Expat in Singapore? Here’s the best way to Rediscover Singapore!
Been in Singapore for a while now or just arrived at the start of this year and not sure how and where to start experiencing the real Singapore? Here’s a list of a number of our favourite stamping grounds, comprising of old favourites and a couple of new exciting experiences. Obviously there’s gonna be some shameless plugging of our products but we’ve kept this list true to what we believe are the gems you should take a chance on; no typical boring Singapore tours!
Since foreigners don't get any of those Singapore Rediscovers Vouchers, we're stretching our wallets a little and giving you a discount off all our products! Simply sign up to our Insiders' List here to get the discount code!
NATURE WALKS IN SINGAPORE
Singapore is pretty “green”. A lot of the flora we see on our daily commute is however somewhat just dispassionate rows of trees. You’d be surprised to find out that some of these locations below are incredibly scenic and definitely a breath of fresh air.
1. Hort Park & the Southern Ridges
The Southern Ridges provide a 10-km trial that offers incredible landscapes and vast areas of lush hilly parks. There are themed gardens and untouched flora that will satisfy any nature enthusiast or spirited trekker.
Costs: Free Admission
Opening hours: Daily, 24/7
Address: 109 Mount Faber Road Faber Peak, Singapore 099203.
2. Coney Island (Serangoon Island)
Besides being rich in history, Coney Island Park houses a wide variety of habitats, including coastal forests, grasslands, mangroves, and casuarina woodlands. It is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora, some of which are critically endangered. Some plants at the park are presumed nationally extinct in the wild.
Not many know that there are guided walks at Coney Island Park conducted by NParks volunteers. Participants will learn about the diverse biodiversity and interesting history of the park. The two-hour guided walk is conducted on selected Saturday mornings in the months of June, November and December. Do check on the following website for further information.
Costs: Free Admission
Opening hours: 7am to 7pm (Gates will be closed at 7pm) (Do check on opening hours during this Covid period)
Address/How to get there: From Punggol interchange, take bus 84 to Punggol Point Park/Punggol Settlement. Walk about 500m east along the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk to get to Coney Island Park West Entrance.
3. Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin is typically known to Singaporeans as a little run-down old island fit for a half-days bicycle ride around and for a cheap seafood meal thereafter.
What many do not know however is that this little gem is so much more than that! The National Parks Board estimates that the island has over 786 native plants, 242 birds, 201 butterflies, 89 mammals, reptiles & amphibians. Many of these species are very rare and some are not found on mainland Singapore. There are a number of critically endangered Bat, Otter, Bird and Orchid species surviving on the island. Today, habitat enhancement projects on the island include shoreline restoration, reforestation and freshwater habitat enrichment recovery programs.
What better way to discover all these than through a spirited walk through the island with our knowledgeable guide!
Our guide takes you through a variety of habitats like the Mangroves, Rocky and Sandy Shores, Coastal and Secondary Forests, Abandoned Rubber and Coconut plantations, Fruit Orchids, Scrublands and Fresh Water Ponds. Along the way, you hear about the incredible uses of medicinal plants, the flora, fauna and the inside stories of people who continue to live on the island.
See Pulau Ubin in a different light! This is a great experience on which you get to rediscover the nature around us and perhaps even yourself!
Check out Origin Journeys’ Pulau Ubin Adventure here – CLICK HERE!
Distance: approximately 13km
Costs: $60 per person
F&B EXPERIENCES IN SINGAPORE
1. Best Chicken Rice in Singapore
Ah, that ubiquitous national dish every Singaporean forces you to try on your first trip into the country. What’s so special about bland looking steamed rice and unmarinated chicken blanched in hot water? If your mind hasn’t already changed since trying it, we urge you to try some of our favourites:
Sin Swee Kee Chicken Rice
Address: 35 Seah Street 188391, Singapore 188391 Singapore
Tel: +65 6337 7180
Opening Hours: 11:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Five Star Hainanese
Address: 419 River Valley Rd, Singapore 248318
Tel: +65 6235 6760
Opening Hours: 11:00 AM - 02:00 AM (Opening Hours may vary during Covid period)
Boon Tong Kee at River Valley
Address: 425 River Valley Road, Singapore 248324 Singapore
Tel: +65 6736 3213
Opening Hours: 11:30 AM - 02:00 AM (Opening Hours may vary during Covid period)
Our pick of the lot is definitively Sin Swee Kee Chicken Rice. Check out Sin Swee Kee's Chicken Rice workshop ; this experience keeps the kids occupied for a good hour!
2. Alternative Food Experiences
Here are a number of our favourite dining experiences that weave in theater, incredibly lush surroundings and guided trails where you learn more about the origin of various dishes:
ANDSOFORTH is an immersive dining company with an attendance of 80,000 people from all over the world since its inception. Its current offering, “Around the World in 80 Days”, is a theatrical dinner that brings you through seven destinations in one 150 minute session.
The experience is a multi-sensory affair involving international cuisines and imaginative sets inspired by protagonist Phileas Fogg’s far-flung adventures.
Pollen & Fennel Café at the Gardens by the Bay
This has to be one of our favorite restaurants/cafes in Singapore!
Pollen by Chef Michael Wilson offers modern interpretive cuisine and provides elegant dining experiences with distinct offerings over two levels. On the first floor, gourmands can enjoy sophisticated multi-course menus while taking in spectacular views of the Marina Bay skyline and waterfront. Fennel Café on the second level offers a casual all-day dining menu and exquisite modern afternoon tea.
Bring a sweater! It gets chilly!
