During my first backpacking trip around Southeast Asia I had no desire to visit Singapore. Most people told me it wasn’t worth it because it was so expensive and that 1-2 days in the city was enough.
They couldn’t have been more wrong.
When I scored a cheap deal to Singapore from Canada I was excited to visit a new country and as I began to research I realized there were a ton of things to do in Singapore, many Singapore attractions that were worth seeing and ways that you could do Singapore on a budget.
Singapore is the easiest place that I have ever travelled to. Everything on the island nation is done so well. It is also extremely safe, there is an abundance of food to try, it is extremely tourist friendly and many languages are spoken (plus the locals are so helpful helping you find where to go in Singapore!).
The only downside is that Singapore is expensive compared to the rest of Southeast Asia but if you let that stop you from visiting then you are seriously missing out. Keep reading to find out what to do in Singapore for an amazing 3-5 days with this easy Singapore travel guide!
Singapore Fast Facts
Singapore is both a city and a country that is officially known as the Republic of Singapore located just off the southern tip of Peninsula Malaysia.
Currency: Singapore dollar
Languages: English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin (the official language is Malay)
Population: 5.6 million
Religion: Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity
Best Time to Visit Singapore
There is no bad time to visit Singapore! Seriously. Singapore has consistent weather year round with an average temperature of 27°C (81°F) but it will feel quite a bit hotter with the humidity. Rain is also expected year round and unfortunately can’t be avoided.
Singapore is a massive hub for business and finance so there is never a down time for hotels. Prices remain consistent throughout the year.
There are a few peak times that you may want to avoid which are November through to early January, June and July. These months are the most popular due to holidays such as the Chinese New Year and big shopping events and festivals.
As I mentioned before Singapore is significantly more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia. But there are ways to save! One thing to note is that alcohol is highly taxed in Singapore so I recommend saving those party nights for elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Expect to have a budget of $60-80SGD ($45-60USD/$57-75CAD) per day. This is a cheap budget that will allow you to stay in hostels, eat at hawker stalls and take public transit.
Hostels can be found for $15-25 with cheap hotels and Airbnb costing double and hotels will double that price or more. Eating cheap is easy, just check out the hawker stalls where you can grab a delicious meal for $4-6. A small beer at a hawker stall will cost around $3-4.
There is no reason to take anything other than public transport in Singapore as it is so reliable and affordable. Getting to and from the airport you can catch the MRT which is your cheapest option ($3) to the city, a shuttle ($9) which is direct to most hotels and hostels or a taxi which costs between $20-35. Surcharges do apply to certain times. You can find more information about airport transportation on the Changi Airport website.
Singapore is a big city. I recommend walking around as much as you can so you can see plenty of the city but with the heat and humidity sometimes it’s best to take public transit. Buses and the MRT are air conditioned and offer a nice break from the heat.
Both are extremely easy to use and affordable. You can get to all major attractions just with the MRT except for the zoo. And just try and get lost, you won’t because each station has exceptional directions and signage.
One option is to get a tourist pass for 1-3 days ranging from $10, $16 and $20 that include unlimited rides on transit. A $10 deposit is required but is refunded when you leave. A second option is to buy a trasnit card for $12. The card costs $5 but is yours to keep and is loaded with $7. With this card rides are cheaper and the purchase of the card is worth it. I would only recommend buying individual tickets if you are taking minimal rides on the MRT.
Cards can be bought at the MRT station at the airport and returned to get back the remaining balance left on your card if your purchased it.
Travel Insurance Singapore
- Picking travel insurance is an essential part of planning a trip for everyone, including your trip to Singapore
- If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel
- World Nomads is an affordable option that I personally recommend
- I’ve made 2 claims with World Nomads for doctors appointments and antibiotics in the Philippines and Australia
- No idea where to start? Check out my travel insurance guide to help you pick the best option for you
- Don’t think you need travel insurance? Read these travel horror stories
I don’t recommend staying in Singapore any less than 3 days so below are itineraries for 3-5 days in the city.
DAY ONE: To start off your trip to Singapore on day one you should check out the best places to visit in Singapore in 3 days. Head off to the Botanic Gardens, which are completely free. The gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are 158 years old. A part of the gardens is paid entry, the National Orchid Garden but for only $5 I think it’s worth it. There are great photo opportunities, the flowers are stunning and you’ll even find orchids made for people who have visited the gardens such as Obama.
Make your way to Orchard Road, a famous street in Singapore known for its shopping and high-end stores. You can walk underground through the malls with air conditioning for a break from the heat. There are also lots of food options through the malls.
Hop on the MRT at Somerset and get off at Marina Bay. Here is where you’ll find the most iconic Singapore sightseeing and the most famous activities in Singapore are all here. There is more shopping here but you’ll want to step outside and walk around the bay so you can get pictures of the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel and check out other sights such as Merlion Park. A Merlion is Singapore’s mascot and is half lion and half fish. At the park there is a big 8.5m statue that shoots water out of its mouth.
