Get a detailed Singapore itinerary 7 days with kids – Child friendly, not too hectic, food reccos included, lots of tips
Singapore for the Christmas holidays was a delayed birthday gift for our son. The previous two holidays, one to Europe and the other to Sikkim were both something that we enjoyed as adults, but there was not too much that was child friendly. We thought Singapore with its many kid-friendly things to do would be a nice holiday for our 9 year old and so it was.
This Singapore itinerary was deliberately not packed chock-a-block with activities. We wanted R&R and general do-nothing time. You can use this itinerary as a template and add more activities as per the inclination of your family.
We booked our flights and hotel well in advance, given that it was Christmas time. We stayed at Mandarin Orchard on Orchard Road. The location could not get any better. The app based taxis were always just a minute away and there was an incredible festive vibe on this road during this period.
We landed in Singapore very early on Saturday morning, took a cab to the hotel and by the time we checked in, it was time for breakfast. The breakfast at Mandarin Orchard is grand enough to warrantee its own blog post.
All three us collapsed into a nap post-breakfast as the 4 hour flight hardly gives you enough time for a sleep.
Here is the detailed account of the Singapore Itinerary 7 days with kids
Day 1 – Botanic Gardens, Dempsey Hills, Gardens by the Bay
First on our itinerary was Singapore Botanic Gardens. It was a very short cab ride away from the hotel. It is amazing how there is an expanse of dense greenery bang in the heart of this city.
Tips: The gardens are open from 5am to midnight, so take advantage of going in early to avoid the heat and humidity. It was lovely to watch runners, babies and even a pre wedding photo shoot happening in the gardens. You can easily spend 3 hours here. Don’t miss: The Healing Garden showcasing a variety of medicinal plants
After the Botanic Gardens, we took a (long) walk to Dempsey Hills, a neighbourhood with a fascinating history. It went from being a nutmeg plantation in the mid 19th century, to a military camp to a buzzing hip neighbourhood. We had a late lunch at a brewhouse (Red Dot) in this area. The chilled beer hit the spot. You can even plan to visit this area in the evening and eat dinner at one of the numerous restaurants in this precinct.
Gardens by the Bay or Orchard Road
Given that we were quite tired after a hot day of considerable walking around the Botanic Gardens and Dempsey Hills, we decided to walk around Orchard road (original plan was Gardens by the Bay). Orchard Road was packed to its gills with locals, tourists, shoppers, street performers. It was an incredible experience.
We ambled around Somerset313 – the commercial space attached to the MRTS station. Dinner was burgers at Wildfire Burgers. I went for their Portobello burgers and was kinda let down but what seemed to be an exciting choice.
Day 2 – Jurong Bird Park and Little India
We got the combined ticket for 4 attractions via the Park Hopper Plus passes.
Tips: Buying tickets online saves both queuing time as well as gives you better rates. All the other attractions for the ParkHopper Plus are at the location of the Singapore Zoo and the bird park is located at Jurong. Luckily the pass can be used through a period of one week, so you can split up the bird park and the other attractions.
Be prepared to spend 3-4 hours here and catch at at least one of the live shows, which happen twice a day. Check the website and make a note of the shows so as to catch them on time. We loved the High Flyers Show featuring many of the popular birds from the park.
Jurong Bird Park is open from 8.30am to 6pm. There are plenty of water filling stations so do carry your water bottles along.
There are shuttle buses from the bird park to the zoo and also to other parts of the city such as Little India, so we decided to take the latter. We reached there quite late for lunch. Do remember that almost all places shut down at 3PM so your options to get a late lunch are very few. This Indo-Chinese restaurant (Fifth Season) that we decided to eat at was open and they were happy to serve us even after closing time. They served Chinese food from Kolkata! That’s the kind of variety of Indian food you can get in this locality. The pan fried momos and schezwan noodles were exceptionally good.
Tips: You can take a walk around the various lanes, visit the iconic Mustafa shopping centre. This place is 5 floors of anything you can buy under the sun. I’m told original perfumes are available at a good price here.
Time spent in Little India- walk around neighbourhood + lunch + Mustafa shopping – around 3 hours
After another tiring day of walking around, we had a quiet Christmas Eve dinner at this lovely place in the Orchard Central mall called The Tapas Club. It had very good vegetarian options. Next door is the famous vegan restaurant and store called Real Food.
Day 3 – Universal Studios
We took a cab to Sentosa which was less than a 20 minute drive from Orchard Road.
The tickets are best booked online. Remember to carry the card used for the bookings and to keep the booking confirmation email handy, or carry a print out. These get redeemed for tickets to be shown to enter Universal studios. We reached there well before the 10AM opening time to queue up for entry. Express passes are highly recommended as the waiting time for each ride could easily be 1 hour. The cost of the express pass varies daily, and you can also get it online in advance, so do your research. We had lunch at the Discovery Food Court, where the Vegetarian Noodles was very tasty with generous portions. Chicken tenders and the local dish – Haianese Chicken Rice were good too, as per my husband and son.
