Amazing 3 Day Singapore Itinerary (on a budget)

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What comes to mind when you think of Singapore? Perhaps Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Merlion Park, a Night Safari, or the Trick Eye Museum? This unique city-island-country has many world-famous attractions and locations. We’ll share how you can get the most out of your visit in this Amazing 3 day Singapore itinerary. Additionally, we have a few more days worth of activities listed later that you can use to “replace” one or two of the choices we recommend to make your Amazing 3 Day Singapore Itinerary perfect for YOU!

The Singapore Tourism Board states that “It’s summer all year round in Singapore, with average temperatures of 26 to 27°C [79-81°F] throughout the year.” You can also learn about Singaporean culture and customs from this book.

It’s no wonder that Singapore was picked as a filming location for such movies as Crazy Rich Asians, Hitman: Agent 47, and Independence Day: Resurgence. They feature some of the popular sightseeing spots we’ve included in our itinerary like Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Gardens by the Bay, and Changi Airport.

As we are trying to help you stick to a budget, we would recommend going in the non-peak seasons, which means avoid mid-December through February if possible. Consider traveling to Singapore in the Mid-season of May or June - just before the Typhoon / off-season starts in July.

In this article:
Day 1: Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Chinatown, & night shows

Day 2: Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari, and Rainforest Lumina

Day 3: Sentosa Island Fun / Universal Studios Singapore

Bonus: Changi Airport & Alternative days


RECOMMENDED HOTELS

Best Luxury Hotel, Experience & Location: Marina Bay Sands (price varies)

Best Value & Location Hotel: Fragrance Hotel - Sapphire (around $45 USD per night)

Best Experience & Location Hostel: Beary Nice Pod Hostel (around $35 USD per night!)

Cheapest Decent Hostel & Location: Nano Hostel ($10-$17 USD per night!)

Day 1

If you only had one day in Singapore, you should consider spending it around the Gardens by the Bay / Marina Bay area.

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Gardens by the Bay

Get there as early as possible:
By Public Transportation - Take the MRT to Bayfront Station on the Downtown (Blue) or Circle (Orange) Lines
By Taxi - Use the GRAB app to call a car or taxi (NOTE: Taxis are exempt from Child Seat Laws)

All of the Outside Gardens are FREE and plentiful - so if you are limited on your budget, you could still spend all day looking around at Gardens by the Bay for free. The Supertree Garden is also free, but the OCBC Skyway there (the treetop trek) is $8 SGD/$5 SGD (Adult / Child 3-12 years old).

While we recommend going to the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome because they are amazing conservatories, they do cost money ($28 SGD/$15 SGD). If you do go, we recommend exploring Cloud Forest first because it’s bigger and requires more walking; Next, visit the Flower Dome, which has more seating if you get tired. Floral Fantasy is a separate attraction in a different location ($20 SGD/$12 SGD), but you can purchase a shuttle service for $3 SGD (which comes included if you buy the “Attraction Bundle”. The “Attraction Bundle” includes the Two Conservatories + Floral Fantasy + Shuttle Service for $46 SGD / $25 SGD. You can purchase tickets online here, but the Attraction Bundle is not available online.

Note that Floral Fantasy has a timed entry - you will need to choose a one hour time slot to enter. The two conservatories include same-day re-entry as long as you get your hand stamped before leaving; However, Floral Fantasy is limited to one entry for the day.

>>>TIPS when visiting Gardens by the Bay<<<

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Marina Bay Sands

For a bird’s eye view of Singapore, you’ll want to visit the observation deck at Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The infinity pool is only for guests, but non-guests are welcome to dine at the restaurant and bar, or pay for entry to the SkyPark Observation Deck. To get to the observation deck, walk through the hotel lobby and past towers one, two, and three. Exit the end of the building and take a left. There will be escalators to your left going down. Go down the escalators and you’ll be at the ticket counters for the observation deck. Hotel guests can enter for free, otherwise it’s $29 SGD for adults and $23 SGD for children (2-12 yrs old). Check the official website for current deals and promotions, here.

