Destinations

How to see 4 cultures in 1 day

Yes, you read that headline right, and no it’s not magic. We tell you how to see 4  cultures in a single day.

We bet you clicked on this article wondering how on earth you could possibly see so many country’s cultures in just a single day.

Well, the trick is to find them all in the same place. And that place is Singapore.

One of Asia’s most exciting cities, Singapore is more – much more – than just Singapore Slings and chilli crab.

We show you how to experience 4 very different cultures, scattered in unique neighbourhoods all across Singapore. You’ve never had such a diverse day.

Tiong Bahru

 item_2.thumbnail.carousel-img.740.416

Let’s start with the destination itself; Singapore. If you have a taste for heritage, the hip, or are just insatiably curious about how everything can come together beautifully in between, you have to make a trip over to Tiong Bahru, an almost-80-year-old estate that charmingly blends new- and old-world allure.

Right at the centre of it all, you will find the perfect place for a breakfast fix; traditional coffee shops where you will be surprised by the kind of food Singaporeans start the day with.

Brace yourself for a barrage of friendly banter and outlandish drink names – that’s what our coffeeshop culture is made of.

After you have had a taste of the food and fun, you have even more decisions to make. You can choose to take in the neighbourhood’s stories with a stroll through its heritage trail, chill out at the establishments that have made this neighbourhood a hip town, or simply hop on the train, bus or in a cab to explore other trendy neighbourhoods, all minutes away.

Your day in this city of possibilities has barely begun.

Chinatown

People Shopping in Chinatown, Singapore

With the shortest of journeys, all of a sudden, you’re immersed in Chinese culture. While the world is familiar with the trishaws, eateries and traditional remedies, on sale in the famed Chinatown, there are many other hidden gems to explore.

A stone’s throw away from the pre-World War II era shophouses in Telok Ayer, you will find a 75-million dollar temple erected to house a dental fragment of religious history, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum.

Apart from a 3.5 tonne stupa that houses the actual relic; there are also exhibits of religious art, a depository for Buddhist texts, and a vegetarian dining hall to be explored.

In its neighbourhood, you will also find some of the most celebrated hawker centres, such as Maxwell Road Hawker Centre and Hong Lim Food Centre, where local delicacies such as Hainanese Chicken Rice, Fried Carrot Cake and Kaya Toast can be found.

Have your fill, then take a leisurely stroll through Ann Siang Hill, which not only houses some of the city’s hippest dining and hangout places, but also conceals one of the most tranquil parks in the heart of the city.

Further on at the fringes of Chinatown, you will find Singapore’s oldest Chinese temple. It’s a magnificent and awe-inspiring display of Chinese art and culture, but here’s its real claim to fame – its entire 980 square-metre compound was built without the use of a single nail.

Thian Hock Keng Temple is a sight you must see to believe.

Little India

Singapore, Singapore - August 23, 2014: Colourful facade of a building in Little India in Singapore. An Indian lady can be seen walking by (motion blur). The image was taken mid-day.

When you are ready to dive deep into another of Singapore’s vibrant historical neighbourhoods – and totally jump ship into a new ‘country’ and culture – then head on over to Little India.

We recommend starting from Tekka Centre, a former abattoir that is now a multi-use complex where cultures of the world’s two biggest countries coexist.

Upon stepping in, it is hard to miss the constant hum of voices bantering in a mish mash of languages – do not be surprised if a man of Chinese ethnicity starts jesting with Malay stall owners in the Tamil language! This has become commonplace in a landmark where different cultures and communities have been congregating for almost a century.

Wander through the different floors, and you will find a wonderful myriad of the marvellous and eclectic. Get an intricate henna tattoo, or get lost amidst the bright and colourful wares up for sale.

From rice served on banana leaves to Sup Tulang, a dish of mutton bones in a bright red stew, there is an endless array of culinary discoveries to be made. For the more gastronomically adventurous, it is said that the country’s best Fish Head Curry can be found a little way down the road, deep in Little India itself.

Malay / Arab Quarter

Masjid Sultan Mosque In Singapore

To experience this part of town is to experience the glamour and beauty that is derived from Kampong Glam.

The ‘Glam’ in Kampong Glam didn’t originally stand for glamour, but it might as well have been. The genesis of its name is a lot more grounded, literally.

Named after the ‘gelam’ tree and originally demarcated as a settlement for the ruling Sultan and his household, Kampong Glam has over time grown into a precinct rich with history, culture and some of the most trendy shops in the city.

As you explore the area, the massive golden domes of the Sultan Mosque  are hard to miss. But these marvels are not just about scale and opulence.

Try and spot the glass bottles at the base of each giant dome – these were donated by the poorer devotees during its construction and incorporated into the design so that all Muslims, not just the rich, could contribute.

If you would like to mix up the heritage of the area with experiences that are hip and modern, check out the vicinity of Arab Street. Traditional textile stores and hip indie outlets play good neighbours here, and you might even be able to get your hands on rare alcohol-free perfumes.

To satiate the hunger roused from all this activity, look to the host of cafés and restaurants serving the most exotic of cuisines, from unconventional bar grub to authentic fares from the Middle East.


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Destinations

ScoMo says Australia-Singapore travel bubble to form “within the next week or so”

Our editor is loving this bubble talk so much that he’s decided to celebrate by having a bubble bath while enjoying a bubble tea.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas to launch Sydney-Dehli route, moves start date forward for select overseas flights

The national carrier also said it plans to bring back around 11,000 stood-down workers a whopping six months earlier than expected.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Golden Horizon, the world’s biggest sailing ship, cancels its Aussie debut

Tradewind Voyages is the latest cruise line to axe its Aussie sailings after growing tired of waiting for the federal government to get its sh*t together.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Flight Centre-owned DMC Discova recruits new global marketing manager

The destination management company has Discova-d its new global marketing manager. Get it? (Sorry, that was a pretty cringeworthy effort).

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Four must-dos in Flanders

With charming cities, a rich history and artistic masterpieces (not to mention an unparalleled beer culture), there’s a lot to love about the northern Belgium region.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

WA lets slip plan to mandate COVID-19 jabs for all interstate travellers

Mark McGowan has been forced to do a bit of explaining after WA’s health department appeared to accidentally release details of its mandatory vaccine plan for all interstate visitors.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

W Brisbane appoints new hotel manager, marketing boss and chef de cuisine

As the saying goes, all good things come in threes. Unless, of course, we’re talking about baseball strikes.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Travel agents left out of NSW’s $530m plan to revive tourism and events

The plan includes vouchers to encourage domestic travel and a fund to lure international airlines back to Australia, but AFTA’s chief argues a crucial element of the industry has been left out.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

New marketing and PR agency launches with sustainable travel focus

Two senior names in the tourism marketing space have joined forces to launch a new purpose-led player, and you can probably guess its name from the accompanying pic.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Victoria reopens to fully-vaxxed travellers from Sydney, WA to allow quarantine-free travel for Queenslanders

Here are a couple more positive signs that domestic travel is getting back to the good old days.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Sunrise’s David “Kochie” Koch to host sustainable tourism webinar featuring industry heavyweights

Do you generally start your mornings with Kochie on TV? Well, you’ll be able to enjoy a double dose of him tomorrow.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas introduces automatic ticket revalidation enhancement for agents

Are you sick of flight schedule changes messing with your clients’ travel plans? Well, hopefully this new update by Qantas will help you contain your rage.

Share

CommentComments