48 hours in Singapore

48 Hours in Singapore - today we will be featuring my home city - Singapore. We wouldn't really say Singapore is a country. It is rather a city state. First and foremost, Singapore is so so small with 710 km² land area that you can hardly see it on the world map. Perhaps the text 'Singapore' label on the map is way bigger than the dot-sized area of Singapore itself.

Contradictorily, this "small dot" is quite an impressive city being so advanced and progressive. Compared to the other Asian countries, cities or European capitals, the artistry of Singapore's tourism efforts also makes it deserving an online guide of how to optimize your stay. In case you are planning a 48 Hour trip to Singapore, we hope the following notes help. So let's cut to the chase and start with

Watch this before you go Singapore: Jewel

Jewel Changi Airport (also known as Jewel or Jewel Changi) is a nature-themed entertainment and retail complex on the land side of Changi Airport, Singapore. Linked to three of its passenger terminals, the centrepiece is the world's tallest indoor waterfall, named the Rain Vortex, which is surrounded by a terraced forest setting. Jewel includes gardens, attractions, a hotel, aviation facilities and more than 300 retail and dining facilities. It covers a total gross floor area of 135,700 m2, spanning 10 storeys – five above-ground and five basement levels. Its attractions also include the Shiseido Forest Valley, an indoor garden spanning five storeys, the Canopy Park at the topmost level, featuring more gardens and leisure facilities.
8 P.M. Esplanade Theatres on the Bay

Singapore - Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

Esplanade is where you can experience a real lifestyle – shopping, dining and performing arts. The remarkable and unique architecture, what locally people called it the fruit 'Durian'. There is a roof-top garden, library@esplanade, cafes as well as an outside food court offering the best Singaporean cuisines. Clean, well-maintained yet beautiful sights and well-lighted place. This is a good place for relaxation after a busy day and best to go after the Merlion Park. Next morning, how about a swim at the Infinity Pool?

View @ Singapore MBS Skypark_6899
flickr/woo siang boon

 Then start the morning with Singaporean favourite breakfast item - Roti Prata!

7 A.M. Roti Prata

roti prata

Some people might disagree with me that this is a snack. It is a common breakfast item with its recipe deriving from the original pancake recipes from India and Pakistan. People also eat it as a supper item. In case if you do not know yet, Singapore is a multi-racial society, pretty cosmopolitan place - and a melting pot of British (Eurasians), Indian, Malay and mainly Chinese cultures. 

Today, Singaporeans enjoy our diversity in particular the influences onto our meals from different cultures, be it Indian, or Malay, Chinese or Western. The places you can find Roti Prata upon touching down is the Changi Airport Departure Transit Lounges at Terminal 1 & 3. It is 24 hours, so proceed straight to Level 3 for your first crispy Roti Prata. 

8 A.M.  Marina Bay

Morning @ Singapore Marina Bay_2906
flickr/woo siang boon

Then have a morning walk in the Marina Bay area and then walk to the Central Business District, Tanjong Pagar, Club Street and Singapore River. Head to the Gillman's Centre for Contemporary Art if you want to see some exhibitions and artist-in-residence programs. From Gillman’s Centre for Contemporary Art, take a 30-minutes walk to reach the 274-metre steel ribs and local wood bridge called Henderson Waves.

Next to Chinatown area and smoke into its original charm. There several streets such as Smith Street and Pagoda Street, the oldest Hokkien temple, Thian Hock Keng Temple at Telok Ayer Street. Procced next to the URA Gallery at Maxwell Road then have a lunch at Maxwell Food Centre along South Bridge Road.

12 P.M. Char Kway Teow

Fried Noodles (Again)

One of the recommended national favourite dishes to try is Char Kway Teow. Kway Teow are flattened rice noodles and cut into strips. So 'Char' is a cooking style that means 'to stir-fry' over very high heat. This national favourite is a popular noodle dish. Mainly the ingredients are bean sprouts, prawns, deshelled cockles, small wallop of belachan, chilli, dark soy sauce that gives it a dark colouring, light soy sauce, chopped chives, stir-fried egg, fishcake, Chinese sausage, pork lard croutons.

2 P.M. Food Republic

Asian Food
flickr/Dr Norbert Heidenbluth

Go for a personable brunch or lunch experience with multi-cultural food offerings at the best of hawker fare and restaurant dining. Here at Food Republic, only food from highly rated and well sought-after food stalls are offered. Whether if you just want a coffee or some small snacks, you can find out the best local food all at one stop.

Or have a High-tea Dim Sum and Dim Sum places in Singapore:

  • Asia Grand Restaurant at Odeon Towers (North Bridge Road) #01-02
  • Bosses at VivoCity (Harbourfront Walk) #02-156
  • Cherry Garden Chinese Restaurant at Mandarin Oriental (Raffles Avenue) 5F
  • Crystal Jade Palace at Ngee Ann City (Orchard Road) #04-19
  • Din Tai Fung at Paragon (Orchard Road) #B1-03
  • Yum Cha at Chinatown (Trengganu Street) #02-01
  • Yum Cha Garden at Serangoon Garden Country Club (Kensington Park Road) 22            
6 P.M. Singapore River

The Singapore River @ Clarke Quay Singapore
flickr/William cho

Singapore River and the most beautiful part of this area is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Do explore the Chinatown Heritage Centre, visit the oldest mosque Jamae Mosque at South Bridge road, Pinnacle@Duxton Skybridge, Red Dot Design Museum, Singapore Coin and Notes Museum which features the local commemorative coins, history of coinage and local currency. The most important Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple. Peranakan culture and traditional Straits Chinese households furnishings at Neil Road's Baba House. For history buffs, do check out the Sir Stamford Raffles’ Landing Site, Boat Quay and Perankan Museum on Armenian Street.

