The Merlion, half fish, half lion – the symbol of Singapore
I’m starting this blog post with a useful fact I learnt about Singapore. Singapore is both a city and a country. It is its own island off the coast of Malaysia and is 722.5 square kilometres. And what a wonderful place it is to visit. With the great food, fabulous architecture, spectacular gardens and very interesting things to see and do, it is a great place to include on any visit to South-east Asia. I have created this Singapore one week, or 7 day itinerary to help you make the most of your time in Singapore. But first, a few facts like the best time to go and where to stay to ensure you have the best Singapore holiday.
Best time to visit Singapore
In my opinion, anytime a good time to visit Singapore however, the weather can play a big part in your decision. Singapore is situated only 137km above the Equator make the weather in Singapore hot and humid year-round. The average temperature during the day can be around 31 degrees Celsius and 24 degrees Celsius at night. Add the high humidity and walking around Singapore during the day can be a challenge. Singapore’s climate is largely influenced by two monsoon winds. In November to March the northeast monsoon brings bursts of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Then the hottest months are between May and June before the southwest monsoon arrives bringing a relatively dry climate. Therefore, weather-wise, the best time to visit Singapore is between June and August when temperatures are a pleasant 24-31 degrees Celsius. Now if you don’t like the heat and humidity and cannot visit Singapore during the prime weather, don’t worry to much as the air-conditioning is pretty much everywhere. Including in taxis to museums to shops. July to August is also considered low season so prices are cheaper.
Arriving in Singapore and Getting from the Airport to the City
Most arrive in Singapore by air at Singapore Changi Airport. Singapore is also connected to Malaysia by a couple of bridges so car and/or bus travel is possible. If arriving by air it is quite easy to get to your hotel from the airport. The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system runs from terminal 2 to all parts of Singapore. A one-way ticket costs $2.50. There are also taxis and buses you could take or purchase a private hotel transfer here.
It’s worth noting that Singapore’s Changi Airport now has a fabulous shopping centre known as Jewel Changi Airport. It is a great place to start or end your time in Singapore. A place to get your bearings when you arrive or a place to discover If you have checked out of your hotel and need to while a way a few hours while waiting for a plane home. As well as having plenty of places to eat and drink there are a number of retail outlets and attractions. This includes the Skywalk, which does cost to access. But there are plenty of free things to do like visit the massive Rain Vortex – the largest indoor waterfall in the world. There’s plenty of activities to tire yourself out on before you flight!
Where to stay in Singapore
There are a number of areas to stay when visiting Singapore for a week and they all have budget to five star accommodation available. All areas are well serviced by public transport so you will be able to visit all the places during this 7 day Singapore itinerary quite easily. Most stay in the Colonial District, Central Downtown, Marina Bay, Chinatown or Little India. Here are a few options. Click on the links for availability and to book your stay.
Hostels: The Hive Singapore and Backpackers Inn Chinatown
Budget Hotels: St Signature, Hotel New Changi
Mid-range: Ji Hotel Orchard Singapore, Hotel Goodwood Park
Luxury/Spluge: Marina Bay Sands, Hotel Grand Hyatt
Splurge: Hotel Raffles Singapore
One Week Singapore Itinerary
Please note: this itinerary spends 7 full days in Singapore. As you know your arrival and departure, you will be able to slot that into this itinerary. So your itinerary may become 8 or 9 days. The days can be moved around to suit you.
Day 1 – Get to Know Singapore
Get to know Singapore
Start the day on a open air hop-on hop-off bus tour of Singapore. I always jump on one of these buses no matter what city I am in. They provide a great overview of the city. You can book your ticket here.
After your ride head to Marina Bay. You may wish to take a ride on the Singapore Flyer, a giant, 42-storey, 165m observation wheel which provides breathtaking, 360-degree views over Singapore. It takes 30 minutes, and on a clear day you will be treated to views of neighbouring Indonesia and Malaysia.
