Singapore is known for its many iconic attractions like The Merlion or the Flower Dome, but its local gems that are not widely known, can be a charm too! Check out this 6-days non-touristy itinerary for that authentic and fun travelling experience in Singapore.
Kickstart your local experience in Singapore with a traditional local breakfast! A breakfast set usually consists of Kaya butter toast, soft boiled eggs and a cup of freshly brewed local coffee. Visitors are often bewildered by the way locals eat this as it requires the dipping of the toast into the eggs.
Want to give it a try? First simply crack open the soft-boiled eggs and scoop every single content into the bowl. Add a little bit of dark soy sauce and pepper. Stir it. Then dip your toast into the mixture and voila! You’re eating breakfast like the locals!
Another issue visitors face is the coffee lingo when ordering coffee in Singapore. So, before you order your coffee, here are some terms you’d need to know to help you order that coffee you’d actually want:
Kopi–Kosong (Just plain black coffee with no sugar and milk)
Kopi (Coffee with condensed milk)
Kopi-O (Coffee with sugar but without condensed milk)
Kopi-C (Cofee with sugar and evaporated milk)
Kopi-O-Gau (Strong black Coffee with sugar)
Teh (Milk Tea)
Teh-O (Tea without milk)
If you’d like to try Singapore’s iconic breakfast, you can consider the following local chain stores: Yakun, ToastBox and Killiney. No matter where you stay, we are confident that you would be able to find one near your lodging! If you’re more of the cultural buff, you can consider visiting Heap Seng Leong, a coffee shop that still preserves the 1950s setting!
After filling your stomach, it’s time to explore the heartlands of Singapore! Take a trip down to Tiong Bahru, one of the oldest residential area in Singapore, to get a peek into the locals’ daily lifestyle. Stroll around and you’d see HDB flats with interesting architectures and designs. Walk more and you’d be able to find independent shops selling local pastries, so do pop by and try some! If you’re still there during lunch time, you can have some popular local food like Chwee Kueh, Lor Mee, Roasted Duck Rice or Prawn Noodles, at the Tiong Bahru Market Hawker Centre.
If there’s still time, why not explore more and head down to Toa Payoh, another matured residential town in the northern part of the central region of Singapore. You can find even more fascinating sculptures like the Dragon Pillar at Block 91, Lorong 3 Toa Payoh. Guess it’s time for that Instagram picture! If you like visiting local temples, the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery, a Buddhist monastery, would be the best one in Toa Payoh because of its long history.
If you’re a foodie looking to try more local foods around Singapore, check out LocoMole’s Hawker trail!
After a long day of walking around the neighborhoods, let’s go to one of the popular night spots of Singapore that isn’t Clark Quay. The Hai Bin is a 24/7 destination where many locals love to go for some prawning (prawn fishing). Don’t be surprise to see a crowd as youngsters tend to come in groups to pass time!
For dinner, make your way to the Punggol East Container Park, only a mere walking distance from Hai Bin. It is also a highly recommended dinner place in Singapore for those who loves alfresco dining. If you’re craving for some fish and crisps, do check out “Big fish, Small fish”, one of the many humble eateries there.
Morning & Afternoon
It’s the day of island visiting! Grab your cap, sunglasses, sunblock and water because you’re going to one of the most popular outlying islands – Pulau Ubin. Head to the Changi Point Ferry Terminal and take a 15 minutes ferry ride straight to the island. Upon reaching, you can rent a bicycle to explore the island on your own.
If you have no idea where to go, head to Check Jawa Wetlands, a well preserved nature reserve where you can observe mangroves, seagrass lagoon, coral rubble and many more! Visitors may even get to see wild boars if they are “lucky” enough! Remember to wear shades and cap if you are going in the afternoon as Singapore’s sun can get quite merciless at times!
Spending a day under the hot sun can be very draining, so let’s end the day by chilling with a movie! Instead of the mainstream movie theatres, why not try out a retro movie theatre, The Projector. Located in the Golden Mile Tower, this hidden gem showcases indie & foreign films with snacks and beer.
Start your morning by enjoying some Nonya Kueh at Kim Choo Kueh Chang. Famous for its Nonya Kueh, Kim Choo is now helmed by the third generation. Started off by Kim Choo, the matriarch of the house, who sold Peranakan rice dumplings, it has now expanded to provide an array of Peranakan Snacks. Visitors can consider trying the famous Nonya Rice Dumplings, Ang Ku Kueh and the Kueh Lapis.
Now that your belly is filled, head down to Kampong Glam, a thriving art and cultural scene in Singapore! Take a walk down Arab Street where you’d be embraced by colorful shophouses selling textiles and souvenirs. Don’t miss out the Sultan Mosque, an iconic landmark of that district. If you’d like to do some shopping, head down to Haji Lane where you can find independent local boutiques, or Bugis Street where you can find very affordable apparels!
