Singapore Itinerary: How to Spend 5 Days in Singapore

by Jun 8, 2019Itinerary, Singapore

How many days should I spend in Singapore? That was the biggest question I had when planning my first trip to Singapore. Most blogs suggest a Singapore itinerary of two or three days.

However, after a day in Singapore, I realized three would not be enough. There were too many things to do, food to eat, museums to visit, neighborhoods to wander through, and architectural gems to uncover. In the end, I needed to extend my Singapore itinerary to five days.

In this 5-day Singapore itinerary post, I’m going to show you EXACTLY how to experience the best of the little red dot’s heritage, history, and culture. You’ll learn how to explore its colorful and vibrant neighborhoods, dig into its fascinating immigrant history, and try its melting-pot of cuisines.

To get the most out of this itinerary, follow it by days of the week (Wednesday, Thursday, etc.) rather than in the exact order. That’s because some tours that I recommend only happen on certain days of the week. For example, the unique and unforgettable Black and White Tour is usually only on Fridays.

Unfortunately, two of the best museums are closed for renovation:

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Day 1 (Wednesday): Chinatown

Spend Wednesday of your Singapore itinerary uncovering the history, heritage, and culture of the Chinese community in Chinatown.

It’s essential that you explore Chinatown on Wednesday since this is the only day that Singapore Walks has its fun and informative Red Clogs Down the Five-Foot-Way tour. Going on the tour is the best way to understand more deeply what you’re seeing. 

Click to view in Google Maps

1. Breakfast

Start your first day at a kopitiam (coffee shop) for some kaya toast and kopi (coffee).

Kaya toast is a toasted piece of bread or a bun with coconut jam (kaya) and a slab of butter that could clog an artery or two but is worth it because it’s so delicious!

Now one thing to be aware of is that you need to make sure that you try this toast and coffee at a good kopitiam (traditional coffee shop) and not some tourist trap.

Some places serve mediocre kaya toast, while others offer kaya toast to die for! If you’re following this Singapore itinerary to the T, then you’ll be doing a food tour on Saturday, and if you do Hello Singapore’s food tour, you should get your chance to try really good kaya toast at a legendary kopitiam.

Where can you get the best kaya toast?

Best Singapore lists the five best places to get kaya toast in Singapore.

Here is a list of some kopitiams in Chinatown:

  • Ya Kun Kaya Toast – You want really good kaya toast, head here. This place is legendary! And it’s near the meeting point for the tour of Chinatown. Ya Kun’s got some street cred from having been around since the 1940s.
  • Nanyang Kaya Toast – This place is in a great location near the Chinatown Complex and Chinatown MRT station. However, to be honest, I was disappointed in their kaya toast.

2. Red Clogs Down the Five Foot Way Tour

COST: S$38 (US$28/€25/£22) for adults; S$18 (US$13/€12/£10.30) for children or purchase discounted tickets for US$25.10 through Klook | TIMES: 9:30 am – 12:00 pm | TOUR COMPANY: Singapore Walks

After you’ve filled up on toast and coffee, your Singapore itinerary next takes you to the meeting point for your tour of Chinatown.

Check their website to make sure it’s still at Talek Ayer MRT station.

Singapore Walks has an awesome tour of the sights and sounds of Chinatown with tons of juicy stories about the poor Chinese immigrants and the wealthier Straits Chinese.

This tour is an excellent deal because the price includes admission to the Chinatown Heritage Center, which alone costs S$18 (US$13/€12/£10.30). You can purchase the tour at a discounted price through Klook.

Here are some of the highlights of the tour:

2.1 Thian Hock Keng Temple 

Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest Hokkien-Chinese temple in Singapore.

The temple has a sort of special place in my heart since the province in China that I lived in for six years is the same one that the Hokkien people came from. Hokkien Chinese are the largest Chinese group in Singapore. 

What was most fascinating to learn was that the sea went all the way up to the street in front of the temple. It’s a perfect example of how much land Singapore has reclaimed.

2.2 Thian Hock Keng Mural by Yip Yew Chong

On the street behind the temple is a huge mural that tells the story of when the Hokkien immigrants came to Singapore.

2.3 Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

This temple may not be the oldest temple in the world, but the inside is pretty cool. 

3. Lunch

After the tour ends, get some lunch in the Chinatown area. You can either challenge yourself by having lunch at a hawker centre. There are two in Chinatown: Chinatown Complex and the Maxwell Centre.

Lunch ideas for Day 1 of your Singapore itinerary

Chinatown Complex or Maxwell Centre– At first, you might be a bit intimidated about jumping into a hawker centre on your first day especially if you’re traveling solo.

But be brave!

No one’s paying attention to you. Everyone’s so busy eating or working their butts off.

Walk around the area and just check out the different stalls. There are a ton. Whatever looks good, try it. You can order food from a few stalls. Take a seat at any table even if there are other people sitting at it. Singaporean people are super friendly. They might even give you some advice on what stalls to go to for your second round of food.

I just randomly chose whichever stall looked good and wherever I saw local people were ordering. I had satay and char kway teow (noodle dish).

