I’ve been to Singapore a few times as it’s a short flight from Perth so I’ve had the luxury of taking time to visit museums, art galleries, food courts, cafes and bars at my leisure knowing that I could always come back to catch up on places I missed
I decided that for this post I was going to concentrate on areas I visited on my most recent one week trip or that I think are of interest. This guide might stretch into a couple more posts as there is a lot to see on such as small island and I enjoy blogging about travel
I should probably clarify what I think is of interest. First of all I love big cities and my idea of travel wherever you are is to pick a neighborhood and just wander around it soaking up the feel of the place, watching the people and trying as much of the local food as possible
In Singapore, I love checking out some of the stunning architecture, design of the hotels, shops and cafes (kopitiams) and small details like windows, doorways and greenery in some of the older neighborhoods. I also love visiting museums and galleries.
As far as recommending particular restaurants, bars or cafes, I will recommend a few however I’ll let you do some exploring of your own with links to some fantastic websites provided below. There is something new opening every week in Singapore so to keep up to date, check out these links
I mentioned in my first travel post about Singapore these guides will include tips for people such as myself who have restricted mobility and experience fatigue very easily (especially in the tropics). I have RA and multiple joint replacements however I am able to get on and off public transport independently and walk short-longer distances depending on how I feel.
For people with disabilities and wheelchair users please look at the websites below for information on facilities for people with disabilties
Angloinfo has information about Sentosa, Singapore Zoo and Bird park which I have not covered in this blog post. There is also an address where you can get a copy of a booklet called Access Singapore
Our Friendly Built Environment Portal has a feature, Find a Friendly Building where you can search the name of a hotel, shopping centre etc to see it’s friendly features. It has a very comprehensive outline of accessible entrances, parking lots, toilets and much more. Have a look at the entry for Plaza Singapura
Not all buildings are listed and you do need to be familiar with Singapore neighborhoods if you are searching by type of building and location. If you use the keyword search you only need to type the name of the building.
Throughout these guides if there is a listing to the buildings I mention, I will provide the listing using OFBEP as a link.
If you cannot find the information you need on the web about access, try emailing the venue or hotel you would like to visit. I sent an email to Loof bar to enquire about their wheelchair access and received an answer within the hour
There is also a pdf called The Medical Traveller’s Guide to Disabled Access for Facilities in Singapore floating around on the web however I have not been able to download it. You may be able to google it’s title to see if anyone else has reviewed it
Still on the topic of health and wellness, I caught the tail end of the 2015 haze which was caused by fires burning in Indonesia. You may want to check out what part of the year this event occurs if you have respiritory problems or allergies. There is a website called HAZE dedicated to this issue with updates on air quality
Check out my getting around guide for tips on public transport around Singapore
Around Victoria St
I’m going to use Victoria St near the corner of Bras Basah Rd as my reference point for travel by public transport. As mentioned in an earlier post, I stayed at The Victoria Hotel on Victoria Street which I thought it was a fantastic location to stay
There are some iconic buildings and institutions around Victoria Street, The Raffles Hotel being just one of them. All of the places mentioned below are a 5 minute walk away from the corner of Victoria St and Bras Basah Rd (10 mins for me)
Raffles Hotel – No matter what I tell you about The Raffles, I’m sure your first stop will be The Long Bar to try the famous Singapore Sling. I’m actually quite fond of the Sling as I like sweet drinks. Click here for info about the Long Bar and how much a Sling will set you back
Click here for a newspaper article about the Raffles with some extraordinary pictures ranging from it’s famous guests to costume parties
Chijmes – used to be an old Catholic school for girls. The buildings of Chijmes are still there and come alive at night with bars and resturants. If your a fan of Toastbox for breakfast, there is an outlet here with wheelchair access OFBEP
Swiss Stamford Hotel – Check out the Singapore skyline from the New Asia bar on 71st floor – fantastic view whilst sipping a cocktail (check the site for ‘Happy Hour’times)
Loof – A rooftop bar situated in the Odeon Towers with an outdoor area that overlooks the Raffles. If you find a Singapore Sling too sweet, try the Singapore Sour here which happens to be my favourite cocktail – tangy, sour and salty – YUM! (Check for happy hours) I emailed the bar to see whether or not there was wheelchair access and the lovely Parveena emailed me back with some information. There is a lift to the bar however no disabled toilet facilities in Loof itself. There is however a disabled toilet on the first floor of Odeon Towers OFBEP
SAM, National Museum, National Gallery and more (further information in next blog post)
Capitol Building – This has had a very elegant renovation and houses a luxury hotel, luxury boutiques, a theatre, bars and restaurants
China Town & surrounds
There is so much to see in Chinatown and it’s surrounds to suit every taste. It has temples, elegant hotels, touristy streets selling trinkets, great food and lots of bars and cafes.
