How to Keep Busy During a Stopover in Singapore


Singapore is one of the most popular stopover destinations for travel-loving Aussies, and it's not hard to see why. The shopping, the food, the architecture... heck, even the airport. (Seriously, it's so good that locals have been known to pay a visit just to check it out, sans bags and sans passports.) So to help you make the most of your stopover in Singapore, we've created a guide for every duration.

Four Hours or Less

So you probably don't have enough time to get out of the airport, but that's totally fine because Singapore Changi Airport just so happens to be one of the biggest and best in the world. Honestly, you could spend hours here and still not manage to see everything.

Passengers looking at the Rain Vortex located inside the Jewel at Changi Airport during a stopover in Singapore

The Jewel Rain Vortex: The worlds tallest indoor waterfall

Just a few of the fun, free (or nearly free) things to do include:

  • Go slidin': Yep, Changi Airport is home to Singapore's tallest slide. Located in Terminal 3, it's 12 metres high and riders can reach speeds of 6m/s!

  • Catch a flick: Terminals 2 and 3 are home to two cinemas, both of which air classic and kids' films for free, 24/7.

  • Snap a selfie with some butterflies: Changi has its very own Butterfly Garden, the world's only butterfly habitat in an airport.

  • Get prickly: Experience the unique flora of the Americas and Africa without even jumping on a plane at Changi's Cactus Garden on the rooftop of Terminal 1.

  • Take a dip: For just 17 SGD (about 18 AUD) you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the pool at Terminal 1's Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel while watching the planes take off.

  • Catch some Zs: The airport is filled with reclining rest chairs which are totally free to use, perfect for catching up on lost sleep!

Five to 12 Hours

So, you're only in town for an awkward period of time that's not quite long enough to book a hotel but too long to whittle away at the airport? No worries! You've actually planned it well because now you've got enough time to escape the airport and explore the city.

Aussies don't need a visa to enter Singapore, and leaving and reentering the airport is a breeze. If you've got any bulky items you don't want to lug around for hours, baggage storage is available at each terminal from 5 SGD. Too easy!

Marina Bay water front with the lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum on the left and skyscrapers in the background

Marina Bay

As if we couldn't love Singapore anymore, Changi Airport has gone and created a free two-and-a-half-hour bus tour of the city, so if you've got five-and-a-half hours or more to spare, you can jump onboard.

If you've got a little more time to play with, it's worth heading into the city. You've got a couple of options here - you can catch the MRT, which will get you into the city within an hour for about 2 SGD, or, if you're pressed for time, a taxi will get you there in 15 minutes for around 20 SGD.

Once you're there, you'll be absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to attractions and must-sees. Here are our favourites:

  • Wander around Marina Bay: Home to the iconic Marina Bay Sands Resort and the spectacular Gardens by the Bay, there is just so much to see in Singapore's financial hub. Be sure to eat at Satay by the Bay, too.

  • Take a trip to Little India: Famous for its colourful architecture and beautiful temples, this cultural enclave is a must-see. Oh, and don't forget to try fish head curry while you're there!

  • Explore Chinatown: Sure, there's one in most cities, but Singapore's Chinatown is unlike any you've ever seen before. Expect delicious street food, awesome shopping and cute wine bars.

Chinatown at nighttime with lanterns criss-crossing a street filled with shoppers and restaurant-goers

Chinatown at night

  • Go shopping: You can't come to a shopaholic's paradise and not splash some cash, right? Head to Orchard Road and Scotts Road for some of the best shopping in the city. We're talking streets lined with fancy malls. If you're after something a little more budget-friendly, check out Bugis Street Market.

  • Knock back a Singapore Sling (or two): This iconic cocktail first appeared at Raffles Hotel's Long Bar in 1915 and has since become known as the city's signature drink.

  • Try chilli crab: If you eat just one meal during your stopover, make it Singapore chilli crab - preferably from Jumbo Seafood. Hot, spicy and utterly delicious, one taste will leave you wanting more.

12 to 24 Hours

With this much time, you can afford to do all (or at least some) of the above and get some rest in a fancy hotel during your stopover in Singapore. Here are some of our favourite Singapore hotels:

  • Marina Bay Sands: Yes, it's expensive (as in $500+ a night), but it's worth it for that Insta-famous infinity pool alone. Everyone should get a taste of V.I.P. luxury every now and then, right?

  • Grand Park City Hall: With prices from around $227 a night, Grand Park City Hall is a little more friendly to the ol' bank account, but it's still super glam, not to mention well-located.

  • The Warehouse Hotel: Rooms go for around $350 a night at this uber-cool warehouse-turned-luxury-accommodation, and the price is well worth it. Just wait till you see the inside!

  • The Fullerton Bay Hotel: The exxiest on our list at around $740 a night, the Fullerton Bay Hotel is one of those once-in-a-lifetime stays. The perfect blend of old world and new school, it's truly one of a kind.

  • Sofitel Singapore City Centre: At around $376 a night, the Sofitel is worth it alone for its ultra-convenient position and Insta-worthy pool, perfect for cooling off after a muggy Singapore day.

People swimming in the rooftop infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands, overlooking the Singapore skyline

The infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands

One or More Days

If you're going to do a stopover in Singapore, you might as well take as much time as you can. After all, there's so much more to this fascinating city than can be fit into a few hours!

In addition to all the above, you'll also have enough time to explore outside the city. Check out some of our favourite day trips:

  • Sentosa Island: Just a quick cable car ride from the city lies golden sandy beaches, lush greenery, theme parks and more.

  • Pulau Ubin: The less-touristy sister of Sentosa, this island is a nature lover's paradise and will make you feel miles away from the hustle and bustle.

  • Bintan: A short ferry ride from the mainland, Bintan (officially part of Indonesia) has two distinct sides. The resort side offers luxe hotels and white sandy beaches, while Pantai Trikora is more laidback and authentic.

  • Batam: Known as an entertainment hub, Batam offers incredible nightlife, culture and budget-friendly shopping.

A beautiful lagoon surrounded by palm trees with a rope bridge crossing the water on Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island

Ready to live your own Crazy Rich Asians-style adventure? Head over to Scoopon now to save up to 70% off your Singapore accommodation!

Read more:The Ultimate First Timer's Guide to Bali