Apart from soaking in the views from the observation deck, you can get a number of amazing photos by just walking around the Gardens by the Bay (the one shot above was from the large baby statue in the Gardens named “Planet”).

Shopping OR a Walking City-Tour (5.4 km / 3.4 miles)

Take a little time to explore a few of the nearby famous sights or landmarks around Singapore.

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Relaxed Choice: Shop a bit and/or have dinner at one of the many restaurants at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands or the Marina Bay Sands Hotel itself. If you are on a budget or want to explore the Gardens a bit more, a better option would be to visit Cafe Astor at the Bayfront Pavilion of Gardens by the Bay.

  • Tip: Try the Sampan Boat Ride in the center of the Shoppes at Marina Bay if you’re feeling romantic! Ride these Chinese crafted gondolas for $10 SGD per person (boats fit 2 people).

  • Digital Light Canvas - “Watch shoals of fish gather in the ocean beneath you as crystals light up overhead, or paint calligraphic art with your feet while flowers blossom in your wake.” - Marina Bay Sands

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Adventurous Choice: We highly recommend finding time to go on a short walk around the city because there is so much to see around this small area. Additionally, you will pass dozens of restaurants during the walk that are worthy of your time - just choose one and take a break. For a shorter walk, you can also skip stops 2, 3, 4, and 5 to stroll around the lake and go directly to Merlion Park.

  1. Start out by walking from Marina Bay Sands down to Bayfront Avenue and then up Marina Blvd.

  2. Then walk toward the Telok Ayer Market and up Cross street toward the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.

  3. Next, continue through Chinatown to see the Sri Mariamman Temple. This is an amazing area where you can pass by all of the many markets, souvenir shops, and food vendors all around Chinatown.

  4. Then, head toward the ParkRoyal on Pickering - this hotel is one that you see flooding Instagram lately, with the garden shaped balconies (if you have a drone, you can launch it in the park across the street for the iconic shot!).

  5. Next, head down S. Canal road, and continue down Battery road, to view all of the different sculptures along the road on your way to Merlion Park & Fountain. You can get to Merlion Park by crossing the road just before the bridge.

  6. While you can take many great pictures near the Merlion itself, you can also get amazing photos from the Jubilee bridge as you walk across to Esplanade. Don’t forget to aim your camera at Esplanade, the city skyline, the ArtScience Museum, the Singapore Flyer (the “eye”), and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel as well.

  7. The Esplanade Lawn has a number of hawker food booths that are definitely recommended! However, make sure you finish up by around 7:15 PM so that you can make your way to the next event!

  8. Just after sunset, and on your way to the Spectra - A light & water show that is at 8:00 PM, you will cross the Helix Bridge - which is even more amazing in the dark. If you have a few minutes, peak into The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands to see some of the amazing light effects!

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SPECTRA & GARDEN RHAPSODY

The SPECTRA light and water show at Marina Bay Sands is only 15 minutes long, but it is completely free to attend. We recommend going at 8 PM, but it does play again at 9 PM every night (and even 10 PM on Friday and Saturday nights).

After catching SPECTRA, head to the Supertree Garden at Gardens by the Bay (tip, you can cross under the street from the ground floor of The Shoppes and through the Bayfront MRT station to save some time). Here you can relax and enjoy the Supertree light show “Garden Rhapsody” at 8:45 PM (note: there is also a showing at 7:45 PM). Go early if you want to find a good spot to sit down. The view from the outskirts is great as well, but the music is loud enough to be heard from afar. It’s a magical display of lights and music that simply cannot be missed!

*Tip: If you have more time in Singapore, you can split this day into two days to make it more relaxed!


Day 2

The Zoo Parks - Singapore Zoo (5-6 hrs), River Safari (2-3 hrs) & Rainforest Lumina OR Night Safari (2-3 hrs).

