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The top things to do in Singapore in 4 days

In this article, you can find my top recommendations for the best things to do and to see in Singapore, one of the most incredible cities in the world.

singapore sunrise

In my previous article, I talked a bit about Singapore and why it’s such a unique city: you can find the best of the Asian continent without all the typical problems of many Asian cities, such as chaotic traffic and pollution. The most incredible thing is that Singapore is one of the most densely populated places in the world.

The biggest downside of Singapore is that it’s a very expensive city. It’s hard to say if it is the most expensive in the world, given that the rankings are constantly changing, but it’s always at the top. If you plan to move to Singapore, remember that according to the government, Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world for expats. With that in mind, it is possible to visit Singapore without spending a fortune if you plan carefully.

Useful info to plan your trip

how to plan a trip in singapore

The two things that will mostly affect the cost of your trip are flights and hotels.

As far as flights are concerned, there is not much choice: Singapore has only one airport. The only option that might save you something is flying to Kuala Lumpur and then getting to Singapore by bus. In this way, you will have the opportunity to visit Malaysia and see two countries so close yet so different. That’s what I did because I live in China, and the flights to Malaysia were way cheaper than those to Singapore. If you also choose this option, remember that it takes at least 6 hours to get to Singapore by bus.

One thing I always recommend is to get a VPN and try to check the flight prices from different IP addresses. This way, you can save a lot of money sometimes (remember to use the incognito browser mode).

Regarding accommodation, Singapore offers some of the most luxurious options in the world, such as the famous Marina Bay Sands, with an amazing infinity pool overlooking the city. Spending at least 300$ for one night in a hotel is not an option for everyone. On Booking.com, you can find much cheaper options. Another option is to use Trip.com.

In any case, you will spend more than any other Southeast Asian country. I recommend booking your accommodation as close as possible to the subway (also called MRT) because Singapore is hot, and walking for 20 minutes every time you leave your hotel is not nice. The subway is convenient, so you don’t need accommodation in the city center.

When is the best time to visit Singapore?

Being close to the equator, there are no seasons, and the temperature remains constant throughout the year. The only real difference is the amount of rain; from February to April should rain much less. Towards the beginning of Autumn, the sky in Singapore can be hazy due to the burning of the fields in Southeast Asia.

There are 4 official languages: English, Mandarin Chinese (with simplified characters, unlike Taiwan, where they use traditional characters), Tamil, and Malay. You won’t have problems communicating with the locals if you speak English.

Here’s a list of the top things to do and see in Singapore:

Things to see: Gardens by the Bay

gardens by the bay singapore

Gardens by the Bay is a nature park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in the Central Region of Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir. The park consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden (in Marina South), Bay East Garden (in Marina East), and Bay Central Garden (in Downtown Core and Kallang). Gardens by the Bay is part of the nation’s plans to transform its “Garden City” into a “City in a Garden” to raise the quality of life by enhancing greenery and flora in the city.

It’s a really big area where you can spend a whole day. The three main attractions are the two futuristic greenhouses, which remind me very much of Jurassic Park, and the Supertrees Grove: tree-like structures that dominate the Gardens’ landscape with heights that range between 25 meters and 50 meters.

gardens by the bay

One of the two greenhouses is called Flower Dome and is the least spectacular of the two. The second one is called Cloud Forest Dome and it’s incredible. Right after the entrance, you will see a huge man-made waterfall reproducing the cloud forest environment. Both greenhouses have air conditioning.

Every evening, there is a light show in the Supertrees area. It usually gets quite crowded. You’ll have to pay an entrance fee for all these three attractions, but access to the parking area is free.

Enjoying an evening in one of the city’s exclusive bars

atlas bar singapore

Singapore is a city for rich people, so there is no shortage of exclusive locals. Unlike other cities in Asia, access to most rooftop bars is not free of charge, and you’ll have to reserve a table at least a day before.

One of the most unique places in the Atlas Bar, which has the world’s largest collection of Gin types: over 1000 (you can see the bottles in the picture above). Another place I wanted to visit, not so much for the overpriced cocktails, but for the view, one of the best in Singapore, is 1 Altitude. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it because no more tables were available.

