Singapore is a destination unique for its small geographical size. Located in south-east Asia, this city-state is a mass of many different ethnic influences – Chinese, Malay, Indonesian and Indian. Once a part of the British Empire (and now the British Commonwealth), the small island nation is found at the very tip of the Malay Peninsula. Singapore is also often used as a ‘transit’ stop for travelers who often break their arduous journey from Europe to Australia and New Zealand (or vice versa) here. And since this is such a compact nation, it is one of the easiest destinations to visit “fully” on a short trip. Within just 24 hours in Singapore, you can quite literally see the whole world on the streets.
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Plan your trip to Singapore
1. What’s the best time to visit Singapore?
2. A few facts about Singapore
3. One day in Singapore itinerary
3.1. Visit Merlion statue on Sentosa island
3.2. Go shopping and grab lunch at Suntec City
3.3. Explore colonial grandeur
3.4. Cocktails and afternoon tea
3.5. Marina bay area
3.6. Take a ride on Singapore Flyer
3.7. Finally Boat Quay and Clarke Quay
4. Where to stay in Singapore?
5. Day trips from Singapore
6. Extra tips for visiting Singapore
Singapore does not have seasons as such. Rather, you will find Singapore weather hot and humid no matter the time of year. Nevertheless, some months can be marginally cooler than others, but in general, they are all pretty humid – around 30 degrees C in daytime. The best time to visit Singapore, though, at least temperature-wise, could be during what is called the ‘Northeast monsoon’ that runs from November to early March when the things cool off a little in comparison to the rest of the year.
Singapore is a city-state country and one of the world’s most prosperous countries, at that. Singapore is a modern city of the 21st century that embraces economic progress against the old traditions. Although most of the old Singapore has been reconstructed, many significant landmarks within the Colonial District have been preserved and should really be on everyone’s “What to do in Singapore for one day?” list.
The city is also a place where you can take pleasure with your food and shopping with lively hawker centres and 24-hour coffee shops offering cheap food from all over Asia. Singapore also offers shopping meccas like Orchard Road and Suntec City. There is continuous development around Sentosa and Marina Bay as part of the city’s new direction towards fun and entertainment.
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Singapore.
To visit Singapore in one day, start things off by catching a cable car to Sentosa Island. Sentosa is home to several lush hotels, Universal Studios and the famous ‘Merlion’ statue – the symbol of Singapore. If at all possible, aim to get to the Merlion early to avoid the crowds or, if you’re really organized, purchase tickets before you arrive. Take a ride to the Mouth of the Merlion for stunning views across the Strait of Singapore.
Suntec City is the next thing on this itinerary, and it’s located near the Central Business District. This vast complex contains a shopping mall, an exhibition centre and office tower blocks. You’ll know when you’re at the right place as the venue boasts the ‘Worlds Largest Fountain of Wealth‘. There are plenty of shopping options here, whether you’re after clothes, souvenirs, books or electrical goods you’ll find everything you need within this mall. Do you want to shop till you drop during your one day in Singapore? This is the place!
The complex is divided into Four zones to help shoppers navigate with ease, and the zones are based on the Feng Shui design. The Fountain Terrace is where the majority of restaurants are found, while the Entertainment Centre is located in the fourth zone, which is devoted to a whole host of pleasure and leisure pursuits.
The Colonial District forms the very heart of Singapore with elegant Georgian and Victorian buildings lining the banks of the Singapore River. This district is one of the best areas in Singapore if you want to do a bit of exploring on your own and therefore should be on every imaginable itinerary. The area is positively brimming with impressive buildings and famous landmarks such as the Old Parliament House, the Old Supreme Court and the City Hall.
The crown jewel of the Colonial District is the famous Raffles Hotel, developed from a beachfront bungalow built in the 1880s into a model of heritage luxury, with the whole building being exceptionally elegant. Explore a warren of courtyards and verandas on your way to the ‘Long Bar’ to the birthplace of the Singapore Sling Cocktail.
Located on the other side of the Colonial District (if lunch at Suntec City wasn’t enough), allow room for some afternoon tea at ‘The Courtyard’ at The Fullerton Hotel. Found in the atrium lobby of the hotel, this is where guests can enjoy a leisurely late afternoon while sitting on plush sofas eating a delectable selection of scones, finger sandwiches, cheeses, bread, sliced meats etc. with tasty desserts to suit: Chocolate Eclair, Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, Flavoured Macaroon, English Fruit Cake etc.
Still wondering what to do in Singapore for one day? The Marina Bay area, home to several iconic landmarks, is something you have to see, too. Here you will discover the most iconic of all Marina Bay Sands hotels, the one that looks like a ship placed on top of three towers. It is the ultimate luxury hotel boasting elegant rooms, an infinity pool and a bar/restaurant at the top.
After wandering the hotels’ lobby, navigate the pathways to the ‘Gardens by the Bay’. You can’t miss the massive Supertrees here, tree-shaped gardens between nine and sixteen stories tall. Walk on the suspended walkway between two of them to capture a bird’s-eye view of the incredible scenery below.
