
Jewel Changi Airport
Whether it’s for a business trip to Singapore or a leisure holiday, it is most likely that you will be arriving through the Changi International Airport, which is really a place you can spend some time exploring. Changi has been nominated, and won the prestigious Skytrax Airport of the Year award 8 times in a row!
The airport is modern and clean, and stacked with lots of activities to keep you entertained for hours on end. As you walk through the hallways, take a minute or two to admire the fantastic artwork on display, as well as the themed gardens that are located across all 4 terminals.
Just recently in 2019, Jewel Changi Airport opened its doors to the public. This brand new 10 stories building is the latest addition to the amazing airport. This is a pure architecture masterpiece, right from the moment you lay eyes on it to the stunning interiors.
Plan to spend a couple of hours here to try out a brand new shopping experience, and try out the world class restaurants while you rest your legs. Indeed, many locals have even flocked here to try out these amenities, making sure that Jewel is always a bustling hive of activities.
At the centre of the building, you will find the world’s largest indoor waterfall.
If you want the best views, be sure to head up to the Canopy Park at the top floor to snag a spot amongst the groups of aspiring photographers waiting to get a piece of the action.
The Forest Valley is also not to be missed, a beautiful indoor garden that displays a huge variety of flora from around the world.
Address: 78 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819666
Opening Hours: 24 hours, but check individual merchants for their times
Gardens By The Bay
Singapore has always been known as the Garden City, and you can easily tell as you roam the streets. Greenery is never too far away from you, thanks to efforts by the government to prioritise planting of trees all across the island.
If you are here for the first time, do not miss out on a trip to Gardens by the Bay, which is located in the famous Marina Bay area. Its iconic giant Super Trees stands out in the skyline and is bound to impress even the casual nature lover.
Sitting on 101 hectares of land, this is a great location for all kinds of travellers to visit.
You can soak in the sunshine by exploring the large outdoors parks and discover the cute statues that are scattered across it, or choose to make your way indoors to cool off.
There are a total of 12 different attractions here, and I highly recommend that you spend some time in the Flower Dome as well as the Cloud Forest.
Exhibits here in these 2 areas will change from season to season, but you can be assured that the variety is plentiful and stunning. In the span of one afternoon, you can get to see some very unique species of flora, for example the hardy Yucca Rostrata from Columbia, or Bottle Trees from Africa.
Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Opening Hours: Outdoor gardens 5 am – 2 am, Indoor conservatories 9 am – 9 pm
Marina Bay Sands
The skyline of Singapore is now world-famous, maybe thanks to the movie “Crazy Rich Asians’, and largely because of its modern and cutting edge designs.
Since 20 years ago, the Singapore government started redeveloping the Marina Bay area, with the goal to turn it into a world-class entertainment and lifestyle district.
Today, you will see lots of photos of this skyline on Instagram, showing the distinctive Marina Bay Sands (MBS).
After opening its doors, it has developed a reputation for being one of the top destinations for travellers all across the world, thanks to its integrated casino, high-end shopping, and all-around excellence.
You can get to MBS by using the pedestrian bridge from Gardens by the Bay, which takes less than 10 minutes.
As soon as you get to MBS, check out the ArtScience Museum right at its entrance.
The futuristic-looking museum often displays exhibits from partner museums worldwide, and famous works from artists such as Van Gogh and Dali have made their way to these shores before. The regular exhibitions are a treat themselves, covering subjects from the arts and sciences.
Moving on to MBS itself, get yourself a ride on the gondolas that are cruising the indoor canals of MBS, just like how it is in Venice. Although the view is quite different, the experience is nonetheless fun, especially for families and lovebirds!
Cap off a visit to MBS by visiting the Sky Park and Observation Deck on the rooftop of this icon.
This is the best view in town, overlooking the entire bay area all the way out to the islands beyond Singapore. I recommend that you come here in the evenings, where the sunset adds a touch of magic to your experience.
Address: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
Opening Hours: 24 hours, but check individual merchants for their times
Day 2 – Discover the traditional side of Singapore
Tiong Bahru Estate
Begin your second day in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Singapore, Tiong Bahru.
It is located on the fringes of the city, making it very accessible by public transport. The nearest MRT station is Tiong Bahru Station, and it is only a short 5 minutes walk over.
While most visitors are familiar or will head straight to the famous sights like MBS, what they are missing out is a true blue local estate, where the original housing blocks have been preserved and serves as a heritage ambassador of Singapore.
Today, it is a popular hangout for locals looking for the next hipster cafe or to sample some of the best local food.
