A common misconception about Singapore is that we have less interesting travel spots to offer compared to our…larger neighbours. However, what we lack in size, we more than make up for with quirky, fulfilling sites and activities per square metre. At GoBear’s invitation, I’ve set out to prove our humble Little Red Dot is indeed more than shiny new buildings and shopping malls, to bring you 5 snubbed travel wonders to include in your itinerary!
Explore Singapore’s Architectural Past
Look beyond modernist, glass panelled structures of Marina Bay Sands and the like, to quaint neighbourhoods of old where you can find rows of shophouses, many refurbished into F&B joints and houses for the nostalgic. Stroll along streets like Telok Ayer, Emerald Hill, and Joo Chiat, where you can soak in the atmosphere of yesteryears from elaborately framed louvre windows and majestic pillars, some of which still bear the engraved names of the businesses that used to occupy them.
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What do our artists have to say about Singapore’s colonial history? – “But I know that it's worthwhile now, and I hope it means 2019 won't so easily be a whitewashed event of colonial vestiges activated for superficial exercises in nation-building. I hope people care enough. And I hope we are able to add just a little bit to the conversation on our colonial history.” – Read the full quote by Alan Oei, our Artistic Director, on our FB page. 💖
Pro tip: Look out for the annual OH! Open House trail, which brings you along time-honoured streets to experience the Singapore our forefathers came to live in.
Be One with Nature… and Face Your Fears
Deep in the recesses of MacRitchie reservoir, is the HSBC Treetop Walk, a scenic route where you can capture panoramic views of Singapore’s skyline, minus the obstructive buildings. Hop off the bus opposite Flame Tree Park, take the 600m trail to the Ranger Station, before treating yourself to one of the best views in Singapore.
Pro tip: It’s a one-way route on the bridge, so be sure to work up that extra bit of courage before attempting to walk the whole 250 metres. An extra bottle of water to refresh yourself between steps doesn’t hurt either.
Jet Off to Singapore’s (Almost) Untouched Islands
Singapore’s not just about the sun, sea, and sand when it comes to her beaches. Who am I kidding, a trip to the beach is never complete without these three! But if you’re feeling luxurious, why not skip the crowds at Sentosa and indulge in a chartered yacht for you and your travel buddies to one of Singapore’s other islands, like Lazarus Island? Kick back, relax, and enjoy an unhindered view of Singapore’s cityscape growing smaller and smaller as you speed across clear waters to your island paradise, before docking and enjoying a smoky BBQ feast by the crew.
Pro tip: There’s a stretch of beach that is said to resemble the pearly white shores of Maldives. See if you can spot it before sundown!
Get in Touch with Singapore’s Quirky Side
From the scenic to the quirky — Haw Par Villa is one of those places you have to see to believe.
Built in 1973, this theme park of over 1,000 colourful statues is unabashedly in-your-face with its vivid depictions of famous Chinese folklore, including the gruesome 10 Courts of Hell, where traditional beliefs of what otherworldly repercussions your sins will beget you, are reenacted to the last minute detail.
Aside from that, you will also encounter other oddball sculptures, including a giant gorilla, massive deity heads, and even a replica of the Statue of Liberty. While the park was originally built by the older of the Tiger Balm brothers, and abandoned during World War II, Haw Par Villa has seen a resurgence of interest among locals and tourists alike, as one of Singapore’s more macabre photo spots.
Taste the Best of Singapore
Feeling hungry after exploring all that Singapore has to offer? Worry not; we’re not known for our culture of non-stop eating for nothing! From the budget conscious, to the ones with bottomless wallets, there’s something for everyone.
Embark on a journey of culinary discovery on a budget, as you try Singapore’s best hidden secrets — street food! Savour Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice, also known as the world’s cheapest Michelin experience, or taste the best flavours of Asia in a single bowl of noodles at A Noodle Story, where up to 200 bowls of the famed Singapore-style ramen is served every day.
Alternatively, indulge in a meal of modern tastes at one of Singapore’s up and coming restaurants— fusion Szechuan cuisine at Birds of a Feather, for starters, is bound to to set palates ablaze with a mix of spices and other exotic ingredients.
Pro tip: Check out GoBear’s Dining Rewards Cards to see how you can earn rewards while you eat!