If you’re planning a trip to Singapore and don’t want to read the usual list of ‘things to do’, like Raffles, Gardens by the Bay and the Night Safari, then this is the must-do list for you! All of the usual touristy things are great, but you’ve probably heard about it all before, so let’s take a look at 21 other great things to do in Singapore.
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1. Visit Bollywood Veggies
To see a completely different side of Singapore, head out to Bollywood Farms in the Kranji Countryside. Take a guided farm tour or take part in activities like art with nature, plant the paddy, scarecrow challenge or a potting session. Afterwards, have a delicious lunch at the Poison Ivy Bistro, great for vegetarians and vegans.
2. See soldiers in action
In Singapore, National Service is mandatory for men once they reach the age of 18. They serve a 2-year period as full-time National Serviceman, either in the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force or Singapore Civil Defense Force. If you drive out to Kranji, you’ll most likely catch a glimpse of soldiers in action.
3. Take a walk along the East Coast Parkway
Wait for the sun to go down a little and for the heat to subside, then head out to the East Coast Parkway for a relaxing stroll, bike ride or rollerblade followed by a delicious dinner at the East Coast Lagoon Food Centre.
4. Eat curry
Little India houses some of the best Indian restaurants on the island. The Banana Leaf Apolo serves authentic and absolutely delicious Southern Indian food, including a spectacular fish head curry and mango-prawn curry. For vegetarians, check out Komala Villas for exceptional Northern Indian food. My favourite is the Masala Dosai.
5. Eat dumplings
Dim Sum is no joke in Singapore, head directly to 126 Eating House in Geylang for a great experience. This rough and ready locals haunt isn’t known for its decor, it’s known for serving dang good dim sum and affordable prices. The fried prawn roll, fried carrot cake, signature tofu stick and custard buns are all must-try dishes. Geylang is the red-light district in Singapore, but don’t worry too much because it is still Singapore.
6. Drink customised cocktails
Hidden behind an inconspicuous restaurant, Bitters and Love serve up some of Singapore’s best cocktails and you can partake in a very cool evening of ‘mixology’. Choose your base (i.e. vodka, gin, rum) then tell them how you like it (i.e. sweet, savoury, bitter, spicy, fruity, sour) and one of the talented bar staff will whip you up your very own personalised cocktail, presented in a beautiful and unique way. It’s a must-do bar experience.
7. Eat a Singaporean breakfast
Head to a local hawker centre and try a traditional Singaporean breakfast of kaya toast, chwee kueh and Singaporean coffee. Your coffee choices don’t extend to the likes of half-strength nonfat macchiato, oh no, you’ll get your rocket fuel coffee and you’ll love it! Breakfast at a hawker centre is delicious and cheap… perfect.
8. Drink coffee with the hipsters
If a piccolo latte is more your thing, Tiong Bahru and Jalan Besar has a host of hipster coffee shops worth visiting for their chilled-out atmosphere and super-cool decor. The perfect spot to chill out for a few hours and get your caffeine fix.
9. Eat with the locals
Get away from the throng of expensive restaurants in the city and visit a very authentic hawker centre like Bedok 85 Fengshan Hawker Centre. Chow down on local delights like Char Kway Teow, fried carrot cake, fried parsnip cake, fried oyster cake and, if you’re feeling daring, pigs intestines. Wash it all down with icy cold sugarcane juice.
10. Lunch with a view
For a very special lunch with a fantastic view visit Kinki Restaurant at Collyer Quay. Kinki prepares amazing Japanese food, including delicious fresh sashimi, sushi and other treats that are just as good as any you’d find in Tokyo.
11. Get a henna tattoo
Traditionally henna was used for Indian brides, with intricate designs being drawn for their wedding day. In Singapore, it has also become a fun way to experience Indian culture. Henna artists can draw a beautiful design anywhere on your body quite quickly and, after it sets, will stay on for around two weeks.
12. Buy lots of bangles
Shop up a storm in Little India and buy lots of beautiful coloured bangles as gifts for friends and family or as a treat for yourself. Indian women have a great sense of colour and the rows of beautifully bright bangles are an essential part of their outfits.
13. Eat great Italian food
Visit Cugini Trattoria Pizzeria for excellent Italian food. Start with a shared pizza, then try the absolutely fantastic ravioli and finish it all off with one of their yummy desserts and a cheeky limoncello.
14. Visit a wet market
Shop where the locals shop by visiting one of the local wet markets. The wet market can be a messy place, but that’s what’s so great about it. Mix it with the locals and stock up on fresh produce or walk around and take photographs.
15. See art deco and post-war architecture
Tiong Bahru Estate was built in the 1930s and is home to some seriously cool architecture. It’s a great place to wander around and spot the pre and post-war buildings. Interestingly, the area was known as the place where the rich and powerful kept their mistresses.
16. Check out the Tiong Bahru Rooster
Created by artist Ernest Goh, these big birds form part of the Tiong Bahru Festival. Goh has also created some beautiful big goldfish too, all of which make for fantastic photographs and a fun bit of art-spotting.
17. Eat ice kachang
If you’re really feeling the heat, stop into a hawker centre for ice kachang. This Malaysian dessert is probably very different to what you’re used to eating, it consists of shaved ice topped with things like corn, logans, condensed milk, coloured syrup, coconut milk, red beans and jellies.
18. See Buddha’s tooth
Yep, you read that right, one of Buddha’s teeth is located in Chinatown at the cryptically named ‘Buddha Tooth Relic Temple‘. The temple is beautiful, the only four-story temple in Singapore, and is adorned with gold.
19. Watch a chess game
While you’re in Chinatown, stop for a moment to watch older men, respectfully referred to as ‘Uncles’, play chess and other games. It’s a photographer’s dream.
20. Visit Thian Hock Keng temple
Take a walk to Thian Hock Keng Temple, Singapore’s oldest and most important Hokkien temple. It is absolutely beautiful and has recently been renovated, so looks even more spectacular than usual.
21. Reverse Bungy
Take a walk on the adventurous side and try the Slingshot at Clarke Quay. I was pretty confident, but the moment you hit the top and you’re suspended a long way above the ground, held only by a seatbelt, everything changes. It is a lot of fun and well-priced.
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