Experience the delightful contrast between Singapore’s past and present, with our guide to trendy and traditional neighbourhoods.
9am: Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum
Start your early morning into Singapore’s past in the colourful district of Chinatown, home to street peddlers, tea houses and traditional merchants.
Your first stop—the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum—is a majestic place of worship that’s bound to provide insight into the religious traditions and mores of Singapore’s ethnic Chinese community. Admire the Tang-style façade before venturing inside to explore its gorgeous interior.
Masjid Jamae and Sri Mariamman Temple—which serve Muslims and Hindus respectively—can be found along the same stretch of South Bridge Road. These beautiful places of worship are testament to Singapore’s multicultural tapestry of religious beliefs, and are well worth a visit.
Ed’s note: Visits to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple are limited to groups of 2— Check out the temple’s website for the latest COVID-19 safety measures.
11am: Chinatown Complex Food Centre
Fuel up for your adventure with an early lunch at Chinatown Complex Food Centre. Hawker fare is a quintessential element of Singaporean food culture, and this sprawling establishment boasts a smorgasbord of local eats that’ll leave you spoilt for choice.
Some of the delectable options here include beloved stalls like Ann Chin Popiah, Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, and the char kway teow (flat rice noodle dish) from Sing Yuen Delight.
1230pm: Little India Arcade
Spend the early afternoon exploring the sights, sounds and colours of Little India. This charming heritage district is an enclave of Indian culture, with vendors selling a tantalising mix of silks, garlands and spices.
Little India Arcade—a bustling indoor emporium—is your go-to spot for souvenirs and charming mementos. You’ll find merchants selling a hoard of traditional wares to delight your senses, from beautiful jewellery and religious statuettes to delectable sweets.
3pm: National Museum of Singapore
Spend the rest of the afternoon immersing yourself in our island’s colourful past at the National Museum of Singapore.
Located amid the colonial buildings and skyscrapers of the Civic District, this preeminent cultural institution is a repository of stories from Singapore and the region. Peek into the lives of everyday Singaporean families at the Growing Up exhibition, learn about our city’s status during the colonial era at Modern Colony, and discover echoes of the past at the Voices of Singapore exhibit.
If art is more of your jam, you may want to consider the National Gallery Singapore as an alternative. Housed within Singapore’s Former City Hall and Supreme Court, this art gallery is the crown jewel of Singapore’s arts scene, and boast the world’s largest public collection of Southeast Asian and Singaporean art.
5pm: Gardens by the Bay
For a delightful contrast that fully highlights Singapore’s multifaceted nature, make your way to the ultra-modern Marina Bay district.
As the sun sets on our city, you’ll be able to luxuriate in the lush greenery of Gardens by the Bay. A verdant oasis nestled amid the shimmering steel and glass buildings of Marina Bay Sands, the gardens boast surreal landscapes reminiscent of a science-fiction movie.
Whether you’re admiring the rare blossoms of the Flower Dome, perched atop the vistas of Cloud Forest or taking a selfie amid the Supertrees, you’re bound to have an unforgettable time at this marvel of modernity.
5pm: ION Orchard
An alternative option for avid shoppers and fashionistas, Orchard Road is a retail paradise that’s home to luxury labels and global brands.
ION Orchard—located right atop Orchard MRT station—is a great way to begin your shopping spree, with brands like Burberry, Armani Exchange and Tiffany and Co. If you’re hankering for even more, be sure to visit malls like The Heeren for luxury brands, Somerset 313 for fashionable street apparel or Design Orchard for local wares Made with Passion.
7pm: Clarke Quay
Spend the rest of your evening by the Singapore River, in the district of Clarke Quay. Once home to godowns and boats laden with wares from across the world, this district is now a popular hotspot for travellers, with bars and restaurants serving up a variety of different cuisines.
When you’re done with dinner, we suggest rounding off the night with the Singapore River Bumboat Cruise, which will allow you to experience the architectural marvels of modern Singapore from the back of a traditional bumboat.