Discover more cultural scenes by joining a walking tour to explore Joo Chiat and Katong. If you’re a hands-on person, you can consider participating in the Peranakan Beadworks Workshop to explore Peranakan traditional craft. Be sure to look out for these colorful Peranakan Houses and The Red House to take a photo with!
The Red House became a historical landmark of Singapore due to its vibrant outlook in the midst of dull greyish buildings during the development stages of Singapore. The Red House used to house Katong’s famous confectionary and bakery which is sadly replaced by Heavenly Wang, a cafe selling local cuisine. After exploring the Katong Area, Visitors can make their way towards the Peranakan Museum which is located in the Central of Singapore to learn more about the Peranakan Culture. Over there, visitors get to understand the history and origin of Peranakan and its religious practices.
After a cultural tour in the afternoon, you can unwind at Timbre X @ Substation, a bar with live band music located a stone’s throw away from the Peranakan Museum. Do give their Roasted Duck Pizza and Kirin Beer a try!
Of course, you can’t miss the beautiful night city skyline, so take a walk down the Helix Bridge, an iconic structure at the Marina Bay Sands. This is the very bridge that North Korea’s President, Kim Jong Un walked on. Of course, when you’re there, you have got to see The Merlion too!
Morning & Afternoon
Fancy some unique and fun activity to do in the morning? Try Kayak Fishing at Sentosa Cove and experience the most thrilling way to catch a fish! And since you’re already at Sentosa, why not explore the sunny island and have a picnic at the Siloso beach after?
In the afternoon, it’s time to head towards the Universal Studio, a wonderland for both the adults and kids! Depending on the period that you arrive, you may not need to get an express ticket. Only get it if you are travelling during the peak season or your visit happen to clash with Singapore’s school holidays. If not, it is generally not recommended as the queues can be really fast during non-peak days. For those thrill seekers, be sure to check out The Transformers and the BattleStar.
After enjoying the rides, you may want to stay on longer to enjoy the after-hours shows brought to you by the Universal Studio. Visitors may enjoy the HollyWood Dreams Light Up Parade, Live Band and fireworks if you are lucky enough. The Fireworks Display is only available on Saturday and on selected Public Holiday.
Chinatown in Singapore is a popular destination amongst tourists but the street arts are often overlooked. Take a trip down to Chinatown for your local breakfast at Nanyang Old Coffee Shop before embarking on your journey to find the artwork by our very own local artist, Yip Yew Chong. If you’d need a mobile guide, you can check out LocoMole’s Yip Yew Chong’s Street Art Trail where users get to visit 13 different murals, featuring snippets of Singapore’s history and get to interact with it through LocoMole’s interactive augmented reality.
Home to the early Indian Migrants, many Indians resided in Little India during the colonial period of Singapore. Many of these Indians, were Chettairs who were a sub-group of the Tamil community from India. These Chettairs were the first group of moneylenders in Singapore as only the Europeans were able to secured loans from banks during the colonial days. Hence, these Chettairs played an important role in developing Singapore’s economy.
In Little India, be sure to visit the iconic Mustafa Shopping Center. Many locals and tourist love to shop here for its cheap prices, and more importantly, it operates 24 hours, hence, allowing you to get your essentials at any time of the day. For lunch, try the famous fish head curry at Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant. As the name suggest, your food would be served on banana leaf, giving off its strong aroma.
Just before the sky gets dark, simply download Locomole’s walking trail of the Little India ArtWalk to explore the hidden stories behind these murals and snap a picture with it for free!
If you’re here without kids and want to have a night filled with alcohol and dance, head to Marquee, a new remarkable nightclub! Don’t be surprised to see a three-stories tall slide and a ferris wheel!
But if you want to spend the night somewhere kids-friendly, you can consider Holey Moley, an indoor mini golf course where you’d have a fun time challenging your friends! Pair it your favourite snacks and drinks served at the bar counter and let the game begin.
On your last day, let’s visit a very intriguing part of Singapore! The Haw Par Villa will be a, one of the kind theme park that you’d ever know. Built in 1937, the well-preserved gem consists of pictures and sculptures depicting the Chinese mythology. It is where you’d be able to learn about Confucianism teachings too.
If you’d want a leisure afternoon on your last day, you can consider grabbing a good book for yourself to read back home! The Books Actually is famous for its local literature, hence its popularity amongst local readers. Be sure to grab a book published from Math Paper Press, which is a local publisher, to learn more about stories of ordinary Singaporeans. If you are daring enough, you can definitely buy the book off its vending machine right outside the shop. Yes, all the books are wrapped up so that readers would not “judge the book by its cover” literally.
If you’re not so much of a reader and prefer playing games, there is board game café that you can go to for a cup of drink, a bowl of snacks and a game! Head down to the Mind Café with your friends or even hostel buddies to escape the afternoon sun.
Before heading back home, enjoy your last dinner in Singapore at a famous zichar restaurant – Por Kee Eating House. A famous dinning place amongst the locals, be sure to order its iconic dishes, the Champagne pork ribs, Homemade Beancurd, Cereal Prawns and Crispy Butter Prawns!