I remember back then when I was travelling, it was common for people to ask “Where’s that?” when I told them I was from Singapore. Fast forward to present day, it’s more common to hear questions about what to do in Singapore, itineraries for Singapore and so on.
We have come a long way, and today Singapore is well known as a top travel destination, combining beautifully preserved historical buildings and ultra modern architecture seamlessly.
A Short History of Singapore
Life wasn’t always this way.
Singapore was a sleepy fishing village until 200 years ago, Sir Stamford Raffles set foot here and transformed it into a trading hub.
We remained under British rule until 1963 when we joined our neighbour Malaysia, but sadly we got a divorce just 2 years later.
As it turns out, it is probably a blessing in disguise, as the new government took control and put us on the expressway to economic success. Today, Singapore is one of the top economies and top travel destinations for travellers.
Two Days Itinerary for Visitors to Singapore
Although Singapore is a tiny island nation, it is packed full of activities for all kinds of travellers. And for this 2 day itinerary in Singapore, we wish to show you the best things to do, the best places to eat and the neighbourhood you should stay in.
Where to Stay in Singapore
Since you only have 2 days in Singapore, you are definitely looking to maximise your time here right?
The following areas will be your best bet, blending together convenience and accessibility to the major sights.
Tiong Bahru Estate
First up, Tiong Bahru estate.
When travelling in a large city or country, it can sometimes be difficult to be able to experience the areas where locals hang out or live. Not in Singapore though.
Since we are a tiny place, it is super easy to access all parts of the island, and get a chance to have a more authentic travel experience here.
Tiong Bahru estate fits the bill perfectly, being one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore, it has gone through lots of changes to become modernized, yet keeping its old world charm.
You can find some of the best local food in Singapore here, and spend a couple of hours cafe hopping too.
Clarke Quay/Robertson Quay/Boat Quay
For those of you who are into riverside living and easy access to lots of restaurants and watering holes, this is the place to be at.
Sitting along the Singapore River, these 3 quays offer a wide range of options for all kinds of travellers.
Choose Robertson Quay for a mellow and slow night out, Clarke Quay for the glitz and unique bars, and lastly, and Boat Quay for the middle ground.
The Singapore River was a crucial area where trade flourished, and today, you are able to navigate its entirety while visiting some of the most important historical and cultural spots in Singapore.
- Stay: Novotel Clarke Quay
- Stay: Swissotel Merchant Court
- Stay: Park Hotel Clarke Quay (actually located at Robertson Quay)
Marina Bay Front
Today, the Singapore skyline is represented mostly by the Marina Bay Sands, an iconic hotel that started in 2010.
In line with the efforts by our government to develop the Marina Bay area, this integrated resort is now one of the most recognized skyscrapers in the world, in part thanks to the movie Crazy Rich Asians.
By staying in this area, you gain access to the top attractions in Singapore, or you can spend your time admiring the beautiful landscape, or you can shop in some of the most glamorous boutiques anywhere in Singapore.
Things to do in Singapore: 2 day Itinerary
Since there are only 2 days to enjoy your holiday in Singapore, let’s make sure you are getting to all the best places! From cultural spots to local haunts, we have got it covered here.
Singapore Itinerary: Day 1
Kickstart your day at the Tiong Bahru estate. Centrally located and easily accessible by bus or MRT (Tiong Bahru Station), this enclave preserves some of the oldest public housing in Singapore and is a favourite among locals to.
They come here early in the morning to get their groceries and food from the wet market, which we highly recommend you to give it a shot too! Wet markets are not a common sight in Western countries, but over here in the East, not only is it common, it is a crucial part of the community.
Observe the seasoned Uncles and Aunts haggling with the vendors, or why not try it out yourself and buy something there too!
Move upstairs to the hawker centre, another staple to the locals. Essentially, it is an open air food centre where you can eat cheap and yummy local food. These days, it is not unusual to see a young chap here and there offering their version of the latest fusion food at low prices.
- Eat: Jian Bo Chwee Kueh, 30 Seng Poh Road, #02-05, Singapore 168898
- Eat: Tiong Bahru Char Kway Teow, 30 Seng Poh Road, #02-11, Singapore 168898
When you have had your fill of the delicious food, make your way next to Chinatown estate. From the main road at Tiong Bahru, it is possible to take a short bus ride (service 33, 63) or walk to the MRT station to grab a train to Outram MRT on the Green Line and transfer to the Blue Line to reach Chinatown MRT station.
One of the best things about Chinatown is that it is not an overly large area, which makes it perfect for you to cover by foot.
Starting at the Chinatown MRT station, make your way first to the Heritage Centre to get a better understanding of its history and see some of the exhibits on display. Tip: they regularly give out discount coupons so ask if there is one at the counter!
Walk along the boisterous streets and soak in the atmosphere, while keeping your eye on some of the best preserved architectures in Singapore: the shophouses and the five foot way, originally used by shop owners to display and sell their wares.
Make sure not to miss the intricate carvings on the Sri Mariamman Temple located on South Bridge Road. This is the oldest Hindu Temple in Singapore and you are allowed to go in and learn about its beginnings and admire the beautiful art pieces.
