Most Singapore itineraries are by travellers, but what better way to see the island than with one created by locals 😉
First published: 19 August 2021
Over the years, a couple of friends from overseas have visited Singapore and I’ve always struggled with what to show them. Most are here just for a few days, so they typically ask to see “the big fake trees” or “where the Crazy Rich Asians ate“.
I oblige — they came for these tourist attractions anyway.
But COVID-19 forced us to dig deeper for new things to do in Singapore and I’ve got to say, we’ve had some pretty cool adventures in the past few years — which is what inspired this Singapore itinerary.
Three days is fine if you’re just looking to see the shiniest bits of Singapore. But if you’re hoping to truly experience what this vibrant island city has to offer, we’d recommend forking out at least five days.
Read also: 50 Reasons to Visit Singapore
Singapore Itinerary Overview
Jump to the relevant section below:
Day 0: Changi Airport
Day 1: Bay Area | Museum-hopping | Lau Pa Sat | Gardens by the Bay
Day 2: Botanic Gardens | East Coast Park | OR | Kranji Countryside | Night Safari
Day 3: Chinatown | Little India | Kampong Gelam | Orchard Road
Day 4: Pulau Ubin OR Southern Islands
Day 5: Thrilling activities in Sentosa | Chill activities in Sentosa
Immigration: Download the MyICA Mobile app and submit the SG Arrival Card within three days before arrival (including the date of arrival) in Singapore to avoid unnecessary delays during immigration clearance. More information at the end!
Also, visitors from 52 countries/places/groups including Australia, Japan and Thailand are eligible to use the automated lanes during arrival immigration clearance — take advantage of these for a breeze-through clearance ⏱
Connectivity: Pre-paid SIM cards are sold at several locations in Changi Airport.
Cash: Almost everywhere in Singapore accepts cashless payments. At hawker centres, most stalls accept e-payments via apps such as GrabPay and DBS PayLah!. If you don’t use these apps, carry some cash for payment at hawker centres.
Getting Around Singapore
Photo credit: Land Transport Authority
Public transport: Singapore’s public transport is efficient and easy to navigate. Announcements are made in four different languages — English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.
Grab a Singapore Tourist Pass for unlimited rides on trains and buses. It comes in one, two or three days (from S$22, incl. S$10 refundable deposit). Alternatively, you can use a contactless credit or debit card, or mobile payment for public transport.
Car rental: Cars rentals start at ~S$40/day. Alternatively, there are car-sharing options that charge by the minute
Day 0 (Arrival Day): Explore the World’s Best Airport
What other airport houses the world’s tallest indoor waterfall?
Besides the seven-storey HSBC Rain Vortex, check out the Canopy Park found on the topmost level of Jewel. There are mazes, bouncing nets (suspended 25m above the ground!) and a Canopy Bridge with sweeping views of the airport.
Food-wise, there’s over 100 eateries in Jewel alone — plenty of options for an on-arrival or pre-departure meal!
*Pro-tip: There’s baggage storage available at level 1 for a fee. Alternatively, explore the rest of Changi Airport on your last day after checking in your luggage.
Day 1: Singapore’s Most Iconic Attractions
Walk Around the Bay Area
*Pro-tip: The best photo spots at Marina Bay are at the Esplanade Bridge and Theatres on the Bay!
How to get there: Take the MRT to Bayfront (CCL/DTL) to start from Marina Bay Sands, or Esplanade (CCL) to start from the Esplanade (Google Maps)
Option 1: National Gallery Singapore
Photo credit: Darren Soh
The National Gallery houses the largest public collection of Southeast Asian modern art.
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of art, the building is worth checking out. Housed in the former Supreme Court and City Hall, the design integrates modern elements to the original colonial structure.
Photo credit: Darren Soh
Fun fact: The signing of the Japanese surrender document on 12 Sep 1945 and swearing-in of Singapore’s first Prime Minister on 5 Jun 1959 both took place in City Hall!
Option 2: ArtScience Museum
From the outside, the ArtScience Museum looks like a giant lotus or an alien spaceship. It’s actually a futuristic museum that celebrates art, science, and technology. The exhibits are rotated regularly, so there’s always something new to look forward to!
Lunch at Lau Pa Sat
Photo credit: Visit Singapore
Located right in the heart of Singapore’s central business district, Lau Pa Sat is a restored market that’s been around since the Sir Stamford Raffles era.
