@ Wheeler's Yard: 28 Lorong Ampas, 328781 It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and we just headed down to Wheeler's Yard to chill out. It's a cool cafe in Singapore built in a warehouse. Once you are done with coffee, you can rent a bicycle and ride along the park connector!
Also check out Spruce and Foxhole café,
@Tiong Bahru Estate
So we went around quaint, rustic Tiong Bahru. Elyn had half her body stuck out of the car through the sunroof to film. :D Jess was pretty excited to go back there for a visit because it's a place which brings back memories having lived there with her grandparents when she was a kid.
What makes Tiong Bahru stand out is the housing architecture. The buildings were constructed pre-war in the 1930s. The housing blocks are low-lying, built between just two to five stories high; HDB (Housing Development Board) flats today go as high as 30 floors up. The resident profile used to be older folks. Today young couples live in the area and most of the traditional kopitiams (coffee shops) have been replaced by modern cafés. The cafés can get pretty packed especially on weekends where people take their time on all-day breakfast meal and a coffee shot. The all-essential wet market and hawker centre which are central to almost every housing estate still stands despite the modern infusion.
Here's our suggested half-day itinerary at Tiong Bahru:
8am: Have breakfast at Tiong Bahru Market hawker centre (30 Seng Poh Road - second floor)
Local fare for breakfast is great. Try some steamed pau (buns), chee cheong fun (rice flour rolls), porridge, nasi lemak, fried carrot cake (it's savoury!) and the list goes on!
http://tiongbahru.market/ gives you a picture (literally) of the Tiong Bahru Market hawker centre eats!
9.30am: Take a walk around the wet market (open in the mornings till about 12pm, closed on Mondays)
The wet market is located downstairs of the hawker centre. This is where the neighbourhood residents shop for produce and poultry!
10.30am: Stroll round the estate
Take photos with/of the architecture and enjoy the peace and quiet. The spiral stairs you see behind some buildings are also pretty interesting. You might find some back doors leading to the spiral stairs open so you can step in and try climbing up the extremely narrow winding steps. A picture with it would be great!
You can head back to the hawker centre for lunch because there's just so much to choose from. Hokkien noodles, barbecued pork rice, you name it! If you prefer brunch food like sausages and eggs, then try one of the many cafés in the area where many serve all-day-breakfast.
> Check out our meal time at the rustic old-school coffeeshop (the ambience authentic as it is), Hua Bee Restaurant: 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19, Singapore 162078, for Mee Pok Noodles.
1pm: Have a drink
There's always room for coffee or dessert. Chill in one of the homely cafés. Some cafés in Tiong Bahru include Forty Hands, Whisk Café, P.S Café and Tiong Bahru Bakery, just to name a few.
How to get there: Take the MRT to Tiong Bahru station and walk following the map below. You may cut through the housing area to get to Tiong Bahru Market (30 Seng Poh Road) denoted by the green "A".
If you time just to pop by Tiong Bahru in the evening, Sin Hoi Sai Seafood Restaurant, Por Kee Eating House (we absolutely love the pork ribs served here! Closed on Wednesdays) and Ting Heng Seafood Restaurant are on par to give you a true taste of tze char (a full menu of seafood, meat, vegetable local dishes). Something interesting would be Japanese cuisine and cocktails at Bincho. It's nestled inside Hua Bee kopitiam (78 Moh Guan Terrace #01-19) with a cosy setting that leads to a back alley.
Other places to explore:
@River Safari (80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826). How to get there: Take the MRT and alight at Choa Chu Kang station on the red line, and take bus# 927.
River Safari's the fourth and latest animal park in Singapore. The others are The Singapore Zoological Gardens, Night Safari and the Jurong Bird Park. If you enjoy reading up on nature and it's creatures, the park experience would be a very educational one. There are not just the regular boards with the description of the animal exhibits, but also displays around the park on how river ecosystems function. The park is also sectioned and named after major rivers in the world like the Nile River and Mekong River.
