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Dear Flyertalk: I'm in Singapore. What's off the beaten path?

Dear Flyertalk: I'm in Singapore. What's off the beaten path?

Old May 26, 17, 5:46 pm
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Dear Flyertalk: I'm in Singapore. What's off the beaten path?

On trips to Europe in the last few years, I've asked: Dear Flyertalk, what's off the beaten path? See London & Paris. The response has been absolutely amazing... all kinds of great stuff that doesn't show up on Trip Advisor's 'Top 10 Things to Do'.

The big trip this year is Singapore. So, what's of interest to a flyertalker there?
Travel/transport related, airplanes, aviation, etc.? Outside of FT, I also have interests in astronomy, startups / tech, and architecture / urban design, if that sparks any ideas.

So, Singaporeans, what's off the beaten path in Singapore?

P.S. And new for this year, if anybody is interested in meeting up and hanging out while I'm there, PM me. Dates I'm available are June 3 to June 6, 2017. Can always talk travel, or any of those other things.

Edit 5 June 2017: I've made one of my off-the-beaten path maps with the suggestions here. It's open to editing, so future people can make changes if you find this thread.

Last edited by dordal; Jun 4, 17 at 10:05 pm
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Old May 26, 17, 8:24 pm
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Off the tourist beaten path...a museum describing how Singapore is planned.

https://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/citygallery
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Old May 29, 17, 1:33 am
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1. Urban design - Singapore City Gallery is must. Note they are closed on Sundays.
2. Astronomy - get a boat and get in South China Sea or Indian Ocean 200 miles off the shore. Night light pollution in Singapore is among highest in the world
3. Startups/tech - go to Silicon Valley - there are more startups there on a single street than on whole Singapore.
4. Architecture - plenty. Just walk around downtown and see the transformation of old to new next at Telok Ayer. Also, take a look of this and this but I have not been at all places personally. And finally - Gardens By The Bay.

Singaporeans (in general) are not avid explorers and prefer to sit at airconditioned places at shopping malls staring at their smartphone instead of exploring something unknown.

On 3rd or 4th I am available - if you like stroll around parks and the city, we can do that.
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Old May 29, 17, 7:41 am
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Off the beaten path

1. Food
Lots of cheap, good food found in hawker centers. Don't expect air-conditioned dining. Everything is self-service. Notable hawker centers are: Newton, Maxwell Road, ABC Brickworks, Adam Road and Tiong Bahru Food Centers.

2. Nature
If you love nature, take a short hike or walk through the many parks around the island. Notables ones are: Mac Ritchie Reservoir (check out the "tree top walk"), Labrador Park, the newly opened Chestnut Nature Park, Botanic Gardens and Bukit Timah Hill.

3. Shopping Malls
Get away from the heat by visiting any of the many malls. Marina Bay Sands has a lot of upscale stores, but it is frequented by tourists. You can try heartland malls or something closer to the city like Suntec City Mall.

4. Heritage
Experience Singapore's multi-racial society at these historical ethnic quarters: Little India, Chinatown, Kampong Glam.
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Old May 29, 17, 8:45 am
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Originally Posted by dordal View Post
and architecture / urban design
You cannot understand Singapore without understanding the HDB public flats/estates as over 80% of the populace live in one. Take the MRT and go to one and spend 1-2 hours walking around to absorb. I would choose one like Queenstown or Bedok (near enough but far away enough from the city center)
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Old May 29, 17, 12:26 pm
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Great thoughts; thanks. Will check out a lot of this; in particular that urban design museum. @invisible, will PM you and maybe we can meet up.

And @z3nd.... welcome to Flyertalk!
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Old May 29, 17, 8:40 pm
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I agree that Singapore City Gallery is fantastic for learning about the city.

I liked Jurong Bird Park for taking pictures, but felt bad for some of the large birds kept in pretty small enclosures. I went early and still got drenched pretty fast.

Mt. Faber was interesting but again a pretty sweaty time. among the trails is the Henderson Waves pedestrian bridge which I liked a lot. I took the cable car down from the park to Sentosa around sunset.

I've been wanting to see more of the older suburbs/housing estates to see some of that urban planning on my next visit.
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Old May 30, 17, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by tide View Post
You cannot understand Singapore without understanding the HDB public flats/estates as over 80% of the populace live in one. Take the MRT and go to one and spend 1-2 hours walking around to absorb. I would choose one like Queenstown or Bedok (near enough but far away enough from the city center)
I'll have to find out the name of the bldg my husband went up - there was a small fee ($5S?) for non-residents, but he found out about it online as it's popular with harbor-watchers - one of the best views to see the ships. Husband did that one morning while I was working at NUS.

