Tourism

WATCH: Flight Centre’s Rachel Cleary explores Singapore

Agents on location is something everyone wants to see, and today we’re showing off the Cultural and Historical sides to Singapore.

The Lion City was graced with the presence of four travel agents and their personal cameramen recently, so Singapore Tourism Board and Travel Weekly could capture the magic all around them.

Susan Mathew explored the Art & Design side of Singapore, while Zoe Taylor got amongst the family fun parts of Singapore, and Lucia Bonizzato from Peterpans Adventure Travel Adelaide saw all the natural wonders Singapore has to offer.

Today, in our final instalment of travel agents on tour, is Rachel Cleary from Flight Centre Noosa Village. Rachel was treated to a true Culture & History itinerary, which you can read in full below.

But for now, check out the adventures she enjoyed on location in Singapore.

 

Day 1

Start your day with a visit to Little India, a buzzing historic area that shows off the best of Singapore’s Indian community from vibrant culture to incredible shopping.

One of the must visits in Little India is the Indian Heritage Centre, its exhibitions trace the history of the Indian communities in the Southeast Asian region. Think shopping in Little India and only one name springs to mind, Mustafa Centre.

There’s no place quite like it; a 24-hour shopping behemoth selling just about anything under one roof. This is paradise for bargain-hunters and hardened shopaholics.

This evening head to Chinatown where you can find Hindu temples and mosques sit right next to Chinese temples. Sri Mariamman Temple and Jamae Mosque are on South Bridge Road, as is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple all worth a visit. The cramped five-foot-ways, dingy alleys and raucous street hawkers are relics of Chinatown’s past.

To learn more about local Chinese culture and to experience how Singapore’s early Chinese migrants once lived visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre. The best way to conclude your Chinatown visit is with a wander through the touristy bits of Chinatown’s bustling markets.

Day 2

This morning take the time to learn more about how Singapore came to be the bustling city that it is today. Formerly a World War II British underground command centre inside Fort Canning Hill, the Battlebox is now a museum open to the public.

Sign up for the Battlebox tour, A Story of Strategy and Surrender, to experience the story of the fall of Malaya and Singapore in WWII, and learn how the Battlebox functioned during the war.

Located right near Battlebox is the National Museum of Singapore where you can explore the intriguing story of Singapore in a manner that is both fun and rewarding. With its history dating back to 1887, the National Museum is the nation’s oldest, and one of the city’s architectural icons.

Its permanent offerings, the Singapore History and Living Galleries, piece together the past and present.

This evening pay a visit to Kampong Glam, the area has an eclectic blend of history, culture and a super-trendy lifestyle scene. Kampong Glam has its origins as a fishing village at the mouth of Rochor River.

The Malay word ‘kampung’ means ‘village’, and the area was known for the gelam tree (or Paperbark Tree) that grew here and was used for building ships. Start from the landmark Sultan Mosque, and wander through the many side streets.

Today, the grounds of the ‘Istana’ (‘palace’) is home to the Malay Heritage Centre, where you can get to know Malay history and culture better.

Day 3

For a truly local morning head to Balestier Road where you will find enough hidden foodie locations to fill you up for days.
Follow this with a visit to the Peranakan Museum where you can get to know Singapore’s vibrant Peranakan community and history at this top-notch museum, filled with fine artefacts and fun exhibits.

Various aspects of this hybrid Southeast Asian culture – made up of Chinese, Malay and Indian elements – are brought to life here, through the interactive and multimedia exhibits. To try some authentic Perankan Cuisine head next door to True Blue Cuisine for a tasty banquet.

To further understand the development of Singapore take a Changi WWII tour that commemorates the fight of the men and women during WWII and takes you to the site of the many prisoner-of-war camps during the Japanese Occupation.

Day 4

Visit Joo Chiat/Katong to further discover Peranakan culture. The area’s identity is especially shaped by its unique pre-war architecture – colourful two-storey shophouses and terrace houses with ornate facades, intricate motifs and ceramic tiles.

As one of the country’s best foodie destinations, your culinary choices are endless: explore cool cafes that sit next to old-world coffeeshops selling the famous Katong ‘laksa’, ‘kueh chang’ (dumplings) and other Nonya delicacies.

Depending on the day of the week take a Fullerton Monument Tour with The Fullerton Hotel Let their guide take you back in time to 1928 when the story of the Fullerton Building first began. As “Mile Zero”, from which all of Singapore was measured, the historical building had famously hosted the General Post Office.

It was also here where Singapore pioneer leaders made decisions that steered the course of the nation, propelling Singapore into first-world status.

Take a walk through Singapore’s past through the Civic District, where Singapore’s historical, architectural and cultural heritage started. Here, some of the country’s most historic buildings have been restored and given a new lease of life. Arts aficionados, don’t miss the Asian Civilisations Museum, with its original neo-classical architecture.

Or follow the sound of music to the nearby Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall that was built in 1862.

In 2015, the City Hall and former Supreme Court were reborn as the National Gallery Singapore which displays the world’s largest collection of Southeast Asian art, including Singapore art.

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