I suggest that you drop by early in the morning so that you can join in the groups of uncles and aunties shopping for groceries at the wet market. This is an experience not to be missed, especially for Westerners, since this is not a common sight for them. On the contrary, wet markets like this are popular in South East Asia, serving as the main supply hub for the neighbourhood.
And of course, you should not leave without tasting some of the yummy local food in the food centre right above the wet market. My favourite is the Chwee Kueh (rice cakes) at #02-05!
Address: Walk from Tiong Bahru MRT towards Tiong Bahru Food Centre
Opening hours: Market starts as early as 5 am, closes by noon; shops typically 10 am onwards till 10 pm
Next stop will be a visit to Chinatown.
There are a few ways you can get there easily from Tiong Bahru, either taking bus service 33 or 63 or take the MRT to reach Chinatown MRT station.
You will want to have on you a comfortable pair of walking shoes since Chinatown is best explored on foot!
Upon arriving, make the Heritage Centre your first stop. That will be your first introduction to one of the most important districts of Singapore, plus the staff hands out discount coupons regularly!
Chinatown is really unique in the sense that it has managed to stay original even after intensive development works have been carried out here. The old shophouses and five-foot walkways from yesteryear have been preserved and are a good reminder of how our forefathers lived and plied their trades back in the good old days. Keep your eyes out for the street art illustrating life in Singapore decades ago.
As you explore the alleys of Chinatown, pay attention to the traditional shops that are still in operation today, such as Nam’s Supplies, which sells paper money that is used as offerings for the dead, or the medicine halls that sell Chinese herbs and medicines. You might be shocked at what is being sold, but it is all part of the experience.
Rounding up your visit to Chinatown is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It is a popular spot for devotees to come for prayers, but it also acts as a museum too. The design of the temple is rarely seen today, as it models after buildings from the Tang Dynasty, which reigned in China over 1000 years ago.
Complete your visit here with more local food! The Chinatown Food Complex right in front of the temple is a great place to take a break, soak in the bustling atmosphere and enjoy a cold beer or two.
Address: Chinatown MRT Station
Opening hours: Most shops start at 10 am, closes at 10 pm
End the day off by relaxing along the riverside.
Clarke Quay, along with Boat Quay and Robertson Quay, forms the main riverside entertainment stretch in Singapore, and it is best to explore for its excellent restaurants and bars.
Back when Singapore was emerging as an economic power, the Singapore River was the focal point of trade and commerce. Today, it has reinvented itself and is a popular spot to hang out and spend the evening.
If you are the adventurous sort, be sure to get your tickets to the exhilarating reverse bungee!
Address: Walk from Clarke Quay MRT Station
Opening hours: Most shops start at 10 am, closes at 12 am
Planning your two days in Singapore
Getting around Singapore
Getting around Singapore is easy-breezy. The public transport system reaches almost all corners of the island, is clean, and runs on time.
You can make use of buses, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) trains, or simply hail a taxi.
Mostly, you will be exploring an area on foot, so you probably can do without a prepaid transport card (EZ-Link), but if you do foresee yourself using public transport often, get one of these cards from the airport MRT station.
Where should you stay in Singapore
The best place to stay in Singapore for the purpose of this itinerary is Marina Bay Sands. Yes, it is pricey, but the levels of service and comfort you get are unparalleled. Plus, it is centrally located, which means you do not have to spend much time getting from one place to the other. If, however, this is outside of your budget, consider a hotel in the City Hall area. The prices are lower, but the location is equally fantastic.
Best time to visit Singapore
Singapore is a tropical island, so pretty anytime is a good time to visit.
Take note though, this means that it experiences showers regularly, so make sure your bags are packed with umbrellas or rain jackets. The good thing is that these showers hardly last longer than 15 – 30 minutes, and you can easily find shelter anywhere in Singapore.
Currency of Singapore
The official currency used here is the Singapore Dollars. Change your money at downtown money changers rather than the airport. Cash and credit cards are widely accepted.
Other useful tips to remember
- It is mostly hot and humid in Singapore, so be sure to bring a water bottle along with sunglasses, sunscreen and a cap
- Toilets are mostly very clean. I recommend using the ones in hotels or malls
- Tap water is drinkable, so refill your bottles regularly
- Please do not commit crimes, even small ones like spitting or littering. Fines are hefty. We are also known as “Fine City”!
- Do not smoke in indoor places or parks. If you need to light up, make sure to look out for warning signs before doing so.
- Keep left when using escalators
- Use the MyTransport app to navigate the public transport system
Author Bio: Shang is one half of the couple behind Zip Up and Go, a travel blog that takes you to explore the best nature spots, food places, and watering holes. While not travelling, she dreams about rock climbing in Krabi.
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