Just before sunrise is the best time to run in Singapore. Year around the sun rises at 7am-ish (and sets 12 hours later). The nighttime cools down the island and if you are lucky there’s a nice morning breeze or an early morning drizzle. Take a taxi to one on my fav running spots: East Coast and run along the coastline, Botanical Gardens and see many fit elderly folks doing their morning Qi-Gong or around the Marina Bay. MacRitchie reservoir is great for a 10K weekend run and the monkeys will join you, no kidding.
For a local breakfast go to any Hawker/Food center area and order fish porridge or a nasi lemak. The best porridge place I have found is Ah Chiang, corner Eng Watt and Tiong Poh rd in the retro Tiong Bahru hood. Walk around here and discover new coffee places, galleries. It’s like Singapore’s Miami style architecture. Jones the Grocer in Dempsey Rd area serves a good Western/Oz style breakfast and there’s a nice ‘off the beaten track’ coffee/breakfast place called Loysel’s Toy, off the beaten track at no. 66 Kampong Bugis
Try the St. Regis on Sundays and ask for the table in the alcove. Great experience, not just all buffets (thank you!), mixed with table service, including champagne and quality live music. PS Café at Harding Road is a more relaxed weekend brunch spot. Mind the parking area outside for the kid’s strollers though..
Visit the viewing deck (SkyPark) on top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel which gives you – on a clear day – a stunning view of the island. Entrance next to Tower A, note it’s just outside the actual hotel lobby; go down the escalators. If you follow the signs in the lobby you’ll be led across the shops and casino jungle. Once up (for like $15 or so pp) enjoy the near 360 views, there’s a drinks/coffee stand. Afterwards visit an exhibition you fancy at the lotus flower shape ArtScience museum or walk a bit further to the new Botanical Gardens at the Bay. However, if you are a casino hotel complex virgin…do follow the signs to the ‘Shoppes’ and upscale brand names will dazzle you, including the indoor and oh so fake…Venetian canal with gondola’s. And yes, you can take a ride as well. I really love the amazing giant swirling fountain, have a look it’s also in-doors.
My favorite lunch spot is right in the middle of the Botanical Gardens. It’s called Halia Restaurant and just a 15-20 min stroll through these magnificent gardens. You’ll appreciate the air-conditioning inside or the fans outside. Ask the taxi driver to let you out at the Cluny Road (main) entrance. If you are into flowers, visit the dedicated orchid garden, pretty close to the restaurant. If too much green is not what you fancy, go straight to a mall to burn a few dollars on those credit cards. See below for lunch spots.
It’s mall galore in Singapore. Many new malls have opened in recent years, like ION a shopping jungle, I always get lost. ION food: Marmalade Pantry serves great western fare and on the top floor a fantastic dumpling restaurant Paradise Dynasty serving a colorful palette from truffle to salmon dumplings. Mandarin Gallery with more boutique designer stores, eat at Wild Honey. However my favorite mall is Paragon, easy to navigate with just the right amount of quality brands and lunch at PS Café. Not into malls: grab a taxi to Haji Lane in the so-called Arab street area and navigate through this lane and the many side streets. A mix of fashion start-up type boutiques, lazy café’s and restaurants. Or go to Chinatown and stroll through Club Street and Ann Siang Hill, you’ll love this hood.
Give your feet a just amazing massage at My Foot Reflexology, in Forum mall in basement (just a 10min taxi ride from Paragon, next to the Hilton). Your feet will enjoy a soothing, yet strong relaxing treatment by well-trained visually impaired therapists from the local community.
There are so many fab places to enjoy a little dirty martini. Here’s a few: go up to floor 74 (or higher, I forgot) of the Swissotel Stamford to the small cocktail bar at around 6:30pm to watch the sun set. Service sometimes comes with a tad attitude, but you know how to handle this. Otherwise up to Asia Bar one floor up for a more relaxed style. The lobby lounge of the InterContinental hotel is a stylish place to meet up before dinner with a larger crowd, love the sofas. On top of Marina Bay Sands go to Ku-De-Ta. Yes, same name as Bali but yet not the same if you know what I mean. However the views at night are just spectacular. For a true mixologist experience go back to Haji Lane no. 57A on the second floor and enjoy the amazing bespoke cocktails prepared for you at Bar Stories.
Try a hawker center if you want to go local. My favorite is Lau Pa Sat. Located in the CBD area. Grab a table in ‘Sate Street’ next to the center, order a jug of Tiger beer and enjoy. In Chinatown, Maxwell food court offers all the Singapore fare you need to try. Just join the longest queues as these stalls typically offer the best food. Singapore offers many good western restaurant choices. In China town my fav’s: BROTH on Duxton Hill and PS Café in Ann Siang Hill.