Why you should change the way you look at Singapore and discover that it's more than a stopover.
Singapore is one of those places in the world where many people can describe to you the highlights of the airport but aren’t able to provide much detail on what exists beyond the terminal walls. It’s become a stopover city, a place for refuelling amidst a long haul journey to a faraway destination. We’re lucky enough to have a hub in the heart of Singapore and have quickly come to learn there is so much more to Singapore, once you get the chance to break free of the infamous Changi Airport.
Singapore is known as a melting-pot of Asian cultures and that extends into the culinary experiences around each corner. If you have time to do one thing make sure it’s hunting down a tasty feast before setting off to your next destination - the possibilities are endless. A favourite of ours is to make your way through the buzzing streets of Little India. From Changi Airport, you can easily make your way there by cab. Once you arrive, you’ll notice the towering buildings of the CBD fade away as your senses become overwhelmed and it feels like you’ve truly crossed the border to India. We highly recommend venturing there as the sun is going down and as the streets are coming alive.
Stop by Komala Vilas (12-14 Buffalo Road, Singapore 219786) for an authentic Indian meal or, for a different but equally authentic cuisine, head straight to the largest hawker market in Singapore, the Chinatown Complex Food Centre. Here, you’ll find over 260 food stalls offering a full range of local dishes from noodles to dim sum to chilli crab. If you’re on your way back to Australia or New Zealand and are just craving something that tastes like home, look no further than Baker & Cook. Founded by world-renowned baker Dean Brettschneider, this artisan bakery and food store is a go-to for either a wholesome meal or something sweet accompanied with a coffee. There are seven Baker & Cook bakeries scattered around Singapore, check on their website for the one most convenient for you.
Dean Brettschneider, founder of Baker & Cook
The city and its surrounds are known for its mecca of malls brimming with global and local brands. For a local stroll around some quaint streets, we recommend making your way to Tiong Bahru. Here you’ll find a creative cluster of cafés and stores as well as old-style architecture that you won’t be able to resist photographing. Drop into Books Actually to find a book for the rest of your journey and don’t go past Plain Vanilla without picking up a cupcake. If you want to see what all the fuss about the malls of Singapore is, visit Paragon on Orchard Road. Treat yourself or go for a window shop - either way this bright, six-level shopping centre will keep you entertained with the endless rows of shops and cool from the steaming day outside. If you need a pick-me-up to keep you going, 63 Espresso on level four will take good care of you.
Once you’ve eaten all you can eat and you’re running out of room in your luggage - all that’s left to do is explore on foot with camera in hand. Visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens if you feel like you need a hit of fresh air. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s the perfect place for your morning jog. And if that’s not enough, Gardens by the Bay is a manmade water-side, collection of gardens sprawled over 101 hectares with the mission of adding greenery and flora to the big, concrete city. Wander between the super-sized, 16 storey high trees on a suspended walkway, find a patch of lush lawn or enjoy the light show at Garden Rhapsody in the evening – you won’t be disappointed. Some like to keep their feet on the ground while some like to discover a new destination from above.
If you’re one who likes to keep their feet on the ground, the National Gallery Singapore is your place to spend the day. Opening in 2015, it is housed in two historic buildings – the Supreme Court and City Hall, both of which have been beautifully restored and transformed into this gallery that has positioned Singapore as a regional and international hub for the arts. If you’re hoping to squeeze one last coffee in, Juju Coffee is only a short stroll away, a café well-known for their refreshing, house-made cold brew. And if you’re one of the latter, make a bee-line to 1-Altitude – the highest alfresco bar in the world and the only one that offers 360-degree views of the city. Grab a drink and a seat as close to the edge as you handle, breathe and take it all in.
All in all, Singapore has more to offer than what meets the eye. It’s more than a giant city centred around big business and it’s certainly more than a city to stop through on your way to somewhere else. It is fast becoming known for what is beginning to grow within the city - a buzz of creativity, community and speciality food and coffee. There is more greenery and outdoor space than visitors expect while the architecture is mind-blowing on an international scale. The food is delicious, the people are delightful and the weather is consistently balmy. On that next trip of yours, why wouldn’t you extend your time in Singapore to more than a simple stopover?
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Baker & Cook: 77 Hillcrest Road, Singapore 288951
Plain Vanilla: 1D Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru Estate, Singapore 168641
63 Espresso: Level 4 - Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd, Singapore, 238859
Juju Coffee: 5 Tan Quee Lan St, Singapore 188094