By the SMU Social Media Team
Thinking of coming to Singapore for the first time? Have you heard all that there is to do on our sunny island? Trust us, if these 10 things aren’t on your list, it wouldn’t be the true Singapore experience yet. From night cycling across East Coast Park to prawn fishing in obscure farms, take in a different side of Singapore and discover why so many call this island city home.
1. Go island hopping
Thinking of heading out to Langkawi or Bali for the weekend? Why not check out the islands around Singapore for a change? All reachable by a short half-hour ferry ride, you don’t have to travel far to have fun. Cycle along the pristine tracks of Pulau Ubin, or explore the deeply hidden caves of Coney Island nearby—you’ll be in for a whale of time. Ready to plan your trip? Perhaps this guide will help you!
2. Night cycling across East Coast Park
If you’re looking for a different way to spend your evening, why not try night cycling? East Coast Park has just the right scenic cycling track for you. It stretches all the way to the Marina Barrage, where a sky full of stars and the cool night air are the best rewards after the long workout. Rent your two-wheeler at these PCN pit stops along East Coast Park, and just follow the track all the way down to the Marina Barrage.
3. Explore hawker centres in our heartland neighbourhoods
Nothing embodies Singapore more than our heartland neighbourhoods. What makes each heartland area unique is also the food that’s served in the coffee shops under the blocks of flats or larger local food havens called hawker centres. Dig into delicious barbecue stingray at Chomp Chomp Food Centre located in the heart of Serangoon Garden, or try some steamed rice cakes topped with fried preserved turnip (chwee kway) in the Tiong Bahru market, nestled in the old housing estate of Tiong Bahru.
4. Go late night shopping at Mustafa Centre and explore Little India
Nestled in the heart of Little India is the well-known Mustafa Centre, the go-to place for everything you need, and don’t need. From little baubles and accessories to sweet and savoury snacks, this place has got it all. And it’s open 24/7! And if you’re feeling a little peckish after all that shopping, pop by the hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurants and eateries nearby for mouth-watering Indian cuisine as well.
5. Enjoy the Singapore coffee scene
Café-hopping for fancy latte arts and deliciously hearty all day breakfasts is a favourite weekend past time for many young Singaporeans. From The Coastal Settlement in the east, Atlast Coffeehouse in the west to Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar further south of Singapore, you don’t have to travel far to get your coffee fix. But if you don’t fancy the hipster coffee culture and prefer a taste of traditional fragrant kopi, you’ll find a Ya Kun or Toast Box pretty much everywhere! Oh, how we love our coffee.
6. Embark on a local food trail
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and this is exactly how our sunny island won the hearts of foreigners and locals alike. From frog leg porridge at Geylang Street to laksa at Sungei Road, local food trails are the quickest, most fuss free way of trying the best dishes at all the best places in Singapore. Don’t know where to start? Perhaps this list will aid in planning your itinerary!
7. Go prawning
Prawn fishing, or prawning, as it is known colloquially, is a popular way to pass the time. Chill out amidst lush greenery at the Riviera at Punggol, or jostle with the veteran prawn fishers at Pasir Ris Farmway. While the activity may seem like a no brainer at first glance, it does require quite a bit of practice and technique to get it right. Don’t worry, here are a few tips to get you along the way.
8. Check out the hipster shops in Tiong Bahru
Gentrification—the only word to describe Tiong Bahru, and it’s just the place to go to get a sense of the changing Singapore landscape. Whilst cosy cafés and bookstores make a very pretty juxtaposition against the white washed walls of the neighbourhood, shops selling vintage household items and eateries of local food lend an unparalleled sense of nostalgia to the enclave.
9. Shop at local boutiques at Haji Lane
Bedecked in eclectic colours, the streets of Haji Lane prove to be a go-to hangout for many designers and artists in Singapore alike. Haji Lane is also home to local boutiques and fashion designers. From eclectic jewellery to loud street fashion, and even cutesy furniture and home décor items, these unassuming boutiques offer a glimpse into the local Singapore fashion scene. While many of these boutiques close pretty early (around 8pm), Haji Lane is home to cool bars and restaurants for the perfect night out.
10. Try a durian!
May to August is the dreaded time of the year for many durian season. Love it or hate it, there is no sitting on the fence when it comes to this thorny fruit. While its smell might repulse some, others may bite into its sweet flesh in delight. Why don’t you try this notorious delicacy for yourself? Picking a deliciously fleshy durian is, however, one of the toughest parts of the durian experience. Try Ah Seng Durian at Ghim Moh Market or Combat Durian, along Balestier Road, one of Singapore’s oldest durian outfits. For first timers, we recommend going for the ever-popular Mao Shan Wang, the crème de la crème of the durian kingdom.
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