Worldwide icon-chevron-right Asia icon-chevron-right Hong Kong icon-chevron-right A local’s guide to the best places to eat, drink, and shop in Singapore
Singapore, Aerial view of Singapore business district
Photograph: Shutterstock Aerial view of Singapore business district

A local’s guide to the best places to eat, drink, and shop in Singapore

The best things to do in Singapore when the travel bubble happens

By Time Out editors
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The much-awaited travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore is finally launching on May 26. The bilateral agreement's initial flight was scheduled to commence last November 22, 2020 but postponed a day before the launch. The travel bubble will allow a quarantine-free air route between Hong Kong and Singapore, providing travellers test negative for Covid-19 72 hours before departure in both regions and another coronavirus test on arrival. The agreement allows people who are currently in Singapore and Hong Kong to travel between cities regardless of their nationality.  

Since most of us have been confined in the city, this exciting travel news had us on our toes already compiling a bucket list of places to explore. So, to get you inspired, we got our friends from Time Out Singapore to give us an insider's guide on the best things to do, eat, and drink in the Lion City. From new bars and restaurants, art exhibitions, and the best places to shop, here's an ultimate guide in discovering the best gems that Singapore has to offer. 

RECOMMENDED: Of course, we want you to travel safely, if you have questions about the new restrictions and rules on public gatherings in Singapore, make sure to visit this link to keep abreast on 'what you can or can't do' in the city. For more details about the quarantine-free air travel bubble visit this regularly updated guide.

The Clan Hotel Singapore
The Clan Hotel Singapore
Photograph: Courtesy The Clan Hotel Singapore

Where to stay

In a bustling metropolis like Singapore, you’re spoilt for choice with the various accommodation options available. Dive deep into Singapore’s history and culture at its beautiful heritage shophouses that have been converted into chic boutique hotels, or splash out on world-renowned luxury hotels with stunning city skyline views. For those that want some peace and quiet, take Singapore’s tropical weather in from these gorgeous hotel pools, or retreat into nature at these hotels away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

And if you’re thinking of just soaking in the tub all day – that’s perfectly fine too. But not all bathtubs are created equal, and sometimes we just want to check into a hotel with a great tub to get away from it all. 

Drunken Farmer
Drunken Farmer
Photograph: Courtesy Drunken Farmer

Where to eat 

Many know Singapore as a nation of foodies – and it’s a title the locals don’t take lightly. There are new food options popping up every month – from cheap eats to Michelin-starred eateries and more – Singapore has it all. Missed out on the hotel breakfast buffet? Try local breakfast for champions or settle down in a pretty cafe in a hip neighbourhood. 

Immerse yourself in local culture, sample world-famous street food from traditional hawker centres, or soak in the best views (and food) from these picture-worthy restaurants. Spoilt for choice? Check out the list of Time Out Singapore’s favourite restaurants in town.

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Republic
Republic
Photograph: Courtesy Republic

Where to drink 

After all that feasting, it’s time to wash it all down with a drink or two. And Singapore’s growing bar scene is filled with great finds and rising talents. Check out the best that our nation has to offer, or plan a charming night-out at some of the most romantic watering holes. If it’s cool vibes and views you’re after, head up to a rooftop bar and soak in the magnificent scenery. Those feeling adventurous should definitely shake up their usual drink order with some tipples inspired by perennial hawker favourites. For more day time drinking options and caffeine to power through, try some kopi and teh, the local version of coffee and tea.

Marina Bay Sands Apple Store
Marina Bay Sands Apple Store
Marina Bay Sands Apple Store I Photograph: Shutterstock

Where to shop

Singapore may be known for its massive shopping malls and fancy boutiques on Orchard Road but what makes this place a unique shopping paradise are the talented local makers and brands. Shop from homegrown labels in Singapore where you can see the best in local fashion and lifestyle products. For something a little different, bring home a piece of wearable culture from Singapore and check out boutiques and shops that specialise in traditional wear – but with a modern update. The vintage and thrift store scene is also thriving and it is the best way to shop on a budget in the city for old souls.

In case you missed it, Singapore is also the first city with an Apple store that is floating on water. Sure it stocks the same products as other Apple stores around the world, but think of the bragging rights you come back with once you’ve visited (and taken a snap for Instagram of) this shiny orb on Marina Bay.

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Tan Teng Niah House in Little India
Tan Teng Niah House in Little India
Tan Teng Niah House in Little India I Photograph: Shutterstock

Things to do and places to see

Beyond the face of Singapore’s glimmering skyscrapers and futuristic architecture lies a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be explored. Meander along the alleys and side streets of heritage districts like Kampong Gelam and Tanjong Pagar for trendy shops, cool cafés and hidden cocktail joints. Think we’re all urban jungle? Put your sunhat on for a day at the Singapore Botanic Gardens (a UNESCO World Heritage Site!) or go off the beaten track at our best secret gardens. And yes, it’s possible to have a rustic getaway in the countryside too. Intrepid travellers looking to chase the horizon can simply get on a boat for an island-hopping adventure around Singapore’s best offshore islands.

Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom
Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom
Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom I Photograph: Courtesy Scott Mitchell Leen

Events and unique things to do in the area

There’s always something happening in the city whether you’re an early riser or a night owl. Best bit? We’re hoping plans will firm up some time at the end of the year and if they do, a visit to the Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom is a must. For alternative things to do, you can spend all day checking out free museums, art exhibitions… and very, very old cemeteries – if you’re game. For those interested in mysterious abandoned buildings, there is plenty of that in Singapore too.

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NParks
NParks
Photograph: NParks/Facebook

Where to go with kids

This kid-friendly city makes an ace holiday destination for families travelling with active tots, tykes and teens. Keep your pint-sized posse occupied with high-octane activities that won’t break the bank, from cycling through the Changi Park Connector (look out for the colossal dinosaurs) to climbing the nets at the newly opened Coastal Grove by the beach. If the kids still have energy to burn, let them run riot at the many outdoor playgrounds and water parks in the city. All free for them to slide, swing and scale.

For nature lovers, Singapore also offers picturesque quarries, mangrove forests, and nature reserves with simple, paved hiking trails to explore – they’re stroller-friendly too. While you’re at it, look out for the flora and fauna that calls this tropical Garden City home including monkeys, birds, monitor lizards, and otters.

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