Category Archives: Singapore Attractions

Christmas Shopping and Dining at Orchard Road

This is the time of the year where the famous Orchard Road Shopping Belt puts on romantic charms with amazingly eye-catching Christmas lightings. We usually drive through Orchard Road to enjoy the beautifully glittering lights during Christmas seasons. This time, we did it on foot. And we didn’t regret it.

Christmas lightings are best viewed during the night. For us, this adventure started with a nice lunch at the Ibis Hotel at Bencoolen Street. This is one of our favourite eating places downtown because we are Accor Plus members where we enjoy dining discounts.

After lunch, we went to do some shopping over at Bugis Junction. Bugis Junction is also dressed up for Christmas. The last time we visited Bugis Junction was during the Mid Autumn Festival. How quickly the deco is switched to the soothing romantic Christmas decorations over here.

With shopping done, we walked over to Bugis+ Mall that is connected with Bugis Junction via a shopping bridge across Victoria Street. This would reduce our exposure to the bright and unforgiving sun outdoor, not to mention, the high humidity here in Singapore. Over here at Bugis+, Uniqlo has a very big store taking up 2 floors in the mall. The main atrium here was rather busy with Coffee Bean taking centre stage where many tired shoppers stopped over for a cup of cuppa. A lot of young people hang out over here as well. Continue reading Christmas Shopping and Dining at Orchard Road

Mid Autumn Festival at Chinatown (September 2016)

Other than Chinese New Year, another good time to visit Chinatown is during the period of Mid Autumn Festival. Right now, Chinatown has been dressed up for the occasion with lanterns and decorations hanging all over town. Of course, this whole area of Chinatown would become very lovely at night, much like Hoi An in Vietnam, albeit, a much more modern version of a similar attraction with plenty of Chinese old buildings, shops and cultural activities.

Unlike Hoi An, the surrounding area of Chinatown is fenced up with skyscrapers. Old and new shopping malls and hotels are sitting around the area. The central business district is just next to Chinatown at the Raffles Place and Shenton Way area. From Upper Cross Street, one could walk all the way into the busy business district.





Besides many bus services, Chinatown can be reached easily via the MRT Station from the North-East and Downtown Line. Different exits would provide visitors access to different parts of Chinatown without having to expose much to the external elements, especially during a hot and humid day or a raining day. Continue reading Mid Autumn Festival at Chinatown (September 2016)

Mid Autumn Festival at Bugis (September 2016)

Yesterday, we were running errant downtown so we happily hopped in to Ibis Bencoolen Hotel for lunch. We like the local food served there and we ordered Hokkien noodles and Nasi Lemak at just $12 each. We could top up with either a Western or Chinese soup and coffee or a selection of tea ranging from Earl Grey to English Breakfast that comes in a teapot for just $6. The small piece of garlic bread that came with the soup was very good. As Accor Plus members, dining for two attracts a 50% discount which is exceptionally good.

As usual the food was great and as expected, of higher quality than the usual hawker centre fare. Of course we enjoyed our meal. The restaurant is really a convenient place to have a quick meal in air-conditioned comfort in the city and as Accor Plus members, we are paying food court prices for a nice lunch.

After lunch, we walked over to the open area outside OG Departmental Store and the Albert Court Food Centre. The place was a hive of activities during this time of the year where Mid Autumn Festival is just next week.

This place is like a mini Chinatown but with a vibes of dynamic young people from the office crowd downtown. The whole area is full of stalls selling all and sundry, especially goods related to the coming festival. Lanterns are on display and pomelo and moon cakes are on sale. A tent is also set up for cultural activities with a moon fairy statue right in the middle of the open area. It was a hot day but the whole place was busy with visitors and office crowd out for lunch during our visit.





Continue reading Mid Autumn Festival at Bugis (September 2016)

Singapore Airshow 2016

The Singapore Airshow came to a happy conclusion yesterday after initial hiccups on transport woes at the venue.

The next show is scheduled for 6 to 11 February 2018.

The Singapore Airshow is the third largest in the world. While the main purpose of the Airshow is for exhibitors and visitors to seal billion dollar deals, the carnival-like event on the last two days open to the public provides another attraction to both foreigners and locals alike.




Should you be visiting Singapore during the Airshow in 2018, plan to visit the show if you have the time. How often do you get the chance to see some aviation equipment up close, especially for a chance to sit in the cockpit of the latest fighter jet. What about taking pictures with the cool pilots on duty or chat with the civilian and military staff present to get information out from the horse’s mouth.

The main highlight no doubt is the aerial display of aircraft, in particular, fighter jets performing aerobatics display and extreme flight maneuvers during the Airshow. This will be crowd wowing moment where heads are strained upwards with hands steadying cameras hoping to capture that prized picture or videos in the midst of the deafening roar of the jets zooming across the sky.

Of course there are goodie bags and souvenirs to be given away by exhibitors.

