The Asian melting pot that is Singapore, the Pearl of the Orient, is the perfect place to spend a fun-filled 24 hours. The island nation is small enough that you can get a good feel for the place in that short a time but diverse enough to surprise and fascinate you too. Here’s a quick guide on how to spend 24 hours in Singapore.
Start your day off right (and early to avoid the hottest part of the day!) with a breakfast at the Open Farm Community. Slightly outside of the downtown tourist area, this cool place is a community farm project in the city where you can wander around and see local produce growing, but then also sit down in the attached restaurant and eat some of their beautiful creations made with almost entirely Singapore-grown ingredients.
Just across the street, you’ll find the impressive Botanic Gardens. Entry is free, and coming here in the morning means you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings outside of the noon heat, though there is still plenty of shade to cool off in.
Take your time admiring all the tropical plants growing out in the open, stopping especially in the orchid garden and the Symphony Lake for the great views. Make your way slowly to the northwest corner of the gardens, past the Eco Lake, and then hop on the metro at the Botanic Gardens stop.
Ride the metro a few stops back towards Downtown and get off at Orchard to enjoy some air conditioning during the hottest part of the day in the architecturally impressive ION Orchard mall. Spend some time window shopping and see how the locals spend a lot of their free time.
If you can manage it, walk east down Orchard Road for just 10 minutes, passing all the designer malls and head into the Orchard Gateway to visit the unique SuperSpace shop, where unique, quirky fashion and accessories can be found at affordable prices. Just a few doors down inside the same mall is Real Food, a great spot for a healthy lunch.
From here, it’s another very short walk to the Singapore Art Museum, with its impressive collection of contemporary art from Singaporean and other Asian artists in multiple mediums. Housed in a 19th-century school that was restored and reopened as a museum in the mid-1990s, it’s a pleasant space to spend a few hours learning about the local art scene.
Once you’re done soaking up some culture at SAM, it’s another 10-minute walk to the Bugis Street Market. An interesting alternative to the endless malls of Singapore, this series of covered streets is full of stalls that look temporarily set up, but are in fact quite permanent selling everything from makeup and home appliances to clothes and tacky souvenirs.
This is not the place to come for high-end shopping, or maybe not even good quality shopping, but it does provide a nice insight into how another side of Singapore lives, shops, eats and socialises. Luckily, many of the stalls are actually air-conditioned, so even though at first the passageway leading into the market may feel oppressively hot, the deeper you delve into the labyrinth, the more bearable it becomes!
Just before sunset, hop on the Blue line at Bugis and ride a few stops to Bayfront. From here, walk to the Gardens by the Bay to enjoy the sundown and the view out over the sea and of the city’s skyline behind you. The futuristic and otherworldly “supertrees” dominate the park, towering over everything with connecting walkways, but there are plenty of other worthwhile attractions here worth exploring.
Back on the Blue Line, you can catch a train to Chinatown, or if the heat is not too much now that the sun has gone down, take the 30-minute walk to Singapore’s Chinatown for a bite to eat. Either wander down the Chinatown Street Market for cheap, roadside food, or head to the Maxwell Food Centre for an indoor dining experience with a wider range of choice, but similar prices. While you’re in the area, stop by the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple to take in this impressive four-storey temple among the modern buildings of downtown Singapore.
Get back on the metro to Orchard, or for ease, take a taxi to the Hard Rock Cafe. Now, this might not sound like the most exciting place in Singapore to end your night, but it is actually a surprisingly cool event location. With monthly drag shows, parties of all kinds, as well as great drinks at reasonable prices, you’re bound to have a good time here.
This guest post was written by Sam Wood.