The tiny island state of Singapore packs a real punch when it comes to sightseeing but as many people who travel there use the city as a transit stop en route to other destinations most don’t usually have time to see everything. This is my guide to how I would spend 24 hours in the lion city.
Depending on where you are staying my suggestion would be to start your day at the Raffles Place MRT station, exit and walk down Fullerton Road where you’ll come to the Merlion Park and the famous Merlion statue.
The Merlion is the mythical symbol of Singapore and is probably one of the most popular attractions on the whole island. The half fish, half lion statue weighs in at 70 tonnes and stands 8.7 meters tall, with its water spurting out in to the picturesque Marina Bay it makes for one of Singapore’s most popular photo opportunities.
The park itself is free to visit and contains several bars, coffee shops, restaurants, shops and public toilets. To get the best photo’s walk along the purpose built jetty that sticks out in to the bay.
It is said that the fishes body of the Merlion represents Singapore’s humble beginnings as a small fishing village, whilst the lions head is derived from the country’s original name, Singapura, which means Lion City in Malay.
It’s best to get there early or go later in the day to avoid the crowds at this popular attraction.
From Merlion Park head over the bridge towards the Esplanade from where you can see the Singapore Flyer, take a right and you’ll be there.
The Singapore Flyer
The Singapore Flyer is one of the largest observation wheels in the world. This one of a kind experience is built over a three story terminal building and stands 165 meters high – 30 meters higher than the London Eye – the wheel is 150 meters in diameter and it takes 30 minutes to complete a rotation.
Each of the 28 city bus sized capsules can carry up to 28 passengers giving unique views across the city. The Flyer is open from 08:30 until 22:30 daily.
Once you’ve finished at the Singapore Flyer cross over the Helix Bridge and you’ll arrive at the spectacular Marina Bay Sands where several attractions await. My suggestion would be to head straight to Gardens by the Bay.
Gardens By The Bay
Taking in 250 acres of reclaimed land on the waterfront the Gardens by the Bay is a huge, colourful futuristic park. Not to be missed sights include the famous Supertree Grove and the two oversized seashell shaped greenhouses. The park is free to access however there are charges for the tree walk and to enter the greenhouses.
Supertree Grove is a steel framed tree plantation that dominates the gardens. In the central grove there are 12 of the large metal structures with a further half a dozen placed in other parts of the gardens. Over 200 different species of plants and flowers cover the exterior of these upright gardens and twice nightly they form the centrepiece of the gardens light and music show.
If you’d like a different perspective on the trees then take the trip 25 meters up to the walkway that connects three of the trees together. The 50 meter tree at the centre offers a unique dining experience with a 360 degree view from the lounge and a roofless treetop bar.
If the heat is getting to you then head into the greenhouses, the Flower Dome is the larger of the two and recreates the drier climes of places like California, the Mediterranean, Africa and Australia. The Cloud Forest is the smaller shell shaped building that has a 35 meter high mountain covered in plants that thrive in tropical highlands. A lift will take you up into the mist and give you some incredible views of whats going on below.
Time permitting it’s worth walking around the rest of the gardens including Dragonfly and Kingfisher lakes. Acknowledging the different nationalities that make up Singapore there are also four interconnecting gardens with plants and trees from India, China, Malaysia and the Colonial garden.
Once you’ve finished at Gardens by the Bay if you haven’t already had lunch then walk back to the Marina Bay Sands hotel where there are endless options for food and drink available.
Marina Bay Sands Sky Park
At the hotel follow the signs to the Sky Park, an observation deck on the 56th floor of the Marina Bay Sands. Be sure to take in the amazing architecture of the inside of the hotel as you pass through. The large wooden decked area offers a 360 degree panorama, with nothing but a sheet of glass and a few wires between you and the view.
The observation deck is situated at one end of the impressive rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and gives a birds eye view of the city, the docks and the Gardens by the Bay with its futuristic supertrees.
There is quite a heavy charge – currently S$23 – to access the Sky Park but the views are worth it.
Having admired the views from the Sky Park I would suggest a walk through the upscale Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands to cool off followed by a walk around the waterfront to see the unmissable building that is the Art Science Museum. It’s shaped like an outstretched hand and really is an impressive piece of architecture, unless there’s an exhibition you really want to see I recommend viewing it from the outside only.
By now you’re probably exhausted from the heat but if you have got any energy left how about a little nightlife?
Clarke Quay & Boat Quay
At night Clarke Quay is the place to go for a good selection of alfresco dining, funky bars and some of the hottest clubs in town. Lying close to the Central Business District its colourful boulevards are perfect for bar hopping any night of the week.
A very short walk away and also great for restaurants and outdoor dining is the smaller but no less popular Boat Quay with its endless choice of eateries lined up against the banks of the Singapore River.
If you’re still going then great but I’m exhausted…goodnight!