Tips: Wear comfy clothing and footwear, because there’s a lot of walking and standing around. At all costs, avoid holidays, weekends and school holidays. The crowds can be a complete mayhem. Ask us, we went on 25th December.
Regular hours are 10am to 7pm but on special holidays, closing hours are extended to 9.30pm for fireworks etc. You must look up the details in the Plan your visit section of their website. Free wifi available here.
This is usually a very tiring day, so best to keep the late evening free to rest and recoup. We were so knocked out that we ordered room service for dinner.
Day 4 – Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari
We decided to club these three attractions together as they are located in the same vicinity. The Singapore zoo is one of the best in the world. It opens at 8.30AM. If you want to have a relaxed viewing of all the animals and sit through the live shows, then start early. We had to stick around until 7.30 PM for the Night Safari so we decided to have a later start, which in retrospect was not a great idea as we had to rush through some of the parts.
Our tickets were the Park Hopper Plus, including all the boat and tram rides ($88 per adult). However, I would recommend the 2-Park admission including night safari for $65 instead as Amazon River Quest and the River Safari both were highly avoidable.
Tips: The Night safari is good only if you book a 7.15 PM slot, especially in the months when darkness sets early. We could barely manage to see the animals in the open air, but the Night Safari experience was a brilliant one.
Pack some sandwiches and beverages for the zoo visit as the food inside the Ah Meng restaurant in the zoo is terrible and overpriced (this is not a surprise). Our lunch here was a disaster.
We thought this would be a light day to make up for the very hectic Universal Studios on the previous day and Sentosa on the next, but the number of activities made it equally tiring.
Day 5 – Sentosa and Arab Street
We went with the Play 5 fun pass (5 attractions only), instead of the pass that includes all the attractions. It made total sense because we did not want to kill ourselves running all over the island trying to cover everything listed in the pass.
Tips: Reach here by 9.30 am latest and once again, like Universal, redeem your online booking for the Fun Passes. These passes need to be presented at each attraction to further get the ticket for that particular attraction. Start with the SEA Aquarium, as this will take you around 2 hours. After this, visit the Trick Eye museum which is in the same location. Make sure you download the app (to fully enjoy the Trick Eye museum with fun photos) well before you go here, because the free wifi that Sentosa claims to give you is patchy and you can only get it with a text message OTP.
We broke for lunch at Tino’s Italian which is in the same line as Hard Rock Cafe. Excellent pizzas, fries and pasta here at reasonable prices (as compared to the rest of Sentosa).
We took the monorail from the Waterfront station to the Imbiah station (2 min ride) to take a look at the Sentosa Merlion, watch a 4D show and take a cable car ride (highly recommended). The monorail within the island is free with the passes.
We wrapped up from Sentosa by 4PM which left us time to get back to the hotel, rest a while and then explore Arab Street and the Kampong Glam district in the evening. We had a memorable Middle Eastern dinner at Alaturka – excellent vegetarian options here.
Day 6 – Shopping at IKEA, Chinatown and dinner with friends
If you love home decor and cooking, the IKEA trip is totally worth it. Unlike the stores I’ve been to in other countries, there’s one IKEA (Alexandra) very close to the heart of the city – an 8 minute cab ride from Orchard Road. We ended up buying a lot of small kitchen stuff that IKEA makes so well. Ask nicely and I may do a separate post on my IKEA haul 😀
You can end your shopping morning by eating lunch at their cafe – the coffee at just 50c has unlimited refills and it is really good too. You can easily spend 3 hours here including lunch.
We then went to Chinatown, which like Little India, is one of the neighbourhoods you must not miss. Walk around the food street and the parallel street full of gifts and trinkets. The oldest Hindu temple of Singapore, the Mariamman temple is located here, so do check the open hours and go accordingly. There are a couple of vegan / vegetarian restaurants here that come highly recommended – Eight Treasures and Lotus Kitchen. Both were closed by the time we reached here (the 3PM rule) but we managed to get a healthy veg meal at Well Dressed, another vegan place here. The Chinatown Heritage Centre has daily guided tours at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 4.30pm. This is a ticketed attraction. A leisurely walk around Chinatown with lunch or dinner can take around 3 hours. Check out the local food stalls on Smith street here.
Day 7 – Eating at local breakfast place and last minute shopping
We wrapped up with the famous Kaya toast and Milo Dinosaur at Toast Box with a friend who was transiting Singapore that day. Daiso, a Japanese chain where everything is sold for 2$, but quality items, great place to shop for return gifts and knick knacks. We also did some last minute shopping around Orchard Road.
SINGAPORE ITINERARY 7 DAYS WITH KIDS
Day 1: Botanic Gardens, Dempsey Hills, Gardens by the Bay
Day 2: Jurong Bird Park, Little India, Orchard Road
Day 3: Universal Studios
Day 4: Singapore Zoo, Night Safari
Day 5: Sentosa, Arab Street / Kampong Glam
Day 6: IKEA / shopping, Chinatown
Day 7 (morning): Local breakfast, shopping
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