How to spend a long weekend in Singapore

In a city full of food, shopping destinations and sights to see - here is everything you need to do in Singapore.

It’s hard to believe the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s Orchard Road was once a plantation area. What is now the heart of the shopping district was previously agricultural estates of nutmeg and fruit tree orchards. However, an overhaul spanning 50 years has made Singapore a must-visit travel destination.

If you’ve got a few spare days and plan on heading overseas, here’s a list of things to see and do before jetting off to Singapore.

Where to stay in Singapore

One of the most central places to stay in Singapore is around Orchard Road. With bars, shops and historical areas like Emerald Hill just around the corner, it is the perfect location for travellers to choose.

The Hilton Singapore Orchard is conveniently located right above Orchard Road, and has the added benefit of looking out over Marina Bay Sands if you stay in the Orchard Wing. With over 1,000 rooms to choose from, Hilton Singapore Orchard has sleek and sophisticated interiors that give a gentle nod to the history of Orchard Road below.

Sustainability is also a big factor for the hotel, so you can enjoy your stay knowing the team are working towards a more eco-friendly venue. Hilton Singapore Orchard were the first hotel to introduce an in house bottling and filtration system for their drinking water, using glass bottles and therefore removing the need for single use plastics. They also have in-room motion sensors that will automatically turn off lights and air-conditioning when no one is present in the room, as well as the option to use digital room keys that save using thousands of their plastic alternatives.

A room at the Hilton Singapore Orchard with a view looking out towards Marina Bay Sands.
(Credit: Hilton Singapore Orchard)

Where to dine in Singapore

There are many amazing dining options in Singapore, so do not fear a lack of choice. There are plenty of local hawker markets that will offer delicious traditional favourites like chilli crab. If heading to a hawker market, be sure to check the opening times and aim to get there early, as the lines can get very long, very quickly.

If you like the idea of a mouth-watering spread with the option to choose from local and international cuisines, Estate is the place to go. Offering a modern buffet which spans an incredible five rooms, plus a fresh seafood bar on a Friday and Saturday evening, it’s hard to go past. Chefs also offer ten gourmet meals cooked a la minute and delivered to your table. Choices include slipper lobster, foie gras and tomahawk just to name a few. Estate will guarantee that there is something for everyone.

Wanting something traditional without the busyness of a hawker market? Chatterbox has you covered. Known for offering elevated classics and world famous Mandarin Chicken Rice, Chatterbox has been the place to go for authentic Singapore food for decades.

(Credit: Estate)

The best bars to visit

There’s nothing better than indulging in a cocktail (or mocktail) while on holiday, and Ginger.Lily is one of the best places to try if you want to be wowed by your drink. The botanical-inspired lounge and bar offers a delicious Nikkei inspired afternoon tea before transforming into a cocktail bar at night.

The drinks menu includes ‘Synaesthesia’, which offers an interactive, multi-sensory experience – think cocktails paired with coloured eye glasses that alter the taste, or edible fragrances that enhance different flavours of the drink. You will still find all your usual favourite beverages, plus a range of bar snacks or desserts to end your evening.

(Credit: Ginger.Lily)

What to see in Singapore

There is certainly no shortage of things to visit in Singapore. Being a relatively small city-state, all of the attractions are also within close range!

Visiting the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a great way to start the day before it gets too hot. A walk around the gardens is sure to inspire you to keep sightseeing, and be sure to check out the National Orchard Garden while you are there.

Further south, a myriad of attractions await. Gardens by the Bay is an extensive nature park with amazing features like Supertree Grove (which features an evening light show) and Cloud Forest. All within a short distance, you’ll also find the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Art Science Museum.

View over Marina Bay, Garden By the Bay, Supertree Grove and Cloud Forest. (Credit: Getty)

Where to shop in Singapore

There are endless places to shop in Singapore. In fact, it’s difficult to go anywhere without doing a spot of shopping. Shopping malls filled with luxury boutiques and global brands line the streets of Orchard Road. ION Orchard is a multi storey mall where many luxury brands house their flagship stores. Favourites like Tiffany & Co., Prada, Gucci and Cartier are all centrally located for those who want to indulge while on holiday.

If you are wanting to find some hidden gems, head to Takashimaya or Ngee Ann City to find Singapore owned brands like Beyond the Vines. Design Orchard is also a great place to see a wide range of small businesses in an integrated retail space.

With countless options for a bit of retail therapy, it’s definitely advised to leave plenty of space in your luggage!

The writer travelled as a guest of Hilton Singapore Orchard.

Related stories