This recent Airshow racked up US$12.3 billion deals. Check out the story below for more information.

Singapore Airshow 2016

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Shopping and Dining at Jurong East Regional Centre

There are many famous tourists attractions in Singapore like the Sentosa Island, Universal Studios in Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore Zoo, Singapore Night Safari, Singapore Bird Park, Orchard Road Tourist area, Marina Bay area, Gardens By the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Little India, Chinatown and other famous landmarks, Jurong East Regional Centre is another place to explore where you could possibly spend at least half or even the whole day over there.

This is especially so during a raining day where outdoor activities might need to be put on a backburner and this is where Jurong East could be a good option to spend time exploring. In addition, if shopping is your kind of thing, then Jurong East could not be a better place in one of the neighbourhoods other than the city centre to shop till you drop literally.

There are four major malls in Jurong East district. These malls are inter-connected and can be easily reached via the green East-West line on the MRT system. Exiting at Jurong East MRT Station, you can walk into Jem Mall or Westgate Mall directly.




Entering Jem Mall via the link connection, you will reach H&M and Uniqlo stores on the left and right respectively. At Jem, you can also shop at Marks&Spencer as well as Robinsons if you prefer European stuff. Of course there are many other fashion stores and specialty stores to head to for shopping too.

Uniqlo and H&M Store
Uniqlo and H&M Store
Robinsons Store
Robinsons Store
Marks&Spencer at Jem
Marks&Spencer at Jem
Chinese New Year decorations at Jem
Chinese New Year decorations at Jem


Great mall to roam and shop at Jem
Great mall to roam and shop at Jem
Morning at Jem where shops are opening for business
Morning at Jem where shops are opening for business

If you arrive Jem in the morning, you can also head to Marche Movenpick Café for breakfast where they do have 1 for 1 offer. Coffee used to be 1 for 1 during breakfast as well but not any more. There are many food and beverages establishments at Jem for lunch and dinner. Ding Tai Fung Restaurant has quite a crowd during lunch. There are western restaurants such as Jack’s Place and Ambush that won’t cost too much for lunch where set lunches are available. Of course there is a food court on level 5 with a great variety of food choice too.

Marche cafe
Marche cafe
Breakfast at Marche cafe
Breakfast at Marche cafe

The Cathay cinema is on level 5 should you feel a need to catch a movie in between your shopping trip to rest your tired legs. FairPrice Xtra Supermarket is located on the basement for those who need to stock up on necessities. Crossing the connecting bridge on level 2 over to Big Box, there are more shopping opportunities.

Link bridge from Jem to Big Box
Link bridge from Jem to Big Box
View from bridge to Ng Teng Fong Hospital and Big Box
View from bridge to Ng Teng Fong Hospital and Big Box
View of Jurong Business Park and MRT on track
View of Jurong Business Park and MRT on track

While Big Box may not be as opulent in terms of decorations compare to other malls, here is a place where you could save quite substantially especially during great promotional events. The hypermart on ground floor takes up much of the space and will surely satisfy those with household needs. You could shop for furniture and furnishings, electronics and appliances as well as health and beauty products.

Furniture Store at Big Box
Furniture Store at Big Box
Promotion event on level 2
Promotion event on level 2
Electronics Store at Big Box
Electronics Store at Big Box
Electronics and Appliance Store at Big Box
Electronics and Appliance Store at Big Box
Furniture Store at Big Box
Furniture Store at Big Box
Promotion event ground floor
Promotion event ground floor
Clothes and shoes on sale
Clothes and shoes on sale
Books and digital media on sale
Books and digital media on sale
Hypermart at Big Box
Hypermart at Big Box

Big Box is also connected to the newly opened Ng Teng Fong Hospital via a link bridge across the road. The hospital is linked up with another mall IMM as well.

Link bridge from Big Box to Ng Teng Fong Hospital
Link bridge from Big Box to Ng Teng Fong Hospital
View outside Big Box
View outside Big Box

On level 2, there is a café where quality food is served at very reasonable price. You could get set lunch for under $10 which includes a salad or soup of the day, a main course and a drink of coffee or soft drink. Sometimes, set lunch cost only $8 between 12 noon and 1 pm. This is close to food court price for a good lunch. The setup is very pleasant which is pretty much like Ikea and the staff are friendly and helpful.

Nice cafe inside this store with $8 set lunch during noon hour
Nice cafe inside this store with $8 set lunch during noon hour
Store connected with cafe
Store connected with cafe
Nice store with great cafe
Nice store with great cafe
Payment counter of in-out cafe
Payment counter of in-out cafe
Food counter of cafe
Food counter of cafe


Nice airy and good ambience of cafe
Nice airy and good ambience of cafe
Set lunch at in-out cafe
Set lunch at in-out cafe
Tasty rendang beef rice set
Tasty rendang beef rice set
Delicious salmon set lunch
Delicious salmon set lunch
Another set lunch at the cafe
Another set lunch at the cafe

Another mall Westgate next to Jem is like Jem where there are many food and beverages establishments as well. The famous Hong Kong Restaurant Tim Ho Wan is located here. Japanese Store Isetan is one of the tenants as well where regular promotional events with great discounts are held and extending to the area outside the store.

