Chinatown Singapore

How to spend 8 hours in Singapore…

Travelled in: October 2017

Singapore had always been a city I wanted to visit. My grandad was stationed there during the war, working for the royal air-force I believe. The city would have of course drastically changed since his time, but I had always wanted to visit so I could take pictures to show him what it was like now. Unfortunately he passed away before I had the chance to do this. I did however manage to get over to Singapore to see it for myself last year on the way back from my trip to Bali

I booked return flights to Singapore with British Airways. Singapore is a great airport to transit in on route to Bali. We had a number of options on how to incorporate Singapore in to our trip. My boyfriend had been a couple of times before so we decided to just do the city on a day trip on our way back from Bali to the UK.

On our flight out we had a 4 hour stopover in Singapore airport. This wasn’t really enough time to go and do anything in the city, so we found some fun things to do in the airport, which I have written about at the bottom of this post…

On the way back we had a longer stop over in Singapore. We landed in Singapore at around 10am and our flight back to the UK was at 11pm, so we had plenty of time to go and explore. We managed to do a serious whistle stop tour of the city and crammed in all of the major sights. Below are my suggestions of how to spend 8 hours in one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world…


Ride the Singapore subway…

The easiest way to get in to and around the city is on the MRT/LRT. Singapores super clean and efficient underground train system. You can catch the subway from Terminal 2 at Changi Airport. If your flight arrives at one of the other terminals, there is a shuttle you can take between them all.

We bought a Singapore Tourist Pass for $10, this gave us unlimited travel on the Singapore buses, MRT and LRT for the day. You pay a $10 deposit on the Tourist Pass card, which makes the upfront cost $20. Once you have finished with your pass card, you can get hand this back in at any TransitLink Ticket Office in Singapore and you will get your $10 deposit back. Find an office here!

For us only being in Singapore one day, this option worked out as the cheapest option. If you are planning a longer stay in Singapore, it might be more beneficial to buy an EZ link card, or pay as you go each journey.

The subway system in Singapore is incredibly clean. Food and drink are actually banned on the trains and you would have to pay a fine should you get caught consuming. We found the subway system very easy to use and it was really quick to get from A – B. Buses were also really easy to hop on and off of.


Eat at Singapores best hawker centres…

In case you haven’t gathered by now, food plays a big part in my travels!

Singapore, being a city of many cultures, offered some of the best food I have ever eaten in Asia. We had two meals to eat in Singapore, and we ate both of them in hawker centers.

Chinatown was our first stop of the day, where we stopped for lunch at the Chinatown Complex. There are over 260 food vendors spread over 3 levels. Each vendor is numbered so if you know where you want to go it is pretty easy to find. I went straight to a vendor I had read about on a few travel blogs. I had read that this particular vendor was the best place to get my favourite chinese food – pan fried dumplings. I ordered a plate of 10 dumplings for $6 (about £3) at stand #02 – 135 (Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao) and OMG they were the best thing I have ever eaten! I didn’t even have time to take a photo as all 10 of them were gone in about 60 seconds. This is a definite must try if you love dumplings as much as me 🙂 I nearly went back for more, but decided to try another vendor instead…

Hawker Chan #02 – 126 was our choice for our second course. This place is pretty well known in Singapore as it has earned itself a michelin star. The queue wrapped around half the building with locals and tourists all eagerly waiting in line to try some of Hawker Chans famous soya chicken noodles. You get a huge plate of chicken and noodles or rice for $7. It did not disappoint!

We also took a trip to the Little India and visited the hawker market there for dinner. I didn’t get the name of the restaurant we ate at here, but again there are plenty of options and all the food was delicious!


See the sights of Singapore…

Singapore has plenty of amazing sights to check out. I managed to squeeze in all the main ones in my short, but sweet time in this city…

Gardens By The Bay was our first stop. We visited at first during the day, which was lovely, however this is a sight that MUST be seen at night to be fully appreciated. There are plenty of different attractions to check out, and you can also walk the OCBC skyway for a fee of $8.

