OT Itinerary: Your Perfect Five-Day Guide To Singapore

With the news that Singapore is easing visa processing timelines for Indians, here's our exhaustive five-day guide to Singapore
Singapore is a popular destination among Indians
Singapore is a popular destination among IndiansShutterstock

Spread over 735.2 square kilometres the Republic of Singapore is a city-state with a world-class reputation. With a history dating back to eight centuries ago and with an educated populace with roots in the Chinese, Malaysian and Indian mainlands, Singapore exemplifies racial and religious harmony and is one of Four Asian Tigers alongside the developed economies of Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

A five day visit to the country is not enough to take in all of its marvels and we are certain you will be itching to come back for more.  

Day One: The Modern Icons Of The City

The ArtScience Museum of Singapore
The ArtScience Museum of SingaporeLifestyle Travel Photo/Shutterstock

Start your first day in Singapore by walking the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade. The skyline of the city never fails to impress with views of the Marina Bay Sands resort, the ArtScience Museum and the iconic Merlion fountain. Head to the SkyPark Observation Deck for enthralling views of the city and The Shoppes, the resort’s shopping district.

Next, head to the ArtScience Museum which blends art and science to tell stories about humanity's past, present and future. The structure of the museum is meant to symbolise the welcoming hand of Singapore with ten fingers. There are 21 galleries spread over three storeys and the hours will pass by before you know it.

The SkyPark Observation Deck at the Marina Bay Sands
The SkyPark Observation Deck at the Marina Bay SandsDuc Huy Nguyen/Shutterstock

Get lunch by dining at the Straits Chinese Nonya Restaurant, the Sawasdee Thai Restaurant or the Mazzo Restaurant and Bay.

Next, head to Gardens by the Bay. This oasis of greenery is spread over 101 hectares of land and has three distinct areas. The Flower Dome in the Bay South Garden is home to plants and flowers from five continents; the Floral Fantasy takes inspiration from fairy tales and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon; and the Cloud Forest has a Cloud Mountain, a 35m structure veiled in mist and covered in plant life from the tropics.

The Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Bay
The Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Baybeen.there.recently/Shutterstock

Be sure to stick around to see the Supertrees. These vertical gardens span 25-50m in height. Head to the Supertree Observatory for majestic views of the Marina Bay district. The Garden Rhapsody, a mesmerising music and light show, takes place at 7:45PM and 8:45PM every evening.

If you skip the Garden Rhapsody then walk to the other end of the waterfront to Merlion Park, home to the city’s national icon. The statue sports the body of a fish and the head of a lion. Its head represents the city’s original name of Singapura (“lion city” in Sanskrit).

The Merlion is the national icon of Singapore
The Merlion is the national icon of SingaporeRoman Babakin/Shutterstock

Wrap up your first day by eating dinner at the Hong Lim Market and Food Centre.

Day Two: The Past Comes To Life

Inside the National Gallery of Singapore
Inside the National Gallery of SingaporeEQRoy/Shutterstock

Rise early and head to the National Gallery of Singapore. This stunning architectural piece of work showcases more than 8,000 pieces from Singapore’s national collection, making it one of the world’s largest public collections of Singaporean and Southeast Asian modern art from the 19th century. If you finish early then head to the Peranakan Museum, an eight-minute walk away. Grab lunch by checking out the Inle Myanmar Restaurant, Mimi Restaurant or Amò, an upscale Italian place.

The National Museum of Singapore beckons next. It depicts sculptures, objets d'art, paintings, drawings and archaeological finds. Charge up your energy levels by indulging in some sweet treats at the Tiong Bahru Bakery.

A Javanese-style fountain with sculptures in Fort Canning Park
A Javanese-style fountain with sculptures in Fort Canning Parkpac_aleks/Shutterstock

Luckily for you the bakery is located right next to Fort Canning Park, a historical landmark. The 18-hectare space is chock full of attractions—from ancient artefacts for history buffs to outdoor lawns for concerts and lush greenery for nature lovers.

At night, check out the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple located in the enclave of Little India. Dedicated to Perumal, one of Krishna's avatars, it is one of the oldest temples in Singapore and is listed as a national monument. Have dinner in any one of the numerous joints of Little India, like Khansama, Komala Vilas Restaurant and Aroma’s. If you’re craving East Asian cuisine then you won’t go wrong with a trip to The Ramen House.

