Chinatown


How can you go to Singapore and not go to Chinatown?

When Sir Raffles organised the city of Singapore, he determined zones for each ethnic minority. The Indians have what is today Little India, the Malays have the Kampong Glam area with Arab Street… and the Chinese have Chinatown.

Today, Chinatown is still mostly populated by Chinese people. You can go there very easily by MRT and experience a China-like atmosphere. If you really want to see the way some locals live, have a stroll around People’s Park Complex. It is a huge shopping complex – not very beautiful, but at least it will give you a taste of locals’ daily lives.

What is there to do in Chinatown?

Visit the area to begin with. When you step out of the MRT, simply walk around. Do not stay only on Pagoda Street (which is the most “touristy” street), but instead do feel free to take a turn and go into Mosque street, Temple street… Among Chinatown’s must-do, do not miss out on the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple (an Indian temple in Chinatown! That’s Singapore’s melting pot!), and of course the Chinatown Heritage Center – a wonderful Museum that will tell you everything about how Chinese migrants settled in Singapore. Also don’t forget to look up once in a while to admire ancient shophouses and Chinese lanterns!

Eat of course!! Hawker food in chinatown is not bad, I particularly enjoy their noodles. Try “food street” (which is actually Smith street) at night, or you can also go further to Maxwell Center too, where they serve excellent Chicken Rice !! However if you prefer to sit in a restaurant and enjoy the aircon, there are many restaurants in the area that you can choose from. A personal favourite would be Kok Sen Coffee Shop, on Keong Saik Road – their Chicken Claypot is simply to die for !!

Food street at night

And shop!! In Chinatown you will find lots of decorative objects and fun things for tourists to bring back to their home country… chopsticks, key chains, small buddha statues, scarves and so on. But you can also find Chinese medicine and herbs (check out Eu Yan Sang for instance), or refined jewellery and antiques on South Bridge Road. Other shopping options include chinese dresses (“cheong sams”) or tea. There are also a few designer boutiques if you go further to Ann Siang Road and Club Street, not too far away.

So don’t just walk through Pagoda Street and say there is nothing to see in Chinatown… you will soon find out this area is more interesting than you thought!

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East Coast Park


This is a post I have been wanting to write for a while! East Coast Park is definitely one of my favourite places in Singapore, and it shows perfectly how surprising Singapore can sometimes be.

Many people think Singapore is covered with skyscrapers. But few know that there is a beach where you can enjoy satay sticks, barbecue, camp, rent a bike, fish and do watersports… all of these in East Coast Park!

East Coast Park is a park on East Coast beach, in the Southeastern area of Singapore. It’s a great place to have a stroll on a lazy Sunday.

If you have time, you definitely should rent a bike (or a tandem!) for an hour or two. It is quite cheap and very, very nice to ride a bike by the sea. The path can actually lead you quite far out in the direction of Changi airport!

Also, if you would like to escape from the urban atmosphere for a while, you can do it the Singaporean way!! Go camping in East Coast Park! There are spots allocated for you to plant your tent, and no need to worry about infrastructures, there are plenty of CLEAN showers and toilets around.

As for food (what else?), I strongly recommend you go to East Coast Lagoon Food Village. They have good satay sticks there (see Local delicacies), and also a personal favourite, Oyster Omelet! Not everyone likes it, but I really do. And it’s pretty safe too, as oysters in Singapore are usually fresh.

Oyster omelet and fresh coconut. What a treat!

And let’s not forget watersports! You can go sailing from East Coast Park, and also waterskiing and wakeboarding. I’m sure you didn’t know about that 🙂

Time to plan your outing! Check out some more information and go have fun!!

Little India


Among Singapore’s must do areas, Little India is absolutely worth visiting. To me, Little India is the perfect place if you want to have a taste and feel of India! Here are my favourite things to do around colourful Serangoon Road.

1. Have dinner at Khansama restaurant, at the junction between Serangoon Road and Norris road. The food is excellent, the staff very friendly and prices are affordable. If you cannot really eat spicy food they can tune it down for you. And if you do not live in Singapore and are used to Indian best sellers only (like Butter Chicken or Tandoori) you will be amazed by the length of the menu… Go on, try new dishes!!

2. Wander inside Mustafa department store and hunt for bargains. Mustafa centre sells books, CDs, DVDs, electronic goods, footwear, clothing, food, house appliances… basically everything. And this is precisely what makes it fun, you can find anything there!! It’s clearly a low budget department store, so I wouldn’t recommend to go there if you are looking for high-end quality objects. However, you should go there at least once to feel the atmosphere.

3. Experience the Indian crowd on a Sunday night… if you are looking for a real foretaste of India, Sunday night is the best option. Crowds are out, shops’ products are on display in the streets, fragrances invade the streets, women wear colourful sarees…

                         

4. Visit Hindu temples and learn more about Hindu deities! Check out Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman or Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India. But there are many other hindu temples in Singapore of course.

5. Take a stroll around the area when Deepavali lights are out. What a treat!! Deepavali (or Diwali) is the Indian festival of lights. It is a public holiday in Singapore which takes place at the end of October.

6. Enjoy an Indian breakfast! Dosai, chapatis, dahl… served altogether with masala chai, and there you go, a typical Indian breakfast right in the heart of Singapore!!

Of course when strolling around Little India you have to be ready to step into the Indian atmosphere for a while 🙂 But then again, Singapore is diverse and has a lot to offer, so you might as well go for it and live different types of experiences!!

And you, what are your favourite places in Little India?

Haji Lane


I decided not to write about the major « must-do » places in Singapore (Marina Bay Sands, Sentosa, The Singapore Eye, The Raffles Hotel…) to begin with. I’d much rather share my personal experience of the city and write about the places I like most.

One of my favourite areas is definitely Haji Lane. It’s a tiny alley buzzing with energy and new ideas, where entrepreneur and artists of all ages start their own shop, a place where you can simply walk around and enjoy the atmosphere, while having a look at outlets’ fashionable and original products on display… and who knows ? You might just end up buying the item you had been looking for for a long time !

Why don’t most tourists stop by Haji Lane ?

Well you see, when you are stopping over in Singapore for a few days, guidebooks and travelling websites will recommend you to go to Arab Street to experience the “muslim district” by the mosque, but few will really tell you about the charming lane hidden between Arab Street and Bali Lane (where the Blu Jazz Cafe is, also quite famous). So as a result, you might end up walking up and down Arab Street, thinking it’s mainly full of touristy shops, and leave a little disappointed. My recommendation : take the time to walk around famous places ! You will discover quaint places that you are bound to love.

What is there to do on Haji Lane?

1. Eat

We all know this is a major subject of interest for both tourists and locals. There are a few eateries on Haji Lane that you might want to check out : the Altazzag serves delicious Egyptian food, the Bistro Parisien will provide you with French-halal food, while Piedra Negra has delicious tapas and mexican delicacies… And they are all really good!

2. Shop

Of course, you will want to shop. Haji Lane is a great place to find original designs and fashionable items, ranging from vintage clothes to home furnishing, women’s accessories and jewellery, books and DVDs, paintings… To me it is the perfect place to search for items you couldn’t find elsewhere.

3. Chill

Coffee and Ice Cream places on Haji Lane are very relaxing and not that expensive. Also, Going Om is one of my favourite spots. It’s a very nicely decorated sheesha place, with decorative paintings on the walls and a very charming second storey too. I definitely recommend it for a chilled outing.

Inside Going Om

For more information on Haji Lane, try this.