Singapore Zoo Hamadryas Baboons

Singapore Zoo

Open: 8 AM - 6 PM
Tickets: Prices vary depending on how many parks and attractions you decide to do.

For an additional fee ($25-$35 SGD), you can add on breakfast with free-ranging orangutans from 9 AM - 10:30 AM.

Enjoy the shows and attractions like Splash Safari, Elephants of Asia, and over 100 Hamadryas Baboons.

Plan to spend about 5-6 hours exploring the zoo and seeing all of the amazing animals – many of them in open-air habitats.

Have lunch in the zoo, or at the food court just outside the entrance. Then, make your way over to the River Safari by 3 PM.

Singapore River Safari Giant Panda

River Safari & Giant Panda Forest

Open: 10 AM - 7 PM
**Most of the main attractions close at 6 PM

Enter River Safari and turn to the left. You’ll start with the Rivers of the World and make your way towards the Giant Panda Forest.

After visiting the cutest Red Panda, and the two resident Giant Pandas, you’ll be near the Reservoir Cruise and Amazon River Quest. The Amazon River Quest is an additional $5 SGD, but we recommend adding it on as it’s the only way you’ll get to see some of the animals like capybaras and tapirs.

Don’t miss the Squirrel Monkey Forest on your way back towards the exit of the park. The monkeys roam the forest freely and some may even approach you as you walk through.

Watch the otters and manatees play in the Amazon Flooded Forest before heading out around 6 PM. You can end your day here, or add Rainforest Lumina or Night Safari for a fuller day. If you add one of the night options and want to eat dinner in the area, definitely leave River Safari by 6:30 PM because many of the restaurants at the entrance of the zoo close at 7 PM.

Singapore Zoo Rainforest Lumina

Rainforest Lumina

Open: 7:30 PM - Midnight (seasonally)

For $10 SGD you can add on Rainforest Lumina to your park ticket.

The zoo closes and the animals go to sleep for Rainforest Lumina. You’ll be interacting with digital animal characters instead. It takes about 45 - 60 min to walk through the experience. Remember to choose your character and attribute by selecting a wristband near the beginning (just after the treetops trail). You don’t need it until the end, but it also makes for a nice free souvenir!

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also fit in a visit to the Night Safari – but if you started at the zoo at 8 AM, we recommend doing one or the other so you don’t burn out.

Night Safari

Open: 7:15 PM - Midnight
Admission time slots: 7.15pm, 8.15pm, 9.15pm, 10.15pm
Last entry at 11.15pm 

There are restaurants open in Night Safari that operate as late as 10 PM. The earlier entry slots fill up faster, so you may want to try to purchase your tickets online.

Entry includes a tram ride which is a popular way to see the park. If you’d like to avoid the large crowds, consider walking the paths instead.

Start your visit off with a Thumbuakar Performance – fire twirling show. Go early to the Amphitheatre for the Creatures of the Night show – seats fill up quickly. Note: Flash photography is not allowed, so you may not get great photos at the Night Safari.


Day 3

Sentosa Island Fun Day: Enjoy your day at Universal Studios Singapore or at the many other attractions available at Resorts World. You can even explore the three beaches if time permits!

Universal Studios Singapore USS

Universal Studios Singapore

You could spend your entire day at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) if it’s what you want to do. The park opens at 10 AM, but they generally start letting people in just after 9:30 AM. If you can afford it, we recommend getting one of the Universal Express Passes to maximize your time in the park. It’ll fast track your time and let you bypass the regular standby lines for attractions.

Top attractions are:

  • Battlestar Galactica: HUMAN vs. CYLON™

  • Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure™

  • TRANSFORMERS The Ride

  • Revenge of the Mummy™

TIPS for visiting USS

  • Bring a poncho. It may rain – it’s Singapore! Or you may want it for riding Jurassic Park.

  • To save money on meals, exit the park. The Malaysia Food Street is just outside the entrance and has more reasonably priced food.

