How to experience the best of Singapore’s attractions and destinations in under one week.
Singapore is a nation made up of many cultures, be they rooted in ancient tradition or modern trends. And one of the best places to start discovering this multi-faceted city is Little India. In the neighbourhood that’s traditionally the home to the local Indian community, old and new come face-to-face.
Follow an art walk trail that takes you around the district, and discover several wall murals that were created by students of LASALLE College of the Arts. Each mural tells a story of the neighbourhood’s proud heritage. For instance, Traditional Trades of Little India by Psyfool depicts parrot astrologers, dhobi (washermen) and other labourers who once thronged the streets of this heritage enclave. Many of these trades have all but disappeared, although another mural along Chandler Road pays tribute to the present-day migrant workers who have raised our skyline on their backs.
After meandering through Little India, you would have worked up enough of an appetite for lunch. Head to Lagnaa Barefoot Dining to indulge in a feast, the traditional family-style way. As its name suggests, you’ll be sharing platters of North and South Indian dishes while seated, sans shoes, on the floor. Dig into the food like the locals do: with your hands.
Once you’re done with lunch, satisfy your inner culture vulture at the Civic District’s clutch of museums and art galleries, which are only about 15 minutes away by taxi. The Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall is our oldest performing arts venue and home to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO). If you’re lucky enough to be in town when they’re playing, do yourself a favour and grab tickets to the show. You won’t hear anything like it elsewhere: The SSO is internationally renowned for its performances that mix Western and Chinese compositions.
A stone’s throw away is the National Gallery Singapore. You can easily spend an entire day in the gallery’s grand halls, and be an art aficionado as you take in the world’s largest collection of Southeast Asian art. But your experience doesn’t end at the last artwork you admire.
Climb up to the gallery’s rooftop and slip into Smoke & Mirrors, a cocktail bar where bartender Yugnes Susela is shaking up concoctions inspired by the art you’ve just admired. Yugnes himself is representative of how the city makes passions possible: From a part-time dishwasher, he has gone on to become one of Singapore’s top bartenders, renowned for his boundary-pushing cocktails. Grab a table on the al fresco terrace while soaking in some of the best views of the Singapore skyline.