Things to do in Singapore

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This is adapted from an internal wiki page I created at work - when people who didn't work there asked for copies, I didn't have a good way to share it. The goal of the page is to collect recommendations on places that we've been to and can recommend to visitors that might not be in any of the millions of travel guides to Singapore.

Cultural

  • Chinatown Heritage Centre: [1]

An excellent museum on the life of early Chinese immigrants to Singapore. It's right in the middle of Chinatown.

  • Kampong Glam and Sultan Mosque: [2]

A heritage Malay area with the Sultan Mosque (King's Mosque) that is open to public. The traditional Palace in the vicinity. great neighborhood to walk around and Haji Lane is great for Turkish/Muslim restaurants and has plenty of hipster cafes.

  • Singapore National Gallery: [3]

Best rated site for culture lovers. Free to go around the building, and a pro-tip is to visit the area at Level 5 Smoke and Mirrors bar (even during the day!) to have a best view of the Singapore skyline and key sites. You'd need a ticket to enter the exhibition galleries ($20) and they have free docent-led tours.

  • For museum lovers: Art Science Museum, National Singapore Museum are some other popular museums here.
  • Haw Par Villa: [4]

Free! Hard to properly describe, this is a park from the 1930s based around statues from Chinese mythology and Confucianism.

  • Kampung Lorong Buangkok: [5]

The last remaining kampung neighborhood in Singapore - see how things were before the rise of the HDBs.

  • Changi Museum: [6] Currently closed for renovation.
  • Peranakan Museum: [7] Currently closed for renovation.
  • Free(?) Walking Tours: [8]

There are other available walking tours (tips recommended), but this is Yun's recommendation, needs advance reservation. Worth the $20 bucks of recommended fees.

Outdoors

  • Pulau Ubin: [9]
  • Southern Islands: [10] Take a morning ferry for a quiet day away from the city.
  • Bukit Timah Nature Reserve: [11]
  • Macritchie Reservoir/Treetop Walk: [12]
  • Southern Ridges/Henderson Waves: [13]
  • Park Connector Network: [14]
  • Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve: [15]

Food

Singapore is all about food!

Seafood

  • JUMBO seafood: Local chain, several locations. order chili crab and fried rice.
  • East Coast Seafood Centre: [16] JUMBO, No Signboard, Red House, Long Beach, and other local seafood chains have locations here, where you can enjoy your chili crab by the sea.

Dim Sum

  • Din Tai Fung: Michelin-starred Taiwanese franchise with xiaolongbao. Order their egg fried rice with shrimp/pork chop too.
  • East Ocean: [17]
  • Red Star: Old school pushcart dim sum restaurant, possibly the last one in Singapore. Not cheap but worth the visit. Go early to beat the queue.
  • Wah Lok: [18] Dim sum restaurant in Carlton hotel, one of the classier dim sum places

Indian

  • Urban Roti: [19] North Indian food.
  • Komala Vilas: [20]
  • Banana Leaf Apolo: [ttps://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294265-d739223-Reviews-The_Banana_Leaf_Apolo-Singapore.html]
  • Saravanaa Bhavan: [21] Chain of South Indian vegetarian restaurants with 10 locations in Singapore.
  • Classic Indian at Lau Pa Sat: Food stall in the Lau Pa Sat hawker center in the CBD that gets high marks from previous visitors.
  • Sri Ganga at Lau Pau Sat: South Indian Homestyle food
  • Jaggi's: At Shenton House. North Indian Homestyle food

Malaysian/Malay

  • Coconut Country Club: [22] Must-have Nasi Lemak, aka coconut-milk rice.
  • PappaRich: [23] International chain dining place, not as true-blue as regular Malaysian food but easy to access.
  • Penang Seafood Restaurant: [24] (take the outdoor seating if possible, reservations recommended) Aljunied MRT, group dining options.

Peranakan cuisine

  • Blue Ginger Restaurant [25]
  • The Candlenut [26] It's a splurge, but you won't find this cuisine as fine dining anywhere else

Indonesian:

  • Tok-tok: approved by our fellow Indonesian colleagues. 2 locations.

Mediterranean/Greek

  • Urban Bites: CBD. More options in Haji Lane neighborhood.
  • Alati's Greek Cuisine: Not cheap ($40~), but if you fancy Greek food this is the place.

