Singapore Past & Present
Don’t be fooled by its youth and size: Singapore is a true melting pot of cultures, with a history as complex as it is fascinating.
Malay sultanates, British colonisation, Chinese and Indian immigration. Trace the many influences that shaped modern Singapore as you explore the mosques, noodle stands, art galleries and jungle islands that make this country what it is today. Singapore is sometimes dismissed as “just another Asian city” — this trip will prove it’s so much more than that.
Singapore is a one-stop destination, which means no transfers! While you’re here, you’ll get around on the excellent MRT (subway).
This itinerary gets beyond Singapore’s modern facade and into its fascinating, multicultural history
You’ll get to see a wilder side of Singapore on an optional day trip to Pulau Ubin Island
We’ve combined guided and independent exploration to give you the best of both worlds
Things to consider
Guides in Singapore are pretty pricey, so if you’re a confident traveller you might opt to do some things by yourselves
This is quite an active, busy itinerary, with lots of walking and cycling
You can’t understand Singapore without understanding its colonial past, and that means a walking tour of the Civic District is the perfect place to start. Your guide will introduce you to the stories behind these grand, British-era buildings — how the Old Supreme Court became Singapore’s finest art gallery, or how the old post office became a luxury hotel — as you chart the Singapore story from its founding to the present day. Next, head to the Muslim-Malay district of Kampong Glam for a cup of sweet “pulled tea”, then hop on a trishaw to Little India, where a crispy, soft-centre roti prata is waiting for you. These are just a few of the flavours that make up modern Singapore.
See cricket clubs and grand old theatres on a walking tour of colonial-era Singapore
Trace the Arabic, Bugis and Malay influences in the Kampong Glam district
Take a trishaw ride through Little India, brimming with delicious tastes and smells
Before Singapore was one of the most densely populated and future-facing nations in the world, it was just a little island covered in dense rainforest and dotted with Malay kampong villages. If you’re having trouble imagining it, take our advice and jump on a bumboat to Pulau Ubin, where you can be transported back — if not to the Singapore of the 1760s, then at least the 1960s. Cycle along beautifully maintained paths through the jungle on this tiny island, stopping to hike up to viewpoints over stunning lakes, say hello to the pygmy pigs, or watch the mudskippers and fiddler crabs on the beach. Pulau Ubin is a breath of fresh air just a stone’s throw from the city.
Get off the usual stopover circuit with a day trip to Pulau Ubin
Stop for a fresh seafood lunch
Cycle through primary rainforest and imagine Singapore before the skyscrapers
The finer detail
- Breakfast every day
- One lunch: small dishes as part of the food tour
- Four half-day experiences: Colonial heritage walking tour; Tour of Kampong Glam & Little India; Michelin Guide street food tour; Futuristic Gardens of Singapore
- All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
- All internal transport & accommodation
Logistics & journey times
Car transfer from Singapore airport to hotel (20 minutes)
Car transfer from hotel to Singapore airport (20 minutes)
What's not included
- International flights
- Any meals not mentioned
- Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
- Tips for guides & porters