10 things to do in Singapore on a layover (2024)

Looking for a Singapore layover itinerary? Discover the best things to do in Singapore if you have limited time.

things to do in Singapore on a layover itinerary

Many people moan that Singapore is boring and there’s nothing to do. Ignore them.

I just went there and the list of things to do in Singapore is absorbingly long. Sure, I only went there on a layover, and sure it ended up costing me extra $ thanks to unexpected luggage fees (not cool, Jetstar!).

But at the end of the day, it was TOTALLY worth it.

Ready to find the best Singapore layover itinerary?

Let’s dig in!

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Join the perfect Singapore layover tour

Singapore is a walkable city that’s easy to get around. But if you’re short on time and prefer to maximize your stay, you should take a Singapore layover tour.

This way, you can follow their itinerary or design your own trip. Plus, they’ll pick you up and drop you off at the airport. Super convenient.

Book here: 6-Hour Singapore Tour with Private Driver (⭐ 4.5/5)

Gardens by the bay, Singapore

Singapore layover itinerary

I had a little over 6 hours in Singapore, so before I arrived I made an ambitious layover itinerary. These were the must-sees:

  • Chinatown: Check
  • Little India: Check
  • Gardens by the Bay: Check
  • Marina promenade and night skyline: Double-check

There’s a lot to do in Singapore so make sure to have everything planned – itinerary, transportation, and where to eat.

How to get around Singapore

Singapore is one of the most organized and structured places I’ve visited.

There are several ways to get around town, but the metro (MRT – Mass Rail Transport) is the easiest, fastest, and cheapest. The price varies from $1 – 3 depending on the destination.

You can also opt for the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, which will take you to the key highlights in Singapore.

Miriam’s Tip:

Make sure to have local coins for the GTMs. You can get them at the airport.

Metro map in Singapore
The Singapore Metro Lines

Getting from the airport

I recommend taking the metro from Changi Airport to the city. It only took me 5-10 minutes to get into town from the airport, and I bought one-way tickets at the General Ticketing Machines (GTMs) which can be found at every station.

If you’re worried about missing your flight, I totally get that. Although I have to say that public transportation is reliable and on time.

I understand if you prefer a private airport transfer. That way you don’t have to worry about carrying your luggage or being on time.

Things to do in Singapore on a layover

1. Experience the different cultures

The culture of Singapore is a melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Arab, and British cultures.

You can easily see this in the various religions and temples around town, but also in the local cuisine which is influenced by all of these traditions.

Make sure to visit several ethnic neighborhoods, like Chinatown, Arab Street, and Little India – these are must-sees.

Read next: 3 Ethnic Neighborhoods & UNESCO Street Food (⭐ 5/5)


2. Buddha Tootle Relic Temple (Chinatown)

Start your Singapore stopover at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit ever since I first saw pictures of it, and it did not disappoint!

To my excitement, the Buddhist temple and museum were as beautiful as I had imagined. Symmetrically built and rich in culture and art.

There was a ceremony going on with Buddhists reading and chanting in the temple on the ground floor. Normally, the dining hall in the basement, which is run by volunteers, is serving vegetarian meals.

But the day I visited, everything had been moved outside, and there was a long table with food in front of the temple.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Inside the temple

3. Sri Mariamman Temple (Chinatown)

Note: Free entry, but it costs $3 to take pictures.

Just down the street from The Buddha Tooth Relic temple, you’ll come across the Sri Mariamman temple.

This temple is the oldest in Singapore and one of the most prominent places for Tamil Hindus. It was built to honor Goddess Mariamman – the deity of disease and protection.

It only took me a few minutes to walk around the temple, but I was instantly impressed by the colorful ornaments and beautiful interiors. The art on the walls and ceilings was simply amazing.

Sri Mariamman Temple
Sri Mariamman Temple
Sri Mariamman temple, Singapore

4. Little India

A few weeks before I visited, I saw some colorful photos of Little India which made me put it straight on my list of things to do in Singapore!

You should do the same because it is without doubt one of the most vibrant and culturally authentic districts of Singapore.

My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to experience the atmosphere and try the Indian food.

Read next: 21 weird laws in Singapore

Little India, Singapore
Little India, Singapore

5. Haji Lane – Singapore’s largest mosque

Haji Lane in Singapore’s Arab district is popular for shopping and eating, but it’s also home to Singapore’s largest mosque; the Arabian Nights-esque Sultan Mosque.

It’s free to enter and definitely worth a visit.

