Singapore may be a small island but it’s big on variety. Each neighbourhood has its own character, charm and history, and before you start listing the regular must-sees, consider diving into the city as locals who live here do. You’ll capture the essence of the Singapore experience and make some great discoveries along the way.
On the eastern side of the city, Siglap is a quiet area dotted with a number of super cool cafes, restaurants and quaint shops. Just 20 minutes from the CBD, it’s a popular suburb with many expats who have relocated to Singapore for work and has a very laid back vibe. It’s a great spot to grab an expert foot massage or invigorating shoulder rub from some of the many spas that line the main road.
Also on the eastern side of town, Joo Chiat is where you’ll find the colourful, heritage shophouses and unique stores. It’s traditionally home to the Peranakan culture; the Chinese or Straits-born Chinese who travelled from the Malay archipelago to settle in Singapore. Named after Chew Joo Chiat who was a wealthy Chinese land-owner in the early 20th century. Great place to find some traditional dishes such as chap chye (stewed vegetables) and babi pongteh (braised pork with fermented soya beans).
The Singapore River has a life all its own. One of the most popular areas to take in the riverside lifestyle is at Robertson Quay. Filled with so many dining options, from fine cuisine to cafes and nightclubs, it’s where all the action is. Once the main artery for Singapore’s shipping trade, it’s now the place to catch up with friends, or enjoy a romantic evening out with someone special. The perfect spot to take in balmy Singapore evenings.
Locals regularly indulge in the huge variety of dining options at Holland Village, and with foodie choices covering Indian, Japanese, Chinese, bakeries, cafes and the 2AM Dessert Bar (above), it’s no wonder. In spite of its name and a rather large windmill on the main street, the area got its name from an early colonial resident.
You know these neighbourhoods are great because they’re favourites with locals, expats and tourists alike. It’s not surprising that so many make the move and relocate to Singapore more permanently, the lifestyle is fabulous. Should you want to make your visit more permanent, check out local specialists PropertyGuru for the rundown on the best neighbourhoods in Singapore to make a home.
Images courtesy Singapore Tourism Board.