ONE WEEK IN SINGAPORE: A TRAVEL GUIDE TO SOUTHEAST ASIA'S MOST VIBRANT CITY

Known to many at the Lion City, Singapore is the urban darling of Southeast Asia. The nation state sits at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, sharing borders with both Malaysia and Indonesia, making Singapore a convenient destination to tack onto larger trips to Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. I'd previously visited Singapore as a quick stop en-route to The Philippines, and realized my quick three-night detour was not nearly enough time! So when Singapore announced they were opening their doors to tourists again, I decided a weeklong trip was in order. Below is my complete travel guide to a week in Singapore including the best places to visit, hotels, restaurants, photo locations, itinerary ideas, travel tips and more. This post may contain affiliate links.


The vibrant colors of Little India. Outfit details: Target skirt linked here, and Free people top linked here.


This colorful residence is called the Residence of Tan Teng Niah.


HOW MANY DAYS IN SINGAPORE

Four Days. Singapore is one of the only places in the world where it's possible to see most of the country in less than a week. It's smaller in square mileage than Rhode Island, and the compact size makes it pretty easy to maximize time when planning a trip. Four full days offers a good taste of Singapore - simply tack on an extra day or two if you want to explore at a more relaxed pace.


Fort Canning Tree Tunnel.


The Cloud Forest is a great place to cool off in Gardens by the Bay.


PLACES TO VISIT IN SINGAPORE

CHINESE GARDENS

It's a bit of a journey to reach the Chinese Gardens, but if you have the time, it's worth the visit. The gardens are an expansive public space, home to dazzling red & white pagodas, abandoned tea houses, a Bonsai garden, statues and water features. A very serene place to spend a couple of hours. (gardens might be closed for renovation)


CLOUD FOREST

One of the most popular attractions inside Gardens by the Bay is the Cloud Forest, a climate-controlled tropical wonderland enclosed in a massive greenhouse dome that houses one of the world's tallest indoor waterfalls, lush vegetation, orchids, rare plant species and more. Timed tickets can be purchased in advance online (book the first ticket of the day to avoid crowds of tourists). (hours: 9 AM-9 PM daily)


FORT CANNING

Fort Canning is a hilltop park that is home to gardens, trails and historical landmarks, but it's an underground spiral staircase that has made the place Insta famous. The Fort Canning Tree Tunnel is an underground crossing that resembles a manicured open-air cavern - look up and you'll see blue skies, trees and lush vegetation surrounding the opening. Sang Nila Utama Garden is also in Fort Canning, a recreation of a 14th century palace garden (reminds me of the cham temple ruins in Vietnam). (open 24 hours)


FUTURE WORLD, ARTSCIENCE MUSEUM

Future World is an ongoing exhibit inside the the ArtScience Museum of the Marina Bay Sands. The exhibit is a completely immersive digital art experience from TeamLab, featuring 16 installations. (hours: 10 AM-7 PM daily)


GARDENS BY THE BAY

Definitely the most iconic spot in Singapore. Gardens by the Bay is Ferngully meets Avatar with its futuristic Supertrees measuring 25 and 50 meters tall. The gardens occupy 101 hectares of Marina Bay with an array of viewpoints, trails, exhibits and walkways. It's worth visiting both during the day and evening for two very different experiences. Must visit attractions within Gardens by the Bay are the Cloud Forest, Flower Dome and Floral Fantasy. The Garden Rhapsody Show takes place daily at 7:45 PM and 8:45 PM. (hours: 5 AM-2 AM daily)


THE HIVE

The Hive is a building located at the Nanyang Technological University. If you're in the area, it's worth a quick stop just to see the exterior design of the learning center, described by many a resembling stacked dim sum baskets. (hours: 24 access to building's exterior)


