While many of us have been to Singapore, not everyone has really experienced it. Sure, Changi Airport is (in our opinion) the best in the world, but beyond the tarmac, butterfly garden and a free 24-hour cinema, the stunning garden city is just waiting to be explored.
Only have three days to spare in your travels? No worries, we’ve curated the ultimate layover guide that will see you devouring Michelin star eats, blissing out at a day spa, uncovering the coolest hoods and marvelling at the incredible art scene.
Take note, wanderlust seekers—here’s how to nail a layover in Singapore.
Bid Changi Airport farewell and make your way to the centre of Singapore. Soothe your travel-weary body with a visit to Singapore’s best onsen—Yunomori Onsen & Spa where you can take your pick of the baths on offer. There’s the jet bath—ideal for aches and pains—and the carbon dioxide-rich soda bath which boosts blood oxygen levels, to the tiny, cleansing bubbles of the silk bath. An all-day pass will set you back just $38 and includes steam and sauna access, a towel and a yukata, as well as access to the relaxation lounge.
Once you’re feeling refreshed and totally zenned out, drop your bags at your accommodation for the next few nights, PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering. Described as a hotel in a garden, the lush sanctuary has a 300-metre garden walk, birdcage style cabanas that line the infinity pool perched high above the city streets and plush suites complete with huge tubs, rainforest showers and cloud-like beds.
One of the best ways to explore this neon-soaked city is on two wheels. So, grab a rental bike (Go Cycling has 12 rental points throughout the city) and hit the road. The Central Urban Loop is perfect for an idyllic late afternoon bike ride as you explorethe charms of Singapore’s different neighbourhoods and expansive parks. Traversing 36km, this easy ride will see you take in some of Singapore’s oldest districts and iconic housing estates. You’ll cruise by Toa Payoh Town Park, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Kallang River and along Whampoa Park Connecter so keep the camera handy.
After all that cycling, it’s time to refuel with dinner at a hawker centre. The iconic, open-air food courts are dotted across the city, and are a rite of passage in Singapore. One of our absolute faves? The Chinatown Complex Food Centre. Located in the heart of Chinatown (next to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum), this hawker centre goes off at lunch time with the office crowd, so heading there in the evening means you’ll be able to snag a seat. Pro tip: Bring a packet of tissues and place on a table to reserve your seat while you peruse the stalls. Here you’ll find locally-loved stalls like Lian He Ben Ji Claypot, Ann Chin Handmade Popiah, 168 CMY Satay, The 1950’s Coffee and Fatty Ox HK Kitchen, all of which are also in the Michelin Guide.
Singapore is home to some of the best bottomless, booze-filled boujee brunches we’ve ever seen, so day two of your visit simply must begin with a visit to one of them. If you find yourself there on a Sunday, Manhattan is where you’ll want to head. The adults-only brunch offers everything from oysters and crepes to lobsters, cheese boards and hand-rolled bagels. And you’ll wash it all down with endless G&Ts, bespoke cocktails, wine and bloody Marys. Other highlights worth your stomach space include LAVO Singapore’s champagne brunch, SKAI on the 70th floor of the Swissotel, and Alley on 25’s signature ‘lazy breakfast’ with free-flowing prosecco.
Post brunch, it’s time to get your culture buff on with a visit to some of Singapore's best galleries. For straight-up TikTok content, blow your mind at the iconic ArtScience Museum. The building—a work of art in itself—sits on the edge of Marina Bay and is home to 21 galleries filled with jaw-dropping installations, immersive exhibitions and virtual reality experiences. Got time to squeeze in a few more? Try the Singapore Art Museum, Taksu Singapore and the National Gallery Singapore.
Singapore is awash with epic spots perfect for quenching your thirst after a busy morning of exploring. Lovers of liquid gold are in luck—the city is brimming with award-winning craft breweries. Be sure to pop into RedDot Brewhouse at Dempsey Hill, the perfect place to chill out with a cold brew in hand. The crew behind the taps are known for crafting quirky flavours like their famous Monster Green Lager. Or head to Club Street for ThirtySix Brewlab and Smokehouse which is home to a 500-litre microbrewery and 23 different taps of beer. If you’re interested to find out more about their ’grain to glass’ process, book yourself in for a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery. Prefer spirits? Sip your way through The Brass Lion Distillery and their range of gins and cocktails—and if you’re feeling creative, book into their ‘make your own gin’ class.
Round out your night by satisfying your sweet tooth at the 2am:dessertbar in Holland Village. The eatery was founded by award-winning Singaporean pastry chef Janice Wong, who is famous for creating works of edible art on a plate, that are as tasty as they are beautiful. Push the boat out with the dessert degustation (check ahead for availability) or grab a slice of tiramisu and a cocktail. Either way, a visit here is happiness guaranteed.
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Singapore is to embrace the melting pot of culture and spend time exploring the neighbourhoods. Offering an eclectic blend of history, culture, quirky cafes and boutique fashion stores, Kampong Gelam has it all. Over in Joo Chiat and Katong, marvel at a kaleidoscope of candy-hued terraces and shop fronts accented with ornate facades, motifs and ceramic tiles. Synonymous with Peranakan culture and food, go for a stroll down Koon Seng Road for a serious wow-factor. Over in Tiong Bahru, you’ll find a mix of cool cafes, wall murals, and the very popular Tiong Bahru Market Hawker Centre, plus Singapore’s oldest housing estate.
There’s nothing quite like watching the sun dip beneath the horizon, turning the Singapore skyline into a glittery, neon-soaked vista. The only thing that makes the visual better, is with a cocktail in hand. This is why you need to round out your final afternoon in Singapore with a visit to one of the best rooftop bars. Head to CÉ LA VI on the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands for incredible views, specially crafted cocktails and smooth beats. For a 360-degree view of Singapore, pull up a chair at Mr Stork, a great place to be at golden hour. For a different kind of view, head to Dusk Restaurant & Bar at Mount Faber for sweeping views of Sentosa.
Home to a whopping 51 Michelin star restaurants, you can’t visit the garden city and not treat yourself to an indulgent dinner. Les Amis is a three Michelin-starred French eatery, famed for its indulgent menu. Think black truffles, caviar and lobster. For something a bit more casual but equally as tasty, try Peranakan eatery Candlenut. Treat your tastebuds to total flavour bombs like wagyu beef rib rendang, buah keluak (a nut native to Southeast Asia) fried rice, and stir-fried serunding wild caught red leg prawns.
Before you head back to your hotel for the night, round out your epic three-day layover in Singapore with a spin on the dancefloor. Zouk, Singapore’s oldest nightclub, is a total institution and always brings the beats, while celebrity-adored MARQUEE Singapore boasts three floors, A-list DJs, plus an indoor Ferris wheel and slide.
From Michelin restaurants and rooftop bars to day spas and galleries, there’s so much to experience in Singapore, no matter how short or long your stay. For more info, head to Singapore Tourism.
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