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How to Spend 48 Hours in Singapore

48 hours in Singapore

Influenced by a melting pot of cultures, Singapore offers a compact city experience with unique charm.

Singapore is one of the world's favourite stopover destinations, meaning most people travelling to this amazing country will only have a few days to explore. When time is precious it's important to plan ahead. Our handy guide will help you get the most out of two days in Singapore. 

Escape to Singapore

While you could spend weeks getting lost among its hawker centres, glitzy malls and breathtaking botanic gardens, it’s perfectly feasible to cover its highlights in 48 hours. 

Plan your Singapore adventure: discover our selection of curated escapes and experiences. 

Day 1

2pm: Visit National Gallery Singapore

Where better to start than with a city icon? Whether you're into art or not, a visit to National Gallery Singapore is worth it for the breathtaking building alone. Satisfy your inner culture vulture with more than 9,000 artworks from across Southeast Asia, spanning the 19th century to present.

6pm: Dinner at National Kitchen by Violet Oon

Indulge in the flavours of Singapore with dinner at the National Gallery, where you'll find National Kitchen by Violet Oon. Standout dishes from the menu include the red snapper fillets in a spicy and sour gravy with pineapple slices and pink ginger flower, and the slow-braised beef cheek in a rich spicy tamarind gula melaka gravy with coconut.

Local tip: Even if you're not a dessert person, you have to try the pineapple upside down cake with vanilla custard sauce.

9pm: Nightcap at 28 HongKong Street

Voted one of the World's Best Bars, 28 HongKong Street is one of those dimly lit places where you can completely lose track of time. One minute you're sipping an old fashioned and enjoying the sultry jazz music, and the next you're asking the bartender for a pour of their most expensive whisky and their life story.

Still thirsty? Discover our guide to the best bars in Singapore.

Day 2

8am: Singapore Botanic Gardens

Beat the heat and get up early to hit a city highlight: Singapore Botanic Gardens. Stop by Casa Verde for breakfast, perfectly situated amid the lush flora and fauna. Then, make your way through the four ‘cores’ of these UNESCO World Heritage-listed gardens, split into heritage, tourist belt, education/discovery and rain forest zones.

11.30am: Discover Chinatown

Head over to Chinatown to explore the iconic Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, an architectural icon in the area. Browse the Chinatown markets for trinkets, maybe stopping for a refreshing bubble tea along the way.  

12.30pm: Grab lunch like a local

Keep it local with a trip to Maxwell Food Centre, a hot favourite among hungry tourists and the working crowd. Here, stalls dish up steaming bowls of Jin Hua fish soup, oyster cakes, barbecue meats and more.  

Our must-tries:  

  • Handmade dumplings: Tong Xin Ju Special Shanghai Tim Sum  
  • Fish soup: Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon 
  • Boba and drinks: Dot Sugar  
  • Dessert: Xing Xing Ondeh-Ondeh Tapioca Cake  

Local tip: Too hot for the hawker centre? Nip over to Ann Siang Hill and indulge in all things coconut at The Coconut Club, serving up plates of delicious nasi lemak. 

6pm: Dinner at Odette

Considered one of the world's best restaurants, Odette is a playful Michelin-starred eatery where you'll find Singapore's most fashionable locals. Chef Julien Royer creates delicate, modern French cuisine inspired by his grandmother who showed him how to create the most remarkable dishes using the purest ingredients. The menu changes regular but past creations include scallop tartare with compressed nashi pear and kyoho grape, and wild Atlantic turbot with oyster, spinach and seaweed butter.

Local tip: Book in advance... well in advance.

8pm: Gardens by the Bay

We haven’t forgotten Singapore’s most magical spot: Gardens by the Bay. This inner-city Eden comes alive after dark, shimmering in a kaleidoscope of tantalising colours. Get lost among a floral fantasy, watching nature bloom under the Flower Dome and visiting one of the world’s largest indoor waterfalls in Cloud Forest.  

10pm: Nightcap at CÉ LA VI Sky Lounge at Marina Bay Sands

You can’t leave Singapore without seeing Marina Bay Sands. A global icon, the high-end hotel is renowned for its legendary rooftop swimming pool and glitzy casino. For unforgettable views of the city, head up to the SkyPark Observation Deck, towering 57 stories above the Marina Bay area. Located on the 57th floor of the hotel, the alfresco CÉ LA VI Sky Lounge is the place to see and be seen. Enjoy panoramic views of Marina Bay, great music from resident and celebrity DJs and signature cocktails including the Berry Bellini, and of course, the Singapore Sling.

Local tip: Be sure to check the strict dress code before you go.

Day 3

9am: Hit the shops... or Sentosa

Singapore’s malls are air-conditioned luxury havens and a great place to hide from the heat. Paragon shopping centre on iconic Orchard Road is bursting with high-end brands, beauty and wellness destinations, and dining pitstops. Or hit VivoCity for a wide range of retail, restaurants and entertainment. It's also the gateway to Sentosa island if you're in the mood for a beach day or theme parks instead.

2pm: Get to the airport early

It’s time to pack your bags and head for the airport – but the fun is arguably just the beginning. If you have a bit of time to kill before your flight, Singapore Changi Airport is undeniably the very best place you could be. This is a destination in itself, home to a stunning butterfly garden, sky-high canopy bridge, interactive sculptures, a cinema, mirror maze and so, so much more. Visit Jewel at Changi Airport, home to world's tallest indoor waterfall, shops and fantastic dining. While you're there, hit up boutique ice cream store Bird of Paradise for the best botanical gelato, flavoured with real fruits and flowers – you'll smell it before you see it. 

Plan your Singapore adventure: discover our selection of curated escapes and experiences. 

About Anna Tabrah
Passionate foodie, avid traveller and lover of coffee and wine. When I'm not busy enjoying these things, you'll find me writing about them instead.

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