A diverse cityscape dotted with spectacular shopping, renowned restaurants and architecture that’s among the most astonishing in the world, make a two-day stopover in Singapore the perfect escape
for urban explorers.

Day 1

Relatively speaking, Singapore is a rather compact metropolis, with a well-functioning public transport system that makes it even easier to get around and between major sites. One of the most enjoyable things to do in Singapore is to simply take a stroll through its spotless streets (its strict anti-littering laws are legendary!) and absorb the spirit of the city-state as it surrounds you. Divided into several districts, each with a distinct vibe, travellers will be spoilt for choice when deciding how they would like to spend their day. And while the colonial area is fantastic for history buffs, and nature lovers will be smitten with sunny Sentosa Island, urban explorers should kick off their stay with a walking tour along the waterfront through the Marina Bay and Quays districts. This part of Singapore is filled with modern skyscraping masterpieces, spectacular light-and-music shows and lively bars by the river.

Breakfast by the bay

Make your way to Merlion Park where you’ll find the famous Merlion statue – the iconic mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish that serves as the official mascot of Singapore. Grab breakfast and a kopi (coffee) at Tong Ah Eating House (the traditional kaya coconut egg jam toast and soft-boiled eggs is excellent!) and revel in the view of Marina Bay with the iconic Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade – Theatres on The Bay and the ArtScience Museum. Time permitting, you may want to consider a boat cruise to get a full guided tour along the Singapore River, otherwise, stroll north along the Esplanade Bridge towards the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, and continue along the promenade to the Helix Bridge – snapping a few shots of the spectacular Singapore skyline while you cross it.

The grass is greener

Once here, spend some time exploring Gardens by the Bay. Must-sees at this nature park that nestles greenery among the concrete jungle include its Flower Dome (the largest glass greenhouse in the world), Cloud Forest conservatory and Supertree Grove – where 18 vertical gardens (that reach a height of 16 stories) offer a panoramic aerial view of the Garden. If you stay for sunset, don’t miss the daily light-and-music show Garden Rhapsody at 7.45pm and 8.45pm, otherwise, consider a quick 10-minute detour to Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle in nearby Chinatown Complex and sample what may be the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred meal.

From Gardens by the Bay, walk over to Marina Bay Sands. Even if you’re not a guest at this iconic hotel, there’s no reason you can’t appreciate its architecture! Designed to resemble a gigantic stranded ship it now houses luxury accommodation, a casino, theatre, exhibition, museum, and huge shopping mall.

Room with a view

While hotel patrons have the luxury of exclusive access to Marina Bay Sands’ rooftop infinity swimming pool (and the amazing views from its 55-storey location) a drink at the Ce La Vi Skybar or Sands SkyPark Observation Deck (with sea views that stretch from Marina South Pier to the Singapore Strait) also offer a similar experience. Or, if you’d prefer to look up than down, grab a seat at the benches in front of the Marina Bay Sands shopping mall and take in the lights, music and water fountain spectacle that is Spectra. The free, 15-minute show occurs every night at 8pm and 9pm (10pm on Fridays and Saturdays). End your day with dinner at one of Marina Bay Sands’ signature restaurants – among them Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay, Cut by Wolfgang Puck and Waku Ghin by Tetsuya Wakuda. Or the Marina Bay Sands food court for something a little more casual. Then for drinks, saunter over to Clarke Quay by the Singapore River. It’s home to a plethora of bars, including 1-Altitude, the highest alfresco bar in the world, to help you get into the ‘Singapore Sling’ of things.

Day 2

Singapore is practically synonymous with shopping! And although major malls can be found across almost all of its districts, the 2.2-kilometre stretch that is Orchard Road is particularly popular for both bargain hunters and big spenders. Urban explorers can certainly give their credit card a workout at one of Orchard Road’s iconic department stores but are also encouraged to venture beyond the big brands. So strap on your comfiest shoes – ‘cause there is certainly a lot of ground to cover today!

Retail therapy

Spend your second day… literally spending… by heading to the retail hub that is Orchard Road. Take the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to Orchard or Somerset Stations and prepare to shop till you drop – or run out of money! The malls here are the best in the country and include ION Orchard, one of Singapore’s most dazzling shopping complexes; 313@Somerset – whos regular sales draw hipsters and other fashion-savvy folk; Paragon – a luxury haven full of designer brands to help you channel your ‘Crazy Rich Asian’; Tanglin Shopping Centre – the second oldest retail complex of the district, stocked with authentic Asian antiques, including carpets, jewellery and artwork; and Design Orchard, a haven for both purveyors and creators of local design.

Over the Hill

Or head to Emerald Hill, the nearby neighbourhood teeming with beautiful terrace houses (some of them dating back to mid-19th century) made of colourful ceramic tiles, pastel-hued walls, carved swing doors and wooden shuttered windows in a style known as Chinese Baroque. Conveniently, many of these lanes are now also lined with bars, making them a perfect place to stop for a sip after all that shopping and sightseeing! The drinks at No.5 Emerald Hill Cocktail Bar are as impressive as its antique-filled interior decor.