Seven Great Ways to Spend Three Days or a Weekend in Singapore
When I booked my ticket to meet my friends in Phuket, I thought it was expensive. So, when the cheapskate in me found out that we could stretch our two-hour Singapore layover to two days for "free" (meaning no additional charge), I immediately took my chance. I think it was one of the best travel decisions I’ve made this year. What's even better than that? I was able to come up with a list of seven great ways to spend your three days or a weekend in Singapore. And as per usual, I’m sharing it with you in this post. This entry won't provide you with a polished itinerary. But I have a few points for you to keep in mind when you plan your trip to Singapore.
1. Get a cool place without breaking the bank
Yes, I get it. Singapore looks pretty pricey for a lot of travelers. That’s even the reason why I was ecstatic that extending our layover didn’t cost us more than our original flight bill! But even if we’re paying in dollars and the conversion rate challenges our expenses in the Philippine peso, I still think that spending three days in Singapore on a budget is doable. Once you got your airfare covered, you can get a place like Cube Hotels.
Cube Hotels branches are perfect places for travelers who are cautious in overspending but still want comfort. They offer both shared and private rooms. So, it caters to solo and group travelers as well. Where else can you get private capsule space for sleeping with toiletries and bottled water provision? It’s like a hostel meeting luxury. The branch in Kampong Glam is also home to Singapore Visitor Center. So, staying there is hitting two birds in one stone!
2. Take advantage of Singapore’s impressive transportation system
What I love about Singapore since my first visit is the fact that it’s easy to get around the city by walk, by train, and even by bus. The airport is just an hour away to the city center via the express train, after all! During this trip, though, I realized that the bus is even more satisfying to use! Less walking for us!
But in general, may it be via train or bus, even by taxi (just better if you have someone to share the bill with), you can get a lot of things done in Singapore in as short as three days. As a rule of thumb, create your itinerary based on the location of the attractions to save travel time.
3. Don’t miss out on the famed tourist spots
If you didn’t see the Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion, have you really been to Singapore? No one would be surprised if you tell them that it’s your first place to visit so don’t be afraid of any judgment. Just know that Singapore may be such a small country, but there’s still a lot of attractions here that you can get a lot of things done in only three days!
We didn’t max out all our three days in Singapore doing everything that most tourists would probably do. But we covered some of the basics— at least on day one.
From Clark Quay, we took a scenic walk to reach Gardens by the Bay. On the way, we passed by the Anderson Bridge. We even saw the bust statue of Dr. Jose Rizal as we strolled along the Queen Elizabeth Walk. Of course, we had to stop by for a while at the Merlion Park and join the crowd of tourists making funny poses with the water coming out of its mouth. It’s also a great spot to take photos of the Marina Bay Sands.
The Art Science Museum is a stone’s throw away from the Marina Bay Sands. So, if you started the walk pretty early and are interested to see what’s inside, you can get a glimpse of their temporary and permanent exhibitions before the show at the Gardens.
Our stroll from Clark Quay to the Marina Bay Sands was very chill. We saw strangers walking, jogging and skating— doing simple things any of us would also do in our hometown. There’s a bunch of skyscrapers on one side then there’s just the Marina Bay Sands standing tall on the other. It’s a perfect view of the city that’s so busy and relaxed at the same time.
Gardens by the Bay is a humongous area consisting of many attractions. The Supertree Grove and the surrounding gardens are free for all while others like the Cloud Forest, The Flower Dome, and OCBC Skyway have entrance fees which you can buy separately or as a combined ticket.
We went straight to the Supertree Grove, though, where we waited for the light show after sundown. I only wish that people are not allowed in the skyway when the show starts to appreciate the view fully. We got the place right in the middle and enjoyed the show above our heads while lying down.
For adventure seekers, you can also spend a day at the Universal Studios Singapore or in Sentosa Island. Shopaholics will go crazy at Bugis or Orchard Road. Me? I enjoyed a rather quick browse (or maybe just a photoshoot because we were hurrying to bring our heavy Irvin's purchase back to Cube) at Library @ Orchard.
4. Explore the heritage and culture
Singapore is such a diverse country. Aside from hundreds of thousands of Filipinos working and visiting, it’s also easy to find other Asians and even Westerners here. Like in any other country, there’s Chinatown, Little India, and there’s even the Kampong Glam— the center of Islamic Heritage in Singapore. It’s hard to feel isolated as it seems that Singapore’s got a place to accommodate everyone no matter what religion, race, culture, or interest they have.
There are churches and mosques. You can find places where you can buy silk and spices. There are lots of great restaurants and bars to try. Honestly, it’s just a bonus that making your way to these places also mean that you’re exploring laneways like the Haji lane and see the colorful street arts and art installations.
5. Devour food to your heart’s content
I don’t know about you, but it’s tough to argue about Singapore being such a heavenly place for food lovers. From food courts at mall basements to hawkers, you can’t go wrong with the various options of international cuisines readily available for your diet preference. It’s even more enjoyable if you’ll go on a food trip with friends.
Visiting hawkers doesn’t mean that you have to snob restaurants, either. I enjoyed the Chicken Moussaka that I had in one of the Middle Eastern restaurants in Kampong Glam as much as I loved the Salted Egg Chicken in Newton Food Center. My only tip? Try as many dishes as you can but don’t forget to consider sharing. In Singapore, the servings are usually more than enough for two people.
6. Drink like a local
You can find the original version of the famed Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel. But you can try it in a lot more places, too. Also, like how the locals and expats of Singapore do, you can drown in beer towers with your hawker food. And if you feel fancy, grab a drink in one of the city’s rooftop bars.
Fans of Milo Drinks will go insane with Milo Dinosaur, too. Imagine the chocolatey crumb seeping through your tongue. Yum! And of course, who can forget about the Kopi? Singapore’s drink menu won’t disappoint the thirsty tourists especially when it’s a hot day— which is almost every freaking day.
7. Experience the World’s Best International Airport— Singapore Changi Airport
Of course, how can we forget about the gateway to this wonderful city? Singapore Changi Airport is famous for being the World’s Best International Airport. There are even attractions inside the airport that you can explore right before you leave building to explore Singapore or head to your next destination abroad. Technically, it’s a city within a city. They even offer free tours for passengers on a layover! If you used to hate airports and long layovers, it's safe to say that you wouldn’t feel the same way once you set foot at the Singapore Changi Airport.
Let’s be clear; I spent my three days walking around the city and eating to my heart’s content during my visit. But it’s okay, I may have gained weight during the short trip, but I was satisfied. I would fly back again to eat at hawkers. But that’s just me! The fact that I have friends currently residing here for work also allowed me to relax for a bit and slow down instead of trying to tick off every destination on the Singapore tourist guide brochures. Maybe I wasn't in a hurry to see everything because there's a chance of coming back soon? Who knows?
Since Singapore is one of the popular international destinations for the Filipinos, it’s usually the first foreign place most of us visit for pleasure. It’s a good thing, though. Because the country is easy to navigate and while quite on the expensive side, still doable on a budget. So, whether you’re a history geek, adventure seeker, or a food lover, Singapore's got you!
What are you waiting for, now? Book that trip you've been dreaming of for ages! Fly to Singapore!