I’ve never felt safer than when I was in Singapore. It felt sterile even. The streets were clean, nary a single trash in sight. The air felt fresh despite being surrounded by towering buildings and numerous vehicles. The people seemed disciplined, walking in an orderly fashion. The closest you could get to Utopia in Asia, I guess.
It was a relief especially after that ordeal in Melaka. A haven, for three days at least. Here are my travel notes and guide to 3 days in Singapore.
Singapore sightseeing with locals
Welcomed by a friend’s hug and a free meal, I slowly savored the Lion City. I gazed in wonder and awe at the man-made Supertrees in. Chatting about the past, present, and future while lying on our backs, watching as the trees light up to the tunes of classical notes to Lady Gaga, it felt surreal almost. What I used to see on postcards, now I’m finally in that moment I pictured in my mind.
The next day brought with it more kindness, now through newfound friends. D, a doctor I met in Melaka, met up with her German friends she met along the way. Turns out, the guys will be meeting up with a local friend of theirs. A Singaporean pilot, Captain K took us around the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. It was all fun even when it started to rain.
Singapore seemed more human and normal after visiting the family-run stalls in the hawker centre. Though cleaner and organized than its counterparts in the other countries in Southeast Asia, it felt relatable. It felt like home. We only scratched the surface of Singaporean cuisine – a fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Peranakan – that made me now yearn to get back.
On the rooftop of a building, only known to locals, we discussed like adults the way of life in the country. A far cry from the usual small talk that I always dread when meeting new people while traveling.
It warmed my heart to be on the receiving end of such kindness and hospitality he and his mom bestowed on us that day. Despite unfortunate events, you really have to have faith that there is still an abundance of people with big hearts. So I can only hope to repay it someday and of course, pay it forward as well.
And soon enough, it was all over. Time to leave the bubble and return back on the road. No goodbyes, but see you around.
NEXT STOP: Penang, Malaysia
Best places to visit in Singapore in 3 days
The small country isn’t just full of beautiful man-made attractions but also offers a lot of green places throughout the city-state. Here’s what you can add to your 3 days Singapore itinerary:
Singapore Points of Interest
- Marina Bay Sands – The most popular hotel in Singapore with the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool is not just a hotel. The hotel complex is where you’ll also find various food and beverage options, shops, theatre shows, and even a museum to name a few.
- See the view of Singapore from the Sands Skypark Observation Deck (Click here for the )
- Visit the iconic ArtScience Museum housed in a lotus-inspired building. The Crystal Universe exhibit is out of this world! (Check for here)
2. Gardens by the Bay – The iconic gardens of Singapore are a must-visit even if you’re only on a layover. There are lots to see in the three waterfront gardens that could take up one whole day.
3. Singapore Flyer – The giant Ferris wheel offers panoramic views of Singapore. You can choose to ride either day or night.
4. Clarke Quay and Boat Quay – The commercial area beside the Singapore River used to be part of the trading history during the Straits Settlements. Aside from shopping, dining, and nightlife, you can also take a river cruise.
5. Mount Faber – Although famous for the cable car ride, Mount Faber is actually one of the oldest parks in the Lion City.
- Check for .
- You can also enjoy dining onboard. Book here.
6. Sentosa Island – This island resort is one of the top tourist attractions in Singapore. It has beaches, hotels, golf courses, spa retreats, rainforest, dining, shops, and numerous attractions guaranteed to keep you busy.
7. Singapore Zoo – Said to be the world’s best rainforest zoo, families can go up close with 300 species of animals at the zoo’s 11 zones.
8. Jurong Bird Park – Asia’s largest aviary has more than 400 species in this bird sanctuary. Make sure to stay for the feeding time. Get yourhere.
9. National Museum of Singapore – Visit the country’s old museum and learn about the history and culture of Singapore. Book your.
10. National Gallery of Singapore – Showcasing Singapore and Southeast Asian modern art, this art gallery is housed at two of Singapore’s iconic buildings. Book yourhere.
Free Things to do in Singapore
- Buddha Tooth Relic Temple – Built in 2007, this Buddhist temple located in Chinatown houses the left canine tooth of Buddha in a giant stupa. There are also free weekly guided tours that last for 2 hours. Nearest MRT station: Chinatown
Other temples that you can visit: Thian Hock Keng Temple and Temple of Heavenly Jade Emperor
2. Singapore Botanic Gardens – The country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, the tropical botanic garden is a nature lover’s dream. Nearest MRT station: Botanic Gardens
Other gardens to visit: Chinese and Japanese Gardens
3. Soak in the different cultures in Singapore by walking around Arab Street (Kampong Glam), Little India, and Chinatown.
4. Spot the colorful street art around Singapore’s walls.
Check them out at the following locations: Little India, Jalan Besar, Tiong Bahru, Haji Lane, Sultan Arts Village, Amoy Street, Everton Park, Singapore River, Spottiswoode Park Road, Bras Basah, Tanjong Pagar, Duxton Hill, Neil Road, Coleman Bridge, and Keong Saik.
5. Hiking and walking enthusiasts will have a blast at the 10 kilometer stretch of Southern Ridges that connects different parks. You can choose where to start and end your walk along the trail.
Other trails to choose from: MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Chek Jawa Wetlands, Fort Canning Park, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Coney Island
6. The Helix Bridge – Inspired by the structure of DNA, the architectural marvel is even more glorious at night when it lights up. Nearest MRT station: Promenade
7. Go on a FREE walking tour and explore the highlights of Singapore! Check out Monster Day Tours and Indie Singapore. Don’t forget to tip!
