Epic 8-day travel itinerary for Singapore and Cambodia
Many of our readers have asked us over the years, “we have 7-10 days to take a trip – where do we go?” With the prices to Europe being at historic highs, enquiries about Southeast Asia have been flooding our inbox. So, if you are in search of adventure, culture, and cuisine, look no further than the stunning Southeast Asian countries of Singapore and Cambodia.
Both Singapore and Cambodia have much to offer travelers seeking something different and are a fantastic combo thanks to the flight deals into the major hub of Singapore and quick regional flights to Cambodia.
From the exciting and vibrant offerings of the City in a Garden – Singapore, to the mystical ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, these countries are sure to captivate and inspire. In this post, we will show you our ideal itinerary for an unforgettable trip to Singapore and Cambodia. So pack your bags and get ready for an memorable journey through these two charming destinations.
This article was contributed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Victorinox. To view the special Victorinox Southeast Asia collection, visit this link.
First things first, how do you get there? While you can certainly book a multi-stop itinerary, you will find that prices are significantly higher than if you booked a round trip ticket to Singapore and a couple of inexpensive flights to and from Cambodia. Our recommendation is to look at a round trip flight into Singapore, and hop over to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh Cambodia from Singapore. Here is an sample itinerary that I plan to book for myself:
The above proposed flight would get you into Singapore at 5:20am, allowing for a full day of exploring and adventure.
For the flights to and from Cambodia, I recommend booking an early flight to Siem Reap and a one way back from Phnom Penh to Singapore in time for a minimal 3-hour layover before your night flight.
I recommend checking flights.google.com for the best flight options and prices before booking. Do note that if you are flying to Southeast Asia from the US, you will arrive only 2 days after your departure. For any regional flights, keep in mind luggage restrictions may be tighter than your international flight. I recently packed all my carryon goods in the Architecture Urban backpack by Victorinox. Thanks to its size and efficiency, I am able to take it with me on any long haul or short haul flight!
Now onto the fun stuff…
Singapore is an exceptional hub in Southeast Asia and a fantastic starting point for your journey into the region. If you have 8 nights for your vacation, we recommend a stopover of at least 3 nights in Singapore.
Day 1: Arrival and Marina Bay
Singapore is a fairly compact city to explore and with only a few days, we recommend booking a hotel in the Marina Bay precinct or along Singapore River. Depending on your budget, our favorite properties that are centrally located are:
After checking into your hotel, head down to Marina Bay, a stunning waterfront area with iconic landmarks such as the Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, and the Merlion Park.
Visit the lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands to see unique art, science, and cultural exhibitions. You will also findd incredible futuristic displays and amazing art that focuses on science and technology.
In the evening before dinner, hop on a traditional bumboat (operated by Singapore River Cruise) and explore the historic Singapore River, and areas such as Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. Hop off and head to Clarke Quay to check out its colourful array of dining options and nightlife offerings.
Finally, head to Highlander Bar & Restaurant for single malt whiskies and live music or Lau Pa Sat market for the best satay in Singapore.
Day 2: Explore the City
Start off your day with breakfast in the Kampong Gelam, which is a conserved historic area where Malay royalty once resided in. Steeped in rich culture, there are also endless rows of eateries such as Singapore Zam Zam Restaurant, for Indian-Muslim creations such as the classic Singapore-style breakfast of roti prata (South Indian flatbread) with a side of fish curry.
Don’t forget to explore Haji Lane – a hipster haunt littered with indie outlets that stock vintage clothing and knick-knacks – such as retro-inspired boutique Grammah.
In the afternoon, make your way to the Civic District to have lunch at Raffles Hotel on Beach Road. You can pop by the Mediterranean-themed Osteria BBR – by acclaimed French chef Alain Ducasse – before visiting the National Gallery Singapore to marvel at the world’s largest display of modern Southeast Asian art. You can also elevate your happy hour with the perfect pairing of Art X Cocktails at the Gallery with the 60-minute docent-led tour to discover the art pieces that inspired craft cocktails from Smoke & Mirrors, while learning about the evolution of cocktails throughout history.
To end off the day, you can head to explore the colorful and vibrant Chinatown, with its historic shophouses, the majestic Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, and markets. For dinner, head over to Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, which is Singapore’s largest hawker centre with over 200 food vendors, selling sweet, savoury, and spicy Singaporean staples. A must-try is Lian He Ben Ji Claypot, which serves Michelin Bib-Gourmand rated claypot rice, but do expect a wait as it is extremely popular.
To end off the night, you can visit watering holes lauded on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, such as Jigger & Pony, which serves up classic cocktails with modern panache. If you’re in the mood to party, the district is also home to Potato Head Singapore. Located within an iconic heritage building, this multi-concept space boasts a rooftop bar, cocktail lounge and restaurant, with a vibrant calendar of live DJ performances.
Day 3: Enjoy Nature and Shopping
Begin your day with a visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can enjoy peace and tranquility at this 150-year-old destination which is also home to the largest orchid display in the world with over 60,000 plants and orchids.
After spending the morning amidst nature, pick up the pace and head to one of Singapore’s major shopping district – Orchard Road. You will find a mix of high-end international brands, local labels, and everything in between. You may drop by places like Paragon or ION for luxury brands or Design Orchard which is a vibrant retail hub with designs and bespoke creations from some of Singapore’s finest artisans and craftspeople. You can find a whole trove of treasures and designer items from local brands — Foundation Jewellery’s Peranakan-inspired brooches, skincare products made by Rooki Beauty, orchid-scented fragrances from Singapore Memories, and many more.
