3 Days (is not enough) in Singapore

Travel Itinerary

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Sook
Itinerary by: Sook
15 days ago
Traveller
Duration: 3 days

Have you ever heard people saying "3 days is more than enough for Singapore", "Singapore has nothing much to see because it's so small"? In this itinerary, I combined popular tourist destinations with lesser-known ones so it's not just populated with gentrified tourist attractions. Explore Singapore's off-the-beaten path attractions on your own free-and-easy trip. This itinerary is designed for active people in mind (there's lots of walking involved) and for those who wants to use this as a complementary option to add on to the main attractions of Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Jewel Changi Airport, Sentosa etc. It is also well suited for those who wants to appreciate the unique potpourri that is Singaporean culture in more detail and depth. Cover photos by Pang Yuhao, Keming Tan, Kirill Petropavlov, Miguel Sousa and Mike Enerio respectively on Unsplash

Day 1

09:00 - 10:00
Conserved Peranakan Terrace Houses
150 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428837
These houses, while being very similar to the Peranakan houses, are built on raised columns to protect its occupants against rising tides as this area was what used to be the seafront of Singapore. Deliberately painted in contrasting yet complementary pastel colours, these rows of pastel-coloured buildings are ideal for an insta-worthy picture. Photo by Winel Sutanto on Unsplash
Article By: Sook
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Notes

Explore this area by starting off with the local Singaporean breakfast at Chin Mee Chin Confectionary for their traditional kaya toast and kopi/teh (coffee/tea) just two streets the the right of the Peranakan Terrace Houses. Note that Singaporean coffee/tea are slightly more robust and strong as compared to Americano/Latte/Milk Tea.

10:00 - 11:00
Peranakan Houses
287 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427540
These vibrant and unique architectural landmarks are in the Katong/Joo Chiat neighbourhood. Once an area filled with coconut and cotton plantations as well as country shophouses and seaside bungalows for the wealthy in the 19th century, this area has transformed into a residential suburb populated by wealthy English-speaking Peranakans (generally referring to Straits-born Chinese of Malay/Indonesian heritage) and Eurasians within a span of a few decades. This area which was named after Chew Joo Chiat, a wealthy Peranakan trader, landowner and philanthropist, became the first ever designated Heritage Town in Singapore in 2011. While the plantations are gone, visitors can still soak up the unique Peranakan and colonial architecture in the forms of two-storey shophouses and terrace houses. Photo by Winel Sutanto on Unsplash
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Notes

En route to the Peranakan Houses for some photo time, slow down your pace and drop into one of the many shophouses lining East Coast Road. Some notable shops are Rumah Bebe and Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique.

11:00 - 12:00
Eurasian Heritage Gallery
139 Ceylon Rd, The Eurasian Association, Singapore 429744
If you want to learn all about the Eurasians community in Singapore, the Eurasian Heritage Gallery explores the intricate history and diverse culture behind one of the smallest but earliest ethnic group in Singapore. As the term 'Eurasians' suggest, be prepared to experience the beautiful coming together of East and West cultures. If you have the chance, take part in immersive experiences such as sampling Eurasian dishes, participate in cooking sessions, or even a Portugese folk-dance workshop! For those who're hungry, there is an on-site Eurasian restaurant called Quentin's The Eurasian Restaurant where they serve up perfected recipes handed down from generations. Foreign visitors need to pay SGD$5 entry fee while locals and permanent residents are free-of-charge. There are also tours you can opt for at SGD$8 which includes a complementary guided tour, a slice of sugee cake and a cup of tea. If you want a more comprehensive tour, you can opt for the Origin Journey Eurasian Heritage Tour at SGD$60/pax - a 4-hour programme with a Peranakan bento set lunch included by Quentin’s Eurasian Restaurant. Photo by Winel Sutanto on Unsplash
Article By: Sook
Standard 3.70 USD

Notes

Have lunch at Quentin's or head back down to sample the famous 328 Laksa along the main East Coast Road.