Isetan Store with great sale event
Isetan Store with great sale event
Another entrance of Isetan Store
Another entrance of Isetan Store
Promotion event outside Isetan
Promotion event outside Isetan
Tim Ho Wan Restaurant
Tim Ho Wan Restaurant
More restaurants at Westgate
More restaurants at Westgate

The food court at the basement is quite nice with its unique theme and many great food stalls to choose from for a meal. There are also many shops that cater to those who need to shop for fashion, sports, electronics and miscellaneous goods.



Nice food court at Westgate
Nice food court at Westgate

A bridge connection leads to the newly opened Ng Teng Fong Hospital and from there, there is another link to another major mall IMM. Jurong East shopping district is all linked up now and it is very convenient for those who enjoy shopping.

View from Westgate bridge of Ng Teng Fong Hospital and Jem
View from Westgate bridge of Ng Teng Fong Hospital and Jem
View from Westgate bridge of Jem next door
View from Westgate bridge of Jem next door

Over at IMM which is a very huge mall, this is where Giant Hypermart is located. There are a variety of shops and outlets that pretty much compete and complement Jem and Westgate. There are plenty of food and beverages establishments as well. If you are looking for the Japanese $2 shop Daiso, there is an outlet over there. A Post Office is also located at IMM for those who need to send stuff back home.

Besides using this bridge connection to get to IMM, there is a shuttle bus service from Westgate that departs regularly. So there are plenty of shopping avenues in Jurong East. You could have dinner at IMM after having done shopping at Jem, Big Box and Westgate Mall. You could take the shuttle bus service back to Westgate after you have done with shopping if you prefer not to walk back to Jurong East MRT Station.

From Westgate Mall, there is a connection that leads back to Jurong East MRT Station. The Four Fingers Crispy Chickens young people are raving about is located before this link connection to Jurong East MRT Station. This fast food outlet is just next to Starbucks Coffee at the entrance of the link bridge.

Lovely decorations at Westgate
Lovely decorations at Westgate


Many shops in Westgate
Many shops in Westgate
Four Fingers Crispy Chicken
Four Fingers Crispy Chicken
Link from Westgate back to Jurong East MRT Station
Link from Westgate back to Jurong East MRT Station

If you wish to continue with more shopping, you could walk further down next to the MRT station and proceed along the bus interchange to the right, cross the road and go over to the HDB neighbourhood centre to check out more local shops and coffee shops. These shops are not air-conditioned though. Next to this neighbourhood is another mall, JCube Mall.

Inside JCube Mall is a big ice-skating ring. There are many eateries and restaurants here as well. Cold Storage Supermarket is located at the basement. Of course there are more shops of all and sundry to kill your legs if they are not already crying out for help yet. The good news is that there are cafes, eateries and restaurants all over the place in these few malls and the surrounding vicinity where you could stop for a break to recuperate. Who says shopping must be done at downtown area to get the best bang for the buck!

Shopping in a neighbourhood outside city centre will provide you an experience to live like a local here. These are places where locals do their shopping and dining and get going with their daily lives. Jurong East is a busy place. The MRT Station and the bus interchange can be very crowded during peak hours. By the way, there are buses where you can catch to travel over to Johor in Malaysia from this bus interchange.

Causeway link bus queue
Causeway link bus queue
Causeway link bus ticket booth
Causeway link bus ticket booth
Causeway link bus to Malaysia
Causeway link bus to Malaysia

If these few malls are still insufficient shopping for you, take a train further west and get off at Boon Lay Station. Jurong Point Shopping Mall could be another mall that will keep you occupy till you are satisfied with your mall shopping and dining experience.

By the way, there is a hotel nearby too. The Genting Hotel Jurong which opened in 2015 has a rooftop pool as well. For those who wish to explore this area and do a lot of shopping, Genting Hotel is a good option which is not awfully expensive compare to a hotel in the city centre. This hotel also provides free shuttle service to Resorts World Sentosa. This will no doubt provide another accommodation option for those who wish to enjoy attractions in Sentosa but not willing to fork out big bucks for expensive accommodations in Sentosa island.


So check out Jurong East Regional Centre in the western part of the island if you are running out of ideas on where to go and how to spend your time here in Singapore. Shopping and dining outside the city area are likely to cost less too. Jurong district in the west is an upcoming lake district that offers great varieties of attractions, leisure and amenities for both locals and tourists alike. Have fun wandering around this area.


