Take a tour around SG’s districts.
Get your caffeine fix at Nylon Coffee Roasters and try to spot nostalgiainducing murals by local artist Yip Yew Chong along Everton Road (40 Everton Rd, 089393). At Ji Xiang Confectionery, sample local delicacy – the ang ku kueh (red turtle cake). For stunning (and free) views of the city skyline, head to the skybridge of The Pinnacle@ Duxton (1G Cantonment Rd, 080001). Audiophiles can check out Retrophonic Records for vinyls, record players and other audio accessories.
Curious? Read more about the Cantonment Road area here.
Taste the legendary Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre (1 Kadayanallur St, #01-10/11 Maxwell Food Centre, 069184). The Coconut Club also dishes out such a mean nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk). While you should not skip the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple And Museum (288 South Bridge Rd, 058840), the nearby Singapore City Gallery (45 Maxwell Rd, The URA Centre, 069118) is also worth a visit to view a giant architectural model of downtown Singapore.
Read more about things to do in Chinatown here.
Both Robertson Quay and Clarke Quay surround the river, with plenty of gems on both banks. Sink into a good book at The Book Café, hit up Fine Spirits by La Maison Du Whisky for its curated range while theatre fans can catch a production at KC Arts Centre. Party animals, don’t miss Zouk – Singapore’s most famous club and home to Mambo Jambo parties that take you back to the 80s.
Study the past at historic institutions like the National Museum of Singapore and the Asian Civilisations Museum. The National Gallery Singapore showcases Asian works and is an architectural gem. Fill up on authentic Singaporean fare with a modern twist at New Ubin Seafood. Starting from Raffles Place Park (between Raffles Place and De Souza St), marvel at Singapore’s modernity as you make your way towards the Marina Bay Financial Centre (Straits View, 018984), stopping by Lau Pa Sat (18 Raffles Quay, 048582) for an iced bandung – a pink beverage made of rose syrup and evaporated milk.
Read more about exploring the Central Business District here.
Unlike polished Orchard Road, this nabe was once home to early Arab settlers. The Masjid Sultan mosque is a must-see and you’ll find plenty of excellent restaurants like Padi @ Bussorah for traditional Malay cuisine near it. Pop into Wardah Books for an old-fashioned bookstore stocked with titles about Malay and Muslim culture. Make sure to check out Haji Lane (between North Bridge Rd and Beach Rd) for great cafes, quaint little boutiques and quirky bars.
While the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is lesser known, it is one of the oldest museums in SG and safeguards the island’s natural heritage. Drop by Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre (1 Wholesale Centre, 110001) in the wee hours and find out how the island’s fresh produce makes its way to the local markets.
If you have trouble finding magazines from abroad? Thambi Magazine Store (211 Holland Ave, #01-K4, Holland Road Shopping Centre, 278967) regularly imports foreign mags. When planning a party, Khiam Teck (265 Holland Ave, 278988) and Party City are excellent starting points to stock up on accessories and decorations. Into baking? Find everything you need at Phoon Huat.
Find out why this area is popular with expats here.
Its name means “new cemetery” in Hokkien and Malay but this nabe is certainly alive. Super hip barbershop We Need A Hero offers haircuts, brow shaping and even hair removal services for the boys. Close by, Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre (30 Seng Poh Rd, 168898) is home to affordably delicious local dishes like chicken rice and fried prawn noodles. Also, visit the 90-year-old Qi Tiang Gong Temple dedicated to the famous Monkey King of Chinese folklore.
Take a closer look at why we love Tiong Bahru here.
This tranquil hideaway on the edge of the city is filled with gourmet offerings, antique shops and more. Try SG’s national dish – the chilli crab – at JUMBO Seafood. Pick up antique Chinese pieces for your home at Woody Antique House or Wood Farm Lifestyle. Open Farm Community takes eco-friendly cuisine to new heights and hosts regular farmer’s markets.
Read our round up here before you pop over.
Escape to this island getaway without a passport! Discover the wonders of marine life at the S.E.A. Aquarium. Hop aboard the Royal Albatross – a gorgeous pirate-y yacht that sails at sunset. Adrenaline junkies should attempt bungee jumping off a 47-metre-high tower by the beach at AJ Hackett.
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is the most iconic religious building here with its impressive rajagopuram featuring dozens of sculptures depicting the goddess Kali. The recently constructed Indian Heritage Centre celebrates Indian history and culture with both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Peckish? Order a Mahal Ka Butter Chicken or more-ish Nepalese dumplings called momos at Shish Mahal.
