Singapore spots to visit that aren’t Universal Studios

I’m back with another solo trip story. After exploring parts of Hong Kong mostly on foot and via train last July, I decided to do it again in Singapore this December.

Some of my friends have told me that Singapore is a small country that you can explore in two to three days. They’re exaggerating, of course. But I admit that it did take me a while to finish my itinerary since I wasn’t going to Universal Studios Singapore (aka, everyone’s go-to tourist destination aside from the Merlion statue). Things worked out though.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the places you can go to by walking and riding the train. (Grab is helpful in SG, too!)

ABC King

This is my “I haven’t eaten since I left Manila at 10 a.m. and it’s already 5 p.m.” nasi goreng meal

This 24-hour Indian-Muslim restaurant along Cavan Road in Kallang has affordable roti and naan dishes, as well as rice meals. It was also right next to my hotel so I would grab iced coffee and roti every morning.

Orchard Central rooftop garden

A relaxing view after checking out the malls along Orchard Road

Orchard Road reminded me of Ortigas Center in Pasig because of the malls and the high-rise buildings in the area. One of the sites I found online was a rooftop garden on the 11th floor of Orchard Central. When you go up, you’ll find a couple restaurants with a view of the city’s skyline. You can also just go to the rooftop and chill for a bit after shopping in the mall.

Tan Teng Niah

Home peg

This colorful Chinese ancestral villa which was built in the 1900s is found along Kerbau Road in Little India. It’s a popular spot for people who want to get tourist-y photos. There’s also a food center right in front where you can get your fill of Indian food.

Veggie curry brunch worth around $2

(Warning: There are pigeons everywhere and they will go on the tables. Don’t try to feed them if you want your samosa to stay in your plate.)

National Museum of Singapore

This building is a piece of art in itself

If you want to dive into Singapore’s rich history, visit the National Museum. Pro tip: Get an all-access ticket so you can check out the permanent exhibits and “An Old New World: From the East Indies to the Founding of Singapore,” which will be there until Jan. 29, 2020. You can also join a guided tour if you’re looking for in-depth information.

National Gallery Singapore

Trippy installation called “Stardust: Soaring Through the Sky’s Embrace” by Filipino artist Mark Justiniani

I’m telling you right now that you need a whole day to explore this art museum. According to our tour guide, the National Gallery houses at least 8,000 pieces of art from Southeast Asia. When I went, the Children’s Biennale was happening so there were art installations and activities meant for young visitors and their parents. Again, get the all-access pass so you can visit all the exhibits.

River cruise

The Merlion and its tourist fanbase

If you don’t want to deal with a lot of people who are trying to take photos by the Merlion in Marina Bay, just get on the river cruise. There are stops in places like Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, and Bayfront. You’ll also get an educational tour on some popular spots in the city, including the Merlion statue, without having to brave traffic and tourist crowds.


Photos by Jacqueline Arias

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