Tag: history; art

24 Hours in Singapore: the AccorHotels Challenge !

An Ambassador for the Little Red Dot

I might never become a professional tour guide. But I could always be an ambassador for the little red dot: Singapore, the garden city I was bred and born in. I just love to bring and show people around!

So here I am, taking this opportunity to tell you what to do in Singapore 😜 because AccorHotels is running a competition!! And I have entered it.

To enter: Pick your favourite city, then blog or vlog on how you would spend 24 hours in the city of your choice. Submit your entry by the 7th Dec 2016 and notify AccorHotels via Twitter using #AccorHotels24hrs.

The prize is 9 days in Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin with transport, accomodation and city passes included. And a Go-Pro camera to go with it!! 

Here we are then, say you are a tourist on a one-day transit in Singapore and I am your tour guide for this day, ready? 

 

8 to 10 am : Breakfast in the east and a stroll along the coast

15 mins down from the airport is Singapore’s undisputed food haven – the Tanjong Katong/Joo Chiat district – hotspot of every self-respecting foodie 😋 . Some of the most raved about cafes that offer breakfast here are:

Do.Main Bakery, an authentic French Bakery Cafe, offers great bread and pastries at 226 Tanjong Katong Road

Baker’s Well, specialises in lovingly home-baked goods at 35 East Coast Road

Craftsmen Speciality Coffee, offers hearty European fare with hipster vibes at 2 First Street, Siglap V

Explore the East Coast Park after your coffee and breakfast! Rent a bicycle from any of the bicycle rentals. Or simply stroll or sit along the beach, and people watch. Early morning brings many strollers, joggers and skaters to this park 😊. Relax and just gaze at the great wide sea, that’s the Straits of Singapore.

 

10 am to 1 pm : Trailing the heart of Singapore 

The heart of Singapore encompasses the civic and business districts. Feeding this heart with life is the Singapore river, like a giant artery, along which Singapore’s greatest historical, cultural and architectural icons are found.

I suggest we trail this river first by bus, then on foot. Singapore’s buses are all air-conditioned, don’t worry! I love taking buses as it avails me a great view of the streets and a feel of what’s happening.  

In this instance, I would hop onto bus #196. We’ll get to see the monumental Sports Hub, an integrated sports-entertainment-retail complex, quite the first of its kind in the world (you can’t miss its retractable 310 m wide dome roof!); then my most favourite Esplanade: Theatres On the Bay, a breathtaking spiny twin-domed structure which I think looks like Saturn, with its ring! Of course I love The Esplanade for what it houses inside – Performing Arts and more arts, from both international and local acts!

From here on, the view is just spectacular (though more so at night – yes, we are coming back in the evening!) Don’t blink for the next few minutes .. look out also for the iconic Merlion along the bay – a great favourite with tourists! 

Diagonally across the road is The Fullerton Hotel, once the General Post Office of the British government, now a distinct landmark depicting old world splendour since its refurbishment into a grand heritage hotel. 

We’ll alight at the next stop: the historic Clifford Pier. It was this former jetty where waves of immigrants (Singapore’s pioneers) arrived to carve out a new living for themselves. What would catch your eye, is the exquisite facade of the Fullerton Bay Hotel and the refurbished pier itself – now a restaurant in art-deco style! 

From here, we take the overhead bridge and walk right into the “Wall Street” of Singapore – Raffles Place. Feel the buzz of this financial hub as we walk through the Square, and head towards Empress Place to meet Singapore’s founder: Sir Stamford Raffles (his statue rather) 😉 and the grand dame of Singapore’s cultural scene: Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall.

It’s worth visiting the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) just round the corner. The good news is, admission is free to all this month even for special exhibitions. Hurray! ACM also won the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Award for Museums in 2014 and 2015. 

Within walking distance too is the magnificent National Gallery Singapore, housed in the former Supreme Court and City Hall. A must-visit! She is said to oversee over 8000 works that narrates the art history of Singapore and that of the region, from the 19th century to the current day. Expect to spend more than an hour here marvelling ☺️ .

 

1 to 2.30 pm : Lunch time!

Hainanese chicken rice is an absolute dish to have in Singapore! Unless you’re a vegan. I recommend Tian Tian stall at the Maxwell Hawker Centre, which has been running for decades – both the stall and the centre. There are a hundred over stalls to choose from. If chicken rice is not your thing, there are still plenty of other good food to try .. tuck in!

 

2.30 to 4.30 pm : Tea culture along Neil Road

I’m not crazy about Chinese tea though I find the tea experience at the Tea Chapter irresistible. It isn’t just the premium tea they serve or how they educate patrons on proper tea appreciation; perhaps it’s the serenity of the teahouse and the arrangement of the seats with its varying styles. Queen Elizabeth II couldn’t resist it too! “Queen’s Corner” was named where she had graced the teahouse with her presence. It’s easy to spend a few hours here, if you’re like me ..

 

5 – 8 pm: Let the night uncover her diamonds! 24 Hours in Singapore

Tis the golden hour to visit Marina Bay! In my opinion – and I’m quite sure I’m in good company – this is just the most beautiful spot in Singapore.  Think of Rihanna’s song “Diamonds”. This is a million-dollar view. You heard me right.

To Gardens by The Bay we go! This 101 ha garden tops the list on TripAdvisor as the #1 thing to do in Singapore! Home to more than 1 million plants in its various themed gardens: the Dragonfly & Kingfisher Lakes, Flower Dome, Cloud forest and Supertree Grove, I reckon you would be rather awe-struck .. just like Alice in Wonderland 😝 .

We’ll proceed to the neighbouring Marina Bay Sands, a triple-towered structure topped with a winding ship (the SkyPark)! Designed by world-acclaimed Israeli architect, Moshe Safdie, this hotel-casino features a 200m high skypark with an infinity pool and observation deck.

It costs $23 for adults to enter the deck but I can assure you this bird’s eye million dollar view is worth it! A few of the striking landmarks you’ll see are the Singapore Flyer (observation wheel), the SuperTrees and glasshouses from the Gardens, ArtScience Museum, the Fullerton Hotel and a massive host of lights from other structures around the bay.

 

8 – 9 pm: Dinner time at Lau Pa Sat

A market since the 19th century and now the prettiest hawker centre: Lau Pa Sat is a true-blue institution in its own right. Mention Lau Pa Sat and one thinks of satay, stingray, mee goreng, hokkien mee and plenty other sinful local delights, with al fresco seats! The locals usually down these greasy favourites with another favourite – coconut juice or sugarcane juice (with lemon juice added to aid digestion). And why not try one of our local favourite desserts like ice kachang or chendol? Have a food adventure!

 

9 pm – 12 midnight : Your Choice of Fun

Options ..

Would you like wildlife fun at the Night Safari: “the world’s very first night zoo” ? Love nocturnal creatures? Enjoy tram rides, exploring various geographies and trekking? If yes, we’re headed to 80 Mandai Lake Road. Hoot hoot!!

If no, we could continue to shimmy with the stars … Bar-hopping, yes!

Bars to hop:

Post Bar at The Fullerton Hotel 

Lantern Rooftop Bar at The Fullerton Bay Hotel

Loof atop Odeon Towers

There are many more bars around but these would be my favourite.

 

Snooze time: 1 – 8 am

I would love to lay me down at So Sofitel, a short distance away along Robinson Road. It’s boutique and yet so elegant and luxurious! Methinks I shall dream of being a princess tonight .. 

 

What did you think of my itinerary? I might have been too ambitious .. it doesn’t hurt to aim for the stars, I might just land on the moon. Let me hear your comments!