We almost missed out on the park's highlight, the Amazon River Quest because of the weather - thank God the clouds held up! (This boat ride undergoes maintenance every now and then so check out the park's website for announcements on this.) The narrow meandering "river" takes you between two river banks with animals at close proximity. :)
The park was somewhat smaller than the Zoo, Bird Park and Night Safari, but nonetheless the experience was great because the animal exhibits were more inhabitants of a river ecosystem - pretty different from the regular lions, giraffes and the likes. :) The Zoo and Night Safari are just next to the River Safari within walking distance so you might want to visit either the Zoo or River Safari in the day, and the hop over next door to the Night Safari.
*Tip: You can get better ticket prices if you visit more than 1 park within 7 days. Click on this link for details!
Other tourist spots to check out:
- Riding the Bum Boat Down the Singapore River
Singapore might be tiny but it's chock-full of fun! Let's GO!
3. Sing your lungs out at karaoke
Karaoke joints are open till late so singing at a karaoke is one activity you can do into the wee hours. Try Kbox or Partyworld.
4. Take THE mandatory water-drinking Merlion photo
Visiting the Merlion Park is a touristy activity, but we must admit the view overlooking Marina Bay is splendid. To add to the touristy experience, you gotta let the Merlion offer you a drink! Click here to watch and read our experience going down the Singapore River boat passing by the Merlion park.
5. Eat kaya butter toast and half-boiled eggs from Ya Kun or Wang cafe
This must be one of Jess' favourite activity because she always brings friends from abroad to Ya Kun for the crispy toast. Lol~ Need we say more?
Watch us eat half-boiled eggs and kaya toast the right way.
6. Speak in Singlish... lah!
Do what the locals do, eat what they eat, and speak how the way they do. Learn some phrases from us lah!
7. Eat a mountain of shaved ice desserts like ice kacang and chendol
Since we experience the everlasting summer in Singapore, you need to know what iced desserts there are. If you are at a hawker centre or coffeeshop, check out the dessert stall you will find the whole menu of colourful desserts staring at you. Best bet - ice kacang, chendol, or ice jelly. Whoo! Click here to watch Elyn and Jess eat a whole lot of dessert.
8. Take the zipline over the trees and beach on Sentosa on Megazip
It's 450m long!
9. Shop at Mustafa past midnight
Musatafa's probably the only place that's 24-hour and could you give you a solid shopping experience. Even the mainstream departmental stores cannot beat the range of stuff that Mustafa has. Seriously. Take the MRT to Farrer Park station and take a 5 minute walk to Mustafa.
10. Have Tze Char for dinner
So what's tze char? It's basically the food stalls you find at hawker centres, coffee shops and food courts, that cook various noodle, rice, meat and seafood dishes, steamed, braised, fried, raw - you name it. If you want a restaurant version of tze char, that would be restaurants like Jumbo.
11. Rent a bicycle, pair of rollerblades, a 2-person or 4-person bike a cruise along East Coast Beach
Take a leisurely ride with a beautiful view along the beach is therapeutic. Plus, it takes less effort with 4 people cycling. :D Watch our cycle along East Coast Park!
12. Watch an MMA fight
Muay thai in Thailand, taekwando in Korea, judo in Japan and kungfu in China. Why not MMA in Singapore? Visit onefc.com for matches!
13. Eat crabs
Chilli crabs and black pepper crabs rank the same on the must-eat list as laksa. Other than the full flavours of the crabs, this finger-licking meal is great to just past time with because you need to crack and dissect the crab for the juicy meat. You can find this at most coffeeshops from the tze char stalls. (Some recommendations: Crab Master, or Hong Kong Street Chun Kee.) If you prefer eating at a restaurant, visit East Coast Seafood Centre where the best ones are lined up.
14. Visit Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
For those who love nature and the outdoors, visit this wetland reserve to escape the city.
15. Drink kopi or teh (coffee or tea) at a local coffee shop
Chuck the sodas and find out why most locals cannot get past a day without drinking at least one cup of kopi or teh a day.
