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How to Spend 48 Hours in Singapore

schedule4 Minute Read

08-Aug-2023 Karl Page

How to Spend 48 Hours in Singapore

If you've got a weekend to spend in Singapore, here's what you should do...

If you're planning a luxury holiday to Asia, we recommend you make some time to stop in stunning Singapore for a few days. This island country and city-state might be small, but it is mighty and a fusion of cultures and experiences just waiting to be enjoyed.

For those planning a short luxury holiday to Singapore, we've crafted a 48-hour itinerary that will allow you to see the very best this destination has to offer.

Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore Botanic Gardens

Day One

Morning: Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens in Singapore date back to 1859 and were initially constructed by a series of Kew-trained botanists, so those visiting from the UK might feel at home whilst walking around these beloved grounds. Spanning 82 hectares, a visit here will allow you to experience some incredible horticulture and a view of Singapore and the area. In 2015, the Gardens became a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first in Singapore and the only tropical garden in the world to gain such esteemed status.

As you explore the gardens, you'll see incredible flowers and animals, stunning buildings and lakes. We recommend you allocate a few hours to spend here to ensure you can explore the full space, as it can take that much time just to cover all of the ground! Although Singapore is a frenetic and energetic city, here you'll find the pace slowed down and be able to start your day adapting to your new location and taking in some stunning nature.

One must-see within them is the National Orchid Garden. Since the inception of the Gardens, orchids have been a staple attraction and from 1928, the National Orchid Garden was established to display the results of the breeding programme. Today, there are over 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids on display, ready to be admired by visitors.

Lunch: The Halia, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Why travel far for lunch when there is a delicious option where you already are? Finish off your morning and rest your feet with lunch at The Halia. Set amidst the Ginger Garden, this restaurant was built alongside the garden, so they perfectly complement one another. The menu offers a fusion of European and Asian flavours and includes amazing dishes such as steak options, pasta dishes and a range of locally flavoured desserts.
Satay chicken in Lau Pa Sat hawker market
Singapore street food market

Afternoon: The National Museum & Raffles

Since 1849, The National Museum of Singapore has been a feature of the city-state, although it was originally known as the Raffles Library and Museum. In 1887, it moved to its current location on Stamford Road and has been expanding ever since. With a wealth of Singaporean art, culture and history, visiting here during your short stay in Singapore will teach you a lot about this impressive city-state.

Although Singapore might be a modest destination when it comes to size, its history is not, and The National Museum is one of the best-regarded in all of Asia. We'd recommend you allow the full afternoon here to give you time to absorb the thought-provoking and informative exhibitions.

Once you've fully explored The National Museum, you should make sure to visit Raffles, only a few streets over. Even if you aren't staying at Raffles Singapore, you should stop by to see the famous door-men, wander around the manicured grounds, home to a range of interesting boutiques, and pop into the Long Bar for a Singapore Sling- after all, this is where it was invented!

Evening: Gardens By The Bay

Once you've finished your Singapore Sling, it's time to visit the final attraction of your first day - Gardens By The Bay. Covering 250 acres of land along the Marina Reservoir, there are extensive free-to-visit gardens with stunning horticulture, art sculptures and more.

As well as the extensive free gardens, there are some incredible paid-for experiences which are all must-visit attractions in their own right - including a chance to walk amongst the canopy of the Supertrees you've already seen come to life with lights. Depending on how long you have, you can choose to visit just one or all of them.

  • Cloud Forest: Get transported into the clouds and see the world's tallest indoor waterfalls and plants from around the world through aerial walkways. It's recommended that you allow 1.5 hours to experience this properly.
  • Floral Fantasy: A surreal landscape of floral arrangements and bouquets, and home to a vivarium with brightly-coloured poison dart frogs. It's recommended that you allow 1 hour to experience this properly.
  • Flower Dome: Enjoy unusual plants from around the world here, where the flowers are always in bloom. It's recommended that you allow 1 hour to experience this properly.
  • OCBC Skyway: Walk between the canopy of two Supertrees at 22 metres above ground and experience unique views of the Gardens and the Marina below. It's recommended that you allow 15 minutes to experience this properly.
  • Supertree Observatory: Journey to the canopy of the tallest Supertree for unparalleled views of the Gardens and Marina below. It's recommended that you allow 45 minutes to experience this properly.

Make sure, however, you leave enough time to witness the spectacular Garden Rhapsody. With free shows at 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm daily, this is an event not to be missed. The iconic Supertrees will come alive with lights and music in an elaborate and beautiful display. There are different shows throughout the year to reflect the seasons, so even if you've been before on a previous visit, you should try and come again.