JAPANESE CEMETARY PARK

It's a short journey to get to the Japanese Cemetery Park that sits tucked away in the Hougang residential district of the city. During the spring season, there is a beautiful tunnel of blooming pink flowers that cuts through the cemetery. (hours: 8:30 AM-6:30 PM daily)


THE JEWEL

I normally don't include shopping centers as must-visit destinations when traveling, but The Jewel at the Changi Airport is truly an experience. The futuristic dome resembles a steel beehive that houses shops, restaurants, a hotel and movie theatre, as well as a living, breathing jungle and massive indoor waterfall. Light shows at the waterfall take place daily at 7:30 PM, 8:30 PM, 9:30 PM and 11:30 PM. (open 24 hours)


JOO CHIAT PERANAKAN HOUSES

Joo Chiat is a small neighborhood in Singapore made up of pastel patterned homes - popular spot for photos. Intersection for the neighborhood is Koon Seng Rd. and Joo Chiat Rd. (open 24 hours)


KAMPONG GLAM

Lined with funky boutiques, eclectic murals and bright cafes, the pedestrian lanes of Kampong Glam burst with color and good energy. The neighborhood is known as Singapore's Muslim Quarter, and it's where you'll find the beautiful Masjid Sultan Mosque, as well as quirky Haji Lane. (open 24 hours, shops and restaurant hours vary)

LIBRARY@ORCHARD

This ultra modern library sits inside the Orchard Gateway shopping center. It's a two-story bookworm retreat designed with blinding white wavy shelves that are filled with colorful paperbacks, novels and magazines. (hours: 11 AM-9 PM daily)


MICA BUILDING

Formerly the Old Hill Street Police Station, this building now serves as the Ministry of Information, Communication & Arts. While that might sound a bit dull, this is actually one of the most striking places in Singapore. The building has 927 windows that have been painted the colors of the rainbow - an absolute kaleidoscope of color. It sits on a very busy street with cars, buses and Grab taxis constantly obstructing the view of the building - best to visit early when the street is quiet. (hours: 24 access to building's exterior)


MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM

Similar to its sister locations in New York and Austin, Singapore's Museum of Ice Cream is a series of interactive pink rooms where visitors will find sprinkle pools, a unicorn playground, a pink California beach and lots of sweet treats. (hours: 10 AM-10 PM Thursday to Sunday and 10 AM-6 PM Mondays)


PALAWAN BEACH

This popular beach on Sentosa Island offers up a crescent bay of calm water lined with palm trees and tropical greenery. It's not on par with Palawan in The Philippines, but it's a pleasant beach escape from Singapore's urban center. Cross the cute boho bridge to Palawan Island and you'll find yourself at the southernmost point in continental Asia.


PEOPLE'S PARK COMPLEX

A yellow apartment complex in Singapore's Chinatown that is reminiscent of Hong Kong's iconic Monster Building.


PETAIN ROAD

A short walk from Little India, Petain Road is a corridor of classic Peranakan-styled home - lots of pastel greens, rosy pinks and decorative tiling. It's a picturesque photo detour.


REDHILL MRT STATION

Visit the Redhill MRT stop to experience a perfectly pink subway station. If you're trying to snap a photo without people, best to visit at night. (hours: 5:30 AM-12:30 AM daily)


RESIDENCE OF TAN TENG NIAH, LITTLE INDIA

This iconic Chinese villa is one of the most colorful buildings in Singapore, a kaleidoscope of blues, greens, yellows, reds and purples. One of my favorite photo locations in the city. It sits in Little India a bustling corridor of shops, restaurants and cafes. (open 24 hours)


SELEGIE ART CENTER

A quick stop in front of the Selegie Art Center is all you need to capture the rainbow shutters and trim of the colorful building. (hours: 24 access to building's exterior)


SINGAPORE BOTANICAL GARDENS

This dazzling botanical garden is almost 170-years old, and it was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Singapore. The gardens feature more than 10,000 species of plant, flora and fauna. Entry into the botanical gardens is free, but the National Orchid Garden is a paid ticket.


