Realize that all the food and wandering posts on my blog can be overwhelming for tourists. Have been meaning to do a must see list of sorts for some time, and then I got too overwhelmed myself. Finally got the motivation after an email request from John from New York City who will be visiting Singapore for a week and was open to suggestions.
Now that I am trying to narrow it down, I find it quite hard, but here are places that immediately come to mind. Honestly, it’s so difficult to pick a few. I always feel like I am leaving out something so I decided to just go with my personal favourites. So if you feel that I am leaving out some essential places, please leave a comment about it and that might help visitors who stumble upon this post.
Mostly I would recommend just wandering about the little alleys (with your camera – photos are the best souvenir) and that’s the best way to discover and have your very own experience that will be truly unique and hard to find in any guide-book. I find that even as a local, I always discover something new as Singapore is in constant flux:
Day 1: Kampong Glam (nearest MRT: Bugis on the green line)
Nasi Padang at Sabar Menanti II
I highly recommend the Children Little Museum (just S$2)
Day 2. Little India (nearest MRT: Little India on the purple line)
Nasi Briyani at Tekka Market which is also a hawker centre.
Stroll about Little India and be overwhelmed by the chaos and colour of the little alley shops
Day 3. Joo Chiat
Stroll about and soak in the Peranakan Architecture.
Buy some of these famous Kim Choo Nonya Dumplings and have it as a snack in your hotel room or a nearby coffee shop (I think it’ll be ok if you order a drink there and it’s not too crowded).
If you’re really interested in Peranakan Culture and history, you could visit the Peranakan Museum as well. It’s a very small museum in a beautifully restored school building, so it won’t take more than 2 hours for a leisurely walk around. This is at a different location – at Armenian Street.
I would do the Penang Buffet at King’s Hotel for dinner. It’s not nearby, but in Singapore you can take a cab and it won’t take you more than half an hour. Just try to head out before 5 pm or you might get stuck in a traffic jam.
Day 4. Duxton Hill & Ann Siang Hill (nearest MRT would be Tanjong Pagar MRT on the green line or Chinatown MRT on the purple line) It’s the newest and hippest places now in Singapore with quaint little independent stores. Both Duxton and Haji Lane have been mentioned in the NY Times. You could include Chinatown as well as it’s nearby. Duxton Hill is becoming my new favourite place and I hope to blog about it again, soon. But if you’re looking for something very Asian, this won’t be it. Like Haji Lane, it’s more hipster and where Gen Y hangs out.
Day 5. The Botanic Gardens (Botanic Gardens MRT on the Yellow Line) or the Zoo for a bit of nature, but the tropical kind. Palm trees and lush greenery.
For a bit of green and an oasis from the crowds stroll about the Botanic Gardens
I haven’t been to the Zoo in a while and this is a reminder that I really want to go again. Since it’s so famous and all. But I think it’s mostly a must see if you’re coming with kids.
More Options for Day 6 & 7:
Samy’s Curry at Dempsey Road (lunch on a weekday is best and get a seat outside near the greenery. In my opinion the best banana leaf curry experience with the nicest ambience)
China Square Flea Market (only on weekends and especially if you’re into collectible toys and all things vintage)
Try the Geylang Charcoal Fried Hokkien Mee at Lorong 26 and stroll around the red light district and try Durian perhaps? This would cover the coffee shop experience as well if you have kopi or tea with your noodles.
Have Afternoon Tea at the Landing Point at Fullerton Bay. If you have a female companion I am sure they will enjoy this. I did.
Take a photo of Marina Bay Sands. Although it’s very much Las Vegas, it’s our new icon, and has usurped the Merlion. I guess Singaporeans do love gambling even though they have to pay a S$100 just to enter the place for a day. You’ll find that cheap tacky souvenirs in Chinatown now all include this unique building as well as the merlion.
If you still have time, I had to include some more hawker food and my personal favourite food and drink of all time – Claypot Laksa and Avacado juice at Alexandra Village Hawker Centre. You might not be used to this though as it’s coconut cream heavy and can be quite spicy. Once you eat this it might fill you up for the rest of the day.
And if you do check out our most famous shopping street Orchard Road and head into the swanky ION, do try Tim Sum at Taste Paradise. I quite enjoyed the opulent setting. This might be good and welcome air-conditioned comfort as Singapore can get scorching hot, made worse because of our high humidity. Make sure to pack light clothing like your flip flops, T shirts and shorts.
Just wanted to add that none of the meals I have suggested cost more than S$30 per person. Most meals are below S$10. And you’ll find that in Singapore, the tastiest food is usually also the most affordable.