Noodlies, Sydney food and travel blog has just come back from a Singapore and if you think there’s nothing to do on the island, you’re wrong. Admittedly it was a quick four nights, but gosh, noodlies managed to fit in an exhaustive itinerary. Here’s a sample of my action packed first 24 hours in Singapore…
7:30pm: My Scoot TZ1 flight from Sydney to Singapore arrives and I’m out of the airport and check in to my hotel, The Sultan by 8.30pm.
The Sultan boutique hotel is at the door step of Kampong Glam, the Malay-Arab cultural precinct (more about the area later).
9:30pm: “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” said Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ play, A Streetcar Named Desire. Noodlies kinda follows the same philosophy. By 9.30pm, Zina a stunningly gorgeous food blogger from Sydney, now climbing the corporate ladder in Singapore, whisks me away to a trendy new bar, The Vault (237 South Bridge Rd). The name is not surprising when you know the site used to be a bank. It’s a cavernous two-story bistro, bar with high ceiling and exposed brick work.
The music is hip, hypnotic beats carefully stopping short of being dancy. We chat, gossip, sipping vodka, lime and soda and graze from a platter of savoury snacks, which I’m too drunk to recall, was there some sort of beef cubes involved? I do remember she had on a stunningly revealing, but elegant white dress and everywhere she went heads turned. I provided a daggy contrast in old jeans and a well travelled brown shirt with dark brown stitching.
11:30pm: Zina kindly drops me back to the hotel before she disappears back to her condo which she shares with three French boys.
9:30am: After a light, hot breakfast at The Sultan, I navigate the impossibly easy MRT train system from Lavender to Marina Bay MRT station. I’m keen to get there by 10am when the new ArtScience Museum, in the Marina Bay Sands area opens beat the queues for Andy Warhol, 15 Minutes Eternal. This exhibition features over 260 paintings, drawings, sculptures, film, and video of the legendary artist’s works, marking the first time such an extensive collection is exhibited in Singapore.
12pm: And while I’m in the area, I check out the new Gardens by the Bay. It’s a major government initiative to turn Singapore into a greener city and features a garden for each of the major ethnic groups as well as stunning features such as the Supertrees, Cloud forest dome and flower dome.
By 2pm, I”m famished. I head for Singapore Zam Zam. They’ve been making murtabak for over 100 years from the same location, opposite the Sultan Mosque in the fascinating Kampong Glam area. They claim to make the best murtabak in Singapore. Their longevity is not surprising, the double-fronted eatery is packed with a steady flow of diners and take away trade.
3pm: Kampong Glam is the Malay-Arab cultural precinct. Once the historic seat of Malay royalty in Singapore, Kampong Glam is a golden ethnic enclave known for it’s depth in architecture, exotic ornaments, hip finds and chic goods. The old Royal Palace, the Sultan Mosque and the Tombs of the Malayan Princes can all be found in this area. As is Haji Lane which will excite shoppers with a taste for independent fashion boutiques and quirky goods.
5pm: Just a few minutes walk away from the Kampong Glam area is the Bugis Street Market. In the 1950s, Bugis Street was renowned internationally for its flamboyantly dressed transvestites and a wide variety of cheap hawker food. Today, Bugis Street is home to almost 600 shops, and is the largest street shopping location in Singapore, from fashionable clothing and accessories to beauty services and hair salons.
6pm: I’ve been buying up big at both Kampong Glam and Bugis Street Market and I stop briefly at the hotel to drop off the shirts and custom perfumes. And head off for Chinatown, where more markets awaits. The precinct is as old as Singapore itself and apart from markets you’ll find an endless number of restaurants and eateries for all budgets. I stop by at the Chinatown Heritage Centre to get a better understanding of Chinese migrants in Singapore. It’s spread over several terrace houses and the recreation of old Chinese homes and factories in old Singapore is fascinating.
8pm: By now, I’m famished. Tian Tian Hainanese Rice at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre is rated by many as Singapore’s best, including Anthony Bourdain. Sadly, around 8pm on this Saturday night, it was closed. No problems, I head for Maxwell Hainanese Chicken. You can’t go to Singapore and not have the chicken!
9pm: I’m back at the hotel, exhausted, but have had such a packed and exhilarating time. Oh, and despite all the snacking, all that walking and catching public transport have helped me to shed a few pounds too.
Still, I’m ready for another 24 hours… just need some sleep…
This noodlies, Sydney food and travel blog Singapore experience is courtesy of the Singapore Tourism Board.