7 P.M. Merlion Landmark

Blue Hour @ Merlion Park_8363
flickr/woo siang boon
Head on to the Merlion landmark at One Fullerton Merlion Park. Enjoy the breeze and experience the night view at the vantage point for the Singapore Flyer, Esplanade theatres and Marina Bay Sands. Grab an ice-cream wafer or ice-cream sandwich to recapture a retro experience next to the waterfront promenade.

9 P.M. Chilli Crab

Singaporean Chilli Crab
flickr/Joao tam

9PM might be considered late night eating (but it really depends on your culture) for some may not. If you are not used to having late night bites, you may want to skip this, but supper hot spots in Singapore is pretty common.

Some people eat Dim Sum like paper-wrapped curry chicken, phoenix prawn, stir-fried dishes from zi char establishments, Fried Brinjal with pork floss, Salted Egg and Butter Pork Ribs, the Roti Prata, Bee Hoon, Porridge, Chicken Pie, Frappe or 3-colour milk tea (of coconut sugar, fresh milk and tea), ice homemade barley drinks, Nasi Lemak, Mee Rebus, Nasi Padang, Grilled seafood, Korean Barbeque, Hong Kong style porridge and desserts such as sesame paste.

Bak Chor Mee, Sliced Fish Been Hoon, Ban Mian, Wanton Dumpling Noodles, Ampang Yong Tau Foo, the peppery Pork Ribs Soup (Bak Kut teh), Fish head steamboat, seafood like pomfret, red garouper,  Doubled-boiled brewed soup. Roasted spring chicken, Baked fresh prawns. Meatballs and fishballs. Kambing Soup, Mutton Cheese Murtabak, Teh Tarik, Teh halia, Ramen in chicken or pork broth. Singapore is a food paradise, so you can find these almost any part of the island.

10 P.M. Super Trees Grove

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
flickr/tommy ga-ken wan

Supertrees are vertical gardens with environmentally sustainable functions up as high as 50 metres high. There are photovoltaic cells embedded on these trees to harvest solar energy. Large canopies as high as 16 storeys high. Besides, there three other parts namely, the reinforcement concrete core, planting panels of the living skin and its trunk. 

At Supertree Grove and the Golden and Silver Gardens, there are altogether are 18 of these super trees. One recommendation is to stroll along the 128-metre OCBC Skyway at the height of 22-metres to take in the views of the Gardens. There are over 162,900 plants, ferns, orchids, tropical flowering climbers and many varieties of bromeliads (monocot flowering plants). In addition, there is a bistro for chilling and capturing panoramic views of the surrounding Marina Bay area.

11 P.M. Double Helix Bridge
This pedestrian only bridge itself offers a good photography opportunity when it is lighted at night in particular. It is not just an engineering and architecture marvel. It gives a very futuristic appeal too. You may observe from the viewing platforms for the Singapore skyline along the waterfront from the bridge that connects Ritz Hotel and the Shoppes at MBS. Walk four kilometers around the bay from the Helix Bridge and you can cover: Singapore Flyer ferris wheel, Flight Experience Flight Simulator, Marina Bay Sands Skypark, Makansutra Glutton’s Bay, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.

Day 2. Tropical Fruits Paradise

Banana Ceiling
flickr/Jon seigel

Finally, we also want to highlight to you that Singapore is tropical fruits paradise. It is possible to organize a tropical fruits tour, tasting out all the fruits – The full list of “Singapore's Must-Try Fruits” is available here.

Blue Cloudy Night @ Singapore Chinatown_3274
flickr/woo siang boon

If it is beautiful of any sights mentioned above, you need not do all of them within one day. Leave some for Day 2, or you can checkout the night version (or the day version vice versa) for more coverage.  Other interesting culture related sights includes: Arab Quarter, Haji Lane, Little India, Asian Civilisations Museums at Empress Place, Tiffin Room high tea at Raffles Hotel and Jumbo Seafood. Might be good to see those old shophouses at Ann Siang Hill and Club Street, Keong Saik Road, Yong Siak Street and try the highly recommended "Tim Ho Wan" Dim sum at Orchard Road. 

If you still have sometime in the evenings, chill with some drinks at Clarke Quay which is lined full with pubs and restaurants. Have a beautiful lookout over the glittery pulse of the area. 

Extending your trip a little later into the night? Then watch a light show at night from Ku De Ta - the finest entertainment destination in Southeast Asia. We hope you enjoy a great 48 Hours of rich cultural tapestry, vibrant arts scene, great food and amazing street life that we have in Singapore.