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If you’re planning a trip to Singapore and want to know more about the places you need to visit, then this guide is just for you. I spent 4 days in Singapore and have put together an itinerary that will take you around the culture, history and iconic buildings in the city. So here’s my 4 day Singapore itinerary to get you started.
Singapore is one of those iconic cities. It’s futuristic, it’s clean, it’s awesome. I’d been wanting to visit this city for so long that it was almost too difficult to know where to start. But the good news is that Singapore is pretty small and definitely one of the easiest countries to get around in the world. There are loads of things to do in Singapore that I could have happily spent a lot longer there, but visiting Singapore for 4 days and 3 nights is a great amount of time to fit in a lot.
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Before you go any further, check out my video from my very first day in Singapore:
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The best way to get around in Singapore
Public transport in Singapore is some of the best in the world and it’s also really affordable. In order to use it you’re going to need to get an EZ-Link card which is a card you can top up and use on the MRT (trains), buses and even taxis. They do offer a tourist package valid for 1-3 days but as you’re staying for 4 days, it’s best to just get a normal card and top it up as you go. You can buy an EZ-Link card from most MRT stations and 7-Eleven stores and cost SG$12, SG$7 of which becomes credit on the card. You can learn more about them on the EZ-Link website here.
As with Bali, Singapore has the really affordable Grab Taxis if you wanted to travel by car instead. You just need to download the app on your phone and you use that to order the taxis when you need one. You can add your card details so payments are made via that, or you can pay in cash. The local taxis are affordable and are easy to get and they have a flag down fee of around SG$3 and then runs on a meter for the journey.
Where to stay in Singapore
When I started researching where to stay in Singapore, I would read how it doesn’t matter too much as Singapore is so small, you can’t really go wrong. Whilst I found that to be mostly true after spending 4 days in Singapore, there are definitely aspects that will make your time in Singapore even better. I would say that staying somewhere close to an MRT station is the most ideal as it’s the quickest and most reliable way to get around the city.
I stayed in the Ibis Styles Singapore on Macpherson and it was perfect for my trip. It’s a short walk to the Mattar MRT station which is on the Downtown line which takes you straight to Little India, China Town and the Bayfront. The rooms are super comfy and modern and the swimming pool is the perfect way to cool down from the hot Singapore air. You can read more about my stay here.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay on a tight budget then I would highly recommend the Rucksack Inn Hostel on Lavender Street. It’s really clean, quiet, has great showers and awesome wifi. It’s right opposite a bus stop and just a few minutes walk from the MRT Downtown line.
The Itinerary: Singapore for 4 days, 3 nights
Day 1 – Little India, Sim Lim Square, Chinatown and Gardens By The Bay
Start your trip off by exploring how multicultural Singapore is. Make your way to Little India and take in the colours and smells, as well as some beautiful street art. Make your way down the brightly coloured Serangoon Road to see some of the most vibrant buildings home to shops and restaurants. Across from here, you’ll find the Little India Arcade which is fantastic to walk through. This arcade is full of everything from saris to traditional sweets and gives a glimpse into India.
After here, make your way to the brightly coloured Tan Teng Niah, the last remaining Chinese Villa in Little India. This villa goes back to the times when the Chinese used to also live in Little India and work alongside one another. I’m not sure if you can go in but the house itself is so colourful and great to look at. Take a walk around this area also and you’ll be sure to find some awesome pieces of street art depicting various stories.
Whilst in Little India be sure to visit the beautiful Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu temple. It’s incredibly ornate from the outside and you can also go inside if you wish. As with any temple, you’ll need to take your shoes off and wear the traditional clothing appropriate for a temple. These were available to borrow from inside the temple.
If technology is your thing then you have to take a stop at Sim Lim Square. This mall next to Little India is 5 floors of pure technology stocking everything from cables to TVs to cameras. It’s the perfect place to grab a bargain or to get your tech fixed if you need anything.
Now you’ve seen Little India, it’s time to head over to Chinatown and explore this part of the Singaporean culture. I always love visiting Chinatowns where ever I go because they’re always so buzzy and vibrant. When you get off the MRT at Chinatown, make your way to Sago Street and Sago Lane, 2 streets lined with market stalls selling everything from jewellery to bags to learner chopsticks (I really should have bought a set of these)! The streets are lined with Chinese lanterns and make sure you look up to see some beautifully decorated buildings. Just a couple of streets away there’s the Sri Mariamman Hindu temple which again, you can go inside if you wish.
