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2 Days in Singapore: The Best of Both Worlds

Having spent over 2 years in Singapore I finally feel like I’m qualified to give some advice on how you should spend your time there. When people ask me for advice on Singapore they usually only have a couple of days to kill between flights, so I’ve created a “2 days in Singapore” itinerary which takes in the famous, touristy sights and also some of the hidden gems I’ve discovered along the way.

Day 1: The typical tourist trail

Singapore is one of the most modern, well-oiled city machines in the world and is home to some impressive feats of architecture, interesting historical sites and peaceful nature areas. If you’re short on time a great idea is to book a ticket on a hop on/hop off city bus tour. The open top “Hippo” bus (Singapore Duck Tours) is a great option, and at $33 won’t end up costing you too much more than getting the MRT/local buses around town (assuming you make a lot of stops). The double decker buses also give you a great view of the city and you’ll get some background information on the history of Singapore (the earphones they gave me stopped working after about 5 minutes though, make sure you bring your own!). Another great thing about the Hippo bus is that the ticket lasts for 24 hours – so if you bought your ticket at 1pm you can use it until 1pm the next day (the buses run from 9am-6.30pm).The buses stop at almost every tourist attraction in the inner city; here are some I’d recommend checking out (you might not have time to see the all).

Gardens by the Bay

This is one of my favourite places in Singapore and I’d highly recommend visiting if you have time. The supertrees are straight out of an alien world and the cloud forest dome has an awesome waterfall, the largest indoor one in the world apparently! Read a full post on Gardens by the Bay here.

Where to Stay in Singapore:

Luxury  – Marina Bay Sands

Mid-Range  – Hotel Yan

Boutique  – Hotel 1929

Budget  – Fragrance – Hotel Riverside

The supertrees and Marina Bay Sands at Gardens by the Bay, part of my 2 days in Singapore itinerary

Chinatown/Little India/ Kampong Glam

Get to know Singapore’s unique cultural history by visiting 1, or all, of these enclaves. My favourite is Kampong Glam, the old Arab quarter. The food there is great and Haji Lane shows a slightly more alternative side of the city – you’ll actually see graffiti here (I’m sure it’s all legal though). Read a full post on Singapore’s historical suburbs here.

Further reading: (Updated December 2015) Looking for a boutique hotel close to Singapore’s historic districts? We stayed at Hotel Yan; it’s in a great location and is a really comfortable mid-range option. Check out a review over at Mismatchedpassports.com

Kampong Glam - a must see on a 2 days in Singapore trip

Raffles Hotel

Old world colonial architecture doesn’t get any better than at Raffles Hotel, named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore. Apparently the last tiger in Singapore was shot in the famous Long Bar, but the only wounds you’ll find these days will be to your wallet – the legendary Singapore Sling will set you back over $20!

Courtyard at Raffles Hotel, an interesting attraction to visit if you have 2 days in Singapore

Singapore Flyer

Just like the London Eye but bigger, apparently the Singapore Flyer is the tallest observational wheel in the world and the views from the top are pretty amazing.

Further reading: 12 Romantic Date Ideas in Singapore

The Singapore Flyer - a good thing to do if you have 2 days in Singapore

Marina Bay Sands

Staying at Marina Bay Sands will cost you a lot, but if you’ve got the money it seems like a great experience. Alas, I’m only a poor traveller so I haven’t stayed there, but I have been to the Skypark, located on the 57th floor. The views are even better than from the Singapore Flyer and sitting up there drinking an overpriced beer is a must do.

Marina Bay Sands - a must do if you have 2 days in Singapore

Singapore Botanic Gardens

The gardens are huge and if you visit in the middle of the afternoon (like I did) it’ll be extremely hot, but it’s worth it. The orchid garden set me back $5 and I was beginning to feel ripped off, until I saw Kristen Stewart filming a science fiction movie there. It took her 2 takes to walk down a garden path, and even though I can’t stand Twilight it’s always cool to see famous people.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens - a must do if you are spending 2 days in Singapore

Clarke Quay

The river at Clarke Quay (and Boat/Robertson Quay) is lined with restaurants and bars, and if you’re feeling hungry and don’t mind shelling out for an expensive meal it’s a great place to eat. The Asian Civilizations Museum is also worth a look – it’s one of the better museums I’ve been to in Southeast Asia. This area comes alive at night, so if you’re looking to do some clubbing it’s a good option.

Boat Quay - a good place for a drink during 2 days in Singapore

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is built for tourists and you could easily spend a couple of days there. Universal Studios is good (although quite small) and the beaches are pretty decent simulations of actual tropical paradises (they shipped their sand in from Indonesia apparently).  This is also a good place to go at night as there are some really good beachside restaurants and bars. Read a full post on the beaches of Sentosa (and the rest of Singapore) here.

