Skyscrapers, smokey temples, old-school shophouses, and glorious markets are just a few things that Singapore offers.
This post comes from blogger Melody Tan of Missing Avenue.
In the past few years, Singapore has redefined itself as more than just a stopover city, but a holiday destination with sharp contrast to the old and new. Amidst skyscrapers that make the city one of the most urbanized places in the world, you will find smoky temples, old-school shophouses, wet-markets and hawker centers serving up some of the most glorious food you’ll ever taste. Having lived in Singapore for pretty much my entire life, I find it sometimes quite a challenge to explore these old establishments that still remain. These are the small things we take for granted when we are surrounded by air-conditioned malls wherever we go. So in the past few years, I’ve made it a point to explore my Singapore.
Tiong Bahru is a neighbourhood that is the perfect contrast of old meets new Singapore; despite it being one of the oldest residential areas in Singapore, it’s gone through a makeover. Here you will find some of the best coffee joints, restaurants, bars, and small boutique shops while still experiencing the heartland with the Tiong Bahru wet-market and hawker centre, old coffee shops, Chinese temples, and homes.
For anyone unsure, a wet-market is a destination for locals to get fresh produce, while for tourists it is a must see attraction for cultural experience. It gets the name ‘wet-market’ as the stall holders tend to clean the floors with water after cleaning fish and vegetables. However, a ‘wet-market’ isn’t always wet, you can also visit the dry section where you can purchase dried spices, herbs, grains and beans. The best time to see a wet-market in action is between 4:00am and 12 noon when they close so go as early as possible.
Chin Mee Chin Confectionery: The place to experience traditional Singaporean breakfast. Toast smothered with homemade coconut jam, half-boiled eggs with a dash of black pepper and soya sauce and coffee/tea together with some sweet treats. I always feel like I’ve travelled back in time when I come here.
Little India always makes me feel as if I’ve left Singapore and been transported to another time in another world. It is like experiencing Mumbai in a neighbourhood setting. Buy fresh produce, get yourself immersed in Indian culture with colourful mosques and temples at every corner, shops selling Indian novelties like bangles, clothing, jewelry and everything you can imagine.
Just like Little India, Chinatown is the place to go to experience everything Chinese. You’ll find coffee shops and hawkers serving up authentic Singaporean fare, and novelty shops together with colourful estates, shophouses, temples and markets.
Once in a while, you’ll come across old Peranakan shophouses in different parts of Singapore. The Peranakan culture share great nostalgia and significance to our local communities in Singapore. They are descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago, and were known for embracing modern thinking way ahead of their time. Today, many Peranakan houses are protected by the government and remain a crucial part of the Singaporean heritage. The details in these buildings are a feast for the eyes. These houses are in Petain Road. Other places you can find Peranakan houses are Emerald Hill and Neil Road.
The Singapore Botanical Gardens are where you should go to enjoy some rest and relaxation, surrounded by beautiful nature and a tropical garden. It is the world’s only tropical garden to be honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are restaurants in the large compound and different gardens nested within the garden, like the National Orchid Garden.
The best time to visit Singapore… anytime! We are blessed with a warm tropical climate all year round. To avoid exorbitant prices, steer clear of national holidays (like Chinese New Year and Christmas) and popular events such as the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix in September.
+Have you been to Singapore?