Chinese New Year Festivity at Bugis Shopping Area

This is Chinese New Year season again. Besides Chinatown, many neighbourhood centres such as Ang Mo Kio Hub, Heartland Mall in Hougang, Chong Pang City in Yishun and other towns will be turned into little Chinatowns during this time. Car parks will be usually packed and parking lots would be hard to come by. Residents living in those areas may have difficulties finding parking lots after returning home from work or business.

Tents and stalls would be setup in the neighbourhood next to shops, near wet market and hawker centres. This is the time of the year where pent up demands for goods of all sorts are contributing to the coffers of shop owners and stall holders. By nature of Chinese New Year celebration, such festivities are turning the town red with festive decorations.

One good place to catch the Chinese New Year fever is Bugis shopping area. Tents and stalls become extension to the already busy shopping area in town. Stalls after stalls of Chinese New Year goodies and decorative items are on display and sale. The whole place is decorated to create the Chinese New Year festive mood.

Bugis Shopping Area outside OG Mall
Bugis Shopping Area outside OG Mall
Festive stalls outside OG Mall
Festive stalls outside OG Mall
Many stalls outside OG Mall
Many stalls outside OG Mall
Chinese New Year event outside hawker centre
Chinese New Year event outside hawker centre
Chinese New Year event outside OG Mall
Chinese New Year event outside OG Mall


Many stalls outside hawker centre and Fu Lu Shou Complex
Many stalls outside hawker centre and Fu Lu Shou Complex
Chinese New Year stalls outside hawker centre
Chinese New Year stalls outside hawker centre
Festive mood at Bugis shopping area
Festive mood at Bugis shopping area

Outside OG Mall, more cubicles are set up to catch the shopping crowds during this time. Clothes and such are on sale with great discounts. Bedding products are selling at buy one get two for free. This is no doubt the best time to push for sales of all and sundry when Chinese are dressing up their homes and closets with new stuff to welcome visitors during the new year.

Great sales at main entrance of OG Mall
Great sales at main entrance of OG Mall
Great sales outside OG Mall
Great sales outside OG Mall
Cubicles outside OG Mall
Cubicles outside OG Mall
Great bargain for bedding products at OG Mall
Great bargain for bedding products at OG Mall

Around the area is a hawker centre with many food stalls where local food is available at reasonable prices. The hawker centre is a local fare and if you are on a budget, this would be a good place to eat cheaply and at the same time sample tasty local food. During peak hours, it might be hard to find an empty table when you have purchased your food though.




Hawker centre at Bugis area
Hawker centre at Bugis area
Many local food stalls in the hawker centre
Many local food stalls in the hawker centre
Busy time during lunch at the hawker centre
Busy time during lunch at the hawker centre


Lunch time crowd at the hawker centre
Lunch time crowd at the hawker centre
Outside hawker centre and Fu Lu Shou Complex
Outside hawker centre and Fu Lu Shou Complex

If you are an Accor Plus member, you could walk over to Ibis Hotel at Bencoolen Street to enjoy discounts for meals up to 50% for two diners. The restaurant in this hotel is a great place to taste local food too and of course in the comfort of air-conditioning in hot and humid Singapore. Besides local food, the restaurant also serves western food and pasta as well. Prices are reasonable too comparing with other hotels. Ibis Hotel is also strategically located in town area and would be a good choice for those who wish to explore this part of town in Singapore near the Arts District. Orchard Road and Marina Bay are just a few bus stops away and the bus stop is just right outside the hotel.

Across Bencoolen Street is Sim Lim Square where you can get IT gadgets, cameras, mobile phones and accessories. Better do your research before you shop here as there are cases where locals and foreigners have been cheated by unscrupulous shop owners and some have been charged in court. If you know your stuff, you can get good bargains here. The Indian moneychanger on ground floor at the entrance below the overhead bridge offers good rates too.

Walking across Queen Street towards Bugis Junction, you could pick up some some souvenirs at Bugis Street shopping street next to Bugis Village. There are many small stalls and food stalls inside this shopping area. This place is like one of the Taiwanese shopping areas near night markets where young people loves to hangout. This is an interesting place to explore to buy cheap stuff and fashion clothes.

Bugis Street shopping street ahead
Bugis Street shopping street ahead
Many stalls inside Bugis Shopping Street
Many stalls inside Bugis Shopping Street
Food stalls inside Bugis Shopping Street
Food stalls inside Bugis Shopping Street
Small shops outside Bugis Street along Victoria Street
Small shops outside Bugis Street along Victoria Street

Crossing Victoria Street after walking through Bugis Street, you will reach the modern and busy Bugis Junction Shopping Mall where Bugis MRT Station is accessible from the basement food eateries and restaurants dining level. This shopping complex is connected with InterContinental Hotel as well as an office block. The place here is busy most the time.

