There’s a lot of things to do in Singapore. It’s small in size but jam-packed in terms of places to visit and things to do.
In my last trip, I just wanted a chill day. No rush. No pressure. I wanted to enjoy a relaxing day just doing “chill stuff.” At the same time, my friends always ask me if I ever go anywhere WITHOUT shopping for clothes, bags and shoes. As unbelievable as it may sound, I actually do.
Here’s a list of my recommended things to do and places to visit, if you have limited time in the Lion City, sans the shopping. Yes, it can be done!
1. Have lunch in a food court offering a lot of choices. What better way to experience Singapore than to sample its array of sumptuous food. In my case, I normally crave for curry laksa or young tau foo. This time around, we found a shop in Vivo City’s Food Republic that served young tau foo in spicy curry sauce! It was a cross between my favorite curry laksa soup and my young tau foo obsession. Needless to say, I had it twice in one weekend! I highly recommend this if you like the curry soup of the laksa noodle dish, without the carbs from the noodles.
Arshad was happy to sample the stir-fried frog legs in sze chuan sauce, which according to him, was surprisingly good with just the right hint of spice.
The Food Republic offers a lot of food choices and fresh drinks: the usual Singaporean go-to dishes, Chinese food, street food and snacks. They also have vegetarian options, courtesy of the Indian food stalls. They also had Indonesian food serving nasi uduk, Javanese and Padang dishes.
2. Spend hours and hours on end at Kinokuya Bookstore. I live and breathe books, from fiction to self-help. After stuffing myself silly with young tau foo, we headed to the Takashimaya Center in Orchard Road to check out what’s on the Bestseller shelf. I was also hunting down a good hardbound copy of Neil Gaiman’s The American Gods so Kinokuniya was in my to-do list.
I said no shopping, but books are excluded from that list! I also ended up just browsing around since American Gods in hard bound cover was out of stock. I ended up buying my Kindle a cute cover casing.
I can spend half a day inside Kinokuniya just browsing through books. The bookstore also sells a lot of cute novelty items and beautiful notebooks — to beautiful that you sometimes don’t want to write on them!
3. High tea in TWG, Ion Orchard. Although both Jakarta and Manila have TWG, it is still cheaper to buy the teas from Singapore. Quick tip if you love TWG: hoard from Singapore, it’s a lot cheaper. I always buy boxes of vanilla bourbon tea. It doesn’t have caffeine and the whiff of vanilla whenever you brew a cup is divine!
Since I was still full from my young tau foo lunch, we opted to have some tea, macarons and dessert. We tried the sakura vacherin – vanilla bourbon tea ice cream and sakura tea sorbet encased in frozen meringue topped with fresh berries, raspberry coulis and get this: slivers of edible gold flakes.
4. Indian food dinner at Kinara. For dinner, we headed off to Boat Quay to try Kinara which was serving North Indian cuisine. I love Indian food and my default favorites are the paneer dishes. I will not bat an eyelash and satisfy my sweet cravings for kulfi (traditional Indian ice cream), too!
5. Drink bespoke cocktails at Maison Ikkoku. Finally, drinks! This is my favorite part of the day. Generally, I’m not a cocktails person. I don’t like my poison too sweet and sugary. For my alcohol, I stick to my wine and whiskey.
But I make an exemption whenever I visit Singapore because of Maison Ikkoku, as this restaurant-bar specializes in bespoke, craft cocktails. For bespoke cocktails, the bartender will just ask you how you like your drink: sweet, spicy (you read that right: spicy), sour, fruity, strong, creamy, herb-y – and he will do the rest. He will also ask you for your preferred base: whiskey, vodka, tequila, rum, champagne, etc. I normally go for a whiskey or champagne base. So far, I have not been disappointed with any of the cocktails mixed for me.
Their presentation of the cocktails are also quite spectacular, which makes the cocktails preparation an entertainment in itself.
Maison Ikkoku details