Ultimate 2 Days in Singapore Itinerary For First-Timers

Singapore itinerary

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Since visiting Singapore for a second time recently, it’s up there as one of my favourite cities in Asia. I’m going to share my Singapore itinerary in the hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

I’d recommend spending 2 days in Singapore to see the essential sights on day 1 then get immersed in the quirky and cultural neighbourhoods during day 2. Oh, and because in 2 days you can eat double the amount of delicious meals you can in one!

SINGAPORE ESSENTIALS

Accommodation Booking.com / Hostelworld

Activities: GetYourGuide / Viator

Food tours: A Chef’s Tour

Airport transfers: Klook

SIM card: eSim data plan

Guidebook: Lonely Planet Singapore

singapore travel itinerary
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How many days are enough for Singapore?

While you could easily spend longer, two days in Singapore is enough for a first visit. In this guide, I’ll share the best things to do in Singapore in 2 days including must-visit attractions and colourful neighbourhoods.

Best season to visit Singapore

December to June is the perfect time to visit Singapore as it’s slightly cooler than the humid summer months. Due to the optimum weather, January and February are the most crowded months.

If you can handle the rain and humidity, visit July-November for cheaper prices and fewer crowds.

How to get around Singapore

Subway: The MRT is efficient, clean and inexpensive. Tickets cost between S$0.90-$2 and can be bought at ticket machines in the station.

Public bus: Singapore is well connected by bus. Simply use a contactless Visa or Mastercard to tap and pay.

Taxi: Hail a metered taxi or call Grab using the app (similar to Uber).

Bicycle: There are plenty of cycle paths and bike rentals in Singapore.

Open-top bus: It may be the most touristic way to get around but it’s fun and scenic. Get your ticket.

Cable car: Connecting Singapore with Sentosa, this cable car lets you soak up panoramic views as you travel. Get your ticket.

The Duck Tour: Travel by land and water in the same vehicle thanks to the quirky duck tour of Singapore. See the sights while travelling in an old WWII vehicle. Get your ticket.

cloud forest

Note – if you’re visiting Malaysia next, it’s easy to get a bus from Singapore to Melaka to start your adventures.

Is the Go City Explorer Pass worth it?

I didn’t purchase this pass myself since I’d seen many of the attractions on previous visits to Singapore. However, if you’re just here 2 days and want to pack in plenty of sights, consider the pass including 2-7 attractions or the full 35+ attraction pass. Transport options like the cable car, riverboat cruise and open-top bus are included from $50.

Staying connected

GetYourGuide offer a fantastic eSim data plan that lets you stay connected while exploring Singapore. You don’t need to collect it anywhere: they’ll email you a QR code which you can instantly activate and start roaming. Yay! Get yours here from $4.

You can also upgrade it to work in 10 other Asian countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam & China.

Where to stay in Singapore

Singapore isn’t a cheap city for accommodation but you have a few options. These include…

Hostel: Stay at Dream Lodge for spacious pod bunks with personal lockers and reading lights. The hostel is located centrally within a 1950s period property. Check availability and book from $20 USD.

Budget hotel: For a comfy base near Singapore’s main attractions, any of the Ibis budget hotels will do the job. Check availability at the Clarke Quay or Bugis hotels.

Treat: Location-wise, you can’t do better than Ann Siang House in Chinatown. This beautiful heritage hotel with clean spacious rooms is an oasis of calm in the bustling city. Check availability from $200 USD.

Singapore itinerary

Well, how do you want to live? I loved eating $2 roti and paneer with my hands on the roadside while chatting with the Indian restaurant owners about their lives in Singapore.

However, I love the modern and luxurious downtown core just as much. The futuristic Gardens by the Bay and the elegance of Marina Bay Sands temporarily convince me I’m a wealthy heiress, poised to tap my Amex for one more Singapore Sling…

Cloud Forest Singapore itinerary
Here are my suggestions for the ultimate Singapore itinerary

Singapore itinerary overview

  • Day 1 – Gardens by the Bay, Cloud Forest, ArtScience Museum, the Merlion, Gluttons Bay Hawker Market, Marina Bay Spectra light show, skyline drinks
  • Day 2 – China Town, Arab Quarter, Haji Lane, Little India.

