Singapore in One Day with 3 Awesome Itineraries!
While you are trailblazing your way through South East Asia, or across the whole of Asia, there might be a good chance for that you will visit Singapore, the Lion City. But what if you only had one day? Maybe you are here on a layover? What to do in Singapore in one day then? Be sure to check out the best places to stay in Singapore too!
Much has been made about Singapore over the last few decades, from being part of the 4 Asian Tigers to an economic miracle, from the world’s best airport to the world’s best airline.
But frankly, Singapore as a tourist destination cannot be underestimated. While we may have a reputation as a boring country, there is really nothing boring about it for you the traveller. Check out this post about the 7 reasons you should visit Singapore!
What can you see in one day?
To visit Singapore for 24 hours only is really not enough, but we got to make the best out of every situation right?
Think about all the sightseeing you are gonna miss, all the coffee in quaint cafes you are not gonna drink and all the excellent food you can’t eat!
If you were thinking, is 1 day in Singapore enough, the short answer is NO!
Look, even if you did not follow any of the itineraries here, you can easily spend a day in Changi Airport, our international airport that has made a name for itself winning airport of the year multiple times.
But today is your lucky day, as 2 proud Singaporeans will show you the best travel guide you can use to make the most of one day in Singapore.
We will show you the best things to see in Singapore, the best things to do in Singapore, and best places to stay in Singapore.
But before that, some essential things you need to know..
Top Tip! Join a Heritage Tour organised by the airport if you have a layover of between 2.5 hours to 24 hours. Read more on the Changi Airport Website
When to Visit Singapore?
Honestly, and maybe with a bit of bias, there is never a wrong time to visit Singapore.
After all, we are a tropical island and the weather while being unpredictable at times, the mood swings of Mother Nature should not be reason enough to dissuade you from coming.
What you need to take note of is that Singapore weather is generally categorized into 2 seasons, wet and less wet.
That’s right, we do experience quite a fair bit of rain, plus the fact that is it quite humid all year round.
If we had to choose the best time to visit Singapore, we would put it down to the months of February and March, and June and July.
Tip: read more about the essentials of travelling to Singapore here.
Getting around in Singapore
Singapore is well connected in every sense of the word.
Not only do we have some of the best and busiest airports and seaports in the world, we can boast about our great infrastructure and transport system.
Getting around is pretty easy.
In the likely event that you are arriving in Singapore from the airport, there are a number of ways for you to get around, such as the Mass Rapid Transit, Bus System, and of course Taxis and ride sharing apps.
Check out this simple but effective site from our land authority to plan your routes, check arrival times and more.
You can download their app from the Apple Store or Google Play by searching for MyTransport.
Where should you stay in Singapore?
In the case where you are have a 1 day layover in Singapore and you need to stay overnight, there are a ton of options for you as a traveller to Singapore.
In fact, we have made a useful article recommending you hotels based on your interest and what you wish to do here. Maybe you can check that out first before proceeding.
If you are here for only 1 night, it is important to stay in good locations in order to maximise your time here and not be spending too much time travelling from one place to the other.
Our itineraries below are all based on places that are either walkable or accessible by short bus, train or car rides.
So what are some of the best hotels to stay at?
Budget Traveller: Pod Capsule Boutique Hostel
Budget Traveller: Park Sovereign Hotel Albert Street
Mid Range Traveller: Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore
Mid Range Traveller: Novotel Clarke Quay
Luxurious Traveller: Fullerton Hotel
Luxurious Traveller: Marina Bay Sands Singapore
Find more Hotels using this widget!
Other important essentials
Before looking at the one day Singapore itinerary, there are a couple more points to take note of. Check out all the useful Resources we use when planning our trips too.
Since you are going to be out and about for the whole day, you might want to be connected to the internet to post your latest pictures, check for directions or maybe even to make a restaurant booking.
Whichever is your need for internet, you will be delighted knowing that free internet is widely available in Singapore!
You know what’s even better?
Singapore internet speed has consistently ranked at the top, which means no more distorted video calls home!
Search for the Wireless@SG network at public areas such as MRT Stations. Download the app to easily find other locations that gives you free WiFi.
If you prefer to be on your own network and maybe to share with your fellow travellers, why not consider getting a mobile router?
Click here to get a Mobile Router
How about travel insurance?
To most people, travel insurance is an expense that doesn’t really add to the value of a holiday.
But we as responsible bloggers and fellow travellers, insist that you get yourself covered even though you are in Singapore for one day only.
Why is that the case?
If this is not the top of your priority list every time you travel, maybe it is time to do so.
You like to be protected don’t you? If you had a million dollar car, would you pay a small amount to protect it against scratches or worse, a total wipeout?
Well, our lives are worth more than that, and accidents do happen all the time, and if that happens, we want to be protected in full.
Lost baggage, a flu that doesn’t go away, or even evacuation, are things that you cannot anticipate.
We recommend looking at World Nomads, an affordable option for anyone.
