This post was updated in September 2019.
Singapore is a city-state in Southeast Asia, small in size but so much fun to visit! Read this 4 day Singapore itinerary with lots of tips to make the most of your first-time visit to Singapore!
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In this Singapore travel guide you can find:
- Why visit Singapore
- Important things to know when planning a trip to Singapore
- Singapore travel itinerary: day by day program
- Budget info: Singapore trip cost for couple travelers
- Where to stay in Singapore (on any budget)
- How to get around in Singapore (transport information)
- Things to eat in Singapore
Things to know when planning a trip to Singapore
If you are wondering when to visit Singapore: Singapore is a great year-round destination as it never gets cold.
We visited in May when average temperatures are around 27 degrees Celsius. The average daily temperature in Singapore’s is very stable throughout the year and generally only fluctuates between 25-30 degrees Celsius.
If you are looking to avoid the rainy season, stay clear of November, December and January (when most of the rain falls).
For 80% of the world’s countries the answer is no, as lot’s of nationalities can visit Singapore for a period of 30 days or 90 days without a visa.
More information can be found on the Singapore Visa information website.
The currency in Singapore is the Singapore dollar. Singapore coins come in 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents and S$1 denominations.
Paper notes are denominated in $2, $5, $10, and $50, bills of $100, $500, $1,000 and $10,000 exist but are less commonly used).
Is Singapore worth visiting?
Yes, wholeheartedly yes! While Singapore was very different than the other countries we visited in Southeast Asia (Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Malaysia), I loved our 4 days in Singapore.
You may wonder how Singapore is different from it’s neighboring countries? Well, just a couple of things on the top of my head…
Singapore is very organized!
From the moment I arrived at the airport it became very clear that Singapore is extremely organized:
- Information is listed in 4 languages (English, Mandarin, Tamil and Malay).
- Getting through customs and getting a stamp in my passport is effortless because of the ingenious system of automatically opening gates with red and green lights.
- There is a free shuttle train taking us to the terminal where the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) departs to the city center. What a difference with Manila, where the absence of a free shuttle and a total lack of cash had me in tears.
Singapore is very clean!
Southeast Asia is great, really, I loved it! But it’s not clean… There is so much (plastic) trash lying next to the roads, floating in the water and piled up in the city streets.
Not in Singapore though, the city is spotless! Bins everywhere, grass that looks so straight like it has been cut with a nail clipper (I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually is;-), clean and maintained buildings, the newest cars and the shiniest malls…
(Public) transport in Singapore is very reliable!
Everyone who has been to Southeast Asia knows that even though the driver of the minivan/bus/tuktuk/etc. says he’ll take you from point A to point B, you never know exactly where you are going to end up.
Like the time I bought a bus ticket from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng and was dropped off at Vang Vieng’s new bus station. Which is ‘conveniently’ located 2km out of town. And obviously jam-packed with friendly tuktuk drivers willing to take you to the city center. For a friendly price that is…
Or the time I thought I booked transportation from Hue to Hoi An and it turned out to be a full-blown tour taking the entire day.
Or that time in the Philippines, when I booked a ticket with Roro bus that was supposed to be so many things and turned out the be the complete opposite of those things.
None of this ‘nonsense’ in Singapore. In Singapore there is the easy to understand-communicated-in-4-languages-always-on-time-super-reliable-MRT. The MRT will get you to all Singapore tourist attractions without any hassle!
I could probably go on for a while, but let’s just say it was a nice change of pace. And funnily enough I found myself missing the chaos of Southeast Asia after a couple of days in structured Singapore!
Singapore 4 day itinerary with the best things to do in Singapore
There are so many places to visit in Singapore, you could easily spend weeks and not run out of places to see (or things to eat). However, I only spent four days in Singapore, involving a lot of sightseeing, walking and sweating.
With temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius and a humidity of 90% it is impossible not to sweat. Unless you stay indoors all day (I guess this is actually quite possible because of the MRT and the countless air conditioned malls;-). But that would mean you’ll miss all the fun, so I say: walk, walk, walk!
What to do in Singapore in 4 days:
- Singapore day 1: Singapore skyline, Gardens of the Bay, Marina Bay Sands (click here to find out how much spending a night will cost you), Chinatown, Singapore City Gallery, Merlion and the Singapore skyline by night.
- Singapore day 2: Little India, Raffles Hotel, Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.
- Singapore day 3: Sentosa Island, The Pinnacle @ Duxton, Marina Bay Sands observation deck.