American

  • Park Bench Deli: Grilled cheese sandwich with fusion menu, in CBD (has the Impossible Burger Patty for non-meat eaters)

American BBQ

There's a general guide here: [27]. Visitors (especially visitors from Austin) shouldn't expect to find Aaron Franklin-level BBQ here. But there are some decent restaurants if you get a hankering..

  • Decker BBQ: In Robertson Quay serving Texas-style (meaning beef brisket, beef ribs, and burnt ends). Probably the best in Singapore. Also serves Shiner Bock.
  • Red Eye Smokehouse: Kallang/Lavender. Can be hit or miss depending on the day and when they last smoked.
  • Meat Smith: In the CBD. Good smoked meats, but pricey.

Korean BBQ

  • Wang Dae Bak: Multiple locations.

Hawker Centers

  • Makansutra guide: Local food champion KF Seetoh (made famous by Anthony Bourdain) publishes the Makansutra guidebook where he reviews local hawkers. You can get good recommendations from his site for free as well.
  • East Coast Lagoon Food Village: Hawkers by the sea! Satay is one of the specialties here.
  • Amoy Food Center: In the CBD. Has some of the best hawker foods but expect lines at lunch and problems finding a table. Top mentions: A Noodle Story (Michelin guide, local noodle with a twist), Rayyan (Indonesian, halal, 2nd floor), Chop Chop (fusion pork briyani rice, 2nd floor), Hanoi Pho (Vietnamese, 2nd floor), SAP Thai (Thai food)
  • Chinatown: Top mentions: Liao Fan Hawker Chan: Michelin-starred food stall and restaurant (the stall is better). Also see Smith Street Taps/Good Beer Company under Drinks section.

Durian

  • 227 Katong Durian: [28] Located on East Coast Road in Tanjong Katong.

Cafes / Brunch places

Some others listed under Coffee section below

  • Tiong Bahru Bakery: Must visit if you have time (multiple locations, namely the original outlet in Tiong Bahru and the Dempsey outlets are worth visiting)

Vegan-friendly

  • Vegan Burg: [29] The San Francisco chain is also in SG.
  • Loving Hut: [30] Local dishes, vegan style.
  • Elemen: [31] Vegan fine dining at $30 for a 6-course menu. worth visiting! a little far out from touristy places, hidden in an old-world mall about 5mins drive from Orchard.
  • My Awesome Cafe: CBD, hipster cafe with salads and healthy food
  • Cedele: Found in many offices and malls, has vegan patties and sandwiches or bowls. Curry pumpkin soup rocks!
  • SaladStop and Soup Spoon: Local chain of salad /soup places, fast and healthy.

Drink

Singapore has high taxes on alcohol (based on the amount of alcohol in the beverage so spirits and wine attract a higher tax than beer), so don't be surprised if things cost a little more than you're used to elsewhere.

Beer

Breweries/Microbreweries

  • Little Creatures Brewing: [32] The Australian brewery's Singapore location. 36 Club Street.
  • Level 33: [33] This is also a great place to go for a view - they advertise that they're the one of the highest microbreweries in the world.

Taprooms/beer bars

  • Good Beer Company/Smith Street Taps: [34] Craft beer sold in the Chinatown hawker center. Daniel Goh has probably done more than anyone else to make craft beer a thing in Singapore, and the Good Beer Company was the first hawker stand to serve something other than just Tiger and Heineken. Some nights you might also find people hanging out at tables nearby doing scotch and bourbon tastings as well.
  • Mikkeller Bar: [35] 25 taps of Mikkeller if you're into hops.
  • TAP Craft Beer Bar: [36]
  • Druggists: [37] in a heritage shop front (look for the Chinese Druggists Association sign outside).
  • Starker: [38]

