One Day in Singapore - Tourist Attractions, Hawker Stands & More

One Day in Singapore

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So you’ve got one day in Singapore. The first time I went to Singapore I had 12 hours from midnight to noon the next day and we STILL found things to do.

There are so many options of things to do in a one day Singapore itinerary. Jump to the section that suits you best below.

 

One Day in Singapore

Traditional Breakfast | Gardens By The Bay | Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck | River Cruise | Chinatown | Hawker Stands | Haji Lane & Kampong Glam | Sentosa Island | Sunset | Rooftop Bars | Dinner | Night Safari | Night Out

 

Getting From Changi Airport

The MRT in Singapore (that’s their equivalent of the tube/subway) goes all the way to and from Changi airport but it is a long way into the centre of Singapore on it.

If you want to get going on a packed one-day itinerary and cram everything in, the MRT probably, therefore, isn’t your best bet.

And taxi’s are so cheap from the airport.

It won’t take you more than 30 minutes to get into the centre of town in a taxi and will cost you about $15 SGD.

They have taxi ranks in each terminal but also you can order Grabs (they bought out Uber in Singapore) with no drama picking them up from the airport, unlike it Bali. When you book they will just tell you which door to meet them at for the terminal you’re in.

You’ll be able to get on the free airport Wi-Fi to book it so no worries there.

Personally, I would strongly advise going for the cab if you’re trying to do Singapore in a day.

 

Breakfast

You’ve got to start with breakfast right?

Traditional Singaporean Breakfast

If you would like to check out a local breakfast head to Tiong Bahru Market (second floor) or Toast Box (a chain of restaurants in malls) where you can get some Kaya Toast and boiled egg.

Before you think oh that doesn’t sound so different to home (depending on where you’re from of course), the egg isn’t going to be going on your toast. 

That isn’t what this is.

Kaya toast is essentially a sandwich filled with kaya jam, which is a rich, sweet jam made from coconut milk, pandan (a tropical plant), eggs and sugar.

On the side will then be a very lightly boiled egg on a saucer. You’re supposed to get the egg, crack it onto the saucer and then put soya sauce on it. From there you can then proceed to dip your kaya toast in it if you so desire or just eat it.

The egg will be very runny.

 

Singapore Kaya Toast

The kata toast is the one on the left at the top and that tiny little picture down by the right is the coffee and saucer with your two “half-boiled” (as they describe them) eggs.

If you want the proper local experience go to Tiong Bahru Market to get this as that’s a hawker market and then you can wander around downstairs at the stalls afterwards.

If you’re a bit travel weary and want somewhere less hectic go to Toast box which you’ll find in most malls.

(Hawker stands and markets are just small places serving food from local stands)

 

Western Breakfast

It’s a bit out of the way but hands down the best breakfast I’ve ever had in Singapore was at the Common Man Coffee Roasters. They do an incredible full vegetarian breakfast with halloumi 😍. It’s not patricianly backpacker-friendly prices if you’re traveling around for a while though.

But even if you are traveling on a budget long-term, it can get tiring to scrimp and save on everything all the time. And if there’s somewhere in Asia it’s worth splashing out on things, it’s Singapore. It’s worth it because despite its reputation, the costs aren’t actually that high, and the quality is consistently really good.

There’s nothing worse than splashing out and then getting something that isn’t even that nice!

Like this breakfast. It will cost you about $25 SGD dollars, with coffee, but that’s only $18 USD £14.  That’s not really bad at all and it tastes wonderful.

Breakfast Singapore

If you want to go cheaper, and a little less out of the way, Craftsman Speciality Coffee has a lot of locations across Singapore and makes consistency good Western breakfast at cheaper.

  

Gardens By The Bay

The Gardens By The Bay are one of the most famous tourist attractions in Singapore, and one of the most impressive pieces of architecture in the world, for a number of reasons.

Singapore In One Day

In the Gardens By The Bay, they have Cloud Forest, which houses mountain views and an actual waterfall, flower dome, and the SuperTrees.

The SuperTrees are these giant tree-like structures that have plants living around the outside of them and perform functions for sustainability in the area, such as collecting rainwater and converting sunlight into energy.

