The very best way to spend a short stopover in Singapore

Like many Australian travellers heading to Europe, we recently found ourselves with a short stopover in Singapore. A seven-hour stopover, to be precise.

In hindsight, we should have made the most of our time, and stayed the night there, exploring the city. But by the time we really thought about this, our flights were already booked and paid for, and it was going to cost us a pretty penny to change them. So seven hours it was.

Changi airport offers a free two-hour tour of the city for travellers who end up stopping over in Singapore. Unfortunately, due to our flight times, we weren’t able to take advantage of this. So disappointed!

Although Changi is meant to be one of the most amazing airports in the world, we weren’t overly keen on spending our whole time in Singapore hanging about in an airport. We did wander around for a bit and considered our options, and eventually decided to head out and see what we could.

Chris was keen to visit Sentosa Island so we jumped in a taxi, with the intention of going there for a look. Lucky for us, we ended up in Eric’s taxi. He offered to be our tour guide and would have been quite happy to drive us around all day, but we really only had a few hours to spare, and 85 dollars in our pockets. For 85, he said, I’ll show you as much as I can in three hours. It was a deal.

We couldn’t believe our luck! Eric knew so much about everything. He took us to most of the hot spots, while also making the trip to Sentosa Island as well. It gave us a really great (yet brief) overview of Singapore, and we’re definitely keen to return one day and explore some more. We didn’t get much time in each location, but it was enough to grab some photos and marvel at where we were.

It was muggy. Oh my gosh, the air was thick with heat. And we were a bit jetlagged, having just spent 8 hours on a flight, with little sleep. But it was such a great day — we both look back on Eric and his taxi with fondness.

So, where did we go, on our Singapore stopover?

Chinatown

The first place we went was Chinatown, where we got to see some amazing temples, including the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, pictured here.
I personally just loved seeing all the lanterns hanging up everywhere.

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Little India

We also hit up Little India, which also has some amazing temples and shrines. This one here is the Sri Mariamman Temple.
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Raffles Hotel

Eric thought we should see Raffles Hotel while in Singapore. It’s a 5-Star luxury hotel that has been around since 1887! I love how they decorate the exterior for Christmas.
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Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay is a riverside quay with restaurants, hotels and a shopping centre, alongside the Singapore River.
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Mount Faber

On our way to Sentosa Island, Eric took us up to Mount Faber. He suggested we hop out of the car part-way up so we could get some photos of the city, and then met us at the top, right next to the Cable Cars. The views were truly incredible!
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Sentosa Island

Our last stop was Sentosa Island. I wish we had more time here! Home to fancy hotels, a huge casino, beautiful beaches, a World Class golf course, and theme parks galore, you could easily spend a whole week here exploring. In hindsight, we would have been quite stuck if Eric hadn’t found us. Getting to Sentosa Island by taxi would be a piece of cake, but the island itself is quite large — I’m not sure what we would have done once we got there! And getting back to the airport again would have been difficult, as we didn’t see any other taxis while we were there.
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Singapore, Overall

Eric gave us one of the best stopovers I think we’ve ever had. He was really friendly, super knowledgeable (telling us bits and bobs about the temples, areas we were driving through, and life in Singapore in general), and so affordable! I doubt you’d be able to get a personalised, 3-hour tour of a city for two that cheap anywhere else! Thank you, Eric! We will definitely be back to Singapore someday. We’re keen to spend more time in Sentosa Island, and I’d love to go inside some of the temples we visited, too. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit the Gardens by the Bay or the Marina Bay Sands (hello plunge pool!), which will definitely be top of our list for next time.

How do you spend your Singapore stopovers? What else should we add to our list for our next trip?

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Author: Michelle

Michelle Harvey is a kiwi traveller, writer, photographer, list-maker, coffee drinker, and wanderer. Winter holidays are her favourite kind.

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