Peoples Park – a little bit of ‘old school’ Singapore. In the shopping complex you will find all sorts of small shops and stalls and interesting services like face and eyebrow threading. There is also a food court as well as food stalls in the mall selling lots of Chinese delicacies. On my wish list for my next visit is Lepark, a venue that offers food, drinks, music and art. I ran out of time to visit Lepark this time OFBEP
Pagoda St and surrounds – lots of little shops selling trinkets and souvenirs. Pretty touristy but still fun with a buzzy atmosphere. At the end of Pagoda Street you will find the Sri Mariamman Temple
There are lots of cafes and restaurants in the surrounding streets including Chinatown Food Street in Smith St
Ang Siang Hill/Club St – lots of bars, cafes and cute little shops in old shophouses. Click here for a guide to some of the venues
Maxwell Food Centre – This is my favourite food court in Singapore. The Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stall is very famous and often voted as the best chicken rice in Singapore. OFBEP
I always end up going to any stall that serves fried rice with salted fish and my drink of choice is sugar cane juice when I’m at Maxwells.
Across the road from Maxwells is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Park Royal on Pickering – I had seen photos of this hotel with it’s wonderful outdoor gardens all over the building and had it on my ‘must see’ list as well as my ‘must have a coffee and cake here’ list. I saw it by chance one day when I was on the no 33 bus (from Bras Basah Complex, Victoria St) on my way to Chinatown and hopped off the bus. Click here to see what it looks like. My photos don’t do it justice as the infamous haze made a lot of my photos look blanched
Red Dot Design Museum – (Just up the road from Maxwell Food Centre) – check out their website for information about upcoming exhibitions, their design shop and events like the MAAD market. Download the Design District Singapore Mobile app which points out creative and interesting places within 3km of the museum. The photos are outstanding!
Take into consideration
Chinatown MRT (OFBEP) is large and very busy with many exits. Make sure you take the right exit to get to where you are going to avoid lots of walking and backtracking
If you are going to Maxwells, Ang Siang Hill or Club Street, Exit A (Pagoda St is the best exit). You can stroll down Pagoda St, turn right at the Sri Mariamman Temple onto South Bridge Rd and walk until you see the sign for Ang Siang Rd
For people with mobility problems, if you decide to walk from Chinatown MRT to Ang Siang Hill and Maxwell Food Centre, it’s a bit of a walk to these destinations. If you feel you cannot walk back to Chinatown MRT when you leave Maxwell Food Centre, you will be better off continuing down Maxwell Rd to Tanjong Pagar MRT station which according to Google maps is an eight minute walk from Maxwell Food Centre
For Peoples Park take exit D at Chinatown MRT. There are also lots of bus connections outside Peoples Park. Click here for Chinatown bus and MRT information
This is one of my favourite areas in Singapore. It has beautiful art deco architecture (Streamline Moderne), a fantastic food court above a market, many little stores like Curated Records, Books Actually and a gazillion cafes.
I love just strolling around the streets looking at the beautiful architecture, balconies and gardens. Click here for a comprehensive history of Tiong Bahru, including information about it’s wonderful architecture and the market.
For some reason, I always seem to get lost in the Tiong Bahru streets if I’m looking for a particular shop. Make sure you take a map with you (water and hat as well) and check the address of the store or cafe you are looking for before you go. In the past few years, a few shops for example Bloesem have moved premises
I highly recommend the Tiong Bahru Market food court to try some classic hawker food like Kway Teow, Hainan Chicken Rice and Carrot Cake washed down with some sugar cane juice OFBEP
Click here for an interactive map of the market and it’s history
To get to Tiong Bahru from Victoria Street. I took bus number 33 and got off just in front of Curated Records which is located at 55 Tiong Bahru Rd. Unfortunately the record store was closed however I had a chat to the lovely Andree who runs a French book store behind Curated Records. The Tiong Bahru Market, Tiong Bahru Bakery, Orange Thimble Cafe and many restaurants are very close by.
