Singapore in 1…2…3 Days

Singapore in 1…2…3 Days

According to the Singapore Tourism Board, the average visitor stays 3.5 days and lucky for the average visitor you can see all Singapore has to offer in that time.  The entire island is only 272 square miles and that’s after adding roughly 50 square miles of reclaimed land, making it a friendly place for just a short visit.  Just make sure you come hungry, because Singapore has some of the best food in the world!

The beauty of Singapore is in the contrasting cultures and juxtaposition of old and new.  In few other places will you find colonial architecture and history just steps away from the futuristic and modern.  If you’re short on time and really only have a day to spare in Singapore, skip the museums, try to resist the shopping malls and take to the streets to experience the cultural mash up with the old and the new for yourself.


Little India, Sarangoon Road, Mustafa Center

After you’ve had enough of the “I give you good price my friend” from the carpet dealers on Arab Street move onto Little India, where you won’t be able to hear anyone yelling at you over the blaring Bollywood music.  Just like India, the smaller version in Singapore is an assault on the senses; locals shopping for fresh spices along Serangoon Road, the scent of jasmine from the garlands being sold on the roadside and a wide array of colorful cloth on display for made-to-order saris.  Make sure you stop at Mustafa Center further down Serangood Road as no visit to Little India would be complete without taking a glimpse inside this crazy Indian Emporium.

Arab Street and Sultan Mosque

Arab Street may be short, but it’s packed with shops that sell Malaysian and Indonesian batik cloth, home decor items and is the perfect place to practice your bargaining skills in pursuit of an authentic oriental rug. Most places will be open by 10am, but if it’s a Sunday, you won’t find any of the shophouses open for bargaining.  If you land on a Sunday, head straight to the Sultan Mosque instead.  You can’t miss the huge domed roof and the grounds are huge- great for exploring!

Clark Quay

To recover from Little India head to Clark Quay and grab lunch along the water.  There are plenty of great restaurants to choose from, Coriander Leaf is a favorite and offers a delicious dining experience as well as cooking classes (to keep in mind if you’re staying more than a few days).

Singapore Sling at Raffles

After strolling around Clark Quay grab an afternoon drink at the famous Raffles Hotel long bar, home to the Singapore Sling.  You can enjoy a slice of history along with your cocktail as you marvel at the two story bar.


To start off the evening head to Merlion Park near Singapore’s central business district and snag a photo in front of the iconic half lion, half mermaid.  From the park you can also take in the view of Marina Bay Sands and the Esplanade.  If you plan your visit before April 30, 2012 make sure to check out the i light Marina Bay exhibit.

Ku De Ta and Marina Bay Sands

For dinner and a night out look no further than Marina Bay Sands’ Ke De Ta, which offers commanding 360 degree views of Singapore’s skyline as well as a nice breeze up on the 57th floor.  This may not be the most affordable dinner option in Singapore, but if you’re only here one night it’s worth the splurge.


MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art)

As the only museum in Singapore dedicated solely to contemporary works the ever-changing exhibits here are interesting and reflect up and coming art from the region.  It can be tough to reach without a car, but worth the hassle.

Botanic Garden

The Singapore Botanic Garden is a beautiful and fragrant respite from the hustle and bustle of traffic, shopping and crowds. The serene grounds have one of the most gorgeous orchid gardens I have ever seen with over 1000 species and 2,000 hybrids in the Gardens’ collection and about 600 species and hybrids on display.

National Museum of Singapore

This museum dating back to 1887 is the oldest museum in Singapore and well worth a visit.  With well laid out permanent exhibits on fashion, photography and my favorite food, which immerses the visitor in street life from the 1950’s to 1970’s via street food artifacts and sound bites to make it all come to life.  This museum could easily consume half a day.

Singapore Zoo and Night Safari

The Singapore Zoo has a wide array of activities for visitors and could easily be an entire day of entertainment.  You can have breakfast with jungle wildlife, take a picture with a boa constrictor, watch a myriad of animals be fed and then end the day with the world famous night safari.  Regardless of how much time you decide to allot for the zoo, don’t miss the night safari, which is the main attraction.


Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island, deemed “Asia’s favorite playground” has plenty to offer and could easily monopolize an entire day.  If you’re looking for beaches, look no further, you can also find a butterfly park, Universal Studios and several different “extreme” adventures such as indoor sky diving.


With any extra time you have, you’ll have no problem filling it at one of the many malls on the small island.  For the best shopping head to Orchard Road and wander through the palatial malls, the window shopping is great and the food courts are even better.

After three days in Singapore you can confidently say you’ve been there and seen it all, so plan a layover for a few days on your next Asia jaunt.  You won’t regret your time on the island and your taste buds will thank you as the food is second to none.  You may even decide to extend your visit to fully take advantage of the excellent shopping and clean surrounds.  If you’ve been to Singapore what do you recommend visiting in just three days, did I miss any must do’s?

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» Inge Hartgerink :
Mar 26, 2012

Dear LOCAVORista, I was a bit surprised to see the description about MOCA, that this is supposedly the only museum dedicated to contemporary art in Singapore, as the Singapore Art Museum (right in the middle of town) is definitely dedicated to modern and contemporary art. I recommend visiting that museum too next time you’re in Singapore :-)

LOCAVORista Reply:

Inge, thanks so much for the tip and correcting me on art in Singapore. That museum is definitely on the to-do list the next time we find ourselves on the small island!

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.


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