What to do in Singapore?

Discover Singapore during your stay in the city!

 

Shopping

Everyone raves about the shopping in Singapore – and it offers everything from top end brands to bargain souvenirs – if you plan to take some gifts home head straight to Chinatown to find hundreds of shops and stalls selling “I heart SG” key rings, T-shirts, tea towels, silk robes and much more. If you can think of it, chances are you’ll find it. There are a lot of wonderful patterned tea sets, chopsticks and other kitchenware to be found.

 

Dining options

NEWTON circus Hawker’s Centre is one MRT stop from the famous Orchard Rd and is always absolutely packed.
There are dozens of stalls selling traditional Singaporean fare, with every owner trying to convince you to eat at their stall as you walk past. Do a lap of the place before you decide what to eat and keep an eye out for a table.
Each table is numbered, so you can get food from as many stalls as you like. And they’ll bring it straight to you.
Enjoy with some icy cold Tiger beer, and you will be paying about $S50 for four.

Esquina - On a Friday or Saturday night, the line begins forming down along Jiak Chuan Road at 5.30pm. However, tables can be reserved for the Supper Club menu upstairs.

Ellenborough Market Cafe, Swissotel Merchant Court - Standing in line for a lunch buffet is the national pastime in the Little Red Dot, for a Peranakan buffet, even more so. Peranakan cuisine is described as Malay food for a Chinese palette and is said to have eventuated with Singapore’s first Malay-Chinese couplings. Locals and tourists alike line up for the Asam (tamarind) fish and Kueh Pie Tee (a crispy pastry tart shell filled with sweet and spicy prawns). Usually only the locals queue for the challenging Durian Pengat dessert.

Helipad Party at the New Asia Bar - On the last Thursday of every month, Swissotel The Stamford opens its helipad for a rooftop party 71 floors above ground. By 8.30pm there’s a crowd congregating to get to the top. At midnight, no chance.

Jumbo Seafood - The best chilli crab in town is served with paper tablecloths and bibs at Jumbo Seafood at the East Coast Seafood Centre (although travellers might find the Jumbo on the riverwalk near Clarke Quay easier to get to). Book early (6pm) or late (last orders at 11.15pm) to avoid the after-work rush. Be prepared to wait even if you have a reservation. And be punctual or risk losing your table to the two-hour queue.

Hawker food centre - When Singaporeans clock off, they are most likely to head to a local hawker food centre for a bite before heading home. Street food is a heady mix of Taiwanese, Malaysian, Indian and China influences and rule of thumb for finding the best food is to join longest line. The hawker centre above the Tiong Bahru market is a favourite for house-keepers and cab drivers, while the Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice stall in the Maxwell Food Centre gained cult status when Anthony Bourdain deemed it worthy.


2am:dessertbar - Dessert chef Janice Wong is a rock star in Singapore and her fans are willing to line up in the wee hours of the night to experience her intricate sweet morsels paired with matching wines or cocktails. Asked for the secret to beating the crowds, chef Wong says to arrive at the Holland Village dessert bar in the afternoon (opening hours are 3pm to 2am). “After midnight, the line can be up to 45 minutes long.”

 

To have a drink


Maison Ikkoku - Café by day, cocktail bar by night, this busy establishment takes bespoke beverages very seriously.

40 Hands Coffee - Not long ago, Tiong Bahru was a rundown residential estate. Then 40 Hands Coffee opened shop and the area transformed into one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Singapore right now. From Friday to Sunday, the line is out the door with locals wanting to sample the brunch menu. During the week, the coffee house is quieter but the Fair Trade and direct trade specialty coffees are still among the best in the city.

A Singapore sling at Long Bar - In a city obsessed with the next big thing, a Singapore sling at Raffles’ Long Bar is a refreshing stayer. The innocent-looking gin, cherry liqueur and pineapple juice cocktail was concocted for bored wives of soldiers back when it was uncouth for ladies to drink. These days, roughly 1000 Singapore slings are served a day, and even more if there’s a cruise ship in town. In-the-know locals will often bring guests by at 11am, when the plantation-era bar opens its doors.