  • Go on a weekday. It’s less busy so the lines will be shorter.

Resorts World Sentosa Island Singapore things to do

Wander around Resorts World Sentosa

Entertainment is abound at Resorts World. While there are plenty of places to shop, eat, relax, and take photos, there is no shortage of activities to keep you busy here. Depending on how much you'd prefer to do, you could easily turn this day into a multi-day adventure!

>>Check out our Sentosa Island guide here<<

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Bonus: Changi Airport

Upon arrival or when you’re departing Singapore, schedule time to spend at Changi Airport. Each of the four terminals has an indoor playground, and various attractions such as the Butterfly Garden, in Terminal 3 or the Sunflower Garden in Terminal 2. But the newest attraction at the airport is located next to Terminal 1.

The Jewel at Changi Airport opened in April 2019, and is open to the public (even without a ticket) from 8 AM until 12:30 AM (just after midnight). It houses the world’s tallest indoor waterfall (131 feet), the HSBC Rain Vortex, and is a great place to spend the day. There are activities and attractions like the Hedge and Mirror Mazes, Canopy Park, Discovery Slides, and Skynets available at prices ranging from $5 - $71 SGD. If you’re flying from Terminal 1, you may be eligible to check your bags up to 24 hours in advance. If you happen to be at the airport at night, a spectacular light and sound show is projected onto the waterfall itself.

Alternative Choices for Days

  1. Nature Reserves & Trails: Choose from Bukit Timah Summit (2 hrs) or Hindhede Path (30 min), Kampong Trail (4 hrs), Green “Rail” Corridor (2 hrs), Dairy Farm Park (2-3 hrs), MacRitchie Reservoir Trail & Treetop Walk (4-5 hrs), Chestnut Nature Park (3-4 hrs), and Zhenghua Nature Park (1 hr).

  2. Museums, Science & Gardens: Choose from Singapore Botanical Gardens (3-4 hrs), Jurong Bird Park (3-4 hrs), S’pore Discovery Center (3-4 hrs), the Science Center Singapore (3-4 hrs), the Chinese & Japanese Gardens, National Gallery Singapore (3-4 hrs), ArtScience Museum (2-3 hrs), and the MINT Museum of Toys (3-4 hrs).

    Pro tip: ArtScience Museum is FREE to up to four children (ages 11 and under) with every adult ticket purchased on FRIDAYS.

  3. Shop & Relax: Wander Around Resorts World Sentosa & the Beaches (Tanjong, Palawan, and Siloso) + Shopping at Vivo City, Orchard Road, or The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

Can you think of another amazing day that should be listed here? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll add it here (we’ll even share a link to your site if you wish!). Thanks!

Planning a trip to Singapore and want to make it easier? Book the 4-day / 3-night Singapore City Stay tour - which includes airport pickup and drop-off, hotel stay for 3 nights, and unlimited travel on the SIA Hop-on Hop-off bus, plus access to more than 20 great deals for attractions such as Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Cable Car, Singapore River Cruise and more. We even recommend trying the Original Singapore Duck Tour which drives you through the city streets, as well as through Marina Bay, to see and learn about all of Singapore’s highlights.

However, if you’d prefer to choose one of the amazing hotels or hostels listed below, we suggest adding on the Singapore Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing bus or the Singapore City Hop On Hop Off Tour 2 Day Pass (a better deal) to get around to all of the important sights. Additionally, if you like to go touring at night, check out the HiPPO Night City Tour!


RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN SINGAPORE

Best Luxury Hotel, Experience & Location: Marina Bay Sands (price varies)

Best Value & Location Hotel: Fragrance Hotel - Sapphire (around $45 USD per night)

Best Experience & Location Hostel: Beary Nice Pod Hostel (around $35 USD per night!)

Cheapest Decent Hostel & Location: Nano Hostel ($10-$17 USD per night!)


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Respectfully,
Jenny & Bradley of EatWanderExplore

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