A Fun Singapore Itinerary
From the start of 2020 until almost the end of 2021, the question of how many days in Singapore you should spend was irrelevant. The city-state was cut off from the rest of the world, a victim of its own #CovidZero success.
Fortunately, Singapore’s leadership (for all its other flaws) was able to see the forest for the trees and put the country back on the path to normalcy – for international travelers that meant the introduction of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) program. . Whether or not that’s still in place when you visit Singapore, the number of days you spend here is more important than ever.
In addition to helping you determine how many days to Singapore, regardless of location South East Asia you are traveling, I hope to inspire you to seek out destinations and experiences in the city that you might not have chosen otherwise. Shall we start?
Where to stay in Singapore
I’ll start discussing how much time to spend in Singapore in a moment. For now, however, I’d like to talk about where you should stay. Personally, if I am paying for my trip (and I usually do), I like to choose a place that is modest, but stylish. Chinatown scarlet offers small rooms, but chic decor that matches the local neighborhood, where there are also plenty of Airbnb apartments dripping with character.
On the high end – if someone else is paying, or if money isn’t an issue for you – an obvious choice would be the Sands of Marina Bay, which I will discuss in more detail a few paragraphs below. Other options include Raffles Hotel, a heritage property and home of the original Singapore Sling and Four Seasons Singapore, which is close to the shopping district of Orchard Road.
Best things to do in Singapore
Discover Singapore’s ethnic neighborhoods
To foreigners, Singapore can seem monochromatic or even sterile. The quickest way to disprove this lie is to delve into the neighborhoods that feature Singapore’s different ethnic groups. The most obvious choices are Chinatown and Little India, but I also like arab street and Kampong Glam, whose colorful row houses are the pride of Singapore’s often forgotten Malay community.
No matter how many days you spend in Singapore, food will be at the heart of your itinerary. It could mean the traditional flavors of the neighborhoods above, like the chili crabs in Chinatown, Nasi Lemak at Kampong Glam, murtabak along Arab Street or curries in Little India. Alternatively, you can just go to a hawking center (love Tiong Bahru Market and Maxwell Road Food Center) and enjoy a sample of delicious and inexpensive street food.
Get the classic photo of Merlion
Some experiences are a must-have, even if you haven’t decided how long to stay in Singapore yet. The Merlion The statue is possibly Singapore’s closest thing to a tourist attraction, especially given its location. It’s right on the water’s edge near the CBD, and a short walk from the Raffles Hotel, this is where the Singapore Sling cocktail was born.
Clink glasses at Marina Bay Sands
It is also in the crosshairs of another classic Singapore hotel (albeit newer), the Sands of Marina Bay. Here you can either book a room, win big at the casino, or go up to the rooftop and enjoy cocktails as the sun sets. No matter how many days you spend in Singapore or the purpose or scope of your trip, you are almost certain to find yourself here at some point.
Say goodnight to Gardens by the Bay
The city comes alive at night no matter how long you decide to spend in Singapore. If you’re not a big fan of the nightlife like me, however, the views might be more to your liking than the beers. Personally, I love to visit iconic Gardens by the bay after dark. For a green break during the day, go to Singapore Botanic Gardens, which is close to the shopping district of Orchard Road.
Other FAQs on planning your Singapore itinerary
How many days do you need in Singapore?
As a general rule, I recommend spending at least 2 days in Singapore, especially if you are coming from the other side of the world. Spend your first day on a sightseeing experience, whether it’s gazing across the water posing in front of the Merlion, having a cocktail atop Marina Bay Sands, or watching the night fall from Gardens by the Bay. Devote the second day to the ethnic neighborhoods of Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam, and Arab Street.
Is 3 days enough for Singapore?
Three days is really the perfect answer for how many days to spend in Singapore, in my opinion. This allows you one day each for traditional tourist attractions and ethnic neighborhoods, as described above, plus a “free day”. If you are arriving from the United States or Europe, it could be a day of shopping and spa along Orchard Road, with afternoon tea nearby. If you splurge on a stay at Marina Bay Sands, you could spend the third day swimming in its iconic infinity pool.
What to do in Singapore for 4 days?
With 4 days in Singapore you have the best of both worlds – you can walk the full range, but take your time to do it. Start the first day relaxed, greeting the Merlion with a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel. On day two, have lunch in Little India or Arab Street with chili crabs in Chinatown, or a more casual meal at a hawking center. Spend day three shopping on Orchard Road and day four in the garden: Singapore Botanic Garden, or the more man-made gardens by the bay.
The bottom line
No matter how many days you spend in Singapore, focus on the quality of your experiences rather than the number. An eclectic day or two in Singapore, contrasting traditional Chinatown or Little India with the futuristic modernity of Gardens by the Bay or Marina Sands, is better than 3 or 4 days here which are totally uninspired. As the crossroads of the world, Singapore is a place you will undoubtedly come back to as a seasoned international traveler. Focus on making that trip – every trip – a trip to remember, rather than one that just ticks off items from a bucket list.