Food and drink
Licking our fingers
At Fruits Top 1 Department Stall Ah, the king of fruits. Geylang, the city’s infamous red light district, is home to plenty of roadside stalls hawking durians– but with plenty of crooks looking to swindle you out of a quick buck, it’s best to stick to places that have built up a solid reputation like Fruits Top 1 Department Store.
Eating chilli crab
At Jumbo Seafood Regardless of what some Malaysian minister might say, chilli crab will always be the ultimate Singaporean dish in our hearts. JUMBO’s been serving chilli crabs (from $78/kg) at its birthplace, East Coast Park, since 1987 and has long been a favourite of many. The reason for its popularity has to be its choice of crabs – they’re all extremely meaty, with extra-large pincers. Its sauce is pretty unique, too, deploying ground peanuts for an added crunch. Jumbo has four other outlets in Singapore including Riverside Point, The Riverwalk, NSRCC's Changi Clubhouse and Dempsey Hill.
Digging into plates of chicken rice
At Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle Navigating the maze that is Chinatown Food Complex is a bit of a task. But a tell-tale sign that you’ve found Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle is the long queue that weaves its way through the entire hawker centre. It'll take you 2 to 3 hours to get to the front of the queue. Once you do, though, the process is swift. Chef Chan Hon Meng then chops the meat – chicken, char siew, roast pork or pork ribs – and serves them up on disposable plates with your carb of choice: mee kia, hor fun or rice. The star of the show is the soya sauce chicken ($7-$14). The skin cracks when you sink your teeth into it, giving way to tender and succulent meat. We recommend having it on a bed of rice, with a helping of steamed nuts and dark sauce ($2). And don't be afraid to pile on juicy and moreish char siew, too. The stall also serves up roasted pork rice ($2.50), pork ribs rice ($3) and dumpling noodles ($3). Vegetable dishes include bean sprouts ($3-$4) and leafy greens cooked in oyster sauce ($4-$5). Make sure to go early – chef Chan only prepares a limited number of chickens per day. Once they're out, patrons are turned away.
Frolicking in the farm
At Bollywood Veggies This organic countryside farm way out in Kranji is the brainchild of Ivy Singh, the straight-talking former president of Netball Singapore. Take a tour of the farm, tuck into organic vegetables grown on-site at Poison Ivy Bistro, learn about the history of food at the Bollywood Food Museum and do much more when you make the trek to this ulu destination.
At Restaurant Labyrinth We love that Singapore never stops reinventing herself – and that applies to our food too. Labyrinth is a modern Singaporean restaurant housed in the beautiful Esplanade and it whips up dishes like chilli crab with Japanese soft shell crab and bak chor mee with Hokkaido scallops.
Dabbling in heritage
At Chilli Padi Nonya Restaurant For those unfamiliar with Peranakan culture, throw yourself into the deep end by making a trip to Katong. From the colourful shophouses rich in heritage that line the street to the array of Peranakan restaurants that call the area home, Katong provides a feast for all your senses. We adore Chilli Padi Nonya Restaurant for classic dishes like ayam buah keluak and itek tim. It had to make our list.
Dancing in the moonlight
At Tanjong Beach Club Shoes on? Shoes off – because at this nightlife playground footwear is totally optional. Sink your toes into Sentosa beach’s soft sand and transport yourself to the cool shores of Ibiza as you rave the night away to a blaring mix of Balearic house, beach boogie and sunshine soul. Oh, and we definitely recommend modelling your cutest swimwear.
Hanging with the cool cats
At Blu Jaz Café Witness pianist Aya Sekine’s intense key-smashing or treat your ears to Singaporean jazz stalwart Alemay Fernandez soulful croonings at Blujaz Café. Decked out in vibrant bohemian-inspired décor, the popular live music spot sits at the corner of Bali Lane in the Kampong Glam district and draws a crowd of young and old.
Partying all night
At Zouk Zouk’s no stranger to all you party animals. Whether you jam to trance, techno or hip-hop, this nightlife institution’s got your back. Making its shiny new digs at Clarke Quay, the world-class club spans across two floors featuring a main dance room and Phuture, which pumps out smooth R&B tunes. For a mix of deep house and nu-disco beats, make your way up to its luxe lounge Capital.
Getting our indie film fix
At The Projector Housed in the historic Golden Theatre, The Projector screens a selection of flicks such as cult favourites, arthouse, documentary, foreign and local. Look out for its special themed nights that are presented alongside homegrown drag collective The Glory Hoes, bringing together a series of queer films with glamourous disco after-parties to boot.
