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The Layover Guide to Singapore

In 24 hours or Less

Updated 17 September 2020. Singapore's Changi Airport is one of the best in the world, but if you have a long layover, get out of the airport to explore. With just 24 hours to explore this little island state, we narrowed it down to these key sites to give you a taste of Singapore's culture and history in a nutshell.

Singapore River Cruise
Singapore River Cruise Water Boat / CC BY 2.0 by Shankar S.

The Singapore River

A good way to see Singapore's rise from quiet fishing village to modern metropolis is by taking the Singapore River Cruise that starts from Clarke Quay Jetty. Learn about the history and importance of the Singapore River in Singapore's growth as you ride in a traditional bumboat, passing by heritage landmarks like bridges, sculptures and shophouses till you end up in the ultra-modern Marina bay.
Marina Bay
Marina Bay / CC BY-SA 2.0 by Jimmy McIntyre

Marina Bay

Marina Bay is home to the quintessential modern day Singapore skyline - take a walk around the bay area and admire the magnificent view around you, with iconic architecture like the Helix Bridge, Art Science Museum, Esplanade and the Merlion all in one place. This place is beautiful during the day but stunning at night when all the lights twinkle as dusk falls.
Gardens by the Bay
Skyway / CC BY-SA 2.0 by Kristina D. C. Hoeppner

Gardens By The Bay

Gardens By The Bay and its domed greenhouses are the perfect place to enjoy Singapore's reputation as a clean, green, garden city while escaping the stifling humidity. When night falls, venture to the outdoor Supertree Grove, alien-like tree towers that are lit up against the night sky and city skyline with a mesmerising light show.
Singapore Esplanade / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by Geoff Whalan

The Esplanade

On the opposite side of the bay, you can't miss the spiky domed durian-like Esplanade, an arts centre where you may chance upon free local performances in the evenings and on weekends. Walk over the Jubilee Bridge to the famous Merlion statue and take in the view of the Marina Bay area, especially when the Marina Bay Sands puts on its laser light show at night.
Haji Lane
Haji Lane / CC BY 2.0 by jnzl

Haji Lane

Singapore has several ethnic districts that reflect its population - Kampong Glam is the Arab and Malay quarter and where old and new comes together in one hip district. A whole hodgepodge of things can be found here - traditional fabric shops sit next to colourful graffiti walls, Middle eastern restaurants are found alongside cheap local coffeeshops. In particular, Haji Lane is the street to see and be seen on.
Thian Hock Keng Temple
Visitors to Thian Hock Keng Temple / CC BY 2.0 by Jnzl

Thian Hock Keng Temple

For a sense of Singapore's multicultural living, head instead to Chinatown and take a stroll along Telok Ayer Street, unique for its collection of various religious buildings all along one stretch of road - Buddhist temples sit next to Muslim mosques against a backdrop of skyscrapers from the surrounding Central Business District - a true reflection of Singapore's diversity.
Tekka Market
Little India Indoor Market / CC BY-NC 2.0 by G Bayliss

Tekka Market

And of course the most quintessentially Singaporean thing to do whether you have 24 hours or 24 days is to eat at our local hawker centres. Lots of good food can be found everywhere on the island, but a good place to try is Tekka Food Centre in Little India. It serves up some of the best Indian dishes like Chicken Briyani and Roti Prata, but also a whole host of Singaporean favourites, all for relatively cheap prices. You can also visit the wet market in the same building.

Where To Stay

Need a base to explore the old and new sides of Singapore in just 24 hours? 

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