Now is a great time to stop for lunch and Chinatown has so many places to choose from. If you’re travelling on a budget or just looking for the most authentic local foods, then you’re going to want to hit up the famous Hawker Markets. Chinatown has a couple of great ones and I would highly recommend going to the Chinatown Complex. Inside you’ll find a food court full of shops selling a huge variety of food. It can be a bit overwhelming at first but don’t be shy about asking the owner for some more information if you’re not sure what you’re ordering.
Just across from the Chinatown Complex is the beautiful Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. The name comes from what Buddhists believe to be the canine tooth left behind from Buddha. The temple was built in 2007 and is so intricately designed it’s simply stunning. When I visited I was also fortunate enough to see a service taking place which was mesmerising and fascinating. As with all temples, you’re required to dress respectfully and borrow the appropriate items from the temple if needed.
The one thing I was most excited about seeing in Singapore was the iconic Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay, and they did not disappoint. I decided to get there just before sunset to do the Skyway walk that takes you to the top of the trees and then stay there to watch the Light Show. They hold the shows at 7.45 pm and 8:45 pm and you can actually be on the Skywalk during the show, but being underneath the trees to watch it is magical!
After the light show, it’s time to grab some more delicious food from another hawker centre. Make you’re way to Lau Pa Sat where you can pick up some delicious Indian or Chinese food, along with a refreshing sugar cane juice. This was my favourite hawker centre in Singapore and it’s in such a great location close to the Bayside.
Day 2 – Bayfront, Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, Marina Barrage, Clarke Quay
You can see what I got up to in my day 2 Vlog here:
You will have experienced the bay area in the evening but now it’s time to see it in the daylight too. This part of Singapore is very much for the well-off and walking around it will almost make you feel like you’re in Las Vegas. The Shoppes is the shopping mall within the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel that towers above the Bayfront and to be honest, it’s just pretty awesome to be in. They also have a little Venice type set-up if you wanted to go on a punt down the river inside the Shoppes. See what I mean about Las Vegas now?
Outside of the Shoppes you can get a good view of the Singapore Skyline over the bay and see the bridges that cross it, as well as the water taxis. If the weather is good then you can take a leisurely walk around the bay to see it from all angles.
After finishing up your walk, make your way back to Gardens By The Bay and soak in the beauty of the sculpted gardens there. You can find yourself walking through gardens that represent a number of destinations from around the world, as well as a beautiful lake.
One thing I didn’t realise about Gardens By The Bay is how much was on the complex. Along with the iconic Super Trees and beautiful gardens, you will also find the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. A ticket covers both attractions and they are a great way to spend the afternoon. The Cloud Forest has been created to represent what forest life is like on high mountains. It has an incredible indoor waterfall which is the first thing you see as you enter and the whole concept is around the water cycle and how climate change is affecting so much in the Environment. Singapore is so forward-thinking in terms of the environment and climate change and I think it’s great that they have incorporated this into such an amazing attraction.
Right next door to the Cloud Dome is the Flower Forest which is equally as stunning. This dome is smaller but showcases flora from around the world. The building itself is also amazing to see! After finishing up here, walk around to the Marina Barrage which is a building with an awesome looped roof completely covered in grass. It has a solar farm up there and is all about sustainability.
To finish the day 2 of your 4 days in Singapore, make your way to Clarke Quay for some drinks. Clarke Quay is right on the waterfront and a popular place for backpackers. After a few drinks here, jump back on the MRT to Chinatown and grab some food from one of the many restaurants and stalls.
Day 3 – Katong and Joo Chiat, Art Science Museum and Marina Bay Sands light show
Over to the Eastern side of Singapore, you’ll find the neighbourhood of Katong and Joo Chiat. This area showcases old colonial houses and bungalows and was originally the wealthy part of the city. Today it is still predominantly residential but the colourful houses and buildings here see it fast becoming an attraction in itself. It’s so much quieter than the other areas in Singapore such as the Bayfront and Chinatown, but it’s a quaint place to walk around.
Some of this part of Singapore has been there through generations and generations such as the Chin Mee Chin Confectionary shop which cooks up delicious cakes and sweet treats every day. Be sure to get there early to try them though as they go fast. Something that you might have seen popping up on social media is the row of colourful terrace houses. These are located on Koon Swing Road and make for a great photo.
You will have seen this flower-shaped building from your time by the bay before so now it’s time to go inside. They hold 3 exhibitions inside and you can buy a ticket to go to either 1, 2 or 3 of these, depending on which ones you fancy visiting. You can find out what exhibitions they have on, and book tickets here.
Every evening, Marina Bay Sands holds it’s light show, Spectra. The performance is held over the bay with fountains and light coming up from the bay as well as lights beaming down from the very top of Marina Bay Sands itself. Find a good spot either outside the Events Plaza along the promenade or alternatively, go to the other side of the bay and you’ll get to see the lights blasting down from the iconic hotel. The light shows are held twice every evening and you can check the times here.
After watching the light show, it’s time to visit another famous hawker market. Maxwells is located in Chinatown again and is one of the best places to try Singaporean dishes such as carrot cake (that doesn’t actually contain carrot and isn’t a cake) Hainanese Chicken rice and also stall ‘Tian Tian’, the only street stall in the world to have a Michelin star!
Day 4 – Kampong Glam, Merlion, Cycling Singapore, Ce La Vi
This morning you’ll get to see the beautiful and vibrant area of Kampong Glam. This neighbourhood quickly turned into my favourite in Singapore because it’s just so quirky whilst still being full of culture. This area has Singapore’s most famous Mosque and was once home to Malay Royalty so is steeped in history as well. There’s a strong Middle Eastern influence here making it another fascinating area to explore.
Start your tour of Kampong Glam with a walk through pretty Haji Lane, full of boutiques and colourful buildings. It has a real hipster vibe but it’s really fun to walk through and have a look through the shops. After here, turn onto Arab Street where your senses will come to life with the aroma of middle eastern food, along with Kandahar Street and Bussorah Street. Make sure you try something new here, especially from the smaller stalls as they do awesome teas and snacks which are great when you’re on the go. You won’t be able to miss the incredible Masjid Sultan Mosque whilst you’re walking around too. This mosque is huge, incredibly ornate and one of the most important mosques in Singapore.
So you will have been eating quite a lot of amazing food in Singapore, but fear not because I have a way to help keep the waistline under control! All around Singapore you will have probably noticed the bright yellow OFO bikes. These are such an awesome way to get around and see the city. All you have you to do to use them is download the OFO app on your phone, load some money onto it then you scan the QR code on the bike and you’ll get a code to unlock it so you can ride it. It costs around SGD 0.50 per 30 minutes so it’s super affordable!
The Bayfront area is full of iconic buildings and features and one that you should pay a visit to is the Merlion statue. The Merlion has the head of a lion and the tail of a fish and is the official icon of Singapore. The lion head comes from Singapore’s original name which in Malay translates to ‘lion’, and the fish body represents Singapore’s beginnings as a fishing village.
You’re 4 days in Singapore may be coming to an end so you’ll want to finish it in style right? Make your way up to the bar at the top of Marina Bay Sands, Ce La Vie, and soak in the views of the city. I would recommend going up there just before sunset so you can watch it from up there as well as see the city come to life at night. Before you ask, no you can’t use the pool at the top of Marina Bay Sands (*sobs*) but the bar is awesome. It costs SGD 20 to go to Ce La Vie but this goes towards bar credit so you can use it to buy a drink.
Pro-tip for visiting Ce La Vi: Turn left when you get to the bar level instead of going right. You will see the main bar to your right but this area was heaving. If you turn left and walk down you will find a quieter area and also get to see the famous infinity pool! Also, if you go to the other side near to where the toilets are you can also see over Gardens By The Bay and can watch the light show from up here!
Once you manage to prise yourself away from the views of this famous hotel, it’s time to grab your final dinner in Singapore. Walk across (or grab and OFO and cycle) the funky Helix bridge towards Makunsutra Gluttons Bay hawker market. This is different from the other hawker markets as it’s outside and also has a pretty awesome view across the bay itself. The food is delicious and the view is the icing on the cake!
Other top things to do in Singapore
Although this 4 day Singapore itinerary is pretty jam-packed, there’s still plenty more to do if you had extra time in Singapore. Here are some of the top things to do in Singapore that I know I’ll be doing when I go back:
Sentosa Island: This place is where you want to go if you want to have some thrill-seeking fun. Here you’ll find Universal Studios, Singapore Zoo, Karting, cable cars and so much more. Find out more on the website and book tickets here.
East Coast Parkway: This area is currently a little tricky to get to but I believe new transport systems are being built to make it easier. This part of Singapore is actually a beach area and the long stretch along the water would be great for a walk or a cycle. There’s also a local Hawker centre there called East Coast Lagoon which I was gutted to not make it to.
Singapore Botanic Gardens: These gardens are the first and only gardens to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site which I think alone represents how amazing it is. They run guided tours if you want to learn more or you can just walk around at your own pace.