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Singapore

24-hour layover in Singapore with kids: what to do & where to go

While long layovers at the airports are usually bad news, it’s not the case in Singapore. If you have a 24-hour (overnight) layover in Singapore with kids, get ready for exciting adventures. Layovers in Singapore with kids are so much fun that it will almost make you wish your onward flight gets canceled. It’s that good!

So, assuming you have a 24-hour layover in Singapore, you have two options:

First, Singapore’s Changi Airport is more like a massive entertainment complex with planes and tarmac as a bonus to it. With all the sightseeing, adventures for kids and adults, and family-friendly dining, the time will literally fly by. 

I’ve written a detailed blog post about things you can experience at Changi and its Jewel. Click the link below to learn more:

What to do at Changi Airport with kids: a detailed guide

24 hours layover in Singapore with kids
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Your second option is to leave the airport and explore the city island. While there are many incredible things and places to visit with kids in Singapore, we recommend going to the Marina Bay area during your 24-hour layover. Some of the most unique attractions are located in and around the area that you can cover on foot. 

Assuming you go for the second option, read below about the must-sees in Singapore with kids during your 24- hour overnight layover. 

First, some practical info:

How to get to Marina Bay from Changi airport? 
1. Airport transfer

The fastest and the most convenient way is booking a car that will come with the child seat included and take you to your destination in no time. We usually use Welcome Pickups to get to and from the airports. 

2. Hotel Shuttle

Most hotels offer shuttle or pick-up services. If you decide to stay in town, not at the airport, hotel shuttles are a convenient way to get to the city. Check with your hotel to arrange the details. 

3. Taxi

You can take taxis too. The cars are all clean, the drivers are polite, speak English, and you won’t be cheated on in terms of meter readings or fake banknotes like in many other countries in Asia. The downside of taking a taxi at the airport is that the queue gets massive if several planes are landing at a similar time. 

4. MRT (subway)

And there is a subway called MRT in Singapore. It stands for Mass Rapid Transport. As with most things in Singapore, everything is well structured and clean. Note, you can’t eat, drink, litter, and although unlikely, carry durians on MRTs.

Singapore subway map with kids
Singapore subway map

There are direct train routes to central Singapore. Take a green line and (in this case we go to CBD to see all the fun around Marina Bay) align at Raffles Square, change to the red line at Raffles to go directly to Marina Bay Sands (the three towers connected with a ship like structure on the top). 

5. Walking

Singapore is like a massive green park, especially its central area, which can be easily explored on foot. All of the attractions that I will list below are within walking distance of each other. The island city is stroller and wheelchair friendly. There are pathways and lifts whenever required. Basically, just get to Marina Bay and from there you can just walk and explore. 

6. Sightseeing Tours 

If you like joining tours and learning about a new place from a local, check out Get your guide. It is our favorite and recommended platform for booking tours, attraction passes, and activities. There are several interesting walking and segway tours that you and your family might want to join and enjoy. 

7. Grab car hire app

Grab is Singapore’s leading car hire app. Same as Uber, just that Uber is not available in Singapore. I suggest to download their app in advance. It’s easy to use and have options to choose for baby seats, booster seats, wheelchairs, larger vehicles etc.

Where to stay during your 24-hour overnight layover with kids in Singapore? 
If you stay in the city…

Regarding accommodation, ideally book a hotel in Central Singapore, close to Marina Bay. If you can afford it, definitely check in to Marina Bay Sands hotel. It’s the landmark of Singapore in the middle of all the fun. Did you know that the ship that connects the three towers on the top has a rooftop infinity pool? While you can go to the MBS observation deck as a tourist, and dine at Marina Bay Sands, the infinity pool is available for hotel guests only. 

When we moved to Singapore, we stayed at Sofitel in Tanjong Pagar.

24 hours layover in Singapore with kids
Tanjong Pagar

It’s a beautiful area worth a visit, and the hotel is really nice. It was newly opened and had friendly staff, good food, and a rooftop swimming pool. I am linking Sofitel on the Agoda website HERE, should you want to check it out. 

If your flight departs early the next morning…

However, if your next flight departs early the next morning you might want to spend the night at one of the hotels at Changi Airport

Singapore travel tip

A family vacation deserves more than selfies, doesn’t it? And while exploring a stunning city I recommend hiring FlytographerA professional photographer will capture those precious memories. After all, aren’t the memories from the trip the best souvenir? (Use the code LITTLETRAVELLER for $25 off)

Without further ado, here is what you can and should visit during your 24-hour layover in Singapore with your kids 

The Shoppes at Marina Bay and Marina Bay Sands hotel
24 hours layover in Singapore with kids
Helix bridge, Marina Bay Sands hotel & Art Science Museum (lotus shaped building)

One of the highlights and major landmarks in Singapore is the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel. The above-mentioned hotel looks like a giant ship placed over three towers. In front of the hotel is another architectural marvel- The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Even if shopping at Chanel is not on your Singapore layover agenda, do visit the mall. Your kids will have a blast. And I don’t just mean a random playground inside a shopping mall.