12:00 - 18:00
East Coast Park
E Coast Park Service Rd, East Coast Park, Singapore
East Coast Park is a beloved park that stretches 15km from Changi Airport all the way to Marina Bay, basically the entire coastal area on the South-East region of Singapore. With a total land size of 185 hectares (which translates to about 345 football fields), visitors will be overwhelmed with the kinds of activities available to do: - Bicycles and in-line skates rental: Rentals available for as low as SGD$8. Normally, rental shops include a promotion where they give you a complementary hour free. - Coastal Playgrove: Housing a 4-storey vertical net play feature, it is Singapore's tallest outdoor play area suitable for children and adults alike! Children can also splash around the water play area and immerse themselves among nature at the Nature Playgarden. There are also a variety of food options here. - Children's Playground at Marine Cove: Over 3,500 sqm of play area for children (and those young at heart). Toddlers are welcomed too! - Singapore Wake Park: Singapore's only cable-ski park, it is an adrenaline fix for both beginners and experienced riders. - Variety of Sea Sports: Enjoy a variety of sea sports from windsurfing to stand-up paddling to sailing (depending on the capricious weather conditions of course). - East Coast Lagoon Food Village: Be one amongst the smokey aromas of satay (grilled skewered meat), the seafood-y umami of grilled stingray bathed in sambal sauce (Malay/Indonesian chilli sauce) while sipping a cool and refreshing sugar cane drink. Photo by Christian Chen on Unsplash
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Notes

Have a chill and relaxing first day in Singapore by ending your day at East Coast Beach. How many people can say that they cycled all the way to Changi Airport from East Coast or cycled all the way down to Gardens by the Bay? Just remember to return your bikes before the time limit. Have dinner at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village to have your first deep dive into local cuisine! Singaporean food is much more than just Newton Circus Food Centre (Crazy Rich Asians reference).

Day 2

09:00 - 12:00
Singapore Botanic Gardens
1 Cluny Rd, Singapore 259569
The country's first and only (at the point of writing) UNESCO's World Heritage Site as well as the first tropical botanic garden to be inscribed back in 2015, the Botanic Gardens spans over 60 hectares which houses a myriad of attractions. The most popular of all has to be the National Orchid Garden which boasts the world's largest collection of the flower species (over 60,000 plants and orchids)! Be careful not to get lost in the intertwining paths as you hop from one attraction to another. It's almost hard to believe that this tranquil garden is just a five minutes drive away from the bustling and busy Orchard Road. Entry into the garden is free but selected attractions imposes entry fees. For the National Orchid Garden, foreign visitors have to pay around $3 (students and seniors) to $15 (adults). Photos by Antoinette Biehlmeier and Annie Spratt on Unsplash respectively
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Notes

Explore the vast expense of the Botanic Gardens. Recommended to enter from the Bukit Timah Gate rather than Tanglin Gate for a smoother travel experience. Take the MRT (train) to Botanic Gardens Station and either grab some local cheap food from Adam Road Food Centre or drop by Serene Centre for some Western cafe food. You may also want to take away the food to have a morning picnic session in the gardens!

12:00 - 14:00
Chinatown
133 New Bridge Rd, Singapore 059413
Looking at the Chinatown of today, one can never imagine the delipidated and filthy conditions the Chinese immigrants of the past lived in. When the British arrived in Singapore in 1819, they begin working to segregate ethnic groups according to various territories along the Singapore River. Chinatown for the Chinese, Kampong Glam for the Malays, Little India for the Indians and the Europeans in European Town. Contrary to its name, Chinatown is not exclusively Chinese. In fact, Singapore's Chinatown is the only Chinatown in the world where a Buddhist temple (Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum), Mosque (Masjid Jamae) and Hindu temple (Sri Mariamman Temple) coexist peacefully on one single street. Chinatown actually consists of five different precincts - Tanjong Pagar, Bukit Pasoh, Kreta Ayer, Telok Ayer and Ann Siang. From two-storey colonial shophouses to the sprawling 50-storey Duxton Pinnacle, from traditional Chinese teahouses to hip bars, from uncles dressed in singlets playing chess in Kreta Ayer Square to businessmen dressed in crisp button-downs holding a cup of Starbucks while rushing to their next appointment - this unlikely combination of the old and new created the unique unspoken charm that Chinatown has. 1st photo by Albert Vincent Wu, 2nd by Simone Fischer, 3rd by NICHOLAS LOO, 4th and 5th by Lily Banse on Unsplash
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Notes

