Looking for a Singapore layover itinerary? Discover the best things to do in Singapore if you have limited time.
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!
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)
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.
Make sure to have local coins for the GTMs. You can get them at the airport.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.