This national monument is a perfect example of our city’s blend of cultures — yummy hawker fare housed in a European cast-iron structure. Pick from a variety of Singaporean favourites, like satay (grilled meat dipped in peanut sauce), chicken rice and barbequed seafood.
*Pro-tip: Dine alfresco at Satay Street — located beside Lau Pa Sat from 7PM daily.
Opening hours: 7AM – 2AM
How to get there: 3min walk from Telok Ayer MRT (DTL), exit A
Explore Gardens by the Bay
Alright, Gardens by the Bay is pretty spectacular. Even as a local who’s been there several times, I still find myself in awe when I visit.
You’ve got 18 massive supertrees that look like something out of Avatar, the largest of which is 16-storeys tall. Beyond just architectural marvels, these supertrees are actually vertical gardens home to over 162,900 plants!
Gardens by the Bay also houses two beautiful glass greenhouses. Cloud Forest features plants found at around 2,000m above sea level, plus one of the world’s largest indoor waterfalls. The Flower Dome is all about flowers from different habitats — like African Baobabs and Italian Cypresses!
*Pro-tip: Be sure to catch Garden Rhapsody to see the Supertrees transform in a stunning light and sound show! This happens daily at 7:45PM and 8:45PM and admission is free.
Entrance fee: Free (Supertrees), S$53 for Flower Dome and Cloud Forest
Opening hours: 5AM – 2AM daily, 9AM – 9PM for Cloud Forest and Flower Dome
How to get there: 2min walk from Bayfront MRT (CCL/DTL), exit B (Google Maps)
Take in Singapore’s iconic skyline at night
Singapore’s skyline gives off a different vibe at night — bustling, yet calming. Catch Spectra, a 15-minute light and water show that happens daily in front of Marina Bay Sands.
To experience the local arts scene, head to Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay for free performances by up-and-coming artists.
Day 2: “Escape” the City
Now that you’ve seen Singapore’s glitzy side, it’s time to experience a slower pace of life.
Option 1: Picnic at Botanic Gardens and cycle at East Coast Park
Singapore Botanic Gardens
The 162-year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens is the first and only tropical botanic garden to make it onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. It’s roughly the size of 100 football fields, so there’s plenty to see.
There are large open lawns for picnics and tons of Instagrammable spots, like the Bandstand Gazebo (pictured above) and Swan Lake.
The National Orchid Garden was also fully revamped in 2021, featuring over 1,000 orchid species. The star here is the Sembcorp Cool House, inspired by a high elevation montane forest.
Botanic Garden’s latest upgrade also includes the Gallop Extension. Highlights include the Botanical Art Gallery (free entry), a colonial-era house from the 1800s, and the COMO Adventure Grove — a nature-inspired playground.
*Pro-tip: The Botanic Gardens area features numerous popular cafes. Pick one for lunch or pack a lunch and picnic in the gardens.
East Coast Park
*Pro-tip: Avoid the crowds by coming on weekdays!
Check out the view from Marina Barrage. It’s a popular place for picnics and kite-flying.
A popular cycling route is to start at East Coast Park and end at Marina Bay. It’s a scenic stretch between East Coast Park and Marina Barrage, with panoramic views of Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Flyer.
Bike rental starts from S$10/hr — you can return your bike at a different outlet, so there’s no need to cycle back the same way.
Option 2: Farm-hop around Kranji and enjoy wildlife at the Night Safari
Singapore isn’t just tall buildings and busy streets. Over in the northwest of the island lies rustic countryside with vegetable gardens, goat and frog farms! The best part is, entry to these farms are free 🥳
Bollywood Farms is an iconic Singapore farm. Affectionately called “Paradise on Earth”, this veggie farm has a laidback, hipster vibe with quirky signs that add to its charm.
For lunch, drop by the in-house Poison Ivy Bistro, which serves hearty farm-to-table food. The menu changes depending on the available produce, but their famous Nasi Lemak Platter with blue pea rice and sambal goreng (from S$12) is a crowd favourite.
Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: 10AM – 4PM (Thu – Fri), 7AM – 6PM (Sat – Sun), Closed on Mon – Wed except for PH
How to get there: From Kranji MRT (NSL), it is a 13min taxi ride to Bollywood Farms (Google Maps)
Hay Dairies Goat Farm
A 27-minute walk from Bollywood Farms lies Hay Dairies, Singapore’s only goat farm. Open since 1988, it produces nutritious goat milk which you can find in several supermarkets.
View the daily milking process (9AM – 10:30AM) or pick up a bag of alfalfa hay (S$3/bag) to feed the goats. End your trip by trying goat’s milk — available in original and chocolate flavours.
Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: 9AM – 4PM (closed on Tue)
How to get there: 27min walk from Bollywood Farms (Google Maps)
Jurong Frog Farm
Hop over to Jurong Frog Farm to learn about bullfrogs! There are numerous activities here like frog catching (S$10) and feeding (S$2/bag). Be sure to try the deep-fried cajun frog meat (S$15)!
Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: 9AM – 5:30PM (Sat and Sun, PH)
How to get there: 18min walk from Hay Dairies (Google Maps)
*Pro-tip: Kranji has beautiful nature spots like Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (for wildlife sightings and coastal views). You could visit Sungei Buloh and a couple of farms, or wake up earlier to catch the sunrise at Sungei Buloh!
Photo credit: Night Safari
The Night Safari is the world’s first nocturnal wildlife park. It’s home to almost 100 species, 41% of which are threatened. Spot Malayan tigers, Sunda pangolins and Asian elephants roaming about!
Entrance fee: S$55
Opening hours: 7:15PM – 12AM (Last entry at 11:15PM)
How to get there: From Khatib MRT (NSL), take the Mandai Khatib Shuttle (S$2, check timings). Alternatively, it’s a 20min taxi ride from Jurong Frog Farm (Google Maps)
Day 3: Discover Singapore’s Cultural Heritage
The famous Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
Chinatown is a favourite among both locals and tourists. Here you’ll find a Buddhist temple, a mosque and a Hindu temple — all within walking distance from each other!
Start with breakfast at Chinatown Complex, Singapore’s largest hawker centre with over 260 food stalls. Try the world’s cheapest Michelin Star meal — Hawker Chan’s (#02-126) soya sauce chicken rice. The queues tend to be long, but it’s definitely worth the wait.
If you tissue packets, water bottles or umbrellas left on tables — it’s completely intentional. Singaporeans have a “chope” culture where we use belongings to reserve seats. 😂
Other must-try stalls include Old Amoy Chendol (#02-008), Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck and Kway Chap (#02-156), Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Fu (#02-88), Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao (#02-135). Ordering drinks is also a unique experience — kopi is coffee and Michael Jackson refers to soya milk with grass jelly.
*Pro-tip: Order several dishes to share! That way, you can try a bit of everything.
After that, stroll along Chinatown’s historic streets and spot fun street art, old shophouses and other cultural landmarks.
How to get there: 4min walk from Chinatown MRT (NEL/DTL), exit A to Chinatown Complex. The rest of the attractions are within walking distance in the same area (Google Maps)
In the 1840s, Little India housed a racecourse popular among Europeans. Today, it’s a vibrant district filled with North and South Indian eateries, roadside stalls selling saris and handicrafts, plus historic buildings.
Visit the 24-hour Mustafa Centre, pose for pictures at the colourful House of Tan Teng Niah and pick up souvenirs at the Little India Arcade.
For lunch, head to Tekka Centre. Recommended dishes include mutton briyani from Allauddin’s Briyani (#01-232), masala dosai from Annal Dosai (#01-244) and braised duck rice from Heng Gi Goose and Duck Rice (#01-335).
How to get there: 3min walk from Little India MRT (NEL/DTL), exit C to Tekka Market
Kampong Gelam is Singapore’s oldest urban quarter, occupied by Malay and Arab communities during the colonial era. The most prominent landmark is the Sultan Mosque, built in 1824 for Singapore’s first sultan.
Drop by the hipster Haji Lane for fun murals and shops, plus bustling restaurants serving international cuisine like Mexican burritos!
How to get there: 5min walk from Bugis MRT (DTL/EWL), exit D to the Sultan Mosque. Haji Lane is just a 2min walk away from there (Google Maps)
Photo credit: @k8_iv via Unsplash
New York has Times Square, we have Orchard Road. Picture dozens of megamalls all lined up on one street — truly a shopaholic’s paradise.
You could easily spend hours just at Takashimaya, ION Orchard and 313@Somerset. Besides your standard Zara and Adidas, check out homegrown brands like CHARLES & KEITH, Love, Bonito and The Editor’s Market. But even if you’re not much of a shopper, Orchard Road is great for dining and walking around.
*Pro-tip: Spend a minimum of S$50 at ION Orchard and gain free entry to ION Sky, a viewing gallery on the 55th floor!
