With our guns raised and adrenaline pumping, we stood shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder forming an outward facing human triangle. It was our best strategy to guard the massive doorways, staircase and balconies that surrounded us.
Standing in the middle of the creepy, deserted Deadwood Mansion we anxiously asked, “What do we need to do to escape?” And the answer terrified us even more than the abandoned house:
“There is no escape. You just hope to survive.”
And then the zombie apocalypse began.
Because killing zombies is one of the best things to do on a Singapore stopover with teens.
Singapore: Bizarro world of Southeast Asia
Singapore, the island city-state located off the southern tip of Malaysia, is the Bizarro world of Southeast Asia. While most travelers flock to Southeast Asia for its ancient temples, natural beauty, iconic culture, and developing world prices, Singapore offers none of those. Singapore is shiny and new, a nation of law and order, wealth and abundance.
Consider the following typical Southeast Asia vs. Singapore comparisons:
- Tuk-tuks vs. Maseratis
- Ancient temples vs. skyscrapers
- Night markets vs. designer malls
- Jungles and waterfalls vs. fake trees
- Street food vs. food courts
- Widespread poverty vs. extreme affluence
- Abundant litter vs. no litter
- Chaos rules vs. rules rule
2-3 Day Singapore Stopover Visit
While most travelers head to Singapore’s neighbors to experience the “real” Southeast Asia, Singapore is definitely worth adding to your family’s itinerary. In fact, being the Bizarro world of Southeast Asia makes Singapore the perfect place to end a family trip.
Two or three days in Singapore is just the right amount of time to experience Singapore’s unique vibe–all of which is man-made. In fact, Singapore is so “perfect” it actually feels fake, like if Disney World were a country. However, these man-made experiences are exactly what make Singapore worth a visit.
Top Things to Do with Teens on a Singapore Stopover
1. Kill Zombies at the Sandbox VR Experience
Sandbox VR is the next generation of escape games. Combining the thrill of escape rooms with the latest in virtual reality technology, Sandbox provides a high-adrenaline experience unlike any other. This is a great activity for families with teens and older children. You can choose from three experiences:
- Deadwood Mansion: For all The Walking Dead fans, this is your chance to see how well you could fight off zombies in an apocalypse.
- Amber Sky 2088: Set in futuristic Hong Kong, your job (playing as an android) is to save humanity from an alien invasion.
- The Curse of Davy Jones: In Indiana Jones’ style, you must solve puzzles to find the lost treasure before you lose your soul.
If your itinerary doesn’t include a stop in Singapore, don’t worry–you can kill zombies in other places too. Sandbox VR’s other locations include: San Francisco, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Vancouver, and Jakarta. Upcoming sites include: Austin, New York, and Los Angeles.
Sandbox VR hosted our experience, and it was the highlight of our Singapore stopover!
2. Watch the Spectra Light Show at Marina Bay
When the sun goes down in Singapore, her tourist appeal goes up. Both of Singapore’s headliner attractions–Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bay–come alive at night.
Visitors can’t miss the Spectra laser light and musical show every night at Marina Bay. This free outdoor show lights up the bay every night of the week. We recommend going at least twice: once to view it from the Marina Bay Sands Resort side, and the other time from the opposite side of the bay. For the best viewing on the other side of bay, grab a seat on the promenade at the Fullerton Bay Hotel.
The nightly shows last 15 minutes. Showtimes are:
- Sun-Thurs: 8:00 p.m. & 9:00 p.m.
- Fri-Sat: 8:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.
3. Visit the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay
Located inside Gardens by the Bay (behind Marina Bay Sands Resort), the Supertree Grove is absolutely magical after dark. Every night at 7:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. the Supertree Grove transports visitors into a modern day fairy tale with its coordinated light and music show, Garden Rhapsody.
Watch it from below for free, or for $8 SGD (~$6 USD), take in the show from the OCBC Skyway, an aerial walkway through the Supertree Grove.
TIP: For an entire evening of fun that is absolutely free do the following:
Watch the 7:45 p.m. Garden Rhapsody show in the Supertree Grove show and then the 9 p.m. Spectra show at Marina Bay.
4. Shop on Orchard Road
Teenage girls and malls go together like Master & Card, but before you hand over your credit card there are a few things you should know about shopping in Singapore.
It’s no accident that the movie Crazy Rich Asians is set in Singapore. As the third wealthiest nation in the world, Singapore is a luxury shoppers paradise. You’ll find far more stores selling luxury brands such as Gucci, Hermes, and Prada than budget teen favorites like H&M and Forever 21.
5. Eat at the Basement Food Courts in the Malls
Just as the malls in Singapore are on steroids, their basement food courts are equally over-the-top. Don’t bother looking for Sbarro Pizza or Panda Express in these basement food courts. Instead, you’ll find an impressive smorgasbord of international eateries that will satisfy even the pickiest palates.
And be sure to leave room for dessert!
6. Lounge by the Pool
Since many of Singapore’s best sights are seen a night, why not spend the day lounging by one of the many stunning outdoor pools? If your hotel or rental doesn’t offer a spectacular pool, considering visiting one of Singapore’s water parks.
7. Visit Sentosa Island (Honorable Mention)
Sentosa Island is Singapore’s adventure and entertainment complex. The man-made island features a myriad of activities that appeal to both kids and teens. Some of Sentosa Island’s more popular attractions include:
- Universal Studios
- Adventure Cove Waterpark
- SEA Aquarium
- AJ Hackett Bungy Jumping
Sentosa Island gets an Honorable Mention because it’s hard to get excited about the man-made activities on Sentosa Island if you’ve been fortunate enough to experience the real-world versions.
There is no substitute for scuba diving with mantas in the Maldives, snorkeling in Thailand’s Similan Islands, surfing in Bali, or bungee jumping in New Zealand (at AJ Hackett’s original bungy jumping bridge).
Since most stopover visitors will likely be coming from destinations with amazing natural outdoor adventures, Sentosa Island is not a must-see IMHO.
8. Watch a Movie for FREE at the Changi Airport
While most travelers don’t want to spend any more time than necessary at the airport, Singapore’s Changi Airport isn’t just any airport. Changi has been named the World’s Best Airport for 6 years in a row!
Changi Airport is an entertainment destination in itself. But be aware, you cannot enjoy most of these amenities until after you check-in. Some of the ways you can pass the time until your flight include:
- The 4-story indoor slide [One free slide per 10 SGD (~$7.50 USD) spent in the airport. Keep your receipts.]
- Two movie theaters showing recent movies for FREE
- Rooftop swimming pool (17 SGD or ~$12.50 USD)
- Butterfly garden
- And much more
Family Singapore Stopover Summary
While Singapore is vastly different from her Southeast Asian neighbors, it makes a great 2-3 day stopover.
Singapore’s order and cleanliness are a welcome respite from the cultural chaos that reigns over much of the region. Plus with so many things to do with teens and kids, a Singapore stopover is the perfect way to end your Southeast Asian holiday.