How to use free time when in Singapore on business?
August 14, 2007 11:21 PM   Subscribe

In Singapore on business on my own - what to do when you have evenings free and a spare day (Sat) at the end?

I'm off to Singapore for a week to visit a satellite office. I'll be at work during office hours but have the evenings free and I've kept Saturday free as well to do some tourist stuff.

Apart from wanting to visit the Zoo what else can I do in small easy chunks with the time I'll have free?
posted by dasfreak to Travel & Transportation around Singapore (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I know you said you wanted to visit the zoo. I highly, highly recommend the Night Zoo. To get to the zoo is a bit of a drive but they have a bus that will pick you up and drop you off. It is so awesome. Your hotel should be able to hook you up with tickets and transportation.

Singapore is also an excellent culinary melting pot. If I were there for work, I'd make an effort to have a different type of food every night. Chinatown (not just Chinese but also Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese food can be found there), Little India, Malaysian fare. Plenty of seafood. They're famous for pepper crab and chili crab, which is messily delish.

Public transport is cheap and easy, and the city is very condensed so it's easy to get from place to place. I've only been to Singapore once, for a week of work, like you, so I'm sure others will chime in with more ideas, but I loved the week I spent there and hope you do too.
posted by Brittanie at 11:49 PM on August 14, 2007


Seriously, it's an amazing food city, right up there with the majors, and everything's pretty spic and span so you can sample some of the more exciting things in the Asian pantry that you might shy away from at a food stall in a street in Bangkok or Jakarta.

I was in Singapore on business a year ago or so and got some good recommendations for Indian food here, but basically, look for a hawker center and just go for what looks crowded. There's also this awesome NY Times article from Anthony Bourdain from his visit there, from about a year ago. And then there's the exhaustive Makan Time (makan means "eat" in Malay), with all kinds of reviews and the like.

Between meals, I'd suggest checking out the city's ethnic quarters - they'll give you a flavor of the people who make up the country and each have their own charms. The weather should be a little less oppressive at night, so you might see more people out. Also, if you've never seen other examples, check out the Buddhist and Hindu temples and mosques - another reminder of the diversity of the place. The ones listed here on the tourist's office website, I assume, welcome tourists and might even provide tours.

Where are you from and what are you into? That might help others give you some suggestions.

Selamat jalan!
posted by mdonley at 11:59 PM on August 14, 2007


Just your average white Australian :) Food is pretty high on my list - love Asian/Indian so I think I'll do well there.

Not in to clubs, partying. Happy to try different things as well.
posted by dasfreak at 12:27 AM on August 15, 2007

Seconding Night Safari and Eat! (especially Eat!)

If you are into Asian/Indian food, Singapore is heaven. Mmmm... Murtabak washed down with Milo Dinosaur! :D

Even though you don't party (which is good - the discos in Singapore tend to be boring), be sure to enjoy a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel.

And don't forget to enjoy a cocktail while enjoying the breathtaking view at the 'Compass Rose' (Westin Stamford Hotel).

Malaysia and Indonesia are fun, too, but it doesn't sound like you will have enough time to visit them...
posted by stringbean at 1:04 AM on August 15, 2007

I lived in Singapore for two years, and grew up there about two decades ago. All suggestions above are great. I'd add:

Jurong Bird Park. World class

Holland Village. Smaller shopping and great food. Check out some of the HDB public housing for some great food. Paris Silk store for electronics. Betting prices than Orchard Road.

Little India.

Sentosa Island. Touristy, but good history.

Goodwood Hotel (I think that was the name). On Scott's Road I believe. Ex headquarters of the Japanese Intelligence during WWII (again, if I remember correctly). Nice for dinner and a hotel with character.

Singapore is fantastic. Food is excellent. Shopping is excellent.
posted by rryan at 3:42 AM on August 15, 2007

Agreed with EVERYONE about good food. If you're adventurous, try the following:

Breakfast at Far East Plaza Basement (next to Goodwood Hotel) - a store called Ya Kun Kaya Toast. Order a blazing hot strong coffee or tea, and a plate of kaya toast. It's coconut jam, and is awesome. Devour.

Snack at Old Chang Kee. They have these little yellow open air vendors at Far East Plaza as well as outside Ngee Ann City. 2 words: Curry Puffs. Devour.

Newton Hawker Centre is great, but don't get fleeced by the hawkers, go to the stalls and pick what you want, don't let them take your orders. Take note of prices and make sure the seafood you buy isn't $24 per 100g but $24 per kilo. True story.

Basement of CK Tangs Department store has a very cool food area too. Try a fresh sugar cane juice with lime squeezed in, and some local Kueh (desserty cakes).

Ngee Ann City also has an impressive basement food court. Try fried carrot cake (savory, yummy, just do it). Try some iced desserts. Try and Japanese Octopus Balls.

Food you absolutely must try, that you can't get in Australia (or at least you can't get good versions of, and in addition to stated above which are things I always hit FIRST):

Go to Little India and get Thosai/Dosai. Also try Vadai, A-puhm and Puthumayam (usually only available in mornings).

Every version of Roti Prata to be HAD. This includes with fruit, with condensed milk, with curry, with potato... It is everyone's OMG THIS IS AMAZING food. promise.

Kueh Lapis. This is a kind of layered cake that is absolutely amazing. A store called Bengawan Solo does a heavenly one, but in Wisma Atria Shopping Cenre there is a vendor in the basement that does it too, next to McDonalds.


I know i've gone a bit crazy on the food, so here goes the rest.

If you're into nice architecture and the such, do check out the new Esplanade area, where you can stroll by the river by the giant Merlion, check out the new arts precinct, and gaze at the gorgeous Fullerton Hotel.

Raffles Hotel is breathtakingly beautiful. I want to get married in there. So is Chijmes, across the road.

Attractions wise, the zoo, the Night Safari, the Jurong Bird Park and Sentosa (day trip best) is all good.

Also suggested - the Changi Prison Museum. Very very good museum depicting war stuff, if you're into that kind of thing. If your tour guide is a big old Indian man with a turban and a huge tummy, tell him his niece in Australia sent you. :)

Chinatown and Little India is good, as is Arab St for silks and pashminas if you're into that kind of thing. Most of the art museums in Singapore are outstanding too.

You didn't say if you were into shopping, but if you are, I have a 2 page help list I give friends who are visiting Singapore.

I hope you have a great time, Singapore is a gorgeous (if a bit sterile) city and the food is second to none, and I've been almost everywhere. Do a mix of fine dining and hawker stalls, you won't be disappointed.
posted by miz brown at 7:26 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I forgot to say - almost EVERYTHING is open in Singapore till at least 9pm every night if not later, so knock yourself out with everything on my above list post work hours. The only ones you need day times to do are the attractions!
posted by miz brown at 7:27 AM on August 15, 2007

As mentioned, above - eat. Eat a lot.
The zoo is also great by day.
Check out with sophisticated clubs and lounge bars around Charles Quay.
posted by ye#ara at 7:28 AM on August 15, 2007


I just had another thought about something you can do that generally blows people away in Singapore.

I'm not sure how into electronics and computers you are, but if you like 'em, you must must check out Sim Lim Square, an entire mall of little shops selling the latest gadgets at great prices. They have everything from serious audio equipment to computers, laptops, software, cameras, video cameras, any kind of equipment anyone could ever want. It's about 7 levels, and is an utterly jaw dropping experience.

Mr Brown is into IT and everytime we're in Singapore, he starts quivering with excitement over going there "just to check things out". It's open till 9pm every night too, and is just a 10 min walk from Little India.

HTH! Again! :)
posted by miz brown at 5:01 PM on August 15, 2007

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