Deviate from the conventional travel brochure itineraries and find intriguing experiences just off the beaten track—start by hopping on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) train and alighting at any of these stops on the East-West MRT line.

Shophouses at Joo Chiat

Eunos

There’s much to explore at the heritage neighbourhood of Joo Chiat—just a stone’s throw from Eunos MRT. You’ll notice quaint rows of colourful shophouses, remnants of the area’s Peranakan* pre-war architecture.

*The term is an Indonesian/Malay word that means “local born”, which generally refers to people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.

If heritage and culture is up your alley, head to Kuan Im Tng Temple and learn a little about Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian teachings. Keep an eye out, too, for the renowned Ernest Zacharevic murals at Joo Chiat Terrace, that showcase nostalgic scenes of Singaporean childhood.

If you’re feeling adventurous, head down Still Road South and look for the abandoned mansion—a charming, regal building that sits amidst a garden of lush greenery.

Feeling peckish? Go further down East Coast Road and take your pick from various dining options. Head to Sinpopo for some Mod-Sin (modern Singaporean) cuisine—try the nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk, served with an array of side dishes) for two and quench your thirst with a Katong Jelly (lime soda with jelly).

Once you’re done refuelling, indulge in a spot of retail therapy at indie store Cat Socrates, where you’ll find plenty of quirky bric-a-brac, and homegrown fashion label Haus of Egg3.


Outram Park
Juxtaposition of the Pinnacle@Duxton with traditional shophouses along Tanjong Pagar Road

Outram Park MRT is your gateway to one of the most charming neighbourhoods in Singapore. From the MRT station, make your way to Duxton Hill, where great coffee awaits.

Start the day at Drury Lane Café, and order their specialty of eggs benedict with grilled prawns, topped with salted egg yolk sauce for a local twist. There’s also Fat Prince, just two streets away, is a scenic Ottoman-style eatery that’s great for sipping on a cuppa by day, and makes for a ravishing dinner and cocktails spot by night.

For all-day breakfasts, salads, pastas, and a cuppa or two, head to Group Therapy—this homely café is located on the second floor of a shophouse and brims with rustic charm. Be sure to save space for dessert—the folks here whip up a mean buttermilk waffle.

For a taste of local flavour, make a trip to Tanjong Pagar Plaza Market & Food Centre and chow down on nasi lemak  and yong tau foo (tofu and vegetables filled with ground minced meat or fish paste).


A thriving and bustling Ann Siang Street, where diners dine right on closed roads

A little further down the way, you’ll find Ann Siang Hill and Club Street, where exciting eateries thrive. Sample gourmet nasi lemak at The Coconut Club, get a bite of Mediterranean fare at Lolla, or dine in style at Italian fine-dining restaurant Senso.

Be sure to stick around after sundown—that’s when the atmosphere gets truly electric. Join the local nightlife scene and knock back a few at Oxwell & Co or Gem Bar, or have your fill of pisco at rooftop bar Tiger’s Milk.

If you’re looking for accommodation options that aren’t run-of-the-mill, book a stay at Adler Luxury Hostel (perhaps one of the fanciest backpacker hostels you’ll ever check into) or Dorsett Hotel, a boutique hotel located on the fringe of Chinatown.


Queenstown

Shopping at Orchard Road is all well and good, but if you’re looking for some sweet deals, head to local favourite mall Queensway Shopping Centre. Here, you’ll find an array of sports gear going at wallet-friendly prices. After which, head to Anchorpoint, where there are outlet stores aplenty such as Cotton On, homegrown footwear guru Charles & Keith, and stationery-lover’s haven TYPO.

Then, delve into Queenstown’s history when you visit the colonial black-and-white bungalows of Wessex Estate. The houses exude picturesque, nostalgic charm and date back to the 1940s when they were first built as residences for non-commissioned British officers and soldiers. Don’t miss Colbar while you’re there—a quaint, vintage eatery that was once a canteen for the British army during pre-Independence Singapore.


Jurong East
A colourful interactive tunnel exhibit at the Science Centre Singapore

While the West of Singapore has a reputation for being too far-flung to visit, the East-West MRT line makes it incredibly convenient to get there. Make a stop at Jurong East and escape the city bustle at Pandan Reservoir. This tranquil waterfront space makes for the perfect vantage point if you want to catch the sunset—don’t forget to snap a picture for Instagram!

Families can also head to Science Centre Singapore for more hands-on fun. Channel your inner Einstein as you marvel at the Science Centre’s many eye-opening exhibitions, including the electrifying Tesla coil show and the spectacular fire tornado demonstration (don’t try this at home, kids!).