One Day In Singapore

It’s well worth it to buy a ticket to go up to the top and have a walk along the skyway through the trees.

If you don’t have the budget to do that though it is absolutely fine to wander around the area for free.

 Gardens By The Bay Singapore One Day

  

Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck

Gardens By the Bay is really close to Maria Bay Sands. In fact, you’ll probably walk through it to get there if on foot.

At the top of Marina Bay Sands is the Sands Skypark observation deck which you can book tickets to go to online for $23 an adult. Doing so won’t get you access to THAT view from the pool but it will allow you to see all over the city.

You’ll even get a Birdseye view of the SuperTrees you’ve just visited.

Singapore In One Day

The shopping mall in Marina Bay Sands is also worth a visit with one of the largest collections of designer shops I’ve ever seen and even a canal to take gondolas down, like in Venice or Las Vegas, running through it.

Marina Bay Sands Mall

 

River Cruise 

You could hop in a cab to Chinatown very easily for your next stop but there are also riverboats that can take you from Marina Bay Sands to Clarke Quay from which it would be a short walk to Chinatown or you could get on the MRT one stop down.

Singapore River Cruise

As you go across the river in the boat you’ll be able to see the famous Merlion statue, the symbol of Singapore, at the edge of the river with water spraying out its mouth.

 

Chinatown

Even if you went to the hawker market to get your kaya toast first thing, after Gardens By the Bay and Marina Bay Sands it may be starting to feel like you’re not having the most authentic Singaporean experience at all the tourist attractions.

To overcome this, head to Chinatown next where you’ll find temples and market stands and street food galore.

Perfect for picking up some souvenirs for people back home and putting you just in the right location for lunch if you want to go local and eat at a hawker stand for it.

(If you’re not feeling that adventurous yet, there are plenty of restaurants that you could eat in at Marina Bay Sands but in the main part of the mall but also if you head to the basement there’s a collection of local places at a very reasonable price)

 

Lunch at a Hawker Stand

There are two hawker lunch spots perfectly located for you if in Chinatown (as well as the hundreds of other restaurants options there too).

 

Hawker Chan

Hawker Chan was the first hawker stand to become a Michelin Star restaurant in Singapore. It was really big news at the time as the meals are only a couple of dollars but were good enough for the Michelin guide to rank them!

Hawker Chan

The fame may have made them stop trying too hard though. I’m a vegetarian so Hawker Chan’s isn’t ideal for me anyway as it specializes in chicken but my friend who I was with wasn’t impressed.

Michelin Star Hawker Stand

I mean I’m no meat eater but that doesn’t look great.

That said though, I kind of feel like you need to try it while there which is why I’ve still included it.

And the tofu was great.

 

Telok Ayer Market (Lau Pa Sat)

Once you’ve left half of your food at Chan’s head to Telok Ayer Market (Lau Pa Sat). Right in Downtown Core, this place is so popular with workers in the area.

The building it’s in is much nicer than most Hawker markets. It’s one of the oldest Victorian design structures in Asia and is made from cast iron.

The market is like most hawker markets with stands all around serving different types of food and plastic seating in the middle to perch at while eating. It’s fast, it’s busy and a little bit crazy.

Given where it’s situated is does also mean you’ll see lots of people in suits eating there on their lunch breaks or after work when it gets busiest.

In London, I could never image people leaving their offices in skyscrapers in their suits to go to a loud busy market for some noodles on a plastic chair and wobbly table for their lunch break. It feels like one of the more authentic experiences you can have as a tourist in Singapore even if just there for a day.

 

Haji Lane & Kampong Glam

Unfortunately in completely the wrong direction for where I’d suggest for sunset later but Singapore is small so it won’t take you long to get to Haji Lane. And taxi’s are so cheap in Singapore.

Haji Lane Nightlife Singapore

The Haji Lane area, just by Arab Street, is a beautiful series of lanes where there’s graffiti on the walls, little shops selling quirky nick-nacks and small independent bars and restaurants. There’s even a craft beer bar that’s also a Chinese restaurant that serves Dim Sum.

It’s one of my favorite areas in the whole of Singapore and brings some much-needed character to a day exploring what will mostly feel like a city.

