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Comprehensive Travel Guide: Discover Singapore In 24 Hours

Asia is massive and oftentimes, when you travel somewhere on the biggest continent, chances are you will get extremely long layovers. I’ve had some of those, like my 37-hour flight from Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) to Skopje (Macedonia) that included a 21-hour-long layover in Singapore. The best solution to this is to break up your journey into pieces and spend a day at some interesting place, like Singapore.

Singapore also has one of the busiest and biggest airports in the world in Changi Airport, hence, a lot of flights use it as a transit point. If you happen to be in one of those and have a long layover in Singapore, you store your bag at the airport, get out and explore the city. Here’s a comprehensive travel guide on what to do if you have 24 hours in Singapore.

You can always join a Big Bus tour that features the main tourist attractions but you can also explore independently if you want to have your own schedule and take your time.

The Most Organized Place On Earth

Singapore flyer

Spending 24 hours in Singapore is relatively easy and hassle-free which might come as a surprise when you compare it to most other large cities around the world. My first impression of Singapore was that this cosmopolitan city-state is like a big desk, full of drawers and pigeonholes, where you always know where you can find something and when that something knows exactly where his place is.

If I could summarise Sinagapore in 4 words, I’d say it’s spotless, sophisticated, efficient but also expensive. The last part is a deal breaker for many travelers but you can’t cover 24 hours in Singapore without taking too much of your travel budget. Singapore is basically a city-state, the only one of its kind in the world.

The total area of Singapore covers is 278 square miles (719 square km). Singapore is a small, organized, and compact so it’s completely possible to get a glimpse into what the Lion City has to offer in a relatively short period of time, even in 24 hours. Singapore is made up of the largest island that’s the city-state and 63 small, uninhabited surrounding islands.

The name Singapore derives from the Sanscrit words singa and pura, meaning Lyon City. Supposedly, that was the first thing the prince Sang Nila Utama saw when he reached Singapore. The name stayed the same for centuries, even though there aren’t any lions to be found in Singapore today.

Random Fact: Bubble Gum Is Banned

Singapore skyscrapers

As I said, the first noticeable thing about Singapore is its well-deserved reputation for its strict laws against any kind of litter. I think Singapore is one of the cleanest countries I’ve seen and there’s a good reason for this. Littering here comes at a price.

Oftentimes, at fines of $1000 or more. A fun fact is also that chewing gum is banned in Singapore. It has been banned since 2004 in attempts of the local authorities to protect the country’s environment and its subway system from vandals trying to to disrupt the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) with used chewing gums.

24 Hours In Singapore- What Can You Do?


Choosing what to do when you have only 24 hours in Singapore sure is a difficult task but not an impossible one. Before we start with the city’s attractions, you can store your luggage at Changi Airport. It costs $10 SGD for luggage up to 10 kg and $12 SGD for bigger luggage. The cheapest way to get out of the airport is the metro. There’s a direct line connecting the Changi Airport to Farrer Park, the closest station to Little India. In addition, we’ll cover some of the most popular places to visit in one day in Singapore.

Little India

Little India

You can start the morning in Little India. This is a buzzing historic district that shows the vibrant culture, with the small, brightly colored apartment blocks, the beautiful Hindu temples, and its own, unique atmosphere. Singapore has an Indian community of 250,000 people or around 7% of the total population. It really feels like a slice of India. A much cleaner, more organized slice. No offense, India. I still love you.

Make sure to check out the Mustafa Center. You can literally find anything here. Locals come here to bargain and tourists to get cheap souvenirs. There are also a lot of good affordable restaurants nearby. Also, visit Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple. You will be able to find a lot of cheap and quality restaurants around, so it might be a good idea to have your breakfast here.

China Town


Not too far from Little India, you’ll find Singapore’s Chinatown. The neighborhood is a sharp contrast to the rest of Singapore, with a lot of small buildings, fragrant smells of traditional cuisine and the gold and red tones that flow through this charming neighborhood. One of the first things you will want to see is the monolithic Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. The temple is home to a 27-foot statue of the Buddha. While in Chinatown, also check out the Pinnacle Duxton Skybridge- the tallest residential building in the world. You can enjoy the amazing view for just $5 SGD. Finally, no trip to Chingatown is complete without taking a walk around the central street market.

