Singapore Layover: Things to Do In & Out of the Airport in 24 Hours or Less

by Itineraries, Singapore38 comments

It’s no news that travelers detest long flight stopovers — but, if there is one place that I wouldn’t mind having a long layover in, it would be in Singapore! After all, with the country’s relaxed immigration and fast transportation, it’s quick and easy to get out of the airport and into the center in order to witness its vibrant “City in a Garden” expanse that’s brimming with an eclectic mixture of cultures, cuisines, energies, sights, and sounds. (Singapore Layover)

Staying longer in Singapore?

Come and check out my list of the ‘Best Hotels in Singapore’ which features the top-recommended choices for cheap to luxurious accommodation choices.

…Though if the layover hours won’t make the cut, Singapore Changi Airport in itself is worthy of being a ‘separate destination’ because as one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia, it has over 4 terminals that houses a wide array of shops, services, theaters, gardens, entertainment centers, and more! Besides, did you know that this is the world’s top-ranked airport for six years running?

So if you’ve got a Singapore layover ahead of you, prepare to be utterly awed — and of course, look no further because, with this comprehensive guide, I will show you the vast options that you have in order to make the most of your brief stay!

Singapore Layover

To start off, I have sectioned the following Singapore Layover guide into three (3)…

  • Go Outside (DIY): Advisable to follow if you have at least 6 hours of total Singapore layover time. The ‘safest’ is if you have at least 8 hours of a stopover — this is considering traffic during rush hours, etc. Of course, you can also do the suggestions listed under this section if you have lesser hours BUT only if you’re really fast and efficient (…and if you’re willing to take the risk of missing your flight).
  • Go Outside (FREE Tour): You can only do this outside tour if you have at least 5.5 hours of total layover. This service won’t be given to you if you have less.
  • Stay Inside (Airport): Obviously, this is best if you don’t have the time to go through immigration and back; hence, it’s ideal if you have 6 hours or less of Singapore layover time — rest assured, there are so many fun things to do inside the airport!

The following section is in a tabbed format. Simply click the corresponding heading to see its contents.

Explore Singapore on your own!

Before you get drawn into the next tab that says the magic word “FREE“, I recommend doing this DIY Singapore layover tour by yourself if you rather want the flexibility to choose the places that you actually want to go to.

After all, the free tours offered by Singapore Changi Airport typically don’t give you enough time to explore the city and its stops. This is aside from the fact that they have limited tour time slots.

– Much like I’ve already mentioned above, this kind of Singapore layover itinerary is ideal if you have at least 6 hours in between your flights (8 hours being the safest) — this is taking into account traffic, transit, check-in, and immigration times.

Don’t forget to leave your luggage at the airport. It’s best to leave your carry-on too, as well as any other heavy backpacks because they will be a pain to carry when you explore the city.
It’s also best that you have all of your flights under the same airline, if not operated by airline partners so that you can have your checked-in luggage go all the way to your destination. (This saves you the hassle of checking in your luggage again after your Singapore layover or stopover).
To know how to get in and around the city, scroll up and check the “Travel Guide” section below.

Now, I’m NOT telling you to do all of the below activities in one go, because that’s just impossible. Sure, Singapore may be a small mega city but it still holds tons of attractions and activities.

So what I suggest instead is that you pick 1 or 2 categories below (colored green, depending on your preference), and then you either do all the activities under it or a few (depending on how long your layover is).

◘◘ The Typical Hotspots

Singapore Layover: Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands: This is an iconic resort complex that faces Marina Bay in Singapore and it features The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a museum, two large theatres, restaurants, Crystal Pavillions, and art-science exhibits, casinos and so much more!

  • SkyPark Observation Deck = Providing breathtaking panoramic views over the city, this observation deck also has the world’s longest elevated swimming pool with a vanishing edge (a.k.a. infinity pool) that’s located 191 meters above the ground. (You can only swim in it though if you’re a guest of the hotel; but still and the same, this is a great spot to be in and you can buy entry tickets through this link).
  • Spectra Light Show = This is an amazing outdoor light and water show that’s displayed along the promenade. The show happens at 8PM and 9PM on Sunday to Thursday, and at 8PM, 9PM and 10PM on Fridays and Saturdays. (If you ask me, it’s better to watch this show from the other side of Marina Bay Sands).