Bus stop outside Bugis Shopping Street at Victoria Street
Bus stop outside Bugis Shopping Street at Victoria Street
Bugis Junction Mall across the road
Bugis Junction Mall across the road
Bugis Street and Bugis Plus Mall across Victoria Street
Bugis Street and Bugis Plus Mall across Victoria Street


Bugis Shopping Street and Village across Victoria Street
Bugis Shopping Street and Village across Victoria Street
Outside Bugis Junction Mall
Outside Bugis Junction Mall
Indoor shopping in Bugis Junction
Indoor shopping in Bugis Junction

BHG Department Store is an anchor tenant here. The are plenty of restaurants, cafes and eateries here. There is a food court on level 3 as well as many more smaller restaurants on the basement. Cold Storage supermarket is located at the basement too. If you wish to catch a movie, Shaw Theatres are located on level 4. By the way, the National Library is just across the road from InterContinental Hotel. This is another place to enjoy air-conditioning and find some place to rest and read after some tiring shopping activity.

Food stalls at basement of Bugis Junction
Food stalls at basement of Bugis Junction
Nice eatery at basement of Bugis Junction
Nice eatery at basement of Bugis Junction
More food stalls at basement of Bugis Junction
More food stalls at basement of Bugis Junction

Cold Storage Supermarket at basement of Bugis Junction
Cold Storage Supermarket at basement of Bugis Junction



Visiting Bugis shopping area is very easy and convenient. Bugis MRT Station is connected to Bugis Junction. There are two lines serving this station, the East-West line and the Downtown line. Before entering the MRT station from the basement of Bugis Junction, a food stall Old Chang Kee next to the exit is selling nasi lemak coconut rice set for just $2.50. This box of rice set consists of a chicken wing, a small piece of egg, a hotdog, a packet of fried peanuts and ikan bilis and a packet of sambal chili. So no excuse for going hungry if you are visiting Singapore and complain you can’t afford the food here. Old Chang Kee can be found all over the island in shopping malls and in some bus terminals and MRT stations.

Entering Bugis Junction basement from MRT station
Entering Bugis Junction basement from MRT station
Old Chang Kee next to MRT entrance at basement of Bugis Junction
Old Chang Kee next to MRT entrance at basement of Bugis Junction

There is a famous Chinese temple at Waterloo Street. Come this Sunday Chinese New Year Eve, this place would be packed with devotees. If you wish to witness what near stampede is like, stay till midnight. Find a safe spot and stay out of the way. Get your camera ready. The folks here would rush into the temple at the stroke of midnight with their joss sticks.

The area in Bugis would become relatively quiet on the first two days of Chinese New Year where most Chinese businesses would be closed. Of course Bugis Junction would remain open where InterContinental Hotel is located and Cold Storage supermarket would remain open as well. But some shops, restaurants and eateries might be closed at least for the first day of Chinese New Year. However, you can still catch a movie here during Chinese New Year.


So if you are visiting Singapore during this time, hop over to Bugis area for a visit. You might bring home some interesting stuff and enjoy some great bargains shopping in this area. Food options are aplenty. Just further across Rochor Road and Ophir Road along Queen Street is where you could catch a bus ride into some cities in Malaysia. Enjoy your visit in Singapore and immerse yourself in the vibrancy and dynamism of this small island state. Stay safe and have fun.


Chinese New Year Festivity at Chinatown

Chinatowns can be found in many major cities in world where the Chinese are usually minorities in that country. Their forefathers immigrated in yesteryears to such cities to seek a better life for themselves and their family. Businesses are thus set up to cater to the needs of these new immigrants. So shops, restaurants, markets and even houses are part of such setup where the Chinese live there and do their business in that town.

In Singapore, this is no exception. However, Chinese are not the minority makeup of the population here where over 75% of the population are Chinese. So Chinatown is not an enclave for the Chinese here among other major ethnic groups in this country.

In the past, Chinatown is just a town where people lived and worked. To get an idea of what Chinatown was like in Singapore, a visit to the Old Quarters in Hanoi today would provide a fairly accurate reflection of the old Chinatown in Singapore.

Today, Chinatown is one the of main attractions in Singapore. Actually, Chinatowns are not meant to be tourists attractions. Chinese would usually visit Chinatown where ever they go usually for business, food and cultural activities.

Chinatown before sunset
Chinatown before sunset
Nice view of Chinatown area
Nice view of Chinatown area


Chinatown in the city centre
Chinatown in the city centre

Many years ago in Singapore, Chinatown was actually quite dirty and in some places rather rundown. Until the government started to restore all those shop houses turning them into multimillion dollars property, it is no longer the same Chinatown of the past.

If you visit Chinatown today, you will find the place very modern, clean and in fact pleasant notwithstanding the fact that the place might not be so authentic like what it used to be, but the buildings however, still retain the same architectural Chinese styles and designs. A good example of such a place would be the UNESCO heritage site of the Old Town in Hoi An, Central Vietnam where the buildings are definitely Chinese styles but Chinese no longer lives there. This doesn’t stop hordes of tourists from visiting Hoi An Old Town.