Here are some popular stalls at Maxwell Centre and Chinatown Complex

  • Lian He Ben Ji Claypot Rice – I couldn’t find this place the last time I was at the Chinatown Complex, and now I know why. It’s only open from 4:30-11:00 pm. I’m putting it here just for convenience’s sake. I love clay pot rice, and this place has been recommended by tons of bloggers and guidebooks.
  • Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao – If you’ve never tried soup dumplings (xiao long bao) before, you haven’t really lived a complete life.
  • Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck and Kway Chap: Doesn’t braised duck with lava egg sound divine? What the heck is a lava egg?
  • Fatty Ox Hong Kong Kitchen: The chef is supposed to be from Hong Kong, so I guess the noodles here are both authentic and thereby delicious.
  • Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice – This is a famous chicken rice stall in Maxwell Food Centre. When I was at Maxwell in the evening, it was closed.
  • Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle – This is a Michelin starred restaurant in the Chinatown Complex. Be ready to stand in line for a long time to order. You could also try their second location in a stand-alone fast-food-like restaurant a few blocks away in Chinatown called Hawker Chan Soya Sauce Chicken, where you can get your food in just a few minutes. Locals told me the one in the hawker centre is better.

4. Chinatown Heritage Centre

COST: S$18 (US$13/€12/£10.30) or free with Singapore Walks tour or purchase discounted tickets online | TIME: 9:30 am – 6:30 pm daily | WEBSITE: Chinatown Heritage Centre | TRANSPORTATION: MRT Chinatown

After lunch, continue your Singapore itinerary by using your Singapore Walks ticket to the Chinatown Heritage Centre. If you didn’t go on the tour, you can purchase discounted tickets online. Just present either your mobile or print voucher to the centre.

If you only have time for only one museum during your Singapore itinerary, you must visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre.  This is one helluva wonderful museum on what it was like for Chinese immigrants (I’m not talking ‘bout Crazy Rich Asian Chinese immigrants either) in Singapore in the 1950s.

There are these gritty and realistic reproductions of a Chinese shophouse in Singapore from the 1950s. There was a shortage of affordable housing, so families lived in one tiny little room. When Lee Kuan Yew came to power, he promised that one of the first things he would do would be to tackle Singapore’s housing problem. The result was Singapore’s famous public housing (80% of Singaporeans reside in this kind of housing). 

There are two ways to tour this museum:

1. Multimedia Guided Tour

  • S$18.00 (US$13/€12/£10.30)– adults;  S$14.00 (US$10.14/€9/£8)– children 7-12
  • You get to wear a headset and carry a device around your neck. Not the most comfortable. But the audio guide is fantastic. I don’t know who put this museum together, but I hope they got an award for it.
  • The audio guide is filled with stories of the people who lived in the shophouse. I really got a sense of what it must have been like to live in these cramped conditions. I wish I had been able to spend more time here.

2. Meet the Characters of Chinatown Tour

  • For this tour, your guide dresses up as one of the people who would have lived in one of the rooms you see from the 1950s.
  • It’s only the last Friday of every month. 4:30 and 6:30 pm
  • S$25.00 (US$18.11/€16.22/£14.30) – it includes the cost of the ticket, the multimedia device, and the tour guide
  • S$20.00 (US$14.50/€13/£12) – children (7-12)
  • As of June 17, 2020, there is no specific date on when this tour will resume.

5. Wander Around Chinatown

When you get done with the museum, it might be around 4:00 pm. I was pretty tired at this point and went back to my hostel (I was staying in Chinatown) for an hour to rest before going back out to walk around again.

Spend some time in the later afternoon and early evening walking around Chinatown. There’s some really instagrammable shophouse architecture in Chinatown. Check out this post for more instagrammable places in Singapore.

6. Dinner in Chinatown

For dinner, I’d suggest going to the Maxwell Food Center, which is across the street from the Buddha Tooth Temple. 

Tian Tian Chicken Rice – The most famous hawker stall at Maxwell is Tian Tian Chicken Rice. Both Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain have raved about this place. When I had chicken rice, I was on a tour with Hello Singapore and I think Tian Tian was closed, so we had chicken rice at another stall.

I also had chili crab at Maxwell Food Center. This dish is amazing and if you don’t have it at least once on your trip, you’re making a grave mistake! It cost around S$30 (US$22/€19.46/£17.17), which I think is cheaper than other restaurants.

Of course, you can save yourself for the famous chili crab restaurants.

7. Pinnacle @ Duxton

One of the most unforgettable but untouristy views of Singapore is from Pinnacle @ Duxton, a famous 50-story public housing complex in Singapore. The Duxton consists of seven high-rise apartment buildings connected to each other by a sky bridge.

You can actually go to the rooftop of this building for spectacular panoramic views of the city, the harbor, and Chinatown. It’s pretty cool!

Just pay S$6 (US$4.42) and show your Ez-Link Transport card.

You can find out how to get an Ez-Link card here

You can walk from Chinatown to Pinnacle @ Duxton, or you can take the MRT to Outram Park MRT and take exit G.