16. Take a selfie with the Universal Studios globe
Never mind if you are not going to visit the amusement park, it's THE photo and globe that matters.
17. Smell fishy at 4am at Jurong Fishery Port
18. Fly a kite at Marina Barrage
19. Try Tiger Beer
Tiger beer is the first beer brewed in Singapore. You can even go for the Tiger Beer brewery tour.
20. Have a buffet
This is probably the most participated-in activity among Singaporeans so finding a restaurant or hotel that serves one is not a problem.
21. Ride on a trishaw
This used to be a main means of transportation in the past here. Now you can go for an area tour riding a trishaw.
23. Visit Bedok Simpang for roti prata supper
There are a number of coffeeshops that service roti prata. One of the prata outlets we love is Casurina Curry, which operates round the clock!
24. Roam a housing estate
25. Order a table full of local food at a hawker centre
Sharing is great. Eating alone doesn't allow you to eat from 5 different stalls. But eating with 5 friends allows you to eat food from 10 different stalls. Try East Coast Lagoon Food Village.
26. Drink sugarcane juice
Find this green juice at any hawker centre.
27. Chill at a quaint or quzzical cafe
28. Challenge yourself at the Bedok Reservoir Forest Adventure
29. Join in a random queue
You will see queues of people randomly, chances are people are queuing for free stuff, like an umbrella, or donuts. :D
30. Run a street marathon
Run with thousands more at one of the many road runs - Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore Run, Nike Sundown and the Illumi Run are the more prominent ones!
31. Take fun photos
Trick Eye Museum vs. Alive Museum
32. Have dinner in midair
Option 1: In a cable car. Option 2: Ferris wheel capsule.
33. Go museum-hopping
For one, we visited the National Gallery Museum!
34. Go for a guided walk
35. Roam Haji Lane
36. Experience sky diving...
...without jumping off a plane. :D
37. Visit a farm
38. Feel on top of the world at Marina Bay Sands SkyPark or at One Altitude
39. Take a stroll in Botanical Gardens
It's now a UNESCO World Heritage site!
40. Have a barbecue
Rent a chalet or book a barbecue pit
41. Get maximum satisfaction from eating street ice-cream
At $1-$1.50. :) There are 2 stalls most prominently located along Orchard Road. If not, you will find them randomly in housing estates. Click here to watch us eat street ice-cream!
42. Go bar/club-hopping at Clarke Quay
43. Have a $20 steamboat buffet.. and sweat buckets
There are many eateries offering steamboat buffet around the Liang Seah area.
44. Shop along Orchard Road
(See the lights along Orchard Road during Christmas!)
45. Pop by neighbouring Malaysia
Take a 30 minute bus ride (traffic dependent) across the highway into Malaysia for a day trip of shopping and food.
47. Watch the sunrise from Bedok Jetty
Pray that clouds don't get in the way! You can bring a fishing rod or two and fish as you watch the sunrise.
(Photo: Us at Bedok Jetty which is along East Coast Park)
48. Eat Nonya kueh
Check out Lek Lim Nonya Cake Confectionery, or Bengawan Solo.
49. Escape a locked room
You are locked in a room with friends. Gather clues and solve puzzles to escape! The Escape Artist, Lockdown, Exit Plan and Freeing SG are just some such game rooms.
50. Visit us soakers. :)
@ KF1 Karting Circuit: 1 Turf Club Ave, Singapore 738078 (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)
Nearest MRT station: Kranji
The unique thing about this karting circuit is that is lies just metres above the train track. Passengers on the train can catch a glimpse of the karting action while the MRT travels above it. It was actually pretty amazing to see the karts moving faster train. Lol~ The facility costs $2m to build and was designed by Herman Tilke, who is also the man behind many F1 tracks. Karting enthusiasts can rent Viper or Birel karts and ply the circuit for $22-$45 per session depending on what time of the day and if you kart on a weekday or weekend. Youths under the age of 21 get to kart at better prices. Signing up for membership can also get you lower rates. There are occasional races too and the public can view as spectators for free! Hands up for free stuff! :)
For rates and more details, visit kf1karting.com!