8. While some areas require admission fees, Gardens by the Bay is generally free! Don’t forget to watch the light and sound show at the Supertree Grove at 7:45 PM and 8:45 PM daily! Nearest MRT station: Bayfront
10. Photo op with the famous Merlion! The most famous Merlion statues are near One Fullerton and make sure to time your visit well to get the best light and have a photo without the crowds. Nearest MRT station: Raffles
The fish body represents the past of Singapore as a fishing village while the head is for the old name of Singapore which means lion city in Malay.
Where to find the official Merlion statues: one big and one small at Merlion Park (in front of Fullerton), Sentosa, Mount Faber, and Tourism Court
11. Watch a 15-minute outdoor light and sound show at the promenade of Marina Bay Sands. Spectra uses state-of-the-art-technology and is perfect for visitors of all ages! Make sure to be there a few minutes before showing time to get the best seats. Nearest MRT station: Bayfront
12. And don’t forget the Changi Airport! Lots of things to see and do while you’re waiting for your flight. Take a slide, watch a movie, see the sunflower garden, and more, all for free! Nearest MRT station: Changi
How to get around Singapore
This stored value card will be handy especially if you plan to use the buses and/or trains a lot during your stay in Singapore. Aside from those transport options, you can use the EZ-Link card on some taxis, river taxi, private buses, food and beverage like Mcdonalds and Subway, and also at minimarts and supermarkets like 7-Eleven.
You can also choose the Singapore Tourist Pass, a special stored value card that will allow you unlimited travel on MRT, LRT, and buses during the duration purchased. It comes in 3 options: 1 day, 2 days, and 3 days. You can buy it from selected TransitLink Ticket Office. You can refund the rental deposit in select TransitLink Ticket office and select SMRT Passenger Service Centres.
Trains are my favorite form of transportation in Singapore because it’s easy and quick.
There are 5 MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) lines:
- East West (Green)
- North South (Red)
- North East (Violet)
- Circle (Yellow)
- Downtown (Blue)
sMRT operates from 5:30 AM to midnight depending on the station. This also varies during public holidays and maintenance schedule. Eating and drinking are not allowed inside the trains.
While there are three lines for LRT: Bukit Panjang, Sengkang, and Punggol.
You can download a copy of Singapore’s train system map here.
Buses are efficient and offer another way to sightsee around the city. SBS Transit and SMRT are the two main operators that offer routes throughout the country. Aside from the EZ-Link card, you can also pay by exact cash. Check the FARE CALCULATOR here.
I’ve never experienced using a taxi in Singapore because the train system is so efficient. SMRT also runs taxis and you can book them through these options. Taxi is a more expensive option than trains and buses but good for short distances and when traveling in a group.
Other tourist and sightseeing options
Here are other options to go around Singapore. Click on the link for discounted Klook vouchers.
- (Hop On Hop Off Bus)
- – Open top bus tour available in 24-hour or 48-hour pass
- – cruise around Sentosa on a Segway
- – guided bus tour after sunset
- – 60 minutes pass
- – from 1 hour to 24 hours options
- – guided 3-hour tour
- – enjoy sightseeing with gourmet food; available for Lunch, Hi-Tea, or Dinner
Where to change money in Singapore (currency exchange)
There are lots of licensed money changers and banks where you can exchange your money for Singaporean dollars (SGD) but these are the most popular for giving the best rates for your buck.
Do check the current exchange rate before you go using XE Currency Converter app which can also be used offline. Compare the day’s rate versus the “We Buy” column at the money changers.
- The Arcade at Raffles Place – Check out these shops: Arcade Money Changer and Arcade Plaza Traders
- Lucky Plaza at Orchard
- Mustafa Foreign Exchange at Little India
- People’s Park Complex at Little Chinatown – AK Money Changer and Emerald Money Changer
Where to stay in Singapore
If you’re on a budget, Beary Best hostel and The Hive hostel are both pocket-friendly options that have good locations as well. If you like capsule pods do check out Spacepod@com, MET A Spacepod, or Pillow Talk.
For those who have more budget to spare for accommodation, Wanderlust Hotel and Zen Premium are options you can look into. Luxury travelers can take their pick from 5-star properties like Marina Bay Sands, Raffles, and The Fullerton.
Singapore: In Photos
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Singapore | Aug 2015 Alas, Singapore proved to be a safe haven. A beautiful distraction. But adventure is calling me, and I must go. My spirit is once again recharged; recuperated from my injury. I am ready to face the uncertainties of the road once more. And so, I travel on. Until we meet again. “Remember what Bilbo used to say: ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”” — J.R.R. Tolkien
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Singapore | Aug 2015 Met up with my Melaka roomie in SG and was so glad I did. I only wanted to meet up with my friend but in doing so, I gained new ones! It was a fun-filled day going around the city with a local no less. And chatting about a lot of things that are different and similar with our cultures. Europeans x Asians. It's really amazing what travel can do. Priceless moments. PS. Don't forget to wait for the misting inside the Cloud Forest. ?
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Outside the Cloud Forest, #Singapore Rare plants and floral gems abound but the star of the show is the world's tallest indoor waterfall. Ascend to the mountaintop by lift and descend via two walkways in the clouds. Definitely not for the faint hearted! But a thrilling experience! Reflected in the glass is the Singapore Flyer. ? #FotografiaUnited #FUIvan_101415 #FU_yeah #architecture #Asia #travel #igdaily #instagood
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Finally met the famous #Merlion! I guess any trip to #Singapore wont be complete without getting to see at least one statue of the half lion-half fish mythological creature of Singapura. I didnt get to see it during the day but the night view is still #amazing. PS expect that there will be lots and lots of people doing their own poses. Haha #city #cityscape #night #nightphotography #famous
Have you been to Singapore? How was your experience?
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