I went to Duxton on a tour with Hello Singapore. If you’re going on your own, you might have some trouble finding it. To visit on your own, check out The Smart Local’s article on this building to learn how to get to the roof on your own.

DAY 2 (THURSDAY): Colonial Singapore

On this day of your 5-day Singapore itinerary, you’re going to explore the Peranakan and British side of the country.

You can take however long you want at the sights along the itinerary, but try to get to the National Museum by 2:00 for their free guided tour and to the Merlion Statue by 7:45 or 8:45 for a light show.

The afternoon itinerary involves a lot of walking, part of which is outside in the hot Singapore weather. Don’t rush it. Stop and rest once in a while.

1. Baba House

COST: S$10 (US$7.28/€6.50/£5.76) | TIME: English tours at 10:00 am Tuesday to Friday; self-guided visits: Saturday 1:30, 2:15, 3:15, 4:00 |  HOW TO BOOK: by Baba House website in advance (you can’t just show up) | LOCATION: 157 NEIL ROAD SINGAPORE 088883 | DIRECTION: Get off at Outram MRT and walk 5-10 minutes

Baba House Museum is a townhouse from the late nineteenth century once owned by a Peranakan (Straits Chinese) family. The National University of Singapore owns the house now. The university uses it to show the public what life was like in a Peranakan house in the early twentieth century and how conservation and preservation are done.

When Chinese and Indian traders came to the region around the 1700s and onward, only men came. So, these traders married local women and had children with them. These children were known as Peranakans.

Peranakans developed their own culture which was a mixture of the father and mother’s cultures. Lee Kuan Yew was a Peranakan and so were the families from the book/movie, Crazy Rich Asians.

Today it’s pretty hard to distinguish Peranakans from other Chinese Singaporeans. You can read more about Peranakan culture in my Singapore Food Tour Guide. 

The guides are from the National University of Singapore, and they’re great!

Just make sure to buy your tickets in advance online from their website, which is essentially through Peatix. If you need to contact them for whatever reason before your tour, you can do so via Facebook. I had to change the dates after purchasing my ticket, and they helped me cancel my ticket. I then bought a new ticket.

Singapore also has a great Peranakan Museum that is a must-see. However, it’s closed for renovations until 2020.

2. Orchard Road and Lunch

After the Baba House, continue your Singapore itinerary by taking the MRT to Orchard Station to see Orchard Road, the city’s most famous shopping street filled with shopping mall after shopping mall. Visiting malls is not my idea of a great afternoon, but since Orchard Road is such a famous street, I felt I had to see it. And despite my initial lack of enthusiasm, I had a great time.

Paragon Mall exterior on Orchard Road in Singapore

Unless you’re really into malls, checking out two of them is enough. I visited Paragon and Orchard Central. The glitziest mall is supposed to be ION Shopping Mall.

As you walk down Orchard Road to the Singapore National Museum, there are tons of places in the malls to stop for lunch. This is where I ate:

  • Din Tai Fung – Located in the Paragon Shopping Mall, Din Tai Fung is a famous Taiwanese dumpling restaurant. If you’ve never had soup dumplings (xiaolongbao) before, you are committing a major sin. I stopped here for lunch and spent over S$30. My advice is to try one serving of the xiaolongbao but don’t order anything else off the pricey menu (the food isn’t that great) and then pick up some other food from the famous Killiney Kopitiam, which I’ll tell you about later in this post. Or try out the other interesting restaurants in the basement of Paragon.

3. Emerald Hill Road

After Din Tai Fung at Paragon Mall or wherever you went for lunch, walk for about 10 minutes down Orchard Road and turn left onto tranquil Emerald Hill Road, where you’ll find some gorgeous Peranakan terrace houses.  

colorful green and red terrace houses turned into bars with outdoor seating along Emerald Hill Road in Singapore

The ones that are closer to Orchard Road have been turned into bars and cafes.

terraces houses with a tree in front of them along Emerald Hill Road

Keep walking further up Emerald Hill Road where you’ll find some more elegant terrace houses that were built in the 1920s.

4. Lunch Part II or Snack – Killiney Kopitiam

Make your way back to Orchard Road and walk for ten minutes to Killiney Kopitiam (mentioned above) on Killiney Road to try what some consider the best kaya toast in Singapore.

Outside of Killiney Kopitiam

If you’re not that much of a fan of kaya toast as I am, there are lots of other dishes on the menu that are perfect for lunch and perfect for those on a budget. 

5. Singapore National Museum

COST: S$15 (US$11/€10/£9) or discounted online tickets | TIME: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm | TOUR TIMES: 11:00 am; 2:00 pm (M-F); 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, and 4 pm (Sa-Su) | WEBSITE: Singapore National Museum TRANSPORTATION: MRT Bencoolen, Bras Basah, Dhoby Ghaut, or City Hall

The museum has some informative and interactive exhibits on the history of Singapore.

Make sure to get to the museum for the 2:00 free guided tour. The tour guide I had really brought the history to life. It was only supposed to be 60 minutes, but she was so enthusiastic and had so much to tell us that she talked for 75 minutes.

