Have some time to spare during your layover in Changi Airport? Or are you planning for a daycation in Singapore to uncover the hidden gems in the city-state?  

Changi Airport is connected to the rest of Singapore via several means of transport, providing excellent connectivity between the airport and the city. With private hire car services such as Grab and Gojek to taxis, MRT (subway trains) and buses, you can reach the city centre from Changi Airport in as quickly as 20 minutes, or about an hour if you hop onto a bus. 

Beyond the iconic tourist hotspots like Gardens by the Bay and the Merlion, delve into an authentic local experience by exploring Singapore in a true-blue local fashion – via the public bus. Here are our recommendations for a self-tour in the east of Singapore, with a mix of cultural and fun spots to visit under 12 hours on Bus 24 from Changi Airport to kickstart your planning. 

The Bus 24 route travels between Changi Airport and Ang Mo Kio – a bustling heartland neighbourhood in the middle of Singapore island - and weaves through culturally rich neighbourhoods such as Bedok, Joo Chiat, Paya Lebar and Geylang, situated on the east of the island. 

This recommended itinerary will take 7 hours if you check out all the sights below, and 3 hours if you just take the bus to Geylang Serai and back (note that you will need to get off the bus at Geylang Serai and board the same bus service from the bus stop behind the market, serving the other direction back to Changi Airport, as this is not a loop service). 

How & where to take the bus from Changi Airport

bus signage changi airport bus signage changi airport

Follow the signages within Changi Airport’s terminals to locate the bus bays.

There are seven public bus services connecting Changi Airport to the rest of the city, and there are buses serving every terminal. If you are arriving at Terminals 1, 2 and 3, simply follow the signages to get to the bus bays located at the basements of each terminal. At Terminal 4, the bus stop is located outside the Arrival Hall, next to Carpark 4B.

To take the public buses, do ensure that you have a valid Ez-Link card, Singapore Tourist Pass, contactless bank credit card (Visa or Mastercard are accepted), or a single-trip ticket. You may purchase the Singapore Tourist Pass at any Changi Recommends counter within the airport, or the Ez-Link cards at the Changi Airport MRT station. For more information on getting around Singapore, check out our handy guide here.

Pro-tip: Almost all the buses travelling out of Changi Airport would pass by Jurassic Mile along the Changi Airport connector, so don’t forget to look out the windows (sit on the left side of the bus) and try to spot the gigantic dinosaur displays along the stretch!

1st stop: Geylang Serai (Estimated time needed: 2 hours)

Our first stop is Geylang Serai, a vibrant cultural enclave offering visitors a glimpse into the Malay heritage of the city with its bustling markets and traditional eateries. This area is a local gem, a must-visit if you have already been to the usual tourist haunts like Haji Lane and Kampong Glam. If you planning to make a visit to Geylang Serai during month of Ramadan, be sure to check out the annual Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar and festive light ups!

The bus journey from Changi Airport to Geylang Serai takes about 45minutes. 

1. Grab breakfast at Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre

Geylang Serai Market Geylang Serai Market

The Geylang Serai Market is shaped like a traditional Malay kampong house.

After hopping on Bus 24 at Changi Airport, alight at the Joo Chiat Complex (Stop ID: 82049) bus stop and Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre is just across the street. The bustling market is frequented by locals around the area for daily groceries, traditional textiles like batik, and tasty Malay-Indian cuisine at affordable prices.

Some of my go-to dishes include Mee Rebus, a comforting noodle dish topped with a flavourful and slightly spicy gravy, and Prawn Vadai, a delightful crispy snack featuring deep-fried prawns on a savoury donut-like base.

traditional malay kuehs at Geylang Serai Market traditional malay kuehs at Geylang Serai Market

Traditional kuehs come in a variety of flavours and are usually made with glutinous or rice flour.

You can also spot a wonderful variety of traditional local kuehs (bite-sized snack or dessert) at the food centre. Among them, the Rainbow Lapis Sagu is a sweet and chewy kueh packed with coconut flavour from coconut milk, and you are sure to have fun eating them as you can peel the layers and savour it slowly. Steamed rice cakes are also one of my favourite childhood snacks – the bite-sized dessert is a local twist of a cupcake and comes in many vibrant colours.

There are several stalls selling these dishes and more, so we suggest that you try a bit of everything to find your favourites. Don’t miss this spot if you are looking for yummy Malay-Indian food!

Address: 1 Geylang Serai, Singapore 402001
Opening Hours: Opens daily from 6:30am to 12pm (wet market) / from 8:00am to 10:00pm (food centre). Do note that opening hours vary for individual stalls.

2. Learn about the history of the Geylang Serai at Geylang Serai Heritage Gallery

Geylang Serai Heritage Gallery Geylang Serai Heritage Gallery

The Geylang Serai Heritage Gallery is located in Wisma Geylang Serai.

After breakfast, take a 5-minute stroll to the Geylang Serai Heritage Gallery located in Wisma Geylang Serai for an engaging and insightful peek into the history of the Geylang Serai precinct and its origins. You can expect interactive displays and personal stories that provide deep insights into the rich traditions, art, and culture of the area. If you are eager to gain a deeper understanding of Singapore's multicultural tapestry and the unique contributions of the Malay community, this place is for you!

Geylang Serai Heritage Gallery Geylang Serai Heritage Gallery

Check out the community collection on display and listen to first person recollections.

The gallery’s three sections will bring you through the history of Geylang Serai in a chronological order – “The Making of Geylang Serai” presents stories from the 1800s to early 1900s, “Living in Geylang Serai” shows the urban development from the mid-20th century to the 2000s, while “Our Geylang Serai Community & Heritage” showcases the experiences and memories from the community with a variety of photographs, audio recordings, novels, poetry and popular music. 

