Getting around Singapore is blissfully easy when you grab a free pass for the SIA Hop On Bus…
The bus pass offers unlimited rides and is included with the Singapore Stopover Holiday (SSH). There are four routes, so you can visit all the must-see spots in this vibrant city in a short space of time. Embrace spontaneity by hopping off any time you pass anything that strikes your fancy, but don’t miss our favorite attractions. We’ve rounded up five can’t-miss stops that will give you a whirlwind tour of Singapore’s culture, flavors and history.
1 – Marina Bay
This must-visit spot is home to many of Singapore’s signature skyscrapers, positioned along a stunning waterfront. This is the center of the glitz and glamour that the city is known for and it’s chock-full of restaurants and shopping. Head up to the top of Sands SkyPark or Marina Bay Sands towers for some of the best views in the island (or dare we say, world). Head back down for al fresco cafés, rooftop bars and a stroll along the waterfront promenade. Then get lost in the vast Gardens by the Bay, an awe-inspiring tropical green paradise by the water.
2 – Chinatown
As soon as you enter Chinatown, you’ll know it. Get ready for a heady dose of fragrant smells and lively bustling streets among the red and gold buildings. Don’t miss the street market, where you can pick up souvenirs such as lucky cats and silk clothing, but the real attraction here is the award-winning street food carts. Try the Michelin-starred (!) Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle stall in the Chinatown Food Complex, where the popular soy-sauce chicken lunch dish is priced at around $2. Afterwards, wander around the various temples, including Thian Hock Keng (aka the Palace of Heavenly Happiness), or the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
3 – National Museum
The oldest museum in Singapore is the best place to get a sense of the history of the country. Exhibitions include the permanent Singapore History Gallery, which traces the origins of the country dating back to 1299, as well as immersive exhibits such as a video montage showcasing the everyday lives of Singaporeans. It’s the perfect stop-off to spend the afternoon learning about the culture and history of the country (bonus: it’s air-conditioned).
4 – Orchard Road
No trip to Singapore would be complete without spending time at the most famous shopping street in the country. Take a stroll along the tree-lined outdoor shopping paradise, where you’ll find everything from department stores to every kind of retail therapy you can imagine, as well as restaurants, spas and hotels. Make sure to stop by the landmark Tang Plaza to peruse all the floors, but come hungry, because the basement food court houses some of the city’s best signature hawker food.
5 – Kampong Glam
This neighborhood is steeped in history and was the home of Malay aristocracy in Singapore. Wander down Bussorah Street, a beautiful, tiled street lined with palm trees and incredible architecture. Now known as the Muslim quarter, this vibrant trendy hub is where you can find some of the best Malaysian coffee shops, upscale dining options and excellent people-watching. Explore the boutiques and bars on the colorful Haji Lane, pick up a rug on Arab Street and learn about the history of the area at the Malay Heritage Centre. Then, grab a cooling beverage and catch a comedy show or some live music at Blu Jaz Cafe.