The exhibits on World War II are fascinating and shocking. There’s a wonderful film showing the British surrendering Singapore to the Japanese. There’s also some interesting history about how the Japanese treated the Chinese during the war. 

The other exhibit that left a deep impression on me was the famous speech by Lee Kuan Yew when he gets choked up about the break up of Malaysia and Singapore. Then he talks about how important it is to have a multi-cultural society. Very moving! 

6. Colonial District

After the museum, it should be around 3:30 or 4:00 pm. As you walk from the museum to the bay, you’ll pass through the colonial district. This is where the British had many of their government buildings.

Peranakan Museum (39 Armenian Street) – Unfortunately, this fabulous museum with exhibits on the Peranakans is closed for renovation. However, you can walk past it on your way from the museum to St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The museum used to be a school.

Raffles Hotel: (1 Beach Rd) Swing over to the famous Raffles Hotel. If you have time, stop in for a sip of the famous Singapore Sling. I must warn you that it’s not that great of a drink.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral (11 St. Andrew’s Road; 9 am-5 pm) – Next to the City Hall MRT station is St. Andrew’s Cathedral. This wedding-dress-like church was built by Indian convicts in 1838. After being damaged by lightning, it was rebuilt in 1862. You’re free to enter and walk around inside the church.

Rooftop of the National Gallery – This used to be the Singapore City Hall and Supreme Court. Now it’s an art museum.

Go inside to the fifth floor to the rooftop garden. Admission to the garden should be free as it also includes a number of restaurants. Here you’ll see spectacular views of Singapore.

You can come back later to visit the museum. It’s basically an art museum focusing on Chinese Singapore artists and Southeast Asian art.

Padang – Across from the National Gallery is this large open green space called the Padang. This was where the colonial Brits played cricket.

Old Parliament House (11 Empress Place) – After the National Gallery, head toward the river. You’ll pass by the oldest government building in Singapore, the Old Parliament House. It was built in 1826 as a private residence of a Scottish merchant. Eventually, it was purchased by the British government and turned into a courthouse. When Singapore became independent, it was used as the Parliament House until 1999. It is now an art venue for concerts, film screenings, and exhibits.

Raffle’s Statue – Along the Singapore River is a statue of the founder of Singapore as a British colony.

Old Hill Street Police Station lit up at night

Old Hill Street Police Station – (140 Hill St.)  Singapore is filled with so many architectural wonders, but the Old Hill Street Police Station with its colorful window shutters and window frames is probably one of the coolest buildings I’ve seen. The former police station is now filled with art galleries.

colorful pastel buildings under a glass ceiling of Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay – Walk along the river away from the bay toward Clarke Quay with its arcade of Easter-egg colored buildings. These former shophouses and warehouses are now trendy bars and shops.

Singapore River Cruise – If you’re tired and have the money, you can hop on a bumboat for around S$25 (US$18.43) and take a cruise down the Singapore River to the Merlion Statue area.

Boat Quay – An alternative to the boat ride is a walk over Read Bridge or Ord Bridge and walk toward the bay along Boat Quay. Here you’ll find fewer pastel colors but still, more shophouses or godowns (warehouses) turned into bars, restaurants, and shops. The popular chili crab restaurant, Jumbo Seafood is here.

Merlion Statue – You can get to the statue by walking along Boat Quay or via the river cruise. Singapore means “Lion City” in Malay. There’s a legend about a prince who spotted a lion while visiting the island of Temasek and, thus, he decided to name the island “Singapura.” There are no lions in Singapore and perhaps there never were any.

View of the Marina Bay Sands – Make sure you get to the Merlion Statue by 8:00 pm or 9:30 pm so you can enjoy the light and water show from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. On Friday and Saturday, there’s another show at 11 pm.

6. Dinner

Here are some possible places to eat for dinner on day two of your Singapore itinerary:

  • Glutton’s Bay – near the Theaters on the Bay with great views of Marina Bay Sands; I recommend going here for dinner
  • Lau Pa Sat Food Court – This hawker center is if you’re walking away from the bay and toward Chinatown; Lao Pa Sat is supposed to have good satay.
  • Jumbo Seafood – Clark Quay – I didn’t eat here as it’s quite pricey; it’s a popular restaurant; I had chili crab at Maxwell Centre for S$30.
  • Violet Oon – Peranakan food at the National Gallery, Clark Quay, and other locations around Singapore; a bit fancy

Day 3 (Friday): Black & White Tour or Cooking Class + Zoo + Night Safari

Friday is the day when Jane’s Tours has their Black and White Houses Tour; unfortunately, this tour is only held once a month and tickets sell out fast.

An alternative to this in your itinerary can be a cooking class at Food Playground.

I did both (of course, on separate days). 

I’ll include info on both in case you can’t make it to the house tour.

The other activities on this day of your Singapore itinerary are the zoo and Night Safari. Visiting the Night Safari on the weekend allows you to experience the lion and tiger feeding sessions.

