Discovering Singapore : Off The Tourist Tracks

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​Singapore is a country that has the busiest port in South East Asia and also one of the countries most visited by tourists, especially tourists from Indonesia. This is because the location is indeed very close to Indonesia, and also the country offers the kind of diverse attractions, including many provided by the government.
 
As the time goes along, the number of tourist attractions that can be visited has been increasing and this makes Singapore more and more attractive to be a vacation spot.
 
I have visited Singapore a few times before.  Prior to my last visit, I felt that Singapore was no longer that interesting.  Just a place with many shopping centers with increasingly expensive goods. Sorry dear friends, but Singapore had not been my first choice for a vacation anymore and I even wondered how my vacation there was going to end up. To help make the best of it, my half Singaporean friends already gave me the list of the delicious food that I had to try and I made a list of some places that were not known by many tourists.
 
Well, people say that you will be happy if you don’t expect anything from anything. It works.  I didn’t have any expectation from my Singapore trip, maybe that’s why I really enjoyed Singapore at this time.
 
So why have I decided to go to Singapore again? 
 
I feel very grateful for the year 2016, it was very pleasant, full of love and support, full of adventures and new experiences, everything that makes me a better person than ever. 
 
Very often in my little heart, I wanted to enjoy the new year’s eve outside Indonesia, with a different atmosphere and a different experience. I believe one of the best places in the world to watch new year’s eve fireworks is Singapore.  The yearning was finally resolved in evening celebration of the new year 2017. Thanks to my friends who really made my days meaningful.
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New Year’s Eve Celebration
 
The most popular area of interest in Singapore today are the Marina Bay Sands and Garden by the Bay. They are close to each other and can be accessed from the Bayfront MRT station. I can tell that the most of narcissistic photos by tourists in social media were taken at these locations. 
 
The areas around these places are also the best spots for watching new year’s eve fireworks, so those were where we went first.  However, since there were too much crowd in this area, we chose to continue walking from the Garden by the Bay towards the Marina Barrage.
 
Along the path to the Marina Barage, there is a place called Satay by the Bay where you can stop by and enjoy food. The place is like a food court where many types of dishes are available. We accidentally chose steamboat buffet. The price per person was S$30. There was a selection of stews and grill. There were 3 types of sauces: chicken broth, tomyam, and broth of herbs. It was all-you-can-eat, so you could have everything you cared to eat and drinks were free flow. The type of food that could be chosen were also very many and with good quality. I repeatedly took the shrimp, crabs, and clams. I kept reminding myself to get ready for cholesterol attack, hehe…

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check in Garden by The Bay

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Singapore Flyer

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Marina Bay BBQ Steamboat

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From the Marina Barrage, I could see a view of the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer. The Marina Barrage itself was already full with Singapore residents who wanted to see the fireworks celebration of the new year. They brought themselves  mats, food, and games. Very fun to see. We then continued to walk down a bridge eastward crossing the Singapore River and finally arrived at the park which is usually called the Garden by the Bay East.
 
The place was very cool because there was a lot of green grass and trees on the right and left. I met a lot of people running, biking, skateboarding and inline skating well, even though the time was already around 10 pm. In addition, many people lied on mats in this garden as though as it was an afternoon picnic. This scene continued until about 1 am after the fireworks finished. I wondered if the crowd were there every other day, but after I confirmed with my Singaporean friend, the crowd were there due to the combination of the school holidays period, the weekend and the last evening of the year welcoming the new year.
 
Here I spent the time from the late evening until after the fireworks started, signaling the turn of the year, and ended.
 
The closest MRT station there is Bayfront, but if you want to you can walk in the opposite direction and you will pass through the district of Tanjong Rhu and find the Stadium MRT station, close to the National Stadium.  It would be a long and tiring but nice walk.
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My experimental self portrait with multiple exposures.

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Taken from Marina Barage

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Singapore Nowadays

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Happy new year 2017

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Love for ALL

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2017 please colouring my world
 Snow City (Indoor Ski)
 
As a resident of a country that only has two seasons, skiing is a very rare sports and certainly interesting to me. After failing to try skiing during my trip to Japan, I welcome the opportunity to attempt indoor skiing in Singapore.
 
Snow city is the first snow playground in Singapore. Here, there are a few spots to play in the snow mostly for small children, such as an Igloo playground. The main attraction is the slide, where one would slide on a tire tube along a slope.  The slope dedicated for downhill skiing was located next to the slope for the tire tube slide.
 
