In conjunction with Singapore’s 51st National Day, here’s a tribute to my home country with my 5 favourite local experiences.
#1: Tiong Bahru neighbourhood
Arguably one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Singapore, this area is a melting pot of various experiences that exemplifies the state of changes in our Lion City. You get to explore the burgeoning hipster cafe and restaurant scene, you get to visit the traditional wet market and provision shops along Seng Poh Road. You get to walk around the old public estate (known as Singapore Improvement Trust in the 1930s) that was a hallmark of Singapore’s development… with street art in between.
Yes, very rojak but this is totally what Singapore is about!
#2: A tour around Marina Bay area and Gardens by the Bay
I think the Marina Bay area should be the pride and crown jewel of the city state. Beginning from reclamation of land to the development of the area, we witnessed the planning the integrated resort and set-up of the impressive Gardens by the Bay. If one were to compare the skyline of Marina Bay area 15 years ago to now, you would be impressed by the massive change it has undergone within such a short time frame.
Amidst all the economic endeavors in the area, I particularly enjoy a walk at the Gardens by the Bay. The lush greenery in the heart of our central business district reminds us of the green, garden city vision set by our founding father – the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
#3: Singapore local food experience
The above header is self-explanatory. We Singaporeans love our local food and we pledge unwavering love and support to our local hawkers.
Hawker centres in the central district – Maxwell Food Centre, Amoy Street Food Centre and Satay Club (Lau Pat Sat)
#4: The kampong spirit at Pulau Ubin
Indeed, Singapore is somewhat a concrete jungle today. To get a feel of the old school kampong (Malay village) environment Singapore was in before its vast developments, take a bumboat ride to Pulau Ubin for the rustic beauty of our yesteryears. You can cycle around the island, visit Chek Jawa wetlands and end off the day with seafood dinner on the island.
#5: Nature walks – such as MacRitchie Reservoir and the Southern Ridges
I used to hate cross-country runs at MacRitchie Reservoir but a recent walk at the area changed my impression entirely. I never realised that we have a lush nature sanctuary at MacRitchie that is so different from the rest of the city. We travel all over the world to admire their natural landscapes, only to realise that we actually have a pretty breathtaking one right at our doorstep.
We did a check on NParks website and found out that there are a total of 41 walking trails in Singapore! It’s high time to check out areas like Coney Island, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Dairy Farm Nature Park!
#6: Extra – Water Activities such as wakeboarding, sailing and stand-up paddling!
As a tiny island surrounded by the sea, we have the luxury of chilling by the beach or indulging in water activities such as wakeboarding, sailing or stand-up paddling, without having to spend too much time traveling.
So, here you go – my random top 5 and I haven’t even included Nonya Kuehs, chilli crabs or the museums and art festivals. That list in my heart is honestly exhaustive. Happy Birthday, Singapore! And Happy National Day, fellow Singaporeans!