This enclave is home to many Teochew Singaporeans, many of whom are Catholics who worship at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a beautiful Gothic-style national monument established in 1853. Take your pup on a walk at Punggol Park (Corner of Hougang Ave 8 and 10) and make a pit stop at Five &2, a pet-friendly bistro serving up tasty dishes like Sarawak Curry Chicken.
Known for being a French enclave due to the presence of the Lycée Français de Singapour nearby, you will find shops like La Petite Boutique which sells artisanal cheeses, breads and wines for its French customers. However, a trip here means you must go to Chomp Chomp Food Centre (20 Kensington Park Rd, 557269), an SG fave for delicacies like sambal stingray (barbecue stingray with chilli paste) accompanied by towers of refreshing sugar cane juice.
We’ve got a special guide to Serangoon Gardens right here.
The River Plains playground in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park (along Ang Mo Kio Ave 1) is great for children with special needs and the Kallang River here flows downstream into the city centre. AMK Hub covers all the bases with F&B, fashion, beauty and more. Plus, a second A&W outlet has opened here for those who crave a classic root beer float. Hidden amongst the flats, The Castel Café serves up authentic Italian cuisine at heartland prices.
Find more central heartland gems here.
Check out the collection of plants and flowers at Ji Mei Flower to brighten your home.
Across the road, the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped offers affordable massage services by qualified in-house therapists. Or, dine in utter darkness and experience the difficulties faced by the visually handicapped. Volunteer at the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home, founded to take care of ageing Samsui women and amahs, who contributed to Singapore’s early development but took vows to never marry.
More of Thomson’s hidden treasures are listed here.
Its infamous crown jewel Newton Food Centre (500 Clemenceau Ave, 229495) is a must-visit but watch out for the possible eye-watering prices of the hawker fare. Check out the sculptures and symbols about Asian folklore on Hotel Royal’s facade, designed by an art teacher from Penang, Malaysia and then cross the street to Gilstead Road and spot the peculiar houses and buildings with styles from the Art Deco and Edwardian Baroque movements (between Buckley Rd and Gentle Rd).
We tell you more about the foodielicious nabe here.
This far-flung corner of Singapore may be hard to reach, but it’s away from the bustling city and is perfect for staycations. Hotels like Village Hotel Changi, Changi Cove and Raintr33 Hotel Singapore have easy access to the beach. Explore the coast with the Changi Point Coastal Walk (6 Changi Village Rd, 509907) and soak in the flora and fauna of the surroundings. If you’re feeling adventurous, catch a bumboat at Changi Point Ferry Terminal (51 Lor Bekukong, 499172) and make your way to Pulau Ubin, where cycling and hiking are popular activities. Bonus: With the opening of the impressive Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore comfortably holds on to the title of Best Airport in the World.
Vegetarians, unite! Learn how to cook some of the best plant-based dishes at Little Green Kitchen. Kota88 Restaurant is also the ‘it’ joint for Easties experiencing the midnight munchies as they open till 3 a.m. daily and serve Chinese-Indonesian zhi char (cooked food served on sharing plates). Castle Beach also hosts sandcastle building sessions on weekend afternoons for families.
Need more reasons to visit Siglap? We’ve got them here.
This area is popular for shopping for Malay locals when Hari Raya Puasa comes around as Geylang Serai Market (1 Geylang Serai, 402001) sells traditional clothing, rugs and delicacies for the annual festival. The nearby Haig Road Market & Food Centre (14 Haig Rd, 430014) also has a wide range of halal (certified by Muslim law) stalls and is home to the famous Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring, steamed rice cakes filled with palm sugar.
Find out what else you can enjoy in the district here.
Home to the Peranakans of Singapore, admire the traditional, colourful shophouse architecture around Koon Seng Road. Try the famous 328 Katong Laksa (51 East Coast Rd, 428770), a spicy bowl of noodles in a rich, coconut soup which you can eat with just a spoon. For the sweet-toothed, head to Kim Choo Kueh Chang for an assortment of nyonya kueh (bitesized snacks), cookies and other treats. Joo Chiat is also known for being Little Vietnam – so pop by Ky Anh Quan (233 Joo Chiat Rd, 427491) for authentic Viet fare that even Vietnamese expats swear by. Close to these three nabes, East Coast Park (East Coast Park Service Rd) is a popular haunt for beach activities, picnics, barbecue parties and more. Also, at the nearby Road Safety Community Park (910 East Coast Parkway, 449889) parents can teach their kids about road safety with simulations of road signs, traffic lights and even a gas station. Bring your bikes!
