How to Spend 48 Hours in Singapore (A Simple Guide)

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Singapore is a melting pot of ethnic influences of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Arabic. And spending 48 hours in Singapore for a two-day stop-over will give you time to enjoy some famous landmarks and fabulous food.

Whether you are transiting through Changi Airport, always ranked one of the world’s best airports, or spending more time in the city of Singapore, is one way to absorb a stopover in Singapore.

And if you are traveling on to Malaysia, these essential tips will help you book a bus from Singapore to Malacca.

Related Post: Hong Kong Stopover

Arrival at Changi Airport in Singapore

One thing you will experience as you leave the aircraft is the humidity. But that’s all forgotten once you are inside the airport terminal. Your jaw may even drop.

Singapore airport is the best airport for a stopover, especially to wait for an ongoing flight.

Besides getting a coffee and something to eat, you can explore:

  • a butterfly garden
  • admire a waterfall
  • take a swim
  • go shopping
  • enjoy 100 restaurants
The Jewel at Changi Airport with its 40m high vortex waterfall

You can find out what’s available in each terminal with the Changi Airport Guide and navigate the airport remembering:

  • T1 – Terminal 1
  • T2 – Terminal 2
  • T3 – Terminal 3
  • T4 – Terminal 4

And when you are in transit for more than 5.5 hours, you can visit the city of Singapore on either the Heritage Tour or the City Sights Tour.

Changi to Downtown Singapore

If you are planning 48 hours in Singapore, the easiest way to the city is the Metro.

Follow the signs for the MRT (train) at the airport.

Ticket machines are available, but only for low denomination notes; otherwise, there is a central ticket counter. A one-way ticket to the CBD is about SGD2.40.

Tip: The ticket machine only accepts small denominations.

Take the East-West Green line to The Esplanade, and then it’s only a 10-minute walk.

Otherwise, take Bus Line 36.

Accommodation in Singapore

View from our Airbnb in Singapore

We often use Airbnb as one of our accommodation options as the local hosts always have great tips on what to see and do in a city, plus local foods to try.

Or maybe treat yourself to a night in Marina Bay Sands and have a cocktail or a swim on Level 57. The views are amazing.

To make a booking we choose

Exploring Singapore in 48 hours

Singapore is easy to explore on foot, even if you only have 48 hours.

The Esplanade is a great place to experience nearby iconic landmarks and enjoy fabulous restaurants.

1. Have Fun with Merlion

Merlion is an 8.5m-tall statue with the body of a fish and the head of a lion, shooting water from its mouth.

Tourists have a lot of fun laughing, smiling and taking creative photos.

Water fountain sculpture
Maura taking a drink from the Merlion

2. Views from Singapore Flyer

The Singapore Flyer has great views of the harbour, even if the humidity sometimes makes the skies cloudy.

The 30-minute ride in an air-conditioned capsule is one way to escape the heat.

The Singapore Flyer at night

3. Walk the Helix Bridge

Walking the pedestrian Helix Bridge is a unique experience. The bridge was inspired by the structure of DNA and is made of stainless steel and carbon steel, with four cantilevered viewing platforms.

To shade pedestrians from the sun, along the bridge are canopies made of fritted glass and steel mesh. And at night, the bridge is illuminated.

Helix Bridge links Marina Centre with Marina South. What a brilliant architectural design.

A tall building and a bridge
Marina Bay Sands and the Helix Bridge

4. Bumboat River Cruise

A boat on a river

Seeing a city from the water offers a different perspective. Years ago, the bumboat was used to ferry supplies from the larger ships to the shore.

For SGD25, you can cruise between Clarke Quay and the Esplanade for a 40-minute round trip. You can start and end your cruise at the same quay, but if you get off the bumboat before the 40 minutes, your river cruise is over.

The bumboats run every 15 minutes from 9 am to 11 pm (the last boarding is 10.30 pm). Pay cash for tickets at the river cruise booths.

Tip: This is not a hop-on, hop-off river cruise

5. Wander through Gardens by the Bay

What started with a vision in 2006 by the National Parks Board Singapore, the “City in a Garden” was opened in 2011.

If you only have 48 hours in Singapore, Gardens by the Bay is one of the best things to do in Singapore.

You can easily spend the day and the evening wandering through Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, taking a Skywalk or enjoying the Outdoor Garden.

Some trees in an indoor garden
Singapore Flower Dome Experience

For online ticket bookings and information and to avoid peak times, click here at Gardens by the Bay.

