Best places to visit in Singapore in 3 days: Sightseeing Guide
Singapore was at the top of our list of places to go for a long time so we were excited to finally visit. We’d be the first to admit that we were very uncertain if we would actually like Singapore. We were a bit anxious that the city might strike us as very artificial and sterile, a worry that was heightened by our previous visit to Dubai.
But nothing could be further from the truth: Singapore surprised us in the best possible way.
The city is multi-faceted, the city is alive, and the city has so much more to offer than just shopping malls.
We’re definitely looking forward to returning to Singapore, and we might even stay longer next time. But that’s enough introduction for now.
In this post, we show you what to expect in Singapore, which sights and highlights you mustn’t miss, and of course where to get the most delicious food.
Practical travel tips for Singapore in condensed form
Before we start with our Singapore sightseeing guide, let’s start with a few practical travel tips for Singapore.
How much time should you spend in Singapore?
You should schedule at least three full days to give yourself enough time to see all the most important highlights in Singapore. We were in Singapore for five days and still didn’t manage to see everything. You could easily spend a week here without getting bored.
What’s the best way to get to Singapore?
Singapore Airlines offers direct flights from major hubs in Europe. Emirates or Qatar Airways flights with a layover in Dubai or Doha are usually cheaper. There are very cheap flights within Asia, for example with Air Asia.
Our tip: We use Skyscanner to search for flights – it searches all the connections for the best offers.
How do you get into the city from the airport?
The cheapest option is the metro (MRT). It takes about 30 minutes to get to the city center and costs about S$2 (about €1.30). You have to change once at the station Tanah Merah. The metro runs from about 5:30 am to 11 pm.
If you’d rather take a taxi, it’ll cost you somewhere between S$20 and S$30 (approx. 13–20 euros). Traffic in Singapore isn’t as bad as in other Asian cities, so the taxi ride shouldn’t take you that long.
If you really want to travel in style, you can book a private transfer. Then you’ll be picked up at the airport by a driver holding a sign.
What do you pay with in Singapore?
The official currency in Singapore is the Singapore Dollar (S$). One euro is worth about S$1.50. There are ATMs all over the place. Credit card payment is also very common in Singapore, so you can get pretty far without any cash.
Where’s the best place to stay in Singapore?
Unfortunately, Singapore isn’t exactly the cheapest place in the world for accommodation. We stayed at the Wanderlust Hotel, which we can recommend both in terms of location and facilities.
The 5footway-inn.Hostels are a cheap, but good alternative. There are several of them in the city, for example this one here: 5footway.inn Project Ann Siang.
If you’d like something a bit more exclusive, we’d recommend the Fullerton Bay Hotel. And if you have your heart set on taking a dip in the famous infinity pool with a view of the skyline, you have to spend the night at the Marina Bay Sands. Otherwise they won’t let you in.
How do you get around in Singapore?
The public transportation system in Singapore is very well developed. The MRT is fast and inexpensive with regular connections to Singapore’s most important sights. The easiest option is to buy a Transit Link card at one of the stations, which you can always top up whenever you need to.
If you’re looking for an easy and convenient way to tour the sights in Singapore, the hop-on/hop-off bus might be a good alternative for you. You can book bus tickets online here.
Or how about a private tour of the city? That way you can quickly get a good first impression and are sure to get a few good travel tips for the rest of your 3 days in Singapore along the way. You can book one of these tours online here: city tour of Singapore.
Discover the different city districts in Singapore
Singapore has a variety of districts that we’ve rarely seen in any of the other cities we’ve been to. The first associations we had when we thought about Singapore were the skyline, skyscrapers and office towers, but that’s actually only a small part of the city.
One of the places you absolutely must see on your 3-day trip to Singapore is Chinatown with its traditional Chinese colonial-era architecture, Chinese temples exuding the scent of incense sticks, and colorful lanterns hanging all over the houses and across the streets.
Besides traditional stores, it also features some of the city’s hottest restaurants.
The district of Little India is no less colorful and the next mandatory stop on 3-day tour of Singapore. Garish Hindu temples, kaleidoscopic sari, and the aromatic fragrance of exotic spices await you in the markets.