Gardens by the Bay: This mystical oasis features more than 500,000 plants and about 18 Avatar-like Supertrees that will take your breath away! To book entrance tickets for this as a part of your Singapore layover, go here. Take note that there are a LOT of attractions here but notable of which are the following…

  • SuperTree Grove: These Avatar-ish trees light up at night and have a music and light show at 7:45PM and 8:45PM daily! It’s even possible to have your dinner inside this SuperTree and feel like a modern Tarzan and Jane (or Jake Sully and Neytiri, in line with the Avatar feel).
  • Cloud Forest: This features the world’s tallest indoor waterfall at 35 meters as well as a scenic mist-filled Treetop and Cloud Walk!
  • Flower Dome: This is the largest glass greenhouse in the world as listed in the 2015 Guinness World Records!
  • OCBC Skyway: Placed 22 meters above the ground, this is an amazing stroll that goes through the Gardens and gives you a great view over the Marina Bay skyline as well.

Merlion Park: A landmark that you must NOT miss! Located at One Fullerton, you will find here the iconic Merlion, a mythical creature with a lion’s head and the body of fish — a widely used mascot of Singapore

Singapore Flyer: Reaching a height of 40 stories, I recommend riding this Ferris Wheel at night to have an amazing view over the entire Marina Bay. You can also try their signature drinks here such as the famous ‘Singapore Sling’ that dates back over 100 years! Also, unlike typical Ferris Wheel rides, the capsules here are huge. (Book your tickets here).

Singapore Botanic Gardens: A 158-year-old tropical garden that is honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Singapore’s first!). You will love the fact that entrance here is FREE from 5AM to 12AM (except for the National Orchid Garden – the park’s crown jewel – that is open 8:30AM to 7PM and charges SGD 5).

ArtScience Museum: This place is that giant white flower-like building that you see on Marina Bay and it is famous for its varied art and science exhibitions. One of the most popular of which is the Future World exhibition for its impressive light set-ups (in collaboration with teamLab, a renowned Japanese interdisciplinary art collective). Entrance here typically starts from USD $9~ and you can grab discounted rates if you book online.

S.E.A. Aquarium: This is said to be the biggest aquarium in the world that features state-of-the-art facilities that let you explore the depths of the oceans and glimpse at several sea creatures. (Book your tickets here).

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◘◘ For Shopaholics

Singapore Food

The Shoppes in Marina Bay Sands: As one of the largest shopping malls in Singapore, this should be on your Singapore layover itinerary if you want to do some luxurious shopping

Orchard Road: This is a 2.2 kilometer long major road in the city that is regarded as a famous shopping street. It holds a lot of fashion favorites, specialist stores, and so much more

Haji Lane: Considered a ‘hipster’ neighborhood, you will love the boutique shops in this area (not to mention the impressive wall art).

◘◘ For Nightlife

Clarke Quay: This is a historical riverside in the city that is now a hotspot for bars, clubs, and restaurants

Orchard Road: After dark, the party animals come out to play at Orchard Road too! Be sure to check out Emerald Hill Road.

◘◘ For Foodies

Singapore is passionate about food and you will find some of the best places in the following areas:

The Old Airport Road Hawker Centre: This is one of the biggest hawker centers and which a lot of Singaporeans swear by given its long history! You can never go wrong in any of the stalls as you try some of the famous Singapore food items such as chili crab, chicken rice, char kway teow (stir-fried rice cake), lor mee (noodle dish), satay (skewered and grilled meat), and rojak (salad dish) among many others.

Kampong Glam: This is a neighborhood in the city that’s filled with watering holes, cafes, and restaurants to fill up your tummy. One of the places you must not miss is Zam Zam in order to try their murtabak (stuffed pancake) that’s famous since 1908.

