Sorry for the wait for this post, everyone! I’ve been feeling a bit sick over the past week (girl can’t handle humidity + aircon at the same time) so am a little late in getting this post up. But it’s here now – my week in Singapore and some tips on some of the places I enjoyed visiting.
Under a recommendation of a local friend, I decided to stay in Tiong Bahru. It’s one of those ‘hip and happening’ areas (or so I hear) & is on the outskirts of the city with lots of cute stores and great places to eat, whilst still being a stone’s throw to the major attractions such as Marina Bay, Gardens by the Bay & Orchard Road. From Tiong Bahru, I found it pretty convenient to take the bus / MRT to inner city areas – it’s only a ten minute air-conditioned bus ride to Orchard or if you’re feeling lazy, the taxi to the city area will cost around $10. I also enjoyed the fact there was lots to eat nearby if I didn’t feel like battling the humidity trekking about outdoors for a long period of time. Here are some places we checked out and loved in Tiong Bahru..
1) TIONG BAHRU MARKET: If you stay in Tiong Bahru, do try to stay near the market as it will really make things easy food-wise. It’s a two storey non-airconditioned complex which is such an abnormality because almost everywhere in Singapore has air-con including trains, buses, train stations, foyers, etc. The ground floor of the building is a wet market and sells fruit and veggies and the top floor is a popular hawker centre. If you know about hawker centres, you’ll know that the food is dirt cheap & so good. The char kway teow (fried rice noodle) stall is particularly famous there & no one ever leaves a hawker centre without trying the Hainanese chicken. It’s by far my favourite dish in Singapore and for something like $4, you’ll probably end up trying the best Hainanese chicken in your life.
2) WANDERING THE STREETS: The Tiong Bahru area is a really bright, white place with lots of pot plants lining the backstreets of town. I’m such a fan of plants and just love wandering around checking out each home owner’s taste in plants and pots haha. This home owner in particular takes the award for largest amount of plants arranged next to one front door.
3) LOO’S HAINANESE CURRY RICE: Also popular with the locals here is Loo’s. A small hawker style eatery serving up some really tasty, authentic dishes. There’s always a queue here but the service is quick! Come by for some chicken curry rice, it’s great.
4) BOOKS ACTUALLY: This quirky bookshop was recommended to me by countless of you & I’m so glad I checked it out. It’s filled with a uniquely curated selection of books, including lots of locally published titles and a room of vintage knick knacks. Two cats live here too!
5) PLAIN VANILLA BAKERY: Whilst you’re on the street of Books Actually, you might as well check out all the shops here. Also located on Yong Siak St is Plain Vanilla bakery (which sells some cute gifts aside from cupcakes), Strangelets, Nana & Bird and more . Do come after late morning as most stores open 10/11am. Oh and do also visit Tiong Bahru Bakery which is around the corner. They do awesome croissants!
6) TIONG BAHRU GALICIER PASTRY: This unassuming shop sells a heap of Singapore style pastries / cakes / tarts / nyonya kuehs. Most things are around 70 cents to a dollar a piece, meaning that you can go home with a whole box of different local treats to taste-test. Pandan is always a favourite for me.
7) ONE OLIVE: A florist with a cute shop front & a cat as well. Cats seem to be the norm in Singapore stores..!
Other things to do in Singapore…
If not a whole fruit, then at least something durian flavoured from the supermarket. By the way, a funny thing about these pungent fruits is that they’re banned in so many public places. It’s not uncommon to walk past a sign that would say ‘no smoking, no flammables .. no durians’ all in one go. You can’t even take them on the MRT (train)!
VISIT HAJI LANE
Haji Lane is packed with local shops selling clothing, accessories, stationery and gifts. One of my favourite stores here was the Craft Assembly where I picked up a lovely gold dream catcher necklace (you’ll be seeing this multiple times soon over here) as well as an adorable cat shaped plate.
TRY THE SWEETS
Singapore seems to be filled with sweet stuff like cupcakes, macarons, ice-cream and waffles. If you head to Raffle City, you should pop by Bonheur Patisserie to pick up a couple of these sweet character style macarons. When I was there, they were also advertising the cutest set of Chinese New Year style macarons too which would be a great gift for someone this CNY!
VISIT A SUPERMARKET
Supermarkets overseas are always so interesting to visit. I’ve never found a supermarket quite similar to ones in Australia. In this particular one in Raffles City, we came across a massive wall stocked with pre-cut fruit. Because ain’t nobody got time to cut fruit these days?!
HIT UP ORCHARD ROAD
..for as long as you can last. I have honestly never seen SO many stores packed into SO many shopping plazas all on one road. From Orchard Central to Orchard Gateway, Ion, Wisma, Plaza Singapura, 313@Somerset, The Paragon.. I really can’t make the sense of having so many malls all next to each other but nevertheless, it’s one of those places everyone checks out when in Singapore. Aside from your usual big brands and designers like LV (or multiple LVs..) you can also find local brands like Love Bonito’s pop up which is currently in Orchard Gateway. The malls on Orchard blast the air-con like no one else so if you ever feel like hiding indoors for a day, at least you’ve got that going for you as you try your best to walk your way through all these malls.
TRY AN EGG WAFFLE (WITH MULTIPLE FRIENDS)
..because this thing’s massive and you’ll probably feel downright sick if you try to do it all on your own. How crazy beautiful is it though? 313@Somerset (a shopping mall on Orchard) is home to Hvala Waffle Bar – that place we all drooled together at on Instagram. For $7.90SGD you can get yourself the above: a tastefully arranged sugar hit worth at least 10 times your recommended daily intake. Note-to-future-self: sharing between two is really not enough. This thing needs teamwork.
SINGAPORE ART MUSEUM
Beautiful architecture outside, interesting exhibitions inside. Put aside a couple of hours for this!
SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS
Home to the famous National Orchid Garden and more. Kelvin & I did a shoot here, can’t wait to share more!
GARDENS BY THE BAY
One of my favourite attractions was Gardens by the Bay. Tip: don’t go on the only day of the month where they close a dome for maintenance, like me. Sadly I didn’t get to visit Flower Dome but I did love Cloud Forest which you can see more of here.
I hope you enjoyed this Singapore diary. Bali coming up next, can’t wait to share :-)