Keep walking and you’ll come across the Helix Bridge, a unique pedestrian bridge that you’ll want to see both during the day and at night. For the afternoon and evening, you’ll want to stay around this area so kill some time by visiting the Singapore Flyer (a huge ferris wheel for epic views) or the Art Science Musuem (the building shaped like a blooming flower in the bay).
For the evening you have two light shows to watch: the Wanderful light and water show and the Gardens by the Bay light show at the supertrees. You can see both in one night as they are timed perfectly for you to walk from one to the other without missing anything. Stand to the left of Louis Vuitton for the Wanderful light and water show. It plays at 7:45 and 8:45 and is 15 minutes. The Gardens by the Bay light show plays at 8, 9 and 10 and also lasts 15 minutes. I recommend heading directly under the trees and laying on your back to watch the show. It’s epic from this angle!
To finish your first day off grab a drink at the Marina Bay Sands hotel. It’s free to go to the bar and there is no dress code before 10PM. A drink up here will set you back about $25 including tax but for the view it’s worth it and the drinks are delicious!
DAY TWO: Take the morning to explore Chinatown. It is packed with food options and plenty of Singapore tourist spots that are worth seeing. You can take a free tour of Chinatown so you can learn a bit of history around this area as well. Some of the top sights to see are the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple (a Hindi temple) and Thien Hock Keng Temple which is a temple that was built without using a single nail. It’s also a great area for pictures as many of the buildings are stunning with European tiles and colourful shutters.
For lunch you can visit the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world, Hawker Chan, or stop by Maxwell Road Hawker Market which is one of the best places to eat in the city and has so many options.
For the afternoon make your way back over to Gardens by the Bay and explore this area by day. Some of the attractions here include OCBC Walkway where you can walk on a suspended bridge between the supertrees, the cloud forest or the flower dome. There are even more attractions and you can find them all here and their prices.
For the evening I recommend visiting the Singapore Zoo and doing the Night Safari. Singapore has one of the best zoo’s in the world and the night safari was excellent with shows, multiple walking paths and a trolley that took you throughout the grounds introducing you to nocturnal animals.
DAY THREE: You can’t visit Singapore and miss Little India. The area is packed with colourful, busy streets and delicious smelling food. Take half a day to explore the area and see top sights such as Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, the Tekka Centre for food, House of Tan Teng Niah (the most colourful house on the entire island) and the temple of 1000 lights. There are also free tours that run through Little India.
While in the area head over to the Arab Quarter for pictures and the shops that are packed with textiles. Haji Lane is amazing for pictures and comes alive at night. But during the day you can snap some pictures of all the street art. Close by and just off of Arab Street is Sultan Mosque which is stunning to see.
Keep walking around this area but head closer to Bujis shopping mall keeping an eye open for cool shots as this area is packed with cool places such as the Bujis mall itself and Park View Square.
For the afternoon make your way to Mount Faber Park for some time in nature in the city and for some cool views over Singapore. You can choose to walk up the hill, take the cable car or grab a taxi to the top. You could also do this in the morning, but do it early to avoid the hordes or tourists! Hederson Bridge is also in the park and is the tallest pedestrian bridge in Singapore.
Just before it gets dark head to Clarke Quay to see the colourful buildings of this area and don’t miss the Old Street Hill Police Station, it is adorable! Kick around here for the night as this is the place to party and a top place to eat.
DAY FOUR: After 3 days in Singapore in the heat it’s time to switch things up for 4 days in Singapore. There is a beach! It’s on Sentosa which is an island made for tourists but it’s a ton of fun. There are multiple beaches, an abundance of food options and no shortage of things to do on Sentosa. There is a waterpark, a Universal Studios, dolphin shows, bungee jumping, Madame Tussauds…do I need to go on? You can find all of the attractions and prices here.
DAY FIVE: The past 4 days of this Singapore itinerary are packed so choose to use day 5 to do some of the things previously mentioned and take the days a little slower or you can continue your 5 days in Singapore being busy. Some other Singapore sights include Haw Par Villa, a theme park with Chinese folklore that is free to enter. There are many museums to check out, more options at the zoo such as the River Safari or the observation deck in the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
Where to Stay in Singapore
There is no shortage of Singapore accommodation in the city. So to help you decide where to stay in Singapore here a few top options to get you started based on excellent reviews and your price point!
I personally stayed in Little India at The InnCrowd Backpackers Hostel which I loved because of their free Singapore city tour that is done on sccoters!
Footprints Hostel | BOOK NOW: Hostel World
The Little Red Dot | BOOK NOW: Hostel World
Beary Best! | BOOK NOW: Hostel World
Budget Hotels in Singapore
Top Hotels in Singapore
You know all of the best Singapore attractions and have an itinerary that will help you tour Singapore like a pro. Enjoy Singapore!
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