You’ve bought your flight tickets, packed your luggage, and are almost ready to make the trip over to our cosmopolitan city-state that is part concrete jungle, part nature attraction. All you’re missing: a guide on best of Singapore in 4 days with kids.
To help you and your little ones navigate our streets once you land in the +65, here’s a four-day itinerary covering all the bases. Yes, it includes awe-inspiring attractions to stave off boredom, places to head to for a spot of sightseeing, and popular kid-friendly restos to dine at. Board the plane with a spring in your step and get ready for an unforgettable trip:
Day 1: See creatures great and small
Begin your first day with a bang at the Singapore Zoo where you can spend breakfast with friendly orangutans at Ah Meng Restaurant. More than 2,800 animals call the Zoo home, and you can spot lions and zebras in Wild Africa, feed free-ranging kangaroos in the Australian Outback, and marvel at flying foxes and ring-tailed lemurs in the Fragile Forest. Grab seats at the various animal shows taking place throughout the day, where elephants, seals, and other creatures will showcase their talents and skills.
Nestled between the Zoo and the Night Safari, the River Safari contains the world’s largest freshwater aquarium and features seven distinct zones, such as the Nile, the Ganges, and the Mekong Rivers. Catch glimpses of resident pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia as well as red pandas (which are free to roam), and take a leisurely cruise on the Amazon River Quest, where you will meander down the South American river.
Head down to the Night Safari – aka the world’s first nocturnal zoo – and give your little ones a glimpse of creatures like the fishing cat, the clouded leopard, the spotted hyena, and the sugar glider. Choose between exploring on foot or by tram, and head to the Creatures of the Night show, a 20-minute-long performance that brings to light the innate talents of otters, binturongs, civets, and more.
Day 2: Delight the senses
Start the day with a visit to the great outdoors…indoors. Gardens By The Bay is a perfect rainy-day activity, but even if it isn’t pouring, the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest are ideal locales to escape the heat and humidity. Head over the body of water formed by the Marina Barrage to arrive at the Singapore Flyer and get a bird’s eye look at Singapore with a novelty factor.
Alternatively, Jacob Ballas Childrens Garden in the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a unique, interactive space designed to harness curiosity and imagination in children up to 12 years old. Here, they can learn about the magic of photosynthesis, play a game of hide-and-seek in the maze garden, dig in the sandpit and cool off under the water fountains.
Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569. Open 5am-12am daily. Admission is free.
Much of Singapore is demure and neatly arranged but for a dose of vibrant colour, you must visit Little India, land of fragrant spices and home to a hodgepodge of textile stalls and others hawking massage oils and more. Get your fortune told by a very intuitive parrot, or pick up a sweet smelling flower garland. There are sights and sounds to entertain everywhere you turn, like the very elaborate Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple with its intricate, colourful carvings. The temple was built by Indian pioneers and is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore. Satisfy your growling tummies at Tekka Centre, which has a food centre, a wet market, and a shopping centre all under one roof. Or visit The Banana Leaf Apollo to indulge in steaming hot platefuls of curry served on (what else) banana leaves.
Little India is located along Serangoon Road.
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, 141 Serangoon Road, p. 6295 4538.
Tekka Centre, 665 Buffalo Road, Singapore 210665.
The Banana Leaf Apollo, 54 Race Course Road, Singapore 218564.
The streets of Chinatown come alive at dusk. Learn more about Singapore’s earliest Chinese migrants at the Chinatown Heritage Centre, shop for textiles and trinkets at roadside stalls (make sure you drive a good bargain), and snap pictures of the majestic Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. For an evening tipple, wander up to Club Street and Ann Siang Hill where the streets are pedestrianised some nights and bars and restaurants spill out on to the street.
Chinatown is composed of several precincts: Kreta Ayer, Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar, Bukit Pasoh, and Ann Siang Hill.
Chinatown Heritage Centre, 48 Pagoda Street, Singapore 059207, p. 6221 9556. Open 9am to 8pm daily.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, 288 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058840, p. 6220 0220. Open 7am-7pm daily.
Day 3: Visit Asia’s Favourite Playground
Pack your swimmers and take the monorail to Sentosa’s Adventure Cove Waterpark. Zoom down thrilling waterslides and relax in the Bluwater Bay wave pool. Snorkel in a colourful coral reef filled with 20,000 friendly fish in the Rainbow Reef, and brush the velvety wings of manta rays at the Ray Bay.
Lunch at the picturesque Quayside Isle in Sentosa Cove after your watery escapade. Brussel Sprouts is a great kid-friendly resto that serves up yummy mussels and frites. Or get a caffeine boost at the cheery Kith Café, which offers freshly baked breads and pastries and daily sandwich specials. Take a slow walk along the promenade and enjoy the gentle sea breeze after eating your fill.
Quayside Isle, 31 Ocean Way, Sentosa, Singapore 098375.
Feeling all tuckered out after the day’s activities? Slow down the pace and take time to admire Singapore’s glittering cityscape at the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, located 57 floors above ground. You’ll notice the countless ships in the sea that make Singapore one of the biggest trade ports in the world. as established by Sir Stamford Raffles. Or if you’ve still got energy to burn, shop till you drop on Orchard Road, where endless shopping malls stay open until 9 or 10pm.
Day 4: Walk Down Memory Lane
Discover more about Singapore’s past at the Changi Chapel & Museum, which brings visitors through a pictorial description of the events that unfolded during the Japanese Occupation.If you have time to spare,visit the Kranji War Memorial, a quiet resting place for those who valiantly gave their lives for Singapore during World War II. Over 24,000 names of allied servicemen whose bodies were never found are inscribed on the memorial walls.
Changi Chapel & Museum, 1000 Upper Changi Road North, Singapore 507707, p. 6214 2451. Open 9:30am-5pm daily.
Kranji War Memorial, 9 Woodlands Road, Singapore 738656. Open 7am-6pm daily. Admission is free.
Your trip won’t be complete without checking out one of Singapore’s iconic hawker centres. Lau Pa Sat, which means “old market” in Hokkien, a native dialect, was built in 1894 and now houses a wide range of hawker stalls featuring a wide array of local delights. Tip: use a packet of tissue and place it on your table to ‘chope’ (reserve) a spot like the locals do. Walk off your lunch with a visit to see the façade of the famous Raffles Hotel on Beach Road, or even head inside to the Long Bar to sample a Singapore Sling.
Lau Pa Sat, 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582. Open 24 hours daily.
Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673.
You’ve covered most of all there is to see in the Lion City. Now kick back, rest your weary feet, and down a few pints at Robertson Quay, located along the Singapore River. There are plenty of alfresco dining spots, pubs, and cafes for you to relax and unwind.
As a fitting finale to your travels, take a family photo with the Merlion, a half-fish, half-lion hybrid that symbolises Singapore’s past as a small fishing village.
Robertson Quay, 1 Nanson Road, Singapore 238909.
Merlion Park, One Fullerton, Singapore 049213. Admission is free.
This post is also featured on www.YourSingapore.com.