Singapore travel guide: A perfect 24 hours in the Lion City

Take in the magical Gardens by the Bay and then try some world-famous hawker food at Telok Ayer Market in one of Asia's most popular destinations

Kelly Fung |

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The spectacular fountain at Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Bay.

This week, we’re taking you to Singapore – a city best known for being a literal concrete jungle, where greenery grows lush between its many modern high-rises. In just 24 hours, you can explore the many sides of this spectacular city, from the sky to the sea, to the jungle.

Of course, what makes this place such a popular destination has to be the irresistible variety of food it offers, so you can bet we have a long list of food stops you have to make along the way.


Kick off your day with a plate of kaya toast. Paired with soft-boiled eggs and soy sauce on the side, nothing can beat some kaya butter goodness and a hot cup of milk tea in the morning. There are many places that serve this breakfast combo, but we recommend Ya Kun Kaya Toast, a popular franchise, so you can find a branch wherever you are in the city.

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Afterwards, take the subway (MRT) to Harbourfront station, and from there hop on the Sentosa Express to Sentosa Island. There are many days’ worth of attractions on this resort island, but if you only have time to visit one, we recommend S.E.A. Aquarium, home to more than 100,000 marine animals of more than 1,000 species, including the endangered scalloped hammerhead and silvertip shark.


Before leaving the island, you must try the Skyline Luge. To get there, jump on the Sentosa Skyride, a chair lift that takes you up a mountain, giving you a magnificent view of the sea. From the top, you can zip back down on a vehicle fuelled only by gravity. Don’t worry if it’s your first time luging; there are trainers at the start of the course who can teach you how to operate the luge.

At night, the Gardens by the Bay is like the world of 'Avatar'.
Photo: Kelly Fung/SCMP

For lunch, head to Song Fa Bak Kut Teh. There are 10 branches around Singapore, but if you go to the one closest to Chinatown MRT station, you can do a little shopping after your meal. The bak kut teh broth is a flavourful combination of herbs and pepper (they offer free soup refills!) and pairs perfectly with the soft and tender pieces of pork.


Before it starts to get dark, head to Gardens by the Bay (Raffles Place MRT Station) – yes, the gorgeous wedding reception location in Crazy Rich Asians. Enter the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, where you can take in the beauty of nature, and take a hundred or so stunning photos. After sunset, walk over to the Supertree Grove and stand in awe of the Avatar-esque artificial forest that lights up in time to music during the Garden Rhapsody show (7.45pm, 8.45pm).

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After the show, head straight to Lau Pa Sat hawker centre, otherwise known as Telok Ayer Market, which is about a 20-minute walk from the Gardens. If you’ve yet to savour the seafood of Singapore, you’re in for a treat. You can’t go wrong by ordering the chilli crab, cereal prawns, or sambal stingray. Better yet, order all three! The beauty of food centres like this is that you can eat like a king without emptying your wallet.

If you still have enough energy for one more activity, visit the Night Safari. While you’re nearing the end of your 24 hours in the city, the animals at this nocturnal zoo are just getting started. This park is the first of its kind and houses more than 130 species which you can meet along the dimly-lit walking trails. Or enjoy a 30-minute tram ride around the park with live commentary. The cut-off time for entry into the park is 11.15pm, so you can really make the most of every minute you have in the Lion City.

The grilled stingray in sambal sauce at Lau Pa Sat Food Centre, Singapore.
Photo: Kelly Fung/SCMP

Edited by Nicole Moraleda