Chinatown: This ethnic enclave is also a place that you must witness, other than its distinct Chinese cultural elements, you should enjoy the area by grabbing a bite at one of the hawker stalls and a drink too in places such as Tea Chapter. Don’t forget to buy some Chinese souvenirs! (Want a guided tour? Reserve your spot online now!)

Little India: As the name suggests, this is the center of the Indian community in Singapore. While here, head over to Serangoon Road to enjoy the atmosphere, and don’t forget to try fish head curry!

Singapore Cable Car and Sky Dinner: If you’re still in the city during night time, I suggest riding the Cable Car Sky Network to soar above the city’s views and then have a romantic dinner. (Book this experience here).

Wondering what Singapore food or dishes that you must absolutely try?
Check out this blog post to find out: Top Singapore Food Dishes to Try & Where

– – –

◘◘ For Out-of-the-City Places

Universal Studios Singapore

Pulau Ubin: If you’ve got the time during your Singapore layover, go ride a bumboat to reach Pulau Ubin, a nearby island that is famous for its wildlife, cycle trails, and footpaths. Truth be told, this might just be the last real ‘kampung’ (village) in Singapore and you will love its unspoiled and rustic charm.

MacRitchie Nature Trail: This is a gateway to the city’s natural reserves and it is a well-known spot for nature-lovers and exercise enthusiasts. One of the things you must try here is their Treetop Walks, a 250-meter aerial suspension bridge that spans the two highest points within MacRitchie. (Nearest train station: Marymount).

◘◘ For Families

Sentosa Island: Not only for the kids but also for the ‘kids-at-heart’, this island resort off the southern coast is a leisure place filled with fun and recreation! (Nearby train station: Harbourfront). Here are just some of the many things you can do here…

  • Universal Studios Theme Park = Go beyond the world of cinematic entertainment to enjoy the seven themed lands here in Singapore’s very own Universal Studios!
    • (Book your tickets here).
  • Skyline Luge: Ride this fun half go-kart and half toboggan-like sled through two different trails. This is the only Asian site of New Zealand’s famous luge activity.
    • (Book your tickets here).
  • Resorts World Adventure Water Cove: Escape the summer heat and visit this must-see attraction in Resorts World! Your young ones will love the Riptide Rocket and Rainbow Reef!
    • (Book your tickets here).

Singapore Zoo: Occupying 28 hectares of land within the city’s heavily forested area, this zoo has an “open concept” which means that you and your kids will get to closely experience the wonders of nature given that the animals here roam freely in their natural habitats. (Book your tickets here).

Night Safari: This is the best way to see the world’s nocturnal animals. As a unique night safari experience and the world’s first nocturnal zoo, you can also board a tram that goes through the 86-acre rainforest! Don’t miss out on this unique experience! (Book your tickets here).

River Safari: Can’t get enough of the wildlife? Make a stop at Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park where you can encounter manatees, giant pandas, and other creatures! (Book your tickets here).

The Best Tours in Singapore?

Come and check out this list of the top things to do in Singapore which features the best activities and tours in the city and more!

◘◘ NEW: Visit Changi Airport’s Jewel

Jewel Changi Airport

Opened in 2019, Jewel Changi Airport is the newest 10-level glass-dome complex that has an array of attractions not limited to gardens, a hotel, aviation facilities, and 300 retail and dining facilities. Some things that you must NOT miss out on are…

  • HSBC Rain Vortex: The world’s tallest indoor waterfall at 40 meters high and the nucleus of Jewel. Open daily from 8AM to 12:30AM.
  • Canopy Garden: Take a stroll along creative garden trails, glide down giant slides or hide in bowls of gentle mist!
    • Canopy Bridge: Suspended 23 meters above ground, with a glass bottom at the center portion for a gripping vantage point, the Canopy Bridge is sure to thrill and impress.
    • ManuLife Sky Nets: Experience the thrill of being almost weightless as you leap about this giant net! Stretching 250 meters long, even little ones can safely indulge in free play. At its highest point 8 meters above the Canopy Park, you’ll feel like you can reach the sky.
    • Discovery Slides: As the name implies, this is a fun playground but also an amazing work of art!
    • Foggy Bowls: Let your child slip in among puffs of cloud and hide away in gentle bowls of non-toxic mist. Kids will love the chance to play in this dreamy setting and let their imagination take flight.
  • Shiseido Forest Valley: A lush green sanctuary and retreat in the core of Jewel.
  • Hedge Maze: Have a field day weaving your way through Singapore’s largest hedge maze. Be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the maze’s intricate windings when you reach the watchtower at its core.

