Weekend tripping: Singapore in 24 hours
Hop next door
One of the best parts about travelling to our neighbours down south is: it is a mere 45-minute flight away. Of course, there is no way to see all that Singapore has to offer in 24 hours, but plan your trip right and you will get the best out of a short yet fulfilling weekend getaway.
9am: Breakfast at Tiong Bahru. Find the best of old and new Singapore in this eclectic neighbourhood. For a delish dose of local hawker fare, head to Tiong Bahru Market food centre on Seng Poh Road and get a serving of chwee kueh from the Jian Bo Shui Kueh stall. You might want to save some space though, as Tiong Bahru Bakery is just a short walk away. Famed for their artisanal bakes, an almond croissant coupled with a cup of latte here will make for a delightful and very satisfying bite.
10am: Walk it off. After all that food, it is probably a good idea to take a nice, slow stroll through the charming Tiong Bahru hood. Other than great cafes, there are also plenty of interesting and unique specialty shops to explore. Wander your way to Yong Siak Street. My personal favourite gems on this street are Strangelets, a design shop filled with a mish mash of beautiful and quirky things (great place for gifts!) and BooksActually, an independent bookstore specialising in fiction and literature, including a handful of rare and out-of-print titles.
12.30pm: Lunch with a view. Before you soak in the rich history and art on display at National Gallery Singapore, immerse in a contemporary dining experience at Aura Restaurant. Located in the new visual arts institution, the restaurant features an elegant and modern interior overseeing a beautiful city skyline. On the menu, you'll find a variety of classic Italian cuisine, from antipasto to wholesome mains—all made with the finest, freshest ingredients from the land and the sea.
2.00pm: A bit of culture. Fuelled with energy from lunch, it is the perfect time to explore the National Gallery Museum. Aside from the stunning beauty and architecture of the building, which was formerly the Supreme Court and City Hall of Singapore, the Gallery houses the largest public collection of modern art in Southeast Asia. Reflecting Singapore's unique heritage, the permanent and special exhibitions will consist of Singapore and Southeast Asian art from Singapore's National Collection, alongside a changing line up of exhibitions.
4.00pm: Head outdoors. One of the best places to take in the beauty of lush greenery and floral displays in Singapore? Gardens by the Bay should be on any visitor's must-visit list. Marvel at the impressive supertrees—measuring between 25 and 50 metres tall, these iconic structures are dressed in more that 200 species and varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers, and (11 of them) are embedded with environmentally sustainable functions to harvest solar energy. If the heat is outside is too much for you to take, escape into the Cloud Forest, an enchanting indoor mountain world veiled in mist and surrounded by diverse vegetation and flowers.
Alternatively, and for the more adventurous souls, cycling and other sporting activities at East Coast Park will make for an afternoon well spent too.
6pm: Fun dining. Potato Head Folk at Keong Saik Road doesn't just serve great gourmet burgers, it pulls you right in with its eclectic, fun and whimsical space. Filled with quirky hand painted murals and curated art pieces, complete with vintage furniture, the Three Buns Dining Kitchen on the second floor is a great place for dinner. Try the Krabby Patty and/or Truff Ryder burgers. Trust us, after the meal, you will be a very happy camper indeed. If time permits, hit the rooftop and enjoy a cocktail or two with the sights and sounds of Chinatown in company.
8.00pm: Retail therapy. Find most (if not all) of your favourite brands under one roof at ION Orchard. Besides the usual culprits, you will find a couple of names that are not available in KL and well worth a visit, such as local brand In Good Company, Alice + Olivia and COS. If shopping is not quite your thing, there are two art galleries, ION Art and Opera Gallery, on the top floor of the complex that might pique your interest.
9.30pm: An early supper. No trip is complete without an abundance of good food, and in this case, with a spectacular view to boot. Tickle your taste buds with palate pleasers by celebrity chef Luke Mangan at Salt Grill & Sky Bar. Book your spot here 218 metres up in the clouds, as this ION Sky establishment at level 55/56 promises good food and a wonderful panoramic view of the Singapore city skyline at night.
11pm: The drinks continue. For unique, creative cocktails infused with local ingredients, Martini Bar at Mezza9, Grand Hyatt Singapore (just down the road from ION) is the place to be. Cocktails like Pandantini, Bandungtini, Milotini, and even Pisangtini are sure to strike a chord with your tastebuds. For the non-alcoholic peeps, clink your glasses with a competition-winning drink by bartender Rosanna Mercado: the Golden Harvest mocktail (fresh mango juice, peach syrup and vanilla). This delicious mocktail beat seven other mocktail entries in the final round of the SG50 "A Toast to the Nation" competition held in 2014—your night will definitely end on a sweet note.