Singapore is a tiny country with a huge amount to see and do. When planning our trip, the main task was how to fit everything into only five days. We gave it a go and had an absolutely amazing time so here’s our full itinerary for five days in Singapore. If you’re in a rush, check out the highlights in our Singapore Photo Diary instead!
Sightseeing Bus Tour
Dan came up with this (semi-genius, semi-crazy) idea to stay awake for 24 hours before our flight, to sleep on the plane and “wake up” fresh as a daisy on Singapore time as we landed. Safe to say this didn’t work as well as we’d hoped but we did manage to stay awake for the whole of our first day. This also doubled up as a great excuse to use day one as the bus tour day.
Side note: before we set off we found a good tourist deal using a ‘Hippo Card’. This gives you various combo deals and saves you quite a bit of dosh (which you’ll need because Singapore is more expensive than we first thought!). We chose one main attraction – Universal Studios – three smaller attractions/perks – the bus tour, the Jurong Bird Park and the conservatories at Gardens by the Bay. The ‘Hippo Cards’ are worth sorting before you go and you can check out their website here.
We hopped on the bus at the SunTec city shopping mall which has a great food market underneath the Fountain of Wealth. It also has the best veggie stand called Perfect Vegetarian, great sweet and sour tofu.
Singapore Botanical Gardens
We took the tour around most of the main route then headed out of the city over to the Botanical Gardens.
This is a must-do, it’s also huge so leave lots of time. We had a lush walk around the National Orchid Garden which boasts “VIP” orchids for the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Diana etc. It cost $5 each, which is about £2.80.
The one thing we perhaps messed up a little on was not checking the weather (Singapore has unpredictable weather). Just as we started walking around the rainforest walk we walked straight into a massive thunderstorm. Thunder, lightning, the works. Drenched and sheltering under a leaf (and eventually mad-dashing to stand in a waterfall cave) we experienced some of Singapore’s extreme weather which left us sopping and falling asleep for the bus ride home.
Once we’d dried out, we finished the day in Little India. We had some traditional food and a walk around the brightly coloured temples. Make sure you check out Sri Veeramakaliamman temple and the House of Tan Teng Niah for some of the most colourful buildings in Singapore.
We hopped on the bus tour again after a solid 12-
The graffiti and street art is really cool and as you walk down the lane
Arab Street is also home to one of Singapore’s most important mosques, the Masjid Sultan or Sultan Mosque. Built by Sultan Hussain Shah of Johor between 1824 and 1826 the mosque has stayed virtually unchanged from the initial design, only undergoing restoration works.
Maxwell Food Centre
After buying a couple of
Windsor Nature Park
You can literally squeeze everything into your day in Singapore. To get around, public transport is super efficient, you can get the MRT to most places and if not the buses and taxis are quite reasonable. You can also be 100% millennial and order a ‘Grab’ (Uber of Asia).
So we jumped in a Grab and headed over to Windsor Nature Park, which is a slice of rainforest just outside the city. This took about 20 mins from Chinatown.
The whole park is a round-robin walk but again, prepare a few hours because it’s worth doing as much of it as possible. A must-see is
We spent about 5 hours wandering around the park, climbing up viewing towers and doing the full board-walk.
Gardens by the Bay
Then the best part of Gab’s week, no, month… We made it back to Gardens by the Bay for the daily light show (go and do this) but it was on May 4th. May the 4th be with you, that’s right people it was Star Wars day and they played the entire score.
Nerding out hard, this was the best thing Gab had ever seen, the giant Supertrees lit up along to the iconic theme (Gab did a little cry).
Jurong Bird Park
We wanted a bit of a slower day, think jet lag was slowly creeping up on us, so we headed over to Jurong Bird Park. Full disclosure, this wasn’t as happy as we thought it would be. The large aviaries are awesome and you can feed lots of birds, there’s also a 30-metre (98 ft) waterfall and lots of exotic feathers. However, some parts of the park need some updating and upgrading – we think this is happening to be combined with the zoo which is much more modern.
Lau Pa Sat
You can dine in amongst some of the tallest skyscrapers, the food there is exceptional with a huge variety and best of all, it’s dirt cheap. We recommend the traditional chicken satay sticks which are sold on the road outside. The road closes every night specially for the food hall. They also have some awesome Indian cuisine there, so stock up on that with a jug of Tiger beer to wash it down.
UNIVERSAL DAY. Sentosa is great, we thought we’d just fit in a day at Universal on day four but it turned out Sentosa offers so much more.
Universal Studios is great whichever country you’re in, however if you’re used to the likes of the American supersized parks just be aware that it’s not as big. Nor does it have the full extent of the rides, still definitely worth a visit. Top rides are:
> Human: Cylon vs. Human Battlestar Galactica ride – start
> Cylon: Cylon vs. Human Battlestar Galactica ride – the more thrilling of the two, legs dangling and lots of twists
> The Mummy: this ride has been around since we were kids but it’s still fun, lots of projections and even a backwards acceleration
> The Transformers 3D experience: like the US park, this is not for those prone to motion-sickness but it’s awesome (Dan’s fave)
> The Jurassic Park Rapids: We’ve been told this is cool but it was closed the day we went (sob) – note: this isn’t like the massive drop in the US, more family friendly with
The waiting times were pretty reasonable when we went (a Sunday), especially towards the end of the day.
After all the rollercoasters, we had a walk over to Sentosa’s Merlion through the Barcelona-
On Palawan Beach, you can find another awesome rope bridge (expect 5 million people trying to get the best
Chinatown Food Street
Finish the evening in Chinatown on the main food-street and get some local stingray for dinner. Sounds a bit out there but tastes delish, order with traditional Asian geens and of course, with beer it just goes so well.
Gardens by the Bay Conservatories
On our final day we went to the two conservatories at Gardens by the Bay, the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome.
The Cloud Forest
The Cloud Forest is full of rainforest flowers, plants and trees as well as a huge waterfall. It’s got loads of important information focusing on climate change and our impact on our planet.
The Flower Dome
The Flower Dome has different exhibits every couple of months. We caught ‘Tulip-mania’, it’s one of those places where the photos speak better than we can explain.
Satay by the Bay
Satay by the Bay is another food court in the grounds of Gardens by the Bay and has the best sweet and sour fish Gabs has ever had. Like all the hawker markets in Singapore, the food is cheap and delicious. There is a huge children’s water park nearby so is a great place for lunch on a family day out.
Re-energised from the food at Satay by the Bay, we headed over to Marina Barrage. As you walk in, there’s loads of information on water supply for the city. There’s also a really great viewing point of the city and a spot to cool down in the water play-park.
Marina Bay Sands Viewing Platform
We finished our trip off in style and caught the sunset up Marina Bay Sands. Our advice is to go up the observation deck and pay a little bit more rather than waiting in line for the bar. You can get right to the edge and still enjoy a Singapore Sling from their (slightly smaller and less fancy) bar.
Just make sure you leave plenty of time to make sunset, head up about 5:30pm and stay for the daily Spectra light show at 8pm (on the side with all the skyscrapers).
Final note, it’s worth doing a couple of evenings just walking around the city centre. It’s the most photograph worthy, instagram-able city ever – especially at night. Basically, we love Singapore and can’t wait to go back.
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