Arab Street Area

arab street singapore

Not very far from Chinatown and Little India, you’ll see yet another very different side of Singapore at Arab Street. Here, you’ll find plenty of Arabic-style boutiques, street art, and the lively local restaurants that make this area one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the Lion City. Check out the historic Muslim quarter, Bussorah Street, Haji, and Bali Lanes and Muscat Street and make a stop for some Arabic tea/coffee.

Gardens by the Bay

gardens by the bay

This Avatar-like landscape will intrigue you the second you go spot them from far away. Inside, the gardens are just as exciting. It’s home to over 500,000 plants from across the world. The gardens also have the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, which is 35 meters high. While you’re here, check out the Flower Dome, known as the largest greenhouse in the world. Climb to the OCBC Skyway for a panoramic view of the garden’s surroundings. And don’t forget the Cloud Forest, filled with rare plants from around the world.

Sentosa Island

Singapore in 24 hours

A 12-minute cable car ride separates Sentosa Island from Vivo City. You can enjoy another stunning panoramic view of the island on the way. You would probably get tired by now and Sentosa is the ultimate place to go and relax. With its soft, sandy beaches along the southern coast, this is a great place to get a much-needed rest. Escape the hustle and bustle of Singapore and have an ultimate beach resort experience. It will only take you 12 minutes to reach there.

Orchard Road

orchard road 24 hours in singapore

It is one of the most iconic streets in Singapore. Singapore’s epicenter of shopping, similar to Oxford Street and Nathan Road.  If you’re a shopping freak, you can literally spend your whole day here. The shopping malls along Orchard are stocked with practically everything under the sun. It’s good at least to spend some time walking around the area but if you’re not a shopping fan, don’t spend too much time here.

Marina Bay Sands

Singapore in 24 hours

Marina Bay Sands is the place where you can do Singapore’s most spectacular things. The focal point of the bay is the $5.5 billion complex with a lot of great things to do and see in the area revolve around the complex. Some of them are the Science Museum, a lot of Casinos (the entrance is free for foreigners) and various restaurants and clubs.

The most iconic view in Singapore is definitely from the rooftop bar Ce La Vi. Thanks to Singapore’s location and timezone, it always gets dark around 7:30 PM, so you can do more things during the day. However, make sure to reach the rooftop in time for the sunset. After that, you can treat yourself with some amazing cocktails on the rooftop and see the spectacular lighting show at Marina Bay from above. The show starts at 8 pm and it illuminates the water and the landmarks, making the city look like a postcard.

Alternatively, check out this article if you would like to spend some more time in Singapore.

The Night

24 hours in singapore

If you are looking for a fancy dinner, you can head to the Stamford Hotel for some amazing food accompanied by an amazing view. The restaurant is on the 70th floor and as you imagine, it’s pretty costly. If you are searching for something simple, there’s a myriad of food courts around the Bay. If not, Singapore has a lot of hawker centers where you can try the best local food without spending too much.

Singapore has a lot to offer after the sunset too. Pubbing and clubbing here are a must if you want to feel the true night-pulse of the Lion City. You’ll easily find a lot of bars and clubs around the Marina Bay’re done and need to head back to the airport you can hop on the Marina Bay Sands airport shuttle from the coach bay leaving every hour. It costs $9 SGD.

Many travelers avoid Singapore because it’s difficult to visit Singapore on a budget and the seamingly artificial character of the city. Singapore might not have a lot of natural beauty but I think it’s the closest thing to perfection we have on our planet and this alone makes it worth visiting. Skipping this metropolitan, multicultural city-state on your Southeast Asia tour would be a big mistake, if you ask me.

Liking this post? Then you may also like our guide to spending 24 hours in Paris and 24 hours in Venice.