In the evening, catch the Sky Show: a ballet of lights and sounds at the Garden Rhapsody amidst the Supertrees. This can be an incredibly romantic end to your 24 hours in Singapore.
What else to do in Singapore for a day that’s even more romantic, I hear you ask. Well, you will surely notice the giant Ferris Wheel when visiting this area. With its height of 165 meters it provides an incredible view, and you can actually see three countries from up there: Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. But the capsules on the wheel also have a few surprises for you – not only can you order some champagne for the ride, but you can book a fancy dinner, too. How awesome is that!?
But if you’re still up for exploring, enrich your one day in Singapore up by checking out Boat Quay and Clarke Quay. This section along the Singapore River is busy with restaurants, coffee shops and eateries that start springing to life towards the late evening and night.
Boat Quay is easier on the wallet than Clarke Quay, however. It’s a place for soaking up the atmosphere by the river and also for photographs. Time permitting, take a boat trip that lasts approximately 45 minutes: this is best done at night when all the lights of the Quays, Downtown, the Colonial District and Marina Bay boastfully display their night grandeur.
Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay
The most iconic landmark of Singapore, Marina Bay Sands is more than a five-star hotel. Spending some of your 24 hours in Singapore in the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool or Sands SkyPark observation deck where you can enjoy the most spectacular city skyline view certainly seems like a great idea. Guest can also enjoy an ultimate culinary experience at one of 20 dining options, premier shopping at one of largest luxury shopping malls in Singapore, ArtScience Museum or a world-class casino.
41 Bencoolen Street, Bencoolen
Hotel Mi is a stylish and modern setup in the center of the city, close to Singapore Art Museum. The hotel offers beautifully designed, compact rooms for a great value. It features a fitness center and an outdoor swimming pool for those who seek relaxation away from the city crowds.
18 Mosque Street, Chinatown
Hotel Mono is a contemporary hotel set in a restored, traditional heritage shop house in the heart of Chinatown. The unique room design is characterized by the monochromatic colors, clean lines and white lightning. Rooms even being compact bring great comfort.
Because of the city’s bustling nature that spills over into its surroundings, there are plenty of great options for day trips from Singapore. Nature, architecture and numerous other interesting sights are really close by, so you really have plenty of options. If you’re not in a hurry to see Singapore in one day, setting something up will pay off handsomely.
Sentosa Island is located just in front of the city and it is absolutely packed with things to see. Merlion, Singapore’s official mascot is a must, but there are many interesting shows you can see too, Madame Tussaud’s museum you can visit and even Universal Studios also has a branch there. No doubt, time simply flies by when you’re here.
Due to the fact that Singapore is a city-state, it’s quite easy to visit other countries from here. For example, you can hop over to a few islands that belong to Indonesia. Bintan and Batam are great examples of that, since you only need to get on a ferry to reach them. Beautiful sandy beaches on the former and great food and loads of entertainment on the latter make them an excellent choice for Singapore day trips.
Malaysia is also a great place to visit from Singapore. You can take a bus or a train to Johor Bahru, for example, and it will only take you an hour to get there. Malacca is another great place to visit because this Malaysian city boasts the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the various influences other countries have had on Malaysia, taste some excellent and unique food or simply enjoy a shopping spree, the choice is yours.
A tour around Singapore
Now, since the city is located on an island, it is not that hard to get around. To make the most of that, why not spend a day exploring as much of Singapore as you can? If you get on this tour, you will be able to dive deeper into the history and way of life of this place, as well as see some impressive architecture and cultural destinations. Learn about the city’s history, visit its temples and experience its allure at its fullest.
For those who want to dive into the waters surrounding Singapore, Pulau Hantu is a paradise. Numerous colorful fish can be found in the island’s shallow waters, so you will see people snorkeling here all the time. Families with children also love to come here because the lagoons are very safe and perfect for letting your child enjoy themselves fully. If you want your day trip from Singapore to include some beach activities, this is where you want to go.
– Singapore is easy-going for dress standards in most cases. Nonetheless, if you’re going somewhere decent such as the Raffles Hotel or Afternoon Tea at the Fullerton Hotel, dress appropriately. Women should show some sort of modesty in public. Also remember to take a thin sweater or cardigan while going to the restaurants and the malls as most of them are kept air-conditioned and can be quite cold.
– Pay attention to their rules. Singapore has some ‘odd’ rules but abide by them and you’ll be fine. No chewing gum, no jaywalking, no smoking in public, no littering.
– If you want to see Singapore in one day, you will want to use the MRT underground as much as possible. It is clean, frequent, cheap and punctual.
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What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
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British Born and raised in "Alice in Wonderland" country. From a small village known as Daresbury, Cheshire where the infamous story was fabricated. Traveling around the globe is not only a hobby but a true life experience. The World and Geography have always been of interest since a child and it was not uncommon for me to be seen reading atlases and maps rather than storybooks. South-East Asia is my happy place. Its where most of my memories are made. Life is a rich tapestry.