(SPOT.ph) Singapore might be a small city, but it certainly has a lot to offer in terms of culture and cuisine: think spicy laksa, chili crab, historic shophouses, and unrivaled cleanliness. When you consider the unique aspects of this bustling city-state coupled with its compact size, efficient MRT system, and the fact that it doesn’t require a visa and is only a short plane ride away, it’s no wonder Singapore has always been a top travel destination among Filipinos.
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Here’s a suggested itinerary to help you get the most out of 24 hours in Singapore:
Get breakfast at Tiong Bahru Market Hawker Centre
Tiong Bahru Market Hawker Centre offers numerous options for affordable and tasty Singaporean cuisine. Want to dine like a local? Try a plate of roasted chicken rice from Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice, located on the second floor of the market. There’s a reason it’s a popular breakfast staple among Singaporeans—you just can’t go wrong with succulent chicken served on a bed of aromatic hainanese rice. For added flavor, opt for either spicy chili sauce or soy sauce on the side. It's been around since 1988 and it's highly recommended by the Michelin Guide.
Tiong Bahru Market Hawker Centre is at 30 Seng Poh Road, Singapore. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Have a photo shoot at Bukit Pasoh Road
Once you’ve got your fill for the morning, take a quick MRT ride to Bukit Pasoh Road to marvel at picturesque colonial architecture, evident in the historic Jinrikisha Station and a range of colorful vintage shophouses. If these chic façades look familiar to you, it’s because you probably saw them in Crazy Rich Asians. You can also find picture-perfect murals, such as the one by artist collective Ripple Root on The Working Capitol building on Keong Saik Road, as well as one by heritage muralist Yip Yew Chong along Neil Road outside of Botanist café.
Bukit Pasoh Road is in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore.
Grab some brunch at The Reading Room
After exploring Bukit Pasoh, take a breather at The Reading Room, a book café by day and a bar by night. The café has an impressive selection of books for you to freely pick up and read. For a light brunch to pair with a wholesome cup of coffee, go for their creamy and crispy crab croquettes. Curling up with a book on one of their cozy couches would make the perfect midmorning break before you head out to resume the rest of your day.
The Reading Room is at 19 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore. It is open on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., and on weekends from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Learn about Singapore’s history at Raffles Hotel
Once you’ve satisfied your book and brunch cravings, hop on the MRT for a short ride to Raffles Place, then walk to Raffles Hotel. The hotel is one of Singapore’s most luxurious landmarks and its museum offers a brief yet informative look at the city state’s history. Don’t forget to grab a Singapore Sling at the famous Long Bar, where the drink was first created.
Raffles Hotel is at 1 Beach Road, Singapore. Raffles Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Long Bar is open daily from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Take a break for lunch at Haji Lane
Sure, Tiong Bahru is hip and happening these days; but before that neighborhood was trendy, Haji Lane was already buzzing with one-of-a-kind boutiques, laid-back cafés, and vibrant restaurants. If you're on a solo flight, drop by Selfie Coffee for some quality me time. You can also learn more about Singaporean culture through locally inspired drinks at The Singapura Club. After having a full meal, you can burn off the calories by walking along the strip (and doing some shopping).
Haji Lane is in Kampong Glam, Singapore.
Marvel at the huge art collection of the National Gallery of Singapore
The National Gallery of Singapore boasts an impressive collection of over 8,000 pieces of South and Southeast Asian art. The UOB Southeast Asia Gallery, located in the Supreme Court Wing, is a must-visit for Filipinos. It has a small but substantial collection of Philippine art, including Juan Luna’s historic "España y Filipinas (Spain and the Philippines)." Make sure to also check out one of Singapore’s most well-known paintings, Chua Mia Tee’s "National Language Class," located at the DBS Singapore wing on the ground floor.
National Gallery of Singapore is at 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are at SGD 20.
Watch the sunset from the Singapore River Bumboat Cruise
After all that walking, it’s time to start winding down. Head back to the Clarke Quay ticketing counter at Merlion Park to purchase some tickets for the Singapore River Bumboat Cruise. Once aboard, you can sit back and rest your aching feet on this 40-minute ride, which offers a relaxing and efficient way to see the best of Singapore’s sights. It’s recommended that you experience the ride in the late afternoon in order to catch the sunset over the glittering Singapore river and the brilliant lights of the city’s urban nightscape.
The Singapore River Bumboat Cruise is at 30 Merchant Road, Singapore. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are at SGD 25.
Get dinner at Supertree Food Hall
While waiting for the Garden Rhapsody music and light show to begin, be sure to grab dinner at Supertree Food Hall located inside Gardens by the Bay. You can have your pick at one of the food halls’ many cultural cuisines which inspire Singaporean cuisine as a whole. Sate your hunger with a hearty bowl of pho beef from Phostreet or a cheap yet satisfying bowl of classic congee from Sheng Kee Noodle House.
Supertree Food Hall is at Supertree Grove, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore. It is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Catch the music and light show at Gardens by the Bay
A trip to Singapore would be incomplete without catching the Garden Rhapsody music and light show at Gardens by the Bay’s Supertree Grove. The best way to view the show is by lying down under the canopy of trees and looking up to a dazzling array of colorful lights and music.
Garden Rhapsody is at Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore. It is open daily from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. Entrance is free.
Drink in style at ATLAS bar
Still got some energy left? Head over to ATLAS Bar. The Art Deco-inspired lobby and bar looks like the perfect setting for luxurious parties from The Great Gatsby. But it’s more than just a pretty bar—it also boasts 1,300 different kinds of gin to choose from and a fine selection of champagne brands as well as cocktails and spirits. Try their signature ATLAS Martini made with London dry gin, Ambrato vermouth, and champagne vinegar. They also have a menu with an assortment of mouthwatering modern European dishes. For a tasty snack to culminate the evening, try their bread crisp topped with fresh San Marzano tomatoes, stracciatella cheese, and caper leaves.
ATLAS Bar is at 600 North Bridge Road, Parkview Square, Singapore. It is open Mondays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.