Sunset at Palawan Beach, Sentosa Island - a good place to visit if you have 2 days in Singapore

Orchard Road

If you’re into shopping go to Orchard road, if you aren’t then I’d avoid it…

The Singapore Night Safari

If you’re not too exhausted from sightseeing you should go to the night safari, it’s a really unique experience and one of my favourite places in Singapore. You can get a free bus ride there if you have a Singapore Sightseeing bus ticket, which saves a lot of hassle (or money), as it is located well out of the city. If you have more time I’d definitely recommend the zoo as well, and if you’re really into wildlife also head to Jurong Bird Park and the River Safari.

Day 2: The path less travelled

Very few people I’ve met who passed through Singapore went to any of these places, but in my opinion they are just as (if not more) interesting than the inner city tourist sites. Getting to some of them can be time consuming, but the public transport system is very easy to navigate.

Haw Par Villa

This is probably the weirdest tourist attraction I’ve been to (possibly the weirdest in the world) and you should definitely check it out. It was built by 2 Burmese brothers to celebrate Buddhism, and you’ll not only find statues of torture in the “12 Courts of Hell” but you’ll also see one of a woman breastfeeding an older woman while 1 kid does sit ups and another peels an orange. It’s weird! Read a full post on Haw Par Villa here.

Creepy breastfeeding at Haw Par Villa - a unique place to visit during 2 days in Singapore

Pulau Ubin

It’s hard to believe Pulau Ubin is part of Singapore – if you go on a weekday you’ll have it almost all to yourself. Apparently it’s what all of Singapore would have looked like in the not too distant past and the scenery/peacefulness makes it my favourite part of the country. You can hire a bike and check out a wetland boardwalk, photograph the colourful quarry lakes and see wild pigs and monkeys. Read a full post on Pulau Ubin here.

Pulau Ubin: I highly recommend visiting if you have 2 days in Singapore

East Coast Park

If you’re after a suburban Singapore experience, head to East Coast Park. You’ll see local families riding bicycles, firing up their bbqs or maybe setting up their tents for a night of camping. The beach is pretty good and there are some nice bars and restaurants in the area.

If you have 2 days in Singapore join the locals at East Coast Park

Go for a walk

There are lots of walks in Singapore if you’re after some exercise. Macritchie Reservoir is one of the better ones, or you could do the Southern Ridges – my personal favourite. Read a full post on the best walks in Singapore here.

The Southern Ridges - a great place to walk if you have 2 days in Singapore

Kampong Buangkok

The only surviving kampong (traditional village) makes for an interesting step back in time. It’s strange to see a small, rural village surrounded by high rise buildings and it’s a place I hope gets more popular as it’d mean it’ll be less likely to get knocked down to make way for another big building. Read a post on Kampong Buangkok here.

Back to nature in Kampong Buangkok, a unique stop on a 2 days in Singapore trip

Gardens by the Bay at Night

For your last night in town head back to Gardens by the Bay to see the supertrees perform a psychedelic light show.  It’s free and is one of the most unique experiences you’ll have in Singapore.

Garden rhapsody at Gardens by the Bay, a great way to end your 2 days in Singapore

If you are spending 2 days in Singapore it won’t be cheap, but there are a lot of free things to do. The Night Safari, Gardens by the Bay (just the domes and skywalk), Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands will all cost you, but if you’re travelling in Southeast Asia you can easily make up that money with a few cheap days in other countries.

Further Reading: The Best Free Things to Do in Singapore

*I received a complimentary city bus tour from Singapore Duck Tours and was a guest of Hotel YanAll thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you had 2 days in Singapore, where would you go? Let me know!

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Jon Algie

Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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24 Comments

  1. September 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm — Reply

    Your day two itinerary sounds awesome! I’ve done most of the things on your day 1, except the observation wheel, definitely need to check that out next time I’m in Singapore! 🙂

    • Jon Algie
      September 30, 2014 at 8:36 pm — Reply

      Cheers, it’s kinda expensive but it’s worth it.

  2. September 29, 2014 at 6:06 am — Reply

    Gardens of the bay looks awesome, specially at night. This is a great post. A helpful tip to those who wants to visit Singapore with as much as a little time as yours.

    • Jon Algie
      September 30, 2014 at 8:38 pm — Reply

      Cheers Vanessa, there’s way more to see than you could fit into 2 days but it’s all most people have.

  3. October 2, 2014 at 7:13 am — Reply

    I really just want to spend 2 days eating around Singapore!