Botanic Gardens

botanic gardens singapore

The first time I visited Singapore was in 2011, and I didn’t visit much since I only stayed in the city for a few hours. One thing I do remember is the Botanic Gardens. You cannot miss this paradise if you like nature but do not mind spending time under the oppressive tropical sun.

Founded in the mid-1800s, the Botanic Gardens are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main attraction is the orchid garden, a truly incredible place if you love flowers.

Orchard Road

Orchard Road is the shopping street. A must-see for those who love shopping. I went there mainly to visit the library @Orchard Library to get a classic picture to post on Instagram.

A positive thing about this area is the numerous malls where you can take refuge when it rains or gets too hot.

Enjoying the sunset in the downtown area

sunset singapore

The Singapore skyline is one of the most beautiful and photogenic in the world. A pedestrian street runs through the entire Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay area and reaches as far as the Singapore Flyer. Towards evening, when the heat is less oppressive, it fills up with people jogging or enjoying the ocean breeze.

sunset in singapore

This part of the city is probably the one I like the most. Unlike other cities like Hong Kong (here is my travel guide), where you constantly have claustrophobic feelings, I didn’t have this impression in Singapore.

A visit to the ethnic districts

Singapore has three souls: Chinese, Indian, and Muslim.

The Arab area is my favorite, and one of the reasons is that Middle Eastern food is one of the best in the world. One of the highlights is the Masjid Mosque (in Kampong Glam) at sunset. After walking into the area, you can try one of the many Arabic restaurants.

In the same area, you can find Haji Lane, a small alley famous for its nice murals and characteristic bars and restaurants. Please get there in the late afternoon or the evening. Not in the morning.

buddha tooth relic

Chinatown and the famous Buddha Tooth Relic Temple represent the Chinese soul of Singapore. Again, in the morning, you’ll find almost everything closed so I suggest you go there in the early afternoon or even later. If you go there toward sunset, you can take a picture of the Temple that contrasts with the modern skyscrapers of Singapore. The temple is relatively new, though: it was only built in 2002.

sri veeramakaliamman

Finally, in Little India, near Chinatown, many Hindu temples, including the Sri Veeramakaliamman, are dedicated to the goddess Kali. For lovers of Indian food, there are numerous restaurants in the area.

Photographing the Merlion at sunrise

merlion singapore

The Merlion is a statue with a lion’s head and fish body, symbolizing Singapore. The best time to photograph it is at sunrise when there are few tourists, but not necessarily few photographers, as I found out… The fountain that comes out of the mouth of the statue is turned on after 7:00. So if you arrive very early and it’s not working, wait a while.

The food in Singapore

food in singapore

I have often heard that Taiwan competes with Singapore for the title of the country with the best food in Asia. After spending some time in different Asian countries, I have to say that Singapore is unrivaled, at least in my opinion. You can find the best Asian food, and the average quality of restaurants is high. The restaurants are often very clean and have big signs pointing out harmful products such as MSG are not added to the food.

It is no coincidence that the best chefs worldwide have opened their restaurants in this city. Of course, you can’t expect street food prices like in China or Thailand, but if you’re looking for something cheap, you can find cheaper restaurants. Finally, I discovered on this trip that coffee, called kopi, is cheaper than in Italy! Do you need any other reason to decide to visit Singapore?

Final thoughts

moder art museum in singapore

While waiting at the Customs on the Malaysian-Singapore border, I chatted with an Italian man. He was surprised I decided to spend 5 days in Singapore as if nothing was interesting there. Singapore is one of the few cities, together with Rome, that I would visit again. It’s a dynamic city with much to offer, even to people with different interests.

In this article, I mentioned some of the many things to see in Singapore, but maybe I didn’t mention the most important thing: Singapore is the future. It represents what cities will perhaps become one day when it becomes increasingly evident that preserving the environment is essential for our survival and is also a good economic investment.

I am convinced that we must do our best to preserve the environment, starting from where we live, just like Singapore did: it is a green city where sometimes you feel that nature has taken over and is claiming back urban spaces. But it’s the other way around: Singapore is the result of projects developed by some of the best architects in the world.

Having said that, I know that Singapore is not a city for everyone: the temperatures are very high all year round, the city is very expensive, and some people prefer to visit remote places rather than modern mega-cities. In my opinion, though, it’s worth visiting Singapore at least once in your life.

Here are more pictures I took in Singapore.

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