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Day 1: Explore neighbourhoods

A flower garland shop in Little India.
1 Little India

Take in the country’s most enjoyable experiences on a budget in just three days.

The first thing you might want to do is to find a place to stay (this list should help). Getting around the island is also a breeze, thanks to the interconnected public transport system. Here’s a tip: Buy a three-day Singapore Tourist Pass for S$20 which gives you unlimited travel on all public buses, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT).

The first stop is Little India, one of Singapore’s well-known ethnic enclave. Kick off the morning with a scrumptious meal of chapatti (Indian flatbread eaten with curry). At Azmi Restaurant (located at the junction of Norris Road in Little India), feast on this unleavened flatbread and a selection of chicken, mutton and lamb curries.

Front exterior of the Armenian Church.
2 Armenian Church

Walk off that meal and view one of the oldest churches in Singapore at nearby Bras Basah. Built in 1835, the Armenian Church on Hill Street was gazetted as a national monument in 1973 and restored in 1994. While you are in the area, get to know Singapore’s vibrant Peranakan* community and history at the Peranakan Museum, which is filled with fine artefacts and fun exhibits. Various aspects of this hybrid Southeast Asian culture—made up of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures—are brought to life here. Highlights include stories of prominent Peranakans in Singapore's history and how today’s Peranakans have evolved with their culture. 

Also nearby is Fort Canning Park, a small hill in the city steeped in history and lush flora and fauna. The park was originally known as Bukit Larangan, or 'Forbidden Hill' in Malay. Today, the 18-hectare space is full of attractions—from ancient artefacts for history buffs to outdoor lawns for concerts, and of course, greenery for nature lovers.

*The term is an Indonesian/Malay word that means “local born”, which generally refers to people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.

Long shot of Sultan Mosque in Bussorah Street.
3 Kampong Glam

In the evening, head to Kampong Glam to check out the sights of one of the oldest yet trendiest areas. Start at Sultan Mosque with its massive golden domes and huge prayer hall. It is a must-see if you’re in the historic Kampong Glam district. While you’re there, look closer at the onion domes. The base of each dome is decorated with glass bottle ends, donated by less fortunate Muslims during its construction so that all Muslims, not just the rich, could contribute. Architecture lovers rejoice—free guided tours are available. Hungry? You’ll love the culinary delights in the area, from local delicacies such as nasi padang (steamed rice served with various dishes) and Malay kueh (bite-sized snacks or desserts) to Middle Eastern cuisine, many decently priced.

Day 2: Delights aplenty

Entrance of Chinatown Food Street along Smith Street.
1 Chinatown

A trip to Chinatown is a must and this heritage rich area has everything you can think of. Try char kway teow (stir-fried noodles) at Chinatown Food Street, a row of hawker stalls, shophouse restaurants and kiosks along Smith Street. Looking for affordable souvenirs? Chinatown is home to numerous shops that sell everything from bak kwa (barbecued meat) to postcards.

Chinatown is also where you’ll find architectural attractions like the Sri Mariamman Temple and Jamae Mosque on South Bridge Road and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Best of all, entry into all these places is free.

A family looking up at the Gardens by the Bay light up at night.
2 Gardens by the Bay

In the evening, visit Gardens by the Bay. Located next to the Marina Reservoir, take in mesmerising waterfront views across three gardens, spanning over 101 hectares of reclaimed land. Unique to Gardens by the Bay is the Cloud Forest. Within the enclosed compound, a 35-metre-tall mountain is veiled in mist and covered in lush vegetation, from which the world’s tallest indoor waterfall descends. Here, you will find plant life from tropical highlands up to 2,000 metres above sea level. However, entry into the Cloud Forest or Flower Dome will cost money. We recommend you walk around the park and take in the sights of the stunning Supertrees—this comes at no cost.

Feeling hungry? Eating area Satay by the Bay is located nearby and serves hearty local food like satay (grilled skewered meat) and seafood that packs a spicy punch.

Day 3: Uncover city sights

A pond in Singapore Botanic Gardens.
1 Singapore Botanic Gardens

There are many reasons why you should make the Singapore Botanic Gardens a must-visit in your itinerary. It is Singapore’s oldest garden and the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is ideal for a stroll or a lazy picnic with family or friends, as its dazzling array of over 10,000 plants makes it a nature lovers’ paradise. Best of all, entry to the Gardens is free.

Exterior of National Museum of Singapore across the road.
2 National Museum of Singapore

In the afternoon, go museum hopping. If you have time to visit only one place, but want to learn about the history and culture of Singapore, then the National Museum of Singapore is the place to go. With its history dating back to 1887, this museum is one of the city’s architectural icons. Its permanent offerings, the Singapore History and Living Galleries, piece together the past and present in a compelling narrative.

Meanwhile, the nearby Singapore Art Museum focuses on contemporary art practice in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Housed in a restored 19th-century mission school, St Joseph’s Institute, architecture lovers will have a field day exploring this carefully conserved building that was established in 1855.

A crowded shopping lane in Bugis Street.
3 Loof

After a day of art appreciation, relax at Loof at nearby Odeon Towers. Once crowned Singapore's best rooftop bar, Loof serves up nostalgia and unbridled playfulness in an urban garden atop Odeon Towers. After that, wander through Bugis Street for cheap bargains and amazing food.

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