Day Three: Everything Chinatown

The colourful Masjid Jamae is in Chinatown
The colourful Masjid Jamae is in Chinatownbadahos/Shutterstock

Today will be all about Chinatown. The historic temples and halls of the area sit alongside award-winning bars and restaurants. Chinatown encompasses the neighbourhoods of Tanjong Pagar, Bukit Pasoh, Kreta Ayer and Telok Ayer. There are numerous tours you can avail of but you won’t go wrong by entering the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple first. Designed in the Tang-style it was built in 2007 and gets its name from what the Buddhists regard as the left canine tooth of Buddha, which is on display at the site.

The Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore and dedicated to gods Shiva and Durga, the Masjid Jamae, built as a place of worship for Chinatown’s Tamil Muslim population, the Thian Hock Keng Temple, and the Chinatown Heritage Centre on Pagoda Street are must-visits. Sprinkled across the walls of the laneways and alleys are artworks by local Singaporean artists like Yip Yew Chong.

The Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple of Singapore and is located in Chinatown
The Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple of Singapore and is located in ChinatownBoyCatalyst/Shutterstock

Lunch at the Maxwell Food Centre, Kra Pow Thai Restaurant, the Humpback, Restaurant Ibid or the Merci Marcel. Walk the streets of Ann Siang Road, Club Street and Amoy Street as twilight sets in.

With so much walking over three days it’s time to get an early dinner. Allow for a slower and more relaxed pace of life in the evenings.

Day Four: Choose Your Own Adventure

The Orchard Road is a bustling commercial district
The Orchard Road is a bustling commercial districtmonticello/Shutterstock

Begin your morning with a stroll in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a 165-year-old tropical garden located at the fringe of the Orchard Road shopping district. It is one of three gardens, and the only tropical garden, to be ranked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Next, go to Emerald Hill some 3km away to admire its historic architectural style. The neighbourhood's restored homes showcase Chinese Baroque architecture and European influences from Singapore’s colonial past. Most of them are private residences. The Orchard Road shopping district is a good place to hunt for souvenirs to take home as your trip starts drawing to a close. The Clarke Quay entertainment district is another charming place with good views of the riverside.

Inside the Museum of Ice Cream
Inside the Museum of Ice Creammuseumoficecreamsg/Facebook

What you do next is up to your interests. The Museum of Ice Cream, the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, the Singapore City Gallery, the Universal Studios Singapore theme park on Sentosa Island, and the neighbouring S.E.A. Aquarium will all make for an enjoyable afternoon and evening. Make sure you eat dinner at a nearby restaurant or café and get a good night’s rest for your final day tomorrow.

Day Five: Nature Bound

The TreeTop Walk is a 250m-long freestanding suspension bridge in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve
The TreeTop Walk is a 250m-long freestanding suspension bridge in the Central Catchment Nature ReserveFilipe.Lopes/Shutterstock

Start your last day by visiting the Sungei Boloh Wetland Preserve. This ecological gem to the north of the city is a dream for nature lovers who get to witness migratory birds, crabs, mudskippers and mud lobsters in their natural habitats.

A trip to the Singapore Zoo may not appeal to everyone but go for it you’re curious. There are plenty of alternatives to the zoo like the Jurong Lake Gardens, the Singapore Discovery Centre, the Haw Par Villa theme park—where hundreds of statues depict fables and tales from Chinese and Buddhist mythology—the Science Centre Singapore, and the TreeTop Walk, a 250m-long freestanding suspension bridge which connects the two highest points in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

The HSBC Rain Vortex at the Jewel Changi Airport
The HSBC Rain Vortex at the Jewel Changi AirportNuamfolio/Shutterstock

The Jewel Changi should be the absolute last thing you should visit before checking in for your flight. It is a nature-themed entertainment and retail complex but its centrepiece is the world's tallest indoor waterfall, the HSBC Rain Vortex, which is surrounded by a terraced forest setting.

Where To Stay

We suggest the Andaz Singapore and the Capella Singapore for a luxurious stay; the Hotel NuVe Urbane and The Great Madras for budget-friendly options; and The Bohemian and YMCA at One Orchard for those looking to stay in hostels.  

Getting There

There are direct flights to Singapore from most metropolitan Indian cities.

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