You should then head towards down towards the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, a stunning Tang Dynasty inspired architecture that operates as a Buddhist temple as well as a museum.
Its fame comes from the fact that it houses a Buddha relic that was found in 1980 in a collapsed stupa, and devotees from all over the world come here to pay their respects and admire the artefacts.
Just next to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is the Chinatown Food Complex, which we highly recommend you to stop by and sample some of the best hawker in Singapore. The concept is similar to the one over at Tiong Bahru, but this is larger and offers a wider variety of authentic food. If you are a Michelin fan, you will find the cheapest Michelin Star food here.
- Eat: Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle (1 star Michelin), 335 Smith St, #02-126, Singapore 050335
- Eat: Lian He Ben Ji Claypot, 335 Smith St, #02-198/199, Singapore 050335
Before the day ends, take the MRT over to Clarke Quay station.
This is a great place to stroll along the river and you can consider taking a river cruise. It’s a relaxing way to spend the evening before heading in back to Clarke Quay to get some bites and drinks at the numerous bars and restaurants here.
- Eat: Ramen Keisuke Lobster King Restaurant, 3C River Valley Road #01-07, Singapore 170922
- Eat: Haidilao Hot Pot, 3D River Valley Road, #02-04 Clarke Quay, Singapore 179023
Singapore Itinerary: Day 2
Spend today at the Civic District, which is where cosmopolitan Singapore began.
Start the date off with a visit to Lau Pat Sat, a charming and grand hawker centre right in the heart of Singapore’s business district. Originally started as a market, it has now become a Singapore icon and serves delectable local fares to both the residents and tourists alike.
- Eat: Seng Kee Local Delights, Stall 10 Lau Pat Sat
- Eat: Fishball Story, Stall 47 Lau Pat Sat
After filling those hungry tummies, it is time to explore the business districts and saunter over to the Marina Bay Financial Centre, Tower 1, where you will find the world’s highest microbrewery, Level 33, aptly named for the floor that you will find it on.
Taste the exquisite beers on tap and make sure to choose a seat outdoors, where you are treated to a panoramic view of the entire Marina Bay area. The service staff are welcoming and knowledgeable about the different types of beers on offer, so you might be able to pick up a useful tip or two from them.
Continuing in the direction of Marina Bay Sands, one of two integrated resorts in Singapore, this is where you will find the buildings that make up Singapore’s most recognized skyline.
Marina Bay Sands offers travellers like yourself a multitude of activities, from world class dining options to world class musical acts, and state of the art casino to a whole new world on the Sands SkyPark. Not to mention the assembly of top notch brands that have set up boutiques within Marina Bay Sands Shoppes.
- Eat: Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, 2 Bayfront Ave, B1-07, Singapore 018972
- Eat: Bread Street Kitchen, 2 Bayfront Avenue, 01-81, Singapore 018956
Art and culture lovers rejoice, as the Art Science Museum is located right outside the gates of Marina Bay Sands. It regularly holds specially curated exhibits from other museums from around the world.
The building itself is a masterpiece, and the best place to take a photo of it is at the Helix Bridge.
As the day comes to an end, take a short walk over Esplanade, the building that sparked lots of comments and discussions when it opened in 2002. Want to know why? Then you should definitely check it out yourself.
As you approach the building, you will notice its unique exterior of jagged edges, resembling a durian. People were undecided about its looks, but if you asked me, I feel that it’s a great success. Durian is an extremely popular tropical fruit and touted as the King of Fruits, so the Esplanade is in good company.
Esplanade was set up as a location for music and dance performances, and it is here where you can watch some of the best local productions. If the timing is not suitable for you, make sure to venture to the sheltered performance area outdoors to enjoy free performances as you desire.
To end the day, check out Gluttons Bay, aptly named as it is a collection of the best local food in one spot. Take your pick from satay to chicken rice, or chilli crabs to BBQ stingrays.
- Eat: BBKia Stingray, Gluttons Bay
- Eat: Syifa’s Satay, Gluttons Bay
Tips for visiting Singapore
There are a few things you should take note of while visiting Singapore to make the experience better. Here they are:
- It is HOT, so bring along your shades, cap and sunblock.
- It is clean, and toilets at most malls and hotels are good choices.
- Singapore is a ‘Fine’ country, as we have fines for anything you can think of, like littering and spitting and jaywalking.
- Smoking is not allowed at indoor places and some public places, so check first.
- We stand on the left on escalators. Walking up/down is on the right.
- Do not take/throw away tissue packets at hawker/food centres. People use them to ‘reserve’ seats
- Public transport is excellent. Download the MyTransport app.
So there you have it, a 2 day itinerary for Singapore. There is so much more to explore and learn about our city, and hope you will come back again soon.
If the tips here are good, please share them on your social media accounts to all your friends!
Short Bio: My name is Keith, and I am one half of the couple behind Zip Up and Go, a travel blog that takes you to explore the best nature spots, food places and watering holes. We are a pair of regular folks who embraces budget to mid range travel and to share the spills with you! Find us on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook! Be sure to check out our blog for similar articles here and here!