The island of Singapore is packed with 5.4 million people from across different cultures — which makes exploring the city a true multicultural experience. From the enclaves of the Chinese, Indians, and Malays to the metropolitan Marina Bay, Singapore has tons of cultural discoveries to offer, even if you only have little time. Here’s how to take it all in with a mere 24 hours in Singapore.
Morning: 9am – 12pm
Start your day early at Kampong Glam in the Malay enclave to avoid touring in the hot afternoon sun. Grab brunch at Singapore Zam Zam, a restaurant on North Bridge Road that serves the best mee goreng (Indian fried noodles) and murtabak (pancake stuffed with minced mutton), washed down with a cup of aromatic teh or kopi tarik (tea or coffee). Then proceed to the Sultan Mosque and the Malay Heritage Centre to soak up the historic atmosphere and learn about the early Malay settlement. The Heritage Centre was once the the Istana Kampong Glam (Sultan’s Palace).
Afternoon: 12pm – 4pm
From the Malay enclave, move on to China Town, known as Niu che shui. Since the days of Raffles (the founder of Singapore), the Chinese have lived and worked around Pagoda Street, Temple Street, Trengganu Street, and Saigo Street. Here you will see architecture of the pre-war days as well as souvenir stores lining the streets. For lunch, hit the largest hawker centre in Singapore, which boasts more than 220 food stalls. Talk about being spoiled for choice! After lunch, continue your shopping or visit some of the religious sites to experience the multicultural, multi-religious mix that makes Singapore so unique.
Evening: 4pm – 7pm
A cultural day in Singapore is not complete without a visit to Little India. Here you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into the streets of Southern India, as you’re greeted with the charm of fortune tellers and their parrots, flower vendors making garlands by the road sides, and the pungent fragrance of spices along Serangoon Road. Explore Little India Arcade for some savoury snacks and desserts. Get a beautiful temporary henna tattoo as a souvenir. For dinner, indulge in some spicy fish curry or chicken briyani on banana leaves.
Night: 7pm – 9pm
Once you’ve explored the three major enclaves of Singapore, complete your journey with the mesmerising night scenes of the Marina Bay area. Capture them into your memories at Merlion Park, where Singapore’s tourism mascot, the Merlion (a creature with the body of a fish and head of a lion) stands tall. Be enchanted by the stunning displays of water, light, sounds, and pyrotechnics before the curtain lowers and you call it a day for your Singapore trip.