Things to do in Singapore

Itineraries for Your Trip to Singapore

Singapore locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in Singapore for First Timers

Curated by Jen Pengwho has visited Singapore often in the past decade.

At just 26 miles (42 kilometers) by 14 miles (22 kilometers), Singapore is conveniently compact, making its highlights easy to explore in just three days. Despite being small in size, the Garden City is full of must-see attractions, from the high-tech Gardens by the Bay and other striking architecture to historic and colorful ethnic enclaves and world-class cuisine that reflects its blend of cultures. Then there’s nearby Sentosa Island—even more compact, yet jam-packed with theme parks, beaches, and all sorts of entertainment.

In my many trips to the city-state, I’ve explored Singapore's many highlights. Here are my recommendations on the attractions and activities that first-time visitors should add to their 3-day itinerary.

Pack light, breathable clothing for hot, humid Singapore, but avoid anything revealing.

If you only have time for one thing, make it Gardens by the Bay.

Day 1

Spend day one exploring Singapore’s must-see sights. Start off in the Marina Bay district, home to the half-lion and half-fish Merlion Statue, the towering Marina Bay Sands and SkyPark Observation Deck, the lush Gardens by the Bay—including the futuristic Supertree Grove and Cloud Forest Conservatory—and the Singapore Flyer. You can walk among the options, or take the MRT. A guided tour makes seeing everything easy.

In the afternoon, see Singapore from the water via a bumboat cruise along the Singapore River. Stop at the historic Raffles Hotel for a Singapore Sling, followed by dinner and drinks at Clarke Quay.

Day 2

Singapore is home to many ethnic enclaves, including Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam with atmospheric streets, colorful shop houses, and temples. Some of the city-state’s top hawker centers can also be found in these neighborhoods, including Maxwell Food Center and Tekka Center. A street food tour can show you a wide variety of local favorites.

Depending on your interests, next you'll explore historic World War II sites such as the Battlebox at Fort Canning Hill or see wildlife at Singapore Zoo or Jurong Bird Park. Alternatively, indulge in another favorite Singapore pastime—shopping on Orchard Road.

Day 3

Spend your final day exploring the many diversions on man-made Sentosa Island. Options include Universal Studios, Sentosa Skyline Luge and Skyride, Mega Adventure Park Zipline, and Marine Life Park, just to name a few. A guided tour makes it easy to fit in numerous activities, and they usually include the cable-car ride over. There are also several beaches on the island if you want to just soak up the sun.

Alternatively, explore [Pulau Ubin( by bike or kayak and look for wildlife in the mangrove forests. Or enjoy nature at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve or Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

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