As always, if you are planning to go out and about, don’t forget to observe good hygiene measures and practice safe distancing. Stay safe!
With the Circuit Breaker measures easing up in Singapore, adventurous Singaporeans who are avid travellers do not have to look far for our next getaway.
While leisure travel will be some time away, how about feeding your wanderlust by being a tourist in our own city? From re-discovering our rich multi-racial and multi-religious heritage to finding new restaurants, cafes and food centres that offer scrumptious meals round the clock, you’ll be surprised that the list of things to do in Singapore can be endless!
If you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover many more exciting experiences which you never thought existed. If you are looking to explore hidden gems, look no further. Here are our top recommendations on…
Places to indulge in retail therapy
In Singapore, shopping is more than just about snatching the latest deals and discounts, it is a chance to step into a different world, to explore the deeper connections and fabric that binds us as a country. Besides shopping for luxury brands at your favourite international flagship stores at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands or along our world-renowned shopping street – Orchard Road – be sure to complete your shopping at these homegrown boutiques!
Just like one of our signature hawker dish, Singapore is a ‘rojak’ of cultures and traditions. We are a country that often melds the traditional with the modern, resulting in delightful influences that can be seen in the local fashion industry. Homegrown labels are breathing new life into traditional cultural togs by adding modern touches and fresh designs.
Local label, YeoMama Batik, situated at The Promenade@Pelikat, uses fabric styled with handmade batik designs to lend a cross-cultural twist to a beloved Chinese classic. Each of the cheongsams (a traditional Chinese satin dress, usually worn during festive seasons like the Chinese New Year period) you see displayed in the store spot a dizzying array of colourful and eye-catching prints, spanning various garment styles like jumpsuits, tops, dresses and even dungarees.
For something even more uniquely Singapore, the store’s specially handcrafted Wakayama Batik Cardigans are hard to miss. Sporting the motifs of Singapore’s national flower — the Vanda Miss Joaquim — in vibrant and perky hues, and sleeve details that channel the vibes of a Japanese kimono, why not add this one-of-a-kind outerwear to your summer or spring wardrobe?
Address: Oxley Bizhub 1, 65 Ubi Road 1, #01-87, Singapore 408729
How to get there: 5 mins walk away from Tai Seng MRT Station
Opening hours: The physical store is temporarily closed but with the internet, you can always shop online!
Indulging in some retail therapy also does not have to come at the expense of the environment. Singapore’s urban jungle offers shoppers a variety of sustainable fashion labels that commit to a green cause.
One such noteworthy local jewellery and accessories label is WoonHung, which uses sustainably sourced natural materials such as wood beads and discarded coconut shells recovered from fallen branches. For the full list of stockists, click here.
WoonHung puts its no-waste philosophy into practice by tying up with Go Green Philippines, an environmental programme that plants new trees in place of those that were cut down.
Address: National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road, #01-05, Singapore 17895
How to get there: 5 mins walk away from City Hall MRT Station
Opening hours: Opens daily from 10:00am to 7:00pm
Tucked away in the Tiong Bahru estate, this indie bookstore is chock-a-block with local and Southeast Asian literature and a broad selection of small-press publications. The bookstore prides itself on offering exclusive titles that cannot be found elsewhere.
Uncover rare and unusual poetry volumes, art books and indie magazine titles by Singaporean and Southeast Asian authors that could double as coffee table books and great conversation starters. Be sure to also check out their accessories collection, featuring reusable tote bags and nifty buttons and stationery designed by regional illustrators and craftspeople. They also make for a unique souvenir!
Address: 9 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168645
How to get there: 9 mins walk away from Tiong Bahru MRT Station
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday - 10:00am to 8:00pm, Sunday to Monday - 10:00am to 6:00pm
Travel back in time to the early days at this Singapore-based design studio and label that creates lifestyle products with a local, albeit retro, twist. The store is well stocked with quirky and wacky memorabilia like tote bags and aprons detailed with motifs and local slang phrases that any Singaporean will instantly recognise.
Look out for the larger-than-life replica of the classic Kopitiam da bao beverage bags used to hold your takeaway drinks. These bags are good for stowing away your daily essentials as you explore the city. Not forgetting the sparkly necklaces and buttons that spot adorable miniature replicas of local snacks sold by neighbourhood mama stores (a sundry shop often located under apartment blocks), like White Rabbit or Hawflakes candy. For the full list of stockists, click here.
Address: Megafash, Suntec City Tower 2, #01-488, Singapore 038983
How to get there: 5 mins walk from Promenade MRT Station
Opening hours: Opens daily from 11:00am to 10:00pm
For the Common Goods
Make your home eco-chic with a touch of rattan furniture or a woven rug made from recycled materials! This boutique is among a growing list of furniture retailers that stock environmentally sustainable furniture and home goods sourced from a range of small international studios.
