Agh so many blog posts to write but no time because I’m busy exploring, relaxing, painting, meeting people, eating and more! I am getting so much out of this trip both in terms of experiences but also new relationships and creative ideas and so I’ve been making sure I have space for all of these things. Still, I have so much to tell you! It’s been another few weeks since my last post where I shared my first highlights of my few days in Singapore. There were too many for one post so here’s the follow-up.
My accommodation, Bohemian Chic Hostel, was in Chinatown which seems to be where a lot of the budget and backpacker/hostel accommodation is. It’s a great part of town to stay in as there is plenty to see, a lot of the central sights are within walking distance, and there’s plenty of food and souvenir shops too. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is beautiful and covers four floors – I loved walking around the main hall and going up to the rooftop orchid garden. Sri Mariamman Hindu temple also looks impressive, but I didn’t actually go in as there was a ceremony going on and I didn’t want to intrude. Smith Street has a lot of souvenir stalls as did the indoor market, but I was distracted by all of the food! The hawker centre inside the indoor market houses the first hawker stall to receive a Michelin star for their Hainanese chicken rice which I’ve written more about in this post on Singapore Food & Drink. There are also loads of food options on Smith Street also known as Chinatown “Food Street”.
North of Chinatown and about 15 minutes from where I stayed is Clarke Quay which has a number of bars and eateries. If you keep walking you get to the Old Hill Street Police Station which is an old colonial building that now houses the Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. The window frames have been painted in rainbow colours which I found really striking. I spent a bit of time reading the information in the small exhibit they have that you can visit for free. Even further along the road is the Central Fire Station which I found pretty impressive too.
The Peranakan Museum, Singapore Art Museum and the National Museum of Singapore are all in the same area of town and so I actually headed that way on my first day in Singapore to kill some time before checking in to my accommodation. Unfortunately both the Peranakan Museum and the Art Museum were closed and so the National Museum was my last hope. Thankfully it was open so I spent plenty of time learning particularly about Singapore’s history as a British Colony and the Japanese occupation after the Second World War.
Outside of the central area there are a few neighbourhoods worth exploring. My favourite was Kampong Glam with its little shops, boutiques and cafes as well as the colourful buildings and street art. Little India was worth a visit too for delicious food, the multicoloured Tan Teng Niah building and while I was there the streets were illuminated for Deepawali (Diwali as we might know it in the UK I believe). The Peranakan houses in the Katong neighbourhood are absolutely stunning and really well maintained (and not far from the Putu Piring hawker stall I recommend in my Singapore Food & Drink post).
Most people rave about Sentosa island, also known as “Fun Island”, home to Singapore’s Universal Studios, big resorts and a number of beaches. If you’re looking for a Florida/Disney-esque experience but on a smaller scale or if you have kids then you’ll love it. Personally, I wasn’t really looking for that for my time in Singapore and so I didn’t spend a huge amount of time there. I found the beaches were quite small and the view out over the ocean was right into a shipping lane as you can imagine given Singapore’s location. Though, to be fair, the gathering thunder clouds probably didn’t help the ambience…
Looking back over these photos it strikes me again just how vibrant and colourful Singapore is and it was such a great place to start my journey with plenty of colour and energy!