Singapore tops the list of the most expensive cities in the world, yet at the same time it can be an affordable choice for the intrepid traveller. The Little Red Dot — a popular nickname for Singapore, boasts a generous selection of free things to do and is an absolute must-visit destination that deserves much more than a stopover. During my 4 days in Singapore I was introduced to the tradition and modernity of this efficient and orderly society. If you’ve never been to Singapore, below you will find all my reasons why you should definitely add it to your list of destinations to visit.
The 4 Day Singapore Itinerary
My trip to Singapore was part of an assignment for Scoot inflight magazine where I was commissioned to write a story about my experience in Singapore, while Bryan explored Athens and Mykonos during the same days. We were both responsible for crafting each others itineraries. I have followed Bryan’s excellent recommendations quite precisely in order to make the most of my 4 days in Singapore. (You can read our Tales from Two Cities here).
I flew with Scoot Airlines directly from Athens. My flight departed at 11:00 am from Athens and I arrived in Singapore Changi Airport at 4:25 am. I had an early check-in arranged for me at the Oakwood Premier OUE which is ideally located on Shenton Way, Downtown.
If you only have a couple of days to spare then check out how to spend a Weekend in Singapore.
4 Days in Singapore — Day 1
Discover the glamorous Marina Bay Sands, the ArtScience Museum and the Helix Bridge.
Head to Gardens by the Bay, stroll around the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. Witness the spectacular light show from the OCBC Skyway, Supertree Grove.
Dinner at Satay by the Bay, try the signature dish satay.
Marvel the Spectra Light and Water Show.
After a few hours of rest I had lunch with Tricia Quak, the Marketing Manager of Oakwood Premier OUE at their Se7enth Restaurant which offers contemporary dining. I had fish fillet with salad and potatoes. Following a tour around the premises I made my way out to explore the city.
Marina Bay Sands
The Marina Bay Sands which is Singapore’s landmark hotel and lifestyle destination is located quite close to the Oakwood Premier OUE. You can either take a stroll which is approximately 20 minutes or take a bus (97, 106 or 133).
I took the Downtown MRT Line (Blue) which stops at the Bayfront.
I strolled through the Marina Bay Sands mall which is a large luxury shopping destination. Located right outside the mall is the outdoor fountain and the impressive ArtScience Museum which has been designed in the shape of a lotus flower.
From here you can also walk the Helix Bridge, a fantastic piece of architecture which links the Marina Centre with Marina South. It looks even more impressive in the evening when it is all lit up.
Gardens by the Bay: Flower Dome and Cloud Forest
You can easily reach the Gardens Bay from the Marina Bay Sands, you can either walk around from the outside or follow a linkway bridge from inside.
I first went to the Flower Dome which is located inside the Gardens by the Bay. It is the largest glass greenhouse in the world where you will find an astonishing collection of plants and flowers from the Mediterranean and semi-arid regions.
During the time I was in Singapore in April there was a Sakura Flower exhibition, however there are plenty of events taking place throughout the year which you can check out here.
I highly recommend that you visit the Flower Dome as it is rather a remarkable experience to witness so many flower species which coexist in the same environment.
After walking around the Flower Dome I made my way across to the Cloud Forest where you will find cloud forest vegetation which is typically found at around 2,000 metres above sea level.
Inside the Cloud Forest there is the worlds largest indoor waterfall which is 35 meters tall and descends right through the Cloud Walk and Treetop Walk.
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I’m completely blown away by the beauty of Singapore. Today is my first day here and I spent most of it exploring the Marina Bay Sands, the Gardens at Bay and walked OCBC Skyway just in time for the Gardens Rhapsody show which was absolutely spectacular. This photo was taken at the Cloud Forrest! ? #passionfortravel #visitsingapore
Dine at the Satay By The Bay
From the Cloud Forest I took a pleasant 5 minute walk to the Satay By The Bay where you can try the local Singaporean dish called satay. This is a skewered and grilled meat served with a peanut sauce. Each meat skewer is around 90 cents and the shrimp ones are approximately $2 a piece.
There are different food stalls here and you can just buy whatever you like and take a seat at one of the tables.
Walk the OCBC SKYWAY
I left the visit for the OCBC SKYWAY for the afternoon in order to watch the sunset from the Supertree Grove. It was quite busy I had to wait in line for approximately 40 minutes. The futuristic Supertrees are connected by a 128 metre long aerial walkway which are suspended 22 meters above the Gardens Bay. Now my fear of heights kicked in again and I always wonder why I put myself in these situations — but the view was spectacular.