NOTE: Jewel is found landside of Changi Airport so you need to clear immigration in order to explore this complex. But if you are short on time, you can still get a glimpse of this amazing building if you take the Skytrain that passes from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 and back — or you can join a FREE tour (just click the second tab above for more details). Anyhow, Jewel is easily connected to the Arrival Hall of Terminal 1. A free airport shuttle bus service also goes between Terminal 4 and Terminal 2.

Explore Singapore for FREE!

UPDATE: In view of the current COVID-19 situation, the following FREE tours will be suspended fom 21 March 2020 till further notice.

This is a service provided for FREE by the Singapore Changi Airport and the tours last around 2.5 hours. It’s important to remember that this is only available for transit passengers of Changi Airport who have at least 5.5 hours of Singapore layover period and are staying in Singapore for less than 24 hours. (More info here).

– You are a transit passenger of Singapore Changi Airport
– Your layover period is at least 5.5 hours and less than 24 hours
– Your flight schedule fits in with their tour timing slot requirements

– Passport
– Boarding passes
– Valid entry visa (if applicable)

– Availability of the free tour spots is on a first-come-first-serve basis.

They only accept walk-in registrations — but if you’re flying with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, you have the option to pre-book for this free Singapore layover tour up to 72 hours in advance. (This is still dependent on tour time slots, just inquire with your airline).
Tour itinerary may change, depending on weather and traffic conditions.
Take note that as a transit passenger, you are only allowed to enter and exit Singapore once during your layover period. That being said, you are not able to join more than 1 tour.
Don’t forget to leave your luggage at the airport. It’s best to leave your carry-on too, as well as any other heavy backpacks because they will be a pain to carry when you explore the city.
It’s also best that you have all of your flights under the same airline, if not operated by airline partners so that you can have your checked-in luggage go all the way to your destination. (This saves you the hassle of checking in your luggage again after your Singapore layover or stopover).

To date, they have two (3) tour options and you can choose only one (1)…

◘◘ Heritage Tour

Merlion Park

As the name suggests, this tour will take you through Singapore’s past and present. The place you’ll get to visit are as follows: Colonial District, The Central Business District, The Merlion Park, Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam, and Malay Heritage Centre.

Closes at 8AM
Closes at 9AM
Closes at 10:30AM
Closes at 1:30PM
Closes at 3PM

Tour Timing/Slots
9AM to 11:30AM
10AM to 12:30PM
11:30AM to 2PM
2:30PM to 5PM
4PM to 6:30PM

Your flight departure
After 1:30PM
After 2:30PM
After 4PM
After 7PM
After 8:30PM

Registration Booths:

  • Terminal 2: Transit Area, between Transfer Lounge F and Skytrain to Terminal 3 near the escalator to Arrival Immigration (Level 2)
  • Terminal 3: Transit Area, near Transfer Lounge A and Gate A1-A8 (Level 2)
  • Other Terminals: Please stay in the transit area and proceed to the booth at Terminal 2 to register, or inquire with the nearest Information Counter

NOTE: Stay in the transit area and do NOT clear immigration because the registration booths are located at the transit area.

– – –

◘◘ City Sights Tour

Gardens by the Bay

Held at night, this is a great Singapore layover tour that shows you the city’s beautiful modern cityscape. You will be making stopovers at the following places: The Singapore Flyer, The Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Marina Bay Financial Centre, Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands, and Gardens by the Bay.

