Turn your next Singapore adventure from Singa-bore to Singa-more by straying away from the usual popular touristy spots to discover less crowded yet still interesting nooks and crannies in Merlion land.
My sister paid me a weekend visit recently and since it’s her nth time here, I was up for the challenge to come up with a quirky itinerary which didn’t involve any Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, or Universal Studios in her schedule.
Here’s what I came up with:
1. Haji Lane
With graffiti walls left and right and access to addicting shishas and calorie-worthy Arabian/Persian/Turkish cuisines, Haji Lane is probably Singapore’s Bohemian answer to London or Melbourne’s artsy streets.
Perfect venue to bring out the indie in you!
2. Indulge in desserts
Being a self-confessed dessert-junkie, it’s always a must for me to stop by new cafes. Belly-fatteners like cakes and ice creams are on top of my list, of course.
While walking along Haji Lane, we discovered a newly opened ice cream soufflé heaven: Eisky & Delicious. Creamy and chocolatey, their cup-o-choc soufflé just melted in my mouth and it was purely beyond my imagination.
I kid you not – I caught myself mumbling “this is delicious-soliloquies” every time I force a spoonful from my cup to my mouth.
3. Shop at ION Orchard
Discounts are aplenty in the shopping mecca that is Singapore. But among the malls here, I have a personal bias in favor of ION Orchard. It does help if your casual favorites are Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, Forever 21/21Men, and Pull & Bear are all located in one destination.
4. Go-kart in Sentosa
Riding a go-kart at Skyline Sentosa Singapore Luge always brings out the kiddos in us. It’s always fun if you have someone to race with and to compete against.
But beware for those with acrophobia! Do note that the standard price for a luge ride includes a one-way ticket up to the other side of the park via the Skyride Chairlift—a four-seater mind-numbing ride up the hill which gives you the best panoramic views of the harbour skyline.
Of course, it scared the wits out of us. I was never a fan of roller coasters and ferris wheels to begin with.
5. Sunset at Coastes, Sentosa Beach
Lounging in Sentosa beach might not be as glorious as your beach escapades in Bali or Boracay, but it’s next best thing to paradise in this tiny city-state. Anything that spells “escape from the city’s hustle-and-bustle” is naturally good.
My top pick for a good chow and enjoyable drink along the Siloso part of Sentosa is Coastes, which I first came across seven years ago. More than half a decade later, Coastes remains a delightful venue for my late afternoon/early evening pondering and wanderlusting.
6. Watch a movie
If watching a movie is not your idea of a travel vacation (especially since you can always do it back home, at a cheaper price), then maybe you should reconsider. Did I tell you their cinemas here have big badass screens, wide arm chairs, and cozy head cushions?
But the best part is, they are usually clean. No more sticky, slimey floors. Never ever again.
7. Watch a concert
If you plan to watch an international act, then purchase your concert tickets here in Singapore. They are waaay cheaper.
They impose higher taxes for foreign bands in Manila, I believe.
Take for instance the One Direction: On the Road Again (read related story here) concert which we saw last March 11, 2015. For a VIP seated ticket, you’ll pay around Php5,000+ more in Manila as compared to a ticket in Singapore. So better plan ahead…
8. Explore other dining options: Rochester Park
Breakfasts should be relaxing—and that’s what you get if you spend your Sunday morning sipping a hot cup of coffee and binging on an “all-day mighty breakkie” from Pies & Coffee at Rochester Park.
It’s not a typical venue for a weekend hangout place, but if you prefer to find some solitude and a variety of dining options, then this is for you.
Head over to the most homespun Starbucks branch I’ve seen in Singapore—just atop of the hill and a few meters walk away from Pies & Coffee.
9. Take a day trip to Malacca
Overnight bus rides are my favorite.
Since Singapore is only a few hours away from Malaysia, taking a day trip on board a bus to the neighboring towns should be easy-breezy. The UNESCO heritage site of Malacca has always been my go-to destination for a nice and quick Malaysian escapade.
In Malacca, you are sure to bump into some Malaysian culture, arts, good food, architecture, history, colors, and the best part is, everything here is easy on the pockets.
Check more of my personal photos through my Instagram page: @bigbluefish. Camera used: Canon 700D DSLR. Lens: 18-55 STM.