How to get there: Take the MRT to Somerset (NSL). The exit leads to three malls — 313@Somerset, Orchard Central and Orchard Gateway (Google Maps)
Day 4: Day-trip to Singapore’s offshore islands
Did you know that Singapore is made up of not one, but 64 islands? Tourists typically don’t include island-hopping in their Singapore itinerary, but our offshore islands are worth a visit.
Option 1: Pulau Ubin for the adventurous
For those craving nature, Pulau Ubin is the place to be — and it only costs S$4/pax to get there via a 15-minute bumboat! Unlike the towering skyscrapers of the mainland, the only semblance of a town is at the jetty — the rest is generally untouched.
*Pro-tip: Rent a bike from the main village (S$6 for the entire day) as there’s quite a lot to cover on foot.
Over on the west side of Pulau Ubin lies Ketam Mountain Bike Park. It’s the first bike park in Singapore that meets international biking standards. Along the way, be sure to stop for a short hike up Puaka Hill and enjoy stunning views of the Ubin Granite Quarry.
Then there’s Chek Jawa, which is one of Singapore’s richest ecosystems. Wild boars, monitor lizards and crabs are some common critters here. Hop off your bike, stroll along coastal boardwalks and climb the 20-metre tall Jejawi Tower!
There are only four restaurants on the island, located near the jetty. We’d suggest having full breakfast at the nearby Changi Village Hawker Centre before boarding the boat to Ubin.
Cost: S$4/pax for a one-way bumboat ride — Bring cash as cards aren’t accepted on Pulau Ubin
How to get there: From Pasir Ris MRT (EWL), it’s a 15min taxi ride or 27min bus ride (bus 109) to Changi Point Ferry Terminal (Google Maps)
Option 2: Chill day on Southern Islands
The Southern Islands is made up of eight islands, of which five are accessible by the public via a ferry (S$14/pax). This includes stops at St John’s Island (connected to Lazarus Island) and Kusu Island.
St John’s Island
Upon arrival at St John’s Island, you’re greeted by inviting blue waters and tall swaying trees. Despite the island’s grim past as a quarantine centre, it’s now a popular weekend retreat where visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll or go snorkelling.
Lazarus Island is the most popular of Singapore’s Southern Islands and the picture above is the main reason why. This island has a gorgeous white sand beach that could easily pass as resorts in Thailand or the Philippines.
A 20-minute walk from St John’s Island via a causeway, Lazarus is the perfect place for picnicking, tanning and swimming. You can even book an overnight stay at one of five tiny houses which just opened in May 2023!
*Pro-tip: Pack lunch because there aren’t any food and drink stores here.
Lastly, there’s Kusu Island. It’s much smaller than St John’s and Lazarus, but offers a unique cultural experience with its collection of shrines and temples.
Kusu Island is also a fishing hot spot, with groupers and silver moonies commonly spotted. Oh, and you’ll find plenty of adorable tortoises residing there. Kusu means tortoise in Hokkien, after all!
*Pro-tip: If you’d like to squeeze all three islands into your Singapore itinerary, we’d recommend visiting Kusu Island first as it only takes around an hour to explore. Then you can spend the rest of your day relaxing at St John’s and Lazarus Islands.
Day 5: Enjoy a full day of excitement at Sentosa, Singapore’s island of fun
There’s so much to do at Sentosa for those seeking thrill and those hoping to chill — more than enough to fill an entire week!
Entrance fee: Free
How to get there: From Harbourfront MRT (CCL/NEL), walk to the Sentosa Express station on Vivocity Level 3. It costs S$4/pax to take the Sentosa Express into Sentosa. Alternatively, you could walk in via the Sentosa Boardwalk — free entry!
Thrilling Activities at Sentosa
AJ Hackett Sentosa
Tick bungy jumping off your bucket list at AJ Hackett Sentosa! You’ve got stunning views of Siloso Beach as you take the plunge from a height of 47m. You can even request how much of your body you’d like to touch the swimming pool at the bottom.
Cost: S$129 per jump — S$119 when you purchase online
Opening hours: 12:30PM – 7PM (Mon – Fri), 11:30AM – 7PM (Sat – Sun)
Skyline Luge Sentosa
The Skyline Luge is a classic. It starts with a scenic skyride from Siloso Beach followed by a thrilling luge experience. There are four distinct tracks to choose from and our pick is the 688-metre long Dragon Trail — the longest of the lot!
