What’s Hot in Singapore

National Geographic Traveler editor at large George W. Stone relocated to Singapore from Washington, D.C., two years ago, and has fully embraced the island way of life.

Here’s his advice on how to make the most of your time in this distinctive Southeast Asian nation:

Island Getaway: Get a sense of traditional kampong (village) life on Pulau Ubin, a small island (and national park) that makes a perfect day trip for hikers and bikers. Count green lizards, scratch rubber trees, and take in Strait of Malacca views.

Best Buzz: Classic kopitiams (coffee shops) are feeling the heat from upstart cafés like Chye Seng Huat Hardware, which offers cupping classes and crafty brews such as “Nitro,” a malty draft coffee served cold.

Culture Club: The Peranakan Museum provides insight into the cultural heritage of the local Peranakan Chinese. Bonus: Fort Canning Park neighbors the museum.

Local Lit: The Singapore Writers Festival (in early November) is Asia’s best literary bonanza. Books Actually, a shop in trendy Tiong Bahru, specializes in local poets and writers.

Breezy Speakeasy: Law-abiding locals throw caution to the wind on weekends at 28 Hong Kong Street, a hidden craft cocktail joint with no sign (make a reservation, then knock on the door).

Chic Sleep: Kam Leng Hotel, in up-and-coming enclave Jalan Besar, takes style cues from its historic art deco structure but adds modern touches, such as free Wi-Fi.

Newest Foodie Lane: On Keong Saik Road, a hotbed for young chefs, fancy burgers and bountiful brunches reign at Potato Head Folk, while flavorful vegan dishes rule at Afterglow.

Hipster Haji: In Kampong Glam, colorful murals and graffiti brighten Haji Lane, a narrow street of pocket-size restaurants and clothing boutiques.

This piece first appeared in National Geographic Traveler magazine’s November 2014 issue.

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