48 Hours In Singapore

View of Singapore from the Helix bridge (Photo: joyfull/Shutterstock)
View of Singapore from the Helix bridge (Photo: joyfull/Shutterstock)

Though the clean, orderly (and admittedly pricey) city-state may seem to lack depth at first glance, peel back a few layers and you’ll find there’s much more to the Lion City than shopping and litter-free streets. An amalgam of cultures, diverse neighbourhoods and unforgettable food, Singapore has something to offer every type of traveller.

What to see

Let’s get one things straight, you will not be bored in Singapore. There are seemingly endless things to see but the time-crunched should make a beeline for the quirkily stunning Gardens by the Bay. Spend a couple of hours checking out the giant man-made “trees” – living sculptures that you can walk amongst on a canopy that affords phenomenal views of the city. Impressively manicured Singapore Botanic Gardens are also a worthwhile (and free) way to while away some of your time in Singapore. If museums are more what you crave, there are many on offer and most are within walking distance from one another. Our picks: National Museum of Singapore and the Asian Civilizations Museum.

What to do

Put on some comfortable shoes and get walking. Orderly Singapore is easily explored on foot, one of the best ways to get to know any new city. From the shopping mecca of Orchard Road to the bustling streets of Chinatown to the colourful Geylang area (known as Singapore’s red light district), strolling through various neighbourhoods is a great way to spend your time. Easily travel from one end of the city to the other using Singapore’s efficient transit system and break up your walking with stops in cafes, bars and shops to really get a feel for what Singapore has to offer.

Where to shop

Whether you have money to burn or simply want to wander amongst a high concentration of luxury boutiques Singapore is a shopper’s (or window shopper’s) paradise. Get your fix on Orchard Road where you’ll find enough malls to have you spending for days. Start at Orchard Central, Singapore’s tallest vertical mall. Find even more luxe labels – from Prada to Dior to Cartier at ION Orchard with its eight levels of designer names. Or, if glitzy multi-floor malls aren’t your thing (or you run out of cash), head to Little India’s Mustafa Centre – a chaotic maze of goods ranging from souvenirs to food to electronics and out-of-date fashions. Head here to get a completely different taste of Singapore.

Where to eat

If you only have 48 hours to explore (and eat your way through) Singapore, make your way to a hawker centre. Singaporeans love to eat and they treat finding a great meal like a sport – a sport they are very good at. A hawker centre is basically a covered hall filled with food stalls of all kinds. Start at tourist-friendly Lau Pa Sat where you can chow down on anything from Singapore staples chicken rice and carrot cake, to pizza, Indian food, Japanese and anything in between. Take more meal breaks at hectic Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, Chinatown Complex Food Centre and local favourite Hong Lim Market and Food Centre. Tip: If you see a line-up, get in the queue. You’ll likely be waiting for something good.

Where to stay

The recently renovated Pan Pacific Singapore is only 20 minutes from Changi Airport and an ideal spot to base yourself. The closest MRT stop is a mere five minute walk from the hotel making it easy to get around quickly and efficiently. Not to mention a stay here also puts you walking distance from many of Singapore’s attractions including the Singapore Flyer, Clark Quay and Marina Bay Sands. Rooms are airy, large and comfortable, service is efficient but friendly and dining options are plentiful both in the hotel (breakfast at EDGE is incredible) and nearby (two popular hawker centres are less than a 20 minute walk away).

Jessica Padykula

Jessica Padykula

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on Styleathome.com, ElleCanada.com, Slice, Travel + Escape, Thrillist, AmongMen.com and SheKnows.com among others. When she’s not writing or researching a story she can be found planning trips to places near and far in a never-ending quest to travel the world. You can follow her on Twitter @JessPadykula

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