This handy Singapore Guide includes all the information you need for your trip. I have included my personal recommendations for dining, coffee and drinks as well as the main sights to visit, my favourite museums and logistical information to make your trip as comfortable as possible. As most of the travellers I know come to Singapore for about two days, I have also made the video above on how you can make the most of your 48-hour-trip.
What to see
It will be hot but totally worth the experience. My personal highlight was the Orchid Garden. The fee is SGD 5 (about EUR 3 USD 4), concessions are available. Stay tuned for my photo post and video here!
The area around Joo Chiat Road is beautiful and the area hosts the famous colourful shop houses. There are really cute stores inside these heritage houses, such as The Bloom Room (315 Joo Chiat Road). Enjoy the fragrant noodles with pork lard at Yong Huat – this food stall is a Singaporean institution since 1949. While most of the other stalls in this tiny hawker centre at the corner of Joo Chiat Road and East Coast Road come and go, Yong Huat is still there. And for a reason, the food is delicious.
Best View from the National Gallery Singapore
Most tourists go to Marina Bay Sands, but my favourite view is from the rooftop (6th floor) of the National Gallery. While I do recommend to visit the museum (see below), you can also visit the rooftop for free.
Evening at Robertson Walk
I love having a walk along the river and end this walk at Robertson Walk – either with a dinner at my favourite Persian restaurant Shabestan (see below) or drinks at Wine Connection. This is also fun on the weekend after a brunch at Common Man.
Gardens by the Bay
Singapore is a very green city and famous for the big artificial trees near the Marina Bay Sands which are covered with all sorts of plants. It is definitely worth seeing.
The Raffles Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Singapore and is an architectural landmark.
St. Andrews Cathedral
Near City Hall and on the way to the National Gallery, there is St. Andrews Cathedral which is worth a quick stop.
While Singapore is lesser known for its Street Art, there are quite a few really nice murals to explore. Check out my post about Singapore street art.
Sentosa Island is a typical tourist attraction in Singapore. It has a variety of amusement parks and also some beaches. Most of the activities can be quite pricey and usually they are crowded with tourists. Please avoid the aquarium – it was not only really expensive but also was I shocked to see dolphins in captivity…
Little India and Chinatown
These two areas are a must see. And they are also a great place to shop for souvenirs.
Shopping at Haji Lane
Check out my post about shopping at Haji Lane.
National Gallery Singapore
The National Gallery has a beautiful permanent collection and really interesting special exhibitions. Check out my post about the Yayoi Kusama exhibition. I am also currently working on a review about the National Gallery, stay tuned!
This is another great place for contemporary art. You can read about my exhibition review here.
The National Museum covers Singapore’s history and is a must see if you want to know more about the country. I knew a bit about the colonial history and when Lee Kwan Yew built up today’s nation. However, I did not know much about Singapore’s history before 1900. Therefore, this is a very useful and interesting place.
This is one of my favourite museums. Especially the exhibition Future World – I am working on another review here too, stay tuned!
Where to Eat
Hawker Centres for Local Food
Hawker Centres are places, usually outdoors, with a variety of food stalls. They are comparatively cheap and EVERYBODY goes there – no matter if you are a teacher, construction worker or billionaire. Singaporeans love them. My favourite one is at Newton Circus.
This restaurant at Robertson Walk has the best Persian food in town. (80 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-13 The Pier)
This small café near Harbourfront centre has some of the best cakes in town. (16 Morse Road)
Try out the Fish Head Curry, their signature dish (Blk 7 Dempsey Road , #01-01).
If you never had South Indian breakfast before, this is the place to try it. Have plain Dosai (a pancake that comes with two different sauces). I also like Idli, which is steamed bun made of lentil and rice dough. Vada which is a deep fried “doughnut” made of lentil dough. Pair the dishes with some mango lassi. Three dishes are enough for two people. (76-78 Serangoon Road)
Best Mexican food in town. (15 Duxton Hill)
This hole-in-the-wall restaurant serves my favourite Vietnamese food in town. (349 Beach Road)
High Tea at the Fullerton Bay Hotel
I also love to indulge myself with my girlfriends at the High Tea at the Fullerton Bay Hotel. The desserts are bit sweet but the beautiful view compensates for it. And the coffee is really good (sorry, I am not a big fan of tea and I cannot resist a cup of coffee, even at High Tea)
Best Coffee Places
To limit the length of the post, I am currently working on a separate one on brunch places. Stay tuned!
What to Eat
You absolutely have to try Popiah – it is a type of “spring roll” or “wrap” filled with lettuce, shredded carrots, chopped peanuts and some other ingredients. You can also get it at the Hawker Centres but usually only during the day, as they are sold out quickly. Another typical dish is cereal prawns.
Eat Nasi Goreng
The best Nasi Goreng in town is at Spize in River Valley Road. This place is also quite cheap. Be prepared to wait in line and for rude staff – but still, the place is always packed.
Chocolate Fish Pancakes
I have no idea what these pancakes are called but they are so yummy! It is basically a pancake filled with chocolate! There are also plain ones or you can choose read bean (not really my favourite…). You can find them in the basement of Takashimaya mall on Orchard Road. It is a small stand in between all the cake and coffee places (before the atrium).
The first thing most people plan to do is a visit at the Raffles Hotel where the Singapore Sling was invented. However, this has become quite a tourist trap.
I prefer to have drinks at nearby Chijmes – it is a beautiful courtyard with a broad selection of restaurants and bars.
A lot of people love to have after work drinks at one of the places in Club Street.
A beautiful view and cool vibe is also at the rooftop bar at Southbridge (80 Boat Quay – Entrance is from South Bridge Road, after 7-Eleven)
Cé La Vi is also very popular for the view, it is a bit pricey but the view is nice. (Marina Bay Sands)
How to Get to the City from the Airport
Changi Airport is one of the biggest and most efficient airports in the world. You can reach the city by taxi, which will cost you between SGD 25-30 (EUR 16-20, USD 20-23), depending on the location of your hotel. When you leave after the baggage drop-off, the doors with queues to the taxi stands will be right outside. Uber also works really well and is cheaper than taxis. There is also Grab, a local competitor. Make sure to meet the car at the right location – usually there is a dedicated drop-off point in the dropdown menu of Uber/Grab at your terminal.
Singapore uses the Singapore Dollar (SGD). As of October 21st, the SGD-USD exchange rate was 0.73.
Singapore has FOUR official languages – English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. It is very easy to get around with English anywhere.
Climate – What to Pack
Singapore has two types of climates – hot and hotter. If you plan to spend the day outside, definitely wear shorts and a shirt. I would bring a thin cardigan or jumper for inside, as the buildings are notoriously cooled down. If you go for dinner or drinks, you can dress to impress. I usually wear flip flops on my way to the restaurant or bar – as a thunderstorm can appear any minute – and change into my fancy shoes before I enter the place 😉
Note: this guide does not include any recommendations for accommodation, as I did not stay at hotels during my stay.