Singapore has never been particularly high on my “must visit” destinations bucket list. But Mr AWTYK wanted to try it so I added it to our Malaysian itinerary. And I’m so glad I did! Here are the highlights of our whirlwind visit to Singapore with kids. Spoiler alert – two and a half days was no where near long enough!
Changi International Airport
My daughter and I arrived mid-afternoon after 3 days in Kuala Lumpur. Changi Airport was amazing. Transfers seamless, baggage collection and immigration was quick and it was easy to get a taxi into the city. Which took about 30 mins and cost just £14. We would quickly learn that this simplicity is a trend throughout Singapore. Everything is clean, efficient and, dare I say it, easy.
Where to stay in Singapore with kids
We were staying at the Carlton Hotel, right next to Raffles. Which was the perfect location from which to explore the city. You can read my full review of the Carlton Hotel Singapore to discover why we loved it so much.
After check in we just had time to unpack our essentials and explore the area before heading over to the Singapore Swimming Club with some friends who are members. We all enjoyed a swim and some lovely local food. Whilst my daughter burnt off her remaining energy in the playground.
Things to do in Singapore with kids
Universal Studios Singapore
After a good night’s sleep we were ready for a day of adventure so we headed to Sentosa Island to visit Universal Studios Singapore. We decided to take the train as we had plenty of time which was pretty straight forward. The queues when we arrived at Vivocity Mall to get the Sentosa monorail were pretty horrific. But it was a Saturday so I would expect it to be less painful during the week. I would recommend walking over to avoid these if it’s not too hot. The monorail was clean and quick. Universal is the first stop and not far to walk from the Station. We had bought our tickets online before we left (£63). After the obligatory picture with the Universal Globe were able to head straight into the park.
Top Tip: Children below 0.9m in height and accompanied by a fee-paying traveler are free on trains and buses in Singapore
I had read horror stories about the queuing and was kicking myself that we didn’t upgrade to an Express pass. But actually the queues were not too bad. Perhaps we were just lucky but for a lot of the major rides it was no more than 15 mins wait. Amazingly we walked straight on Transformers! But some of the smaller rides (hello Treasure Hunters) took up to 50 mins. It didn’t really put a dampener on our day as there is often plenty to see while you’re queuing.
Top Tip – if something looks like it has a massive queue, come back and try later, the park is small enough to walk the loop twice.
We recently made it to Universal in the States and have done Disney a couple of times. And I think, for a 5 year old, this is definitely as good (minus the princesses!). It’s very clean, modern and packed with well thought out rides and attractions. We crammed so much in and had a really brilliant day.
Singapore Cable Car
After Universal we had a dinner date on Mount Faber. We took the cable car across the water which in itself is a great activity for kids. We left the theme park at 7pm, perhaps the worst time possible as the queues for the monorail were huge. I considered walking to the Cable Car Station instead.
We finally we got on a train and headed to the Merlion Station. I wish we had planned more time in this part of Sentosa. The Merlion is pretty impressive and you can climb all the way up to it’s mouth. Piper was devastated she couldn’t try it out! The cable cars are very well organised and the journey was quick with a fabulous view across Sentosa and towards Singapore. We ate at Spuds and Aprons, right at the top which offered amazing views and a great selection for kids.
After dinner we headed to Satay by the Bay for pudding. Even though we were exhausted after our busy day we managed to squeeze in a visit to Marina Barrage. This is a reservoir with a lovely green space on the roof. It’s my favourite place for a night time view of Singapore.
This was the night Mr AWTYK missed his connecting flight from Kuala Lumpur. Even though he had three and a half hours to get through customs. So he had to find an airport hotel in KL and booked himself on the first available flight in the morning.
Gardens by the Bay
On our second full day we were finally reunited as a family and after a swim in the hotels pool, we walked (yes walked!) over to Gardens by the Bay. I think this was my favourite thing to do in Singapore with kids. Yet again we were amazed by the beauty of Singapore. This is a wonderful park with loads to see and do and is home to the iconic Supertrees and Cloud Gardens. Even if you only have a short stopover in Singapore I would say this is the one not to miss. The Gardens are free to wander around. There is plenty to see including what looks like a lovely childrens play area. Although this was closed on the day we visited.
If you want to go in the Domes it’s about £14 for both. Well worth the money and a beautiful place to cool off in. Inside the Cloud Forest you follow the trail ever upwards (hopefully you’re ok with heights) learning all about this unique ecosystem. Kids will love the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and the walkway in the clouds with an aerial view of the canopy below. Totally magical!
There is a really informative video at the end of the trail about Climate Change and its impact on the World. Which amazingly held my daughters attention for the duration of its important message. The Flower Dome isn’t quite as high but still as breathtaking. It’s currently the World’s largest glass greenhouse. And is packed with beautiful flowers and plants from the Mediterranean and other semi-arid regions. When we visited my daughter loved the Orchid garden with the cute characters nested in amongst the flowers. We all enjoyed the magnificent Baobabs and bottle trees which reminded us of our adventures in South Africa.
We only viewed the Supertrees as we were walking around the park. But if you have a head for heights, you can stroll along the OCBC Skyway, 22 metres up the trees for about £4.50. I imagine the views up there are magnificent. Even better if you visit during the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show when the Sun goes down. Again we missed this but it looks amazing!
After a late lunch at Satay by the Bay (yes this was a firm favourite) we headed back to our hotel and wandered next door to Raffles Hotel for a much needed Singapore Sling. Yes it’s cliché but it’s a fun thing to do. We didn’t dress up so were only allowed in the Long Bar which has a very colonial feel with bags of peanuts on all the tables with their shells scattered over the floor. It’s probably more child friendly than other bars in Raffles so if you are looking for a relaxed vibe, this is the place. If you’re visiting Singapore with kids, hey have virgin cocktails and a nice bar menu. It’s a great place to kick back after a busy day.
Top Tip – The chicken satays were delicious!
Singapore Night Safari
We couldn’t stay long as we were headed to the Singapore Night Safari. After being told by so many people that this is the best thing to do in Singapore with kids. I knew we had to squeeze it in somehow, we were on to our last night so I couldn’t miss the chance. The night Safari is located at Singapore Zoo, about half an hours taxi drive away from the City. We arrived at about 8pm, with a very tired 5 year old who soon perked up once she caught her first glimpse of the nocturnal animals. It was, as promised, a truly wonderful experience and even slightly eerie wandering round a zoo in the dark.
The lighting is low to make sure the animals aren’t disturbed which makes them a bit hard to spot but even more magical when you do! You can get a tram all the way round but we decided to walk the first leg and tram it back, both ways were brilliant, the guide on the tram was very informative and entertaining but I think walking adds even more to the experience.
We went to the Creatures of the Night Show at the end of our visit but left halfway through as it wasn’t all that interesting and Piper was definitely exhausted, she fell asleep in the taxi back but the whole experience was well worth the sleepiness.
Top Tip – DO NOT forget the mosquito repellent and cover up well, you will get bitten which can be really nasty and ruin the next few days of your holiday
I would love to return and visit the Zoo in daylight, you can breakfast with some of the animals so that’s one for our family travel bucket list!
After a quick swim the next morning we checked out of the hotel with heavy hearts and a promise to return to Singapore for longer. What an amazing city! We headed back to Changi Airport for another smooth trip through check in and immigration and flew off to our next location – Penang. Keep an eye on the blog for everything we got up to on the Island most famous for its Street Food and Street Art.
Have you been to Singapore with kids? I would love to hear about all your favourite places. Let me know in the comments below.