    • Jon Algie
      October 3, 2014 at 1:38 am — Reply

      The food was definitely one of the best things about living there.

  4. October 4, 2014 at 12:32 am — Reply

    I’m traveling back to Asia soon and have always managed to dodge Singapore (not a fan of huge cities). Knowing that there are nature trails around makes the idea of traveling there easier to stomach, especially since I don’t know how much longer I could actually evade Singapore.

    • Jon Algie
      October 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm — Reply

      Thanks Trish, Singapore is a big city for people who don’t like big cities!

  5. October 4, 2014 at 1:56 am — Reply

    I had 2 days in Singapore and did quite a few of the things on your list – the Botanic Gardens was among my favourite. I also went to Bukit Timur Nature Reserve which was great for anyone who likes to get away from the city.

    • Jon Algie
      October 6, 2014 at 4:43 pm — Reply

      Yip it’s great also but apparently it’s closed (or part of it is anyway) for renovations etc

  6. October 6, 2014 at 6:27 am — Reply

    This is SUCH a great list, and your pictures are stunning. I’ll be heading back to Bangkok soon, so I’ll probably take a long weekend to visit Singapore… i’ll definitely be referring back to this post! I love that you hit all the main attractions, and some off the beaten path too. East coast park looks beautiful!

    • Jon Algie
      October 6, 2014 at 4:44 pm — Reply

      Thanks Casey, it’s good to go for a mix and it’s really easy to get around. Enjoy your trip!

  7. Rissa
    November 5, 2014 at 10:30 pm — Reply

    I always visit singapore art museum and gillman barracks every time I’m in the city. I love art and their collections are just amazing!

    • Jon Algie
      November 7, 2014 at 7:56 am — Reply

      Never went to either of those places in the 2 years that I lived there- goes to show there really is a lot to do.

  8. November 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm — Reply

    Oh! Those Gardens by the Bay really impress at night! How beautiful. I’ve never been to Singapore, but I’ve got several friends who have been and loved it, and posts like this convince me that I should make it over there one day! Thanks for the tips.

    • Jon Algie
      December 4, 2014 at 4:55 am — Reply

      Thanks Dana, definitely visit Singapore some time, and the rest of Southeast Asia!

  9. December 18, 2014 at 11:42 pm — Reply

    I recently did a post on Singapore too. I forgot to mention Haw Par Villa. That is a strange place. I think they cornered the fiberglass market for all of Asia in that one place.

    • Jon Algie
      January 13, 2015 at 6:36 pm — Reply

      Haha yip, it’s definitely a unique place!

  10. ely martinez
    January 12, 2015 at 1:25 pm — Reply

    nice article about singapore, i visited there recently. didn’t cross my mind they got beaches because i see they have ports so i thought they got uncool beach waters there. I prefer swimming early morning . What’s your recommended beach thats closest to a tropical beach that has early open schedule &/or free for some lounging and soak sun.

    • Jon Algie
      January 13, 2015 at 6:35 pm — Reply

      Thanks Ely! The water isn’t great, I’ve never actually gone swimming at any of them but I’ve seen plenty of people doing it. The beaches at Sentosa are always open I think and they are probably the most tropical looking of the lot, and they have places renting out chairs and sun beds etc, and some pretty good bars and restaurants.

  11. January 30, 2015 at 10:57 pm — Reply

    Just went to Singapore for the first time in November and agree with lots of your tips here! I quite liked taking in the streets near Little India, Arab Street too and the night views were just stunning! I’m not actually all that into shopping but the Christmas lights were already in full swing on Orchard road and I must say, it gave the whole place quite a lively and festive atmosphere!

  12. Mahipal Abani
    January 16, 2017 at 12:48 pm — Reply

    We are a senior couple. Want to do sightseeing of Singapore for 2 full days on Feb. 26-27, 2017. Will you pick us from the hotel and drop us there after the tour. What will be your charges in US dollars.

    • Jon Algie
      January 18, 2017 at 3:26 pm — Reply

      Hi Mahipal, unfortunately I’m not in Singapore anymore so won’t be able to do this. The hop on / hop off bus tour could work for you guys, especially if you’re hotel is close to the pick up point. Enjoy your trip!

  13. Faye
    June 9, 2017 at 9:51 am — Reply

    This was so helpful! I decided to do a weekend in singapore (working on a short term assignment in HK this summer) and thus only have 1 1/2 true days in Singapore and really want to get the most out of it. Thanks for sharing ! I will be using your day 1 down to the tee, and will likely need to modify day 2 a bit as I fly out on day 2 at 4PM.

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