Singapore is a city unlike any other. And while Crazy Rich Asians capture the beauty of Singapore… it doesn’t quite capture the essence. In a city that is young, having only becoming independent in 1965, it has since become a booming and innovative city. A place where there are cameras on every street corner. Chewing gum is illegal, while public caning is legal. And where buildings are disinfected down almost every night. It’s a small island off of Malaysia, yet it feels as though you’re on a different planet altogether.
In a country where “supertrees” are the norm. And the highway from the airport into the city can be torn down in 20 minutes to allow a plane to emergently touch down; it’s a sci-fi lovers fantasyland. And although I’m not a sci-fi lover… I am hooked. Singapore has completely enthralled me.
One thing that stands out about Singapore is the melting pot of cultures that have come together to make it what it is. From the Chinese to the Malays, Indians, and Arabs. Singapore is truly a melting pot of cultures with each ethnicity being represented. You’ll find Little India representing the Indian culture. Kampong Glam representing the Malay-Muslim population. Chinatown celebrating the Chinese culture, and more. So while 48 hours in Singapore is enough to give you a taste of the best Singapore has to offer; it will still leave you wanting more.
How to Spend 48 Hours in Singapore
Day One – Marina Bay + Kampong Glam
Spend your first day in Singapore seeing the main attractions. The sites that you see and immediately recognize. Head away from the downtown core towards the southern edge of Singapore, where you’ll find Gardens by the Bay open every day from 5 am-2 am. Walk amongst the “supertrees”, visit the observatory, or any number of rotating attractions. You can find out what is showing here.
While you’re in the area, it may be worth it to check out one of the most recognized hotels in the world – Marina Bay Sands. Full of shops and restaurants such as Spago, and Club 55. Be aware that you cannot access the rooftop pool unless you’re staying at the hotel.
From Marina Bay, head north, passing the Singapore Flyer and Helix Bridge. A 30-minute walk will bring you to the Kampong Glam neighborhood. Here you’ll be immersed in the Malay-Muslim culture. Spend time at the Sultan Mosque and walking down Haji Lane.
Before closing out your first day in Singapore, check out what makes the food scene in Singapore so famous – a Hawker Centre. There are over 40 Hawker Centre in Singapore, which are open-air food complexes serving a variety of dishes in a sanitary and cheap way.
Day Two – Chinatown + Little India
On day two in Singapore get a taste of more cultures making Singapore great. Start by exploring Chinatown, where you can taste the signature dish – Hainanese chicken rice at the Tian Tian food stall in the Maxwell food center. Visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple or street shop. The winding roads of Chinatown are found west of Marina Bay and south of the downtown core.
The highlight of Chinatown was discovering Ann Siang Hill. During the day restaurants, bars, and shops open their doors and windows to the public. And at night, the streets transform into what seems like an outdoor market. Those same bars and restaurants set up tables and chairs in the street, giving a “block party” like feel to Chinatown. While on Ann Siang Hill, visit one of the world’s most renowned cocktail bar – Operation Dagger. A hard to find a hole in the wall cocktail bar boasted as the 23rd out of 50 best bars in the world. While the drinks are expensive, it was one of a kind experience.
A 45-minute walk north will bring you to the Indian hub of Singapore – Little India. With more shopping and dining, you’ll be able to experience a taste of India without leaving Singapore. Make sure to stop by Komala Vilas, opened in 1947 it’s one of the oldest Indian restaurants in Singapore.
While Singapore is made up of so much more than listed, you would need days to discover the entirety of the island. My suggestion? Singapore is a special country that I plan to come back to time and time again.
Visiting Singapore? Make sure to check out my blog post – 10 Things to See and Do in Singapore