1. Black and White Houses Tour

COST: S$100 (US$74/€65/£55) | TIMES: 9:00-1:15 | WEBSITE: Jane’s Tours | TRANSPORTATION: Get to the meeting point by Grab

The Black and White Houses Tour through Jane’s Tours only takes place once a month and tickets sell out pretty quickly. Book your tour early.

Touring these unforgettable million-dollar homes is a once in a lifetime experience that you should really try to include on your Singapore itinerary.

You can read a review of my experience in the article Review of the Black and White Houses Tour of Singapore.

These homes are where the British colonial government officers and high ranking officials lived. Now they are owned by the Singapore government, who rents them out on a three-year lease. Because Singaporeans prefer to buy (home ownership is around 80%), expats mainly occupy them. The whole story behind them is fascinating.

On the tour, you get to go into three beautiful colonial houses. On my tour, we got to take photos of the interior of two of the three houses.

1. Cooking Class

COST: S$99 / S$119 (US$72-87/€65-US$78/£57-69) or purchase discounted course | TIME: M-F 9:30 am-12:30 pm | WEBSITE: Food Playground | TRANSPORTATION: MRT Chinatown

If the Black and White Tours aren’t running on the day you’re in Singapore, do a cooking class instead.

I took mine with Food Playground.

My one big complaint is that solo travelers need to pay S$119 (US$88) or US$83 through Klook, while those in groups of 2 or more, only pay S$99 (US$73) each or US$69.75 through Klook.

Despite the pricing issue, I really liked the cooking class and would do it again. It was small—only five students. We got to cook Singapore’s most famous dish, chicken rice, which is a dish I can see myself cooking in the future.

The teacher was approachable, knowledgeable, and patient. I liked how she talked about her own family’s background to help us understand the cultures of Singapore.

We cooked Hainanese Chicken Rice with wonton soup. 

Food Playground has classes Monday through Friday. They also have a set schedule. As of May 2019, for Friday, you’ll be cooking laksa, which is my favorite Singaporean dish!

2. Lunch

You can have lunch in Dempsey Hills, where you are dropped off at the end of your Black and White Houses tour.

I was dropped off at Hubert’s Butchery at 22 Dempsey Road. The drop-off point is in an area with lots of trendy shops and restaurants in buildings that used to house the British colonial army.

You can read about the top 10 restaurants in Dempsey Hill by Singapore food blogger, Seth Lui. 

Your other choice is to eat at the zoo. That’s what I did. You can eat outside the zoo or inside the zoo where you eat at a cafeteria-style restaurant called Ah Meng’s. 

I had nasi lemak for the first time, which was surprisingly really good. Nasi lemak is a Malay dish and mine included coconut-infused rice, pickled cucumbers, peanuts, anchovies, sambal, and fish. 

3. Singapore Zoo

COST: S$37 (US$27/€24/£22) adults and S$25 (US$19/€17/£15) children; S$70 (US$51/€46/£41) for Zoo and Night Safari Combination Ticket; You can get a 15% discount by purchasing tickets online | TIMES: 8:30 am – 6:00 pm | WEBSITE: Singapore Zoo | TRANSPORTATION: Ang Mo Kio MRT station + Bus 138

After the Black and White Houses tour, take a  Grab to get to the Singapore Zoo. It cost me S$16 (US$12/€10.36/£9.22) to get there from Dempsey Hill

If you’re coming from Chinatown, take the MRT to Ang Mo Kio station (30 minutes) and then hop on city bus 138 to the zoo (30 minutes), which is the last stop.

Singapore Wildlife Reserves has four parks: Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Jurong Bird Park, and Night Safari. If you want to see all four, you need a whole day.

I’m not into zoos. I don’t like animals being kept in cages, but I heard that the Singapore Zoo is supposed to be a good zoo for animals, so I decided to check it out.

Lonely Planet raves about the orangutans, and yes, they were cool. I rather liked the Probiscus monkeys. They’re primates with very large noses, hence the name “Probiscus.”

4. Night Safari

COST: S$49 (US$36/€32/£29) adults; S$33  (US$24/€22/£19) children;  S$70 (US$51/€46/£41) for Zoo and Night Safari Combination Ticket; You can get a 15% discount by purchasing tickets online | TIMES: 7:15 pm – 12:00 am | WEBSITE: Night Safari

The next stop on your Singapore itinerary is a visit to the Night Safari.

It’s right next to the zoo. There are signs pointing the way.

The Night Safari has four main activities: a live fire show, a live animal show, a tour in a tram, and a walking tour around the park. You can do them in any order, but this is what a staff member at the park suggested I do.

You can also witness lion and tiger feeding times on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Lions are fed at 8:00 and tigers at 8;30 on the tram tour and 9:00 and 9:30 while walking along the trails. 

The Fire Show

When I visited the zoo, there was no live fire show. You can probably do it first as it’s at the park entrance. The Fire Shows are at 6:45, 8:00, 9:00, and 10:00.

Creatures of the Night Show

I first went to the 20-minute Creatures of the Night show.

