When you think of layovers in the Asian hub Singapore, you’re likely to conjure up images of terminal transits and jetlag-fuelled strolls along the halls of its famous Changi airport. Yet whilst Singapore’s airport has indeed been rated one of the best in the world, the truth is that this wonderful city can offer far more as part of a layover destination.
Read our Singapore travel guide to discover how you can get the most out of this tropical city paradise and what to do in 24 hours in Singapore.
9.00 am – Welcome to Singapore!
Stretch out your legs – you made it to Singapore! Queue up for a taxi (avoid the fancy looking Mercedes cars if you want to pay reasonable prices for this ride!) or hop on a public bus to be found at all terminals if you are on a budget during your travels in Singapore.
9.30am – Breakfast at Common Man Roasters
Kickstart your visit at this Singapore institution. The café concept and coffee roaster has been looking after coffee addicts and brunch enthusiasts since 2013. Offering a large all-day wholesome menu paired with an extensive coffee selection brewed at their custom designed espresso machine, makes it the perfect first stop to fuel up for a long day of exploring Singapore ahead!
Our menu favourites at Common Man Roasters in Singapore: The Turkish Breakfast, Phyllo-wrapped soft-boiled organic egg, crispy feta, fresh cucumber & tomatoes, olives & hummus with pita bread. Common Man Fluffy Pancakes, with caramelized banana, walnuts, berry coulis and salted caramel sauce.
11.30m – 5pm: Join a Hop On Hop Off City Tour on your Singapore layover
Without a doubt, the most efficient way of seeing the “highlights” version of Singapore when you’re time poor, is to hop on a hop-on-hop off bus tour. The world’s only island city-state is a mere 278 square miles; meaning it’s small, compact and possible to get a glimpse into what Singapore has to offer in a relatively short period of time.
Must-Stops in Singapore:
Go shopping on Orchard Road
In need of some retail therapy? Well you’re in luck, as no trip to Singapore is complete without a walk down Asia’s most famous shopping street, known as Orchard Road. A 2.2 kilometre boulevard, Orchard Road is the retail hub of Singapore. Flanked with designer threads, upscale markets, chic galleries and endless entertainment options, you’ll be spoilt for choice in this retail paradise. Here’s a tip: Local ice-cream sandwich vendors are scattered all over Orchard Road. Give this odd combination a try for a real Singaporean experience.
TAC Tip: If you are looking to treat yourself to something a little different than the regular retail chains, head to Far East Plaza and shop the quirky Korean labels on level 3 & 4!
Indulge in local food at Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre for lunch
With all that excitement, you’re going to need some serious refuelling, and the hawker centres of Singapore have got you covered and are a must-do in Singapore! Hawker centres are open air, down to earth food stalls where you can sample a huge variety of local dishes, from chilli crab and hokkien prawn mee, to braised pork ribs and chicken rice (the national dish of Singapore). Best of all, the food at hawker stalls is cheap, and there’s no skimping on quality. Hop off at the iconic Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre in Telok Ayer and pick your menu favourites!
ARAB STREET AREA
Filled with indie boutiques, street art murals and hip as well as local restaurants and bars, make Arab Street one of Singapore’s most lively neighbourhoods. Go for a stroll around the historic Muslim quarter, and pay a visit to Bar Stories for individually mixed drinks and Piedra Negra for some tasty Mexican located within one of the cosy back streets.
TAC Tip: Shop slightly different souvenirs than the usual on Haji Lane. Take a stroll up this iconic street and check out the cool vintage shops!
Looking to create an escape from the city of Singapore, the creators of Gardens by The Bay turned their vision of having a world of gardens for everyone to enjoy into reality. The Avatar-looking landscape will capture your attention the minute you spot them from afar and are just as exciting up close!
3 Must-Do’s at Gardens by The Bay in Singapore:
1. Flower Dome: Opened daily from 9am – 9pm, you cannot miss visiting the iconic Flower Dome. Listed as the largest greenhouse in the world, its spectacular and innovative architecture as well as its constantly changing display of flowers and plants will leave you in awe!
