5 things to do in Singapore that aren’t about Marina Bay Sands

With its card deck design, three-acre SkyPark and impressive fifty-five storey height, Marina Bay Sands is by far one of the world’s most unique resorts and is an unmistakable symbol of opulence in Singapore. But when there are queues on a Wednesday night just to go up to the bar, CÉ LA VI, and additional fees just to catch a sight of the Instagram famous infinity pool, you might want to reconsider how you’re slinging it in Singapore. Here are five other things you can do that have nothing to do with the three towers in the sky.

1. Indulge in Singaporean brunch culture

Singapore’s cafe scene is a thriving microcosm that represents the country’s diverse culture and constantly evolving palate. Take a break from soy sauce chicken and bowls of laksa to sample cafe offerings ranging from eclectic international cuisines intermixed with Singaporean heritage. Bali Lane and Haji Lane makes cafe hopping easy because of the sheer abundance of cafes sandwiched between the two tiny lanes. Symmetry Cafe was our go to for some surprisingly excellent coffee and a cool artistic ambience. Outside of these streets, one of my personal favourites was the ‘Yu Sheng Bowl’ at Stray by Fat Cat, a clever interpretation of the much loved Chinese New Year ‘tossing salad’ meets rice and modern seasoning. Order creatively and with an open mind, just like its hawker counterparts, some of these dishes you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the world.

Symmetry Cafe
Address: 9 Jalan Kubor #01-01 Singapore 199206
Website: http://www.symmetry.com.sg/
Hours: Monday 10.30-9pm, Tuesday to Thursday 10.30-11pm, Friday 10.30-12am, Saturday 9-12am, Sunday 9-7pm

Stray by Fat Cat
Address: 181 Orchard Road, #04-23, Orchard Central, Singapore 238896
Website: http://stray.sg/
Hours: Everyday 11am–10pm

2. Try your hand at martial arts

‘Martial arts’ was the 2017 buzzword in Singapore and the trend shows no sign of stopping with gyms mushrooming overnight and all across the city. Take the opportunity while abroad, to train with some of the best and exercise in a fun way while burning off calories from this eating trip. Most gyms foster great communities built through a sense of camaraderie so it’s also a good place to meet locals and make friends. FaMA (Fitness and Martial Arts) is one such family friendly gym with great facilities that overlook the water in Clark Quay. While predominantly a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym, they also offer fantastic Muay Thai classes lead by Kru Ping, a veteran fighter from Thailand, and fitness classes that encourage a whole range of movement. And of course, no article about martial arts in Singapore would be complete without a mention of Evolve MMA, Asia’s largest and most famous martial arts gym. Who knows, this could be a routine to stick to, even once you’ve returned home.

FaMA
Address: 3A River Valley Road, #02-03, Clarke Quay, Singapore 179020
Website: http://famafit.com/

Evolve MMA
Address: Multiple locations, check website
Website: https://evolve-mma.com/

3. Get arty at the National Gallery of Singapore

The National Gallery Singapore is more than just a place for visual arts. It plays the role of gatekeeper, overseeing the largest collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Two of its standout current exhibitions include Colours of Impressionism, a critical analysis of the role of colour in artwork from the Musée d’Orsay and Between Worlds, which celebrates the legacy of Raden Saleh and Juan Luna, two South East Asian artists that achieved critical acclaim in Europe. The gallery itself, housed in two restored national monuments (City Hall and the former Supreme Court), is a work of art in itself.

National Gallery of Singapore
Address: 1 St Andrew’s Rd, Singapore 178957
Website: https://www.nationalgallery.sg/
Hours: Saturday – Thursday 10 am to 7 pm, Friday 10 am to 9 pm

4. Take a hike at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Once you’ve exhausted all metropolitan options, make it a point to venture slightly further for some time in the great outdoors. Situated a mere 12 km from the heart of the city, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve showcases a rich and diverse array of flora and fauna in their most pristine form. The reserve is home to around 40% of the country’s native living organisms and is heralded as a favourite spot for those looking to get close to nature. The Singaporean government’s national parks website frequently lists such as nature appreciation hikes and educational walks where experts discuss the . But if you’re feeling like a trailblazer, grab a map of the reserve and embark on your own self-guided walk.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Address: Hindhede Dr, Singapore 589318
Website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardens-parks-and-nature/parks-and-nature-reserves/bukit-timah-nature-reserve
Hours: 7am to 7pm daily

5. Shop local

Shopping is expected in Singapore and if you weren’t convinced of it being a Singaporean’s favourite past time, take a stroll down Orchard Road where you’ll find mall after mall after mall, each bigger and more ostentatious than the last. But instead of buying global brands, keep an eye out for popular Singaporean labels that are both affordable and chic. Love Bonito, Singapore’s largest homegrown brand, started out as an e-commerce website but have recently opened their first brick and mortar store in 313@Somerset. Another good find is The Editor’s Market, a modern day marketplace for hot fashion where clothes literally get cheaper per piece, the more you buy.

Love, Bonito
Address: 313@Somerset, 313 Orchard Road, #02-16/21 S238895
Website: https://www.lovebonito.com
Hours: 11am – 10pm

The Editor’s Market 
Address: Multiple locations, check website
Website: https://www.theeditorsmarket.com
Hours: Hours vary according to location, check website