Now for the details…

Day 1 – explore the core

Many of the glamorous sights of Singapore are positioned around the HarbourFront. Wander the area to discover the Merlion, Gardens by the Bay, the Cloud Forest and numerous impressive shopping centres (get used to Venice replica boats cruising inside them!).

Here’s what to do in 2 days in Singapore…

The Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay

The Gardens by the Bay look like something from Avatar or a film set in the year 3000 (not much has changed but we live underwater! – my UK readers will get the reference!).

They’re different depending on whether you visit during the day or night. I did both which is the best way to experience them to the fullest.

Not only do they look impressive, but they’re also doing Singapore a service. They provide a habitat for animals, act as a water filtration system and use solar panels. The plants and flowers growing up them give off valuable nitrogen to the urban city centre.

Their sustainable efforts make me love them even more – but I would regardless! One of my favourite experiences was lying underneath them at midnight watching their twinkling bulbs. In the daytime, you can spend an hour or two wandering around them.

Entrance fee: the trees are free to view from the ground or you can pay S$8 to take the 22-metre high OCBC Skyway walk. Buy a skip-the-line ticket in advance.

Opening times: 9am-9pm daily.

Opening hours: You can walk around the grove from 5am-2am while the ticketed skywalk is open from 9am-9pm (last ticket sale 8pm).

The Cloud Forest

Cloud Forest

This is a must when spending 2 days in Singapore. During my first visit, I missed the Cloud Forest due to the S$28 price tag which in retrospect was an error.

The conservatory is enormous with several levels and bridges to wander while admiring the flora and fauna. Make sure you time your visit around a ‘misting’ (or kill some time waiting for one) when the dome fills with mist like a tropical rainforest. It’s so atmospheric! 

Entrance price: S$20 for the Cloud Forest alone / S$28 including the Flower Dome.

Opening times: 9am-9pm.

The ArtScience Museum

ArtScience Museum itinerary Singapore

If you catch a skyline view of Singapore, you won’t miss the giant lotus-shaped building nestled on the waterfront. Inside is the ArtScience Museum.

My motivation for visiting was the sparkly Digital Light Canvas (pictured above), though I don’t believe this is a permanent fixture. Everything was interactive including a light show using visual trickery to make you feel as if the walls and floors of the room were moving.

Entrance price: S$14 including the exhibition. Buy a skip-the-line ticket in advance.

Opening times: 7am-7pm daily.

The Merlion

Merlion at night
An iconic stop for your Singapore itinerary

It may seem strange that an animal only found in Africa has become a symbol for Singapore. How?

Rumour has it that many years ago a tiger was spotted in Singapore (presumably having swum over from Indonesia) and mistaken for a lion. Somehow this resulted in respect for the animals, and this statue was subsequently built as a tourist attraction in the 1980s.

Swing by to visit this emblem of Singapore and snap a few photos. It’s particularly atmospheric at night. To get there, cross the Esplanade Bridge. Alternatively, take a Singapore riverboat cruise past it.

Dinner at Makansutra Gluttons Bay 

gluttons-bay-food-court

Although there are countless hawker markets in Singapore, one of the best is Makansutra Gluttons Bay, conveniently located near Marina Square and the Esplanade. Grab a seat at one of the outdoor shared tables and browse the many food stands before settling on what you want.

Read next: the best Singapore dishes to try

From chilli crab to laksa, satay and Hokkien mee (noodles with prawn and egg), your only problem will be deciding what to order! If it’s too much, take a hawker market tour with a local guide and try a ton of dishes.

Gawp at Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands is a famous hotel and resort with a distinctive boat-shaped roof with a pool on top (strictly for hotel guests only). If you haven’t got $400+ a night for a room, head up to the Sands Sky Park Observation Deck (between 9am-11pm) to admire spectacular views from the 57th floor. Tickets cost S$15.

