If you somehow find yourself on your way to Singapore for a 24-hour layover, then don’t just sleep in a nearby hotel or wander around its magnificent Changi Airport. Make time to explore Singapore while you wait for your boarding time. Since you’re already there, you might as well see why Singapore is a top place for expatriates and tourists. Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you the small city-state is on top of their list of favorite destinations.
Although one day is not enough to see everything that Singapore has to offer, it’s enough to wet your taste buds. A full 24-hour itinerary in Singapore might make you want to rebook your flight, so watch out for that. You have plenty of places to see, so jump right into it by making sure your belongings are safe in one of the hotels near Singapore airport. This way, you can enjoy exploring the city knowing your belongings are in a safe place, and you have a nice comfortable bed to sleep in after a day and night of adventure.
Grab Breakfast in Chinatown
One of the main reasons to explore Singapore is to eat. Go to Chinatown and marvel at the Peranakan heritage buildings of this district. Chinatown is quite a contrast to the glamor and glitz of the central business district to its east. Check out the Chinatown Food Center Complex, where you can get a plate of wonton noodles with barbecue pork slices on top or the traditional Singaporean fare of kaya toast slathered with coconut jam with soft-boiled eggs on the side.
Don’t miss the Maxwell Food Center, too, which serves traditional Singaporean morning food such as the nasi lemak, which consists of coconut rice topped with sambal paste, anchovies, and fried chicken or fish. Don’t go for your usual breakfast here. Look for something different.
Explore Little India
Thanks to its very efficient MRT, Little India is a short ride away from Chinatown. It is one of the most colorful streets in Singapore, so you shouldn’t miss it. You can visit the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, which is the oldest temple in Singapore. Other things to see in Little India are the Tan Teng Niah, the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, and the Tekka Centre, one of the top hawker centers in the Lion City.
Visit the Kampong Glam
Hopefully, you love walking because there’ll be a lot of it when you visit Singapore. Kampong Glam is an important area for Singapore’s Arab and Malay communities. It is a 20-minute walk from Little India. You can spot it easily because of Masjid Sultan, a 19th-century mosque amid Singapore’s high-rise buildings.
Around the mosque, check out Haji Lane, a narrow street full of Instagrammable cafes, boutiques, and street art. It’s easy to lose track of time here, but there are more to see, such as the Arab Street and the Malay Heritage Center. You’ll find many things you want to buy on Arab Street, but is this the best time to shop when there are a lot more to see?
Walk Along Orchard Road
Is it a visit to Singapore without seeing the glamorous Orchard Road? This street is lined with luxury brands and boutique shops. Even if shopping is not your thing, walking around Orchard Road will make you want to do some window shopping at least. Also, there are a lot of great restaurants in this part of the city. From Michelin-starred restaurants to the more humble but equally luxurious diners, you can have a feast here without going broke.
Relax at Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay is known for its nightlife offerings, but who says you can’t stay in the afternoon and enjoy the riverside view? This is a great place to relax for a while as you’ve been hopping from one place to another. It’s also a historical site, so there are plenty of spots to photograph for the ‘gram. The best thing about this spot in the city is it offers budget-friendly (by Singapore standards) Vietnamese fare and happy hour beers.
Cap It Off With a Visit to the Marina Bay
Is any trip in Singapore complete without seeing the view of Marina Bay? Walk along the promenade with locals, tourists, and expats. Or, you can marvel at the Marina Bay Sands, a stunning feat of architecture completed in 2010. It is one of the most luxurious and top-rated hotels in the world. Of course, don’t forget to take your photo with the iconic Merlion statue with Singapore’s skyscrapers as the background.
Compared to its other Southeast Asian neighbors, Singapore is doable to visit in a day. Although there are still many to see than what were listed here, these places are enough to pique your curiosity. There is more to Singapore, of course, than meets the eye, so make sure to book that flight to the Lion City for more than a day.