Having cocktails on cloud nine
At Lavo Perch yourself on this Italian restaurant-cum-rooftop bar for a killer view of our city skyline. Set 57 storeys above the ground, Lavo’s where you can sip on cocktails and tuck into heavenly plates of pasta and brick oven pizza up in the clouds. Then shimmy over to the outdoor bar and terrace where DJs dish out anthems ‘til 2am.
Listening to the city's best buskers
At Going Om Forget Orchard Road, Haji Lane has its own pool of Ed Sheeran wannabes that fill the air with their acoustic renditions of Top 40 hits. Between Tuesday and Sunday nights, settle yourself at alfresco café Going Om and be accompanied by street performers as they belt out tunes.
Stepping out in style
At Pedder on Scotts Your eyes won’t go hungry in this shoe and accessories haven, where a coveted pair of red sole Christian Louboutins are next to Gianvito Rossi’s signature stilettos. Spanning the entire second floor of luxury shopping destination Scotts Square, Pedder on Scotts is one for the fashionistas.
Achieving the hypebeast aesthetic
At Dover Street Market Hypebeasts and baes worth their salt ought to pay a visit to Dover Street Market – it’s the fourth in the world after London, Tokyo and New York. It stocks a wide array of designer brands, ranging from Comme des Garçons and The Row to Anti Social Social Club and Paccbet.
At Hear Records Hear Records is where you go to get lost in crates of vinyl – there are over 10,000 used ones and 5,000 new ones with weekly additions to keep things fresh. Needless to say, a vast, curated selection of records, all handpicked by owner Nick Tan, line the walls too.
Arts and culture
Appreciating art and history
At Asian Civilisations Museum One of Singapore's largest and most impressive museums, the Asian Civilisations Museum has seven galleries showcasing more than 2,000 artefacts from the civilisations of China, South-East Asia, South Asia and West Asia. The first floor of galleries charts the story of trade across the region, while the second floor presents systems of faith and belief and the third features materials and design used in Chinese ceramics from the Han to the Qing dynasty.
Taking a secret tour
At Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay The iconic durian-looking arts centre opens its doors to visitors who are eager to have a closer look at the world-class space. Uncover how the concert hall is engineered to keep out even the slightest external noise and vibration. Be amazed at how the hall, which has hosted renowned musicians from all around the globe, can be adjusted to mimic the acoustics of a tiny room or a large cathedral.
Zooming into the future
At Artscience Museum Art and science blend seamlessly in the form of high-tech pieces at the Future World exhibition. Observe how the two seemingly contrasting entities come together in the world’s first Artscience Museum at MBS. Open your mind to the futuristic sphere of cutting-edge interactive installations and explore how art and science shape the world that we live in.
Getting familiar with local art
At Singapore Art Museum Formerly a Catholic boys’ school, the intimate building that now houses the Singapore Art Museum features a number of small, unusual and hidden gallery spaces scattered throughout the building – many of which house longrunning exhibitions showcasing their impressive collection of South-East Asian contemporary art, including a number of notable ‘pioneer’ works.
Learning more about Indian culture
At Indian Heritage Centre With a glowing glass façade inspired by stepwells that are commonly found in South Asia, the Indian Heritage Centre has a wealth of artifacts dotted around its five galleries. It documents and explores the history and culture of Indians, especially in relation to Singapore, all the way from the 1st century to the present day.
Becoming a homebody
At The Intan Once you step into The Intan, chances are you won’t ever want to leave. The private Peranakan home-museum in Joo Chiat gives visitors a taste of old-world Peranakan charm during its Tea Tour, which touches on Peranakan history, culture and even embroidery craft.
Fitness, spa and beauty
Get an old-school blowout (with a glass of wine)
At Blow+Bar Booking in for a hair blowout to get a bouncy, volumised finish has been all the rage for those looking for star-worthy bombshell hair. The concept at Blow+Bar is pretty simple: pick from a menu of final looks from the salon’s iPad, get a treatment to solve certain hair woes, add on extras like a manicure or a trim and then select a drink – the unique selling point here is a complimentary glass of wine to complete the indulgent experience.
Get a late-night garden massage
At Aramsa Garden Spa Aramsa’s unusual location in the middle of suburban Bishan Park means that it is surrounded by nature and feels a million miles from the concrete jungle of the city centre. Individual spa suites are linked via resort-style covered walkways; some also boast sunken bathtubs in private gardens. The best part is that on Friday and Saturday nights, they extend service hours until midnight.