Westies have stopped shopping in the city because the area around Jurong East Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train station has become a retail haven. With malls like Westgate, Jem, JCube and IMM, there’s nothing you can’t find here. The nearby Science Centre Singapore has kid-friendly exhibits and a planetarium for astronomy nerds while Snow City is for those who miss a proper winter. On the far west end, Thow Kwang Dragon Kiln is one of SG’s oldest pottery kilns.
Is Jurong the best side? Decide for yourself here.
The only cinema in this residential district is tucked away in 321 Clementi, which also has Thai mookata (barbecue) restaurant Charcoal Thai. If you need art supplies, Art Friend has a 13,000-square-foot outlet in Clementi Central. Deep in the suburbs, the Sunset Way nabe is home to restaurants, cafes, bars and more.
We’ve got the west coast connection for you here.
66-year-old Colbar (9A Whitchurch Rd, 138839) was formerly a canteen for the British Army barracks. Today, the resto’s menu has village-style Western and Eastern dishes like Spaghetti on Toast and Fried Beef with Ginger. Its range of bottled craft beers, ales and ciders are impressive, too. Hate it or love it, Ah Seng Durian (20 Ghim Moh Rd, #01-119 to #01-122, 270020) remains popular among locals for this stinky/aromatic fruit. Kent Ridge Park (Vigilante Dr, 118176) near National University of Singapore (NUS) forms part of the Southern Ridges and can take you all the way to HarbourFront.
Find out why the ‘hood is more than just a science and technology hub here.
This inaccessible nabe has been unlocked by the Downtown MRT Line. Check out the Rail Corridor, an old rail track that leads into the city. Next to the MRT station is the Salvation Army’s Praisehaven Mega Family Thrift Store (500 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, 678106) where you can pick up bargains or donate stuff for good will.
Read about our visit to these spots here.
Singapore society’s upper echelon calls this hilly neighbourhood, home. Bukit Timah Hill (177 Hindhede Dr, 589333) is the island’s tallest at 163 metres – great for working those glutes. The British Club, Swiss Club, several embassies and international schools are located around here as many foreign dignitaries live nearby. Brunch spot Riders Café is crowded on weekends but who can resist dining surrounded by horses?
Check out more eateries in the area here.
Start your morning with a bottle of fresh, goat milk from Hay Dairies. You can also watch goats get milked and feed them by hand here. Nearby Bollywood Veggies grows
organic vegetables, herbs and spices for sale, and runs Poison Ivy Bistro, a vegetarian-friendly cafe serving local fusion fare. If the farm life suits you, you can even make a staycay out of it at Gallop Kranji Farm Resort.
Want to know more about Kranji’s secrets? We unveil them here.
Pick up beginner-friendly chicken rice pastes from Boon Tong Kee’s factory and learn to make this national dish at home. When hosting a party, simplify the menu by ordering ready-to-eat cakes and other desserts from Melvados, which also supplies to many restaurants and hotels in SG. If you have your passport with you, you can even make a trip across border via the causeway to Johor Bahru, Singapore’s sister city.
Find more food options in Woodlands here.
Singapore does has its very own hot spring. Reopened in January 2020, the Sembawang Hot Spring has been redeveloped from a single tap into a proper park with facilities. For some of the best meat-on-a-stick (i.e. satay), try SatayBros (592-593 Sembawang Rd, 758451) on Sembawang Road – plus, it’s dipping sauce is to die for. In Sembawang Park (Northern end of Sembawang Rd), you can also find Beaulieu House, a colonial mansion with a seafood restaurant inside.
There are more reasons for you to head up north. Discover them here.
Grab a picnic blanket and head to Lower Seletar Reservoir Park (Yishun Ave 1, 769139), a man-made lake that forms part of SG’s water catchment system. Kayaking is popular here, too. On the other side of the busy boulevard, ORTO is a rustic sanctuary where you can find a trampoline park, a paintball arena, a drift karting track, a live tortoise and turtle museum, as well as restaurants and bars. SAFRA Yishun also has plenty of fun things to do like rock climbing, bowling and swimming.
Skip the zoo or bird park and let your kids experience kampong (Malay village) life alongside farm animals at The Animal Resort (T81 Seletar West Farmway 5, 798058). Surrounded by colonial black-and-white houses, The Oval at Seletar Aerospace Park features a giant-sized version of Ludo and airplane-shaped play structures. Along Jalan Kayu, you will find the famous roti prata (Indian flatbreads) stall Thasevi Food (239 Jln Kayu, 799463).
Find more places to chill out at here.
Text: The Finder team / Additional Reporting: Joshua Tan / From The Finder Annual Directory 2020 / Photos: Facebook + 123RF.com + The Straits Times + Respective businessses
More on The Finder: