There are plenty of ways to get around the Lion City, and hopping on the train is one of the most convenient modes of transport. As you travel the length of Singapore on the East-West MRT line, which takes you from the heartlands into the city and beyond, fit these local hotspots and eateries into your itinerary.
The beach awaits at the eastern end of the island—so pack yourself a picnic basket and head to Pasir Ris Park. Translating to ‘narrow beach’ in Malay, Pasir Ris Park is anything but. Besides strolling along the beach, set up a barbecue at one of the pits available for rent, or get in touch with Mother Nature as you trek through Mangrove Boardwalk—be sure to look out for monitor lizards and flocks of buffy fish owls lurking in the swamp.
For a burst of adrenaline, try water sports like kayaking or sailing at PA Water-Venture. With no choppy currents in the area, even beginners can carve through the waters easily.
What better way to discover a city’s culture than through its food? Have your fill of authentic Malay cuisine by eating your way through Geylang Serai, one of the oldest Malay settlements in Singapore. At the two-storey Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, take in the aroma of spices and shop for fresh produce at the wet market located on the ground level, before making your way to the halal food stalls on the second floor. Tuck into a hearty meal of nasi padang (rice with side dishes of meats, curries and vegetables) from Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang (#02-166) or satisfy your sweet tooth with chendol from Cendol Geylang Serai (#02-107)—a milky concoction of crushed ice, pandan-flavoured jelly and coconut milk, with red beans and gula melaka (palm sugar). End your gastronomic adventure with Haig Road Putu Piring’s soft and fluffy steamed cakes, made with rice flour, coconut and gula melaka. While you’re at it, squeeze in time to visit Khadijah Mosque and get a glimpse of worshippers as they go about their daily duties.
During the month of Ramadan, the precinct is abuzz with festivity as the Muslim community readies for the festival of Eid (known to locals as Hari Raya Puasa). Hit up the annual night market, Geylang Serai Bazaar, for traditional Malay clothing and halal street food. Treat yourself to rainbow bagels, churros and snacks like keropok lekor (fish crackers) and dendeng, the Malay equivalent of beef jerky.
A buzzing financial district by day and a nightlife destination by night, Raffles Place has all your eating, drinking, and partying needs covered. Join the office crowd for lunch at Lau Pa Sat (translates to ‘old market’ in Mandarin) and feast on a vast selection of local dishes. The sprawling food centre offers hawker fare such as ban mian (handmade noodles), fried Hokkien prawn mee (stir-fried noodle with seafood) and satay (grilled skewered meat). The best part? It’s open 24 hours a day, so you’ll never go hungry if you’re in the area.
For a stunning view of the city skyline, climb up to the rooftop of One Raffles and have a seat at 1-Altitude. The bar occupies three storeys and combines a restaurant, lounge and 360° viewing gallery for the ultimate sky-high experience. Knock back some cocktails and adjourn to the dance floor as renowned local and international DJs take the decks.
Orchard Road is not the only paradise in Singapore for shopaholics. Head to Jurong East for some retail therapy at its cluster of four mega malls. For stylish wardrobe staples, JEM houses brands such as H&M, Topshop and Levi’s, while affordable street-style boutiques are found in every corner of JCube. If sportswear’s your thing, browse the racks of athletic products at IMM shopping, take a break and have ramen (Japanese noodles) or tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlets) along Westgate’s belt of Japanese restaurants.
You won’t have to bore the kids, either. Drop them off at JCube’s The Rink for a session of ice-skating to keep them entertained. For some outdoor fun, the garden-themed rooftop playground at Westgate will do the trick.
Notice: The Chinese Garden is closed for redevelopment from 31 May 2019.
The Chinese and Japanese Gardens take architectural inspiration from the Imperial eras of China and Japan—think lush bonsai collections, moon gates, pavilions and tiered pagodas. The picture-perfect landscape also makes it a popular hangout among photography enthusiasts. Come Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival, watch the garden transform into a fairy tale wonderland as it gets lit up by hundreds of paper lanterns.