- Singapore day 4: Mount Faber Loop, Henderson Waves, Alexander Arch, Canopy Walkway.
Below you can find all the nitty gritty details: where to go in Singapore, a Singapore tourist map and pictures of all the highlights in Singapore.
Singapore itinerary day 1
Itinerary: Singapore Skyline by day – Gardens of the Bay – Marina Bay Sands – Chinatown – Singapore City Gallery – Merlion and Singapore skyline by night
Singapore has one of the most famous skylines in the world and can be found in Singapore downtown core. This should be one of the first places to go in Singapore! Day or night, the Singapore skyline is beautiful and impressive.
One of the best places to admire the skyline is from the Marina Bay Sands observation deck (more information can be found below). However, the boulevard between the Helix Bridge and the Esplanade is a great (and free) place to view the Singapore skyline.
The Singapore Flyer
The Singapore Flyer is definitely one of the most famous Singapore attractions. Standing 165 meters tall, this is the world’s second tallest Ferris Wheel, offering great 360° views over Singapore. A ticket costs 33SGD (Singapore Dollar) and can be bought onsite.
Gardens of the Bay
Gardens of the Bay is one of the best places to visit in Singapore. You could easily spend an entire day exploring this wonderful green oasis located in the very center of Singapore.
Don’t miss the Super Tree Grove with the 22-meter-high OCBC Skyway, the Flower Dome Conservatory and the Cloud Forest Conservatory. Families should also check out the Children’s Garden, which is a great (and free) place to visit with kids.
New attractions are the Floral Fantasy, a dream-like garden landscape, and the Serene Garden, which was inspired by the minimalist concept of Japanese zen gardens. More visitor information can be found on the extensive Gardens by the Bay website.
Marina Bay Sands
You probably have seen pictures of the world famous Marina Bay Sands, which was opened in 2010. When looking at this iconic Singapore building, you’ll find yourself wondering how one comes up with an idea like this. It wasn’t cheap to build either, costing a whopping $8 billion (SGD).
The Marina Bay Sands complex houses a hotel, an upscale mall with indoor canals, two theaters, lots of fancy restaurants and the world’s largest atrium casino. If that weren’t enough, on top of the building you can find an large infinity swimming pool.
This is one of the places in Singapore that should be on any Singapore sightseeing itinerary.
In Singapore’s Chinatown you will find quaint little streets, colorful houses, historic low-rise buildings, boutique shops and many restaurants.
Don’t try to follow a particular route, it’s more fun to get lots in the maze-like streets of this great neighborhood in Singapore.
The Sri Mariamman Temple
In Chinatown you can find the Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple. Try to count how many people and animals are displayed at this intricate and colorful entrance!
You can enter the temple free of charge (remember to dress properly!), however, a small donation is requested if you want to take pictures inside.
The Singapore City Gallery
In the Singapore City Gallery an 11 meter scale model of the city is on display. You will be truly impressed by the amount of planning involved to maximize the use of the limited amount of square meters available in this tiny country.
The Merlion is one of the Singapore landmarks you can’t miss. This water-spewing stone lion with a fishtail is a bit weird and perhaps even a little ugly…
However, the Merlion is a Singapore icon and definitely one of the places of interest in Singapore.
Singapore skyline by night
The Singapore skyline may look even more beautiful by night than by day! Be sure to time your visit so you can watch Spectra, a daily light and water show.
This 15 minute show is free to visit, however, it can get crowded, so don’t wait until the last minute to find a good spot.
Singapore itinerary day 2
Itinerary: Little India – Raffles Hotel – Boat Quay – Clarke Quay – Robertson Quay
Little India is another neighborhood that should be on your Singapore must see list. In this area you can find one of the most colorful houses in the world (pictured above).
There are also many great restaurants (especially in Serangoon Road and Race Course Road), lots of tailors and jewelry shops and the famous Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.
The Raffles Hotel
The famous Raffles hotel opened its doors in 1887 (100 years before I was born!) and has just been reopened after a thorough restoration.
Known as the place where the Singapore Sling was invented, this hotel featured in several movies and hosted many celebrities (such as Charlie Chaplin, Ernest Hemingway and even Michael Jackson) throughout the years.
Even if staying at the Raffles is out of your budget, it’s one of the Singapore famous places worth passing by.
Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay
Visiting Clarke Quay is definitely one of the things to do in Singapore at night, as this area is famous for its riverside restaurants and bars. However, this is also a popular Singapore activity by day as it’s an area with lots of history.
Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay have been the center of trade since the founding of Singapore. This area features lots Singapore sites you can visit, such as the colonial-style Central Fire Station, buzzing Raffles Place and the green Fort Canning Park which offers a quick escape from busy city life.
There are plenty of things to do until the evening falls, which is perfect because you can enjoy dinner along the Singapore River at one of the excellent restaurants.
Singapore itinerary day 3
Itinerary: Sentosa Island – The Pinnacle @ Duxton – Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck
Sentosa Island is the playground of Singapore. With an artificial beach, rain forests, swimming areas and Universal Studios you could easily spend a couple of days on Sentosa Island.
If you only have a couple of hours, bring a towel and your swimwear and dip your toes in the fresh seawater.
Pinnacle @ Duxton
The Pinnacle @ Duxton is a residential building with the world’s longest sky garden (500 meters) on the 50th floor. Residents of this building arguably have the best 360° views over the Singapore skyline.
However, you don’t have to live here to enjoy these views, for a mere S$5 you can enjoy the roof top terrace and accompanying views as well!
The Marina Bay Sands observation deck
If you are a fan of birds eye views (like us!) you won’t mind going from one tall high building to the next. If you time your visit right, you can watch the sunset from the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck.
Tickets are S$22 and can be bought online so you’ll avoid the (sometimes very long) queue.
Singapore itinerary day 4
Itinerary: Mount Faber Loop – Henderson Waves – Alexander Arch – Canopy Walkway
The Southern Ridges Walk
If you are up for another day of walking, I highly recommend the Southern Ridges Walk. This easy 10 kilometer trail will make you forget you are still in a busy city.
Leading trough Mount Faber Park and Hort Park you will walk through tropical rain forest and even spot a monkey if you are lucky. Notable sights along the way are the Henderson Waves, Alexander Arch and the Canopy Walkway.
Important: Singapore is hot and humid, be sure to bring enough water, sunscreen and a hat!
The closest MRT station is Harbor Front station.
Singapore best place to stay
There is no single best area to stay in Singapore, the most important thing is to find accommodation close to an MRT station. There are many nice neighborhoods in Singapore and accommodation suitable to any budget.
Where to stay in Singapore on a budget: the Vintage Inn (less than S$50 a night)
It’s not that I don’t like staying in dorms, but I found that, traveling as a couple, prices for a private room are similar or even cheaper than the price for two beds in a dorm.
The Vintage Inn is a cheap and good hotel in Singapore, located very close to the MRT station Little India. It is nice to have some privacy by means of a curtain you can slide for your ‘capsule’, other than that it’s the same as a regular dorm.
Very clean, comfy bed, some room next to the mattress to put your stuff, a locker for valuables and really helpful friendly staff. This budget hotel in Singapore is definitely one of the best place to stay in Singapore on a budget! We only paid €34,20 per night, including a basic breakfast.
Good hotels in Singapore for a medium budget (less than S$220 a night)
If you are looking for medium budget hotel rooms in Singapore, there are many good options!
The Carlton City Hotel
The Carlton City Hotel is an excellent value hotel. Singapore hotel rooms are generally, but the Carlton City Hotel is a rare exception. The spacious rooms are much larger than the average Singapore hotel room.
There is a swimming pool (indoor and outdoor), fitness facilities, room service, a bar and it’s only a 2-minute walk to the nearest MRT station (Tanjong Pagar).
The Village Hotel Albert Court
Made up of restored historic shop houses, the Village Hotel Albert Court is a lovely Singapore boutique hotel in the Bugis area.
Room are modern with a touch of Chinese decor, there is an onsite (Indian) restaurant and this is one of the few hotels offering free parking. However, the Rochor MRT Station is only a 1-minute walk so you’ll be better of traveling by public transport!
Luxury hotels in Singapore (S$220+ a night)
Just as with Singapore budget hotels and mid-range accommodation, there is no shortage of luxury hotels in Singapore! Because hotel prices aren’t cheap in Singapore in general, be prepared to pay for your luxury stay in Singapore.
That being said, Singapore does offer some splendid 5 star hotels that will guarantee an unforgettable Singapore travel experience.
Parkroyal on Pickering
The Parkroyal on Pickering hotel is located in Chinatown and boast a beautiful desing, a 300m garden walk, an outdoor swimming pool and comfortable luxurious rooms.
