Singapore is a compact modern city with something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for shopping, eating, or the arts, once you start to explore, you will realize why everyone loves the Lion City, no matter how much time you have!
The beautifully refurbished National Museum of Singapore (93 Stamford Rd., +65 6332 3659, www.nationalmuseum.sg), with its Living Galleries – Food, Photography, Fashion and Film – showcasing Singapore’s multi-racial society, is worth a visit.
Knackered from all the walking, history and neo-Palladian architecture? Refresh with a beer at The Pump Room (+65 6334-2628, #01-09/10 Blk. B Clarke Quay, 3 River Valley Rd., Singapore, www.pumproomasia.com) which serves many tasty brews by the way – or dine on Wagyu Beef Tenderloin at Novus Restaurant & Bar (93 Stamford Rd, Singapore 178897, +65 6336 8770 Hours: 10:00 am–6:00 pm, www.novus.sg).
Eco-conscious shoppers would love the eco-conscious basics made from organic bamboo fiber. Super soft, comfortable and gentle for sensitive skins.at Zhai, (82 Haji Lane, Singapore 189272, +65 6396 6865, Hours: Sunday hours 11:00 am–8:00 pm, www.zhai.com.sg)
Behind Raffles Hotel stands Mint Museum of Toys (26 Seah St., +65 6339 0660, www.emint.com) designed by SCDA Architects, with an extensive collection of vintage toys from all over the world. Note to archi-buffs: the building won the 2007 International Architectural Awards for Best New Global Design.
The sunset and end-of-the-day activity from Loof (#03-07 Odeon Towers Extension Rooftop: 5pm- 1.30am (Sun-Thu), 5pm-3am (Fri-Sat); +65 6338 8035, www.loof.com.sg) is simply amazing, and Food for Thought’s (420 North Bridge Rd,- #01-06 North Bridqe Centre; 9am-9pm (Mon-Sat); +65 6338 8724, www.foodforthought.com.sg) socially-minded folks whip up some pretty mean pulled pork sandwiches. Crash out at the newest luxe boutique hotel Naumi Hotel (41 Seah St, +65 6403 6000, www.naumihotel.com), where you’ll be rightly treated by their Naumi aides.
Over at the quays, The Arts House (1 Old Parliament Lane,, +65 6332-6900, www.theartshouse.com.sg) hosts an eclectic mix of art films and performances. Freebie-seekers can tour the corridors which double up as photo and film galleries. While you’re at it, drop by The Shop (10am-8pm Mon-Sat, +65 6337 1066, www.toph.com.sg) for some distinctively Singaporean lifestyle products.
Alternatively, the MICA Building (140 Hill St, www.mica.gov.sg) – affectionately described as "Oh. that building with colourful windows" has a rather cool collection of art pieces housed across six art galleries on the first floor. Ten minutes away, The Substation (45 Armenian St, +65 6337-7535, www.substation.org) pushes the limits of artistic expression via avant-garde performances. End up at Timbre (The Substation courtyard; 6pm 1am (weekdays), 6pm-2am (weekends); +65 6338 8227, www.timbre.com.sg) and booze up while grooving to home-grown sounds from the likes of EIC.
Off-the-beaten-track seekers should swing by Little India where Veggie Cottage (13 Dalhousie Lane, +65 6785 6771, Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, Sunday 11am-4pm. Closed Thursday, visit their Facebook page for daily menu) offer pretty good vegan dishes alongside quirky art. Two roads away, Your Mother Gallery (91A Hindoo Rd, by appt only, +65 9787 7874, firstname.lastname@example.org) features contemporary local artists in Jeremy Hiah’s living room.
Those wanting a little quiet can head to Jewel Cafe and Bar (129 Rangoon Road Singapore, Singapore 218407, +65 6298 9216, Hours: Tue – Thu: 09:00 – 22:00, Fri – Sat: 09:00 – 00:00, Sun: 09:00 – 22:00, www.facebook.com/JewelCafeAndBar) for a spot of food in a quaint space.
Mega-hyped Dempsey Village is good for antiques, artworks and foodies. Samy’s Curry (Blk 25, Dempsey Rd, Civil Service Club, 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm (daily); +65 64722080, www.samyscurry-com) is a curry-on-banana-leaves institution.
Shang Antiques (Blk 16 Dempsey Rd. #01-04105; 10.30am-6.30pm (daily); +65 6388 8838: www.shangantique.com.sg) has a museum-like setting full of Southeast Asian curios.
Artworks from the Asia-Pacific and Europe are displayed side by side at Red Sea Gallery (Blk 9 Dempsey Hill, #0 1 – 10,9, 30am-9 OOpm (daily): +65 6732 6711; www.redseagallery.com) in pretty restored barracks although Woods by the Wine Company (2 Dempsey Rd, Blk 14, 5pm-1am (Mon-Thu), 5pm-2am (Fri-Sat), +65 6473 5428) eschews them all for a wine-drenched romp in the wild. Bring insect repellent.
Spagoers should make a Kajogal treatment appointment at House – The Social Benefits (Blk 8D Dempsey Rd,* 10am-9pm (Mon-Wed), 10am-12am (Thu-Sat); +65 6479 0070, www.dempseyhouse.com), check out their glasshouse on your way in. Prime cuts of beef are available at The Prime Society 110 Dempsey Rd. #0120, 11am-3pm, 6pm-12pm (daily); +65 6474 7427 www.theprimesociety.com). Incidentally, the restaurant’s identity was designed by The Asylum.
Explore Blopolis (Nearest MRT. Buona Vista) before dinner; its futuristic buildings and landscape, master-planned by Zaha Hadid, seemingly pulled out of a Star Wars movie, lights up well under the setting sun. Walk through the winding roads and you’ll end up at sleepy Colbar (9A Whitchurch Rd. Wessex Estate, 11am-12pm (Tue-Sun), last order., 8pm: +65 6779 4859, *cash only).
Rochester Park, just across Buona Vista Road, is an escape from glass and metal buildings where Graze (4 Rochester Park, 6.30pm-12am (Tues-Sun), gam-3pm (Sun brunch); +65 6775 9000, www.graze.com.sg) dishes some lovely Australian fare in a black and white house and One Rochester (1 Rochester Park, 6pm-1am (Mon-Fri, Sun), 6pm-2am (Sat); +65 6773 0070, www.onerochester.com) serves up inventive cocktails amongst lush flora.
Head to Singapore’s destination shopping centre in the south, VivoCity (1 Harbourfront Walk, 10am-10pm (Daily); +65 6377 6860, www.vivocity.com.sg), designed by Toyo Ito, is a smorgasbord of trendy shops of Godzilla-like proportions; although the exterior’s reminiscent of Japanese science-fiction manga. Clubbers can club-hop all day and night through the eight different outlets in St James Power Station (3 Sentosa Gateway, +65 6270 7676, www.stjamespowerstation.com).
No matter if you have just a couple days or a whole lifetime, you’ll find that Singapore will make every day an interesting day once you head on out into it!