It is also home to Singapore label, Fred & Bobo, where you can find more homewares such as throw pillows with interesting textile designs, such as a unique Saga tree print - a heritage tree found in Singapore.
Address: 72 Eunos Avenue 7, #04-06A, Singapore 409570
How to get there: 10 mins walk away from Eunos MRT Station
Opening hours: Saturday to Sunday - 2:00pm to 5:00pm, otherwise by appointment.
Places to feast on local food
Given our longstanding hawker tradition, Singapore is a treasure trove of appetising dishes and meals with affordable price tags. With our mouth-watering local cuisines, be sure to bring along your makan kakis while engaging in our nation’s favourite pastime – eating!
Heap Seng Leong
Start your day with a local breakfast set of crispy kaya-butter toast, soft-boiled eggs, and wait for it - a cup of kopi gu you (coffee butter or what is also more popularly known as bulletproof coffee where black coffee is mixed with butter). This is one of the few surviving coffee shops in Singapore that still serves kopi gu you– a drink that originated back in the 1930s.
What makes kopi gu you so unique? The stick of butter adds a caramelised twist to the traditional cup of coffee while softening the strong notes of Robusta coffee beans for a smooth and creamy finish. Ideal for those looking for a strong pick-me-up, at just S$1.20, kopi gu you gives you more energy than a normal cuppa because of the fat from the butter.
Kaya-butter toast (S$1.20) is simplicity at its best, slices of soft white bread that is slathered with kaya and butter and toasted to perfection over a charcoal grill. Accompanied by two soft-boiled eggs (S$1), that’s a Singaporean breakfast right there.
Address: Blk 10 North Bridge Road, #01-5109, Singapore 190010
How to get there: 7 mins walk away from Lavender MRT Station
Opening hours: Opens daily from 4:00am to 8:00pm
Hawker Chan Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle
In 2016, this local hawker managed to make the leap from local popularity to greater global acclaim when it earned a Michelin Star along with several other hawker food stalls.
Its popular mouth-watering roast meats and signature soya sauce chicken draw in the crowds especially among locals who are keen to have their first taste of a Michelin-starred dining experience without breaking the bank.
Even before you reach the stall, you’ll be able to catch a whiff of the aromatic — and slightly herbal — braised chicken which is the perfect complement to a steaming bowl of rice or hor fun (flat rice noodles). Most dishes at Hawker Chan range from S$2 to $4.50, with the famous star-winning Soya Sauce Chicken Rice priced at only S$2. With queues ranging from 15 minutes to over an hour, be sure to come down early for this unique Michelin-starred hawker experience!
Address: 335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, #02-126, Singapore 050335
How to get there: 2 mins walk away from Chinatown MRT Station
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday - 10:30am to 5:00pm
Hajah (Hjh) Maimunah
A popular Malay-Muslim restaurant that has a steady stream of local fans and tourists long before it was entered into the Michelin Bib-Gourmand list. At S$30, you’ll have an assortment of meat and vegetable dishes to comfortably feed a table for 2!
Here you’ll get to dig into a wide variety of 40 local favourites like beef rendang (braised beef in coconut spice), bergedil (deep-fried potato patty), and a spicy sambal goreng (a vegetable dish consisting of long beans, beancurd and tempeh (fermented soybeans).
More adventurous travellers should request for a serving of paru goreng balado (chopped pieces of beef lung fried in sambal chilli mixed with fragrant kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, among others). There’s also Singapore’s spicy answer to the French escargot — siput sedut (sea snails cooked in a rich coconut curry).
Be sure to check out the restaurant before the peak lunch and dinner hours to secure your seat at this bustling restaurant!
Address: 11 & 15 Jalan Pisang, Singapore 199078
How to get there: 10 mins walk away from Bugis MRT Station
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday - 7:00am to 8:00pm
Not forgetting Singaporean snacks!
Munch on these local snacks and flavours as you embark on your next Netflix marathon! Grab these local snacks readily available in supermarkets or convenience stores islandwide.
F.EAST Potato Chips
For those who are looking for a savoury bite with a local twist, check out F.EAST Potato Chips! Inspired by popular Singaporean dishes such as Hainanese Chicken Rice, Singapore Laksa, Egg Prata with Fish Curry and Beef Rendang (a local beef stew braised in creamy coconut milk and spice mixture), these potato chips pack the aromatic and savoury flavours of the dish in a single potato chip.
Where to get them: Available at all major supermarket chains like Cold Storage, FairPrice and convenience stores like 7 Eleven, or Cheers kiosks islandwide.