Have lunch at the expansive Chinatown Complex which houses hundreds of food stalls in addition to shops selling souvenirs, clothes and other knick-knacks. Alternatively, you could also follow your nose to see where it leads you along the plethora of food places selling Chinese and other cuisines.

14:00 - 16:00
Kampong Glam
Kampong Glam, Singapore
Kampong Glam is derived from the Malay words for compound, "kampong", and the paperbark tree called "Gelam", which is commonly found in the area and used for boat-making, food seasoning and even medicine. One of the oldest neighbourhood, it too was demarcated by the British in 19th century to be the home of Malay, Arab and Bugis communities. Nowadays, it is a seamless blend between cultural traditions and a burgeoning hipster community. Just like Chinatown and Little India, Kampong Glam has also embraced modernity without forgetting its roots. You can find traditional Malay grub here just as easily as a hip cafe serving acai. Street art aficionados can satisfy themselves with Singapore's first outdoor gallery, home to 30 works of street art and murals by local and international artists alike! Photos by Jia Han, Bna Ignacio and Chapman Chow on Unsplash respectively
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16:00 - 19:00
Little India
Little India, Singapore
Little India is an assault (in a good way) on the senses every time you visit. Another one of the ethnic enclaves designated by the British in 19th century, it offers a little slice of India in multicultural Singapore. There's lots to see, eat and do here in this neighbourhood. Satisfy your cravings with delicacies ranging from North Indian to South Indian and everything in between. Fancy some shopping while you're at it? Go to the 24-hour Mustafa or wade through the hustle and bustle of Tekka Centre and Little India Arcade. You'll be able to find anything you're looking for, guaranteed! Photos by Danist Soh and Charles Postiaux on Unsplash respectively
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Notes

Feast yourself on the hustle and bustle of Little India once dusk hits and also literally feast yourself on the humongous variety of Indian cuisine all the way from North Indian to South Indian and everything in between!

Day 3

08:00 - 10:00
Tiong Bahru
Tiong Bahru, Singapore
Tiong Bahru is the oldest housing estate in Singapore and that is evident from the uniquely designed flats in the area. Dating back to 1930s, the style of flats along Tiong Bahru and Seng Poh Road, the main highlight of the area, are a testament of the Art Deco style fashionable at that time. Long symmetrical shapes, spiral staircases, curved corners and round porthole peepholes gives the area a quintessential charm that cannot be replicated elsewhere. In recent years, the area experienced gentrification, bringing about new swanky cafes and independent boutique shops. However, the old-school places like Tiong Bahru Market and Qi Tian Gong Temple (Monkey God Temple) manages to hold on to people's hearts and as a result, the area became an eclectic mix of the old and the new. All photos by Rayson Tan on Unsplash
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Notes

Start your day at the Tiong Bahru Market and find out which hawker stalls are the most delicious by asking the locals or you can just observe which stalls have the longest queue (Singaporeans love to join queues). If you want, get up a little earlier to catch the bustling wet market where people buy fresh food and vegetables. If you've had enough of local food for awhile, there's also the all so familiar taste of home in the cafes to be found in the neighbourhood. Explore the area and admire how different it is from the usual skyline you see in Singapore.

