Though smaller than many major cities, the city-state of Singapore isn’t lacking in things to do. Its gigantic shopping malls, waterfront illuminations, and architectural masterpieces all draw travelers. Also of interest are its green spaces—the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site—lively neighborhoods such as Chinatown and Little India, theme parks a la Universal Studios, and the ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and adventure activities. For travelers spending just a day or two in Singapore, guided tours help maximize time and avoid the inevitable crowds and queues at top attractions. Some guided tours specialize in Singapore’s diverse heritage and its eclectic cuisine, while others use Singapore as a base for day trips to the islands of Bintan and Kukup or the Malaysian cities of Johor Bahru, Malacca, or Kuala Lumpur.
Marina Bay is the quintessential postcard image of Singapore, as it’s lined with modern high-rises, landscaped gardens, and some of the city’s most memorable landmarks. Many of Singapore’s must-see attractions are situated here, including Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Flyer, ArtScience Museum, Raffles hotel, and the Esplanade. Visitors can take in the views from the Marina Bay Sands Skypark, walk the Waterfront Promenade, or enjoy a boat cruise around the bay. Marina Bay is even more impressive in the evening hours, when it’s illuminated by colorful lights.
This prepaid ticket includes skip-the-line access to the Skypark on the roof of the Marina Bay Sands hotel with panoramic views.
Experience the best of Singapore at night with views of Marina Bay, dinner at a local restaurant, and a Singapore Sling cocktail at a rooftop bar overlooking the bay.
Cover more ground in less time on a zippy eScooter tour, with visits to Marina Bay, Gardens by the Bay, and Helix Bridge. A private guide ensures a tailor-made experience.
A choice of a 24- or 48-hour hop-on hop-off bus pass, with two bus routes and more than 35 stops around the island, including Marina Bay, Singapore Botanic Gardens, and Chinatown.
Read more about Marina Bay tour options here.
One of Singapore’s liveliest and most colorful neighborhoods, Chinatown provides a sensory feast. Its narrow streets are lined with historic shophouses, temples, teahouses, and herbal pharmacies, plus there’s a traditional wet market, a bustling night market, and plenty of street food. Visiting Chinatown on a walking tour makes navigating the maze-like streets easier, and local guides offer insight into Chinese culture, heritage, and traditions, and point out the best places to eat and shop.
This evening tour includes a ride on a traditional trishaw, time to shop at the Night Market, and a bum boat cruise along the Singapore River. A Chinese-style dinner is also included for a complete experience.
Visitors get a comprehensive introduction to Chinatown on this walking tour as well as a chance to sample traditional breakfast foods and Chinese specialties.
A small-group cooking class in the heart of Chinatown, including a hands-on cooking experience and a homemade lunch of traditional cuisine.
A visit to Chinatown and Thian Hock Keng Temple is included in this private tour with transportation, alongside other Singapore attractions, including Little India, Singapore Botanic Garden, and Marina Bay.
Read more about Chinatown tour options here.
Universal Studios Singapore—part of the Sentosa Island Resorts World—brings the magic of Hollywood to Singapore, complete with movie-themed rides and live shows. Prebooking tickets is recommended, and there are a number of ticket options available including VIP guided tours with skip-the-line entrance. For the best value, multi-park tickets and super-saver deals are available, including admission to neighboring attractions such as S.E.A. Aquarium and Maritime Experiential Museum.
This full-day pass provides unlimited access to all the park’s amusement rides, shows, and attractions. An optional hotel pickup and transfer is also available for a seamless experience.
Singapore Super Saver: Universal Studios, S.E.A. Aquarium and Maritime Experiential Museum Admission with Hotel Pickup
This value-minded package offers entrance to two of Singapore’s most popular family attractions in one day—Universal Studios and S.E.A. Aquarium.
This great-value 3- or 5-attraction pass is valid for up to five days and offers discount admission to attractions such as Singapore Zoo, S.E.A. Aquarium, and Adventure Cove.
This VIP tour ensures a hassle-free experience with hotel pickup and a private guide, skip-the-line access to all the rides and shows, and a lunch voucher to redeem at any of the park’s restaurants.
Read more about Universal Studios tour options here.
A short cable car ride from the mainland, Sentosa Island appeals to the whole family, with theme parks, amusement rides, and beachfront entertainment. Universal Studios is the headliner, but there is also Adventure Cove Waterpark, S.E.A. Aquarium, Kidzania, Madame Tussauds Singapore, and Tiger Sky Tower. The island’s attractions get busy, so skip-the-line tickets are wise, and combo packages offer savings. For those with limited time, a guided day tour is a convenient way to take in the highlights, typically including hotel pickup and a cable car ride.
This tour is the ideal introduction to Sentosa Island for time-crunched travelers, as it includes hotel pickup, round-trip transport, and entrance to six attractions.
Visitors see the city in luxury on this Singapore Cable Car experience that includes a private car, views of Singapore’s illuminations, and a 4-course dinner served in the air.
Full-day all-areas access pass to the Singapore’s S.E.A. Aquarium, including the ability to add hassle-free hotel pickup and transfers.
Zip around Sentosa Island pm tjos Segway tour that takes in top beaches, landmarks, and viewpoints on the island. A small group size with a maximum of 10 people ensures a personalized experience.
Read more about Sentosa Island tour options here.
Things to Know
When to Visit
Temperatures hover around 85°F (30°C) year-round, so weather is not a factor. Many time their visit with an event such as Singapore Grand Prix (September), Singapore National Day Parade (August), iLight Marina Bay festival (March), or New Year’s Eve fireworks.
Singapore’s MRT train network runs to all corners of the island, and taxis are widely available. A Singapore Tourist Card offers unlimited public transport access for up to three days.
Tipping is not customary in Singapore, except in upmarket establishments—but be sure to check the bill first, as a 10 percent service charge is often added.
Things to Bring
Pack a cover-up if you planning on visiting any of Singapore’s temples—shoulders and knees must be covered. Bring a refillable water bottle: Singapore’s tap water is drinkable so you can save money by filling up at your hotel.
What the Locals Know
Foodies may make a beeline for Singapore’s Michelin-starred restaurants, but hawker centers (or food courts) are still the go-to lunch spot for locals. Some of the most popular are the Old Airport Road Food Centre and Chinatown Complex.