Jess: So, it was my birthday and I made a request to my BFFs to visit the Trick Eye Museum. After seeing too many Facebook posts of friends visiting the museum, I decided I just had to go experience it for myself. I mean, who doesn’t like to look like they're levitating or part of a painting right? And my BFFs being BFFs on their BFFs birthday had no choice but to take me there.
Tip! We happened to be checking out the website (http://trickeye.com/singapore/) before we went and found that we could get the tickets online at 10% off! Yay!
So after having a DIY pancake lunch at Slappy Cakes near the Trick Eye Museum, we were ready to pose for pictures at the museum. The moment we stepped into the museum, we found ourselves in a room with about ten exhibits for you to pose and take photos with. I must admit it was pretty awkward at first because we saw groups of people standing in weird positions with warped expressions trying to blend into the backdrop. The thought of me looking weird like them made me wonder if I made a wrong birthday choice. Lol~ But well, we got started anyway. Boy, I really didn't expect the major photo-taking session in there.
Some of the exhibits were so creative that our lightning fast minds had to spend a couple of minutes trying to figure out what it was all about. Later on, we realised there were photos stuck on the wall next to each exhibit giving you ideas on how to pose. Lol~ The angle from which we took the photos was also important to get the full trick-eye effect. Take note of the stickers on the floor to know where to stand to take the photos from.
We completed 6 sections/rooms in more than 2 hours because we took on average 10 photos per exhibit. There were so many retakes because we were trying to get that perfect position and pose, shaky hands, and because of course, we're girls.
It’s great to go with your family or friends because it makes the experience so much more fun and frankly, it’s impossible to take selfies with your limited arm length and try to fit yourself and the entire exhibit in the photo. You can actually rent a selfie stick from the museum (but still it might be too short!). If you will be going alone, bring a tripod or we think the best way is to make a friend there and get them to help you take a photo!
Make sure you have enough memory space in your phone and for ladies, you might want to wear shorts or jeans so you can be free to pose!
How to get there: The Trick Eye Museum is on Sentosa island. Click here to find out how to get to Sentosa.
Tickets: $25 for adults, $20 for kids (4-12 years old) and seniors (60 and above)
Opening hours: 10am-9pm daily
There's another museum you can try for some photo fun too - Alive Museum at Suntec City (Promenade MRT station).
The routes they ply are pretty much the same. There are also 2 types of tickets you can buy - the express ticket, of the full tour ticket. We bought our express ticket for $3 per ride and that took us from one stop to another. (We rode from Esplanade to Boat Quay via Singapore River Cruise in the video). The ticket for the full tour costs $22 ($12 for kids below 12) and that gives you a 40 minute ride down the river with a video and audio commentary of the stories behind the historical landmarks. (Asian Civilisations Museum, statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, bridges etc.). Speaking of history, most of the shipping activity took place here in the 1800s and was the place for trade.
You can explore the area on foot as well, but we would highly encourage a boat ride too! Even though we have seen Marina Bay Sands (MBS), the CBD area, Esplanande and the Merlion many many times, we must admit that being in the middle on water and surrounded by all these structures was pretty amazing. (Thank God for the amazing weather!)
From the map below, you can see that the boat route will take you from one end of the river to the other. If you start off at Esplanade (like we did), you will pass by the Merlion Park and enter into Boat Quay first, then Clarke Quay and lastly Robertson Quay.
The best way to get to this area is by our favourite means - the MRT! Alight at Clarke Quay MRT station and cut through the shopping centre Central Mall and tadah! You will see the river!