Different Ways To Spend 24 Hours In Singapore

one day in singapore

Now that we covered most of the places people visit when they have 24 hours in Singapore, we’ll share a few different itineraries for Singapore in a day just so have options to choose from.

#1 For The Cultural Traveler

  • Morning: Visit the National Museum of Singapore.
  • Midday: Explore Little India and Chinatown for cultural sights and food.
  • Afternoon: Walk around the Marina Bay area, visiting the Merlion and the ArtScience Museum.
  • Evening: Enjoy a night safari at the Singapore Zoo.

#2 For The Foodie

  • Morning: Breakfast at Tiong Bahru Market for local hawker food.
  • Midday: Explore the Haw Par Villa, then lunch at a Michelin-starred hawker stall.
  • Afternoon: Snack tour in Kampong Glam.
  • Evening: Dinner at Clarke Quay, followed by a river cruise.

#3 For The Nature Lover

  • Morning: Visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
  • Midday: Explore the Gardens by the Bay, including the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome.
  • Afternoon: Cable car ride to Sentosa Island, visit the S.E.A. Aquarium.
  • Evening: Relax at Palawan Beach on Sentosa, followed by dinner with a sea view.

#4 For The Luxury Traveler

  • Morning: Shopping at Orchard Road.
  • Midday: High tea at Raffles Hotel.
  • Afternoon: Visit the Marina Bay Sands Skypark.
  • Evening: Luxury dinner cruise along the Singapore River.

#5 For The History Buff

  • Morning: Visit Fort Canning Park and its historical sites.
  • Midday: Explore the Peranakan Museum.
  • Afternoon: Walk through the Colonial District, visiting landmarks like the Old Supreme Court Building and St. Andrew’s Cathedral.
  • Evening: Dine at a historic building in Dempsey Hill.

Useful Resources For Spending 24 Hours In Singapore

one day in singapore

For the cheapest flights to Singapore, use this Qatar Airways offer and get up to 25% off on all flights to Singapore.

If you want to rent a car in Singapore, check out this AutoEurope coupon and save 15% off on all car rental bookings in Singapore.

To save on all bus, train or ferry rides in Singapore, use 12goasia and save up to 15% (for more info check out our 12go Asia review here).

If you’re spending more than a few days in Singapore and need a place to stay, use my Booking discount code and save 10% on all accommodation bookings in Singapore.

Did you ever visit the Lion City? Do you think you can see a lot in just 24 hours in Singapore? Let us know in the comments!

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The Perfect 1 Day Itinerary for
singapore in 24 hours
singapore in 24 hours


Monday 4th of March 2019

Very descriptive post, I liked that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

Thank you, Tong- there might be soon as there are a lot of interesting activities to do on a long layover in Singapore


Saturday 9th of February 2019

Wohh precisely what I was searching for, thanks for putting up.

Passport Symphony

Saturday 9th of February 2019

You're welcome, Vince :)


Monday 3rd of December 2018

I couldn’t agree with you more on this, Singapore is one of the cleanest and well organised cities in the world. Have been to Little India and Chinatown but sadly missed out on Arab street area. Sounds like a delight I must say. Enjoyed reading your post on One of my favourite cities.

Passport Symphony

Monday 3rd of December 2018

Thank you, Suma and I hope you get the chance to visit Singapore again and explore more of Singapore


Sunday 2nd of December 2018

Thanks for sharing wonderful guide on Singapire with all tips. Little India looks colorful and it is good that it is cleaner version of India. I would love to go for glittering Bay Gardens as I love colorful lights.

Passport Symphony

Sunday 2nd of December 2018

Thank you, Yukti- I'm really glad you could get some useful tips from this article.

Baylee Rae Landowski

Friday 30th of November 2018

So interesting that they have banned bubble gum! It is such a pain in the butt when it gets thrown onto the street. I have GOT to see the Gardens by the Bay, that looks amazing! I didn't know much about Singapore but you've definitely piqued my interest.

Passport Symphony

Friday 30th of November 2018

Thank you Baylee, I'm glad you liked this post