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.
There’s much to uncover in 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).
Outram Park MRT is your gateway to one of the most charming neighbourhoods in Singapore. From the MRT station, make your way to Tanjong Pagar, where great coffee awaits.
Start the day with a cuppa at Five Oar Coffee Roasters. Besides aromatic coffee, this charming space also boasts a range of pastas, salads and western-styled brunch items.
There’s also Fat Prince, 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 cosy 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 (rice cooked in coconut milk, served with an array of side dishes) and yong tau foo (tofu and vegetables filled with ground minced meat or fish paste).
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 in to) or Dorsett Hotel, a boutique hotel located on the fringe of Chinatown.
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.
For another jaunt down memory lane, peruse the fascinating artefacts and trinkets on display at My Queenstown Museum. This community-run museum is home to everything from neon cinema signs to old-school television sets, and is bound to have you feeling nostalgic.
The West of Singapore is home to hidden gems and tranquil nature aplenty, and 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!).