To leave the area, I went to the same bus stop and took a bus that could drop me off at the Tiong Bahru MRT
Take into consideration
If you are planning to go to the Tiong Bahru Food Court ( OFBEP) or the Tiong Bahru Bakery etc and have mobility problems; be aware that it is a long walk from the Tiong Bahru MRT to these destinations. You may want to catch a bus to and from the MRT
This is another great area for wandering around and checking out the small shops and cafes after you’ve had a look at the beautiful Sultan Mosque in Muscat Street.
The recent Mosque upgrade includes the addition of a wheelchair ramp at it’s entrance. Click here for more information about the Mosque and how to get there by bus and MRT
Haji Lane – is a cute little street filled with vintage shops, cafes and clothing stores. It has a lovely atmosphere if you visit on a Saturday both day and evening
Khandahar St – you will find shops selling beautiful fabrics and the gorgeous cafe and bar Maison Ikkoku. (There are many narrow stairs leading to the Maison Ikkoku bar)
Just around the corner is the Sultan Mosque. The street leading to the mosque has many outdoor restaurants which are very touristy however still very pleasant.
There are some great little restaurants (including Zam Zam) on North Bridge Rd opposite the Mosque where you can get some delicious Indian food including murtabak.
Also in the Kampong Glam area is Artistry cafe which has regular exhibitions and live band performances
Take into consideration
Leaving the Kampong Glam area near the mosque and Haji Lane is easy as there is a bus stop close by on North Bridge Rd however because of one way streets getting there unless you go by taxi will include a quite a bit of walking. You will have to walk from Bugis Junction where there is an MRT station or the bus stop from Victoria Street
Have you guessed by now I love the colourful little streets of Singapore? Little India certainly fits the bill.
Little India Arcade – Here, like Pagoda St in Chinatown you will find lots of trinkets, souvenirs and clothing with an Indian flavour OFBEP
Tekka Market – I love the Indian food (especially the Roti Prathas) at the food court of Tekka Market. Some vendors are so popular you may have to sometimes stand in a queue of up to thirty people to get served. There is also a wet market and fruit and vegetable market attached. The Little India MRT (OFBEP) is closest to Tekka Market OFBEP
Numerous buses stop outside the market however as it is a one way street, there are no return buses on Bukit Timah Rd. You are best off taking the MRT for your return journey
Race Course Rd – Like Chilli Crab, I don’t think you can leave Singapore without having a fish head curry at one of the restaurants on Race Course Rd. Click here for a guide to some of the restaurants serving fish head curry
Mustafa Centre – This place has to be seen to be believed. It’s enormous, open 24 hours and sells everything from gold jewellery to groceries. I didn’t know there could be so many types of deodorant and toothbrushes. There are huge aisles of deodorants which are repeated a few aisles further down and again throughout the store OFBEP
There are some great vegetarian restaurants around the streets of Mustafa Centre OFBEP
Take into consideration
The closest MRT to Mustafa Centre is Farrer Place OFBEP. If you have mobility problems, it is quite a long walk to get out of the station and then at least a block to get to Mustafa Centre. Also, be careful around the small streets of Mustafa Centre, they can be slippery especially in the rain and sometimes the pavement is very uneven. For buses and MRT click here
In Mustafa Centre itself, be aware of your surroundings and any trip hazards as some floors get a bit chaotic and have narrow aisles
If you don’t like crowds, avoid Sunday night when it’s unbelievably crowded
Useful websites and links
As I mentioned earlier, there is always something new popping up in Singapore and unfortunately closing down as well. I have included the following websites for you to do some investigating of your own before you go to see what is new and fantastic and what peaks your interest
Great New Places – What’s new in Singapore? This site covers everything you can think of; fashion, restaurants, sports, architecture, green space ….the list goes on.
Live music lovers – click here for venues
Rooftop Bars – Even if you don’t drink alcohol, soak up the atmosphere and check out the view from a rooftop bar. Click here for an article from sg on the top ten rooftop bars.
Drinking in Singapore can be very expensive. Click here for another article by sg on some great value Singapore Happy Hours
The location of the gorgeous old postcard from what I can make out is the corner of Bras Basah Rd and Victoria St right near where I was staying. The old white building to the left appears to be Chijmes which used to be an old Catholic school for girls.
For a short overview of Singapore history click here
For some quirky and interesting information about Singapore street names, have a look at this article
I would love to hear from you if you have any tips of your own for travelling around the places mentioned
next guide – Orchard Rd, Bugis, Museums and much more