Haji Lane

6. Singapore from the 56th floor (Orchard Road)

A true hidden gem in Singapore is the top floor of the ION Orchard Mall on Orchard Road.

From there, you’ll get an excellent view of Singapore, plus you can get that famous, cool rooftop picture where your feet are hanging over the edge.

Orchid Road

7. Singapore Botanic Gardens

Singapore is super green and its botanic gardens are the perfect spot to catch free concerts or have a picnic.

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra often has free concerts here.

Gardens by the bay, Singapore

8. Take a bike tour

The popular Historical Singapore Bike Tour takes you through the city’s history.

You’ll cover around 12 miles, but it’s pretty easygoing.

Your guide will lead you to must-see spots like Marina Bay, the Singapore River, and the amazing Gardens on the Bay with the big “Super Trees.”

Book here – Singapore Bike Tour on Full-Sized Bicycles (⭐ 5/5)

Gardens by the bay, Singapore

9. Gardens By The Bay (Marina Bay)

The highlight of my Singapore layover itinerary was a garden.

I know that sounds strange. But hear me out.

Singapore is a green city with lots of well-kept gardens and parks. Its pride is called Gardens by the Bay.

This isn’t just any garden, folks. This one has super trees with hanging bridges and magical lights that turn into a vibrant and tranquilizing light show at night.

The garden has an abundance of colorful orchids, artwork, and more than 700,000 tropical flowers from around the world, not to mention a cloud forest and a flower dome.

Book here: Gardens By The Bay Admission Ticket (⭐ 4.5/5)

Gardens by the bay, Singapore

Entering the 54-hectare Gardens of the Bay is like stepping into Pandora, the lush wonderland depicted in the movie Avatar.

I had an ambition of getting to the Marina promenade, but I simply couldn’t drag myself away from the massive Super-trees that were illuminated with spotlights and neon lights. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it.

Gardens by the bay, Singapore
Singapore's answer to Avatar
Singapore’s answer to Avatar

10. Experience Singapore at night

Singapore is absolutely exciting during the day, but when the sun sets… You guys, it becomes a completely different place.

Everything glows.. Ferris wheels, the skyline, skyscrapers, magical trees. All in different colors and futuristic shapes, with the Bay South area being the most magnificent of all.

If you ask me, Singapore is the most beautiful city by night that I’ve ever been to. Take a stroll down the marina and make sure to visit Gardens by the Bay.

You won’t be disappointed.

Gardens by the bay, Singapore
Gardens by the bay, Singapore

FAQ – Things to do in Singapore itinerary

What is Singapore mostly known for?

Singapore is best known for its stunning skyline, iconic Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay with its futuristic Supertrees, and the bustling Orchard Road shopping district.

It’s also famous for its rich cultural mix, diverse food scene, and strict and weird laws ensuring cleanliness and order.

What is worth seeing in Singapore?

In Singapore, must-sees include Marina Bay Sands, the futuristic Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore Zoo, Sentosa Island, and the bustling Chinatown and Little India for cultural experiences.

Can I leave Singapore airport during a layover?

Yes, you can leave Singapore Airport during a layover, provided you have the necessary visa and your layover is long enough to return in time for your connecting flight.

What to do in an 8-hour layover in Singapore?

During an 8-hour layover in Singapore, you can explore the city’s highlights: visit Marina Bay Sands, stroll through Gardens by the Bay, enjoy local cuisine in Chinatown, and take a quick tour of the iconic Merlion Park.

Make sure to return to the airport in time for your next flight.

What to do during a 5-hour layover in Singapore airport?

During a 5-hour layover at Singapore airport, explore the airport’s attractions like the Butterfly Garden, take a dip in the rooftop pool and enjoy the free cinema.

If time allows, a quick visit to nearby Jewel Changi Airport with its iconic Rain Vortex – the world’s tallest indoor waterfall – is also a great option.

Do I need a visa for a 12-hour layover in Singapore?

It depends on where you’re from, but most people can visit Singapore for 90 days without a visa. You’ll get a landing card when you land, they stamp your passport, and then you’re all set to step out and see Singapore.

Make sure to visit the Singapore Immigration Website to check what applies to you.

More posts from Singapore you might like

Save it!

Got a layover in Singapore? Check out this practical guide for the best ways to spend your time. Explore local markets, take a quick stroll through the Botanic Gardens, or grab a bite at a nearby Hawker Centre. This list is packed with easy, enjoyable activities that fit into your layover schedule. Dive into the heart of Singapore, even with limited time! #SingaporeStopover #LayoverTips #TravelSingapore

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  1. I cannot tell you how excited reading this post has made me. I’m visiting Singapore while travelling round the world for six to twelve months. Singapore looks fantastic, thank you for sharing this.

