After two days in Kuala Lumpur visiting my cousins, I took a short flight to visit my aunt in Singapore. Now, I’d spend two days in Singapore. 48 hours in Singapore is short, but the glittering skyline and bustling population had always intrigued me. I was extremely excited to spend a little time in another brand new Asian metropolis. Two days in Singapore isn’t much time but if you are up for it, a lot of ground can be covered. Besides, rest can be overrated.
48 Hours in Singapore: Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Standing at 55 stories tall – including a spectacular rooftop pool, the Marina Bay Sands hotel is one of the most famous attractions in Singapore. If you only have 48 hours in Singapore, you must stop here. The hotel has over 2500 rooms, is attached to a spectacular shopping mall, and has the most magnificent views of the city. The rooftop pool is arguably the highlight of the hotel, but that may be due to the extremely exclusivity of access for guests only. Nearby, there are public bars and an observation deck for comparable views.
The attached shopping mall – the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands – has over 200 stores and restaurants including a free-standing Louis Vuitton flagship right on the harbor. Each night, shoppers and hotel guests alike can sit on the waterfront to observe a sound and light show as well.
2 Days in Singapore: Gardens by the Bay
Adjacent to the marina, the Gardens by the Bay nature park features a dozen unique and interactive exhibits. Even if you only have two days in Singapore, it’s worth a stop. During my first afternoon, I visited the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. Later that evening, I returned for the light show in the Supertree Grove.
The Flower Dome is definitely a must-see for floral enthusiasts, but it was the Cloud Forest that truly took my breath away. This is another can’t miss if you only have 48 hours in Singapore. The indoor facility is highlighted by a 115 foot waterfall. Walking through the space transports attendees to what feels like Jurassic Park without predatorial threat. If time permits, it is definitely worth attending the light show in the Supertree Grove. Guests have an opportunity to watch the show from the elevated walkway 80+ feet in the air. Many of these supertrees actually harvest solar energy, making them arguably the largest environmentally sustainable attraction I’ve ever seen.
48 Hours in Singapore: Chinatown
I was excited to check out Chinatown for a few hours during my 48 hours in Singapore. Before I visited, I had read about the fun shopping, beautiful temples and whimsical store fronts and it absolutely did not disappoint. The neighborhood was vibrant, the shopping was delightful and it was the perfect place to squeeze in some reflexology treatments.
As I have mentioned in previous pieces, my preferred way to experience a new country or culture is to try the cuisine. This was no different during my 48 hours in Singapore. My favorite way to eat was in the Hawker Stands. These markets are essentially massive food courts with dozens of stands, each of which highlights a select few dishes. We spent some time in the Ghim Moh Market and sampled loads of dishes, my favorite being Kway Teoh, a plate of wide flat noodles with beef and greens for about five U.S. dollars.
One night for dinner, we went to JUMBO Seafood for Chili Crab and Black Pepper Lobster. JUMBO Seafood has a few locations and we dined at the one on the riverwalk. The riverwalk area is a great place to stroll and wander, and I highly recommend making a stop for dinner at JUMBO. The dishes are messy and require you to use your hands, but I am not sure if I have tasted shellfish that fresh ever before.
To contrast my more casual dining experiences, we visited TWG Tea in the uber fancy ION Shopping Center on Orchard Street for high tea. TWG Tea was founded in 2008 in Singapore and oozes British colonial tradition. The service was refined, the mini sandwiches were tasty, and the experience was fancy. It was definitely worth the time, but worth noting that this was a pricier afternoon.
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My Tips for 2 Days in Singapore
While my time in the city wasn’t long, I was able to pick up a few tips to maximize your experience for 48 hours in Singapore.
- Singapore as a city is on the more expensive side. I chose to spend money on experiences and dining rather than shopping.
- The Chinatown neighborhood is not only bustling with energy, it is also more affordable than other neighborhoods. We spent a long afternoon getting multiple reflexology treatments and snacking through some of the markets.
- The MRT is the public transportation system in Singapore. It is very safe and extremely intuitive to navigate.
- Singapore is immaculate. The city takes pride in its presentation and caters to tourists.
- With its many parks and gardens, there are countless outdoor activities and experiences available to visitors and residents alike. .
- The magnificent rooftop infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands is for guests only. If you’re not a guest, the observation deck has comparable views. I suggest visiting at sunset. The bars at the top of the hotel have a great vibe and energy, but don’t have as great of views.
I was very fortunate to cram a lot into 48 hours in Singapore thanks to my dear aunt who has never-ending energy and a passion for her home city. I definitely felt like I covered a great deal of must-see Singapore, however I cannot wait to visit again to see things I didn’t get to this time… and get another plate of that Black Pepper Lobster from JUMBO. Until next time…