Cost: From S$23 for two luge and skyrides
Opening hours: 11AM – 7:30PM (Mon – Thu), 12PM – 9PM (Fri), 10AM – 9PM (Sat), 10AM – 7:30PM (Sun)
Located at Palawan Beach, HydroDash is Singapore’s very first aqua park — opened in 2021! The Wipe Out-like obstacle course is split into two zones of different difficulty; one for younger kids and one for those aged nine and above.
Cost: From S$19 for 1hr
Opening hours: 12PM – 6PM (Mon – Fri), 10AM – 6PM (Sat – Sun, PH)
Chill Activities at Sentosa
Relax at Sentosa’s Pristine Beaches
Sentosa’s beautiful beaches are the main reason why locals flock here to destress. There are three beaches — Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong — and white sand, swaying palm trees and blue waters await at each one.
*Pro-tip: Bring a frisbee or volleyball! There are free beach courts available for use.
Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: 8AM – 7PM
Hike Sentosa’s Unique Walking Trails
Perhaps the most underrated activity in Sentosa is hiking. Which is a waste, because Sentosa’s walking trails are pretty special!
There’s the Coastal Trail, perfect for history buffs and explorers. The route features Fort Siloso, an open-air museum with real cannons and military structure remains from World War II. If you’d prefer a classic nature walk, opt for the Imbiah Trail.
Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: 24 hours
Madame Tussauds Singapore
Did you know that every Madame Tussauds is different? Singapore’s version features the only Madame Tussauds boat ride in the world and a Marvel 4D Experience — the only of its kind in Asia.
Of course, the main reason to visit is the life-sized wax figures of celebrities, athletes, and world leaders! Good to know that I’m at eye-level with Yao Ming’s belly button.
Read our Sentosa Guide for other fun activities at Singapore’s state of fun!
Where to Stay in Singapore
Hostels — From S$20/night
Photo credit: Hostel World
Beyond offering affordable accommodation, hostels are great places to get to know other backpackers. There are numerous hostel options located in the central areas of Chinatown, Farrer Park and Jalan Besar.
Hotels — From S$90/night
Photo credit: Park 22 Hotel
For those who prefer the privacy of your own room and toilet, book a hotel! Luckily, there are plenty of budget-friendly hotels in Singapore — with great facilities like swimming pools and gyms.
Luxury Hotels — From S$268/night
If you’ve come to Singapore to live the Crazy Rich Asian lifestyle, splurge on a fancier hotel! These hotels offer a more premium experience with amenities like private plunge pools, large terraces and high-end bathroom products.
Read also: 7 Newly Opened Luxury Hotels in Singapore
Download the ICA Mobile app for fuss-free immigration clearance
Photo credit: ICA
A smooth (and quick) immigration clearance is always a great start to a vacation — download the MyICA Mobile app to ensure your arrival in Singapore is hassle-free!
Photo credit: ICA
The MyICA Mobile app is a one-stop platform for you to access all of ICA’s e-Services on-the-go. Some key features include:
1) Easy submission of SG Arrival Card (online travel and health declaration) — Scan your passport on the app to auto-populate your information and save your profile for future trips to Singapore. Families and tour groups can submit the SG Arrival Card as a group (up to nine pax).
2) Quick access to the electronic pass (e-Pass) enquiry portal to retrieve the details of your visit pass. You can check your maximum number of days of stay granted to you, and the last day of stay in Singapore!
Your e-Pass will be sent to the email address declared in your SG Arrival Card after you clear immigration. It can also be retrieved via ICA’s ePass enquiry portal on the MyICA Mobile app. The e-Pass is needed for hotel check-ins, casino entry and tax refunds.
Bookmark our Singapore itinerary for your next vacation
Now when someone asks “What should I include in my Singapore itinerary?”, my answer would be pretty different. Yes, you should definitely see “the big fake trees” if it’s your first time here, but take the time to enjoy the rest of the city.
Our quirky neighbourhoods, scenic nature spots, and offshore islands are worth getting to know as well. I swear you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Need help navigating the city? Here’s a map with all the attractions pinned:
If you’re planning to stick around longer, here are more awesome things to add to your Singapore itinerary:
– The Ultimate List of 23 Hiking Trails in Singapore — Ranked from chill to adventurous
– 50 Exciting Things to Do in Singapore — The Ultimate Singapore Bucket List For Locals in 2021
– Sembawang Heritage Trail Guide — Remnants of a Forgotten Naval Base
– 9 Scenic Spots to Picnic in Singapore and Pro-tips For the Perfect Alfresco Meal
What else would you add to this Singapore itinerary if you were bringing your foreign friends around? Share with us in the comments!
This post was brought to you by ICA Singapore.