Traveling in my twenties was all about full moon parties, drinking out of buckets and covering my body with florescent paint. Traveling in a relationship was driving right through the beautiful city of Barcelona so the guys could get to the smallest isolated beach to surf, yip, sacrifice. Now you can find me lost in the streets, the culture and the heart of a city with the freedom to explore as I wish, I am addicted.
So here are my travels, through my single, thirty something eyes.
This is how you do Singapore…
Its hard to know exactly where to go and everyone can agree, a city can offer so much more through the eyes of a local. I’m so lucky to have my mum live in Singapore. She absolutely loves showing her friends around when they visit and she has really created the best little tour of her favourite places. I have been to Singapore a few times, but never like this, so I just had to share my best bits in the hopes that I can make someone elses trip to Singapore (even if its a short visit) as memorable as mine.
I’ve hyperlinked as many Instagram accounts as possible so you can look further into planning your trip!
Tiong Bahru is a bustling little suburb close to the central city and should be at the top of the list if you love wandering around the streets to soak in the culture and soul of a new place. The Art Deco buildings are crisp white and surrounded with palm trees and lush greens. Singapore is aiming to be the Garden Capitol of the World and Tiong Bahru is definitely doing its part on this one!
Walk the little lanes that run up behind the streets to see the most intriguing spiral and linear staircases, colourful murals, chefs at work in their steamy kitchens. The area is very boutiquey, with quality cafes, and little shops poked into the walls of these unique buildings, especially on the trendy Yong Siak St. Singaporeans regard Tiong Bahru as their ‘ traditional foodie’ place- anything bought from Tiong Bahru is revered. It really does provide the perfect afternoon stroll.
The must see stops on your stroll:
Tiong Bahru Bakery: for their freshly baked almond croissants and pastries or a lemon tart graded from 1 to 3 for tanginess! Plus the best Flat White, guaranteed!
Tiong Bahru Market: a traditional covered market with amazing flower stalls to greet you at the entrance – stunning orchids! Further in, try the mangoes, papayas, jungle bananas, and a dragon fruit and admire the piles of fresh vegetables, the plethora of greens, peppers, chillies, beets, mini and maxi aubergines all sold in a frenzy of style. The sweetest ‘aunties’ sell eggs of all kinds. They’ll happily tell you all about them.
Upstairs is the food court- happening here since the 1950’s but since rebuilt and styled – very pleasant for its alfresco areas and its eco friendly recycling of all food waste. I literally ate here everyday. When you get to the top of the escalator turn right, and the second hawker in, is the hainanese chicken rice man. It may not look like much in the picture but for $2.50 it is the most delicious chicken rice I’ve ever had. To the left of the escalator is the juice stand. Ranging from $1.50 – $2.50 they freshly make watermelon, beetroot, passionfruit and apple juice, just to name a few!
PS Café: the most exquisite little bar straight out of an old classic romantic movie. With black marble and brass from floor to ceiling they offer a range of wine and cocktails, freshly made pizza and ice cream.
The Tiong Bahru Club: you can’t miss its jazz and house tunes playing out onto the street. The Tiong Bahru Club is a great Sunday evening spot to sit on the street and watch all the interesting people walking by. I had one of their iced rose teas which I highly recommend. My mum said the Weissbier – a wheat beer, is delicious.
Strangelets: On Yong Siak St, have a lemon olive oil ice block, they are amazing!!
Plain Vanilla: with three mint green cruisers and a swing greeting you on entry, this little café is very picturesque. Try one of their amazing tarts or use their work space to catch up on some e-mails.
Curated Records: flick through the classic vinyls in this tiny little record store on Tiong Bahru Rd. And next door to them is a French Book Shop!!
Just up from here on the corner is a very popular local seafood restaurant-chilli crab seems to be the speciality going buy the huge open aquariums I walked past each evening – trying not to look in!