And if you like, you can get henna tattoo here too. Of course we had to try that and were amazed at how fast Jenny’s hand was ornately decorated. But that guy was actually a real artist. You can find him in the Little India Arcade in a store called Selvis Beauty. Don’t worry, there’s no way you can miss it.
Kampong Glam is a district of contrasts that belongs on any 3-day itinerary for Singapore. The Arab Street is home to hosts of traditional and delicious restaurants with Arabic specialties and several shops selling colorful cloths and fabrics.
At the end of the street, you can see the impressive Sultan Mosque, which you should definitely pay a visit.
Just one road further down is Haji Lane, a hipster street that you could just as easily imagine being in Berlin, Amsterdam, or Barcelona. There are tattoo studios, boutique bicycle manufacturers, small designer stores, and some of the hippest bars in the city.
Also very hip, but not as well known among tourists is the quarter of Katong/Joo Chiat. This is where tradition meets modernity. Besides hip restaurants and boutiques, it also features countless stores where you can buy traditional clothing and shoes.
The colorful Peranakan houses, which now belong to the most coveted and expensive residential buildings in Singapore, are also well worth seeing.
Another less district that doesn’t attract all too many tourists is Tiong Bahru. The architecture here is less playful and is more reminiscent of Art Deco.
But trendy cafés and designer stores are also a dime a dozen in this part of town. Definitely worth checking out if you have 3 days to spend in Singapore!
Enjoying the view: Our tips for observation decks and rooftop bars in Singapore
The view of the skyline of Singapore is obviously one of the absolute highlights of any 3-day tour of the city. The panoramic view from the banks in front of the Esplanade Theater is a sight to behold. The roof of the National Gallery, which is also worth a visit in and of itself, also offers a great view of the skyline.
Of course, looking down on the city from high up is even better, and there are some great places where you can do just that.
Marina Bay Sands SkyPark observation deck
The SkyPark observation deck on top of the Marina Bay Sands is probably the most popular of the observation decks in Singapore. The view is staggeringly beautiful up there, especially when the sun sets behind the skyscrapers on the other side of the bay.
The Marina Bay Sands is also great for taking pictures with no glass windows obstructing the view. Tripods are prohibited, unfortunately, but our tiny Gorillapod tripod wasn’t a problem and was easy to attach to the railing.
The major downside is the price of admission, which is pretty steep at S$23 (about 15 euros).
LeVeL33 sky bar: The highest craft beer brewery in the world
Our absolute favorite among the sky bars is LeVeL33. It gives you a great view over Marina Bay and a slightly different perspective for taking pictures. Tripods aren’t allowed here either though. So your best bet is to take a small tripod or a Gorillapod.
The best thing about this sky bar is the fantastic beer. After all, LeVeL33 is the highest urban craft beer brewery in the world. The beer is really delicious, but of course it doesn’t come cheap. But then again beer is pretty pricey wherever you go in Singapore.
If you just want to stand outside on the terrace and soak in the view, you should be fine without a reservation. If you want a seat or even want to eat at LeVeL33, you should definitely book a table ahead of time.
LeVeL33 is located in the Marina Bay Financial Center Tower 1 (8 Marina Boulevard 33-01).
1-Altitude – The highest rooftop bar in the world
If you like the thought of sipping a drink at an altitude of 282 meters while looking down on most of the other buildings in Singapore, then you just have to check out 1-Altitude during your 3 days in town. It gives you a 360 degree view of Singapore, but you’ll also find an inordinate number of prigs up there.
Admission costs S$30 (20 euros) and includes a drink. The dress code is smart casual, so no shorts and no flip-flops.
The 1-Altitude is located at One Raffles Place.
Dining tips for Singapore: Discover culinary highlights
Singapore is unbelievably delicious. We often ended up having a second meal right after breakfast because there was just so much to try. Of course, we want to share some of our tips with you to try during your 3 days in Singapore.
Michelin star dining for S$2.50
Let’s start with what has to be our probably craziest culinary experience in Singapore. We had a meal by a Michelin star chef and paid less than 2 euros!
It’s true – a while ago, the Michelin Guide awarded a coveted Michelin star to the small food stall Liao Fan in Chinatown. The food couldn’t sound more ordinary: Chicken with rice and soy sauce, i.e. exactly the food served in every third place in Singapore.
