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Day 1: Explore the city

Plate of Roti Prata (soft and yet crisp flatbread) with curry
1 Kampong Glam

Morning

Start your day with breakfast in Kampong Glam. This conserved area is where Malay royalty once resided, and is steeped in rich culture and history.

Endless rows of eateries offering Indian-Muslim creations abound here. To wake your taste buds up with a classic Singapore-style breakfast, drop by Singapore Zam Zam Restaurant for prata (South Indian flatbread) and a side of fish curry.

Then explore Haji Lane—a hipster haunt littered with indie outlets that stock vintage clothing and knick-knacks—such as retro-inspired boutique Grammah.

Interior of National Gallery Singapore with guests admiring paintings
2 Civic District

Afternoon

Come midday, you'll want to make your way to the Civic District to have lunch at Raffles Hotel on Beach Road. Pop by the Mediterranean-themed BBR—by acclaimed French chef Alain Ducasse—and take a post-lunch stroll around the hotel to admire its awe-inspiring colonial-era architecture.

Then, pay a visit to the National Gallery Singapore to marvel at the world's largest public display of modern Southeast Asian art.

Traditional bumboat along Singapore River
3 Singapore River

Evening

Just before dinner, hop on a traditional bumboat (operated by Singapore River Cruise) and get to know the historic Singapore River, and areas like Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, and Robertson Quay. Hop off and head to Clarke Quay to check out its colourful array of dining options and nightlife offerings.

Afterwards, head to Highlander Bar & Restaurant for single malt whiskies and live music.

Day 2: Visit neighbourhoods

Shop houses at Joo Chiat, Singapore
4 Joo Chiat/Katong

Morning

For brunch, pop by Group Therapy café in the vibrant neighbourhood of Katong for Western comfort food like truffle fries and smoked salmon bagels.

If you’re still feeling peckish, you’ll be able to experience the Joo Chiat/Katong delightful contrast of modern and traditional by indulging in the pastries at Dona Manis Cake Shop (the banana pie is a hot favourite).

You can spend the rest of the morning exploring the area which is known as the 'home of the Peranakans*'.

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

Tourist in Chinatown Singapore taking a selfie with Chinese lanterns and storefronts in the background
5 Chinatown

Afternoon

Make your way to Chinatown and head straight to Maxwell Food Centre for must-try local creations like chicken rice from the well-loved Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, as well as an ice cold glass of sugarcane juice from any of the countless drink stalls to quench your thirst.

For the rest of the afternoon, discover Chinatown on foot. Must-sees include its rich culture and history–visit the majestic Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum. Then, indulge in traditional Chinese desserts like bird's nest soup at Mei Heong Yuen Dessert–these treats make for a great afternoon snack (plus it’s an excellent way to beat the heat).

Tiong Bahru Singapore three-storey shophouse
6 Tiong Bahru

Evening

Next, hop into a cab and cruise over to Tiong Bahru for dinner and drinks.

This may be one of Singapore’s oldest neighbourhoods, but it’s worth visiting to see how old meets new in Singapore. Get a table at Bincho, a mee pok (flat yellow egg noodles) stall by day and yakitori joint and bar by night. Have a meal (and a drink or two) there before checking out outlets like indie bookstore BooksActually and Curated Records for cool vinyl records.

Day 3: Be in nature (plus a spot of shopping)

Girl on a Bicycle Sculpture at Singapore Botanic Gardens
7 Singapore Botanic Gardens

Morning

Begin your day with a visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Enjoy lush gardens, peace and tranquility at this 150-year-old green destination–which happens to be Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site–and don’t miss highlights like the National Orchid Garden which is home to the largest orchid display in the world, this attraction boasts over 60,000 plants and orchids.

Ion Orchard Exterior at Orchard Singapore
8 Orchard Road

Afternoon

After spending the morning amidst the gardens, switch the pace up a little and head to one of Singapore’s major shopping districts, like Orchard Road. Here you’ll find a mix of high-end international brands, local labels, and everything in between.

Drop by places like Paragon for luxury brands like Gucci and–if you’re curious about wares uniquely made in Singapore–pay a visit to Design Orchard. The latter is a vibrant retail hub that boasts designs and bespoke creations from some of Singapore’s finest artisans and craftspeople.

The Marmalade Pantry at ION Orchard serves up excellent Western creations like truffled field mushroom risotto and indulgent desserts such as sticky date and toffee pudding.

Crowd of people at Bugis Street Market Singapore
9 Bugis Street Market

Evening

To soak in the urban buzz of Singapore’s busy streets, pay an evening visit to the Bugis and Little India neighbourhoods. What was once a thriving district with a colourful past is now famed for its trendy stores. The charming businesses along winding Bugis Street are great places to score some shopping bargains. 

Flower Vendor at Little India Singapore
10 Little India

When night falls, make a beeline for the ethnic enclave Little India, a colourful district peppered with spice shops, jewellery stores, and flower vendors.

For dinner, tuck into mouth-watering South Indian food such as popular local delicacy fish head curry at Banana Leaf Apolo. If you’re looking for more shopping options, check out Mustafa Centre–a shopping complex that sells just about everything you can think of. Best of all, it’s open 24/7.

Three days may seem like a short time, but with this guide, that’s certainly not the case. Now that you’re in the know, go forth and explore the city with ease!

Here for a little while longer? Check out this 7-day guide to Singapore for an exciting week in the Lion City.

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