I absolutely love to travel, but I also love the anticipation, the research and everything that has to do with planning a trip. I like the butterflies I have in my stomach every time I press the button to book a new flight, the enthusiasm I feel when I find something interesting to add to my must-see list for our next travel, or the excitement that embraces me when I start packing. But although for me planning a trip is thrilling, I know that not everybody has time or likes to do research on dozens of sites or read hundreds of reviews to plan a trip, so I thought I should share some travel itineraries for inspiration. And what better destination to choose for my first itinerary, than my favorite one, Singapore?
When we visited Singapore, we spent there 4 and a half amazing, unforgettable days, but we could have definitely stayed another week without getting bored.
Day 1 – Lovely evening at Marina Bay
If you arrive in Singapore sometime in the afternoon, I recommend you to go in the evening at the Marina Bay. This is the best first interaction you could have with Singapore and trust me, you will fall in love with the city instantly. We were in awe the entire evening and couldn’t stop marveling at everything around us.
If you come with the MRT (Singapore’s subway system), take either the green or red line and get down at Raffles Place. After a short walk towards Merlion Park, you will find yourself facing the stunning Marina Sands Bay Hotel and the Singapore Flyer. Continue wandering along the river and take in the view, until you reach the Marina Bay Sands. From here you will have a wonderful view of the Financial District and of Merlion.
Don’t forget that at 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. the Wonder Full laser and water shows begin and the best location to watch them are Esplanade or Merlion Park (for the laser show) and Marina Event Plaza (for the water show).
Day 2 – Singapore Botanical Garden and Gardens by the Bay
When you are visiting the “City in a Garden”, what best way to spend your first full day there, then by wandering through its famous gardens?
Begin your day with a visit to the Botanical Garden. As it spreads over 74 hectares, it has multiple entrances, so you should know exactly what you want to see in there and which gate is the closest to that attraction. There is a MRT Station near one of the entrances, called Botanical Garden and you can arrive there by taking the yellow or blue metro line. The Bukit Timah Gate is just a few walking minutes from the metro station, but for all other gates, you have to take a bus, or walk through the Garden.
If you decide to enter by Bukit Timah Gate, as we did, you can watch the black swans from Eco Garden, stroll through Evolution Garden, Palm Valley and eventually arrive at National Orchid Garden. After admiring the delicate flowers, you can either continue on Heritage Trail and see the seven oldest trees of the country, or visit the Rainforest.
In the afternoon, go to Gardens by the Bay. Take the metro from Botanical Garden to Bayfront (blue or yellow line, exit B), visit Flower Dome and Cloud Forest and then get to the jaw-dropping Supertree Grove. When you’ll see those giant colored trees, you will start to think, that you stepped on the sets of Avatar movie. Just make sure to arrive in time for the magical Gardens by the Bay Symphony, as each evening at 7:45 and 8:45, the trees will mesmerize you with their music and light show.
Day 3 – Chinatown, Arab Street and Little India
Now that you have seen some of the modern beauties of Singapore, it’s time for an infusion of culture, and the best places for this are the three traditional quarters of Chinatown, Arab Street and Little India. Depending on where you are accommodated, you can begin your day with either of them.
As our hotel was in Chinatown, we begin our wander there. If you come from outside the quarter with the MRT, stop at Chinatown Station (purple line) and exit directly in the middle of Pagoda Street (exit A), a pedestrian market street, full of souvenir and food stalls. Stroll along the streets of Chinatown, learn the stories of the Chinese migrants and get to better know their traditions and customs by visiting Chinatown Heritage Center and Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum. Make a stop for lunch at Maxwell Street Food Center, where you can taste traditional Chinese meals and then immerse yourself in the Indian world with a visit to Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore.
Commute to Little India (descend at Little India Station – purple line) and begin exploring the rich Indian culture by visiting its famous Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, built in the 19th century and dedicated to Hindu goddess and evil destroyer, Kali. Literally have a taste of India, by indulging in the traditional Indian cuisine in one of its markets and restaurants, or go shopping in Mustafa center, a huge shopping mall, opened 24 hours a day, to take a little part of India with you home.
If you are not tired already, continue wandering the streets of this colorful neighborhood, pass through Little India Arcade and stop by Abdul Gafoor Mosque. The architecture of it is a mixture of Moorish, South Indian and Victorian style, so it will be the perfect transition from Little India to Arab Quarter.
Your next stop should be Masjid Sultan, the imposing mosque from Kampong Glam district. If you want to visit it inside, take a look at the visiting hours from their website, as visits are allowed just a couple of hours per day. After seeing the mosque, stroll through Bussorah Street and grab a bite in one of its traditional diners, or go to Naji Lane to admire the most colorful, painted shop houses in Singapore.
Day 4 – Sentosa Island
After two days of visiting the impressive landmarks of the city, prepare yourself for a full day of fun on Sentosa Island. To get to the island, take the blue or yellow line to HarbourFront. From there you can choose to take either Sentosa Express (Exit E to VivoCity), Singapore Cable Car (exit B to HarbourFront Tower II), or you can cross the Boardwalk by foot (from level 1 of VivoCity).
Once on the island, start your day by visiting Universal Studios (opens at 10 a.m.), a theme park divided in seven zones, inspired by the most successful Universal Studios’ productions. Walk along Hollywood Boulevard and meet famous Hollywood stars, take a ride on the world’s tallest dueling roller coasters in Sci-Fi City and on the indoor Mummy inspired roller coaster from Ancient Egypt, or embark on a river adventure in The Lost World.
Although you could easily spend an entire day in Universal Studios, I recommend you to reserve some time either to visit the S.E.A Aquarium, to interact with the dolphins on Delphin Island, or to take in some spectacular views as you descend towards a white sandy beach on a zipline.
Later in the day, go to Palawan Beach, cross the bridge and get to the southernmost point of continental Asia (well, technically the real point is about 1.7 km south-east, but as tourists are not allowed in the exact southernmost point, let’s just pretend you are there).
Day 5 – Orchard Road, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay
You can begin your last day in Singapore, by indulging in a shopping spree on the most famous shopping street in Asia. There are a lot of malls that wait to be visited, but if you are not in the mood to go from mall to mall, I would recommend you to choose Ion Orchard. Although some people would say that it is a high-end mall, beside the luxury shops, you will also find budget shops and a food court with delicious traditional food from many south-east Asian countries.
After having enough of shopping, go to Raffles Hotel (station Raffles Place, red line). Visit its museum, wander in its gardens and enjoy a Singapore Sling, in the place where it was invented and then continue walking to Marina Bay Sands complex. Marvel at the beauties of Singapore from the top of the hotel and say goodbye to the city by enjoying once again the supertree’s rhapsody.