Closes at 5PM
Closes at 6:30PM

Tour Timing/Slots
6PM to 8:30PM
7:30PM to 10PM

Your flight departure
After 10:30PM
After 12AM

Registration Booths:

  • Terminal 1: Please stay in the transit area and proceed to the booth at Terminal 2 to register.
  • Terminal 2: Transit Area, between Transfer Lounge F and Skytrain to Terminal 3 near the escalator to Arrival Immigration (Level 2)
  • Other Terminals: Please stay in the transit area and proceed to the booth at Terminal 2 to register, or inquire with the nearest Information Counter

NOTE: Stay in the transit area and do NOT clear immigration because the registration booths are located at the transit area.

– – –

◘◘ Jewel Tour

Jewel Changi Airport

As I previously mentioned, this is the latest development in Changi Airport and it’s an impressive sanctuary with lots of sights and shops to see! This FREE tour lasts for about 2.5 hours and it will take you to Shiseido Forest Valley, HSBC Rain Vortex, Five Spice, Canopy Park, and many others.

Closes at 9:15AM
Closes at 4:45PM

Tour Timing/Slots
10:30AM to 1PM
6PM to 8:30PM

Your flight departure
After 3PM
After 10:30PM

NOTE: Singapore Airlines passengers will receive one complimentary Manulife Sky Nets tickets each; plus, you are also entitled to 10% discount off selected gift shop items at ‘Gift by Changi Airport’ and local Changi Experience Studio entrance rates.

Explore Singapore Changi Airport’s wonders!

As I’ve previously mentioned, Singapore Changi Airport is so huge that it can be a destination in itself, making it a perfect place to spend your Singapore layover. It’s no wonder that it’s the world’s best airport!

So if you ever find yourself with less than 6 hours’ worth of flight layover/stopover, below are the number of things that you can do to fill up the time.

TIP: Are you flying with Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, or Air New Zealand…? If you are, don’t forget to claim your transit reward that is valued from SGD $20 at any of the iShopChangi Collection Centers at the transit areas of Terminals 2 and 3 (open 24 hours daily).
– Just present your passport, boarding pass, and e-tickets that show your full itinerary.

Transit means that you have a layover at the airport that is not more than 24 hours.
Your e-ticket numbers must begin with 618 or 629 or 086 and you must be on transit in Changi Airport on both legs of your journey — so no, one-way journey tickets are not eligible. If you’re flying with Air New Zealand, flight numbers are SQ4281, SQ4282, NZ281, or NZ282. If with Scoot, flight numbers are TR597 or TR596
This transit reward can be used at all retail outlets in transit and public areas of Changi Airport. Or you can use it for a one-time access to the Ambassador Transit Lounge located in the transit areas of Terminals 2 or 3 for up to two (2) hours.
For more information on this, go here

◘◘ All Terminals

Singapore Changi Airport

Photos by: Singapore Changi Airport

All of Singapore Changi Airport’s terminals (1 to 4) have the following things which sure makes for a fun Singapore layover…

  • Duty-free shopping and dining shops (see a full list here).
  • FREE foot massage on OSIM machines.
  • Play Area and/or Family Zone Fun for families with kids
  • 24-hour paid lounges with facilities for shower, foot reflexology, spa massages, etc. (best to have a Priority Pass on hand).
  • Prayer rooms
  • Charging points. In fact there are about 3,400 USB ports and universal power sockets in the airport!
  • Baby care room for parent’s nursing needs
  • Baggage storage and left Baggage counters
  • Clinics and pharmacies
  • Free-to-use rest areas
  • City sightseeing buses that arrive every 15 minutes
  • — and more!

…but below are the unique things that you can find in each terminal.

– – –

◘◘ Terminal 1

Airport Lounge Service by Plaza Premium Lounge: Private lounge with showers, food, massage & more if you reserve your spot online!
Airport Wellness Oasis:  Relax and get a massage. Also, try their signature Fish Spa!
Kinetic Rain: Watch 1,216 polished copper raindrops dance in the air, an art installation that is this terminal’s centerpiece.
Arrival Garden: This is the airport’s first garden.
Rooftop Jacuzzi and Pool: Who would have thought that one day, you could swim in an international airport, right?
Cactus Garden: This is a rooftop garden that has over 100 species of cacti and arid plants from Africa and the Americas.
Piazza Garden: Features seasonal and thematic plant displays throughout the seasons.
Sculptural Tree Garden: Have three tall tree-like sculptures clad with an interesting collage of foliage.
Water Lily Garden: See water lilies in a natural aquatic garden environment.