After enjoying the views walk over to the Merlion Park to get the holiday shot of you and Singapore’s iconic mascot, the Merlion. There are two here, the original 8.6 metre tall one that spouts water from its mouth, and a smaller two-metre tall Merlion cub. There are more Merlion statues found around Singapore, but here at Marina Bay, you will find the most photographed. This famed statue represents two things in Singapore. Firstly, the lion head represents Singapore’s old name of ‘Lion City’. Secondly, the fishtail represents Singapore’s beginning as a fishing village. And it faces east because it’s Feng shui.
It will have been a long day of walking and sightseeing, so one more walk to nearby Chinatown to enjoy a meal and some relaxation. But if you want to party while in Singapore, Clarke Quay is the place to be. Here you can let loose at one of the popular nightclubs like Zouk. Or you could have a game of mini golf at Holey Moely or enjoy an arcade game at Level Up bar.
Day 2 – Gardens by the Bay & Marina Bay Sands Hotel
101 hectares of gardens to enjoy
After breakfast spend your morning at Gardens by the Bay. You will recognise these as they appear on most Singapore tourist brochures. I suggest you budget the whole morning of about 3 hours or so, though you can spend all day there. This is because the gardens span some 101 hectares and comprises three gardens. Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central. Visit the famed Flower Dome and Cloud Forest and discover the diverse vegetation and floral gems. Plus take in the picturesque views of the Singapore skyline on offer. Marvel at the might of the Supertrees.
After exploring the Gardens by the Bay, saunter along the waterfront to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, another iconic building of Singapore. It is home to the infinity edge pool on its roof. Even if you aren’t staying in the hotel you can purchase a ticket up to the SkyPark Observation Deck offering views over Singapore river and skyline. However, you can only swim in the infinity pool if you are staying there as a guest. The Marina Bay Sands Hotel is more than just a hotel, it also has a shopping mall which is an experience in itself. As well as shops and a food court with lots of Asian cuisine to enjoy, it has the only casino in Singapore. I would have something to eat here before catching the 6pm Marina Bay Sands water show.
Day 3 – Discover Chinatown and Little India
Start today with breakfast at Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre. Plenty of choice here but why not try a classic Singapore-style breakfast such as chwee kueh – oily rice cakes accompanied with fried chye poh (Chinese dried radish). Was nicer than I expected or you could have something more western that includes coffee and eggs on toast – but it is up to you, as said, there is plenty of choice. A good breakfast will keep you sustained to discover different areas of Singapore.
First cab off the rank on day 3 of this Singapore 7 day itinerary is Singapore’s Chinatown. Plenty of history, food, culture and attractions to discover. Maybe start on the rooftop carpark at People’s Park Complex for great views over the streets of Chinatown. Then take a stroll down South Bridge Road and discover lantern-festooned streets with many boutiques, age-old temples and plenty of restaurants.
Then discover the Chinatown Heritage Centre on Pagoda Street which showcases the lives of Chinatown’s earliest residents. Then enjoy my favourite past time, enjoying the Chinatown Street Food. Or head to Chinatown Complex Food Centre, Singapore’s largest hawker centre. Home to some 260 food vendors, you are in foodie heaven here!
This afternoon, take the train to Little India. Why? You will discover that modern-day Singapore has been influenced by different cultures throughout its history. Visit the Indian Heritage Centre to learn more before visiting one of the many Indian restaurants for an evening meal.
Not all cultured out yet? Then discover Malay culture at Kampong Gian. Visit landmarks such as the Sultan Mosque and the Malay Heritage Centre. Or visit one of the side streets and enjoy time in a local cafe or restaurant. Then head home to your hotel.
Day 4 – Singapore Cultural and Heritage Day in the historical precincts
Singapore Sling – A must try when in Singapore
If yesterday wasn’t enough today head to Singapores oldest museum, The National Museum of Singapore. This museum is very interesting and focuses on the nations rich colonial history. Allow the morning here, or longer if you love visiting museums. Then just a couple of kilometres away visit the National Gallery Singapore which houses some 8,000 artworks that are spread over two buildings, City Hall and Supreme Court. This makes it the largest collection of modern art in South-east Asia. Art not your seen? Then walk over to St Andrew’s Cathedral to admire its architecture. Discover how it is Singapore’s oldest and largest Anglican cathedral, and a national monument of Singapore.