Lunch: 12.00pm - 3.00pm (Last seating 1.00pm, last order 1.15pm)
Dinner: 6.00pm - 10.00pm (Last seating 8.00pm, last order 8.15pm)
Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays
Origin Journeys’ Culture and Food Journeys
If you’ve wanted to learn a little more about the various cultural groups in Singapore and their foods, take a look at a number of our guided tours. Our guides are sure to thrill you with their insider access into these venues and restaurants. Come hungry!
True Blue's Peranakan Origin Experience (An Authentic Peranakan Experience)
Incredible amounts of nostalgia, good conversation, listening to the melodious Peranakan patois (a charming blend of Hokkien and Malay) and taking in the fragrance of bunga rampay (a potpourri of shredded pandan leaves and flower petals topped with safflower oil).
Sounds like what you are looking for?
Spend a leisurely morning exploring the Peranakan gems hidden in plain sight around the Singapore city. Discover 19th-century Peranakan houses around Petain Road and Neil Road which have been restored to their former glory, bask in the incredibly stylish architecture, furnishings and the intricately painted ceramic tiles of yesteryear. We then bring you to one of the best kept secrets around the Chinatown area where you have the chance to shop for traditional enamel “tingkat” sets and hand-drawn porcelain rooster bowls). Finally arrive at True Blue Space, the sister café to True Blue Cuisine, a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant located in a conservation shophouse on Armenian Street, adorned with Peranakan-themed treasures and memorabilia. Baba Ben, Owner of True Blue will give you an exclusive insider’s tour of his family’s private gallery on the upper floor of the shophouse. End off your experience with lunch at the True Blue Space. The nostalgia of this experience is sure to linger on you for a long time after!
Origin Journeys' Hainanese Experience
Most of us associate the talented Hainanese population as having introduced Chicken Rice and Nanyang Coffee to us but there is much more to this distinct dialect group than we think!
The Hainanese first came to Singapore in the 1800s as merchants, trading in goods such as paper products and medicinal herbs. They however only started emigrating to Singapore much later than their Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese counterparts. This resulted in them finding employment in restaurants and in hospitality since sectors such as trade and commerce were already saturated. These circumstances probably explained why the Hainanese became well-versed in cooking and other hospitality endeavors such as bartending. Did you know that the Singapore Sling was created in 1915 by a Hainanese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at Raffles Hotel Singapore?
There are more incredible stories to be told of the Hainanese people who congregated around the Bugis and Cityhall area; the Hainanese culture in these areas are is still very much alive today. On this journey, we discover Middle Road, Purvis Street and Seah Street; colloquially known to the Hainanese community as the Hainan First Street, Second Street and Third Street. Visit the popular Hainanese food haunts such as the Sing Swee Kee Restaurant and YY Kafei Dian. Listen to stories of yesteryear and how the innovative descendants of the Hainanese operate today as captains of industry in a vast variety of fields. We also get a very special insider’s look into the Raffles Singapore and visit the uber popular SunnyHills store for tea. Come hungry!
Participants get to bring home a little bit of treasure exclusively from the Raffles Singapore!
Origin Journeys' Eurasian Heritage Tour
The Eurasian community is a small but immensely influential ethnic group that has been present in Singapore since the early 19th century. Within this overarching description are distinct heritages, with the European part of ancestry ranging from Portuguese, Dutch, British, Danish, French, German, Italian, Spanish or others, and the Asian component being usually derived from the Chinese, Malays or Indians.
What many Singaporeans may not know is that the Eurasian community and its history was and still is ubiquitous in the East of Singapore.
You will be accompanied by one of the Eurasian Heritage Gallery’s knowledgeable docents on this enriching experience through the East Coast Road, Joo Chiat and Katong areas as he/she explains the histories and oral traditions of the Eurasian communities in these areas of Singapore.
3. Best Cocktail Bars in Singapore
How could we not have this category? This list is updated from time to time so keep checking in.
Raffles Singapore Courtyard
This is the O.G. in Singapore's Cocktail Bar scene.
The Singapore Sling, widely regarded as the national drink, was first created in 1915 by Raffles bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. Primarily a gin-based cocktail, the Singapore Sling also contains pineapple juice, lime juice, curaçao and Bénédictine. Giving it the pretty pink hue are grenadine and cherry liqueur. Bartender Ngiam deliberately chose to give the cocktail this rosy colour.
Following the turn of the century in colonial Singapore, Raffles was the gathering place for the community – and Long Bar was the watering hole. It was common to see gentlemen nursing glasses of gin or whisky. Unfortunately for the ladies, etiquette dictated that they could not consume alcohol in public. So, for the sake of modesty, teas and fruit juices were their beverages of choice.
Ever insightful, Ngiam thus saw a niche in the market and decided to create a cocktail that looks like plain fruit juice but is actually infused with gin and liqueurs. The clever bartender made the beverage pink to give it a feminine flair which, together with the use of clear alcohol, led people to think it was a socially acceptable drink for women. With that, the Singapore Sling was born. Needless to say, it became an instant hit.
Get a 1-for-1 deal on the Singapore Sling by joining the Origin Journeys' Insiders List
Hidden entrance, staircase to a dark basement, mixes in unmarked bottles. Nuff' said. Ask for the Hot and Cold.
Address: No. 7 Ann Siang Hill, B1-01, Singapore 069791
Tel: +65 9395 6690
Voted Asia's Best Bar. Truffle Mac and Cheese.
Address: 8 Hong Kong Street, Singapore 059667
Tel: +65 6533 2001
Mid-Century Japanese inspired dark wood interiors, an eclectic mix of music and an incredible line-up of of spirit-forward cocktails.
Address: 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089834
Tel: +65 9011 8304
Impeccably groomed Bartenders, Classics that never go wrong, the plushest leather sofas and rare privacy you don't find in many speakeasies these days. Our writer practically lives here.
Address: 2 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089816
Tel: +65 8141 5741