Singapore in a day

By John Gwilliam, a Travel Enthusiast

Read more on Singapore.

Overall rating:4.7 out of 5 (based on 3 votes)
Recommended for:
Business, Food and Drink, Shopping, Mid-range, Expensive

Let me take you on an all day journey around the choicest cuts of the Lion City from breakfast by the river to nightlife at the quay

Rise and shine, we need to make a start. Singapore is a fast moving city, so you're about to get a fast moving tour, lots to do and only one day to do it!

It's morning in the Furama Riverfront hotel. Admire your plush executive style room and fabulous panoramic views of the city and the Singapore river as you get ready.

9:00am - 1:00pm

It's breakfast time, so let's grab a bite. Walking out of the hotel, say a polite no thanks to the line of taxi drivers and personal tour guides who will offer you their services as you pass, we already know what we're doing today.

Make your way across the river onto the refreshing riverside promenade. It is here that you will find Epicurious, the place to go for a sumptuous American style breakfast and a welcome morning caffeine hit. Enjoy the hazy equatorial morning sunshine as you eat, admire the marvellously accessible feel of the Singapore River with the gleaming towers of the CBD up ahead, it's all still to come.

When amply fortified for the morning, head off for a cheerful half-hour riverside stroll into central Singapore. En route you pass the seemingly endless bars and restaurants of Clarke Quay, continuing along N Boat Quay road approaching the beautiful parliament house in front of you. Turning left onto North Bridge Road, you continue to admire the classic architecture of this bright colonial building as you skirt around it turning right on to High Street and then left on to St Andrews Road. With luck, you'll catch a game of rugby being played at the recreation ground, that's if you can take your eyes of the gorgeous bright white Cathedral of St Andrew of course.

Following ahead onto Beach Road, why not take a few snaps of the towering war memorial on your right, commemorating those lost in the failed defence of Singapore during the Second World War. A little further on we reach a building I'm sure you'll have heard of – The Raffles Hotel. Let's head through the maze of delightfully archaic, antique ridden corridors to the famous long-bar where the equally famous Singapore Sling was invented by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon circa 1915. Sip one of these cherished cocktails and enjoy the old-world ambience whilst following the age old custom of eating peanuts and throwing the empty shells on the floor (to disguise the crunch of stepping on a cockroach).

Heading back onto Beach Road, turn back the way we came, this time ducking into the towing cylinder of the Stamford hotel. This is where you'll find Equinox - the highest bar in town. After feeling your ears pop in the elevator, pull up a chair and order a cold one. Take some time and soak up the air-conditioned comfort and the fabulous views over the city.

1:00pm - 5:00pm

Had enough of walking for now? Then let's ride the underground MRT. Head to the city hall interchange around the corner on Stamford Road. Marvel at the clean, crisp efficiency of the underground rail network, and look - you even get a full mobile phone signal on the train! We are riding to Orchard Road on the NS line where some serious retail therapy awaits. This area is the shopping capital of Singapore and has enough fashion, electrical and souvenir outlets to inspire even the hardiest of visiting shopaholics.

Right, I'm dying for lunch are you? Flag down a taxi and head to the Lau Pa Sat food hall on Boon Tat Street for a round of scrummy satay in the shadow of the CBD skyscrapers as the workaholic Singaporeans bustle around you. When eating in Singapore, it's so important to go local, and these Hawker food halls provide world famous street food to businessmen and street sweepers alike 24 hours a day.

If you need to know anything at all, don't be shy about asking a local, you will find them very helpful. It surprises most visitors how a city with such a formidable reputation in the business world can have such a pleasant and helpful population. Don't be too surprised though, the dominant religion in Singapore is Buddhism after all.

From here, a short walk along Boon Tat Street brings us into Singapore's very own Chinatown. The look is archetypal with arches, pagodas, lion statues etc. It is a treasure trove of budget souvenir shopping with so much more than the obligatory porcelain dragons for sale. Just look at the wonderful wall tapestries, the attractive wind chimes and the quality textiles on offer. You could turn your home into a feng shui showroom after an afternoon here.

5:00pm - 9:00pm

Once you're all shopped out, we'll get a cab back to the hotel to drop off the day's purchases and get ready for an evening to remember. It's about dinner time now and I know just the place. Jump in a taxi outside and head to East Coast park - a collection of high brow restaurants specialising in world class seafood.

Grab an outdoor table at the Long Beach Seafood Restaurant - an open, airy establishment dating back to the 1940s and boasting fantastic sea views. The menu does spoil you for choice, but whichever succulent swimmers take your fancy, be sure to get a small chilli mud crab on the side. It is Singapore's signature dish, a treasured part of their formidable gastronomic repertoire.