Skiing and tire tube sliding were done on two different slopes because otherwise it would have been dangerous for the sliders and also the skiers.  The fee to ski per person is S$75, including the rent for ski equipment and jacket. The poles costed additional S$10 per pair. I happened to buy a voucher for skiing at half-price from Groupon Singapore for S$37.50 for 2 hours but it did not include rent for poles, gloves, and pants. You better make an appointment before coming as the person minding the counter is not always at the location.
 
Of course, this became an unforgettable experience because it was the first time skiing for me. But when asked if I would come there a second time, I thought maybe not, because the service was less than satisfying for me. And also there was not too much snow in the ski area, so near the bottom the slope is a little more than ice covered with thin layer of snow which was very slippery. According to my friend who had skied before, it would be much easier if I skied in real outdoor ski slopes such as in Korea.

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Skiing time

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It is not a pose
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Science Center
 
It is just the next building after Snow City. You can also buy Snow City ticket here.
 
The cost to enter the Science Center was S$12 for for non-resident adult. This place was so big and full of science exhibits. They divided it into some sub-areas. There were exhibits for space, earth, water, and etc. The place was so amazing but I didn’t spend much time here. Still, this was nice place to visit especially for school-aged children.

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Centralized

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Typhoon Simulator, i tried

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This one was so funny
The National Museum of Singapore
 
The National Museum of Singapore is the nation’s oldest museum with a progressive mind. It redefines the conventional museum experience by exploring multiple perspective of history and cutting-edge presentations.
 
Gallery opening hours is 10am to 7pm. It cost S$18 for tourist for all areas, the main exhibition and special exhibitions.
 
The current special exhibition theme is What is Not Visible is Not Invisible. It is so interesting. It is open start 7th Oct 2016 till 19th Feb 2017.  What is Not Visible is Not Invisible broadly surveys the imaginary and the temporary through selected artworks from the French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art (FRAC). The title and design of this exhibition take inspiration from the artwork of the same title by French artist Julien Discrit. The visual paradox initiated in the modest yet profound work sets the premise for the deep-seeded themes that resonate throughout the exhibition.
 
In the 2nd floor they have exhibitions called the Glass of Rotunda, Story of the Forest and Singapore, Very Old Tree. The presentation was so beautiful. It was really nice to be there, heard the voices of Rotunda.
 
Many visitors from Indonesia are not keen in visiting museums, and prefer shopping instead.  That is unfortunate but understandable because museums in Indonesia are generally in poor conditions.  The National Museum of Singapore is very interesting and has many spots to take pictures at.  It is definitely a place to consider visiting if you enjoy taking photos, either of yourself or the amazing exhibits or even the beautifully maintained building itself.

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Touched down National Museum of Singapore

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CreARTivity

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Like a Galaxy

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Happy kid

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I am number One

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Rotunda
 Henderson Waves
 
It is quite far, hmm but not too far, because there are many buses that can bring you there. Which bus to take of course depends on where you are, you just need to turn on your Google Maps and find the one to take you to Henderson Waves.
 
After we arriving at the bus stop closest to the place, we had to climb couple of stairs, yes couple of long stairs. There are some attractions here if you have a lot of time. You could go to mount Faber also and take Gondola to Sentosa island or you could just see Sentosa Island from there.  I found this place to be a nice place to walk, sit and relax away from the bustle of the city.
 
Henderson Waves or also known as Henderson Bridge is like pedestrian bridge but it looks very nice. There are lights at night. Many people do their exercises or run there.

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Long stairs

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The Henderson Wave
Kampong Glam
 
You would never have thought there was a place like this in Singapore. If you only saw a few photos of this area, you certainly would not guess that the photos were taken in Singapore.
 
Kampong Glam location is not far from Bugis Junction, approximately 1-2 km away.  In Malay, the word “kampong” means “village or settlement” and “glam” is the name of a particular tree, which grew in abundance in the area in the early Singapore. In the beginning, Kampong Glam was a fishing village situated at the mouth of Rochor River.  It became more populated and grew into prominence after the Sultan of Singapore, Hussein Mohammed Shah and the Temenggong signed a treaty with the East India Company in 1819.
 
There is a mosque named Masjid Sultan in this area. The mosque is quite crowded both by tourists who just want to take photographs and who want to worship. Not far from the mosque, there are Malaysian heritage attractions.
 
In this area there are many shops selling souvenirs and clothes. There is field where they have restaurants of many different cuisines including Turkish, Lebanese, as well as Malay.
 
Walking away from the mosque, there is a row of shops and cafes that were just starting to open in the afternoon. The cafes are in vintage style design, where the café walls are also filled with murals or grafitti, like in Malacca.
 