We spent 6 days exploring - I don't think we did anything really outside the box, but we did have fun - and a relaxing time (the nice thing about spending a couple more days than we wanted there - due to award ticket availability - is that we didn't feel we had to cram everything into a couple days. We did the HOHO bus (free ticket from our hotel) and that was a nice way to start the trip - get an overview of parts of the city where we wanted to return for walking.
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Old May 30, 17, 9:22 am
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Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
I'll have to find out the name of the bldg my husband went up - there was a small fee ($5S?) for non-residents, but he found out about it online as it's popular with harbor-watchers - one of the best views to see the ships. Husband did that one morning while I was working at NUS.
[email protected]
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Old May 30, 17, 9:49 am
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There's a relatively unknown design museum.

Orchid gardens.

The public library, for architecture and views. It's about five blocks from Raffles Hotel and was first opened when Queen Elizabeth II visited Singapore about a dozen years ago. Sometimes there are special exhibits.

Singapore Management University for architecture. There's a small art gallery in the social science building that's sometimes open for special exhibits. It's a new campus in the CBD, basically across the street from the art museum. It has a bunch of services underground, beside the subway station that was built for the university. [By contrast, the older and traditionally prestigious Singapore National University is located in the suburbs.]

Malaysian Cultural Center (name?) sometimes has special events.

Various temples. Just walk around to find the less known ones.

I've enjoyed walking around in the embassy area beyond the far end of Orchard Road. There's some interesting architecture.

Don't forget the annex to the art museum.

Explore the quiet far end of the river. There are walking paths on both sides and the river shuttles serve this area too. There's a big ordinary shopping mall around this area too, which is quite a contrast from the fancy ones in MBS, along Orchard Road, near Suntec City, in Raffles Center, etc.Unfortunately it's not well served by the subway system.

For people watching and some architecture (not as good as elsewhere in the city, such as MBS and the public library), walk on some of the fancy residential streets behind and up the hill from the St Regis. You'll see maids walking children and lots of people walking dogs (which are prohibited in public housing in Singapore).
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Old May 30, 17, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by tide View Post
Thanks - you're faster than he is (he hasn't returned my email yet ;-) He really did enjoy it.

ETA - yep, he agrees :-) http://www.pinnacleduxton.com.sg/

Last edited by Hoyaheel; May 30, 17 at 10:30 am
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Old May 30, 17, 11:32 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
... lots of people walking dogs (which are prohibited in public housing in Singapore).
Great advice but minor correction: dogs are OK - it's cats that are banned.
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Old May 30, 17, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
Thanks - you're faster than he is (he hasn't returned my email yet ;-) He really did enjoy it.

ETA - yep, he agrees :-) http://www.pinnacleduxton.com.sg/
that's a great tip. Thanks for the link
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Old May 30, 17, 9:08 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
There's a relatively unknown design museum.
Are you talking about Red Dot Design Museum? If yes, it is very well known, right next to City Gallery and Maxwell Hawker Center.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Orchid gardens.
I would assume that it is National Orchid Garden inside Singapore Botanic Gardens.


Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Don't forget the annex to the art museum.
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
The public library, for architecture and views. It's about five blocks from Raffles Hotel and was first opened when Queen Elizabeth II visited Singapore about a dozen years ago. Sometimes there are special exhibits.
Are you talking about Central Public Library between North Bridge and Victoria st? Art Museum, Library and SMU are on the same city block.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I've enjoyed walking around in the embassy area beyond the far end of Orchard Road. There's some interesting architecture.
Nassim Road which goes from Orchard to Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Explore the quiet far end of the river. There are walking paths on both sides and the river shuttles serve this area too. There's a big ordinary shopping mall around this area too, which is quite a contrast from the fancy ones in MBS, along Orchard Road, near Suntec City, in Raffles Center, etc.Unfortunately it's not well served by the subway system.
Again, I assume that you are talking about walking path alongside Singapore River which starts (or ends) at Marina Bay and goes up. The mall you mentioned is Great World City which is across the Grand Copthorne Waterfront hotel.

One notion about water shuttles, they are called water taxis. They work only 8AM-10AM and 5PM-7PM daily. Ride is $4 and requires EZlink card. If you do not have the card our go other time there, they will force you to buy tourist ride for $28.


Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
For people watching and some architecture (not as good as elsewhere in the city, such as MBS and the public library), walk on some of the fancy residential streets behind and up the hill from the St Regis.
The best people watching is at Clarke Quay steps next to MRT station.
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Old May 30, 17, 9:11 pm
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Originally Posted by tide View Post
Great advice but minor correction: dogs are OK - it's cats that are banned.
One more minor correction - maximum one dog per flat and it has to be from the approved list of breeds.
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