This iconic part of Singapore is best visited in the early evening it’s beginning to get dark and the city lights are starting to switch on. At 8pm on weekdays (and 8pm and 9pm on weekends), the Spectra light show illuminates the area with dancing lights, music, sights and colours; a real Asia bucket list experience!

No tickets are required; just show up at the Marina Bay Sands building and sit outdoors in the area known as Event Plaza. It’s free and lasts around 15 minutes.

Ce la Vi Bar Singapore itinerary

Saturday night – grab a skyline drink

During your 2 day Singapore itinerary, take a trip to CÉ LA VI, the bar at the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel where you’ll either purchase a drink at the bar or buy a S$20 token at the entrance (the system changes depending on how busy the evening is).

Either way, cocktails are about S$20 so we opted for a Singapore Fling – a frozen version of the iconic Sling – and dragged out our time at the top. We got to see the city light show (8pm and 9pm each night) from above which was incredible.

More things to do in Singapore at night:

Day 2 – get your culture fix

Once you’ve seen the glamorous, futuristic centre of Singapore, a day of culture is on the cards. The diversity of Singapore is another thing I love about the city: the Indian, Chinese and Malay groups make Singapore a melting pot of religious temples and delicious ethnic eats.

For the ultimate Singapore itinerary for 2 days, here’s how I’d recommend spending the last day...

Chinatown

Chinatown Singapore itinerary 2 days

Singapore’s Chinatown is the perfect place to shop for your souvenirs and eat absolutely everything. Food Street is just one of the many places you can do this. Tuck into dim sum, chilli crab, satay and much more.

Wander the lantern-lined streets even if you’re not hungry – it’s a lively part of Singapore.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

We paid a visit to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, an integral part of the community. Here you can give the world’s largest prayer wheel a spin or watch Buddhist monks chant during regular ceremonies. It’s thought that a tooth from the sacred Buddha himself is enshrined in the fourth floor’s relic room.

It’s open from 7am-7pm daily. Entry is free. Don’t miss the chilled rooftop garden!

Haji Lane and the Arab Quarter

Haji Lane

Jump into a brand new culture as you visit this friendly, vibrant area of town. This was one of my favourite areas during my recent 2 days in Singapore.

Grab a cheap lunch at the market stands by the mosque, or alternatively dine at one of the stunning mosaic cafes serving quality Middle Eastern food. There are plenty of cafes and juice bars on Haji Lane but be prepared to pay inflated prices in this popular part of town.

Arab Quarter

While Haji Lane is geared to tourists, walk just one minute into Kampong Glam, just off Arab Street, to visit the Masjid Sultan (mosque) for free. Lining the walkways to the spot of worship are various food stands selling everything from jalebi and other Indian sweets to fresh fruit and savoury snacks.

Masjid Sultan opening times: Visit from 10am-12pm and 2-4pm from Sat-Thurs and from 2.30-4pm on Friday.

Another attraction in Kampong Glam is the Malay Heritage Centre, a great place to learn about local history.

Little India

Singapore street art

Get ready to mix it up again as you say goodbye to the Arab Quarter and hello to the stunning Hindu temples of Little India. This neighbourhood is one of the most colourful in town and many tourists stop to pose on this famous corner.

Colourful houses Little India

Look out for all the Singapore street art in this part of town!

I feel I may have discovered my spirit home in this part of town, not least for the incredible street art and moreish food. I ate a very cheap and local murtabak (a fried roti stuffed with chicken and veg) on the street corner at Big Boss Bistro and a slightly more upmarket curry dinner at Banana Leaf Apollo.

Both meals were fantastic (and about S$10 and S$25pp respectively including drinks). If you can time your arrival for early evening, it’s an atmospheric dinner spot for a Singapore two day itinerary.

Visit the Indian Heritage Centre on Campbell Street to learn about the community that call Little India home, and Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple to see a colourful and intricately detailed place of worship.