Our advise: get yourself a quote first before deciding.
Click here to get a Travel Insurance Quote
Singapore in One Day: Itinerary 1
Start your day off at the heart of the Central Business District by heading out for a breakfast at the iconic Lau Pat Sat, the food centre with the grandest of all appearances.
With its history dating back to the 1800s, this national monument that was originally a market, was converted into a hawker centre in 1972.
Take your pick from local delights to international fare here, but more importantly, make sure to walk around it and admire one of the oldest Victorian design structure in SouthEast Asia remaining.
After a hearty breakfast, make your way over to the Merlion Park, situated at the mouth of the Singapore River, about 15 minutes walk from Lau Pat Sat only.
That’s a great way to burn off the calories since there will be a lot of eating!
The Merlion Park is where you can get up close to another Singapore icon. Half Lion, half Fish, it has stood along the Singapore River and became our mascot, a personification of Singapore.
This is one of the best spots to take in the beautiful scenery of the waterfront area, which our government has taken pains to build and develop from reclaimed land.
Go ahead and take that usual tourist shot with the Merlion spouting water out of your mouth.
Or simply stroll around and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
When you are done with taking photos, walk across the road to the Fullerton Hotel.
Our suggestion: Take the long route and walk on the Esplanade Bridge for more perspective of the river. Make an about turn at the other side and head back through the park to Fullerton Hotel.
The Fullerton Hotel has a pretty interesting history.
It started off being designated as a Fort, but later gave way to become the General Post Office as the people did not want a military building right smack in the business district.
Today, after acquisition by private companies, it has been developed into a luxurious 5 star hotel and became a location for the rich and famous.
Step in to admire the grandeur and stunning interior design.
If you return in the evening, make sure to cross the road over to the Fullerton Waterboat House.
This is a great place to enjoy a delightful dinner and post dinner drinks with your family or love ones. Plus, you can get a glimpse of the beautiful night skyline of the central business district and Marina Bay Sands too.
Spend the afternoon taking a ride down memory lane by getting on a bumboat cruise along Singapore River!
There are many small bumboats plying this route and you can easily hop on one after the Fullerton Waterboat House by heading back to the Merlion Park area.
These bumboats used to be the ones transporting goods and merchandise, but today it is one of the best experience to have while in the Waterfront area.
After the cruise is over, your tummies might be calling out for food by now.
Walk over the the Clifford Pier Hotel and enjoy a scrumptious high tea set at the restaurant down by the lobby.
Tip: Ask for an outdoor seat to get the best views of Marina Bay Sands!
After a bit of rest, spend the rest of the evening walking around the Marina Bay Sands area, as there are numerous attractions spaced out in this locale.
Some of the places you can consider would be an evening at the Esplanade, another icon that is representative of Singapore.
Do you know why?
It is shaped like a durian, the king of fruits and a local delicacy!
But before you go out there hunting it down, be warned that people generally have a love hate relationship with it, as you might not be able to withstand its pungent smell!
Not far from Esplanade, you will find the Singapore Flyer, which at one point was the world’s tallest Ferris Wheel!
One Day In Singapore: Itinerary 2
In this second itinerary, lets kick start the day with a visit to a local neighbourhood and join the locals for their breakfast.
Where are we talking about? It’s the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood, situated not far from the city center. And first stop here is at the Tiong Bahru market.
Take an MRT to the Tiong Bahru Station, and from here, you can either take a bus ride for one stop, or why not walk over and get a closer look at what a typical neighbourhood in Singapore looks like?
In ten minutes, you will be transported to a local favourite, and you can definitely tell by the amount of people and cars circling the block.
The best tip we can give you here is to really spend a good amount of time walking through the ground floor, where the wet market and sundries stores are.
If you had read our free things to do in any city guide, visiting a local market is a must!
When you have had your fill of the yummy local food, it’s time for the next activity of the day.
Tip: if you need some inspiration on 10 yummy food in Singapore, make sure to read our article first!
But wait a minute! It’s not time to leave Tiong Bahru yet. Over the last few years, the Tiong Bahru estate has grown and changed into a blend of old meets new.
There are still remnants of the past in the housing estate surrounding the market, where the architecture is a mix of art deco and Straits settlement.
Many cafes have also sprouted out in this area, and you would be gutted if you didn’t stroll through the pleasant vicinity.
When you are finally satisfied with the cakes and coffee and lovely pictures, get out to the main road and get onto a bus to Chinatown!
Certainly one of the Lion City’s most colourful and boisterous district, it is home to significant places of worship plus some of the best food in Singapore!
The best way to explore Chinatown is by foot, and it is through this way that you can admire the pretty shophouses that dot this district.
Also be sure to come to Chinatown with a healthy appetite, as the food here is unbelievably varied and super tasty! If you prefer to be have something organised, you can consider signing up for a walking food tour.
Sign up for a Chinatown Food Tour here!