I definitely recommend this experience and the best time is right before the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show which takes place at 7.45pm and 8.45pm. The whole Supertree Grove lights up in the most magical way — a dazzling phenomenon indeed.
Marvel the Spectra Light and Water Show
After watching the light show I made my way back to the front of the Marina Bay Sands to watch the Spectra Light and Water show which takes place at 8 or 9pm. On Friday and Saturday the show is available at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm. This 15 minute show is sensational and I must say it is as grand as the one in Dubai — but the light show makes it even more spectacular.
4 Days in Singapore — Day 2
Walk around Chinatown, visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Sri Marianmman Temple.
Try the local delight, Tian Tian Chicken Rice at Maxwell Hawker Centre.
Travel to Masjid Sultan in the historic Kampong Glam district.
Walk along the hipster shopping area of Haji and Bali Lanes, spot the creative street art murals. Enjoy happy hour and eccentric decor at Blu Jaz Cafe.
Shop for souvenirs at the bustling Bugis Night Market.
In the morning I enjoyed a hearty buffet breakfast at the Oakwood Premier OUE and then headed out for the day to follow my 4 day Singapore itinerary. The walk from the Central Business District towards Chinatown is rather interesting as you slowly see the scenery change from the high-rise skyscrapers to the smaller colourful buildings — almost instantly.
On one street you will finds numerous restaurants and food stalls and when you turn a corner the side streets are lined with souvenir shops.
Here you will come to experience the landmark temples of Singapore which are located right in the heart of Chinatown.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
The impressive Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is visible from afar. The temple was built in 2007 and inside you will come across a rich collection of Buddhist art which tell the stories of a culture which is over a hundred years old. After wondering around the temple and admiring the giant stupa which weighs 3500 kilograms and is made from 320 kilograms of gold I headed towards the nearby Hindu Temple (2 minute walk).
The Sri Marianmman Temple
Being the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, the Sri Marianmman Temple built in the Dravidian style serves as the perfect example of ancient Indian culture. The temple testifies as a significant reminder of the Tamil population who greatly contributed to Singapore’s development as a British colony. Today, the temple does not only serve as a religious house but also welcomes Indian immigrants by providing them shelter until they find work and a place to stay. Unfortunately I could not enter the temple as it was closed for cleaning and would re-open in a few hours.
Lunch at Maxwell Hawker Centre
I’ve been told by my Singaporean friends that long queues highlight the popularity of a place. When I entered the Maxwell Hawker Center which is set across from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple I instantly came across a long queue waiting to buy the famous Tian Tian Chicken and rice.
In fact the late Anthony Bourdain said that “ Chicken rice is so fragrant and delicious that it can be eaten on its own”. Served with slices of cucumber and red spicy sauce the dish costs SGD $5 while the Singaporean beer that I got was at SGD $10.
Visit the Masjid Sultan
I took the MRT from Tanjong Pagar Station to Bugis Station but you can also take the bus 80 or bus 145. Once I arrived to the Bugis Station it started raining (this is quite common in Singapore, and afternoon showers are expected so keep an umbrella handy). The Mosque is one of the highlights of the historic Kampong Glam district and is the most important in Singapore.
Surrounding the Masjid Sultan or Sultan Mosque are the Haji Lane and the Bali Lane which are hipster shopping lanes decorated with impressive street art murals.
Kampong Glam District
Enjoy an afternoon drink in one of the hip areas of Singapore. I sat down at the Blu Jaz Cafe which a popular place in the Kampong Glam district. From 3-8pm you can enjoy happy hour — buy one and get one free. The area is mostly known for serving Middle Eastern cuisine. If you like Indian Food then you should try the roti prata at the Zam Zam restaurant located right across from the Mosque. They did not have the roti prata in the evening, therefore I made my way towards the Bugis Shopping Centre where there are plenty of food outlets to choose from.
Shopping at Bugis Night Market
If you wish to buy souvenirs the Bugis Night Market is full of stalls selling all sorts of bargains. From the 1950s to the 1980s the area was popular among the transvestites and transsexuals, making it a popular tourism destination.
4 Days in Singapore — Day 3
Connect with Chinese history and legends at the Haw Par Villa.
Explore Singapore’s café culture at Paddy Hills Cafe.
Visit the stunning National Orchid Garden.
For retail therapy head to the bustling Orchard Road. Cool down with the local’s favourite ice cream wafer (ice cream truck for $1).
Continue to Somerset and get a glimpse of Singapore’s skyline view from Orchard Central. Pop in the Instagram-worthy Library@Orchard.
In the morning after breakfast I took the bus 10 from across the street of Oakwood Premier OUE and headed towards the Haw Par Villa.