– – –

◘◘ Terminal 2

◘◘ Terminal 2
Movie Theatre: Yes, you can watch recent films in the 24-hour cinema! The best part, it’s FREE!
Entertainment Deck: From Xbox 360 to Kinect stations, this is your one-stop multimedia entertainment center.
A Million Times at Changi: One of the biggest kinetic artwork in the world, made up of 504 clocks moving in perfect unison.
Enchanted Garden: Interactive and decorative garden that comes to life with sight and sound.
Orchid Garden: Holds a colorful collection of rare orchids.
Sunflower Garden: About 500 bright yellow flowers amidst the runways.
Xperience Zone: Catch the latest sports events on large screens while lounging on plush seats.

– – –

◘◘ Terminal 3

Butterfly Garden: The first butterfly garden in an airport and home to over 1,000 butterflies.
Crowne Plaza: Want a proper snooze during your Singapore layover? Check in to this stylish accommodation.
Crystal Garden: A great place to get some calm.
Movie Theatre: You can also catch the latest blockbusters and movies for FREE in this terminal.
The Slide @ T3: Take a ride on the world’s tallest slide in an airport!

– – –

◘◘ Terminal 4

Game room & Entertainment Corner: Offers a fun selection of arcade games.
Heritage Zone: Experience the city’s heritage via cultural shopfronts featuring multi-colored facades of old Peranakan houses.
Petalclouds: The centerpiece of Terminal 4, this is a grand-scale kinetic sculpture.
Steel in Bloom: This is a garden that also features a 6-meter high centerpiece of plants and steel.
TV lounge: Families can take a break and catch up on their favorite TV shows on these comfy couches.

TIP: Are you departing from Singapore Changi Airport? Well, guess what? You can check in as early as 48 hours on select check-in counters! To check if your airline is a part of this, check by with this link.

• • •

Singapore Travel Guide

» Best Time to Visit

Much like most of Southeast Asia, Singapore is customarily hot and humid all year long but with the following months having pronounced differences:

  • October to January: Wettest months
  • February to April: A bit more pleasant
  • May to June: Hottest months
  • July to September: Most festive season and typically the best months

– – –

» Getting in to Singapore

By air. As Southeast Asia’s (SEA’s) largest aviation hub, the main airport, Changi Airport (SIN), is known to many. In order to find the best flight deals from your point of origin, I recommend browsing through Skyscanner.

From the airport, there are a number of ways to reach the city:

  • Airport Shuttle: There are Ground Transport Desks in every terminal with different transport options (limousine, 4-seater, etc.), but if you want to avoid the lines, you can already book online.
  • Private Transfer: Apart from taxis, you can get round-trip transfers from the airport and also book this arrangement online.
  • Train or Bus: The trains (MRT) run between T2 and T3, to Tanah Merah. From there, you have to change trains to get to the city and the western part of Singapore. For buses, they pass through all terminals with fares less than $2 (if you pay in cash, an exact fare is required).
    • You can purchase an SG Tourist Pass to get unlimited travel on MRT and LRT lines as well as buses for a number of days.

By land. The country is linked by 2 land crossings to Peninsular Malaysia namely the Causeway and the Second Link. You can drive in your own car, ride a bus or even a taxi (but only specially-licensed ones). Otherwise, there is a shuttle train service from Malaysia through Keretapi Tanah Melayu (Malayan Railay or KTMB).

By sea. Singapore has 5 ferry terminals: HarbourFront (formerly World Trade Centre) near Sentosa, Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Marina Bay, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal on the East Coast, as well as Changi Ferry Terminal and Changi Point Ferry Terminal, both at the eastern side of the island near the airport. These terminals all link to Indonesia’s province of Riau Islands and the Malaysian state of Johor.

– – –

» Visa for Singapore

Most nationalities can enter Singapore without a visa. For more information, you can check this link. But if you’re from the Philippines like me, we are issued visas on arrival for stays of up to 30 days, whether it’s for touristic or business purposes.

