We’re going to Singapore for 3 nights in October to meet our friends Rob and Stef who will be passing through. Surprisingly, it’ll our first time there despite all our previous travels around Asia. I’m really looking forward to it, though am a little surprised that so many friends claim it’s a boring, soulless place. Sure, it sounds very modern and sanitised, especially compared to other Southeast Asian cities, but with its cultural mix, food scene and abundance of shopping opportunities how could it possibly be boring?!!!
From the research I’ve done, the city’s Chinatown area sounds pretty cool (as do the boutique hotels – we’re planning to stay at Hotel 1929 though haven’t booked it yet), and the streets Haji Lane and Bali Lane and surrounds sound like really amazing, boutiquey little areas with great shopping and cafes – this area is definitely high on my Singapore agenda.
If you have any insights into essential Singapore must-dos (particular unique/interesting shopping spots and great cafes and restaurants) I’d love to hear from you!
The whole Kampong Glam area (around Haji lane) is pretty traditional although there are some trendy boutiquey places owned by young Singaporeans. Try Hoity Toity for new clothes and handmade japanese jewellery or House of Japan for a rumble sale of second hand clothes including kimonos,Lipstick Bandit for vintige and quirky (although with a sg price tag),Pluck for decor designed by yound singaporeans. The mosque and Istana have been there for nearly two centuries. Try eating at Madam Saigon on Liang Seah st across the road from Bugis junction (where the MRT station is) or any one of the eateries or hawkers stalls there. Chinatown/ Outram Park area also has a similar feel to bugis area with traditional and upmarket contemporary jostling for space. Check out Ann Siang rd for funky design shops, noodles and dumplings and weirdly (or maybe not so much for sg) freench bistros. Since you are into food http://ieatishootipost.sg/ is an invaluable resource and have a look at http://www.the-inncrowd.com/walkingtoursindex.htm for some great places to explore that show both the sanitised and the human side of Singapore. Have a great trip!
Thanks Tanya – excellent tips, will be sure to check them out!
I really want to go to Singapore eventually… you’ll have to share your experiences there. -X