According to the Night Safari website on May 27, 2019, the first show is at 7:15 pm and the other shows are at 8:30, 9:30, or 10:30.

The audience sat in an amphitheater-style arena around a stage where two or three people brought out exotic animals like a giant snake, an owl, and a cheetah. Sometimes a member of the audience would come to the stage to take part in the show.

The Creatures of the Night show was good, but my seat was way at the back so it wasn’t easy to see what was happening on stage. Get there early!

Tram Tour

After the show, I took the tram ride around the park. The line for the tram was not as long as I had read about. I only waited for ten minutes. Make sure to sit on the right side to get the best view of the animals.

The animals aren’t in cages. But there is a moat between you and them. I expected the animals to be more active since it was nighttime, but they weren’t at all.

It seemed the only animals that were active were the hyenas, who made this awesome incessant noise! I guess they’re laughing at something!

Walk on the trails

The last thing is to walk along the trails in the dark and observe the same animals. There are four trails that connect with each other. You’ll eventually walk along all the trails to get back to the entrance. The trails are even cooler than the tram because sometimes there aren’t any other visitors around, and it’s just you and hyenas.

Transportation back to the city

The bus stop is across the street from the Night Safari entrance. I got on bus 138 at 9:45. It took 30 minutes to get to Ang Mo Kio MRT station. It took another 30 minutes to get back to Chinatown by MRT.

Day 4 (Saturday): Food Tour

On day 4 of your Singapore itinerary 5 days, you’ll be exploring both Singapore’s food culture and minority cultures with visits to four different neighborhoods in Singapore.

You’ll also get to see some really cool shophouses and terrace houses.

1. Joo Chiat (Katong) Neighborhood

Today you’re going to need to wake up earlier than on other days. That’s because you want to go check out Katong before you start your food tour. If you love beautiful architecture, then Katong has plenty of it.

I took a Grab to Joo Chiat. It cost S$11 (US$8/€7.15/£6.33) from Chinatown. 

There’s no MRT going to Joo Chiat. But you can easily take bus 16 from Orchard Road, Kampong Glam, or the Colonial District or take bus 33 from Clarke Quay, Colonial District, or Kampong Glam. It’ll take around 30 minutes. 

a row of colorful Peranakan terrace houses on Koon Seng Road
terrace houses on Koon Seng Road

Peranakan Terrace Houses – You can find these colorful Peranakan terrace houses at 9-11 Koon Seng Road near the intersection with Joo Chiat Road.

shophouses on Joo Chiat Road with sun hitting the facade

Just a few minutes away from Koon Seng, walk along Joo Chiat Road (between Koon Seng and Crane Road) to some fabulously ornate shophouses. 

2. Food Tour

COST: US$105 | TIME: Tu, Th, and Sa 9:00 am-2:30 pm | WEBSITE: Hello Singapore 

After that, you’ll meet your tour group at the meeting point in Katong. I recommend doing Hello Singapore tour because you’ll get to taste the most dishes and you’ll get to visit 4 neighborhoods. There are other tours as well that focus only on the Katong area as it’s got some of the best food and heritage in Singapore.

You can read my honest and unbiased review of my Hello Singapore food tour experience. I didn’t receive any discount for writing the review.

Hello Singapore will take you to four neighborhoods: Joo Chiat for its Peranakan culture, Airport Road Hawker Centre for some Singaporean food, Kampong Glam for some Malay and Arab food, and Little India for you guessed it some Indian food.

3. Little India

When the tour finishes at 2:30, stay in Little India and do some more exploring on your own.

Little India is where you can find some really colorful and cool shophouse architecture and take in the atmosphere of the Indian shops selling saris, religious artifacts, jewelry, and food stuffs. 

4. Kampong Glam

My suggestion is to end this day of your Singapore itinerary back in Kampong Glam. This will give you some time to walk around at a more leisurely pace taking photos and taking in the atmosphere.

You can easily walk from Little India to Kampong Glam.

Walk down Bussorah Street, a street filled with outdoor restaurants catering to tourists. At the end of the street is Sultan’s Mosque, originally built in 1825 as a one-story structure and then rebuilt in its present form in 1928.

When you get to the mosque, turn right and you’ll come to the Malay Heritage Centre, a museum devoted to Malay-Singaporean culture and history. It used to be the palace of the Sultan of Singapore. The centre is open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday. You can purchase discounted tickets online here for the Malay Heritage Centre. Present your mobile or pint voucher to the Centre.

 Filled with colorful boutiques and hipster cafes and bars, Haji Lane is another not-to-be-missed street to explore in Kampong Glam. 

Kampong Glam also has some street art that Penang is famous for. You can find the one in the above picture a block from Beach Road at 27 Sultan Gate. If you search for “Mural: Coffee Story” on Google Maps, you should be able to find it.

End the day with dinner and drinks in Kampong Glam.

Day 5 (Sunday): Garden by the Bay

On your last day in Singapore, spend it by going to one of the best things to see there–Gardens by the Bay.

