FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Singapore: Secret Desire

May 1, 2008
2008 / May 2008

Frequent visitors to singapore know all about its most celebrated landmarks and attractions, but spending a bit of time off the beaten path may yield surprising results.

For breakfast, head to the littlevisited Katong precinct, not far from Changi Airport (SIN). Chin Mee Chin Confectionery (204 East Coast Road, tel 65 6345 0419) has been serving traditional Singaporean breakfasts since 1925. The house specialty is kaya toast (kaya is a rich coconut jam) with boiled eggs and coffee.

After breakfast, take a stroll along Katong’s Koon Seng Road. Facing one another between Joo Chiat Road and Tembeling Road are two sets of twostory prewar shops now converted into trendy terrace houses, each a riot of contrasting colors. The wooden fascia boards and fretwork of the houses comes from Malay sources, while the facades are made of plasterwork and tiles — influences from Portugal and China.

Midmorning, get away from it all on Pulau Ubin, a little island home to Singapore’s last traditional fishing villages and with plenty of walking and mountain-bike trails, 10 minutes by boat from Changi Village jetty. Bicycles can be hired at the Pulau Ubin jetty.

For lunch, head back towards town to Little India. On the rim of the precinct, Blue Ginger Restaurant (97 Tanjung Pagar Road, tel 65 6222 3928) offers a delicious, six-course sampler menu, including sour fish curry, spring rolls and rendang (a slow-cooked dry curry).

After lunch, take a walk around Little India, enjoying its heady mix of aromas, sights and sounds. Then catch the gondola cable car from Singapore’s southern coast to Sentosa Island (tel 65 1800 736 8672). Sentosa makes a welcome getaway — though a great deal of discretion is required to separate the gems from the dross, the tacky and the underwhelming. The best things, such as the excellent beaches, are free. Take in the stunning views from the high-rise La Rasa Sentosa Resort (101 Siloso Road, Siloso, Singapore, tel 65 6275 0100, http://www.shangri-la.com), or ride to the top of Carlsberg Sky Tower(41 Cable Car Road, Sentosa, Singapore, tel 65 6259 9288), Asia’s highest observation tower. The restored Fort Siloso (33 Allanbrooke Road, Sentosa, Singapore, tel 65 1800 736 8672), a World War II cannon battery, is also well worth a visit.

Come sunset, there is no better place to relax and unwind than at Clarke Quay (3 River Valley Road, Singapore, tel 65 6337 3292, http://www.clarkequay.com.sg), the grand new playground of Singapore. This redevelopment along the banks of the Singapore River commemorates Singapore’s second governor, Sir Andrew Clarke. Following the rehabilitation of the river, the old warehouses have been converted into quayside restaurants and clubs, with a string of cafés and pubs right on the riverbank.

At night Chinatown comes alive. (It does seem weird that a city that is more than 75 percent Chinese should boast a Chinatown; it’s a bit like referring to the English quarter of London.) The corner of Smith Street and Trengganu Street becomes a giant outdoor restaurant, with tables and chairs spread out over the sidewalks. Feast on such delicacies as stingray with chili, a specialty of the precinct. All the while, Chinese opera singers serenade the crowd from a nearby stage while plate-jugglers ply their craft in the foreground.

And then? Maybe drift back to Clarke Quay where the Ministry of Sound (3C River Valley Rd, 01-07 Clarke Quay, tel 65 6333 9368, http://www.ministryofsound.com.sg) is one of the world’s largest nightclubs, more than 130,000 square feet of space on two levels. But don’t stay too late — there’s another great day of Singapore exploration on the agenda tomorrow.

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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