Meanwhile, passengers of eligible nationalities may also qualify for VFTF (Visa Free Transit Facility) if the prevailing entry requirements are met. Assessment for this entry is determined by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the point of entry. (For more information, please see here).

  • Check full visa requirements here as per your nationality.

– – –

» Where to Stay (Singapore Accommodations)

To search for the best hotel accommodation in Singapore at the best prices, I suggest cross-checking hotel prices between Agoda and But if you’re rather interested in renting comfortable houses or apartments, you should search through AirBnB.

– – –

» Singapore Currency

Singapore dollar (sign: S$; code: SGD) wherein USD$1 is equal to about SGD 1.30~ or Php 48~ (this is as of 2021). In the event that you want to exchange your money for SGD, I highly advise that you do NOT exchange your money at the airport since the rates there are not competitive.

  • How to best exchange your currency? Either exchange it at a bank or at a money exchanger in your home country or in the city center. Better yet, just withdraw from an ATM with your debit/credit card — however, you must do one big withdrawal to minimize fees with your bank. Speaking of cards, a lot of establishments accept credit cards but it’s always advisable to have cash on hand because a lot of smaller shops do not accept international credit cards.

– – –

» Cost of Travel in Singapore

To give you an idea, you should expect to travel in Singapore with an average daily cost of about USD $45~ per person on a budget, or at least $120~ if you want to experience more comfort in activities, tours, hotels, and more. (Values below show low budget to medium budget ranges).

  • Hotels: $25 to $75 USD / day
  • Food: $8 to $20 USD / day
  • Fun: $10 to $25 USD / day
  • Transport: $3 to $8 per ride

– – –

» Leaving Luggage at Changi Airport

All terminals in Singapore Changi Airport have baggage storage and counters — plus, they are available 24 hours! Prices for this typically start at USD$4, so it’s great when you have a Singapore layover. For more information, see here.

– – –

» How to Get Around Singapore

Singapore is a small metropolis, so you can either walk (depending on the locations you’re going to) or take the following options:

  • Rail: MRT and LRT trains are cheap and reliable modes of transportation. It’s best to get an EZ-link or Nets FlashPay farecards (this can be bought either from the station or at convenience stores or online), and fares usually cost from $.80 to $2.20.
  • Bus: These are a bit slower but still great for shorter distances. You can pay in cash or coins but it’s best to pay with your Ez-link or Nets FlashPay card, just don’t forget to tap out or you’ll end up paying the maximum fare.
  • Taxi: The flag down rate starts at $3, anyhow you also opt for an Uber-like service by downloading the Grab ride-hailing app (you can pay by cash or credit card).

Meanwhile, when you’re mapping out your day-to-day route, just use Google Maps because it will show in detail the fastest connections you can do (by walking, by car, by bus, and by train).

– – –

» Staying Connected in Singapore

Singapore has one of the fastest internet connections in the world so you’ll be assured of great connections wherever you go. To add, most places even offer FREE WiFi — but in order to consistently stay connected online during your Singapore trip, get your own pocket WiFi or SIM Card.

– – –

» Safety in Singapore

Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world with very low crime rates — however, this is NO excuse to get too complacent. ‘Little crime’ does not mean ‘no crime’, so stay vigilant and be “street smart” by using your common sense at all times. Nevertheless, solo travelers don’t have much to worry about in this amazing country.

– – –

» Helpful Singapore Phrases

English is widely spoken and it is one of the 4 official languages (the other three being Mandarin, Malay and Tamil). That being said, you won’t have difficulty going around Singapore because everyone speaks English. Nevertheless, below are some helpful Mandarin and Malay phrases.