Spend the morning of your last day at a museum. If the Peranakan Museum or the Changi Museum and Chapel were open, I’d recommend visiting one of these two places. Both are being renovated and won’t open until 2020. Instead, visit either the Asian Civilization Museum or the National Gallery.

Click on map to view in Google Maps

1. Asian Civilization Museum

COST: S$8 (US$6/€5.20/£4.61) PEN: 10:00-7:00 pm Sa-Th; 10:00-9:00 pm F | WEBSITE: Asian Civilisation Museum | TRANSPORTATION: MRT Raffles Place

If you’ve already done the cooking class and you’re interested in history, then wander around the Asian Civilisation Museum.

The museum tells the history of Southeast Asia through art and artifacts. You’ll learn about the role of trade and religion in the development of Asian civilizations.

There are free guided tours M-F at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm and additional tours on Sa and Su at 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm.

1. National Gallery Singapore

COST: S$20 (US$15/€13/£11.52) or discounted online tickets | OPEN: 10:00 am-7:00 pm Sa-Th , 10:00 am-9:00 pm F | WEBSITE: National Gallery | TRANSPORTATION: MRT City Hall

If you’re more interested in looking at art like painting and sculpture from the 20th and 21st century, then visit the National Gallery Singapore.

The museum is housed in the old Supreme Court building. You’ll get to see works of art (mostly paintings) done by local Singaporeans.

2. Lunch

You’ve got a number of options for lunch. If you want lunch near the museums, you can try Peranakan food at Violet Oon. It’s inside the National Gallery. It’s a bit fancy and pricey, though.

You could also walk over to the business district at 18 Raffles Quay and eat at Lau Pa Sat hawker centre.

Your other choice is to eat at Gardens by the Bay. I’d go to Satay by the Bay and not the other overpriced and not the other overpriced restaurants in the park. You can purchase a discounted online cash voucher for Satay by the Bay here.

3. Gardens by the Bay

COST: the park is free; see each attraction for price | TIME: park – 5:00 am-2:00 am; conservatories – 9:00 am – 9:00 pm | WEBSITE: Gardens by the BayTRANSPORTATION: Bayfront MRT

Gardens by the Bay is a large park with several cool attractions such as the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, Supertree Grove, and the Skyway.

Must-Sees at Gardens by the Bay

  • Supertree Grove: free – 5:00 am-2:00 am
  • OCBC Skyway: S$8 – 9:00 am-9:00 pm
  • Flower Dome and Cloud Forest: S$28 – 9:00 am-9:00 pm
  • Sound and light show: free – 7:45 pm + 8:45 pm
  • Floating Baby: free – 5:00 am-2:00 am
  • Satay by the Bay: cost varies

Where to buy tickets: You can buy discounted tickets online through Klook or at the park (full price).

Getting to Gardens by the Bay: Take the MRT to Bayview station. You’ll then walk along a very long passageway to a set of stairs that will take you outside. Look for the very easy-to-miss signs pointing in the direction of the ticket counter.

1. Purchasing Tickets for Flower Dome and Cloud Forest

If you haven’t bought your ticket online beforehand, after entering the park, go directly to the ticket counter to purchase your ticket to the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest conservatories and whatever new attractions there are. There’s a new attraction called Floral Fantasy that wasn’t there when I visited. When purchasing your ticket, you have to book a time slot to visit. If you want to know whether it’s worth visiting, check out this review of Floral Fantasy. 

If you’ve purchased ticket online, follow the instructions for redeeming your online voucher for the real tickets.

2. Supertree Grove and OCBC Skyway

COST: S$8 (US$6/€5.20/£4.61) for adults and S$5 (US$3.64/€3.25/£2.88) for children  |  OPEN: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm | WEBSITE: Supertree Grove and Skyway

After purchasing your tickets or redeeming your voucher, head to the Supertree Grove and Skyway. The Supertrees are gigantic artificial trees that are covered in living flowers and plants. At night, they’re all lit up in colored lights. There are 18 in the park, 12 of which can be found in the Supertree Grove at the center of the park.

The OCBC Skyway is the bridge that connects Supertree Grove. You can walk on the skyway and see fabulous views of the city and the garden.

You should definitely walk around the grove both during the day and at night. There are 2 light and sound shows at 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm.

It’s free to enter the grove, but you need to buy a ticket to go up onto the skyway. If you didn’t purchase your ticket already online, you can buy the ticket at a booth near the Skyway. If you’re going up at peak hours (evening), you need to select a time-slot when buying your ticket.

During the day, the lines are short, so you can stay up as long as you want. But at night, the lines are longer, so you might only get 15 minutes on the skyway, which is still probably enough time. If it rains, the skyway closes.

I went up during the day because the clouds looking ominous, and if it had rained, the skyway would have closed. It ended up not raining.

3. Flower Dome

COST: S$28 (US$20.28/€18.16/£16) adult; S$15 (S$11/€10/£9) child 3-12 TIMES: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm | WEBSITE: Flower Dome

The flower dome is a glass-covered conservatory filled with flowers from all over the world. The dome is divided into sections based on a region of the world like Europe, Africa, South America, and so on.