Not far away, is the famed Raffles Hostel. Here you could experience a Singapore Sling, the most famous cocktail in Singapore. It was developed in 1913 by Ngiam Tong Boon, the bartender at Raffles Hotel at the time. It is a must-try when visiting Singapore. A little on the exxi side, about S$30, but well worth the money, even if only to say you have tried one! I’m not going to spoil it by telling you what’s in it, but all I will say, it is sweet. The hotel is easy to find and only a short walk from City Hall MRT. The hotel is named after Sir Thomas Stamdord Raffles, known as the founding father of modern-day Singapore. It is a sight to behold with its white colonial facade. When you step into the Long Bar, it feels like you are stepping back in time. The bar is polished teakwood, there are wicker chairs and traditional reed fans to cool the room. Beware the crunch of the peanut shells that cover the floor. It can get busy at night but the atmosphere makes it a great place to end your day.
Day 5 – Sentosa Island
Catch the cable car to Sentosa Island
Today have a fabulous time on the island of Sentosa, a small island off the southern shore of the small island of Singapore. You can reach the island a few ways. You could take the train to Harbour front and then the monorail onto the island however, you might want to opt for the cable car ride from Faber Peak. The second option will provide beautiful area views of Sentosa and the harbour area.
Now Sentosa has many things to do and see. It is known for its sun, sand and surf and you have a number of beaches to choose to spend your day on. But there are also plenty of water sport things to do. Sentosa is also home to Universal Studios Singapore where you can experience adrenaline pumping rides spread across seven movie-themed districts. What great fun this place is! You may prefer to head to Adventure Cove Waterpark to enjoy the slides or perhaps zip-line or buggy jumping is more your scene. Looking for something more tame, then visit Madame Tussauds Singapore or admire the tallest Merlion. Maybe head beneath the waves at S.E.A. Aquarium and visit the some 100,000 creatures behind the glass walls of the aquariums. Yes, there is plenty to see and do on Sentosa so I would decide on what you would like to see and do as it will be a very long day. Or, you might want to come back another day.
Day 6 – Zoo, River Safari
Did you know that Singapore has three zoos? Singapore Zoo, River Safari and Night Safari. You could spend your morning at the Singapore Zoo before spending the afternoon at the River Safari. This is the newest zoo addition. It is actually Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park. It is big, 12-hectares with over 400 types of plants and 240 specials of aquatic and terrestrial animals. And if this isn’t enough, discover the Night Safari. As the name suggests, this only operates at night because this park is for nocturnal animals. You can walk through the geographical zones or take the tram.
If you don’t want to spend a whole day visiting the animals while you time away in Singapore’s Botanic Gardens. This is an UNESCO heritage site. You will find over 600,000 orchid plants at the National Orchid Garden. If you love orchids, you will be in heaven! And why not visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Museum to discover the garden’s colourful history. Or simply relax in the green space, after all it is 82 hectares! And you won’t starve, as there are restaurants with varying fare throughout the park.
Day 7 – Shop till you drop
There are many places to shop in Singapore, but today head to the country’s major shopping district, Orchard Road. And you won’t be disappointed. There are a number of malls such as Paragon, ION Orchard, Orchard Central and Plaza Singapore, to name a few, to shop in. You will be able to purchase a wide range of goods from cosmetics, tech gear and clothes of both local and international brands. If looking for a bargain visit Bugis Street which is known for its cheap bargains. You could also visit the shops at the airport or the mall under the Marina Bay Sands.
This 7 day Singapore itinerary is a great way to spend your time in Singapore. As mentioned, you can move the days around to suit you. If you have been to Singapore or are planning a visit, I would love to hear from you in the comments following or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your visit to Singapore.