I didn’t think I would like Singapore. I’m not quite sure why, but it has never been top of my bucket list and none of my friends ever seemed to rave about it the same way people shine light and love on other Asian cities. When my friend Ian (who you should all know by now and if you don’t he’s the Ian from these posts) and I decided to book a weekend in Singapore to escape rainy Bali, I set about doing hours of research to ensure we could make the most of our short time in this cosmopolitan Asian city.
This would be the 20th country we had travelled to together, so I wanted to make sure it was a trip to remember…however short!
A Perfect Weekend in Singapore – 48 hours of fun
To begin with I should tell you all that if I could do this all over again the only thing I would change is to book 3 nights instead of 3. 40 hours in Singapore was simply NOT enough! While we made it to most places on my list, it was all a little rushed and I really wish we could have spent longer exploring some places and had time to really enjoy all the delicious food on offer rather than running from one attraction to the next.
In truth we only really had 24 hours to see all the sites as we did not arrive in Singapore until 2pm on Saturday, and spent most of the day getting to know the beautiful hotel we were lucky enough to be staying at – the fact that they had free afternoon tea and evening cocktails and canapés may also have persuaded us to stick around later than planned!
We met with a friend and fellow travel blogger, Sabrina from Just One Way Ticket, on Saturday evening in our search for a rooftop pool party, street food in one of the hawker markets near our hotel and hopefully a bar that didn’t charge us $15 for a beer! We were successful on 2 out of 3 of our missions and while we didn’t have the wild night anticipated, it was great to catch up with Sab and get enough hours sleep to spend all day Sunday exploring Singapore.
Top photo spots in Singapore
Following a champagne breakfast at our hotel Sunday morning (yes, you read that correct and you should probably add it to your Singapore Bucket List!!) we set off on foot in search of Singapore’s most Instagrammable buildings – guided by this article written by Lisa from The Wandering Lens about Singapore’s best photo spots and a map I made myself here of the most popular places in Singapore to take “Instagram worthy photos”. Sad? Maybe a little, but boy did we get some cool shots! And at the end of the day, screw the haters and do what makes you happy.
Note: Special thanks to Ian (Escaping Expectation) for helping take many of these shots!
Stop 1: Raffles Landing Site
A short walk from our hotel, Raffles Landing site is both a historic point in the city and a great place to get a photo of the Singapore Skyline as well as some of the unique architecture across the river.
Stop 2: Old Hill Street Police Station
As this was less than 10 minutes from our hotel, the Old Hill Street Police Station was the second stop on our day-long photo tour of Singapore. Famous and loved by photographers the world over for its multicoloured window shutters, this building is a dream to photograph and was by far one of my favourite spots. I wish we had arrived a little earlier, like maybe at 7.30am, when the light would have been softer and with less traffic on the roads.
Stop 3: Clarke Quay
One of Singapore’s most popular night spots, Clarke Quay really comes alive each evening with restaurants lining the river, bars and late nights clubs all houses in bright and multi coloured buildings. It was a little strange walking around this area at 11 in the morning, but it was still fun to photograph.
Stop 4: Bugis Shopping Mall
We actually stopped here by accident as I was in search of a new camera, but when we saw how cool the building was – this seemed to happen a lot in Singapore – we had to stop to take some photos and found some very cool photo spots in the general vicinity of the mall – including these perfectly aligned and colourful stairs belonging to some nearby houses.
Stop 5: Haji Lane
Haji Lane is a very cute laneway close to Arab Street, known for its juice bars, boutique gift stores and super colourful murals that decorate the walls of almost every building on the street. We stopped off for a juice, I found a very unique store where you can design and make your own Flip Flops and just enjoyed strolling around and checking out all the small boutique stores. Again, this street is a photographers dream and definitely a top “Insta-spot” in Singapore. God I hate that that’s now a thing!
Stop 6: Koon Seng Road
Let’s be honest. We travelled over 15 minutes in a taxi, half way back to the airport, just to spend 20 minutes acting to fools and taking perfect Instagram snaps in front of the pretty pastel painted houses on this residential street. Totally worth the trek!
Stop 7: Marina Bay and Helix Bridge
You can’t spend a weekend in Singapore with spending some time strolling around Marina Bay, the focal point for all activity in the city and a beautiful place to explore both day and night. The Helix Bridge was serious sight to behold and every view of the famous Marina Bay Sands seemed to be just as spectacular as the last. That hotel is serious GOALS.
Stop 8: ArtScience Museum
If you only visit one museum or attraction during your weekend in Singapore, make it the incredible ArtScience Museum. While primarily marketed as a kid-friendly museum, i think this was one of coolest places I’ve ever visited and I know Ian loved every minute of our time there too. The Crystal Room was probably my favourite part as well as some very cool light shows where I could happily have stayed, mesmerised, for hours.
Stop 9: Gardens By The Bay
Another must visit on any travellers Singapore Bucket List, the Gardens By The Bay were just as amazing as I knew they would be. Visiting as Christmas meant there were some festive decorations wherever you laid your eyes and a whole line of Christmas trees at the entrance. It was cool being here at sunset, as the sky slowly changed colour and the lights on this enormous trees slowly lit up the sky. A must visit for sure!
Where to eat in Singapore
As there was so much to see and we had so little, a lot of our eating happened back at our hotel – where the menu was always to die for! When not crazing on afternoon tea at The Fullerton Hotel (which I especially recommend forking out for on a Sunday afternoon!) we tasted some Indian delights at the Maxwell Road Hawker Market and Singapore Noodles overlooking Marina Bay right before the light show on Sunday evening. I know if I go back to Singapore i want to spend way more time at the Hawker Centres! One thing we didn’t try but were told you MUST eat in Singapore was the chilli crab dish – so try get a few friends together and have chilli crab when in town!
Where to stay in Singapore
Ian and I spend our weekend in Singapore staying at luxurious The Fullerton Hotel, a building that was once the GPO of Singapore and is still to this day a protected building that holds a lot of history behind its walls. For a full review and photos, check out this post.