  2. Your photos alone make me want to travel to Singapore now! In line with the budget theme, how did you find food prices in the city? I know I’d want to eat everything, but I’m worried that alone would destroy my wallet:)

    1. Thanks, Emiko! I found that Chinatown had cheap food prices, but my little time in Singapore didn’t allow me to explore more. In general you should expect everything touristy to be more expensive than the rest of SE Asia, except the free sights above of course. Visiting Singapore doesn’t have to break your bank 🙂

  3. From your pictures Singapore looks a bit like Taiwan, very clean, orderly and colourful. I’m super-impressed by how much you packed into your layover!

  4. Still haven’t made it to Singapore, but hope to go there next year 🙂 Love the colors in your photo’s and can’t wait to visit the gardens of bay place. Pure epicness!

  5. Lovely photos! I went to Singapore a couple years ago, but it ended up raining the whole time. I’m hoping to re-visit this next year though! 🙂

    1. Aw, what a shame, Beth! It rained when I landed as well, but it had stopped when I got out of the airport. I felt so lucky. I hope you get to visit in the future – it’s really something special.

  6. I’m impressed you squeezed all that into 6 hours! Good job. To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of Singapore. Yes it was clean, perhaps too clean if that makes any sense. The city felt a bit sterile. But I did really like Chinatown. The food was much better down there in the hawker centers than most of the overpriced restaurants.

    1. I’ll admit it was a bit stressful, but worth it nonetheless! Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to visit the hawker centers, but I’ve heard really good things about the food. Next time, perhaps 🙂

  7. I really like your pictures of the neon trees! I’m going to Singapore in a few weeks and this post just got me so much more excited…thanks for sharing about your jam-packed layover 🙂

  8. this article very helpful 🙂 i never been in singapore before and before i read this article, i really dont know what to do, where to got etc… Read lot article but this article absolutely helped me…
    I will visit singapore in November and wish me luck…

    Thankk you so much

  9. Just arrived in Singapore, and I’m using your “experience” as my tour guide! Thanks so much for the post!

  10. I have a seven hour layover in Singapore next week. Everything you mentioned sounds awesome! Unfortunately my layover starts at midnight till 7am. Do you know if sights like the garden at night will still be lit up and if the metro runs 24hrs. You did everything I would love to do until I realized my layover is overnight

    1. Aw, that is such a shame :/ I’m not sure if Gardens by the Bay is open during the night, but if it is you should definitely go there. It’s magical!

      In general, Singapore becomes a whole different place during the evening with so many beautiful colors. You should go around town and see the things I’ve mentioned – I bet many of them are just as pretty when they’re lit up by colorful light.

  11. I just was booking my hotel for my stay in Singapore when I bumped upon this post. Guess how am I feeling ! 😉

    Thanks for the wonderful post.


  12. Singapore is a fantastic place to visit, we stay there for 3 days. and yes, the gardens of the bay are simly stunning yeeeee
    great post Miriam

  13. Hi! Miriam! All the photos was great! Anyway do you have an Idea how much it will cost for the Universal Studios and is it safe to by ticket in Metro deal? My sister and I are planning to celebrate Christmas in Singapore this year! <3

    1. Hi Ailz, I’m afraid not. I haven’t been to the Universal Studios or heard about the Metro deal, but from my experience Singapore is very safe so I wouldn’t worry too much about where I buy the ticket. It’s a very neat and orderly country!

      I’m sure you’ll have a great Christmas 🙂

  14. This article is fantastic! It gets right to the point but also has an abundance of fantastic information! I have a long layover there and this itinerary is perfect! Thank you so much, my stress level has been significantly lowered haha. Any recommendation on the best place to spend a night that is central to everything?

    Again, you’re awesome!!!

    1. Aw, thank you, Claire. You really know how to brighten up my day 😀

      I didn’t stay in Singapore for the night so I don’t have any accommodation tips. But everything in Singapore is quite central so if you find a hotel/hostel close to any of the above mentioned sites, you’ll be in the center. Plus, the metro is very easy and convenient so it’s easy to get from A to B.

      Have a great trip to Singapore!

    1. A few days would be optimal, Roeland. I saw all of this (except the free concerts) in 6 hours during a stopover from Indonesia, so if you only have limited time, one day would be fine, too.

  15. Ill arriving in Singapore, and I’ll using your “experience” as my tour guide! Thanks so much for the post!
    Its perfect

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