Singapore, whether you want to consider it as a city or a country, is one of the coolest Asian countries you’ll explore. It was a blast to discover what Singapore had to offer as it was last-minute plans to go travel here and it blew my mind. If you’re looking to explore a country that is so multicultural, you’ll love Singapore for that.
Although Singapore is not as cheap as other Asian countries, it’s still going to be worth visiting and it isn’t to be just considered as a layover; you’ll rejoice in the attractions and views Singapore has to offer. Singapore is filled with amazing architecture, a history that proves to continue to be shown in the country’s ways, and it’s definitely kept up with its cleanliness, as you’ll see through the streets and everywhere you walk around!
One thing you should know about Singapore, as I’ve mentioned, is it’s multicultural. There are four official languages there and it is English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. Because of its history of having been an emporium or a trading post for the British Empire, it became the place for international trade and globalization. It continues to be advanced in all aspects of its economy from good healthcare, education, personal safety, housing etc. So, if you’re wondering if Singapore is safe, it absolutely is!
While Singapore may seem like a small country, you can spend a bit longer than 3 days, but you can still make the most of those 3 days. I’ve decided to compile the best places to see here when you’ve only got 3 days plus food to try when you get here and other tips at the end this blog post!
Ya Kun Kaya Toast or Toastbox
If there’s anything you should start off with, it’s breakfast. I’m a big breakfast lover and am fueled by breakfast – there’s not a day I can skip breakfast! Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a Singaporean chain that had started humbly as a coffee stall and has since grown to be a cozy atmosphere to get tea and a traditional Singaporan breakfast of kaya toast. Kaya toast are two slices of butter and kaya (coconut jam) and it’s usually served with coffee and soft-boiled eggs. Another cafe that does something similar is Toastbox.
Marina Sands infinity pool and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
This famed view of an infinity pool is probably been recognizable to you. It is the world’s longest elevated pool, but it isn’t accessible to just anyone. It’s only open to hotel guests at Marina Bay Sands, but it may just be worth it! You can still admire its architecture from below on the grounds as it is pretty interesting. If you’re looking to visit part of Marina Sands, the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is a luxury shopping mall with 270 boutiques and restaurants! It’s right by the hotel and casino. You’ll see the canal with gondola boat rides right in there too, just like the one in Las Vegas.
Gardens by the Bay
Oh myyy, Gardens by the Bay was one of my favorite things to see in Singapore! This nature park is the park that Singaporeans (and tourists) come out to experience the greenery as Singapore is an island with not as much nature. It was the country’s plans to do just that. Think of Gardens by the Bay as a giant garden that you can stroll around in. The Garden is separated by regions: East, Central, South. We did a package to see the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, which I highly recommend. You can also always walk out to the Supertree Grove, the area with 18 tree-like structures, and you have an option to experience inside them. And yes, that’s the same Supertree Grove featured in the movie Crazy Rich Asians.
The flora you’ll see here are impressively beautiful. You can tell Gardens by the Bay really tries to maintain their garden.
Singapore has the cutest Chinatown and there’s a lot to see, eat from, and shop at. It has an atmosphere that just has so much vibrancy to it from the old heritage buildings to Buddha temples to mosques to a lot of restaurants to choose from. You will also find the best deals on shopping through here!
Some places to check out: Chinatown Heritage Centre is a museum dedicated to learning about the first Chinese immigrants in Singapore. Smith Street, also known as Chinatown Food Street, is the area you’ll want to go if finding food adventures is on your list with street food, restaurants, and boutiques lined up. Once a red light district area, Keong Saik Road is another area to go find some of the best food and some of the coolest bars: here’s a detailed list of the best food and things to find on Keong Saik Road.
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Maxwell Food Centre
Located in Chinatown, I think this place deserves a mention. This is one of the most famous hawkers, a term that means those who sell goods, but in this case, food in town squares, parks, or street pavements – there’s a hawker culture in Singapore that dates as far as in the 1800s. I loved going here to eat because there’s sooo many options and it allowed me to really taste what Singapore loves and are considered Singaporean dishes. Scroll below in this blog post to see what foods I recommend for that!
Like Chinatown, Little India is a section in Singapore that happens to be Singapore’s most colorful historical district. Located east of the Singapore River, you’ll find street murals, temples, heritage centers, shopping, and restaurants. This area of Little India was where ethnic Indian immigrants moved by during the colonial era when the Chulia Kampong area became crowded and competitive.
Some places to check out are: Mustafa Center is a 24-hour shopping mall jam-packed with a variety of products. Temple of 1,000 Lights and Leong San See Temple are some temples you can visit (if dressed modestly). The House of Tan Teng Niah is one of the last surviving Chinese villas in this Indian enclave and it is a beautiful colorful house to look at. Tekka Centre is known for its hawkers and you will find Indian food here. Indian Heritage Centre has a collection of artifacts and exhibits the history of the Indian community in Singapore.
Old Hill Street Police Station
Located at Hill Street within the Downtown Core in central area Singapore, The Old Hill Street Police Station is such a vivid building that stands out the second you spot it. You will notice all the 927 colorful windows painted in colors of the rainbow and this 4-story building became a national monument in 1998. Now the building for the Ministry of Communications and Information as well as for the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth, this historic building was originally constructed for the Police Force in 1934.
