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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Visiting Singapore for Business

When in Singapore, all i hear are rants and complains of her people. When out of Singapore, all i hear are praises and admiralty for my nation. My honest opinion is while Singapore is commendable in many aspects like safety, transport, service and food, it is not quite a tourist destination because of the lack of activities to do (other than malls and the zoo).

However, it is definitely worthwhile to stay a weekend or slightly more if you are passing through. What do you then do it you are passing through for business?

You haven't got time to visit the zoo! Do what the locals do.

SHOPPING 24/7 (Get anything, well almost)

Where: Mustafa Center, Little India district (nearest train station Farrer Park)

If you have daylight, walk around and visit the temples for free. Singapore is one of the few nations with different ethnicities living in harmony.Walk around at night after being cooped up in meeting rooms all day, there are many backpackers pubs as well as local Indian eateries. Mustafa Center comprises of 2 multi storey from lifestyle products to beauty products to food products at good prices. You will find amusing items for souvenirs. Like cobra perfume. For a detailed post on what else does Mustafa Center has to offer, read here
Since you are travelling for work, you are especially strapped for time. So be sure to stop by one of these cheesy backdrops that has all of Singapore's icons in one spot!
Including Singapore airlines. 
SHOPPING (other than Orchard Road)

Where: Haji Lane (nearest train station Bugis)
Or Bugis Village

Haji Lane is near the Arab quarters (where you can find a quaint Asian toy museum). It is a narrow alley of heritage buildings with boutique shops. Find unique fashion and local labels. 

Prices range from reasonable to high-end. Shops open late (11am) and close before 9pm. At night, you can find it bustling with drinking holes and food. My favourite is Bar Stories for posh but affordable nosh and customized cocktails.

You will also find an old-school British barber, Hounds of Baskerville where you can get a cut and a shave the old gentleman way (reservations needed).
Bugis Village is right above the train station and is an open-air market place with cheap and good clothing for both men and women. Bargains can be done. 


Where: Geylang(nearest train Aljunied)

The red light district of Singapore is not a publicized tourist spot but a much loved supper spot by Singaporeans. It is an area best experienced with a local, complete with running commentary. However, it is not difficult to explore on your own as it's just one long stretch of road. Hop on a taxi (taxis are cheap in Singapore) or ask at the train station. Expect raised eyebrows (it IS afterall, a red light district). Ask the Taxi Uncle (yes, we call them Uncle even though they are not blood related) to alight you at the famous BEEF HOR FUN (rice noodle) stall and you can start exploring from there.

I call it the Geylang Safari because there is many different "species", both in food and in women. Geylang food store owners are exceptionally friendly, so are the prostitutes.

Where: Food Republic Beer Garden (nearest train Harbourfront)
At the gateway of Sentosa, at St James (a multi-room mega night club), there is an alfresco eating place that resembles Singapore in the 60s. You can also find a similar location (under the same parent), at the Singapore Flyer nearer the city center. Here, you can get the best of local cuisine. Go for sambal stingray (spicy), oyster omelette, carrot cake (nothing like the Western one), and Bak Ku Teh (peppery pork soup). Sometimes there could be live bands too. 


Where: Prawning

Rent a rod, sit around a man-made lake and catch prawns. Later, BBQ them on the spot.
Where: Parkview Square (nearest train Bugis)
Posh fancy lounge with a wine fairy. The most expensive bottles are right at the top, the more generous you are, the higher the wine fairy (with a mini skirt) goes. A drink (passable) starts from SGD 15.

Where: Ann Siang Hill or Duxton Hill or Keong Siak Road
Lined up with heritage shop houses, you can find ad agencies, boutique shops and mid-range to high end dining places. Many expats hang out in this area

Enough to do on your business trip to Singapore! Pulling together old posts into one, just because i'm feeling a little patriotic this National Day.


Anonymous said...

A lot of my Aussie friends actually liked places like Holland V, Dempsey Hill, Marina Bay and Clarke Quay.

Its a combination of the variety of establishments and the significantly fewer occasions of alcohol-induced loutish/violent behaviour so prevalent in the nightspots of some Western countries.

Have to agree its nice to be able to walk around at night, grab a bite and a drink, walk some more, people watch and not have to constantly look over your shoulder. The Northbridge area in Perth can get a bit hairy close to midnight.


Xtine said...

oooooh...northbridge, i remember!

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