SRI VADAPATHIRA KALIAMMAN TEMPLE

A beautiful Hindu temple located on the outskirts of Little India, Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman is a blur of color and sculptures of deities. (hours: temple opens at 6 AM)


Kampong Glam neighborhood.


Sultan Masjid Mosque. Outfit details: Lulu's 2-piece set linked here.


WHERE TO STAY IN SINGAPORE

ANDAZ

Andaz sits sandwiched inside the city's mixed-use Duo building, home to more than 340 rooms scattered amongst the hotel's 15 floors. This is one of my favorite mid-range properties in Singapore. Rooms are outfitted with large floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to hardwood floors, plush linens and a lovely modern design. The hotel is also home to a spectacular infinity pool on the 25th floor that overlooks sweeping views on Singapore's urban skyline.


FOUR SEASONS

A stay at the Four Seasons is always my go-to luxury option, and the brand's Singapore location is nothing short of fabulous. Rooms are bright and airy thanks to a white and neutral color palette, and oversized windows offer sweeping views over the city. The hotel's Orchard Road location is ideal - close to lots of shopping and restaurant options. Hotel offers an on-site spa, pool and Michelin-starred restaurant.


FULLERTON HOTEL

A stay at the Fullerton Hotel feels pretty epic thanks to its location inside a former government building. Rooms are spacious, but the design is nothing memorable. It's the pool at the base of the hotel's towering stone columns that gives all the feels.


MANDARIN ORIENTAL

Mandarin Oriental occupies a stellar location on Marina Bay offering easy access to the city's main tourist attractions. The property boasts 527 rooms and suites, luxurious retreats outfitted with neutral colors, floor-to-ceiling windows, lavish bedding, plush floral carpets and spectacular views of Marina Bay.


RAFFLES SINGAPORE

This is by far the most beautiful hotel in Singapore, and also one of the most expensive. Raffles is the crown jewel on busting Beach Road, resembling a creamy French colonial mansion with rows of arched windows and gold trim. The property offers a range of suite accommodations - all designed with dark wood, white interiors, high ceilings and colonial-styled accents.


RITZ-CARLTON, MILLENIA SINGAPORE

The location of the Ritz-Carlton in Singapore is ideal - very central to all the main tourist sites, restaurants and shopping. Book one of the Grand Marina rooms for unobstructed views of Marina Bay, as well as a plush king bed, daybed with a view, walk-in closet and oversized bathroom. Rooms with Club Access include extra amenities - personalized check-in and check-out, delicious breakfast, afternoon hors d'oeuvres, garment pressing and limo service within the area.


Surrounded by the iconic Supertrees of Gardens by the Bay.


All the feels of Avatar.


Inside Floral Fantasy, located at Gardens by the Bay. Outfit details: Free People dress linked here.


The tallest indoor waterfall in the world is located inside The Jewel, the shopping mall attached to the Changi Airport. Outfit details: Saylor dress, linked here.


Twinning is winning at the Joo Chat Peranakan Houses.


It wouldn't be a trip to Singapore without chicken and rice at a hawker food court.


WHERE TO EAT IN SINGAPORE

A BEAUTIFUL DAY CAFE

Cute cafe with four themed corners - pink florals, safari adventure, cozy & homey and a beer garden. (hours: 11 AM-11 PM)


CAFE MONOCHROME

The 2-D cafe craze has arrived in Singapore! The dazzling black & white sketch design is the draw here - it feels like sipping coffee in a comic book. (hours: 10 AM-9 PM, closed Mondays)


ENTRE-NOUS CREPERIE

Ridiculously popular French creperie that serves authentic sweet and savory crepes from an extensive list of homemade fillings. (hours vary, open daily)


KOMA

KOMA is the Japanese cuisine concept from the Tao Group. The dark, gorgeous restaurant is located inside the Marina Bay Sands, and serves up a deliciously overpriced menu that's a mix of meats, seafood and raws. (hours: 11:30 AM-3 PM and 5 PM-12 AM)


