Do you only have 3 days in Singapore? Make the most of your visit with our perfect 3 day Singapore itinerary for first timers, including the best things to do, where to eat, where to stay and Singapore travel tips.
3 Days in Singapore Itinerary
Explore Kampong Glam, the traditional Malay-Muslim quarter of Singapore, now an eclectic and trendy area. Start from the Sultan Mosque and wander the many side streets filled with quirky shops, hip cafes and even traditional wares. Make sure to hit Haji Lane if you enjoy street art.
In the afternoon, head to our favorite place in Singapore, the Gardens By the Bay. (We suggest visiting both Gardens By the Bay and Marina Bay Sands on the same night and timing your visit to catch both of their free nightly light shows.)
Gardens by the Bay is a relatively new attraction (opened in 2012) but has quickly become a crowd favorite. The sprawling gardens feature a variety of flora, an impressive waterfront view and an eco-friendly mission. I suggest visiting the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome first so that you can save the Supertree Grove for the evening. You can save money on entrance fees by purchasing tickets in advance here.
One of the biggest draws for visitors are the iconic tree-shaped vertical gardens known as Supertree Grove. Measuring 25 to 50 meters tall, the Supertrees are rather hard to miss. Try to visit at night so that you can enjoy the nightly light and sound show at 7.45pm and 8.45pm. The outdoor gardens, including the Supertree Grove, is free. However, there is a fee to enter the OCBC Skyway (an elevated walkway between two Supertrees).
Walk to the Marina Bay Sands, a huge complex housing The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a casino, hotel, museum, theaters and restaurants. For a great view head to the observation deck at SkyPark or CE LA VI bar (formerly Ku De Ta) where you can get the same view for the price of a drink. Take in the free Spectra Light and Water show which takes place at place nightly at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm (only on weekends). One of the best places to view the show is in front of the Louis Vuitton store.
After visiting the Marina Bay Sands, cross the Helix Bridge to reach the waterfront. The Helix Bridge is a pedestrian bridge located in the Marina Bay area. This bridge is unique for having a ‘double-helix’ structure inspired by DNA structure. Viewing platforms are placed at strategic points to stop and take in the Singapore skyline. The Helix bridge is best experienced at night when it is illuminated.
After crossing the Helix Bridge, walk on the waterfront promenade to admire the city and harbor views until you reach the Merlion.
The Merlion is a statue with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. Water spouts from the statue’s mouth so tourists gleefully take creative and campy photos by appropriately positioning themselves. The Merlion is one of Singapore’s most famous icons and although touristy, it does have a great view of the harbor and Marina Bay Sands complex.
If you missed the water and light show at the Marina Bay Sands, keep walking to the Lantern, the rooftop bar of The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore for a great view of the show. Make sure to also stop by Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel and have the famous Singapore Sling.
Take the MRT to Little India which is vibrant and full of activity day and night. In addition to the interesting shops, highlights include Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and the 24 hour Mustafa Center.
Take the MRT to Chinatown. Head first to Maxwell Food Centre one of the best known hawker centers for tasty but cheap food. Make sure to try the Hainanese chicken rice at the Tian Tian stall (which is one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorites.
Then spend the afternoon exploring Chinatown. Check out the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, Chinatown Heritage Center, Sri Mariamman Temple and Tian Hock Keng. You can then finish the day by doing some shopping.
Wake up bright and early to visit Singapore Botanic Gardens which are also UNESCO World Heritage Site (Singapore’s first listing). In addition to admiring the beautiful flowers you can watch the locals working out or join them. Singapore Botanic Gardens open from 5 am to 12 midnight daily; since Singapore can get very hot, we recommend going early in the morning. The Singapore Botanic Gardens are free but there is a small fee to enter the National Orchid Garden. The gardens are large so it will take at least a couple of hours to explore.
After spending time outdoors at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, take the MRT to Orchard Road for some luxury shopping or Bugis Street for more affordable shopping.
In the evening head back to Kampong Glam or the Quays for dinner or drinks. The three quays are Boat Quay, Clarke Quay (more of a party vibe) and Robertson Quay. Another option is to head downtown to Lau Pa Sat (also known as Telok Ayer Market), one of Singapore’s most popular hawker centres. Lau Pa Sat is open 24 hours but some stalls close around midnight or 1am.
Another option especially for families is to visit the Singapore Zoo for the night safari (19:30 – midnight).
Getting to and Around Singapore
• The best way to get around Singapore is walking and the clean and efficient Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). Keep in mind that the MRT does not run 24 hours-check out the times for the first and last trains here. Taxis are affordable and Uber is also found in Singapore.
• If you want to avoid figuring out how to get around you can also sign up for a Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour.
Singapore Travel Tips
• Singapore is hot and humid so try to do most of your outdoor sightseeing in the early morning or in the evening. Save indoor attractions like the Cloud Forest or museums for midday.
• There is no best time of the year to visit Singapore as its temperature does not vary year round. It rains most days (even thought the rain does not last long) so bring an umbrella.
• Singapore has very strict laws and rules so do not commit any crimes. There are some unusual laws such as chewing gum is not allowed. However, this makes Singapore one of the safest places in the world even at night.
Where to Stay in Singapore
It can be overwhelming deciding where to stay in Singapore as there are so many hotels. These are our top choices:
Luxury ($200 and above)
Marina Bay Sands. If money is no object or can can splurge for a night or two, consider spending at least a night at the iconic Marina Bay Sands. Marina is known for its large infinitity pool with amazing views over the city that is only accessible to hotel guests. Click here to read Tripadvisor reviews.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore. This 5 star luxury hotel is another great option for travelers looking to splurge. This is a beautiful hotel with a roof top infinity pool and a roof top bar. Book a suite facing Marina Bay Sands and you can enjoy the Laser light and water show from your room. Click here to read Tripadvisor reviews.
Wangz Hotel. This small boutique hotel offers great value and a small rooftop bar and restaurant. Foodies will like the location near Tiong Bahru market. Click here to read Tripadvisor reviews.
Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre. This midprice hotel has an excellent location near Orchard Rd and close to the MRT and even has a nice rooftop pool. Click here to read Tripadvisor reviews.
Budget (Under $100)
Hotel YAN. This boutique Hotel offers great value and gets great views for being clean and having a free stocked minibar and free wifi. It is located in walking distance to Little India and close to plenty of food options. Click here to read Tripadvisor reviews.
Bliss Hotel Singapore. This hotel has a central location right across the road from Chinatown MRT and Chinatown Point Shopping Centre with lots of restaurants and shops nearby. Click here to read Tripadvisor reviews.
The Best Singapore Tours
Here are a few different tours you can join to make the most of your time in Singapore.
The Half-Day Singapore City Tour tour is a 3.5 hour tour that will take you to some of the places listed in my itinerary.
If you enjoy being active, you might enjoy this 4 hour bike tour.
Are you a foodie? This food tour will let you taste the best of Singapore’s Malaysian, Chinese, and Indian cuisine.
Have you been to Singapore? If so, what do you recommend doing with 3 days?
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