Vacation at Home

Who says there’s nothing to do in Singapore? We beg to differ. Here’s a nifty guide to stepping out today to visit familiar sights, uncover new spots, and see our world-class city in a new light! 

Just like that, we’re well into the second half of the year. By now, you’re likely itching for an overseas escapade if you haven’t already been on one this year. But if you’re unable to join the travel surge anytime soon, you’ll be thrilled to know that you have everything you need and more right at your doorstep to satisfy your wanderlust. Yes, we’re talking about exploring Singapore through a new lens, so put your tourist goggles on as we uncover the wonders of our little island nation and find out why it’s one of the most visited cities in the world!

Discover unique destinations

Singapore may be small, but as we all know, we have plenty to boast about from cleanliness to safety. In fact, millions of visitors flock to our shores each year to experience the fusion of towering skyscrapers and lush greenery, as well as the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of our culturally diverse society, which we, as locals, tend to take for granted or deem as tourist traps. 

So instead of booking a flight out for the next long weekend, why not spend some time around town to explore all that the city has to offer? It’s also a good chance to get a refresher on our history and culture with familiar landmarks neighbouring CapitaLand malls such as the Istana (which will be open to the public on 8 August for National Day), the National Museum of Singapore (which is a short walk from Plaza Singapura),and the Singapore River (where CQ @ Clarke Quay sits). Not only can you soak up the stunning sights and capture social media worthy shots, you may even learn a new thing or two about our island home by going on guided heritage tours or visiting local exhibitions, many of which are free for Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents.

Savour local delights

To get the full local experience, we must of course dive into the amazing food found all around us.

What makes Singaporean cuisine so special, you ask? Well, the influences of many different cultures create a melting pot of flavours and textures, so whether you’re dining at a hawker centre or a Michelin-starred restaurant, your taste buds are in for a treat!

Our favourite way to start the day is with a traditional breakfast at Ya Kun Kaya Toast. There’s nothing better than fuelling up for a day of adventure than with a quintessential Singaporean spread that most locals know and love—crisp kaya butter toast served with soft-boiled eggs and an aromatic cup of kopi or teh.

For the perfect pit stop come midday, WOK HEY is just the place to recharge over a hearty meal. The modern Asian kitchen took the nation by storm with their incredibly fragrant stir-fry dishes like the  signature egg fried rice. Since there is no dine-in option, the convenient takeouts are ideal for those who want to savour an umami-filled meal on-the-go. We recommend chowing down on your stir-fry as you stroll along the bustling streets of the city centre, or sit down for a picnic at the Roof Garden at Funan mall; just remember to clean up after yourself if you do decide to dine outdoors!

No matter where we go, we’ll always miss the unique flavours of home that can’t be found anywhere else. Image courtesy of Ya Kun Kaya Toast and WOK HEY

For many of us here, dinner is the most important meal of the day and a time for families and loved ones to unite at the dining table. If you’re out exploring with your family, you won’t want to miss a trip to Godmama for some delectable Peranakan food that tastes like home. Plus, if you have a palate for spice, the wide selection of sambal chilli and curry dishes will be right up your alley.

Diets don’t matter when we’re on vacation, so we suggest ending off a big day of exploring with a sinful supper at our go-to supper spot, Crave, for a delicious packet of nasi lemak to curb the late-night hunger pangs.  

Godmama was created with the appreciation of food as a vehicle for the celebration of people and culture. Image courtesy of Godmama.

Go on a shopping spree

Another vacation must-do is to go shopping! Lucky for us, Singapore happens to be a popular shopping paradise with multiple CapitaLand malls in the downtown area that houses a myriad of shopping and dining outlets to indulge every shopper. What’s more, saving on flight and accommodation costs means that you’ll have more to spend on things you wouldn’t normally splurge on, and be rewarded with exclusive tourist privileges!

Apart from the wonderful home-grown brands that you can and should support, we’re also a prominent hub for beloved brands from all over the world, notably in the fashion and beauty department. When it comes to the latter, we do enjoy the variety of Asian and Western skincare and makeup brands like the French natural skincare expert, L’Occitane. In fact, we are just in time for their largest and most immersive pop-up event in Singapore, the L’Occitane Hotel!

Located at Raffles City until 9 July, you can get a first-hand experience of highly raved and sustainable L’Occitane products from the Almond, Immortelle, and haircare collections. Don’t forget to drop by the gift shop to bring your favourites home and enjoy attractive discounts while you’re at it—we hear there’s an exclusive travel kit going at just $59 (U.P. $98)* which will definitely be of good use on your next travel.

*Register online here. Terms and conditions apply. 

Get a bespoke hair care routine tailored by professional hair care mixologists (L) and revel in magical projections of the Almond forest (R) at the L’Occitane Hotel. Image Courtesy of L’Occitane.
Put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care at YANG Club, situated within the heritage mansion The Riverhouse. Image courtesy of YANG

Have fun from day to night

We all know that Singapore is a city that never sleeps. Even from dusk to dawn, we can still find parts of the city bursting with life, making it the best place for both early birds and night owls alike.

Well, if it’s a good time you’re looking for after a day of feasting and retail therapy, make your way over to YANG Club for a glimpse of the local night scene. The international Asian nightclub in Clarke Quay—possibly the liveliest area in town— promises to uplift your night with snazzy hits ranging from electro house to party band bangers, and sick lineups for the pre-show live performances.

Besides, you don’t have to leave the country for an experience that’s out of this world. That’s right, we’re talking about  Stranger Things - The Encounter: Singapore* at Bugis+, an immersive event that's not to be missed, especially if you’re a fan of the critically acclaimed Netflix series.

From now to 1 October, be transported into the bizarre town of Hawkins and other iconic locations from the show, interact with characters from the Stranger Things universe, and walk away with event-exclusive merchandise and collectibles by Mighty Jaxx.

Just like the series, this gripping encounter is sure to be a hit for thrill-seekers of all ages!

Be careful not to lose yourself in the Upside Down, where menacing monsters roam free. Image courtesy of Mighty Experiences.

*Purchase tickets here. Terms and conditions apply.

At the end of the day, the best part about vacationing at home is that you need not squeeze all your activities into 24 hours. You don’t have to let bad weather and the dreaded farewells of overseas trips put a damper on your holiday as there will always be tomorrow to embark on new journeys. And if you’re long overdue for an escape, you can even stop by one of the many great hotels in the vicinity for a staycation too, for the full tourist experience.

That said, let’s not take for granted this treasure trove that is our home, and happy exploring! 

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