NASTY COOKIE

The cookies are crunchy, soft and chewy all at the same time! Menu of flavors include cookies n creme cheesecake, matcha, strawberries n creme, chocolate mint, chocolate chip, dark chocolate chip, biscoff, choco bueno, smores, white choco macadamia and red velvet crumble. (hours vary by location)


NATIONAL KITCHEN BY VIOLET OON

Violet Oon is the premier authority on all-things food in Singapore, and her restaurant inside the National Gallery has become a destination of sorts to foodies in Singapore. National Kitchen serves Peranakan cuisine in a stunning space outfitted with French colonial design cues including wood panels, patterned floor tiles, black leather and rich accents of jade, gold and blue. The restaurant offers both a traditional menu, as well as plant-based menu. (hours: 11:30 AM-3 PM and 5:30 PM-11 PM)


NEWTON FOOD CENTRE

One of the most popular food courts in Singapore serves an overpriced, delicious variety of hawker dishes including chili crab, oyster omelets, satay, carrot cake and. more. (hours: 12 PM-2 AM)


RAMEN NAGI

The popular Tokyo ramen shop has expanded throughout Asia, and now includes a Singapore location in Suntec City. Ramen is made to order - guests select the noodles, richness of broth and choose from a variety of toppings. (hours: 11 AM-9:30 PM, Friday through Sunday and 11 AM- 9 PM Monday through Thursday)


SMOKE AND MIRRORS

Open air bar that sits on the rooftop of the National Gallery overlooking a sweeping panorama of Marina Bay.

(hours: 3 PM-10:30 PM)


Cafe Monochrome is a 2D cafe located in Kampong Glam.


Everything in the cafe is designed to look like a black and white sketch book.


This little bridge leads to Palawan Island, the southernmost point in Continental Asia. Outfit details: Free People dress linked here.


Rest stop while exploring the boutiques of Kampong Glam.


SINGAPORE QUICK TIPS

CURRENCY - Currency is the Singapore dollar. Almost everywhere takes credit card - it's not necessary to arrive with lots of cash.


LANGUAGE - The four main languages spoken in Singapore are Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English.


SAFETY - Cation is important when traveling to any destination, but Singapore is one of the safest places I have visited.


CHEWING GUM - Yes, it's true. Chewing gum is banned in Singapore. It's illegal to sell gum, but tourists are permitted to bring it in for their own consumption.


All the blooms.


GETTING AROND SINGAPORE

The city's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system is the easiest and most affordable way to get around Singapore. Alternatively, Grab Taxi is also an option - simply download the app, and order a taxi with the click of a button (similar to Uber).


Chasing rainbows all over Singapore.


Orchard Library.


GETTING TO SINGAPORE

Singapore is home to Changi Airport, an international hub that connects the country to international destinations around the world including Dubai, Istanbul, San Francisco, Seoul, Taipei, Tokyo, Zurich and dozens more.


This archway is inside the National Orchid Garden, that's located in the Singapore Botanical Gardens. Outfit details: Two-piece Lulu's set, linked here.


Dinner at Violet Oon.


4-DAY SINGAPORE ITINERARY


DAY 1

Cloud Forest

Flower Dome

Gardens by the Bay

Floral Fantasy

Future World, Artscience Musem

Cafe Monochrome


DAY 2

Little India

Kampong Glam

Joo Chiat Peranakan Houses

Newton Food Centre

Gardens by the Bay


DAY 3

MICA Building

Fort Canning

People's Park Complex

Palawan Beach

The Jewel


DAY 4

Singapore Botanical Gardens

Museum of Ice Cream

Orchard Central

Chinese Gardens

The Hive


The MICA building is bursting with color.


Bright Hill Temple. Outfit details: Saylor dress, linked here.