Address: Ground Floor, Wisma Geylang Serai, 1 Engku Aman Turn, Singapore 408528
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 10:00am to 6:00pm (last admission at 5:30pm). Closed on Mondays.
Admission to the gallery is free.

2nd Stop: EXPO (Estimated time needed: 2 hours)

To get to EXPO, hop back on Bus 24 from Geylang Serai towards Changi Airport and alight near Expo Halls 4/5/6. This bus journey will take approximately 25 minutes. 

1. Go on a Go-Kart experience at KF1@Expo

Experience an exhilarating adventure with your friends at KF1@Expo Karting, home to Singapore's largest purpose-built go-kart circuit. The 750m track features 16 exciting corners designed by the same team behind the iconic F1 Singapore Night Race, making it an adrenaline-pumping ride for both seasoned racers and newcomers alike.  

There are two types of rides that you can choose from: Novice (speed capped at 30km/h) and Advanced (driver’s license required, speed up to 50km/h) - the rates are S$28 and S$35 for a 10-minute session respectively.  

Do note that all participants will have to undergo a safety briefing and proper helmet fitting before hitting the tracks. Covered shoes are also required.

Address: Singapore Expo, Carpark H, 1 Expo Dr, Singapore 486150
Opening Hours: 1:00pm to 9:00pm on weekdays; 10:00am to 9:00pm on weekends and public holidays. Closed on Wednesdays.

2. Feast at Cosmo Bar & Restaurant @ Capri Changi City

Located just beside Singapore Expo is Capri Changi City, a 4-star hotel that houses a hidden gem that offers a delightful culinary experience. Cosmo Bar & Restaurant at the lobby of the hotel is a popular spot among families that serves a wide variety of dishes with a European touch. 

One of the best-kept secrets of the restaurant has got to be the Wellness Buffet Lunch that boasts an extensive selection of fresh seafood, succulent meats, salads and more. The best part? It is priced at an incredibly affordable price of S$29.90. 

If you’re not in the mood for a buffet feast, Cosmo Bar & Restaurant also offers an ala carte menu with vegetarian options tailored to accommodate the diverse preferences of your party. Some of the must-orders include Truffle Chicken (S$28) that is pan roasted and topped with a red wine forest truffle sauce, handmade pizzas from S$20 and the Vongole Aglio e Olio (S$24).

Address: 3 Changi Business Park Central 1, Lobby Restaurant, Singapore 486037
Opening Hours: Daily from 7:00am to 9:00pm

3rd Stop: Jewel Changi Airport (Estimated time needed: 2 hours)

Our last stop is Jewel Changi Airport, a round trip back to Changi Airport if you are catching your next flight for the next leg of your journey! Besides checking out the HSBC Rain Vortex and Shiseido Forest Valley, there are many options to satisfy any remaining food cravings or shopping desires.

A sweet treat would be the perfect way to end the trip, right? Here are some homegrown Singapore brands that we think you should try.

1. Have a try at botanical gelato flavours from Birds of Paradise

birds of paradise jewel changi airport birds of paradise jewel changi airport

We ended our day trip with some yummy gelato from Birds of Paradise.

Birds of Paradise has a wide assortment of gelato flavours that are infused with natural and botanical ingredients, such as fruits, flowers, herbs and spices. The thyme cones are a must-try – it is herbaceous and mildly sweet, a perfect combination with the unique scoops of ice cream not commonly found at other scoop shops. 

The flavours available on its menu rotate based on availability, but we recommend these signature flavours (try them if you see them on the menu!) - White Chrysanthemum laced with cacao nibs, Strawberry Basil and Lychee Raspberry. Prices range from S$4.70 to S$6.70 for a single scoop.

Address: Jewel Changi Airport #01-254
Opening Hours: Opens daily from 11:00am to 10:00pm

2. Bring home swiss roll cakes with a local twist at Rich & Good Cake Shop

Love cakes? Get your swiss roll fix at Rich & Good Cake Shop – these traditional rolls are baked fresh daily in small batches. The classic rolls (S$12) come in six classic flavours, including Kaya, Red Velvet, Chocolate, Strawberry, Coffee and Pandan. At certain times of the year, you can catch seasonal flavours like Durian and Mango too! The establishment also offers whole cakes if you just can’t get enough of the soft rolls. 

Address: Jewel Changi Airport #01-232
Opening Hours: Opens daily from 10:00am to 10:00pm

3. Eat, shop and play at this iconic lifestyle destination

jewel changi airport jewel changi airport

If you've got a layover at Changi Airport, you're in for a treat at Jewel!

You can't leave Changi Airport without visiting Jewel! 

Picture this – a massive indoor waterfall, the HSBC Rain Vortex, stealing the show right at the heart of Jewel. It's the tallest indoor waterfall in the world, surrounded by a tropical forest, making you feel like you've stumbled into a green paradise. But there's more – head to the Canopy Park at level 5 to find walking nets, a see-through bridge with the best vantage view of the waterfall, and even a Hedge Maze that's like something out of a fairytale. There's so many ways to spend a few hours, or even a day at Jewel! So, trust me, whether you're into nature, good food, or just want to kill time in style, Jewel is the perfect layover escape.


Feeling inspired yet? You have just experienced some unique sights and flavours of local Singapore in six hours, visiting a local market and food centre, learnt about Malay culture and heritage, experienced some adrenaline rush on a Go-Kart and tasted some local food – via the public transport system in Singapore.  How cool is that?

However, if you still prefer to just chill in the airport during your layover and need help with your itinerary, check out our guide here. Catch you around!


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