The shops at Boat Quay are mostly pubs and restaurants that open in the evenings. They do have restaurants selling tze char (local Chinese cooked food, including chili crabs) as well. Clarke Quay seems to be a more happening place though. There are pubs, clubs and restaurants, as well as a shopping centre (Central Mall) situated just above Clarke Quay MRT station. If you are into roller coasters, you might want to try the reverse bungee ride that will slingshot you upwards 60 metres high ($45 per ride). If you want a slightly quieter place to chill, you can head to Robertson Quay where there's good selection of restaurants serving different cuisines for wine and dine.
Singlish used in this video
Singlish word: Ahberden
Of course! What else could it be? / Needless to say! / Obviously! (Used in a jokingly or as a matter-of-factly.)
You can hang out for an entire day just around the Marina Bay area. There are lots of places for you to just relax and chill. There are also a number of icons to stop by! Fasten your shoelaces for a good walk!
1. Singapore Flyer
You cannot miss the huge ferris wheel when you exit Promenade MRT station (Exit A). It's the Singapore Eye. Lol~ Each capsule takes you up 165 metres high and then back down in 30minutes. (In Amazing Race 16, contestants had to climb out of the capsule from the top at its peak and climb to the next one as of their challenges. OMG!) Ticket prices are at $33 for adults. If you are hungry, there's the Singapore Food Trial at the Singapore Flyer location serving local hawker fare - we visited this hawker spot for tourists!
Tip: Visit group purchasing websites where you might find a discount on the tickets!
2. The Helix Bridge
From the Singapore Flyer, cross the Helix Bridge to get to Marina Bay Sands. You can't miss it because the bridge looks like a magnified version of DNA with metal bars criss-crossing over it. From the bridge, you would be able to see The Float @ Marina Bay, which is the world's largest floating platform slightly larger than a soccer field. The seating capacity in front of it is 30,000. It has been used to celebrate major events like National Day.
3. Marina Bay Sands (Bayfront MRT)
Once you cross the bridge, the first thing that will welcome you is a structure that looks like a peeled onion, or to others a lotus. It's the ArtScience Museum which holds certain exhibitions which are payable. Well, who wouldn’t pay attention if they saw a huge ship sitting on top of and across three buildings 57 stories high? This ship has become the icon for Singapore, sort of, since it docked there in 2010. The view is fantastic from the Sands SkyPark which is on the 'ship' itself. If you are not a hotel guest, you will need to pay $23 (for adults) for entry into the SkyPark. The famous infinity pool also sits there but only hotel guests can swim in it.
Most of the shops at MBS are high-end boutiques. If you are ready to splash some cash on fine dining, there are a number of restaurants by celebrity chefs to choose from. If you feel like having local food, there's a food court “Rasapura Masters”. Whether you wish to play at or just visit the casino, you need to bring your passport (locals and long term residents pay $100 each time to get it) and follow the dress code. Tip: If you are taking the train directly to MBS, alight at Bayfront station, and not Marina Bay station (as many would assume from the station's name).
4. Gardens by the Bay
For a dose of nature, take a walk to Gardens by the Bay, which is one of the newest attractions. From Bayfront station, take Exit B and follow the signs (and crowd) and you're on the right track! There are 2 airconditioned ca
5. Stroll along the Bay
There a couple of places to chill out at for a drink along the Bay. There are also some pretty good spots for photography as you walk along the Bay. Watch us cycle along the Bay from East Coast Park!
As you circle round the bay, you will pass by the edge of the Central Business District as well as the preserved Clifford Pier, which was constructed in 1933 and was where migrants landed and merchants traded. When you get to the other side opposite of MBS, you will see Fullerton Hotel which is a historic building previously a post office during the colonial days. Across from Fullerton Hotel is One Fullerton, which has a couple of dining options. While you're there, take some photos with MBS in the backdrop!
7. Merlion Park
The Merlion Park is just next to the Fullerton buildings. The Merlion is a creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish and it has become a symbol for Singapore since it was created by the Singapore Tourism Board in the 70s. You will see a water-spouting 8.6-metre tall Merlion and a 2-metre tall Merlion cub at the Merlion Park. To see a larger version of the Merlion, you can go to Sentosa island, where you can find a 37-metre tall Merlion. We took the Singapore River bum boat passing by the Merlion Park!