Hello: Nǐ hǎo (Nee how)
Thank you: Xièxiè (shièh shièh)
You’re welcome: Bú kèqi
Goodbye: Zàijiàn (dsaì jiàn)
Excuse me (getting attention): Qǐng wèn
I’m sorry: Duìbùqǐ (dweì bú chi)
Is there someone here who speaks English?: Zhèlĭ yǒu rén hùi shuō Yīngyǔ ma?
Help!: Jiùmìng!
Cheers!: Gānbēi! (gon bay)

Hello (formal): Hello
Hello (informal): Hai (Hi)
Thank you: Terima kasih (TREE-muh KAH-seh)
Yes: Ya (YUH)
No: Tidak (tee-DAH)
Goodbye: Selamat tinggal (SLAH-maht tin-GAHL) [“Safe stay!”] or Selamat jalan (SLAH-maht JAH-lahn) [“Safe trip!”]
Excuse me / I’m sorry: Maaf (mah’AHF) or Maafkan saya (mah’AHF-kahn SAH-yuh)
Is there someone here who speaks English?: Adakah orang yang cakap Bahasa Inggeris di sini? (AH-duh-kah OH-rahng yahng CHAH-kahp bah-HAH-suh ING-grees dee SEE-nee)
Help!: Tolong! (TOH-lohng)
Cheers!: Sorakan!

• • •

Booking Essentials

Book an AirBnB

TIP: It’s a good idea to crosscheck your World Nomads‘ total travel insurance price with that of SafetyWing because the latter is often priced cheaper (especially when it involves travel that spans for several weeks or months — and even years!).
However, take note that SafetyWing’s affordability typically means lesser coverage than World Nomads. So please always ensure that you read the fine print in order to decipher which travel insurance company is the right fit for you and your trip!

Looking for more travel tips for Singapore?

Check out my other detailed Singapore travel guides!

• • •

Singapore Layover: Things to Do In & Out of the Airport


Clearly, a long flight stopover can be so much fun if you’ve got a Singapore layover!

All in all, I hope this helped you out. Let me know!

• • •

Have you seen my latest vlog?

How I Afford to Travel the World (Vlog)

About Me

Solo Female Travel Blogger: Aileen Adalid

Hey there! I am Aileen Adalid.
At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to pursue my dreams. Today, I am a successful digital nomad (online entrepreneur, travel writer, & vlogger) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.

My mission? To show you how it is absolutely possible to create a life of travel no matter the odds — and I will help you achieve that through my detailed travel hacks, guides, resources, tips, and MORE!

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  1. Claire

    Quite an impressive guide for 24 Hrs flight stopover. Thanks for sharing this detailed travel guide things.

  2. Raj

    Hi, do I need to pick up my luggage also if I have a 12 hour layover? Or can I keep the bags checked in all the way to my final destination and exit after clearing immigration to go into the city for a few hours? Thank you!

    • Aileen Adalid

      It depends on the airline you’re flying in :) You need to check if the luggage goes all the way to your final destination (which happens when your airline is the same or are partners) — if so, then you can just go directly to immigration. Hope that helps!

  3. Gita Asuncion

    Hi, Aileen! Thank you for having this blog. It is so informative and so easy to read. And thank you for sharing with us everything we need to know about various destinations, really!
    My hubby and I plan to go to Sg soon. I get different stories from different people whove been there. So, I would really appreciate it if you could clarify things for me…
    We plan to spend at least 6 hrs at Changi airport before our departure flight, so we can explore it well. Do we need to check in first before going around? If we dont, do you suggest we do first then?
    Thank you, hope to hear from you.

      • Gita Asuncion

        Thanks for replying, I really appreciate it. i checkout the link you sent, thanks. We might go with Cebupac and their counters open around 3 hrs before.
        That should be fine. I guess we first just go around Terminals 1 to 3 plus the newly opened Jewel before going to our final terminal which is T4.
        Are all the sights in the terminals accessible even if we arent checked in yet?

        • Aileen Adalid

          Please take note that the Jewel is found landside of Changi Airport so you need to clear immigration in order to explore this complex. So if you won’t check in yet, the only place you’ll get to explore well is Jewel. You can only explore the entirety of the terminals once you check in. I hope that helps!

  4. Doriane

    Hi! Do we need to ask them if we can go outside? We are planning to go to Indonesia and we have stop at singapore a layover for 15hrs.. Your article is a big help. Thank you.

    • Aileen Adalid

      Hey, if you want to go outside during your layover, you need to go through immigration :)


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