Singapore is a city-state and one of the richest countries in Asia. Stepping off the plane there did not feel like arriving in a South-East Asian country at all. From the state of the art airport to the skyscrapers and luxury hotels, everything in Singapore is shiny, new and clean.
This incredibly well-organized city can feel like a modern oasis compared to the grime and chaos of Bangkok or Manila. So while it is not exactly an accurate reflection of South East Asia, its prosperity is one of the reasons this city is a must-visit. It is packed with beautiful architecture, great restaurants and culture.
I spent about 36 in Singapore during a layover and I felt it was a good amount of time to explore the highlights of the city. Ideally, 2-3 days would be a good amount of time to visit Singapore at a leisurely pace.
Maneuvering around the city is easy with a great subway system as well as city bikes. Singapore is just as pricey as Europe, but can be done with limited funds. Here are my tips on things to do and see in Singapore on a budget:
Admire the art at Singapore National Gallery
The Singapore National Gallery is housed in the stunning architecture of the former City Hall and Courthouse. It is a beautiful, modern museum that can easily rival well known European museum, such as the Louvre. As everything in Singapore, it is slightly expensive and be prepared to wait in line for a ticket, but it is worth it! The museum houses a rich diversity of old and new Asian art as well as temporary western exhibitions. And the balcony café has a great view of the bay!
See the light show at the Garden by the Bay
The Gardens by the Bay may be the most photographed sight in Singapore and with good reason. The artificial trees are impressive and stunning and the park itself a delight. There’s an abundance of plants and flowers and you might even run into a few otters!
I strongly recommend visiting the park in the evening. Grab a quick bite at Satey by the Bay food court and walk to the trees to see the light show. It is delightful and on every day at 7.30 and 8.30 pm. And it’s all completely free!
Take in the view from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel
After the Gardens by the Bay, take the walk bridge to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. This world-famous hotel is expensive to stay at, but visitors can access the rooftop bar. All you have to do is buy a 20 dollar drink voucher, which you can spend on a delicious cocktail while you take in the amazing view. Nothing like sipping a Singapore Sling while looking at the bay and the light show to make you feel fancy on a budget.
Stroll through Little India and China Town
Food in Singapore is expensive, except in Little India. The food court by the Little India subway station offers all kinds of Indian and Chinese delicacies at affordable prices. From noodle soup to curry and fried rice to ice cream, there is something tasty here for everybody.
The rest of Little India and China Town are worth a walk through to see the temples, shops, and markets.
Visit the Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens are basically a huge park filled with all kinds of themed sections of fauna. A great place to walk around and lounge in the sun or have a nice picnic. The gardens offer a wonderful escape from the heat and bustle of the city and entry is free!
I only spent a short amount of time in Singapore, but it was enough to get a feel for the city. I really enjoyed my time and think it is the perfect layover destination in Southeast Asia.
What are your favorite things to do in Singapore? Let’s chat in the comments.
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