11:00 - 12:00
Haw Par Villa
262 Pasir Panjang Rd, Singapore 118628
If you're into gory and dystopian dioramas based around Buddhist and Taoist teachings, this place is perfect for you. Though not on the listed recommended sites to visit when you come to Singapore, Haw Par Villa will surely remain in your memories for a long time to come. Filled with over 1,000 sculptures that has been restored over the years, the park's main attraction is the ten courts of Hell exhibit, which has been revamped and expanded to include a newly added Hell's museum. Expanding on the Buddhist and Taoist narrative of death, more religions have been included to curate the world's first museum on the topic of death and the afterlife. It's difficult to express how stationary sculptures can bring about a sense of unease and eeriness so do visit to experience it yourself! Built in 1937 by the Aw brothers who brought Tiger Balm into the world, it was originally intended to be a theme park for children to learn about Buddhist and Taoist teachings. However, that plan was abandoned and in recent years, a private tour operator took over the grounds from the government and planned an interesting list of things to revitalise the area, including an upcoming escape room, container hotel and even art jamming sessions! Do note that although the main park grounds are free, Hell's museum charges an entrance fee of SGD$18 for adults and $10 for children (free for children under 6 years old but you probably won't want to bring them here). Photo by Vuitton Lim on Unsplash
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13:00 - 15:00
Gillman Barracks
9 Lock Rd, Singapore 108937
The colonial looking architecture is a nod back to Gillman Barrack's history as a former British military barracks back in 1936. Surrounded by lush greenery, it is located just a few minutes drive away from the city centre. Launched in 2012, the area's smattering collection of buildings was set to be a collection of art galleries displaying international and home-grown art, giving rise to one of Singapore's art enclave. Some are permanent galleries while others are temporary so you will definitely not see the same things on every visit! It also houses cafes, bars and restaurants to provide places of respite from all the walking. Photo by Estherkhm from Wikipedia
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Notes

Do look up on what galleries and exhibits are there at Gillman before you commit to going there.

16:00 - 18:00
Southern Ridges
10, Telok Blangah Green, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Singapore 109178
Ever thought the words hiking (more like walking) and Singapore don't go together? Actually, there are a lot of trails and hiking enthusiast groups hidden amongst the supposed 'concrete jungle'. The Southern Ridges trails is just one amongst the tons of walking trails in Singapore. This 10km stretch connects Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve, offering a fresh respite to take one's mind off stresses in our daily lives. Feel free to start and end at any point of the journey if you don't plan on completing the trail but the top recommendations are Henderson Waves and HortPark. Standing at 36m, the former is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore and an ideal spot to catch the sunset. The latter can rival Botanic Gardens in terms of being the most beautiful and idyllic park in the garden city. The 23-hectare park offers an serene and tranquil respite from the bustling of the city right next to it. Like any other garden/park in the city, there's some cafes where you can rest your feet at, sipping on coffee all while enjoying the lush greenery around you. Photo by Felix Fuchs, Will Truettner and Rita Chou on Unsplash respectively
Article By: Sook
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Notes

Catch the sunset at Henderson Waves.

19:00 - 20:00
Lau Pa Sat
18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582
Gazetted as a national monument in 1973, Lau Pa Sat or Telok Ayer Market has been an iconic presence ever since it was built as a wet market back in the 19th century. In present day, it has been converted to an iconic hawker centre housing all types of local food you can find. Granted, it is in the middle of the central business district so prices tend to run slightly higher and lunchtime will see waves upon waves of office workers, but the real gem happens when nightfalls. Every night, a satay street is set up on the cordoned off Boon Tat Road to allow food stalls to set up along the street, giving off a bustling night market vibe you can easily find in Bangkok. Serving not only satay (skewered meat) and grilled seafood, one can also easily get food dishes from all over the world in just one location. Photos by Ethan Hu and Lily Banse on Unsplash respectively
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Notes

Enjoy your last experience at this open air night market and feast yourselves on the delectable satays and sambal stingrays and a plethora of other dishes.

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A dreamer trapped in a physical body, daydreaming about the day where I break free of societal constraints and own a quiet cafe/b&b/farm in Jeju island 👩🏼‍🌾

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