TRAVEL DIARY | What To Do When You’ve Got 36 Hours in Singapore?

20140625_143023In the Summer of 2014 I went on a two-week trip to Malaysia and Indonesia followed by a 36-hour layover in Singapore(before my return to Amsterdam).

I had never been to Singapore before and I did not know what to expect. I had exactly 36-hours from Wednesday morning arrival at 9AM until the next day (Thursday)  with a departure at 9PM. When I arrived early morning from Bali, I booked a room at Oasia Hotel Novena and during my taxi ride to the hotel I immediately got a different vibe from the city. After I had spent a total of 10 days in Kuala Lumpur and Bali, Singapore looked a whole lot different. I felt like I returned to the western world, even though I still was in Asia.


After I had checked into the hotel, I booked a ½ day city tour with the hotel concierge. The city tour takes you around  the usual sights and landmarks of Singapore for 20 minutes each(for photo opportunities) and included: China Town, Little India, Marina Bay, Singapore Orchid Garden, Clarke Quay, Orchid Road, Singapore Gems Factory, The Merlion, Thian Hock Keng Temple and The Flyer.

When I travel alone to cosmopolitan cities like Singapore, I like to do these bus tours, which is quite an experience, because you get to see a lot in a short amount of time. Plus it’s also nice to meet new people and share the experience with.


Here are some snaps of my city tour.

After the city tour I had dinner in Little India and spent the rest of my evening at the hotel. The next day I did some shopping at Novena Square Shopping Mall (which was directly connect to my hotel) and went to a beauty salon for a facial treatment. My remaining hours I spent at the hotel to relax. By the time it was 6PM I checked out, took a taxi to Changi airport to catch my flight back home to Amsterdam.


My impression about Singapore during my 36-hour stay is that it’s, in my opinion, a fast-paced urban business city with modern skyscrapers, full of high-end hotels, high-end boutiques, modern houses, neat and clean street and lots of working people minding their own business. Although it’s a multicultural city, with people from different cultural backgrounds working and living there, I didn’t get the impression that there was an actual Singaporean culture, if you know what I mean. Although, if lunching at Hawker centres, dining at  5-star restaurants, shopping at high-end boutiques and working 40-60-hours a week is considered Singaporean culture, then I guess there is one. If you’re looking for “real” adventure then I would not recommend Singapore, but if you’re into wining, dining and shopping, then Singapore is the place to be.

People often say that Singapore is a great way to start your Asian journey, because it’s a whole lot different than for example Bangkok. And I totally agree, because Singapore will indeed prepare you for the rest of Asia.

Based on my experience I often say to people that Singapore is like “Dubai in Southeast Asia”. The 36-hours that I had was actually just about enough to get an impression of the city. Did I enjoy myself in the Singapore? Yes, for sure! Would I ever go to Singapore again? Yes, either for business reasons or a short layover like these 36-hours.

Have you been to Singapore before? If so, what is your impression about the city? How long did you stay and how did you spend your time? Let me know! xo, Jey

2 thoughts on “TRAVEL DIARY | What To Do When You’ve Got 36 Hours in Singapore?

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