From the Orchid Club rooftop lounge you can admire the city skyline while enjoying a drink or two. Breakfast is extensive and there is an excellent onsite restaurant as well (LIME).
Another top hotel in Singapore is the Fairmont. This hotel has not one but six onsite restaurants plus a spa, a gym, a hot-tub AND a pool. Rooms have a private balcony, some with a view of the Marina Bay waterfront.
You can join the afternoon tea or play a game of tennis. Or you can simply relax in your comfortable 45m2 suite with king-size bed and city view. Regardless, you will feel like a princess (or prince) during your stay at the Fairmont.
How to visit Singapore on a budget
Let’s make one thing clear: Singapore is not a cheap country to visit. At least, not compared to its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.
However, a Singapore budget trip doesn’t mean staying in a dirty hostel and eating a defrosted piece of toast for dinner.
Below you can find our Singapore trip budget, which includes all the activities mentioned above. So you can visit many of the top things to do in Singapore without breaking the bank!
How much money do I need for 4 days in Singapore: our Singapore travel budget
Our budget for Singapore
The expenses in the infographic above are for me and my husband together and include all expenses of our four day trip to Singapore. In total we spent 560SGD (€372/$400) during our 4 day trip in Singapore, which is an average of 140SGD (€93/$100) a day.
Prices are quoted in Singapore Dollar (S$) as well as € and US$. The S$ is a pretty stable currency, but of course there are some variations in the exchange rate, you can find the latest rates here.
Our Singapore expenses were divided between costs for accommodation, transport, food and activities.
- Accommodation: 43% of daily costs
- Transportation: 9% of daily costs
- Food and drinks: 34% of daily costs
- Paid activities: 14% of daily costs
Despite the long list of Singapore top attractions we visited, we did not spent much money on activities. The only paid activities in this Singapore itinerary are:
- The Pinnacle @ Duxton sky garden (5SGD per person)
- The observation deck of the Marina Bay Sands building (23SGD per person)
- Movie ticket (10,50SGD per person)
These expenses are based on a 4 night stay in a budget hotel, eating at street food stalls and cheap restaurants and exploring the city mostly on foot (except for larger distances).
How to get around in Singapore?
The MRT in Singapore is extremely efficient and very cheap, check MRT info and map here. And if there is no MRT station close to your hotel, there is an extensive bus network as well.
The plus side of the bus is that you can some Singapore points of interest along the way, though it usually takes a lot longer to get somewhere by bus than by MRT. More info about buses in Singapore can be found on this site.
What to eat in Singapore?
Singapore is all about food! There is a mixture of cultures and cuisines, ranging from typical Singaporean dishes like chilli crab, to Peranakan dishes like laksa and Chinese influenced food such as Wanton Mee.
Though, I have to admit I ate a lot of Indian when I was there (which is yet another culture present in multifaceted Singapore). I am ‘slightly’ addicted to Indian food and there aren’t many places in the Netherlands where you can get proper Indian so I ate as much prata, dosa and curry as I could find.
I also tried and really liked the previously mentioned laksa (a spicy noodle soup), but stupidly enough forgot to try out the famous Singapore chilli crab…
Next time, definitely next time!
Also read this awesome post by a true Singaporean which dishes you cannot miss during your Singapore visit!
Best places to visit in Singapore: in conclusion
I hope you have enjoyed this Singapore tour guide. You can download the budget breakdown infographic and the map of Singapore day-by-day itinerary below.
Also read my other posts about our travels in Southeast Asia:
- Cambodia: Cambodia travel budget, Cambodia itinerary, Bokor Hill Station, heartbreaking history of Cambodia
- Indonesia: Bali itinerary, the best luxury resort on Bali, live like a local in Sebatu)
- Laos: Laos travel budget, Laos itinerary, things to do in Luang Prabang, hiking in Vang Vieng
- Malaysia: Malaysia travel budget, Malaysia itinerary, scuba diving on Tioman, guide to the Perhentian Islands, guide to Langkawi
- Philippines: Philippines travel budget, Philippines itinerary, Bohol scooter itinerary, guide to El Nido, PADI Open Water Course in El Nido, rice terraces of Batad
- Thailand: Thailand travel budget, Thailand itinerary, best places to visit in Thailand, diving on Koh Tao
- Vietnam: Vietnam travel budget, Vietnam itinerary, things to do in Vietnam, Phu Quoc island
Have fun in Singapore and let me know if you have any questions!