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In the morning: Peranakan tradition

A row of colourful shophouses at Joo Chiat/ Katong
1 Joo Chiat/Katong

Gain a deeper appreciation of Peranakan* culture with a morning stroll through the districts of Joo Chiat/Katong. The latter derives its name from a now-extinct species of turtles, and the rippling effect of a sea mirage. These days, the neighbourhood is famous for its unique blend of old and new, with cool hipster cafes nestled amidst conserved Peranakan shophouses.

Architecture buffs hoping to admire the subtleties of Peranakan design should begin their exploration of the area at the pastel-coloured stretch of shophouses along Koon Seng Road.

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

Pumpkin Pancakes topped with poached egg, smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce served at Group Therapy Katong
2 Group Therapy Katong

A favourite among east-siders for its brunch menu offerings, Group Therapy is the perfect place to start your morning. Grab a piping hot cup of joe, and indulge in some comfort food like pancakes, truffle fries and bagels.

Embroidery artwork at Rumah Bebe
3 Rumah Bebe

This charming Peranakan shophouse has an equally charming origins story: Its founder, Bebe Seet, decided to make her own footwear after being unable to purchase a pair of kasut manek (beaded slippers worn by Peranakan women). What started out as a personal endeavour ended up evolving into a much-beloved business.

You’ll be able to find traditional ceramics, beaded slippers and racks of kebayas (traditional nonya dress) here, and embark on a learning journey into the rich culture of Singapore’s Peranakan community with the establishment’s range of beading workshops. Culture lovers who’d like to get an insider’s perspective on Peranakan history should sign up for an in-house tour, which will bring them through the culture’s hybrid heritage.

In the early afternoon: Buzzing streets, ancient temples

2 ladies looking at colourful sari at a shop in Little India.
4 Little India

Feast your eyes on the splendours of Little India, a neighbourhood with over two centuries of history. Once home to lime pits and racehorse tracks, the district now houses beautiful Hindu temples, traditional eateries, and local businesses that sell everything from aromatic oils to gold trinkets.

Façade of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
5 Sri Veerama-
kaliamman Temple

One of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples situated in the hustle and bustle of Little India, Sri Veeramakaliamman is dedicated to its namesake goddess Kali, the destroyer of evil. The traditional architecture of its façade hearkens back to the mid-19th century, when it was first founded by Indian pioneers.

Closeup picture of dish served at The Banana Leaf Apolo
6 The Banana Leaf Apolo

Partake in a traditional South Asian meal and learn about the intricacies of Indian cuisine at The Banana Leaf Apolo, which has been serving its food on a banana leaf since 1974. The house specialties include the fish head curry and chicken masala (roasted meat in spiced curry sauce).

Façade of Little India Arcade building
7 Little India Arcade

Expand your sensory horizons with a feast of sights, sounds and colours at the Little India Arcade. The quaint cluster of shophouses here offer a plethora of wares, from tapestries and paintings of Hindu deities to traditional desserts and street food. Get closer to South Asian culture with body art, and get a temporary henna (dye derived from the mignonette tree) tattoo at one of the many shops here offering the service.

In the evening: A medley of old and new

Night aerial view of Chinatown
8 Chinatown

Singapore is a city where the modern and the traditional fuse together into a single, idiosyncratic blend. Spend the afternoon and early part of the evening gaining insight into our city state’s culture in Chinatown.

Originally an enclave of Straits Chinese labourers and immigrants, the district is now a potpourri of historic temples, hip new bars and inviting cafes.

Wide shot of Chinatown Heritage Centre
9 Chinatown Heritage Centre

Add to your trove of historical knowledge, and learn about the struggles, triumphs and everyday lives of Chinatown’s earliest residents at the Chinatown Heritage Centre. Located within three restored shophouses along Pagoda Street, this establishment offers visitors a window into Singapore’s past.

Rooftop bar at The Screening Room
10 The Screening Room

Wind down and catch the sunset with a cocktail in hand at The Screening Room, an establishment that boasts both a rooftop bar and a mini cinema. This venue gives the naturally gregarious a chance to interact with new friends over a tipple, before sitting down to enjoy screenings of cult classics and Oscar-worthy dramas.

At night: Big city nights

Marina Bay Singapore skyline view, including Marina Bay Sands<sup>®</sup>, ArtScience Museum™, and the skyscrapers of the Civic District
11 Marina Bay

If Chinatown provides a window into Singapore’s past, Marina Bay is a vision of Singapore’s potential and future growth. Spend the rest of the evening amidst the bright lights and soaring, ultra-modern architecture of this bustling district. To feast your eyes further, be sure to grab a seat at Marina Bay Sands®’ Event Plaza and catch Spectra, a captivating extravaganza of lasers, lights and water.

Wide shot of family eating at Makansutra Gluttons Bay
12 Makansutra Gluttons Bay

Take in the creative bustle and artistic activity of the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay at Makansutra Gluttons Bay and partake in well-loved Singaporean staples. The sheer diversity of food on offer at this alfresco hawker space is certain to expand your appreciation for Southeast Asian cuisine; we recommend the chicken rice from Wee Nam Kee and satay (grilled skewered meat) from Alhambra Padang Satay, served with a side of fragrant peanut dip.

Wide shot of Gardens by the Bay
13 Gardens by the Bay

From the Esplanade, take a 10-minute stroll over the Helix Bridge and spend the rest of the evening exploring Gardens by the Bay, the perfect classroom to learn about tropical flora. A nature park that spans 101 hectares of land, the establishment is a triumphant display of horticultural artistry.

Be sure to linger until nightfall, when the spectacular 50-metre-tall structures of the Supertree Grove come to life in a kaleidoscope of colours.

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