But in Singapore, Chinese still do live there in Chinatown. In fact, it is a very expensive place to live in because of the high property prices of that area in town near the Central Business District. Nevertheless, there are still a few blocks of government housing board flats in and around that area as well as a wet market and hawker centres where cheaper food options and greater varieties of food are available to both residence and visitors.

The younger generation won’t know that street stalls were setup along the streets in Chinatown and stall holders sold all and sundry along the roads with dirty drains and smelly back lanes. My late grandmother used to sell vegetables in the morning on one of those streets. Wild life meats were openly sold where slaughtering of pythons and monitor lizards was a norm. Today’s generation would probably cringe at such sights. Spitting on the street was also common too, not something to be proud of though. Spittoons were placed under the tables in coffee shops and restaurants in Chinatown. Those interested in the history of Chinatown may visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre at Pagoda Street for more information.

Chinatown Heritage Centre
Chinatown Heritage Centre

Today’s Chinatown in Singapore is no longer the same and has been turned into a place for business and leisure as well as a must-visit attraction. If you are looking for an authentic experience of its dirty past, this place is not for you. You will need to head to some backward towns in China or Vietnam for such experience where you can actually do without.




We have moved on, so has Chinatown in Singapore where part of its past has been preserved in terms of its facade and amenities are now modern, clean and comfortable and some places are even air-conditioned. No one is excited to visit a dirty toilet, walked through stinking back lanes, eat in a restaurant with a spittoon under the table or watch people spit on the streets openly just to get an authentic experience.

The Chinatown area is also surrounded by quite a few shopping malls. There are many restaurants and eateries in Chinatown as well. Many shops are selling souvenirs for tourists to bring home a slice of Singapore. Of courses there are hotels in the vicinity as well. Interestingly, a mosque, an Hindu temple and a Buddhist temple are located in Chinatown too. This is testimony to Singapore’s multicultural past during colonial times under the British Empire.

Chinatown MRT station is right smacked in the middle of action. Visiting Chinatown is very easy and convenient. There are many buses serving the area as well. Do be prepared if you are visiting during the day where it is hot and humid here or otherwise there will be showers from time to time. Visiting in the evening would be better because it is cooler and the area is nicely lit up.

Bridge link way to Pagoda Street
Bridge link way to Pagoda Street

One of the best times to visit Chinatown would be during the period of Chinese New Year and the Mid Autumn Festival. Chinatown would be beautifully dressed up for these occasions. Obviously evening would be the best time to visit as well with the charming and warm decorations nicely lit up in Chinatown.

Nice decoration view from the junction of Upper Cross Street
Nice decoration view from the junction of Upper Cross Street
Beautiful light along Eu Tong Sen Road
Beautiful light along Eu Tong Sen Road
Chinese New Year lighting under overhead bridge of People's Park Complex
Chinese New Year lighting under overhead bridge of People’s Park Complex

One nice spot to take great pictures would be the wide connecting bridge from People’s Park Complex across Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road. These two roads are decked up with festive decorations and beautiful lighting for the occasion. This bridge also serves as a very small garden with seats for visitors to rest.

Night street scene on the overhead bridge to Chinatown
Night street scene on the overhead bridge to Chinatown
Nice Chinese New Year decoration along the road
Nice Chinese New Year decoration along the road
Nice Chinese New Year decoration at night
Nice Chinese New Year decoration at night
Beautiful Chinese New Year decoration along one side of the road
Beautiful Chinese New Year decoration along one side of the road
Simply charming Chinese New Year decoration in Chinatown
Simply charming Chinese New Year decoration in Chinatown


Another charming view of Chinese New Year decoration in Chinatown
Another charming view of Chinese New Year decoration in Chinatown
Great spot to view Chinese New Year decoration on the overhead bridge
Great spot to view Chinese New Year decoration on the overhead bridge
Connecting bridge descending to Pagoda Street and Chinatown MRT entrance
Connecting bridge descending to Pagoda Street and Chinatown MRT entrance

Walking down the bridge would lead to the shopping street, Pagoda Street, where Chinatown MRT station has one of its exits here so this street is very crowded at times. During this time before Chinese New Year, street stalls are setup and the street becomes narrow. Walking through the street with people stopping to browse and shop as well as tourists stopping to take pictures would hold back human traffic. Be very patient if you intend to walk through these streets during these times. You would be forgiven if you mistake this scene as one of the busy night markets in Taiwan.

