Usually, rather than opt for the shortest possible connection that gives me just enough time to run from gate to gate - like I do with other cities (LAX ahem) – when my flight goes via Singapore, I try to give myself at least 24 hours in this thriving and vibrant Asian city.
Singapore is a major stopover hub on the way to many destinations, and many cheap flights to Europe stop here. That suits me just fine. Goodness knows you could pass 24 hours easily without leaving Changi Airport. It has a butterfly garden, swimming pool, cinema, gaming room and seemingly endless duty-free shopping boutiques! However, if you find yourself with a day to kill in Singapore, I don't recommend staying hulled up indoors. The city is very easy to navigate, is extremely tourist-friendly, and has plenty to offer for just about any traveller.

Check out my recommendation for what to do with 24 hours in Singapore.



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The first thing you should know is that Singapore is a hot and humid destination all year round. This can be great for getting some moisture back into the skin and clearing out the pores after a stuffy flight, but if you're on your way to wintry Europe, remember to still pack a change of summer clothes. English is one of the three official languages in Singapore, so most people are bi- or tri-lingual and you shouldn't have any problem organising a taxi and making your way to your first stop. The currency is the Singapore dollar and most places accept credit card (although this can be with a surcharge of up to 10%). Exchange at least a small amount of money before you leave the airport, just in case.

First stop, Chinatown


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As I like to say, any time of the day is snack time, so no matter what hour you arrive, head to Chinatown to start sampling the delicious Singapore cuisine. Be warned, Singapore has a lot of great food to sample, so be sure to choose wisely and save some space for later. Chinatown is one of the most arresting and cultural corners of Singapore, and is in stark contrast to the CBD's stark high rises. The Peranakan heritage buildings provide low rise alleyways that are visually stunning, not to mention highly 'gramable. A hawker market is basically a big outdoor food court, and these are hugely popular in Singapore. The Chinatown Food Centre Complex is one of the best, and vendors open at 7am, so stop in for a hearty and unusual breakfast like BBQ pork and noodles, or Kaya toast.

Get spiritual in Little India


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If you didn't get your senses overloaded in Chinatown, then jump on the MRT and take a short ride to Little India. This is another of the city's most colourful areas and is the perfect place to walk off your big breakfast. Take in the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, the landmark Chinese villa of Tan Teng Niah, and the 15 foot Buddha at the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple.

Shop until you drop on Orchard Road


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Singapore is a city where you can literally shop until you drop. However, I recommend just shopping until you drop into a chair for another scrumptious meal. A great place to do this is Orchard Road, Singapore's commercial mecca. Take a little break from the climbing heat inside the malls and stores lining this classy retail avenue. When you're ready, head on down to the ION Food Court Opera in Orchard Mall that serves up just about any Asian favourite you can imagine.

Stunning views at Marina Bay


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Jump back on the MRT towards Marina Bay and take a walk around the bay to the monolithic Marina Bay Sands. You will know when you get there because you will spot a giant boat propped up on two high rises. Grab a cocktail along the promenade and relax among the locals and expats as the sun starts to go down over the city. The skyline view is stunning and will make you glad you set aside the time to venture out into this diverse city.



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If you are staying the night in Singapore, then you might consider a hotel near the airport to maximise on your beauty sleep. Or, if you are the kind of traveller that would prefer to party until the sun comes up and sink into a deep sleep high in the air, then head over to Clarke Quay, famous for its nightlife, and let your ears and feet guide you.

Whatever you do with your 24 hours in Singapore, I am sure that this will just wet your tastebuds and you will be scouring for cheap fares to return in the not so distant future.