But whatever, we still wanted to try it for ourselves, and so we joined the extremely long line at 11 am and had to wait about 45 minutes until it was our turn. But what can we say: It really was incredibly delicious.
We can’t say for sure whether it was really the best chicken with rice in all of Singapore. But hey, Michelin star-winning cuisine would usually cost you an arm and a leg anywhere else in Singapore.
Our tip: Try to get to Liao Fan as early as possible. The best time to get in line is between 10:30 and 11 am. Later in the day, we’ve heard you have to wait up to three hours. That would have been too long for us. Don’t worry if it’s closed when you get there, it opens at 11 am. You should be able to see the sign indicating where to queue when you get there.
The food stall is located in Chinatown. Look out for a plain building next to the Chinatown Visitor Center on 2 Banda Street. Once you’re inside, just follow the crowds of hungry people.
The best food courts in Singapore
Dining in restaurants in Singapore is really expensive and can easily run into three-figure territory. But there are cheaper and no less delicious options available in the city’s countless food courts.
The most famous of them all is probably the Lau Pa Sat food court (18 Raffles Quay). Ensconced right between a couple of high-rises, this ornate building seems somewhat out of place. You can fill up on tasty dishes at the countless food stalls for very little money.
If you’d like something a bit hipper, then the relatively new food court Timbre+ (73A Ayer Rajah Crescent) is just the right place for you. It doesn’t just feature delicious food, but also has a great selection of craft beer and live music. Highly recommended!
Our restaurant tips for Singapore
We have to admit we didn’t have enough time to really delve deeply into Singapore’s restaurant scene since we were only there for five days, but we still want to let you know about two restaurants where we really liked the food.
The Jumbo Seafood is a small restaurant chain in Singapore that enjoys cult status among locals and tourists alike. You can feast on the famous chili crabs and black pepper crabs here. The very tasty giant crabs are served in a large pot with a pair of pliers to help you with their tough shell. Thankfully, you’re also given a bib so you don’t make too much of a mess.
The food isn’t cheap, but it’s very tasty and a real experience. There are several branches of Jumbo Seafood in Singapore, we visited the one right by the Singapore River. Booking ahead is probably a good idea because it was really crowded.
The cult-worthy snack bar 328 Katong Laksa is a cheap lunch option you might want to check out on your 3-day trip. The eatery on 51 East Coast Road in the Katong district serves delicious laksa, a traditional soup consisting of noodles, fish, and coconut milk, for a just few dollars.
And then of course there’s the famous Long Bar. This bar in the Raffles Hotel was the birthplace of the Singapore Sling more than 100 years ago. For a mere S$28 you can enjoy the infamous cocktail consisting of gin, cherry brandy, triple sec, Bénédictine, grenadine, lime juice, and pineapple juice while throwing peanuts on the ground. That’s just something people do here.
Into the wild: Our tips for nature-lovers in Singapore
Singapore is extremely green for a city its size. We stumbled across small parks all over the place. And there are some legitimate attractions where you can experience nature right in the middle of the city during your 3 days in Singapore.
Gardens by the Bay
The Gardens by the Bay are more than 100 acres of parkland. The majority is occupied by two huge greenhouses, which can be seen from far away. This botanical garden-style area features plants from all over the world.
The Cloud Forest is particularly impressive – you walk across a bridge looking down onto the vegetation from a dizzying height.
The Gardens by the Bay are also home to the famous Supertrees, which are among Singapore’s most popular photo opportunities. The Supertrees are most impressive in the evening when they’re lit up as part of a light and music show.
Singapore Botanic Gardens and National Orchid Garden
The Singapore Botanic Gardens and the National Orchid Garden are also very large and no less impressive. We’re not exactly amateur botanists, but we were still really impressed by the variety of plants on display.
Many heads of state and other VIPs visit the botanical garden during state visits and get their own personal orchid dedicated to them. Angela Merkel has one, Princess Kate has one, and just one day before we visited, Aung San Suu Kyi, erstwhile freedom fighter and now quasi-head of state of Myanmar, was there too.
What are tips for your Singapore?
We liked Singapore a lot and will definitely return. The city is so much more than just shopping and is definitely worth a trip.
Have you ever been to Singapore? What did you like best? Do you have a good tip for us? We’re looking forward to your comment!
Also read our other posts: