48 hours in Singapore – the Must-See Guide
In our recent trip to South-East Asia, one of the countries we enjoyed visiting the most was Singapore. We only stayed for two days and we kind of regretted this decision, as we loved the city so much, that we wished we could stay more. For all of you who need some advice on how to spend two days at the “little red dot”, here is a suggested 48-hour itinerary exclusively prepared by Truevoyagers!
Breakfast in Arab Quarter
During our stay, we booked an apartment in Little India, which is a really scenic and traditional neighborhood, ideal for foodies and low-budget travelers. For the first morning, we decided to stay close to home and enjoy a nice breakfast in the Kampong Glam area, famous for Arab street and Haji lane.
In the so-called “Arab quarter”, the Masjid Sultan mosque is the number one attraction, which will certainly catch your eye. The golden details, the prayer hall and domes highlight the mosque's star features. We took our breakfast and tasted the traditional Kopi coffee for the first time in our visit at the Kampong Glam café which offered a magnificent view of the mosque.
Arab street is full of shops selling fabrics and textiles, while Haji lane is one the coolest streets in Singapore with so many bars and restored shop-houses which will definitely satisfy your hipster side.
Next stop: China town
After a quick stroll in Haji lane, we walked towards Bugis junction, mingled in the crowd, did some window shopping and took the subway for China Town.
The neighborhood is exactly as we expected it to be, with lots of stalls for shopping and many restaurants. Here, you will also see some colorful restored shop-houses as in the Arab quarter which will surely cheer you up. Bustling streets, intense smells and a mixture of Chinese, Hindu and Buddhist temples form a unique atmosphere.
We took some pictures of the Buddha Tooth Relic temple, the remarkable four stores building and visited the Sri Mariamman Hindu temple, which is one of the most prominent places of worship for Hindus in the country.
We headed then to Maxwell food centre, as we have heard that you may find the best Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore there! Overall, one of the things that we really enjoyed in Singapore is that you can find so many cheap and delicious options for lunch and dinner that you want to try everything once you are found in a food court like Maxwell food centre!
Afternoon- Orchard Street for shopping or hiking in Southern Ridges
We actually did both and we were so exhausted after that, thus we suggest only one of the two options. Orchard is a shop-until-you-drop street with some of the most expensive brands and enormous malls, while Southern ridges include a 9-kilometre trail that connects parks along the southern ridge of Singapore. Even though we did not complete the trail as the heat was scorching and we felt too tired to continue, if you really like nature, this is a really nice trail offering great views of the greener part of the city.
Evening – Exploring Marina Bay
For the evening, we chose the most scenic spot of Singapore, where you can find the gigantic Marina Bays Sands hotel, the mesmerizing Gardens by the Bay and the Merlion, the national symbol of Singapore.
The helix bridge, the Art and Science museum which looks like an enormous lotus flower and the Supertree grove compose a futuristic image that we absolutely adored. We started our stroll from the Supertree grove in Gardens by the Bay and we instantly fell in love with the tree-like structures. The most fascinating part was that we walked on top of the trees on the OCBC skyway and took some great pictures during sunset. The ticket for the Skyway was $8 and you could only visit for 15 minutes but the time was enough to shoot a cool video that will feature soon in our website.
At 19.45 we enjoyed the Garden Rhapsody Light show in its Christmas edition which was very cool with all the dazzling lights and the festive songs. Later on, we crossed the helix bridge and captured the grandeur of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
The last stop was at the Merlion, the famous half lion-half fish sculpture, which symbolizes Singapore's humble beginnings as a fishing village and at the same time its original name, Singapura, or ‘lion city’ in Malay. Spouting water from its mouth, it is a popular photo-spot.
For diner, we decided to get back to Little India and devour try out some authentic Indian dishes!
Capturing the tropical flora at the Botanic Gardens
We started off with a strong desire to see the less urban and greener part of Singapore and headed towards the Unesco World Heritage site and more than 150-year-old, Singapore Botanic Gardens.
These are the most visited botanic gardens in the world and possess an array of botanical and horticultural attractions with a rich history and a wonderful plant collection. We really enjoyed the Orchid Garden with more than 600 Orchid species on display. It takes a 20-minute walk from the train station to get inside the Botanic Gardens and reach the Orchid Garden. This is certainly the ideal place for all nature lovers!
Lunching at Tiong Bahru's hawkers
Tiong Bahru is a residential estate but in the recent years starts being transformed into a hip district with bars and restaurants. Since we were really hungry after our long walk in the gardens, we headed straight away towards the Tiong Bahru food centre, which is filled with hawker stalls and you can find cheap, clean and tasty food. We had an amazing roasted duck and tasted delicious and colorful Nonya Kueh at HARRIANN'S DELIGHTS. Kueh or Kuih are bite-sized desserts/cakes in different colors and flavors, a must try!
Afternoon – Immersed into culture in Little India
We left it in the end because it was so close to our apartment, but is a not-to-miss neighborhood.
The 24-hour shopping mall Mustafa Centre offers everything from electronics to groceries, but it was our spot for money exchange as well. There are so many cheap solutions for lunch or dinner in the area but there is also a good place for breakfast, the Ya-kun Kaya Toast. We admit that since we first tasted Kaya, the traditional coconut spread found in Singapore and some other South-East Asian countries, it has become our favorite morning habit! Kaya toast is combined with half-boiled eggs and Kopi coffee for the absolute value set!
As you can imagine, many Hindu temples can be found in the area. Do not forget to go for some souvenir hunting as there is space for bargaining and have some dinner in one of the numerous restaurants.
Optional – drinks at the Clarke Quay
We visited Clarke Quay as we heard about the nice atmosphere created by the bars along the river, but since many tourists and expats flock in the area, you will not feel the traditional vibe of Singapore. Do visit if you feel like dancing and drinking!
All in all, Singapore is a vibrant city with so many options for dining and shopping, while keeping its traditional character in neighborhoods like China town, Little India and the Arab quarter. The “fine country” with so many rules and fines is definitely South-East Asia’s hub and a must in your bucket list!
*All photos are captured by Truevoyagers.