National Gallery Singapore & Padang Deck
Museums are always such a fun place to opt for whenever you’re traveling anywhere, and National Gallery Singapore is exactly that. Also known as just “National Gallery”, this museum is probably one of the best to see Southeast Asian art. With my Southeast Asian descent, I really got to appreciate the paintings and other art work that were displayed there through its exhibitions. Its aim is to be a progressive museum and it does so through collaborative research and education.
The museum’s building does have an interesting history as it is located within former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings since the Supreme Court moved to a different building. On the very top of the building is the Padang Deck, a view that will give you the absolute nicest skyline views of Singapore and you can see the known old and new landmarks there.
Pro tip: You can get 50% off admission here if you booked flying with Scoot airlines! I didn’t know this until we arrived here.
Singapore Ice Cream Sandwich
Although not a particular place, but something you should get, there’s a reason why many tourists are trying to get a taste of Singapore Ice Cream Sandwich, and it was one of those things I was really looking forward to trying and the thought of it made my mouth water. You’ll find these ice cream carts down the streets of Singapore, and you’ll see that the Singapore Ice Cream Sandwich is basically a block of ice cream in between a loaf of bread, usually colorful and you can also choose wafer as an option. Yes, it’s a very simple dessert, but it is a tasty one with plenty of ice cream flavors Singapore creates. You can find an ice cream cart like this at Orchard Road (read more about this area below).
Orchard Road & Asian Mall
One of Singapore’s most known streets is Singapore’s known shopping district, Orchard Road. Orchard Road has a lot of retail to it from discount outlets to upscale boutiques (yes with upscale labels) to department stores to restaurants (yes with luxurious dining). It’s pretty busy to get out here (like Times Square busy), but if you’re a big fan of shopping for bigger brands, give this place a go!
On Orchard Road, you can also find Asian Food Mall, which is a food court that features a mix of variety of different Asian foods from Filipino to Malaysian to Chinese to Indian and more. From here, I found bandung, a drink that consists of evaporated milk or condensed milk with rose syrup and bandung is a popular drink that originated in Singapore in the early 20th century during its British colonial trading time. You’ll also find other food companies here serving refreshing drinks like boba and fresh fruit drinks.
Clementi: The Clementi Mall and Clementi 488 Market and Food Centre
Wasn’t originally on the itinerary, but after coming here to get a COVID test taken here (to go fly back to the Philippines as their rule), we found this area! Located in Clementi, The Celementi Mall has a six-story retail space that has a lot of stores. Nearby is the Clementi 488 Market and Food Centre, which is another hawker! You’ll discover a lot of stores to shop by here, to do your groceries at, and to taste a variety of good local eats at.
If you’re looking for a getaway away from the busyness of Singapore, you’ll most likely enjoy Sentosa Island. Sentosa Island is an island resort that are filled with adventurous experiences from its waterpark to see and mingle with dolphins to walking through the Skywalk and doing a few ecoadventures. Its pristine blue-green water will be enjoyable on its beaches if you’re looking for a tropical escape in Singapore and you may spend a whole day here or half a day, so you may want to see if it’s somewhere you should relax at on your third day in Singapore!
Food to Try in Singapore
I’ve noticed Singapore to be a really great country to find as much food as you can, but if you’re really looking to get a taste of the country’s national cuisines, I have listed a few foods you should give a try if you come across them in a restaurant’s menu.
- Hong Kong Fried Noodles – This is a street food in Singapore and it’s ridiculously good and became my favorite noodles! It would have real char siew, with egg, prawns, bean sprouts, red chillies, onions, and chives. There’s also Singapore Noodles which is almost so identical to this!
- Bak kut teh – This is a clear peppery soup with simmering pork ribs, white pepper, and garlic.
- Chicken rice – Found in almost every hawker, this is poached chicken and it goes with rice that’s cooked with chilli dipping sauce and in chicken stock.
- Laksa – This spicy noodle dish mostly consists thick rice noodles with spices and coconut milk with gravy-like consistency.
- Kaya toast – As mentioned earlier with where to find this, kaya toast is butter and coconut jam in between two toast slices. It’s usually served with coffee and soft-boiled eggs (and you can dip the kaya toast with this).
- Fresh orange juice from a vending machine – There are vending machines in corners of markets to be found in Singapore and in these vending machines, you can find fresh orange juice that is squeezed right in front of your eyes in 45 seconds or so! The most popular fresh orange juice vending machine brand you’ll find is iJooz. It’s so tasty, refreshing, and fresh.
Tips for traveling in Singapore
I’m finding guides in blog posts more helpful when there are some important tips to know before I go somewhere! Here are some of the tips you need to know before you get here:
- Use the SBS TRANSIT app – This app can help you figure out the transportation systems from the train and bus services from their schedules to where to find one. So I do recommend to rely on MRT and buses to get from one stop to another!
- You can use “Grab” as your alternative to taxis/Uber/Lyft. – Grab is basically Southeast Asia’s taxi/Uber/Lyft service. We just used these to go to and from the airport.
- You can use ATMs by certain areas to get more Singapore dollars. – Carrying cash (especially when in abroad) can easily run out, but luckily, there are ATMs to get more Singapore dollars, unless you go to a cash exchange place, which can take more fees.
- 50% off discount to Singapore National Gallery using Scoot airlines. – It was cool getting a 50% discount to go into this museum when we decided to use Scoot airlines. Scoot airlines isn’t found in every airport, but it is still found in a lot of destinations.
- Fill out SG Arrival card before arriving in Singapore. – You need to fill out the SG Arrival Card for your health declaration (due to the pandemic).