Outdoor Garden – FREE entry, open from 5 am to 2 am

OCBC Skywalk – entry SGD8, open from 9 am to 9 pm

Floral Fantasy – entry SGD20, open from 9 am to 9 pm

Flower Dome and Cloud Forest – combined ticket SGD28, open from 9 am to 9 pm

Shuttle Service – SGD3 per day for unlimited rides

An indoor waterfall
Waterfall of the Cloud Forest, Singapore

6. Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Even though Orchard Road is a popular shopping area, when on a 48-hour stopover, Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands has all the big brands.

Air-conditioned with cafes and restaurants, it makes shopping pleasurable.

7. Fort Canning Park

Residence on Fort Canning Park

If you have an interest in the military history of Singapore, you’ll find a walk through Fort Canning Hill fascinating.

The hill is only 48 meters high but strategically important over the centuries. Used as a burial place for ancient kings of Singapore, the residence of Sir Stamford Raffles and Fort Canning was built in 1861.

8. Visit Kampong Glam

Kampong Glam – known as Singapore’s Muslim Quarter.

Kampong Glam is Singapore’s vibrant Muslim Quarter situated around bustling Arab Street. This charming neighborhood is famous for its picturesque 19th-century shophouses, which have been converted into shops offering textiles and cozy restaurants serving a delicious blend of spicy Malay and international cuisine.

You won’t want to miss the magnificent golden-domed Sultan Mosque and the Malay Heritage Centre, which showcases fascinating exhibits on local history.

If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, check out the trendy clothing boutiques, or if you’re more of an art enthusiast, explore the vibrant street art.

And when you’re ready to relax, stop by one of the many chic cafes that line the colorful Haji Lane.

9. Night in the Supertree Grove

Large illuminated trees
Night Time in Singapore

Singapore at night has plenty of highlights to be enjoyed.

For a start, there’s dinner in one of the many restaurants along Boat Quay, a stroll through The Supertree Grove, watching the Marina Bay laser light show and drinks high up in the Supertree Grove.

The artificial trees of the Supertree grove look spectacular at night.

We found the biggest tree had a treetop bar called Indochine. For SGD18, we gained entry with a drink included. We took the elevator to the top for fabulous views of Marina Bay.

Marina Bay Laser Light Show from the Indochine supertree

10. Dining in Singapore

Chinatown Dining Experience

If you want a late breakfast or eating at Singaporean time, 10 am is the local opening for markets and stalls in China Town.

For authentic and tasty dishes, don’t be afraid to try these local dishes. The flavour from the spices is mouthwatering and sometimes eye-watering too.

Our tip is to see which stalls have the longest queue and line up for the dish. It’s popular so you know you are getting one of the best dishes to try.

We chose one busy queue for (seafood laksa) and another queue for (chicken curry).

Tasty chicken curry. It may not look great, but it was delicious.

Taste Sensation Dining

Now don’t expect the dining experience in a flash restaurant.

The tables are Formica, be prepared to use chopsticks or a spoon, and you may even have to share a table.

But if you enjoy conversation with those around you, who will enjoy the experience? Oh, and the food is tasty.

Dining in one of the Chinese food halls

Unusual Cake at Albert Square

Another local pedestrian food court is Albert Square which also has a night market.

Our Airbnb host suggested we try the local fried carrot cake. It turns out the main ingredient is grated radish. And it was delicious.

At the encouragement of the toothless gentlemen, we also tried some delicious vegetable dumplings he had also made.

Dine in Little India

Usman’s – and a great Indian meal!

In the evening, Little India is a great choice for dinner, especially at a local Indian restaurant. We chose Usman’s on Serangoon Road.

But when we started to place an order, the waiter couldn’t speak English, so he hurried off to get a younger person to take our order.

We had a fabulous meal for SGD20 for three curries (a biryani, a masala, and a tandoori) and naan bread. Yes, we were hungry from all our walking.

The flavours were excellent, and the chicken was tender and juicy.

48 Hours in Singapore

Supertree Grove at night

Deciding whether to spend your stopover in Changi airport or near Marina Bay Sands, you’ll find both options memorable.

Changi Airport has gardens, butterflies and waterfalls for relaxation.

And Gardens by the Bay in the city is an extraordinarily beautiful place to spend time for a 48-hour stopover.

Whatever you decide, neither will disappoint.


  1. Trish says:

    Sounds like airbnb was great location and food stories along me very hungry . Enjoy

    • Terry&Maura says:

      We were happy with the location and about 1/3 the price of a hotel! We love the food here so will keep sharing to remind you of your travels 🙂

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