City Guides

How to Explore Singapore in 24 Hours

Jennifer DeSimone
January 19, 2024

Singapore is an incredible 24 - 36 hour layover option for anyone traveling to Asia (say, to Bali or Thailand). It's easy to navigate, quick to see, and the food...well, you won't stop eating.

How to Get Around Singapore

Upon arriving at Changi Airport, skip the taxis and take the MRT train. You can jump on at terminal 2 or 3 and transfer to a westbound train to Tanah Merah Station. You'll be in the heart of everything within minutes.

Pro tip: Singapore is very walkable but depending on what time of year you go the, you may be hard pressed to find a cool day. Take advantage of MRT train system with its cool air, prompt trains, and impeccable cleanliness.

Botanical Gardens

What to Eat in Singapore

Ok, real talk. The REAL reason why I went to Singapore was the food. With so many regional and international influences, its easy to get lost in the aromas and flavors that Singapore has to offer.

Locals, expats and tourists can all be found at local food hawker centres all around the city. You don't have to worry about getting sick here - sanitation is king and the quality is queen.

Some of the best hawker centres are: 

-Lau Pa Sat

-Maxwell Road Food Centre

-Chinatown Food Centre

Laksa and satay at Lau Pa Sat

Some of my favorite eats include: 

-Laksa noodles of any kind (I always sought out ones with prawn)

-Oyster omelettes

-Singaporean chicken and rice

-Peanut pancakes


And if you need a cheap breakfast, don't miss popping into a kaya toast cafe. Get a cup of coffee (check the menu on how to order), a warm kaya toast (with coconut and butter) and an order of soft boiled eggs. For about $5 you'll be fueled up, but not too full to not want to keep eating.

Kaya toast

Pro tip: Head to Pau Pa Sat in the evening and walk to the back exit. Once outside, order about 10 satays per person (chicken and shrimp are the bomb), grab a table, order a cold beer, and just enjoy the people watching. It'll be the best food experience you'll have in Singapore!

What to See in Singapore

The highlight of my 36 hours in Singapore (after the food) were the Hanging Gardens at Gardens at the Bay. The massive metal structures and sky walkway nestle in against local flora and flauna. Make sure to stand at the ground level and look up! 

Hanging Gardens

Pro tip: You can walk the grounds for free and only pay for entrance to the gardens. Perfect if you are short on time.

Other highlights: 

-Singapore Botanical Gardens: This 158 year old UNESCO World Heritage Site is not to be missed! My favorite part was the orchid gardens but you can spend hours wandering through the gardens, getting lost, and just enjoying this serene oasis.

-Pool at Marina Sand Bay: While I skipped this, you can spring for a room here and enjoy access to the rooftop pools and all the opulence they have to offer.

-Merlions at Waterfront Promenade: Stroll through this water park and see the iconic merlion water statutes.


-Sentosa: Another spot i skipped, but Sentosa is Singapore's premier island resort getaway with spas, theme parks, dining, and shopping.

Pro tip: Read "Crazy Rich Asians" by Kevin Kwan on the flight over. You will be able to picture Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young all over the city.


Singapore is a mixing pot of the regions greatest cultures. Ethnic Chinese, Malays, Indians, and even Eurasians mix and mingle. As you walk the city take note of the changing neighborhoods in little India or Chinatown or stumble upon Buddhist Temples, Christian Churches, and Muslim Mosques.

Pro tip: make sure to take time to explore the vast range of street art in many of the neighborhoods.

Street Art

How to Leave

Upon departure, take the train back to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Changi Airport is consistently rated one of the best airports in the world, and for good reason. There's PLENTY to explore at the actual airport itself!

Pre-flight, enjoy a few drinks, munch on sushi or dim sum, go for a swim, stroll one of the many gardens, or take in some last minute shopping.

Next time you find yourself flying to Bali or Thailand, be sure to consider Singapore for your layover. Whether you have 12 hours or a week in here, you'll find that this small city-state has something for everyone to enjoy!

Jennifer DeSimone
Currently based in Austin, Jennifer is the Chief of Community for U30X. She has a passion for creating connections, community, and opportunities for more empathy. In her spare time you can find her on her yoga mat, whipping up something yummy in the kitchen, or reading a good book.


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