Spirits/Wine/Gin/etc

  • Maison du Whisky: [39] Great selection of whisk(e)y, as well as other liquors (the largest mezcal selection in Singapore, for example). Excellent bartenders who can satisfy almost any drinker or non-drinker (they make great non-alcoholic drinks too).
  • Atlas Bar: [40] Originally a wine bar, they now have the world's largest gin collection and are consistently ranked on lists of the world's best bars.. There's a dress code, but it's worth stopping by for a drink just to take in their awesome lobby.
  • Operation Dagger: [41] A speakeasy-style bar (unmarked door, etc) focusing on cocktails made with unmarked bottles so that customers don't focus on the brand. This bar has been a favorite of several SREs visiting Singapore.
  • The Wall Whisky Bar: https://thewallsg.com/ In Tanjong Pagar. Great selection of whiskies, lots (the drinks menu is about an inch thick) of independent single-cask bottlings and rarities (Laird, Cadenhead, SMWS, etc). A dozen or so different whisky flights for people looking to try new things. Very knowledgeable staff. SMWS members get 10%-15% discounts on SMWS drams.
  • Quaich Bar: [42] The first whisky bar in Singapore. There are two locations, both with great selections and excellent bartenders. SMWS members get discounts on drams and can buy bottles here (Quaich Bar is the local SMWS franchisee).
  • Horse's Mouth: this is a hidden one, has great chill and cosy vibe, good for conversations at the bar counter. great selection of gins and spirits. The pro-tip, is to order a bespoke drink. eg: "I want something gin-based, fruity. surprise me"
  • 28 Hong Kong St: Not all speakeasy-bars are quiet, and this one is definitely blaring with music and crowd. One of Asia's Top 10 bars, worth visiting if you like somewhere louder.
  • Southbridge Bar: [43] This is a chill rooftop bar, hidden away in a top floor of a small hotel in Boat Quay area, with a great night view
  • Wine Connection: [44]Chain of wine stores and cafes around the country (some locations only sell bottles to go, check before you go) with decent (for Singapore) prices.
  • Praelum Wine Bistro: [45] Very large selection, this is known as the bar many sommeliers in Singapore drink at, so you'll find some very interesting selections here you won't see elsewhere, and the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. However, you should expect that premium selections lead to premium prices compared to other bars.
  • Flagship: [46] Great neighborhood bar, quiet with a good atmosphere, knowledgeable bartenders, and a good selection. Note: They may have closed recently.
  • Cider Pit: [47] Local pub with a good selection of ciders and beers at good prices.

Coffee and Tea

See - this isn't all about booze after all! Coffee in Singapore generally falls into two groups - Kopi (the local coffee you'll see in hawker centers and local coffee shops) and coffee (what non-Singaporeans and Malaysians think of when they hear the word "coffee"). The difference between the two lies in the type of bean used, how they're roasted and extracted, and how it's served. If you're visiting you should absolutely try kopi while you're here.

Kopi

Here's a handy guide to ordering kopi like a pro - take a look before you go to figure out what you might want and how to order it: https://kopi.guide/

  • Yakun Kaya Toast: Many locations in malls and offices. A great breakfast option: try kaya toast, or their smokey cheese French toast, and drink Yuan Yang, siu dai (coffee+tea+milk, less sweet → mindblown?)

Coffee

  • Common Man: [48] Several locations, Common Man Stan is in the CBD. Good brunch place too. Great western-style coffee.
  • Nylon Coffee Roasters: [49]
  • Alchemist: [50] Several locations, the one in International Plaza is in the CBD.
  • Lunar Coffee: good brunch and coffee place, in the CBD at OUE Downtown Gallery.

Tea

  • Tea Chapter: [51] Quaint teahouse in Chinatown with a good selection and themed seating areas (Japanese, Chinese, British, etc).

Sport

  • East Coast Cable Ski Park: [52]

Kids

  • Playeum: [53] Indoor creative playground where kids can freely build and experiment with recycled items.
  • Pasir Ris Park playgrounds: [54] Pasir Ris Park is a nice, quiet, and shaded park in the NE corner of Singapore. The main playgrounds were recently renovated, there's a lot there for kids to do, and this park is usually much less crowded than East Coast Park. On weekends there are ice cream and snack vendors along the road.
  • Hi Roller Skating Rink: [55] Indoor roller and in-line skating rink in Downtown East (Pasir Ris).
  • Hash House Horrors: [56] Biweekly family hash - there's fruit punch for kids and beer for adults. It's a fantastic way to see more of Singapore than you ever thought you could - most runs take you through drainage tunnels under roads, uncut paths, etc.

Movies

  • The Projector: [57] Classic theater gone indie with a wide range of movies and documentaries showing, as well as occasional concerts and shows.