2. OCBC Skyway: You’re better not afraid of heights when mounting the OCBC Skyway at Gardens by The Bay! At a height of 22 metres and offering tantalising panoramic views of the surrounding Gardens and famous Marina Bay skyline, this 128-metre-long aerial walkway is a Singapore experience not to be missed. It’s open daily, 9am – 9pm.
3. Cloud Forest: Be prepared to be taken away by the mystical ambiance of the Cloud Forest at Gardens by The Bay. Open daily from 9am to 9pm, you can explore hidden floral gems, rare plants and their fas-disappearing environment. Must-Do: Take a waterfall picture!
6pm: Take in the city views from the CÉ LA VI SkyBar at Marina Bay Sands
Address: 1 Bayfront Ave, Tower 3, Level 57, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Contact: Click here to book a table.
Opening Hours: SkyBar from 12pm, Restaurant from 12pm, Club Lounge from 12pm
Welcome to the most iconic view from Singapore’s rooftop bar CÉ LA VI SkyBar at Marina Bay Sands! Sit back and relax to lounge tunes and sip on state-of-the-art cocktails while soaking in the feeling of being on top of the world. Definitely an experience that cannot be miss on a layover in Singapore!
8pm: Dinner at CÉ LA VI restaurant
Being surrounded by dazzling panoramic city views equally captivating by day and night, treat yourself to CÉ LA VI’s Modern Asian dishes prepared by award winning chefs served along with premium grade wines. The restaurant’s cuisine located atop of Marina Bay Sands revolves around drama, spectacle and theatre resulting in a truly unique fine dining experience. Innovative flavours and textures push the boundaries of traditional Asian recipes and invite to be shared with your fellow foodies creating a wholesome social dining experience!
Our menu favourites at CÉ LA VI Singapore: Garlic Prawns with chorizo & paprika and their Roasted Lemongrass Chicken with eggplant, zucchini, kaffir lime and green chilli sauce.
10.30pm: Drink a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel
There’s no doubt you’ve heard of the iconic cocktail that is the Singapore Sling, but perhaps never had the chance to sample it. Well, now is your opportunity! The gin-based drink was created many moons ago by a bartender at Raffles Hotel, so it’s an absolute must to sample your first sling at the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel itself. As you enjoy your internationally famous cocktail, nibble on some salty peanuts and toss the shells onto the floor; the only place in Singapore where littering is permitted!
WHERE TO STAY IN SINGAPORE:
BUDGET: ADLER HOSTEL
Established in late 2012, Adler Hostel Singapore offers premium budget accommodation – right at the heart of the city. Popular amongst digital nomads and leisure travellers alike, this premium hostel has Singapore’s largest cabin beds – some of them even fully serviced. Whether you’re travelling alone or with someone closer – both single and king beds are available in their female and mixed dorms.
Book yourself in for a slightly different stay in the Asian hub!
- Cabins from approx. 50 US$ per night.
MID-RANGE: LLOYDS INN
Applying a minimalist and almost reductive approach, Lloyds Inn seeks and achieves to connect the hotel, city, nature and traveller in a calming, inspiring environment. An abode in the city, Lloyds Inn offers the perfect space to escape and reconnect at the same time.
Each room is uniquely designed with individual travellers in mind and features thoughtful elements of nature in the middle of an urban city escape. With a location conveniently located within the famed Orchard Road precinct, Lloyds Inn Singapore will be your perfect base to work, play and shop.
- Double rooms from approx. 134 US$ per night.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel is a hotel dream come true. Located right on the Marina Bay waterfront overlooking the glistening waters with a prime view of Singapore’s most iconic sights, a lavish stay awaits you! The spacious outdoor sundeck of the Premier Rooms on the first floor are perfect for unwinding and watching the beautiful sunset while enjoying the evening breeze.
Alternatively, indulge in leisurely laps in their 25-metre rooftop pool, surrounded by views of Marina Bay and the skyscrapers of Raffles Place or treat yourself to some me-time at the spa at the Fullerton Hotel Singapore just a few steps away.
- Double rooms from approx. 450 US$ per night.
You have spent a layover in Singapore before and want to share your must-do’s in the Asian hub?
Join our The Asia Collective – Luxe Travellers group on Facebook and let us know your insider tips, and find other great advice from other like-minded travellers.
This Singapore travel guide has been co-written by Lisa Stuart-Grant @lisastuartgrant.