There is the Arab Street you can check out. Which is the arab/muslim enclave of Singapore (or at least it used to be) which has some pretty unique shops and stalls selling arab fabrics, mats, lamps and souvenirs. As well as a pretty cool looking mosque and one of the oldest! There is also the Kampong Glam Museum, which showcase the history and culture of the Malay people. It also use to be a palace, where the old sultan resided.
Alongside is Haji Lane, which is kinda like the hipster scene of Singapore. Down here, you will see a row of shophouses selling unique goods, trendy clothes, chill cafes and bars. There is also a unique cat cafe, where you get to play with cats, as well as a selfie coffee cafe. You may also find some buskers down this area! It’s a young and lively place! (Expect to see more artsy clothes and cafes). And of course, Chinatown. Though, Chinatown here isn’t like that of the Chinatowns elsewhere in the world, it’s no longer a chinese enclave, and is purely a tourist attraction. Here, you will find chinese souvenirs, goods, snacks, and foods.
There is also Little India, and I recommend Mustafa Center in Farrer Park. Which is right beside Little India. It’s a 24/7, shopping mall that opens for all day, all night, and all year. It is one of the best places to go, if you intent on doing shopping, and one of the most complex shopping malls you will ever enter. And when I mean complex, I mean, 6 floors in a giant building that sells anything from watches, jewellery, electronics, TV, travel equipment, bags, clothes, cosmetics, groceries, and even souvenirs from the UK! And, its great as well because things there are usually cheaper than elsewhere. Perfumes are usually 2 bottles for the price of one, so it’s a great place for bargain shopping as well as souvenirs shopping, and even if you don’t plan on buying anything, it’s still great to have a walk!
Another area I highly recommend is the Parkview Square located in the Bugis area. This building is both an office and a embassy, but, the interior architecture is very unique. It looks like something out of the movie ‘The Great Gatsby’/or if you play videogames, Rapture from Bioshock and has a 1930’s classic feel to it, with really exquisite carvings on the walls and roofs! So definitely do check it out if possible! Its this huge brown office building that looks like it fits into the world of Gotham City.
Oh, you can also check out the National Library building in Bugis as well, you can go up to the 11th or 13th floor and see quite a bit of the city from up there as well. There’s not too much, since it’s basically just a library.
If you want to check out weird as hell sculptures, you can give the Haw Par Villa a try. There is a section called the ‘ten courts of hell’, where they have sculptures of Chinese folklore, showing what punishment people will suffer when they go to hell. And when I meant weird, I do mean weird. They have human heads on tortoise bodies (I’m serious) and raccoons in suits. It’s just a really weird and unique place that we have, so you have to check it out! The area is mainly about Chinese myths, legends, and traditional cultures, and constructed by the brothers who produced the Tiger Balm. This is uniquely Singapore!
And when it comes to food, I highly recommend you hit the hawker centers, away from the restaurants. Hawker centers serves cheap, fresh, and amazing street food. Foods that are a must try, for chinese food, are like Chicken rice, Fried Carrot Cake, char kway teow, hokkien noodles(fried yellow seafood noodles) Bak Chor Mee (dried noodles with minced pork) and Laksa(Spicy Coconut broth with vermicelli noodles). As for Indian food, I recommend going for roti prata (a indian pancake), Appam (pancake with a special red sugar), rojak(Indian fruit or fried dough salad) tulang merah (Lamb bone marrow with a spicy and sweet sauce)
For Malay food, I recommend mee rebus, nasi lemak (coconut rice), mee siam, satay and mee goreng. For desserts, ice kacang (basically shaved ice with flavoured syrups), chendol, tao suan, red bean soup, green bean soup and many others. Drinks, soursop, sugar cane juice, bandung (rose syrup with milk, this is really sweet though!) milo and avocado milkshake with gula melaka or chocolate syrup.
Oh! Seafood, chilli crab, black pepper crab, salted egg crab (though it’s quite pricey), sambal stingray(yes, we do eat stingray, and it’s awesome!), sambal lala(vongole clams), Gong Gong (steam conch shells) and sambal kangkong (sweet potato leaves) And if you ever see street motorbikes with umbrellas opened, they sell Ice cream, wrapped around a rainbow coloured bread, and it’s one of the local desserts that everyone loves, and only cost $1.50 for 1! Give it a go if you do see one! If you’re not one who can take spicy, I suggest you let the cooks or chefs know to tone down the spiciness, or to remove it.
And for local breakfast, you can go and try kaya toast, a coconut jam, preferably from Ya Kun Kaya toast, a rather popular toast chain. I also strongly suggest you do not try the Singapore Sling, because well, locals simply don’t drink it. Its very expensive($25!) , for what is only a mediocre drink, and simply taste nothing more of a pineapple juice cocktail. If you still really want to try it, I suggest buying the bottled ones in some supermarket or liquor stalls, its the same thing for a cheaper price.
And, alcohol here is generally much more expensive than other SEA countries, so be prepared to spend quite a some if you want to drink. A bottle of beer is about $12 in a bar, and about $9 in a supermarket. While cheaper than most restaurants, I also recommend you try not to hit food courts, namely Food Republic, Gluttons Bay and at the Marina Bay Sands Mall, Rasapura Masters.
They largely cater to tourists, so the value of the food are much more expensive than local food, as much a 5 times. And, you can get local food at a better quality for a cheaper price elsewhere. Go where the locals go (usually people will say, if you ask. Look for older men and women) and look for stalls with long queues, usually they are really good and famous. If you don’t mind the wait.
And if you do plan to buy electronics or any electronic equipment, there is the Sim Lim Square you could check out, but beware! It’s been known to scam both locals and tourists alike, so be very keen on the prices, as they had been known to scam quite a large sum of money from customers. Another electronics mall you could check out is Funan IT Mall located at City Hall.
If you are interested in some nature and history, you could also check out the island Pulau Ubin, bordering Malaysia and above Changi airport. There is a ferry boat ride to the island, and only cost $2.50 to get to the island. On the island, you can get to cycle around the whole island, and also, you will get to see one of the few remaining villages of Singapore.
If you have yet to change to the local currency when you arrive, a few areas that are good will be Chinatown, and Little India, where they have really good exchange rates.
Lastly, before you fly out of Singapore, you might want to check out the airport as well, there’s plenty to see and do. And for free! You can check out the butterfly garden, as well as the sunflower garden at Terminal 3. Plus, there is also a free cinema with some of the latest movies, free console gaming and, free massage, but it’s just massage chairs!