Scale new heights
At Boulder Movement My arms are sore and my thighs are quivering. Yet I can’t let go. Not unless I want to free fall three metres or so on to the, admittedly, cushy crash pad below – but I’m too chicken to do that. I’m two-thirds through a bouldering problem in Boulder Movement ($30/single entry, $148/month) and, despite the aches, I can already see the appeal of this sport. Bouldering is very much like indoor rock climbing, except the former is stripped down to its raw essentials – there are no ropes and harnesses involved. All you need is a good pair of climbing shoes, a bag of chalk, some fundamental techniques and a whole lot of guts to take on a bouldering problem (the path a climber has to take in order to complete the climb). Conveniently located in the CBD, Boulder Movement is the newest entry into the burgeoning climbing gym scene in Singapore. Founded by climbing enthusiasts Jansen Ko, Lwee Jia Wei and Joe Fu, the gym positions itself as a beginner-friendly bouldering-only facility with over 30 metres of wall, lengthwise. The walls are no higher than four metres –which sounds short, but trust me, it’s certainly high enough to experience the thrill of climbing without any safety gears. Bouldering problems are categorised by different climbing abilities: white tags BM1-6 are for beginners, blue tags BM6-16 for intermediates and red tags BM17-25 are for the advanced – a section of the wall is refreshed every two weeks so you’ll never get bored. First-timers can join a Basics of Boulder
Unknot kinks and fill your belly
At g.spa Who doesn’t want free food with their massage? While the design may border on gaudy, g.spa Fitness and Recreation Hub makes up for it with a surprisingly solid Penang kway teow and laksa. If you’ve got time to kill, or you’re looking to relieve stress before a long haul (it’s only 20 minutes away from the airport), jump in and out of the hot and cold pools, or sweat it out in this integrated wellness centre’s sauna. If you’re feeling more decadent, there’s a four-hand synchronised massage that hits just the right spots.
At Sugar(ed) Sugaring is an ancient Middle Eastern hair removal technique that uses a warm, thick paste made from sugar, lemon juice and water. It claims to be a sweeter deal compared to waxing: its all-natural ingredients don’t adhere to live skin cells, which minimises – if not completely eliminates – the formation of dreaded ingrown hair. It's simpler than it sounds: a warm, honey-coloured paste, imported from the US, is applied in the opposite direction of hair growth before it’s stripped off in the reverse direction. This removes the hair from follicle with the bulb intact. It’s almost like waxing, except with sugar paste. The price here is pretty reasonable too, a Brazilian sets you back $60 (first-timers only), while underarms go at $25 and $45 for lower legs.
Go to the barber
At The Golden Rule Barber Co What started as one shop and three barbers in 2014 has expanded to three outlets with 19 barbers and 14 chairs, led by director Yanto Sani and head barber Jiji Rasif. The quirky barbershops are decorated with a musical twist: electric guitars and framed photos of legendary bands hang proudly on the white walls. The barbers here offer a variety of men’s haircuts – not just the traditional ‘gentlemen’s haircut’ – with colouring and washing services available only at the Race Course outlet. Get yourself a standard full cut (from $38) and beard sculpting ($38). The Golden Rule Barber Co uses its house brand TGR pomades ($20-$28), which come in three varieties – Stronghold, Firm Hold and Matte – that cater to different hair needs. Other TGR merch on offer includes straight razors, zip hoodies, pullovers, tees and trucker caps.
Walk on the wild side
At River Safari Yes, the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park are all excellent attractions in their own right but we love the lesser known River Safari. The river-themed wildlife park walks you through the greatest rivers in the world including the Amazon and the Nile. Plus, say hi to giant pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia.
Go back to nature
At Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve The wetland reserve of mangrove swamps, ponds and secondary forest is home to 140 species of birds. Thousands of egrets, sandpipers and plovers pass through in winter, but plenty of local species (kingfishers, herons, bitterns) are visible all year round. Early morning is the best time for birdwatching; there are observation hides, and you can rent binoculars. There are three nature trails (3-7km/2-4 miles long), and you can also spot mudskippers, monkeys and climbing crabs on the mangrove boardwalks.
Get lost in transit
At Changi Airport We’re so proud of our airport – it’s the best in the world! Boasting four award-winning terminals, Changi Airport’s the place to be. Ride down a giant indoor slide, explore a butterfly sanctuary and go for a quick swim in its rooftop pool (yes, you read that right). Just make sure you don’t miss your flight.
Scream your heart out
At Universal Studios Singapore You’re in for a full day of fun and heart-racing adventure at Universal Studios Singapore. Let your feet dangle off the world’s tallest duelling roller coasters, protect the Allspark from the Decepticons and get soaked on a white water rafting experience that ends in a hair-raising drop.