Sampan boat ride at the Shoppes at Marina Bay
On a Sampan Boat inside the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

There is an actual water canal inside the mall! Singaporean Venice experience is located on level B2, and you can even hop on a red sampan boat. Have you ever taken a boat ride inside a shopping mall? It was the first time for us and Thea adored it. The ride lasted around 10 minutes, but she could have easily stayed for an hour. So this little boat will take you along the canal, under small bridges, little arches, cafes, restaurants, and luxury boutiques towards the Rain Oculus and back. This brings us to…

The Rain Oculus

Simply put it is a giant waterfall or a fountain. The difference is that usually, the water in fountains sprinkles from the ground to the sky. Here, however, the water cascades from the sky (aka two levels above) into the canal below. It happens at certain intervals so you might want to time your sampan boat ride accordingly. Over 22k liters of water are released per minute, so it’s an impressive sight and experience. 

24 hours layover in Singapore
The Rain Oculus

The Rain Oculus can be observed from the ground level as well. This inverted kind-of fountain structure is located outdoors and is made of glass, steel, and acrylic. When you are outdoors you see the water fill in the inverted structure, after which the water is released into the canal. We recommend checking out both. See the fountain from the ground level, and then take a boat or simply walk to the area where the water cascades down into the canal. 

This site is free of charge, however, if you take the boat, you will have to buy a ticket. At the time of our visit, I paid $10 per person. I guess the fee has increased since, but if you fly with Singapore Airlines, you’ll get a 15% discount. 

Digital light canvas

This multi-sensory digital installation is another highlight and a perfect attraction for kids inside the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Basically, it is like a massive installation on the ground that combines LED floor and 4D vision light sculpture. I am not good at tech stuff but basically, you walk on the ground where lights change right under your feet, shoals of fish pass by, flowers bloom and many more exciting things happen. 

24 hours layover in Singapore with kids
Digital Light Canvas

This light canvas is located within the food court at the entrance nearest to the Helix bridge. 

It’s a good place to enjoy some local and neighboring cuisines while kids run around on the canvas. You can buy tickets nearby at the B2 Retail Concierge Counter. Please note that children below 6 years old must be accompanied by an adult while on this digital adventure. 

Gardens by the Bay with kids

This is an absolutely stunning place with jaw-dropping attractions.

24 hours layover in Singapore with kids
Gardens by the Bay

The Gardens by the Bay are within pleasant walking distance, right behind the Marina Bay Sands hotel. Here’s what you can see and do there during your 24-hours layover with kids in Singapore: 

The Could Forest

Did you ever wish you could walk on the clouds? I used to watch clouds when I was little and imagine how I’d jump from one to the next. This childhood dream comes close to reality in Singapore’s Cloud Forest. It’s a giant indoor waterfall mountain with fauna species from all corners of the planet. You take the lift to go to the top of the mountain, and then descend on pathways leading through the cool mist.

I have never walked on the actual clouds but I imagine it feels a lot like The Cloud Forest. Overall, highly recommended, and definitely one of the must-sees with kids during your 24-hours layover in Singapore. 

Flower Dome

There is another dome nearby and as the name suggests it features millions of plants and flowers. Thea liked the impressive cacti garden, and sculptures made of wooden pieces.

24 hours layover in Singapore with kids

However, unless you are very into plants, I’d skip it. After all, you don’t have that much time during a 24-hours layover but so many places to explore in Singapore with kids.

Supertree Grove & OSBC Skyway

Thea and I absolutely adore this place. Supertrees are tree-shaped structures that in addition to looking stunning day and night do some pretty impressive things. For example, they generate solar power for the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome, as well as collect rainwater. Moreover, the trees are connected with a sky bridge called OSBC Skyway 22 meters above the ground. This skywalk is stroller friendly! The lift takes you up, you walk the bridge and admire the views all around (I promise it’s gorgeous), and descend with another lift at the end of the skyway. 

The entire area comes alive when the night falls, with music and lights, it simply turns magical. I recommend going up the skywalk in the late afternoon so that you get to admire the views in the light and in the dark. Going up at midday may not be such a good idea, as it can get pretty hot in Singapore. 

It’s a good idea to get your ticket in advance because EVERYONE wants to see supertrees and go up the skywalk. It’s also rather confusing because tickets are sold at a separate counter, so you kind of have to queue twice for the same attraction.