This is one of the icons of Singapore fondly known as the “durian” because of its spiky exterior. This is the art house where most musicals, recitals and plays are performed at. Have dinner at Makansutra Gluttons Bay which is an open air hawker centre at Esplanade serving local food.
9. Shopping - Marina Square, Suntec City, Millenia Walk
To end of the day, hang around any of the 3 shopping malls nearby. Marina Square is just across the road from the Esplande. Beyond that are Suntec City and Millenia Walk (Esplanade MRT station).
Ta-dah! You have circled Marina Bay!
Bugis Street is the largest street market in Singapore! There are hundreds of stores selling mainly clothes and accessories. The best way to get there is to take the MRT and alight at Bugis MRT station. Take Exit C and follow the crowd you see crossing the road at a traffic light with a huge "Bugis Street" sign across the road. :) Other than Bugis Street, there is also Bugis Junction and Bugis+ shopping malls just next to it. And on the other side of Bugis Junction, is Liang Seah Street where you can find a row of eateries, mostly offering steamboat and local desserts. If you venture a little further, you can head in the direction towards Haji Lane and beyond to the Malay Heritage Centre where you can understand more about the Malay culture. In this area, you will find rows of conserved shophouses with restaurants and eateries, textile traders, clothing stores and more. There are also cafes and pubs alike to chill out at.
(Map from gothere.sg)
Yes and a very Singaporean trait to spot is when you hear people exclaim "So cheap!", "It's only $XX!", "Wow this is a very good price!" We once heard a Singaporean tell us, if you hear some chirping that do not seem to be coming from birds, it's likely a group of Singaporeans exclaiming "Cheap cheap cheap!" (Cheep, cheep cheep!) Well, we can identify with that. Lol~!
If you want to get something for your family and friends after your vacation in Singapore well, there are more options other than keychains and fridge magnets!
KayaThis is a pretty sweet bread or cracker spread and it’s used in the famous Kaya Butter Toast. This simple breakfast food emerged from the humble coffeeshop to joints like Ya Kun, Toastbox and Wang Jiao around SG. You can get ready packed kaya in a jar from these shops or from neighbourhood bakeries as well.
Everyone could do with another T-shirt!You can get the evergreen T-shirt souvenir from as low as $3 apiece. Enough said!
Pandan cakeWe hear that for some reason, pandan cake is a must-buy for visitors from Hong Kong. Pandan cake is a chiffon cake with pandan extract from pandan leaves, giving the cake its flavour and colour. It’s fragrant and can last out of the refrigerator for about 3-4 days in SG’s humid climate. Best place to get – where else but at the airport before you catch your flight so it remains fresh for the next few days. You can find pandan cake at Bengawan Solo in Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
Prima Taste local food premixesPeople tend to rave about the food in SG so what better way to express it than to bring Singapore food to your family and friends! There are premixes and instant foods for chicken rice, laksa and even chilli crab. All you need, is to know how to follow instructions. Stocking up on some of these premixes at home too is a good idea should you suddenly crave some curry chicken. What's best is that it tastes like the real deal too.
Bak kwaAs what Jess says, "Tastes like beef jerky!" (click here to watch Jess overeat bak kwa), albeit this is the pork version and has a sweetness to it. This barbecued meat is most popular during Chinese New Year, but they are available all year round from bak kwa joints like Bee Cheng Hiang
Pork floss (buns)Some thought the pork floss buns would be a fad when they first emerged from Breadtalk and sold in bakeries, but they survived and are not an evergreen bread choice. You can get some good floss buns from Breadtalk chain of bakeries. I fyou want just the pork flss, you can get them in jars from any barbucued meat shop like Bee Cheng Hiang. The floss goes well with porridge or rice and can be stored for some time. Chicken floss is available too.
Well now that we’re done with this writeup, we realize that all the items above except one are food items. Lol~ that’s what Singapore is all about isn’t it?