Asia, Destinations, SIngapore 23

24 Hours of free family travel in Singapore

We had grand plans for our short time in Singapore! The kids had never been before, they were excited about visiting their 20th country and we got a few recommendations from friends, family and other travel bloggers. There has been SO MUCH written about Singapore, even just on the Airport itself which really is an amazing airport!  I have listed at the bottom some fantastic posts about both off the beaten track places and popular attractions from fellow travel bloggers.


Marina Bay Sounds

We had just done 1 week in Thailand and 4 weeks in England where we did a ridiculous amount of travelling and lots of going back and forth between London, Sheffield and Norwich. It was all going well until the very end where we had a nightmare of a time when returning the rented car. Got robbed £995 by Green Motion Car Rental, Heathrow Airport for minor scratches (which I insisted I didn’t do.) Still fighting our case and wish we had done our research as I found several other people who had complained on Trip Advisor, Google reviews and other sites of how they were ‘robbed’ the same way by the same company. Travel lesson learnt – do your research and read reviews before doing any kind of car rental 🙁

I digress here, but just to put into perspective our frame of mind when we got to Singapore – feeling very broke and super tired from the highs and lows of travelling. Both the kids and I hadn’t slept much during the 13 hour-long journey from London to Singapore as we departed at 1pm and didn’t sleep the first 8-9 hours. By the time we landed in Singapore at 8am, we had zero energy left to do all the grand things we had planned.

On our way to Chinatown

On our way to Chinatown

Thankfully Singapore is one of those countries – safe, family friendly, clean, no hassles, easy to get around, and there are TONS of free and relaxing things to do when you don’t have the energy or the cash to splurge on the bigger activities! 

Highlights from our 24 hours first followed by great recommendations by others

We spent the first few hours jus relaxing in our hotel, tried to sleep but that didn’t work , so instead we enjoyed the different pools at the Village Hotel Changi by Far East Hospitality.  Perks  – near airport, has lovely swimming pools, several restaurants to eat at walking distance from hotel. Free shuttle to and from the airport and not very expensive – cost us $80 for three of us.  Downside – it’s far from central Singapore where everything you might want to see is located! When I say far, I mean 25-30 minute ride to the city, so nothing that major.  I wanted to be near the airport as we were here for only 24 hours and I knew we would just go into the city once. Having stayed here this time, I would definitely recommend staying closer to the city.



Highlight of our 24 hours (besides the infinity pool) was the Singapore Botanical Gardens

Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 74-hectare Gardens is really unique and holds an important place in the history of Singapore and the surrounding region. Free entrance, open 5am to midnight daily, there is just so many different things to see and do here! We mainly explored the rainforest section, the orchid gardens, the healing gardens, and the children’s gardens is just fantastic. Full of sensory play areas, lot of fun learning, our two absolutely LOVED it. Unfortunately it rained heavily halfway through our time here and we spent a good hour sitting inside one of the many garden pavilions, watching black swans, moorhens and coots getting drenched in the heavy rain.




Botanical gardens



The other place we spent a bit of time was in the vibrant and colourful Chinatown

We went mainly to have Singaporean cuisine but it was so hard to choose where to eat, everywhere and everything looked amazing! I can’t even tell you which random restaurant we ended up eating at but I don’t think you will go wrong wherever you do end up eating. If I could have had few more meals within the short period we were there, I would have 🙂


On our way to Chinatown

We walked around Chinatown, Marina Bay Sands, different streetfood markets, got lost several times, admired buildings (not really the skyscrapers as I don’t find them very attractive) but the temples, waterfront, the food stalls, the hustle and bustle of such a vibrant city, all combined to make our random ambling around with no destination in mind quite enjoyable! I only had my phone camera and had to conserve battery hence stopped taking pictures after a bit.

We were planning to do the free tours they offer from Singapore Airport if you are in transit but we found out that they are only valid for people flying out the same day (even if 10 hours later.) They wouldn’t let us take any when we showed our boarding passes were for the next day.







That in a nutshell is what we did in our dazed and tired state during 24 hours in Singapore. Very different from our 24 hours in Sydney, Australia after 3 weeks in Thailand before we moved to New Zealand! Amazing what a good night’s sleep will do for enjoying travels the next day. Big shout out to my two amazing young travellers, they really show me time and time again how well they have adapted to the highs and lows of travelling and I am happy to add, how enthusiastic and good-natured they are with all the crazy travelling their globetrotting wanderlusting parents put them through 🙂 

I am pretty sure we will be back again in Singapore once we move to Bangladesh next year and explore other parts of Asia over the years. Look forward to trying out some of the activities in these following posts on Singapore!

Off the Beaten Path Places with Kids in Singapore

Things to do in Singapore

Gardens by the Bay

Family Friendly attractions including Singapore Zoo, Sentosa and more

Singapore with Kids

The Selim Family Raasta

Linked to Our World Tuesday Wednesday Wanderlust Travel Photo Thursday and #MondayEscapes

My Travel Monkey



Our World Tuesday

My Brown Paper Packages

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  • Jen Seligmann says: August 27, 2015 at 5:40 am

    Great post guys! Full of useful info. Thanks for linking to my Singapore post!

    • says: August 27, 2015 at 6:19 am

      Thanks! I always find your travel posts super useful and ABSOLUTELY loving all the New Zealand ones as we are travelling around here for a year! headed to south island next month, I think I have looked at your travels there many times already 🙂

  • Lydia C. Lee says: August 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Singapore is so much fun – and even with just 24 hours you can cram so much in. I’m bursting to go to the Pinocotheque…it’s finally open. The pop up was one of the best art experiences I’ve had.