Irvin’s Salted-Egg Fish Skin
Salty, spicy, creamy, and highly addictive – it’s no wonder Singaporeans are addicted to the salted egg flavour. A local favourite - Irvin’s Salted-Egg Fish Skin – features crispy fish skin coated with the umami flavour of salted egg yolk sauce.
Where to get them: Available at all major supermarket chains like Cold Storage, FairPrice and convenience stores like 7 Eleven, or Cheers kiosks islandwide. You can also order online from iShopChangi!
Potato chips are not the only snack getting an artisanal twist as myEureka Popcorn comes in an assortment of over 20 flavours. Treat your taste buds to a burst of flavour as each popcorn is generously coated and packs a punch. MyEureka Popcorn comes in classic flavours like cheese, caramel and sour cream and onion, as well as Asian flavours like salted egg yolk, spicy cuttlefish and even durian!
As a nation obsessed with food and snacks, it’s no surprise that the love of food started young. Locals love the assortment of old-school snacks that bring about fond memories of their childhood. From Iced Gem Biscuits to Mamee Monster, Wheel Crackers and Chilli Tapioca Chips, these nostalgic snacks have also become a national icon in Singapore, appearing in jewellery, accessories and even home décor.
Where to get them: Neighbourhood mama stores
If you're up for some adventure
Bored with visiting the same few hangout spots every time? Looking for the next trending spot before it gets popular? Below are some local attractions that are catered to everyone – from the thrill-seekers to the curious minds.
The Karting Arena: Electric Go-Kart
Since 2008, Singapore has found its place on the world’s racing maps when it became the host of the first and only night race in Formula One Grand Prix history, and the first Formula One street race in Asia.
While you may not get the chance to get behind the wheel of an actual F1 race car, don’t let that stop you from living out your tire-burning, exhaust roaring dreams of being a racer. Starting from S$25 per person, The Karting Arena’s racecourse, which includes nine thrilling turns, will put your wits and agility to the test.
What’s more, since all go-karts on the track run on electricity, this is actually better for the environment, too. Before you go-go, be sure to check their online calendar for availability before booking your session!
Address: 200 Turf Club Road, The Grandstand, South Car Park, #01-01B, Singapore 287994
How to get there: 10 mins walk away from Sixth Avenue Station
Opening hours: Wednesday to Friday - 1:00pm to 8:30pm, Saturday to Sunday - 10:00am to 9:00pm
Holey Moley: Indoor Mini-Golf Cocktail Bar
Momentarily escape Singapore’s hot and humid weather with a round of indoor mini-golf! For travellers looking for a respite from the heat, head over to Holey Moley Golf Club – a two-storey mini-golf cocktail bar located at one of Singapore’s bustling nightspots, Clarke Quay.
This Insta-worthy indoor mini-golf club features 27 wacky themed holes over three separate courses for you and your friends to tee off in the comforts of an air-conditioned space.
There are even live DJs and an extensive bar menu complete with scrumptious grub and cocktails to keep you grooving and teeing off like a pro in no time. You can also find larger than life metre-long pizzas alongside bar bites infused with local flavours like satay skewers and salted egg yolk fries.
Address: 3B River Valley Road, Singapore 179024
How to get there: Fort Canning MRT Station
Opening hours: Monday to Wednesday - 12:00pm to 1:00am,
Thursday to Friday - 12:00pm to 2:00am,
Saturday - 10:00am to 2:00am,
Sunday - 10:00am to 10:00pm
Sembawang Hot Spring Park
Hidden within the local heartlands is the Sembawang Hot Springs Park, which as the name suggests, is home to the country’s only naturally occurring hot spring point. Once a bathhouse for Japanese soldiers during World War II, the newly redesigned park is a must-visit for those looking for a unique outdoor spa experience.
Enjoy a foot bath as you soak your feet at the cascading pool, where the hot water cools down naturally as it flows to the bottom tier. Visitors can either grab a pail and fill it with the hot water or sit by the shallow pool as you treat yourself to a uniquely Singaporean experience.
For those interested in Singapore’s flora and fauna, the newly opened Floral Walk contains local fruit trees, edible plants and flowers commonly found back in the day in Singapore. Visitors can even cook eggs here — a popular activity locals used to do at the hot spring that you can relive today!
Address: Along Gambas Ave
How to get there: From Yishun MRT Station, take bus 858 or 969 and alight 4 stops later. Take a 7-minute walk along Sembawang Road/Gambas Avenue to the gate and into the exhibition area.
Opening hours: Opens daily from 7:00am to 7:00pm
With our travel dreams put on hold by the pandemic, discover our sunny island instead and let these hidden gems in Singapore boost your spirits. Take a day off to indulge in the array of activities that our city has to offer and be sure to stay safe and practise good personal hygiene! For more local guides, check out our list of what to do in Singapore or this article for those adrenaline junkies out there.