Take in Singapore’s most famous sights in just one day and see how far we have come since our independence in 1965.
9am: Field of dreams
The Padang is the ideal spot to take in Singapore’s mix of old and new. It’s where Singapore gained independence in 1965, and where you can glimpse the glacially cool skyscrapers in the Central Business District as well as historic buildings like the former Supreme Court and City Hall, which now house the National Gallery Singapore.
The results of long-term planning are evident. The Marina Bay area is built largely on reclaimed land and includes the iconic Marina Bay Sands®, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Flyer and Marina Barrage, which turned the whole bay into a giant fresh water reservoir.
From the Padang, walk down to Old Parliament Lane to see the statue commemorating the landing of Sir Stamford Raffles and get ready for the next leg of our Singapore tour.
9.30am: Cruise the Singapore River
There’s no better way to get a sense of Singapore’s maritime history than on a river cruise on the Singapore River.
Back then, the Singapore River was a busy waterway that helped the city earn its place as the world’s third largest port today.
The cruise takes you past the different quays (Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and Marina Bay), which are lined with shops and restaurants, and are ideal places for a leisurely stroll.
Now it’s time to head inland for the next leg of our tour. Upon your disembarkation point, walk to Cross Street and then head to Chinatown.
10.30am: Exploring Chinatown, a bustling mix of old and new
Chinatown is one of Singapore’s most exciting districts, where old meets new, and traditional tea houses and hawkers still ply their wares amid chic galleries and hipster cafes.
Old Chinatown was a riot of colour, where opera houses and opium dens competed for space with wet markets and street hawkers. That changed in 1989 with the redevelopment of the area.
For a taste of Chinatown’s history head over to Thian Hock Keng temple on Telok Ayer Street, the oldest Chinese temple in the city. Sri Mariamman Temple on South Bridge Road is also not to be missed.
Looking to shop? Head to the many souvenir shops in Pagoda Street or even pick up bak kwa (barbecued meat) along New Bridge Road. And if you’re hungry then Chinatown Complex on Smith Street houses the wet market and hawker centre popular for local fare. For a taste of tradition you can head over to Tea Chapter on Neil Road or Yixing Xuan Teahouse on Tanjong Pagar Road to enjoy Chinese tea.
Walk over to Maxwell Road Food Centre and prepare for some tantalising treats on the next leg of our tour.
12.30pm: Lunch at Maxwell Road
If there’s one thing that Singaporeans love, it’s food, and we’re about to discover why. Food centres, also known as hawker centres, are key parts of life in the city, providing a wide array of delicious delicacies at unbeatable prices. Today, Maxwell Road Food Centre remains a must-visit destination for foodies both near and far.
Choose from Chinese porridge, fish soup, goreng pisang (banana fritters) and hum chim peng (a dough pancake filled with red-bean paste). But if we had to recommend just one dish, we’d go for the Tian Tian Chicken Rice, which is on the Michelin Guide Singapore Bib Gourmand list, and end your meal with ice kachang (ice shavings topped with condiments). You won't be disappointed!
With full stomachs it’s time to head off to Sentosa Island. Walk to Chinatown MRT station then take the North East line to HarbourFront MRT station.
2pm: Sentosa - The Isle of Tranquility
Before it was transformed into a recreational island in 1970, the island was believed to be associated with pirates. Now, Sentosa is home to Resorts World™ Sentosa - an integrated resort which includes one of Singapore's two casinos, a Universal Studios theme park, Adventure Cove Water Park and a Marine Life Park.
This anniversary year, Images of Singapore LIVE is where the colourful story of Singapore, from a humble fishing village to 21st century powerhouse, is told through live actors, special effects and immersive theming.
Head over to Madame Tussauds Singapore, and pose with icons of our history like first Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew and a wide range of A-list stars from Asia and beyond.
It’s time to head back to the mainland. From HarbourFront MRT station, take the North East line to Dhoby Ghaut MRT station then change to the Circle Line to Bayfront MRT station.
4.30pm: Admiring the Singapore skyline
Our next stop brings us to the Singapore Flyer, where you can soak up breath-taking views across the Bay.
A short walk away is the world famous Marina Bay Sands®, an integrated resort with equally stunning views from its roof. Don’t miss the Sands SkyPark: a public observatory deck for one of the best city views in town.
8pm: Indulge yourself
It's time to kick back and relax. And if you are looking to treat yourself with a couple of drinks, you’re going to be spoilt for choice. Top picks include CÉ LA VI atop Marina Bay Sands® for stunning views of the city lights, followed by dinner at Shoppes at the Bay.
Alternatively head over to the iconic Raffles Hotel Singapore, a short walk away along Raffles Avenue.
Slated to reopen in late 2018, the famous Raffles Hotel Singapore is an oasis of colonial style in the heart of modern Singapore. Visit the Bar & Billiard Room, home of the world-famous Singapore Sling, a gin-based cocktail invented in 1915. For a more substantial meal, head to the Long Bar Steakhouse.
Another stunning hotel bar worth visiting is the Manhattan at Regent Hotel on Cuscaden Road (nearest MRT Orchard Station)—it has been crowned Asia’s top watering hole in the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2017 list.
The Manhattan aims to revive the 19th century’s golden age of fine drinking, right here in Singapore. Order the award winning Singapura Nacional and celebrate in style!
8pm: Treat the kids
Looking for a family-friendly way to round off the day? Take the North South line from City Hall MRT station to Ang Mo Kio MRT station then take bus 138 from the bus terminal to the Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo.
Since 1994, the Night Safari has offered a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals as you’ve never seen them before. Today, 38% of these animal species at the Night Safari are under threat. Take a stroll or hop on a tram for a guided tour.
There are also plenty of dining options to entertain the little ones as you relax after a day spent learning the history of Singapore.