  • Koen B says: August 29, 2015 at 2:23 am

    Thank you for sharing. Especially the distances to the centerfor some of the locations are helpful to me.
    Must get me a 24-hours in Singapore on the planning after reading this.

  • Carly says: August 29, 2015 at 2:25 am

    Great article, I did the same with I was in Singapore several years ago.i really enjoyed the botanical gardens but the food was definately my favourite thing about Singapore, wandering Chinatown and deciding where to eat was half the fun too and the coconut I bought from a street vendor started an obsession with them! The ones in South America so far don’t compare to the ones you can buy in Asia.

  • travelling chingrita says: August 29, 2015 at 2:45 am

    Thanks for the article, I think it’s great that you had an opportunity to explore Singapore. The gardens sound so lovely and tranquil. Did you find it to be quit clean and orderly?

    • says: August 29, 2015 at 3:56 am

      We did find it very clean and safe..orderly I suppose for being such a hustling and bustling busy city, but just very easy to get around and do lots of stuff

  • Constance - Foreign Sanctuary says: August 29, 2015 at 3:28 am

    Singapore has changed so much since the last time I visited, so I am definitely need to revisit the place. I remember visiting Chinatown during my last time in Singapore and I enjoyed the area. However, I need to check out Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay.

    • says: August 29, 2015 at 3:57 am

      I hadn’t been to Singapore myself in more than 20 years so it was a big change for me! I too want to visit Gardens by the Bay, on my list for next time 🙂

  • Ruth - Tanama Tales says: August 29, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Like you, even if I am tired and jet lagged, I would make an effort to explore. In my case, I will focus on the good food and rest between meals ;0)

  • Liz says: August 30, 2015 at 2:26 am

    Very useful post on Singapore! 🙂 I’ve been to SG twice but I’ve never tried going to Chinatown. Maybe I’ll check it out next time.

    About the car rental thing, I did some internet research before renting in Austria, and I read that it’s better to stick to the big international companies (Avis, Hertz, Budget) because of “robberies” like that. I used Avis in Austria and I didn’t have a problem. I availed of their full coverage insurance and GPS, and they even already included the toll stickers required for using major motorways. I was able to return it off-hours in a hotel that was just across the rental shop. Overall, it was a pleasant experience. Definitely more expensive than what the smaller companies would quote, but at least I was assured that that was it. No hidden charges. 🙂

    • says: August 31, 2015 at 8:51 am

      I agree completely! learnt our lesson, not going for any small companies after this horrible experience 🙁

  • Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages says: August 30, 2015 at 10:07 am

    I never knew that those free tours I always hear about are just for same day departures, will have to keep this in mind because I keep intending on actually using my stopovers here to do some exploring.
    Thanks for linking up for #wednesdaywanderlust

  • Connie Reed says: August 30, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I hate it when you’re looking forward to going somewhere, but you are so tired from lack of sleep that you can’t enjoy it. I find just a short nap or just relaxing for a bit like you did at the hotel will really perk you up.

    I’m surprised the botanic gardens is open until midnight. As far as I know, you won’t find any botanic gardens open that late in the U.S. It. look beautiful, and Singapore seems like a really nice city to visit.

  • Pola (Jetting Around) says: August 30, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Uncharted territory for me, but I’d live to visit at some point after reading a lot about it. That swimming pool caught my attention right away.

    • says: August 31, 2015 at 8:50 am

      We loved that pool, was one of the highlights of our stay for sure 🙂

  • Michele {Malaysian Meanders} says: August 31, 2015 at 4:51 am

    That’s good to know about the free Changi Airport tour of Singapore only being available if you fly out the same day. It’s a shame you couldn’t go, as I fully expected that to be one of your free things. As Americans who lived in Penang for 3 years, it seems like we always sought out all the Western delights that Singapore had but Penang didn’t — like good Mexican food and a brewpub.

    • says: August 31, 2015 at 8:50 am

      I really thought the airport tours would be what we would get to do, especially as we were so tired and didn’t want to pay or plan for other things..oh well! ended up a a nice enough day given how tired we were! we loved the botanical gardens and the food!

  • Bryna | Bryna's Window says: August 31, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    So sorry to hear that you got charged 995 pounds for your car rental! We always take photos of all the scratches and also the gas tank at the rental place before we leave with the car. But not sure if it would have helped in this case if the reviews show that this is something this company does. I hope you win the case and get your money back! Glad you and your family still got to enjoy Singapore despite the bad luck with the car though!

  • Linda Bibb says: September 2, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Yes, yes, YES to the Singapore Botanical Gardens! It is my absolutely favorite place in Singapore and I tell everyone to see it.

    A great big shout out to you as well for travelling with your kids. Travel is the best educator. It saddens me when I hear people use their children as an excuse to stay home. In my opinion, that should be a reason to GO!

    • says: September 2, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      I agree wholeheartedly! and feel the same way when we see people use kids to not travel…we did enjoy the botanical gardens a lot and look forward to the gardens by the bay next time we are in Singapore

  • Packing my Suitcase says: September 3, 2015 at 5:50 am

    Ohh nooo, sorry to hear about the car rental! This must have been very disappointing :/
    I’m glad you still had fun in Singapore! The infinity pool of the hotel is awesome, but I understand it would be better to stay in the center city.

    Thank you for joining #MondayEscapes

  • Prianka says: October 24, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Your car rental situation sounds horrid! Singapore gets a bad rap for being dull and strict but it is actually a pretty awesome place. I should know, I’ve been living here for a year! One of my favourite things is the incredible diversity from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. Walk from Little India to China Town through Clarke Quay and it’s like you traveled through three different countries.

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