Connect with Chinese history and legends at the Haw Par Villa
This eccentric theme park has a free admission and invites visitors to travel through the Chinese folklore, legend and mythology all portrayed in the three-dimensional dioramas which dot the park area. Located on the West Coast of Singapore, the Haw Par Villa is less crowded than the popular areas such as Orchard Road and Chinatown. I came here in the morning and it was quiet, it was just me and a few other families and couples.
I watched a mother explain to her little children the morals of the story — in fact this place is popular among parents who would bring their children here in order to discipline them by showing them examples of somewhat terrifying figures. For example the Journey to the West is a world-famous tale about a holy monk and his three disciplines who travel far and long to the Wester Paradise to obtain Buddhist scriptures during the Tang Dynasty.
This tale reaches the importance of valuing teamwork and determination to reach one’s goals. Such examples can be seen throughout the Haw Par Villa.
Lunch at Paddy Hills
Singapore has slowly developed a strong coffee culture and my Singapore itinerary suggested that I visit one of the popular cafes located at a close distance from the Haw Par Villa.
From the same side on which the entrance is located you can grab the bus number 200 or walk for approximately 13 minutes. After ordering a cold coffee and an eggs with avocado dish I called a Grab car and made my way to the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
(Grab is an app and works similar like Uber, you can also request to share a ride.) From here you can also take bus 200 and then change to bus 105/106 at Block 43.
National Orchid Garden
The National Orchid Garden is one of Singapore’s highlights — in fact it is Singapore’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The garden is home to over 2,000 displayed orchids and there is also a designated VIP area where orchids have been named after the famous politicians, royal family members and other personas who have visited the gardens.
You can easily spend a couple of hours waking around the gorgeous gardens and get lost in admiring the beauty of these gentle flowers.
You can buy the admission ticket at the entrance and it costs SGD $5 or you can get your ticket in advance here. I usually use my Get Your Guide app for buying tickets, just to save me time.
Travel to Orchard Road
The famous shopping area of Singapore is lined with boutiques and malls. Here I had made an appointment to meet my high school friend Vanessa and her husband Jon.
To get here from the National Orchard Garden you can take Bus 7, 77, 106, 123, 174 as all go to Orchard Road and it is a short ride away.
We sat down for some drinks at a cafe next to the ION Orchard mall and afterwards my friends wanted to take me to the riverside where you can experience the colonial character of Singapore.
Here it is more relaxed and tranquil, the place is lined with trees that are quite inviting when you want to hide from the sun.
There are many restaurants and bars. Following the river you will come across Clarke Quay which is famous for its vibrant nightlife.
I then returned to Orchard Road as I wanted to get a feel of it during the evening with all the lights turned on and walked around towards Somerset.
In Singapore you will notice ice cream trucks selling ice cream on a trishaw. The are about $1 and are much loved by locals. I had an ice cream and made my way to Orchard Central where you can catch a nice skyline view of Singapore.
I also stopped by the Instagramable library where if you have some time you can sit down, relax and get lost in the pages of a good book.
From here there is direct access to an MRT and I made my way back to my luxury apartment.
4 Days in Singapore — Day 4
Breakfast at Ya Kun Kaya Toast, get the popular kayak toast and egg set.
Travel to VivoCity, take the monorail to Sentosa or opt for a scenic stroll along the ship harbour.
Check out the Siloso Beach, Sentosa Merlion, Festive Walk and Universal Studios Singapore.
Grab lunch at Food Republic (VivoCity), traditional old school styled cafeteria.
Delve into the history and culture of Singapore. Visit National Museum and the National Gallery.
Walk towards the Esplanade Theatre, admire the waterfront area and the iconic Singapore Merlion.
Enjoy dinner at the vibrant food centre, Makansutra Gluttons Bay.
I was told to try Singapore’s most famous breakfast item the Ya Kun Kaya Toast. There are numerous stores found all across Singapore and since there is one next to the building where I was staying I made my way to try this famous toast.
I was served a kayak toast which is prepared with coconut jam, sugar topping, coconut milk and eggs. The coffee is served with sweetened milk. It was a bit too sweet for my liking, but you got to try the staple dish.
Sentosa is a popular beach destination which makes it a perfect all day destination for families with children. Here you can spend the day swimming on the Siloso beach, visit the famous Universal Studios, dine in one of the many restaurants and take photos with the iconic Sentosa Merlion.
I took a bus from the hotel to VivoCity (bus 10,57,100, 131 for 8 stops). From here you can either take a train that goes directly to Sentosa or opt for a scenic stroll along the ship harbour. I decided to try the train ride. I only had a few hours to spend as I was departing Singapore in the evening, but it is a place that you can easily spend the whole day.
