- Where the Locals Go
Good day, city-lovers! Nellie Huang is a freelance travel writer who wants the world to know about the great city of Singapore.
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Singapore is My City
The first place I take a visitor from out of town is the Esplanade, a state-of-the-art Opera house by Marina bay, before heading right up to New Asia Bar, located on the 70th story of the Swisstôtel, for a full view of the glitzy night view of Singapore.
When I crave durians I always go to the roadside stalls along Geylang Road.
To escape the hustle and bustle of the city, I head to the tranquil Marina Barrage where I can feel the wide spaces yet enjoy the city lights from afar.
If I want to relax I go to the Cliff, an elegant restaurant/bar perched on a cliff in Sentosa Island, overlooking the South China Sea.
For complete quiet, I can hide away under the Acacia trees along Changi Coast Road, where I can see planes taking off right above my head.
If you come to my city, get your picture taken with the famous Orangutans in the Singapore Zoo. They’re notorious for their mischievous stunts and might just play a prank on you!
If you have to order one thing off the menu from Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, it has to be Chilli Crabs. The signature dish of Singapore is all sassy, spicy and finger-licking good. Jumbo is the best place to try it, any local would say so.
Mustafa is my one-stop shop for great bargain buys ranging from electronics to jewelry. It’s a fascinating 24-hour shopping complex right in the heart of Little India. A great place to visit just for the cultural experience!
Locals know to skip the long taxi lines at the airport and use the efficient MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) instead. It’s conveniently located at the airport, and brings you right into the city center within 45 minutes.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to the economical hawker centers with wide variety of authentic local food at a low price. Check out the Gluttons Bay hawker at Esplanade, and Lau Pat Sat in Raffles Place.
For a huge splurge I go for an extravagant dinner at the Jewel Box on Mount Faber. With an impressive panoramic view of the city from the highest point in Singapore, it’s a perfect place to take in the breeze and indulge in a meal with your loved one.
Photo ops in my city include the perspective from a river cruise, capturing the dramatic skyline of Singapore. Some of the best vantage points are from One Fullerton and the Esplanade.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be Vanessa Mae. Young yet elegant, a classic talented beauty.
The most random thing about my city is that chewing gum is banned. It’s not a secret, but hey, it keeps the city clean and green.
My city has the most men who work from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
My city has the most brand-conscious women who adore Gucci, Prada and Chanel.
In my city, an active day outdoors involves beach volleyball on Sentosa Island and kayaking around the island.
My city’s best museum is the National Museum. It has interesting displays of our history, as well as contemporary art and fashion.
My favorite jogging/walking route is the MacRitchie forest trail where I might even bump into a monkey or two.
For a night of dancing, go to St James Powerstation, a one-stop nightlife destination that provides entertainment from the jazzy Bellini Room to the rockin’ Powerhouse. Or, for some local live music, check out Timbré at Substation.
Jalan Kayu is the spot for late-night eats, especially its famous Roti Prata.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read TimeOut Singapore.
You can tell a lot about my city from the way Singaporeans talk. We speak ‘Singlish’, a blend of English, Chinese, Hokkien and Malay. You can hear the multi-racial culture and heritage from the way we express ourselves.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they add a ‘lah’ at the end of their sentences, such as ‘sorry lah!’.
In the spring you should read a guidebook on Singapore, because there is no spring. We are a tropical country without the four seasons. It’s summer all year round!
In the summer you should get out into the sun at Sentosa beach, and chill out at Café del Mar.
A hidden gem in my city is the lushious tropical plants and flowers in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
For a great breakfast joint try Yakun Kaya Toast. It’s the authentic typical Singaporean breakfast consisting of kaya toasts and half-boiled eggs, along with a cup of thick milk tea.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Don’t miss the Singapore Food festival in July. Eating is a national sports in Singapore, and the best time to try all sorts of local food is during this important festival.
Just outside my city, you can visit Pulau Ubin – an offshore island that still retains a taste of old rural Singapore.
The best way to see my city is by the river cruise that brings you along the Singapore River.
If my city were a pet it would be an iguana – always changing colors to adapt.
If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live on a quiet island in Thailand.
The best book about my city is Notes From an Even Smaller Island by Neil Humphreys. It’s a hilarious anecdote written about our island from the perspective of a British humour columnist.
When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is “Di Tanjong Katong.”
If you have kids, you won’t want to miss the Escape Theme Park at Downtown East.
‘Chope-ing’ (reserving) a table with a pack of tissue paper could only happen in my city.
My city should be featured on your cover or website because it’s strangely unique. A young nation with so many quirky characteristics you can hardly find in this crazy World!
Photos: TimboDon, YipingLim, and i_luv_erky via Flickr