Haji Lane

From here you’re perfectly situated to explore the Malay Heritage of Singapore since Haji Lane is situated right in the centre of  Kampong Glam, an area of Singapore that was allocated to the Malay, Arab and Bugis communities of Singapore.

Make sure you check out the Sultan Mosque before heading off to your next stop.

 

Sentosa Island

I would strongly recommend going to Haji Lane and I doubt you’ll have time to do both of these things, but if Haji Lane doesn’t sound up your street (see what I did there!!) then Sentosa Island is worth looking at.

The easiest way to get to Sentosa Island is to head to Harbour Front on the MRT and then you can either walk across or get the special Sentosa Express. I’ve always walked it as I prefer to do that when exploring but it’s not the shortest of walks.

At Sentosa island, you’ll find Universal Studios, the 3D Trick Eye Museum, Singapore’s largest Merlion statue (that you can go to the top of), Sentosa beach and the most Southern Point of South-East Asia.

Sentosa Island Singapore

Sentosa is fun to walk around but it is all very man-made, even the beach. 

 

Sunset Views

For sunset, it has to be 1-Altitude to head to. There are other bars that have amazing views over Marian Bay sands (I’ll get to them in a minute for drinks afterwards but they don’t face the right direction for sunset).

1-Altitude being a completely flat rooftop though means you get 360 degrees views around the city as the sunsets, so you can see Marina Bay Sands, the Central Business District, and Clarke Quay from above.

Altitude City View

 

Rooftop Views & Evening Drinks

For evening drinks I can’t recommend the Lighthouse bar or Lantern enough. In the Fullerton Hotel and Fullerton Bay Hotel respectively these bars have incredible views.

View From Lighthouse Bar Fullerton

That’s why you’d go there too. If you’re looking to go out for the evening this isn’t where to go, but for spectacular views, as the light show goes off underneath Marina Bay Sands, you can’t beat it.

Lantern Bar Fullerton Bay Hotel

 

Dinner in Singapore

 Mid-Range Budget 

Once you’ve been to the Lighthouse bar at the Fullerton Hotel or Lantern at Fullerton Bay you’ll be very easily placed if you’d like to have food along the river.

Just by there is the start of Boat Quay which has a row of bars and restaurants. From fresh seafood to Indian to Italian. The food is good in these restaurants and it’s the perfect spot if you want to stop and have a few drinks afterwards.

Singapore in One Day

They have restaurants similar to this if you keep on walking down to Clarke Quay too but they will be more expensive as it’s more touristy there.

 

Posh Dinner

If you’d like to treat yourself to a wonderful meal out in a beautiful setting I can’t recommend Oso Signapore enough. They have a saxophonist walking around the restaurant playing as you eat and he décor you’d expect of a Jazz club.

Oso Singapore

Oso Restaurant Singapore

Budget Dinner

If you’d like to keep it local and not spend too much money head over to Little India where you can get authentic India food cooked for just a few dollars and be right in the heart of all the action.

Little India Food

 

Night Safari

Obviously, I don’t know what time your flight will be and therefore when you’ll need to draw your Singapore itinerary to a close but if you have time, and aren’t too exhausted already, the Singapore Zoo has a night safari that is by far one of it’s most popular attractions.

In fact, there are a number of attractions you can still do in Singapore at night.

 

Night Out

If it’s a night out in Singapore you fancy and you have time before your flight, or maybe you’re even staying in Singapore the night, the start with some drinks along Boat Quay or back in Haji Lane.

After that, the best places to head to would either be Clubstreet or Clarke Quay.

Club Street is a much more local place to go out (and don’t panic it’s not actually full of clubs, they’re all bars).

Clarke Quay is the most touristy place to go out but with bars packed every night of the week and sometimes that’s what you want!

 

Got any other tips for people to spending one day in Singapore? Let me know in the comments below

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Hey I'm Chantell

I quit my job to travel in 2014 and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I know first hand how hard it can be to get everything in place in order to be able to travel, to know what to pack and where to go, let alone how best to go about your travels once on the road. Here I share everything I've learnt so far so you don't have to learn through as much "trial and error" as I did...Read more

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