I took a sneak peak of the beach and made my way down towards the Sentosa Merlion, passed the Universal Studios and decided to take a stroll back to VivoCity.
Save time and skip the lines by buying your Universal Studios e-ticket online.
Lunch at Food Republic
Set on the top level of VivoCity the Food Republic is an old school styled coffee shop where you choose what you would like to eat from one of the numerous food stalls.
I had a nice Dumpling Noodle Soup and then hopped on the MRT Purple Line from Harborfront to Dhoby Ghaut. After a short 5 minute walk I reached the National Museum.
Discover the National Museum
It was already late afternoon and I explored the various exhibition rooms dedicated to the history of Singapore and the world.
The Museum is one of the oldest and its history dates Its history dates back to 1887. What impressed me the most is the exhibits made to explaining the process of beautifying Singapore and how the country’s landscape was transformed to incorporate greening. Often referred to as a “garden city” I was amazed by the gracious coexistence of concrete buildings and nature. Singapore has many green areas, lots of bike lanes and is a very clean city.
What made an enormous impression on me was — one evening as I was walking on the Shenton Way right in the heart of Downtown along the high rising skyscrapers I could hear the birds sing. It was quiet, beautiful and mesmerising.
The admissions ticket is SGD 15 and it is open daily from 10 am – 7pm. Following my visit to the National Museum I walked to the National Gallery.
Art at the National Gallery
I had a little more than an hour before the National Gallery closing but I did manage to get a glimpse of the impressive art exhibitions housed in the National Gallery. House in two national monument the City Hall and the former Supreme Court — the building has been restored and since 2015 operated as a National Gallery.
A lot of the artwork here is dedicated to the local landscape as well as portraits. Here you can see works of Georgette Chen who came to love the tropical land and represented Singapore full of live and activity in her works.
There was a separate section dedicated to Chen Chong Swee who combined the traditional Chinese figure painting technique of line drawing with outdoor images and everyday life.
This waterfront area is a perfect spot to admire the Marina Bay Sands from across and is also home to the mini Merlion the official mascot of Singapore that has a lion’s head and a body of a fish. Here you will also admire the Esplanade Theatre which is Singapore’s arts and culture hub with a durian shaped exterior.
I watched the Spectra Light and Water Show for the second time but from a different perspective and then headed for my last dinner in Singapore at the open air Makansutra Gluttons by the Bay a popular food centre with fantastic views of the Marina Bay.
The system is the same as in other food halls, there is a selection of food trucks and you order what you like.
You receive a beeper and once your order is ready you pick it up and sit at one of the many tables. I had some spicy chicken wings and fried rice. There are also many seafood options to choose from.
Tip: have your own napkins with you. In these food courts they don’t provide you with paper towels.
I took an early morning flight back to Athens which departs Singapore at 02:35 am which gives you plenty of time to enjoy your Singapore trip. Above mentioned are some of the best places to visit in Singapore in 4 Days.
Where to Stay in Singapore?
Oakwood Premier OUE
During my trip to Singapore I stayed at the beautifully appointed serviced apartments right in the heart of Central Business District. Upon arrival I was welcomed by the lovely staff on duty and was escorted to my luxurious One-Bedroom Premier apartment.
There was a welcome basket waiting for me in the apartment filled with goodies like soft drinks, noodles and biscuits.
The apartment spans over 53 square meters and features a separate living room with a fully equipped kitchen and a dining table.
There is a flat screen TV both in the sitting area and in the bedroom.
The bedroom opened up to spectacular Harbourview with large windows which all have blackout blinds. The bedroom featured a comfortable Queen size bed with luxurious bed linen. There is also a fluffy bathrobe and slippers. The bathroom features a spacious walk-in rain shower and a full set of toiletries.
Other amenities include a state-of-the-art Bluetooth sound system and Samsung mobile and tablet which includes a customised Oakwood application from which you can see what’s new in the city as well as place in-room dining orders.
The phone can also be used for navigation and calls around the city. The design is modern and combines luxury with a homely feel.
Oakwood Premier OUE facilities include a gorgeous infinity pool where you can relax in an urban oasis set in the heart of a bustling city. The views are especially stunning during the evening. There is also a fitness centre, bar and meeting room facilities. Daily buffet breakfast is available at an extra charge.
Everyone was super friendly and professional making me feel as if I was right at home. The Oakwood Premier OUE is ideally located to all of Singapore’s main attractions and cultural districts.
I hope that you find my guide to 4 Days in Singapore useful. Have you been to Singapore? Let me know what you liked best in the comments below.
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