Emerald Hill


A few weeks back, I was looking for a place to grab a beer with some friends visiting in Singapore. Someplace casual, easy to access, and not (too) expensive… so I scratched my head… and thought of Emerald Hill !!

I don’t know whether you are familiar with this area, but to me the first time I went there was really a good surprise and it has been one of my favourite spots in Singapore ever since.

Contrasted Singapore

Contrasts of Old & New Singapore

The first great thing about Emerald Hill is that it’s super conveniently located just off Orchard Road. It’s a few steps away from Somerset MRT and the mall 313@Somerset.

The second great thing is that as soon as you turn into this uphill street you forget that you’re on Orchard Road! The place is peaceful, green, quiet… and it’s only shophouses and traditional Chinese mansions. It’s truly amazing, in all honesty!!

Emerald Hill

Atmosphere on Emerald Hill

There are a few outlets here, mainly bars and restaurants. Their deco is also really nice. The one on the picture above is traditional Chinese with red lanterns lit, but there are also more Westernised places like Que Pasa, a Spanish tapas bar with a really wide selection of wines. I personnally like Que Pasa, with a quiet alfresco area, and a quaint deco inside, with wine bottles on the wall and authentic wooden tables…

Emerald Hill evening sky

Clear skies tonight

Overall, Emerald Hill is a good spot when you feel like trying something else for an evening out in Singapore. Clarke Quay and Club Street are great nightlife spots, but I feel after a while you sort of grow out of it…

I would strongly recommend Emerald Hill for a relaxing night out. However if you prefer sitting outside, it’s usually quite crowded so you should go there early!

Green Emerald HillGreen Singapore at night

Isn’t it nice to keep discovering hidden places… sometimes you think you’ve seen it all, and yet a new place is just round the corner! 🙂

The Arts Science Museum


One thing about Singapore is that you have many many many malls… and fewer opportunities to access world-renowned art exhibitions. I’m not saying that there are no art exhibitions, just that when something worthwhile is out, it’s good to go have a look!

This week-end we decided to go see the expo “The Art of the Brick” at the Arts Science Museum.

The Art of The Brick

It was my first time inside the Arts Science Museum – you know, the flower-shaped building right next to Marina Bay Sands hotel. My first thought was that it’s a bit strange to have to walk through MBS to access the museum (either this or you have to swim across the river!), but maybe that’s just me being an non-Singaporean again 🙂 given that back where I used to live, museums are very rarely associated to hotels or shopping malls…

The Singapore Artscience Museum

I had heard of the “lego expo” through some friends who recommended it, so I thought I’d give it a try. I must admit I was a little put off by the price (15S$), but then again maybe I’m a little spoilt, since I’m used to free entrance to museums back in France…

But once I was inside, it was really quite interesting!! It’s amazing to see how much work the artist, Nathan Sawaya, has put into these pieces… Each art piece is at least a few thousands pieces of lego bricks and a few months of work! And the result is breathtaking!

The thinker - lego version

A blue man lost in his thoughts…

Breaking free

Breaking free… love this piece!!

There were also places in the exhibitions where you could try to build your own lego art masterpiece, which was fun! And it definitely encourages creativity and makes you realize what the artist is doing really takes some sense of perspective and a whole lot of patience… Not to mention knowledge of the human anatomy and body proportions, which it seems Nathan masters perfectly!

What I really liked is that the artist explored a variety of themes, and was really poetic about the way he presented it. I’m not a good art critic but I spent a great afternoon 🙂 Thank you Nathan!

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This visit also got me thinking… Why is it that in Singapore visitors like to leave with a picture of themselves? When we entered the expo we were asked to pose in front of a giant blank page holding a giant pencil, so that they could take a picture of us, and sell it to us of course.

I would think these are takeaways aimed at tourists, but it’s actually meant for locals! In the same way, there was an empty seat next to the blue-thinker-man, so that you can take a picture next to him…

Surprising – to me – but also quite fun if you get into the game!! … I guess maybe it’s a cultural thing 🙂 And I must admit sometimes I like to be part of this photo-photo game myself !!

Singapore’s colonial heritage


You might be thinking, like many, that Singapore destroyed most of its old buildings to make way for skyscrapers and office towers… and that Singapore is something like this:

But can you spot the low old-looking building right in front of the towers? That’s the Fullerton Hotel. One of Singapore’s many colonial buildings that still exist today… Did you know that the Fullerton Hotel walls were built in 1928? That’s how old some pieces of history are in Singapore. It was once the Singapore Chamber of Commerce, before it opened as a hotel in 2001.

Another masterpiece of Singapore’s colonial heritage is the Raffles Hotel. It was in 1887 that it first opened its doors… and at that time it had only 10 rooms! And did you know that people say this is where the last tiger of Singapore was shot dead? In 1902 in the Bar & Billiard room…

Still today, the Raffles Hotel remains an iconic landmark of Singapore. You can go have a walk inside the hotel and have a look at the luxury shopping boutiques. The inside courtyard is also splendidly taken care of, and you can really feel the luxury and long history of the site when you wander around for a while. Of course, you shouldn’t miss out on the Long Bar, THE most famous place to have a Singapore Sling in Singapore… And you shouldn’t miss out on the Raffles Museum either !!

Last but not least, I would like to share with you one of my favourite things about Singapore… shophouses. They are a heritage of Singapore’s colonial era. Their structure is very simple : a shop or restaurant on the ground floor and a comfortable living space above. To give you a better idea of what they look like, here are some pictures:

Aren’t they beautiful? My favourite shophouses are located on East Coast Road. Their colours and detailed sculpted facades are simply gorgeous. You can find them basically anywhere in Singapore, like in Chinatown, Little India, or downtown around the Raffles Hotel, like on Purvis Street for instance.

Needless to say, Singapore has many hidden treasures. And unlike what people may think, she is still taking care of leftover pieces of her very valuable history!! The URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) is the organisation in charge of preserving this beautiful heritage.