Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Asia (
-   -   48 hrs in Singapore -- what would you do? (

filmwill Oct 15th, 2012 06:42 PM

48 hrs in Singapore -- what would you do?
So now that we're at the 60 day countdown mark, I figure it's time to roll up the sleeves and actually get to the nitty gritty of our upcoming Singapore/Burma/Thailand trip. BTW, on a side note I think it's somewhat humorous and a sign of how ridiculously busy work has gotten that 60 days is now the benchmark for trip planning vs. a couple of years ago when it used to be about 200 days out that I was asking these questions... :)

So first things first. Prior to our 10 days in Burma, we fly into Singapore from LAX and are there for just about 48 hours. We land at about 9 AM, will head to the Mandarin to drop our stuff off and plan to explore the city as much as our bodies will allow that day. We also have the entire full day the next day to explore as well. Then on that 3rd day we have to catch a 9 AM flight to Yangon.

So, that said. What would you all do if you had roughly 48 hours to explore the wonders of Singapore? I know we can't cram it all in--and I know, at some point, we'll be back. High up on our list is eating. Really: that's the main reason I routed through SIN on this trip is to eat my way through the city...chili crab, chicken rice, you name it...I'm there. :) But I realize that's only a small portion of our time.

So, other than food, what's high up on the list? Don't want to go nuts trying to see everything, so what are the highlights? The botanical gardens? The night zoo? Orchard Road? What's a good mix of things at a leisurely pace to experience the best of Singapore?

I look forward to your recommendations!

rhkkmk Oct 15th, 2012 07:59 PM

hop on hop off bus for sure... corney but you see a lot.

Kathie Oct 16th, 2012 05:38 AM

Everyone's highlights re different, of course. For me, a stop at the Orchid Garden inside the Botanical gardens is a must. It is the largest orchid display garden in the world. Get there early in the morning, to take advantage of it being slightly cooler. There are new gardens, called the Bay Gardens, which we plan to check out this year.

The food is a highlight, no doubt. I think it's hard to get bad food in SIngapore! I wouldn't bother with Orchard Road - just one glitzy shopping mall after another - you will think you are back in LA. The one kind of shopping you might be interested in - antiques and handmade carpets - is at Dempsey Road. I've purchased a number of things for my home over the years.

I think it's worth a stop to wander through the public spaces at Raffles. They have a charming small museum. We usually have lunch at Doc Cheng's, a pan-Asian restaurant. See if you can get one of the romantic curtained booths.

Craig Oct 16th, 2012 06:23 AM

The air-conditioned Asian Civilizations Museum is worth some time. If you have ever been on a real African safari, skip the night safari. The zoo next door however, is one of the better ones on the planet. I agree with Kathie that Dempsey Road is good for shopping - it is quite close to the Botanical Gardens/Orchid Gardens, which I also highly recommend. For a food splurge, Sky on 57 atop the Marina Bay Sands is worth it for the view alone (although the fusion menu is fabulous). Be sure to arrive in time for sunset so you can sit outside with a drink and watch the city light up.

filmwill Oct 16th, 2012 09:42 AM

Thanks Kathie & Craig!

Kathie, is Dempsey Road the same as Dempsey Hill ( I had heard about the latter in one of my magazines. You know I love me some antiques and home furnishings and definitely would love to add to the ever-growing collection from our travels! And carpets? Say no more! ;)

Craig, never been on African safari...until we win the lottery that seems like a distant dream for the time being. That said, would the night safari be worth doing? Normally I'm not into big tourist spectacles but I do remember reading some particularly good reviews of that.

Cherry Garden at our hotel is definitely on the bill for dinner one night. But still looking for more meal recommendations. Most importantly: what's the best hawker stall(s) to go to? I assume we'll probably hit those up for one if not two lunches.

Keep the suggestions coming!

Craig Oct 16th, 2012 11:50 AM

The night safari is interesting but with a 25 minute taxi ride each way, it will consume most of your evening. If I had only 48 hours, I would definitely NOT do it but I would do the zoo - took us about 2-1/2 hours plus travel time to see it.

The Dempsey Road area has been renamed "Dempsey Hill" for marketing purposes so yes, they are the same. You might also check out the Tanglin Shopping Center for its many crafts, furniture and rug vendors. It is next to the upscale Tanglin Mall by the southeast gate of the Botanical Garden.