While you are in Chinatown, make sure you do not miss out the following places of worship:
All three of them are located within short walking distances of each other and are significant to the local population as they represent three major religions here: Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims.
Remember to click on the links above to learn more about them and also to check out the opening hours since they might sometimes be closed for events.
Ok what’s next?
Chinatown will take up pretty much the whole day, and after dinner, it is time to head out for some drinks!
We recommend heading over to Clarke Quay or Boat Quay as it is just a short bus or MRT ride away.
Located alongside the Singapore River, you can opt for alfresco style dining options or sit in to one of the many pubs or clubs here. Make sure to try out the world famous Singapore Sling here too!
One Day in Singapore: Itinerary 3
This one is for you nature lovers!
Start the day early at the Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre.
Another popular local haunt for food, you must try out the white carrot cake at He Zhong Carrot Cake (unit number 02-185).
Walk around and join the long queues. You can’t go wrong with that.
Next up, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, entering from the Hindhede Drive entrance.
From the main road, you can take an easy walk into the nature reserve, enjoying the tranquility and peace and listening to the birds singing.
Tip: There is a small shack before you enter so here is a good place to get some energy drinks and snacks if you wish to.
To get to the top, it is nothing more than a 20 minute walk to the summit of Bukit Timah Hill, the highest point in Singapore.
When you are ready, make a side trip over to the Hindhede Quarry, which is now in disuse.
After the walk in the park, it should be around brunch time!
Walk back out towards the main road where you entered and cross over to Cheong Chin Nam Road.
There are lots of eateries along this road so take your pick!
While Boon Tong Kee is a famous chicken rice outlet, we suggest you skip it and try out the muslim food at Al-Azhar instead.
Delicious roti prata, murtabak and teh tarik is a great choice.
One more stop before you leave the Bukit Timah area: Beauty World, which is right across the street from Cheong Chin Nam Road.
Today in Singapore, the malls are spanking new and modern, but Beauty World offers a throwback to how malls used to look like in Singapore.
There isn’t a great deal of shops available here though, but take a moment to enjoy this piece of nostalgia left.
After a nice little workout or warmup in the morning, and feasting on some wonderful chow, your legs should be ready for some retail therapy now.
International Merchandising Mart Mall, or better know as IMM to Singaporeans, is located at the western side of Singapore.
This area is less frequented by tourists, maybe due to the lower number of attractions, but you should definitely not count it out as there are things to do here worthy of a visit.
Why do we recommend this mall over the other better known ones such as Orchard ION, Ngee Ann City, or Paragon?
The answer is simple.
Located about a 15 minute car ride from Bukit Timah, IMM is the largest mall in Singapore that offers factory outlet prices!
Who doesn’t love a discount right?
Take your pick from some of the global top brands such as North Face, Nike and Under Armour.
There is a plethora of shopping options here and you are sure to get yourself a great deal with highly discounted prices!
Tip: If one mall is not enough for you, you will be pleased to know that within a 5 minute walk, you can have access to another 2 fantastic neighbourhood malls, JEM and Westgate.
When your legs have had enough, take an MRT ride over to Buona Vista, where you can walk over to Rochester Park, a quaint enclave where a multitude of restaurants welcome you for dinner.
Housed in beautifully conserved black and white colonial houses, this is a marvelous way to end the evening.
Singapore Day Tour Options
In the event where you prefer to have all things organised for you, you might want to consider using a one day tour in Singapore.
Here are some options that we feel are best suited to your time and offers you the most coverage:
- Tour with a local
- Half day tour
Half Day Tour with Hotel Transfers
- History tour
City Origins and History Walking Tour
As you can see, there are really lots of things to do in Singapore, and we have not even covered other popular spots such as
- Kampong Glam
- Little India
- Orchard Road
- Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay
- Singapore Night Safari
- Universal Studios Singapore
- Sentosa Island
- Raffles Hotel
If you are really unable to find more than 24 hours here, we hope the above itineraries are able to help you out in your planning.
What do you think of them? Or would you prefer some other variety? Leave us a comment down below and we can look into adding more!
And before you go, make sure to check out our other posts:
- 19 Bucket Lists Ideas
- Travel Planning Resources
- Places to stay in Singapore based on your interest
- Visit Singapore on a Friendly budget
- Destinations Guides
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Logistics before visiting Singapore
Find cheap flights.
Air tickets are usually the bulk of your expenses. Set up an alert and snag cheap fares with Skyscanner.
Find the best accommodation.
Book a place ahead of time to get good rates. Booking.com has transparent fees and excellent rates.
Handy travel guide.
For the old school kid in you, get a travel guide book and get lost exploring the city.
Your mobile phone can do a pretty good job, but if you need an upgrade, we recommend the Sony A6000 (US) (International)
You don’t need us to teach you to be a responsible adult, do you? Get a quote here.
Planned for you activities in Singapore.
Need a guide to show you and your group around? Lots of operators here to choose from here. You know who they are and how they are reviewed.
More resources to help you.
All other useful travel resources we use when we book our trips.