The Flower Dome conservatory was one of my favorite attractions. I’m not into flowers, but I can appreciate their beauty, and the conservatory was filled with so many beautiful flowers. Unfortunately, I went to it when it was dark outside, so I couldn’t actually see the flowers very well and I couldn’t get many good photos of them. So, make sure to visit it first when it’s still daylight.

4. Cloud Forest

COST: S$28 (US$20.28/€18.16/£16) adult; S$15 (S$10.87/€10/£9 ) child 3-12  | OPEN: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm | WEBSITE: Cloud Forest

Step inside Cloud Forest and you will find yourself on a mountain surrounded by the plants and flowers of a Mediterranean climate. 

You’ll take an elevator to the top of the mountain and then walk back down passing by the numerous exotic flowers and plants all the while you can hear the sound of a waterfall.

5. Floating Baby

COST: free; TIMES: 5:00 am – 2:00 am

The last thing to see at Gardens by the Bay is the floating baby.

6. Satay by the Bay

COST: varies | OPEN: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm daily | WEBSITE: Satay by the Bay

You must go to Satay by the Bay for dinner. It’s a hawker center at Gardens by the Bay. Most of the food stalls are open from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm daily, but there are some exceptions like the steamboat stall or the roast duck stall. You can check the Gardens by the Bay website for more information.

You can also get a discounted cash voucher through Klook.

4. Marina Bay Sands Skypark

You can either go to the bar Ce La Vi or the Observation deck to get a panoramic view of the city.

Ce La Vi Skybar

Finish the night off at the Marina Bay Sands. You can go to the Ce La Vi Skybar and order a drink for an amazing view of the city. There’s a dress code after 6 pm.

The bar is on level 57 in tower 3.

Before 10 pm, it costs S$22 (US$16/€14/£13). After 10 pm, it’s free, but you’ll still need to buy a drink.

Observation Deck

If you feel that you might be underdressed, go to the Sands Skypark Observation Deck instead. It’s open until 10:00 M-F and until 11:00 Sa and Su.

You can get to the Observation Deck from tower 3.

Buy tickets at a discount online or at Marina Bay Sands. It costs S$23 (US$17/€15/£13.26).

Where to stay during your 5 Days in Singapore

I generally prefer to stay in hotels and small guesthouses when I travel but because they’re so expensive in Singapore, I stayed in hostels. If you don’t want to be in a dorm room, there are private rooms in hostels as well.

And if you really want to stay somewhere special, try the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Read this post on the Marina Bay Sands to find out whether it’s worth the big bucks to stay there.

During my first trip, I stayed at the Adler Hostel in Chinatown. Lonely Planet raved about the place. While the location of the hostel was super convenient, it was also rundown for the prices they were charging. Breakfast wasn’t included.

The keycard to my room often didn’t work and it took several requests to get a new one.

The showers were inconvenient to use. When you took a shower, there were very few places to put your stuff. There wasn’t much privacy either.

Some of the staff weren’t very knowledgeable. When I asked about buying bus tickets to Malaysia, the person at the front desk had no clue and had no interest in helping me.

I also stayed at the Pod in Kampong Glam and had a better experience. This was a newer hostel with a cheaper price and an excellent free breakfast. The staff was very helpful and professional. The facilities were very clean. Showers were clean and super convenient to use. I would definitely go back here.

Resources for your Singapore Itinerary

Here are some of my favorite sources for info on Singapore:

  • I love the stuff written by Singapore food blogger Seth Lui.
  • Another good Singapore food blogger is Daniel’s Food Diary.
  • Here’s the official city tourism website called Visit Singapore. To be honest, it’s a pretty disappointing website especially if you’re familiar with Japan’s tourism websites. The website just doesn’t have much useful information.

Are you planning on visiting Singapore soon? What are you most interested in visiting? Or have you been to Singapore? Did I miss anything in my Singapore itinerary?

Let me know! 

Leave your questions or comments in the comment section. I’d be more than happy to answer them! 

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colorful windows on Ultimate Singapore Itinerary
colorful buildings on Ultimate itinerary guide for Singapore

7 Comments

  1. What a fantastic place! I love the architecture, you’ve inspired me to go there someday…

    Reply
    • I agree, Ali! I was so surprised by how beautiful the architecture of the shophouses and terrace houses were. I hope you have a chance to go.

      Reply
    • The food is pretty amazing!

      Reply
  2. Singapore is one of my favourite places to go. You’ve inspired another visit. Great itinerary.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Julie!

      Reply
  3. This is awesome! I loved Singapore but was only there for 2 days and didn’t even realize there is this much to do! I definitely need to go back and check out some of your suggestions.

    Reply

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About the Bamboo Traveler

Julie Krolak

Hi! I’m Julie, the Bamboo Traveler!  This blog is devoted to helping the inquisitive traveler explore a country’s history and culture. On this site, you’ll find itineraries to help you plan your trip, reviews to help you make more informed decisions, lots of history and cultural information to help make your travels more meaningful, and book recommendations to help you understand a place more deeply.

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