Smeagol Oct 16th, 2012 12:22 PM

FW Demspey hill is on Dempesy road go here to shop and then go to Jumbos for the famous black pepper crab one of my Singaporean friends said its one of the best places to get it in Singapore. You can easily go to Tanglin Mall, then the botanical Gardens and then Dempsey. ( there are some GREAT antique and modern places here to shop)
Add Gradens by the bay A must, go late afternoon to get the good light, then go to the Lantern bar at the top of the Fullerton Bay hotel for sunset cocktails ( book a table) then maybe dinner at sky on 57 or Level 33 ( I thought food was better here) .
Then go for after dinner cocktails on Ann Seng hill @ one of the rooftop bars......
Hajji lane is a MUST for a bit of one off shopping ( you could do this in about 1 hour or so) Orchard road is a bunch of ( Fabulous) but can find anywhere malls, I wouldn't bother BUT as you are going at Christmas, Orchard road will have lights to rival Vegas, so at least get a cab down to see the lights.....
Anyway I have posted you the luxe guide hopefully you will get that soon and I really look forward to discussing all things SP with you in a few weeks. X

Smeagol Oct 16th, 2012 12:24 PM

Oh must add you could go to China town for a look around and then have lunch at Lau Pa Sat which is in a beautiful old Victorian hawker centre.
You could also combine little India, Arab street and Haji lane allow about 3 hours or so to do this.

StanKase Oct 16th, 2012 01:08 PM

Take it easy and do not do too much. I would visit the Botanical/ Orchid Gardens-just lovely (2+ hours),maybe Demsy Road for 2+ hours, Little India for a few curio shops less tacky than Chinatown (1 hr.), Orchid St. (2 hours) amazing clothing to look at because prices are outrageous. I bought a Bally belt but it was $148, just lovely.
The best Chinese dinner I have had in 45+ years of traveling is at Raffles Hotel, reservations 24 hrs. in advance. A bit pricey but outragiously good. Just order beer for spirits are sky high. That's enoigh trust me. It's hot.

marmot Oct 16th, 2012 02:11 PM

Basically the same list. I like the Botanical Gardens just before dawn (it's safe) when the locals are doing taichi and the birds are waking up. I like the Night Safari after 9:00 p.m. when the visitors have thinned out and the little paths are full of surprises. The Museum of Asian Civilizations anytime.

Other than the food courts which are terrific (I always end up at Newton Circus because it's close) I've been disappointed by the restaurants in Singapore. The simple but excellent and sophisticated seem to come and go and the overbearing, hackneyed and overpriced seem to hang around and just get worse. The new places are touch and go, but can be very good.

virginiafish Dec 2nd, 2012 02:08 AM

We were pleasantly surprised by the night safari (but we have not been to Africa). The Orchid Gardens were exquisite. Museum of Asian Civilizations - extensive, impressive collection. We enjoyed the hawker stalls in the Tiong Bahru neighborhood, a revitalized older neighborhood that has housing much different than the usual lego-like structures.

AskOksena Dec 7th, 2012 06:30 PM

Warm greetings FW, from warm Singapore, and early congratulations on spending a brief holiday in our fine city-state of SIN; special place.

Will also extend kudos on your Art of Travel : staying at the Mandarin Oriental; well done. I've never stayed at the SIN MO (before procuring a property in SIN, the Four Seasons was my primary Singapore business travel hotel), but have had the privilege of staying at the MO's properties in Bangkok and London for work and occasional celebrations. Not too many evenings back, a small group of us dined at the SIN MO's Cherry Garden restaurant. Wonderful as always. You'll be in good hands at that hotel.

As for activities, not much to add from the generous above thoughts; however, will give a heartfelt promotion to the aforementioned Four Seasons and her various restaurants and public venues. Who knows, maybe you'll become a Singapore junkie and will return every year (perhaps via a certain cherished Singaporean airline) and sample new hotels. Some great staff and friends at the FS.

Upon your SIN departure, another suggestion is to allow plenty of time to experience one of my more frequent Singapore haunts, Changi. I'll be back at that ever-evolving airport in two days time for another business flight.

I hope you savour some sweet Singapore times. To date, she's far exceeding my expectations as a place for work, home, family and friends.

Signing off from another fine Singapore Saturday. Warm weekend wishes to you and all,

macintosh (robert)

... Singapore Girl, You're a Great Way to Fly ...

europe2011 Jun 8th, 2015 10:19 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:54 PM.