24 hours layover in Singapore with kids

I highly recommend getting the tickets in advance. After all, you don’t have time to waste! The most convenient and wallet-friendly way is getting a Singapore attraction pass. It includes over 40 attractions, tours, and activities, this combo is way cheaper than what you would pay separately for each activity, and no need to queue for tickets. Both options of attraction passes will save you time and money. Definitely worth it! 

Singapore Attraction pass: Go City Explorer Pass – Choose 2 to 7 Attractions

Another option of an attraction pass in Singapore: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 40+ Attractions

Future World: Where Art meets Science

Singapore does feel & look a lot like a future world, but by this Future World I mean a permanent exhibition at its ArtScience Museum. The lotus-shaped building is located in front of the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. I absolutely recommend visiting this exhibit if you travel to Singapore with kids or have just a 24 hour layover there! 

Future World: Where Art meets Science

It’s one of Thea’s favorite activities in Singapore. 

Actually, I’ve written a separate & detailed blog post about Future World experience for kids and recommend that you read it HERE. 

Singapore Flyer

If you like Observation wheels this is a go-to place for your family. Called the Singapore flyer, it is the largest observation wheel in Asia. Cross the Helix bridge, which is stunning on its own, with open observation decks for Instagrammable shots. 

24 hours layover in Singapore with kids

So, once you cross Helix bridge, head towards Singapore Flyer. Again, having the tickets, or the attraction pass in advance will be very handy. Try to save time as much as possible, and queues are THE places that consume it the most. 

Anyway, the Singapore flyer is an excellent opportunity to see more of Singapore, not only Marina bay. The cabins are air-conditioned and spacious. We enjoyed it several times while we lived there, and definitely, we’ll be going back when in Singapore. 

Boat Rides

You will see many boats cruising the bay. I recommend boarding one, where you can enjoy Marina Bay from another angle, and rest a bit especially when traveling with kids. The boat will take you up the river all the way to Clarke Quay. It’s a nice place to dine, with plenty of restaurants to choose from. We now live in India, but the best Indian food I ever had was in an Indian restaurant in Clarke Quay in Singapore. 

You can take strollers on board these boats. We took the ride a couple of times and Thea absolutely adored it. 

There is another option to explore Singapore from a boat. You probably have heard of Duck Tours. They are available in multiple cities worldwide. Here in Singapore you can also board this amphibious vehicle and explore the famous sights of Singapore on land and the sea. We haven’t taken this particular tour in Singapore, however, we did enjoy such a ride in Ottawa, Stockholm, and Budapest. 

The above are some of the many wonderful activities to explore with kids during your 24 hours layover in Singapore. I’ve written a detailed guide to visiting the Marina Bay area with kids, and you can read it HERE. It covers even more places to explore with children.

Where to eat with kids during your 24 hours layover in Singapore?
Hawker Centers

The options to dine in Singapore are endless. Cuisines from all over the world offer delicious meals for carnivores, vegans, and everything in between.
Eating at hawker centers in Singapore is a must-try experience!

What is a hawker center? Basically, it is a large food court with food stalls next to each other serving meals, snacks, and drinks from many corners of the planet. The one we recommend going to is Lau Pa Sat, also known as Telok Ayer Market.

It is considered the best hawker center in Singapore. It is also the largest, open 24/7, and within walking distance from Marina Bay & China Town. Our apartment was located next to Lau Pa Sat, so we frequented this hawker center often. Prices are slightly higher here compared to other hawker centers because of its prime location, but you can still have cheap and delicious meals. I like that each stall has a poster with its hygiene rating, however, it’s Singapore, so eat and enjoy your meal.

Din Tai Fung restaurants

I also recommend visiting a restaurant called Din Tai Fung. You can find it in multiple locations on the island, and it’s a great restaurant to eat out with kids. There is one located inside The Shoppes at Marina Bay mall. We’ve also dined at Din Tai Fung on Sentosa island and Changi’s Jewel. I recommend it because they are kids-friendly and make the best steamed dumplings you’ve ever had.

In addition, they have displays where you can observe the cooks preparing dumplings from scratch. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to share, but basically, it’s an area within the restaurant, separated by large windows. Inside, you will see 2-3 cooks dressed in white rolling the dough, shaping the dumplings, and steaming them. It’s great entertainment for children. Also, they are kids-friendly, offering colorful cutlery and bowls for kids & high chairs for babies.

Overall, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a blast in Singapore during your 24-hours layover! Let me know if you have any questions or need advice! Happy travels!

Read more of our Singapore articles, from wildlife parks to fun on Sentosa Island HERE.

If you happen to be flying to Bali via Singapore, read our guide on the best things to do in Bali with kids here!

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