To recharge, enjoy lunch at Marmalade Pantry, which serves excellent Western creations like truffled field mushroom risotto and indulgent desserts such as sticky date and toffee pudding. Keep in mind, one of the perks of shopping abroad is the tax savings on your way out!
For the evening, soak in the urban buzz of Singapore’s busy streets and check out the Bugis and Little India neighbourhoods. Once a thriving district with a colorful past, they are now famed for trendy stores, with shopping bargains to be scored in the shops along the winding Bugis Street.
When night falls, head to the ethnic enclave of Little India, with a fascinating past that stretches back to the 19th century. As you walk through this bustling neighbourhood, you’ll find places of worship with beautiful architecture and interiors, from the Corinthian pillars of the Abdul Gafoor Mosque to the fifteen-metre-tall Buddha statue in the Temple of a Thousand Lights.
For dinner, be amazed by the melting pot of traditional flavours at restaurants like Indian Express and Bismillah Biryani. Gourmands in the search of bold new flavours should also check out The Malayan Council, Old Hen Coffee Bar and The Whisky Library & Jazz Club.
If you are energised after dinner and in the mood for a shopping spree, you’ll find wondrous wares — from sweets and spices to jewellery— at the Little India Arcade, while 24-hour shopping mall Mustafa Centre offers everything from electronics to groceries.
Day 4: Fly to Cambodia
Getting to Cambodia is a quick 2-hour flight, so we recommend flying into Siem Reap to start your adventure. If you’re staying in Cambodia for 5 nights, we recommend spending 3 nights in Siem Reap and 2 days in Phnom Penh. You can easily book your one-way into Siem Reap and a flight back to Singapore from Phnom Penh.
To get from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, you can either take a taxi for approximately 5 hours, or take a 45-minute direct flight.
Cambodia is a country steeped in history and culture, with stunning landscapes, delicious cuisine, and friendly people. These are the highlights we recommend for your 5-day stop in Cambodia that will allow you to experience the best that this amazing country has to offer.
Day 4: Siem Reap
There are a number of amazing hotels in the historic center of Siem Reap, including:
- Park Hyatt (use your free night certificate here!)
- Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor
- Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa
Depending on the time you arrive, we recommend exploring your hotel and relaxing to gear up exploring the incredible Angkor Wat complex the next day. If you arrived on an early flight, we recommend enjoying the hotel or exploring one of the many markets.
In the evening, be sure to grab a happy hour cocktail at the Park Hyatt for 50% off and enjoy a traditional Khmer dinner at Malis, one of Siem Reap’s most renowned restaurants.
Don’t forget to schedule your private guide to explore Angkor Wat tomorrow and be prepared to get up around 3:30/4am to have an authentic experience.
Day 5: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
Rise early to catch the sunrise over Angkor Wat! You can always head back to your hotel for breakfast, but sunrise here is not to be missed.
After breakfast or your visit to Angkor Wat, visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom, including the Bayon temple with its iconic stone faces and the Terrace of the Elephants.
Visiting the temples can be an all-day affair, so be sure to pack lots of water and wear super comfortable walking shoes. Most tours are run via tuk-tuks that are covered but there is very little sun protection so we recommend sunscreen and sunglasses!
It’s definitely a long day, so be sure to book a spa treatment for the next day to spend the morning relaxing at your hotel. The Spa at the Belmond is known for its excellent treatments.
Day 6: Siem Reap
Day 3 is a great day to either continue exploring the incredible temples of Siem Reap, or spend the day shopping at the local markets and shops. Be sure to check out Old Market and Siem Reap Art Center. The Angkor Night Market is an incredible place to buy locally made art and souvenirs.
There are a number of trinkets and knick-knacks that you can buy, but be on the lookout for the locally made goods and art that you can find throughout the markets.
Pro tip: be sure to negotiate!
The Night Market is centrally located so we recommend grabbing a bite at a cute local restaurant surrounding the market. Check out the Sugar Palm or Mr Grill for great local options.
Day 7: Phnom Penh
With a short trip, we do recommend a quick flight to Phnom Penh. However, if you want to enjoy the countryside, a private car can get you from Siem Reap to the capital. Flights are approximately $100 dollars per person for the quick trip.
In terms of lodging, Phnom Penh has incredible properties with the two most luxurious being:
After checking in, we recommend heading out and exploring the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, which houses an impressive collection of gold and silver artifacts. These are amazing places to explore to get a sense of Cambodian history and culture.
In the evening, take a sunset cruise along the Mekong River, sipping champagne and enjoying the stunning views of the city. This is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of the city.
Day 8: Phnom Penh
On your final day in Phnom Penh, we recommend a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, also known as S-21, which documents the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. This is a great option if you are interested in history and want to experience a very raw and vulnerable side of Cambodia.
After a heavy activity, we would recommend doing a cooking class or a food tour for your final adventure. Cambodian cuisine is delicious and there are a lot of great options, whether you want to book the food yourself or be shown around some of the city’s best restaurants and experiences. Check the reviews on Viator for the most up to date information about availability and rates!
In the evening, enjoy a delicious dinner at one of Phnom Penh’s top restaurants, such as Topaz or Malis (yes, they have a location here too!).
Singapore and Cambodia are such incredible experiences and make for the perfect week abroad for history and culture lovers alike. If you booked the round-trip into Singapore separate from the tickets to Cambodia, be sure you give yourself enough time for check-in back in Singapore, since you will have to collect your luggage in Singapore and check into the new flight.
We hope you will enjoy this dream itinerary brought to you by ASEAN Tourism and Victorinox!