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Feel happy being here

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one of the mural

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Masjid Sultan

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Always nice to being different

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 Local food
 
There is a list of food that recommended by my Singaporean friends and I would like to share with you.
 
We started the new year by having late lunch at Chongqing Restaurant at Liang Seah Street to enjoy grilled fish. It’s near Bugis Junction. You can go by MRT and stop at Bugis station, take Exit D, turn right and walk around 100 meters, and then turn left and walk around 100 meters, and then turn left again and walk around 200 meters. The restaurant is on the right side of the road in a building called Liang Seah Place.  Watch out that there are two Chongqing restaurants on the street but only one of them serves grilled fish. Never knew this food before but I would like to recommend this to you. It was superbly delicious. Lucky us there was no queue when we came.
 
They have four kinds of fish, sea bass, golden snapper, patin fish, and grass carp. We choose patin fish with medium spicy fragrant. The fish was so big, around 800 grams. We also can choose sides to be cooked into grill fish broth. We spent S$59.30 for all the food and drinks.
 
After eating a lot, we enjoyed the traditional dessert at Ah Chew Dessert, near Chongqing Restaurant. My friend had already warned me there would be long queue. The restaurant is a lil bit small. They display the menu on the table, you choose your order and go to cashier to pay and after that they will serve your order. Because we were still full, we only ordered 2 desserts, mango sango with vanilla ice cream and original steamed egg. The taste was really good and fit our tongue well.
 
Unfortunately it was raining after that, so we spent the rest of the afternoon walking inside Bugis Junction mall. It was quite nice but just similar with shopping malls everywhere.
 
When the rain began to stop, we took the bus to Clarke Quay. We found many restaurants on the riverside and we chose Hooters. Hooters that I had heard before was a restaurant where the waiteresses were dressed in sexy outfit.  I wasn’t wrong but they actually have some nice food too.  We ordered dozens of oysters and dipper fries and of course, beers. We enjoyed the food and the riverside scenery. Aside from Hooters, Clarke Quay has plenty of other restaurants that serve food, beer and other drinks.  Many people come here just to drink and do chit chat with friends.  I loved the atmosphere and it was a new experience for me. Another reason why I enjoyed this trip.
 
The last but not the least, we had Ponggol Nasi Lemak at 238 Tanjong Katong Rd. I was amazed this place was so well known, especially to the locals, so that there were always someone in the queue to get the dishes. You can prove it it by yourself if you go there. Fortunately, there are enough tables and seats most of the time.  They are open in the morning and in the early evening starting at 5.30 PM.
 
I liked it so much that I came here twice and tried almost all that were in the menu.  I can tell you that all were delicious that definitely I will be back again.
The price is not expensive compare to other food places in Singapore. You can take the bus or taxi to come here, because it is a bit far from the MRT stations.
 
There are also some delicious food that I found around my trip.
Heavenly Wang and iToast were more like breakfast. Also Nasi Hainam, Yongtaufu at the Kopitiam area near my hotel.

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Chongqing Restaurant

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Spicy Grill fish

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Ah Chew Dessert

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choose between me and her hahaha

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Oyster and deeper fries

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Bakut teh

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The best Ponggol Nasi Lemak

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Laksa Yongtaufu at Kopitiam

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Kaya toast at Heavenly Wang

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Chicken Hainam at Kopitiam

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Butter cake at TOAST
So, you can surely tell, how nice my vacation was. Yes it was. Good places, good food, and also good companions. This trip has convinced me to go back again to Singapore, because I am now sure there still wonderful places to go and delicious local food to try.Thank you for reading.

If there any question, feel free send email to linawaty.halianto@yahoo.com.
Don’t forget to visit and follow my Instagram at @lynnhalianto.

Lynn.

About the author

Banker & Travel Blogger. ​Suka berpetualang untuk menikmati pemandangan alam dan berinteraksi dengan penduduk sekitar. Sangat bahagia kalau bisa berbagi cerita dan informasi kepada orang lain.

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2 Responses
  1. Fernanda

    For the little I read, I found really interesting and complete your post. I’ve been only in a few places of South Asia, I still have a lot to discover! Good luck and keep on travelling! 🙂 (I’m an Instagram follower, fermoriconi)

    1. lynn

      Hi Fernanda..
      Thank you so much for gave me a visit 🙂
      There are a lot of places that you have to go and don’t miss my country, Indonesia.
      And yeah i found you in Instagram. Keep stunning 🙂

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