Cosmopolitan and cutting-edge Singapore is one of Asia’s most rewarding urban destinations. Measuring just 26 miles (42 kilometers) wide and 14 miles (22 kilometers) long, the island-nation is wonderfully compact, making it easy to get around without wasting hours in transit. Here’s how to experience the best of Singapore in just one day.
Morning: Gardens or Wildlife
Singapore christened itself the Garden City and is increasingly living up to that moniker, with architects and designers integrating greenery into new developments in unexpected and often innovative ways. Discover the ingenious urban-meets-nature designs of Gardens by the Bay, home to the vertical gardens of Supertree Grove and the Cloud Forest Conservatory. If it’s wildlife rather than plant life you want to see, visit the world-renowned Singapore Zoo or the Jurong Bird Park instead.
Afternoon: Urban Exploring
Grab lunch at a hawker center: Tiong Bahru Market and Maxwell Food Centre offer authentic eats at low prices. Next up, continue your day with a guided tour of Singapore’s must-sees, from the Merlion—the half-fish, half-lion sculpture on Singapore's waterfront—to Chinatown’s ancient Thian Hock Keng Temple. Alternatively, take a hop-on hop-off bus tour that lets you choose which sights you want to prioritize, getting on and off along the route at your leisure. After exploring at ground level, ride the lift up 57 floors to the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark to soak up 360-degree vistas of Singapore from on high.
Evening: Dazzling Lights, Night Markets, and Singapore Slings
Singapore is one of those cities that only gets livelier after dark. See its attention-grabbing architectural landmarks lit up dramatically from the top deck of a nighttime hop-on hop-off tour bus. For even more spectacular after-dark vistas, go for a late-night spin on the Singapore Flyer wheel. Alternatively, opt for a guided nighttime tour. Some tours include sit-down dinners, while others include samples of street food from hawker centers, such as Telok Ayer. And almost all nighttime tours give guests the chance to try the city-state’s legendary signature cocktail: the Singapore Sling.