9:00pm - Late

Make sure you're back in a taxi in time to make the 11:00pm last admission to the Singapore Night Safari. I know the queues are long, but don't worry they soon go down. Take a seat in the tram for a 45 minute guided ride that whisks you away through the foothills of the Himalayas, the valleys of Nepal, the jungles of India and the African savannah. Listen to the engaging commentary from the guide and don't be afraid to ask questions. We'll jump out at the East Lodge stop to walk the spooky leopard trail, dodging the sinister swooping bats along the way.

It's late, but the night is still young in this town. How about some great live music and a few Tiger beers? Let's head to Harry's at Boat Quay. Getting out of the taxi, look at how well the city lights up at night. The looming towers of the CBD glowing bright behind the beautifully preserved old buildings of the Quay. The music in this bar is of the rock/jazz persuasion, but if you fancy a change then just drop in to any of the other fantastic options along this revered riverside strip.

The eyes are getting heavy now, and the soft mattress at the Furama is starting to beckon. It's been a long day, and you've made the most of it, so you deserve to head back and go to sleep. Getting a taxi is easy, but if you're up for it, the hotel is a 30 minute walk up river from Boat Quay. Goodnight and sleep tight!


The Furama Riverfront: 405 Havelock Road, Singapore

A stunning hotel in a great location. The on-site restaurant (the Square) is open for breakfast from 6:00am if you're too early for Epicurious. The executive upgrade is well worth it for the executive lounge, the late checkout privileges and the gorgeous room. It is easily reached from the airport by way of a 30 minute taxi ride costing around $20-30 SGD depending on time of day. 

Epicurious: 01-02 The Quayside, Robertson Quay Tel: (65)6734 7720 ( ($30-40 SGD)

The Raffles Hotel and Long Bar: 1 Beach Road, Singapore Tel: (65)6412 1816 ( bar opens 11:00am

The Stamford Hotel and Bar: 2 Stamford Road, Singapore Tel: (65)6338 8585 bar opens 12:00pm

MRT information: (

Lau Pa Sat Hawker food hall: Boon Tat Street, Singapore ( ($5-10 SGD)

Long Beach Seafood Restaurant: 1018 East Coast Parkway Tel: (65)64458833 ( ($50-80 SGD)

Night Safari: 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore Tel: (65)6269 3411 ( ($32 SGD)

Harry's Bar: 28 Boat Quay, Singapore Tel: (65)6538 3029

Singapore is a Taxi City: Getting a taxi in Singapore is falling-off-a-log easy. They are everywhere at any time of the day or night. Pricing is very regulated, but also very tricky, as surcharges are added for booking, during rush hour, or late at night. For information look at (

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by following our money-saving guides. They are written by our Simonseeks team of travel gurus.

More information on Singapore in a day:

John Gwilliam
Traveller type:
Travel Enthusiast
Guide rating:
Average: 4.7 (3 votes)
Total views:
First uploaded:
30 December 2010
Last updated:
3 years 39 weeks 3 days 13 hours 2 min 9 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Business, Food and Drink, Shopping
Budget level:
Mid-range, Expensive
Free tags / Keywords:
asian food, Zoos, walking tour, great sightseeing

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1. Furama Riverfront

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Community comments (6)

0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

This is an innovative approach to a guide. It is like having your own personal tour guide and it makes me feel like I am on the streets with you. I like the layout of the guide with the time periods. The style is friendly and engaging and I could easily read more in this style. The small piece in italics about friendly locals is a very nice touch. I can easily imagine picking up a city centre map and using it alongside this guide. I hope to see some more “in a day” guides from you in the future!

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Hi Colin,

Thanks for that, it's exactly the response I was going for with this. The reason I did the guide in this style is because most visits to Singapore are quite fleeting (stopovers, business etc) but I can think of some other places I could write about that would suit this style of guide.

Cheers for the feedback!


0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Hi John, thanks for this enjoyable and friendly guide - I could almost imagine you dragging me along. The only piece of info I might find useful that was missing was how to get to/from the airport.

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Hi Richard,

Thanks for your comment, I'm pleased that's how it felt to read the guide. I wanted it to be as though I was spending a day with a mate showing them as much as possible from dawn till dusk. I'll be sure to add in travel from the airport.


1 of 1 people found the following comment helpful.

Great guide John. Its a great destination to focus on 'what you can do in a day' as its popular for stopovers on the way to Australia. You just have to be careful to not do what we did and oversleep so that you miss half of your one day there! I liked your tour guide style as it gave a different feel to the guide. The links at the bottom were also really useful. The only thing I really felt was missing was an idea of price for some of your recommendations, eg the Furama Hotel and Night Safari. Its nice to be able to read the price in the guide rather than have to click through to other pages. Also, how much are they charging for Singapore Slings at Raffles nowadays? I thought it was pricey back in 2000 but I'm sure they've gone up even more now - might be a useful detail to add!

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Hi Charlotte,

Thank you kindly for your feedback. I am glad you made the association between guide style and destination, as it can be hard to fit the best bits of Singapore into the short time available when stopping over or on a business trip. I will be sure to add in the details you have suggested.