A guide to how you spend your time if you only have 24 hours in Singapore and want to make the best of your stay in our sunny little island.
1. TRY to skip the shopping malls (1pm – 4pm)
I say that because wherever you came from, there are probably numerous shopping malls. Be it Malaysia, China or even the USA. Why waste your day in Singapore walking around places you have at home? However, if you must visit a shopping mall in Singapore, head down to the premier shopping district in Orchard Road.
The well heeled will find solace in names such as Coach, Burberry, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. As a youth, I recommend malls such as Far East Plaza, 313 Somerset and Takashimaya Shopping Centre, for the size and variety you’ll get there. For Far East Plaza, it is akin to the rebellious child of Orchard Road, setting itself apart from the rest of the prim and proper shopping malls. It has its own unique style and definitely deserves a visit.
Personally, I would recommend 313 Somerset due to its accessibility by bus, the MRT or taxi. Secondly, retail outlets range from labels such as Zara and Forever 21 to Uniqlo and Cotton On. Additionally, the mall also includes restaurants, cafes and even a food court at the top level. There’s definitely something for everyone in this mall.
2. Hawker food, Hawker food, Hawker food! (For meals)
As a tourist, any hawker center you find in Singapore is a godsend. I specifically mention hawker centers and not their more pretentious and upscale brethren, food courts. For Singaporeans, hawker centers are places that really take us back to when we were children. That was when our parents or grandparents brought us to the market and introduced the food that we now fondly order and crave.
Char Kway Teow, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Nasi Lemak and Roti Prata amongst the many. Inexpensive and satisfying, have a meal at a hawker center and end it off with a bowl of ice kachang or bubur chacha. Now, you may be wondering what these dishes are and are probably unable to pronounce half of them. It is an intentional omission of mine.
Explaining what these dishes are and attaching English descriptions to them are next to impossible, just order them and take the time to enjoy them. It’s worth every dollar! Famous hawker centers to visit include Lau Pa Sat at Tanjong Pagar, Newton Circus at Newton and the Maxwell Food Centre in the heart of Chinatown. Personally, it’s hard to call any one of these places my favourite, but if I had to pick one, it would be Lau Pa Sat.
3. Get Your Drinks On! (8.30pm till late)
Clarke Quay, THE place to be when the sun goes down. The whole district is all about letting your hair down. Have a few drinks with your mates and unwind before your flight the next day or just hit the dance floor and boogie on! With the number of establishments there ranging from Beer Market, Butter Factory, Dream, The Pump Room to Hooters, any bar, pub or club you head to is a safe bet.
The atmosphere at Clarke Quay is electric and it is THE best nightlife spot in Singapore. Sure there may be Avalon, Zouk and even St James Power Station, but for sheer choice, Clarke Quay’s the place.
4. Just Go With It
Some of you at this point might be complaining I left out a number of key attractions. However, this guide is well….just a rough guide! Go with the flow, you’ve only 24 hours in Singapore, make the best of it. Talk to friends or family members who have either been here or lived here and they will give you their own list of places to go, food you must eat and things to do.
However, a number of places that I strongly suggest that you visit include Chinatown, Gardens By The Bay and Resorts World Sentosa.
Lastly, go by your gut feel. Don’t feel bound the guide or any others that you might read. That’s the beauty of travel and having only 24 hours to take in as much as you can. Thanks for reading this guide and I hope it has been helpful to you!