Lau Pa Sat & Ce La Vie

Singapore's foodie scene is known for one thing in particular: its hawker centres. And Lau Pa Sat is probably the most popular in the city. Hawker centres are essentially indoor street food markets, where you can find a range of delicious and affordable dishes and snacks to try - perfect for those who want to sample the local cuisine. What you try when you're here is up to you, but some of the most popular dishes include classic chicken rice (try Fragrance Garden Chicken Rice for this), satay from the vendors on Satay Street and something sweet from Butter & Cream Bakery.

If you are looking to enjoy a nightcap after dinner, then nearby Ce La Vie is the perfect destination. Located on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands, here you'll enjoy some of the best views of the city - the perfect ending to your first full day in Singapore.

READ MORE: How to Spend 48 Hours in Buenos Aires

Supertrees at Gardens By The Bay during the Garden Rhapsody light show
Singapore Supertrees

Day Two

Morning: Chinatown

For your second morning in Singapore, we recommend a trip to stunning Chinatown. A charming blend of old and new, here you'll be able to explore a range of temples, some great bars and restaurants, brilliant museums and more. We recommend you take some time just to wander the streets and take in the atmosphere of this area.

Of course, whilst you're here, you should find somewhere for breakfast. Ya Kun Kata Toast may have started as a humble coffee stall in the 1940s, but now it's one of the nation's favourite breakfast options, serving up its namesake kaya toast - two slices of toast with butter and kaya, coconut jam. Get this with a cup of coffee, and you'll be enjoying a wonderful start to the day.

Lunch: Joo Chiat and Rempapa

When lunchtime rolls around, a visit to Joo Chiat will allow you to discover the Peranakan culture, where Chinese influence blends with the local mood seamlessly. Here, you'll be able to enjoy streets with a vintage historical feel, walking amongst the brightly-coloured Peranakan houses and temples.

Then, when you feel you've worked up an appetite, we recommend you head to Rempapa for lunch. Like Joo Chiat, Rempapa celebrates Singapore's blended cultures, serving up heritage cuisine inspired by flavours from Chinese, Peranakan, Eurasian, Indian and Malay kitchens. With a nod from Michelin for their prowess (and the recommendation of the Baca Assam, or beef cheek), you can be sure you'll enjoy an unforgettable meal here.

Orchard Road Sign in Singapore
Singapore Orchard Road street sign

Afternoon: Shopping

Now it's time for some retail therapy, and Singapore can offer it in spades. For those looking for luxury brands and high-street staples, then Orchard Road is the go-to destination. As Singapore's most iconic shopping street, Orchard Road is known worldwide for its retail prowess and is lined with shopping malls, meaning there are hundreds, if not thousands, of shops to choose from! You'll also be able to enjoy some great tourist discounts and rewards, so we recommend having your passport on hand when you browse to get the best deals.

Attentively, if you want to experience a more local shopping experience, we recommend a trip to Kampong Gelam. With a vibrant show of culture and the arts, here you'll find a wealth of small, colourful shops offering their wares. With narrow streets (including brilliant Haji Lane) and character in bucketloads, the mixing pot of cultures here makes for a great afternoon of exploration and, of course, shopping!

Dinner: Sample some Michelin Star Dining

There are a massive 20 restaurants in Singapore boasting a Michelin Star, with six reaching acclaimed two-star status and three with three Michelin Stars. For those who want to sample luxury cuisine at its finest, seeking out one of these restaurants is a must and will be the perfect way to end your stopover in Singapore.

Firstly, there is Odette. You may be in Singapore, but it's French cuisine you'll be sampling at Odette. Found in the National Gallery and captained by Chef Julien Royer, here luxury ingredients and creatively combined to create elegant and memorable dishes.

If French cuisine sounds good, then Les Amis is a second option to consider. First opened in 1944 and located in the Shaw Centre, this world-renowned restaurant twists French classical with Asian influence spectacularly.

Finally, there is Zén to consider. A sister restaurant to Frantzén in Stockholm, Zén has been serving up tantalising dishes since 1926. You'll start your journey on the first floor before heading to the second floor for the main event - a seafood-heavy tasting menu with Japanese influence.

Evening: Cocktail Bars

It's time to finish your 48 hours with a nightcap. Singapore has an excellent selection of cocktail bars to choose from, and you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to visit. If you are looking for somewhere to start, we recommend The Elephant Room in Little India. With all ingredients freshly sourced from the nearby Tekka Market, the menu here will take you on a journey and is the perfect way to finish your weekend in Singapore.

READ MORE: How to Spend 48 Hours in New York

If you're tempted by a luxury holiday to Singapore , our range of resort options can ensure you find the perfect accommodation for you. Alternatively, you could experience Singapore and Malaysia on our tailormade itinerary: Essence of Malaysia with Eastern & Oriental Express .

If you are looking for more travel advice, from destination guides to first-hand travel stories, be sure to check out our luxury travel blog .

Karl Page

Karl Page

Digital Experience Manager

With a genuine love for all things travel, I love exploring new destinations and discovering something new, gaining a wealth of experience in luxury holidays along the way.

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