 

Helipad Party at the New Asia Bar - On the last Thursday of every month, Swissotel The Stamford opens its helipad for a rooftop party 71 floors above ground. By 8.30pm there’s a crowd congregating to get to the top. At midnight, no chance.

Free activities

Both the Singapore Botanical Gardens and Gardens by the Bay are great places to visit that won’t cost you a cent.
Gardens by the Bay is easy to get to – you can walk from Marina Bay Sands, or there is an MRT station right next to the gardens.

During the day, Gardens by the Bay is an awe-inspiring sight, spanning 101ha and housing over 250,000 rare plants. However, many don't realise that after sunset is when the Gardens really come alive. Make sure that you don't miss the dazzling OCBC Garden Rhapsody show. Combining music, lasers, projection media and light artistry, this specially commissioned show delights visitors at 7.45pm and 8.45pm each night at the Supertree Grove. Best of all, it's free.

 

Fee based activities

At sunset why not head to the Sky Bar at CE LA VI, which is a restaurant at the top of Marina Bay Sands, for an evening cocktail. It is always busy but offers a wonderful view of the Singapore Skyline as the sun sets.

Clarke Quay - Hidden in the backstreets of Clarke Quay is 28 HongKong Street, Singapore's first secret bar. Apart from the number 28 above the doorway, there is no signage marking the bar so you'll need to keep your eyes peeled to find it. The alluring semi-lit bar has some of the best cocktails in town with sassy names like Literate Lass and Modest Mule. It also has a selection of tasty bar food that will curb any hunger pangs.

Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 - For those who want to experience an exclusive viewpoint of Singapore's Marina Bay and a little bit of history, you should visit LeVeL33. This restaurant and lounge bar is located on the top floor of the Marina Bay Financial Centre and is officially the world's highest urban craft-brewers. Apart from its tasty craft beer, LeVeL33 also offers delicious European cuisine with a twist.

Aramsa - The Garden Spa, Bishan Park 2, Mo Kio Ave 1 - If you're looking for late night relaxation after enjoying the sights of Singapore, then Aramsa - The Garden Spa is the place for you. Open from 11am to 10pm weekdays and 10am to 11pm on Fridays to Sundays, Aramsa is holistically immersed within the lush greenery of a national park, seamlessly bringing the outside in. Popular treatments include the Tropical Java Lulur, which originated in the royal palaces of Central Java, and the Aramsa Touch Massage, which uses natural, botanical, herb based products.

Singapore River Cruise

See the city from the water on a no-frills 30-minute journey aboard a bumboat. You can buy tickets and board or alight at any of the nine jetties along the Singapore River, including the Esplanade, the Fullerton, Riverside Point, Boat Quay and Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. Boats run daily (9.30am–10.30pm); it’s quite a sight at night when the skyscrapers are lit up.
(+65 6336 6111/19 - www.rivercruise.com.sg).

Walking over the Helix Bridge

The weird, DNA-like, wiggly steel pedestrian bridge at Marina Bay supports some 16,000 people at a time and stretches 280 meters across the water. Marina Bay.
(www.ura.gov.sg).

Singapore night safari

Through the use of special lighting techniques, the highly lauded open-concept night zoo allows you to observe what 900 nocturnal animals get up to after dusk, in naturalistic habitats – and, seemingly, not behind barriers. The 45-minute narrated tram ride is the best way to see the animals – which include tigers, lions, giraffes and rhinos – from the safety of your seat. After the trip, brave the dark walking trails to get a closer look at smaller animals such as flying squirrels and dangling bats. 80 Mandai Lake Rd.
(+65 6269 3411 www.nightsafari.com.sg).

 

See yoursingapore.com/getlost  for more ideas