Hindu temple Little India

Budget for 2 days in Singapore

As I mentioned, there’s something for all budgets in Singapore. You can visit Singapore on a budget of $30 a day or splurge $300! Visiting the Cloud Forest (S$28 including the Flower Dome), the ArtScience Museum (S$14 for the exhibition) and a drink at Marina Bay Sands (S$20) will set you back just under S$50 so this will likely be your most expensive day.

However, during a day exploring Little India, the Arab Quarter and Chinatown you can get away with just buying food as all of the entrance costs are free. 

Eat local food and you could spend less than S$30 during 2 days in Singapore but eat at the restaurants in Marina Bay Sands and you could spend hundreds. I noticed that alcohol in Singapore was relatively expensive compared to food: in hawker markets, you can pick up a main dish for S$4 but not a beer. 

Transport is very cheap in Singapore. Underground train journeys on the MRT tend to cost around 90 cents. You’ll want to get a cab to the airport as it’s a long journey on public transport – a metered taxi will cost around S$20 from Changi Airport or you can pre-book your airport pick-up.

Got more than 2 days in Singapore?

If you have extra time, here are a few extra Singapore activities. If any of the below activities appeal to you more than the above, consider rejigging your Singapore itinerary to include them.

Koon Seng Road

Singapore’s most colourful street is Koon Seng, built by the Peranakan Chinese community. This vibrant part of town has a long history and also makes for a fantastic photo stop.

Read next: Koon Seng Road – a guide to Singapore’s most colourful street

Koon Seng Road
Koon Seng Road

Near Katong neighbourhood, Koon Seng is best accessed by bus or taxi.

Orchard Road 

If you love to shop, don’t miss Orchard Road. After starting life as a humble orchard, it’s now Singapore’s premier retail area known for its many shops and department stores. TANGs was the first in the area and remains one of the most popular, styled like a Chinese pagoda.

When you’re all shopped out, there are art galleries, restaurants and bars. Nearby you’ll find Emerald Hill, a historical street featuring more Peranakan houses and a range of cool coffee shops.

Botanical Gardens

botanical gardens

Singapore Botanic Gardens are a wonderful source of flora and fauna should you have time to visit them. Designated as the first UNESCO site in Singapore back in 2015, they’re a well-loved part of the city thanks to the National Orchid Garden and the Children’s Garden.

Arrive into Botanic Gardens MRT Station, right beside the gardens. Entry is free.

Opening times: 5am-midnight.

Sentosa Island

If you have a spare day or half-day, consider adding Sentosa to your Singapore travel itinerary. Singapore’s island resort is home to Universal Studio, S.E.A Aquarium, Madam Tussauds and countless other attractions.

Since Sentosa translates as ‘peace and tranquillity’ in Malay, it’s only fitting that there are world-class spas and natural wonders including jungles and beaches. Finish your day by relaxing with a sunset beer on beautiful Palawan Beach.

Sentosa is easy to reach from Singapore: take the road, cable car or monorail.

Thanks for reading my Singapore itinerary for 2 days

More Singapore blogs:

Read next:

See you next time for more adventures,

Rose

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2 day singapore itinerary

5 thoughts on “Ultimate 2 Days in Singapore Itinerary For First-Timers

  1. Dominique | dominiquetravels.com says:

    I have to return to Singapore one day! When I was there I don’t think they had the Gardens by the Bay yet! I did visit Little India which I absolutely loved 🙂

  2. Dana says:

    I always thought Singapore was very expensive so it’s nice to know there are cheaper options! Thanks for the guide, Rose!

  3. Sushree Kanti says:

    Hey Rose! Just finished reading this and I am in awe of the style of your writing! Keep it up Rose! Looking forward to roaming in the streets of Oxford with you as my perfect friendly guide. ❤️

  4. Zarina says:

    Can’t wait to explore the city for myself next month! Thank you for the inspiration and tips. Your photos look beautiful!

  5. Anya says:

    Thank you for the awesome itinerary! My husband and I are here for 4 days so this is perfect 🙂 Very well written!

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