Marina Bay Sands is right behind Gardens By The Bay. You can walk directly in to the Marina Bay complex from the gardens. Marina Bay is a super impressive hotel and shopping complex, famed by its rooftop infinity pool. We unfortunately didn’t make it up to the top. Being at the end of our 2 week holiday we wanted to keep the last day cheap and not spend $23 getting up to the observation deck. Another option to go up to the roof is via the bar/restaurant, you still have to pay a $20 entrance fee, but this is redeemable against a drink.

Botanical Gardens was our final stop of the day. The gardens are slightly outside the center of the city, but still easily accessible via the subway. They are free to enter and you can walk around as you please. There are numerous cafes dotted all around and even live music at the band stand. To get in to the orchid garden there is a really small fee, but it was worth it as it is super pretty…


Go Shopping in Singapore…

Although seen as an expensive city, Singapore is amazing for shopping! With the right exchange rate you can actually get some really great bargains. A few of the best places to shop are…

Marina Bay Shoppes – The shopping center that surrounds the Marina Bay Sands hotel is one of the largest luxury shopping malls in the city. Every luxury and designer brand you could think of is located here, so it is the perfect place to visit if you fancy treating yourself. There is even a mini canal running through the center where you can take a ride on a gondola.

Bugis Street – On the other end of the scale is Bugis St. This is the place to come for cheap, tacky, but wonderful souvenirs. The market is a bit of a maze, but full of vendors selling everything from clothing, food, shoes, electronics and gifts.

Sim Lim – If it is electronics you are after, Singapore is a pretty good place to buy them! Sim Lim is a huge 6 floor shopping center which purely sells electrical goods. Each floor is home to a different type of electrical, so it’s best to make your way down from top to bottom!


Watch a light show in Singapore…

If you are in Singapore for an evening a MUST DO is watching the nightly light shows.

Daily at 7.45pm & 8.45pm you can watch the Gardens By The Bay come to life at the OCBD Garden Rhapsody show. It is really quite memorizing to watch the Super Trees light up to music. Get to the gardens early enough to make sure you get the best view.

Following this you should head over to the event plaza at Marina Bay and wait for the Spectra Light & Water Show. This show runs at 8pm & 9pm Sunday – Thursday and 8pm, 9pm & 10pm Fridays & Saturdays. This was by far the best light show I have ever seen, the graphics were incredible and the atmosphere was amazing. Definitely something not to miss in Singapore!


Fun things to do at Singapore Changi Airport…

As your trip comes to an end it is inevitable you will be spending a bit of time in Singapores Changi Airport. I spent in total about 7 hours in this airport, so explored all options to find fun things to do during my layovers. Here were the best bits…

The Cactus Garden – On the rooftop of T1 is where you will find The Cactus Garden, home to over 100 species of cacti. There are a few outdoors areas in T1, but this was my favourite. There is a bar so you can have a drink whilst you are waiting for your flight. Or you can sit and watch the planes taking off and landing on the runway. We were there at sunset and it was a lovely way to waste a bit of time. In some of the other terminals they have other themed gardens, such as sunflowers and orchids.

Movie Theatre – In T2 & T3 there is a movie theatre where you can watch films completely free of charge! We were in T1 for both of our flights, so unfortunately missed out on this!

Relaxation Lounge – In T1 there is a relaxation area where you can shower, refresh and relax for about $20. Great if you have just got off a long haul flight and want to freshen up.

Go for a Swim – If you have more than a few hours to kill, but don’t fancy venturing in to the city, there is a transit hotel right outside T1. The hotel has a rooftop pool and facilities you can enjoy for a small fee.

Just don’t go having too much fun that you miss your flight 😉

If you have more time than I did to spend in Singapore, then lucky you! For an amazing 2 day initerary and more info on how to budget in SE Asia, click here!


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