Right … so yes, there is plenty more to see in Singapore outside of Tiong Bahru, I could write a novel, but here are a few that have left some pretty special memories for me:
Sentosa Mambo Beach Club: If you can get past the ships floating out at sea (and even if you can’t they’re an amazing sight) then you will love Sentosa! Many go for the tourist attractions like Universal Studios, but mum and I took off right to the beach. Lined with palm trees and white sand, it whisks you off to another world, nothing like the bustling busy city you left ten minutes ago. The sun was in and out all day but honestly it was so hot I dint think I could have handled the full sun shining on me! Go for a stroll up the beach until you come across Mambo Beach Club. They are situated on one a really nice part of the beach and offer a range of sun loungers, cabanas and couches and if you order a cocktail and/or food and you can lounge all day enjoying the beach, their pool and the Ibiza styled house music. Just ten minutes taxi from downtown Singapore you would be silly to miss this one.
Singapore offers a number of beautiful rooftop bars but I have my two favourites. Fullerton Bay Hotels rooftop bar is open to the public and looks over to Marina Bay Sands. The bar area curves around their rooftop pool and offers the most amazing view, especially for the 8pm light show with a cocktail in hand, bliss. The second is Ce La Vi at the top of Marina Bay Sands Hotel. When we went it was right in the middle of the Formula 1 so it had a $38 entrance fee but the last time I went there was no cover, you just had to buy a drink so definitely don’t pay to go to the viewing deck!! Ce La Vie over looks the rooftop infinity pool and provides some quality people watching.
Hands down, one of the most beautiful places I think I’ve been. Historically it was a Catholic convent, providing a school for girls, an orphanage and housing for nuns. The chapel, covered walkways and their repeating archways are stunning. There’s ‘something in the air’ when you go inside the walls of Chijimes, even though its now the home of lush restaurants and bars; it is a little slice of romantic heaven. I would recommend Prives for their happy hour cocktails including cucumber moijitos. It looks across at the chapel and archways. I would go just before the sun starts going down as it is as beautiful during the day as it is at night.
The elegant, colonial style hotel is a Singapore landmark and one that cannot be missed. Directly across the road from Chijmes, it is surrounded by the most lush and landscaped gardens. Take a stroll around the different bars, fountains and courtyards. Everyone usually has a drink at the Courtyard Bar but mum and I like to sit on the veranda around the corner from the Writers Bar, overlooking the garden, with a martini in hand. Visit the old Long Bar, the oldest bar in Singapore for a Singapore Sling and to throw some peanuts on the floor.
Robinson Walk on Robertson Quay
I could honestly wander around the streets of an unfamiliar city all day and night. I just love to soak up the culture, buildings and different faces. This walk would be one of the highlights of my trip. Start at the Wine Connection. They have two venues, one offering the most decadent cheese platters and fresh amazing salads and the other just around the corner is much larger and is an amazing Tapas bar. I went to both and could easily have eaten there every night. Once the cheese and wine has settled in, begin the Robertson riverside walk. A mix of modern and historic buildings line the river and are beautifully lit up to reflect perfectly on the water. Lined with bars and restaurants, its great for people watching too.
Violet Ooon – The National Kitchen at the Singapore National Art Museum
I’m not quite sure how this lady doesn’t have a Michelin Star. Not only is her food actually mind blowing but the restaurant is 100% without a world of a lie the most beautiful restaurant I have experienced. Violet owns and operates this restaurant serving Peranakan food. The entrees/starters are so beautifully plated and were so flavoursome, like nothing I have tasted before. I had the Chicken Lemak and a glass of Rose. Flawless. I even met the lady herself, in her 70s she only overseas the kitchen but still keeps her recipes a secret in her head!
I’m looking forward to going back and exploring the city further. I feel like I only touched the surface of the real side of Singapore! It honestly created some of my fondest memories and I am so excited to go back and explore even more.
The travelling side to my thirties, I love it xxx