Stairs to Pagoda Street and Chinatown MRT entrance
Stairs to Pagoda Street and Chinatown MRT entrance
A street stall just outside the entrance of Chinatown MRT station
A street stall just outside the entrance of Chinatown MRT station
Busy night street scene at Pagoda Street
Busy night street scene at Pagoda Street
Hordes of shoppers during Chinese New Year festive season
Hordes of shoppers during Chinese New Year festive season
Pagoda Street scene with Chinatown MRT station entrance ahead
Pagoda Street scene with Chinatown MRT station entrance ahead
Stalls and shoppers along busy street in Chinatown
Stalls and shoppers along busy street in Chinatown

It can definitely get uncomfortable with the crowds of people, especially having to deal with the humidity in Singapore. It won’t be fun if the skies open up and pour anyway, so relax and soak in the atmosphere and have fun. There are plenty of picture moment opportunities on the streets.



Very crowded street during Chinese New Year festive season
Very crowded street during Chinese New Year festive season
Stalls and shoppers along busy street in Chinatown
Stalls and shoppers along busy street in Chinatown
Busy time in Chinatown during Chinese new Year season
Busy time in Chinatown during Chinese new Year season

You can surely find something interesting to buy or head to one of the eateries to have a meal or a drink, alfresco style without the cool climate in Europe of course. If you need to walk through the crowd quickly, head into one of the shops and walk along the corridor where there will be usually fewer crowds of people congregating. Perhaps you might find some nice stuff to buy from one of those shops.

Chinese New Year decoration on sale
Chinese New Year decoration on sale
Tidbits stall for Chinese New Year celebration
Tidbits stall for Chinese New Year celebration
Another tidbits stall for Chinese New Year celebration
Another tidbits stall for Chinese New Year celebration
One of the shops along the busy street
One of the shops along the busy street


Chinese New Year decorative items on sale
Chinese New Year decorative items on sale
Shop selling Chinese New Year decorative items
Shop selling Chinese New Year decorative items
Restaurant along the busy street
Restaurant along the busy street

Chinatown is a touristy place. Many tourists from the world over stop by as one of the must-visit destination. For a more authentic experience of the locals having meals, head over to the Chinatown Food Centre on the second floor along Smith Street. There are small shops and stalls at this complex on the ground level. The basement is a wet market and if you are keen head down for a look. Please don’t compare markets here with Europe where markets are cleaner and more pleasant and presentable. Anyway, markets here are already considered quite clinically clean if you have seen what markets were like decades ago.

Small shops at Food Centre and wet market below
Small shops at Food Centre and wet market below
More stalls and outdoor performance below the Food Centre
More stalls and outdoor performance below the Food Centre
Outdoor performance at main stage below the Food Centre
Outdoor performance at main stage below the Food Centre

On the second floor food centre, there are so many food stalls to choose from and some stalls would require some queuing before you could eventually walk away with your food. There are so many local food stalls for you to sample local food here and you will be spoilt for choice. The prices here are a fraction of what you will have to pay if you order the same dish in a restaurant at your hotel. Here is where you can eat cheaply without costing an arm of a leg. We were so sad to hear from a female staff attending to us in a hotel in Vietnam that she went hungry while visiting Singapore. She complained that a plate of chicken rice cost more than $10. You could get a nice plate of chicken rice for $3 over here.

Busy hawker centre in Chinatown at night
Busy hawker centre in Chinatown at night
Long queue at favourite cooked food stall
Long queue at favourite cooked food stall
Long queue at another favourite food stall selling yam cakes, dumplings and fried noodles
Long queue at another favourite food stall selling yam cakes, dumplings and fried noodles
Plenty of food options at the food centre in Chinatown
Plenty of food options at the food centre in Chinatown

Tired after visiting Chinatown streets and shops, go into one of the modern shopping malls in that area. People’s Park Complex is one of the oldest malls in Singapore. There are small shops, tour agents, money changers and of course small eateries and massage places in the mall. People’s Park Centre nearby is quite old as well with some shops and a food court on the basement. This mall has many established tour companies where many locals visit to shop for tours.

Food stalls outside People's Park Complex below the overhead bridge to Chinatown
Food stalls outside People’s Park Complex below the overhead bridge to Chinatown
Chinese New Year decoration along the road outside People's Park Complex
Chinese New Year decoration along the road outside People’s Park Complex

Across the road from People’s Park Centre is the newer and modern mall Chinatown Point. There are tour companies here as well on top of the many restaurants and eateries besides shops including a convenience store. Behind Chinatown Point is another Food Centre where local hawker food is available as well as local shops and offices are housed next door.

Chinatown Point Mall
Chinatown Point Mall

It is Chinese New Year festive mood now in Chinatown. It will be getting more crowded as the day goes by towards Chinese New Year Eve. Crazy bargains would begin after midnight on Chinese New Year on Sunday 7 February 2016 where all the stall holders would want to clear their stocks to begin the new year. All these festive goods would not be of much use until the next Chinese New Year another year away. Stay till after midnight to see the fun if you are touring Singapore during this time. Be prepared to sweat it out with the crowds but do watch out for your personal belongings even though Singapore is one of the safest places to visit in the world.

Stall selling wax meats products
Stall selling wax meats products
Smith Street outside Chinatown Food Centre
Smith Street outside Chinatown Food Centre
Shoppers enjoying a night out at chinatown
Shoppers enjoying a night out at chinatown


Fruits stall in Chinatown
Fruits stall in Chinatown
Busy street during Chinese New Year festive season
Busy street during Chinese New Year festive season

Do note that Chinatown would be very quiet during the first two days of Chinese New Year where most Chinese businesses would be closed. Most hawker stalls at the Chinatown Food Centre would open only from the third day onward.

Enjoy the modern and pleasant Chinatown in Singapore during your visit. Stay safe and be hydrated. Relax and soak in the festive atmosphere of Chinese New Year in Chinatown during this time.


2 Days 1 Night Staycation at Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel – Day 2 (June 2015)

Day 2 – Novotel Clarke Quay

There was nothing planned that required us to get up early so it was a joy to take our time to sleep as much as we wanted and wake up only when we felt like it. By the time we got up, it was close to 9 am. While nothing in particular was planned in the morning, we had invited our parents to have lunch with us at The Square Restaurant. So breakfast was a quick one at the McDonalds.

McDonald's Fast Food
McDonald’s Fast Food

Since the swimming pool water was rather cold under the afternoon sun the day before and the pool was blocked from the morning sun, we decided not to swim. Thus it was just an easy morning to read the newspapers and to watch some TV programs before meeting my parents for lunch.

Singapore River view from room window
Singapore River view from room window

The espresso coffee maker was put to good use again. This was our first indulgence for the morning. The coffee kicked start our day and got us ready to begin a brand new day of leisure.

TV with fridge and mini bar inside cabinet and espresso coffee maker
TV with fridge and mini bar inside cabinet and espresso coffee maker



While waiting for my parents, we left the hotel to look around the vicinity. It was a stark contrast to the nice and colourful ambience at night in Clarke Quay. Clarke Quay was very quiet during the day. While the place was clean, there wasn’t much to offer during the weekend. It might probably be busier during weekdays where lunch crowd might be present around noon.

Clarke Quay from the bridge
Clarke Quay from the bridge
Clarke Quay along Singapore River
Clarke Quay along Singapore River


Riverside Point from Clarke Quay
Riverside Point from Clarke Quay
Quiet during the day at Clarke Quay
Quiet during the day at Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay entrance from the bridge
Clarke Quay entrance from the bridge
Clarke Quay view from the corner of Novotel Hotel
Clarke Quay view from the corner of Novotel Hotel

So with some occasional joggers running along the river, there wasn’t much to see notwithstanding the river taxis were still in operation during the day. It is much better and more enjoyable to take a ride on the water taxis at night than during the day, not only because the area would be brightly lighted but also much cooler.

Clarke Quay across Singapore River
Clarke Quay across Singapore River
Riverside Point and Clarke Quay
Riverside Point and Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay and Novotel Hotel from Central Mall
Clarke Quay and Novotel Hotel from Central Mall
Another water taxi cruising to Marina Bay area
Another water taxi cruising to Marina Bay area


Riverside dining along Singapore River
Riverside dining along Singapore River
Bridge near Clarke Quay MRT Station below Central Mall
Bridge near Clarke Quay MRT Station below Central Mall
Water taxi on Singapore River
Water taxi on Singapore River

So back to Liang Court for some window shopping before meeting my parents, we went to the supermarket for another round of visit. The promotion booth for cheesecakes was still there but we didn’t help ourselves with another sample as we would rather reserve our stomach for lunch. We didn’t make any purchase because we would be collecting a member’s cake to bring home from The Square restaurant after lunch.

Food on promotion in the supermarket
Food on promotion in the supermarket



It was more or less the same as the day before but the crowd was noticeably absent before noon which was still too early for shoppers to begin their shopping activities. Then we went up to the nice shop where we were thinking of buying a hanging clock the day before for a look. We still didn’t change our mind and we moved on to other shops.

Lalu Specialty Shop
Lalu Specialty Shop
Liang Court Mall
Liang Court Mall

Soon my parents came and we met them outside the McDonalds. We then made our way to level 7 and went back to The Square Restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was packed just after noon probably due to Father’s Day celebration.

Restaurant Entrance
Restaurant Entrance

We were ushered to our table and we discussed what to order. Buffet lunch would be out of the question as we would not be able to eat very much so we poured over the a la carte menu again. Since the laksa our girls had the night before was very good, my wife and mom ordered laksa. I ordered Wagyu beef burger while my dad had seafood hor fun.

Entrance to The Square Restaurant
Entrance to The Square Restaurant

With our food ordering out of the way, bread and butter and dipping sauce arrived quite soon. While we were busy spreading butter on our bread, a restaurant staff came over to invite us to join in a crispy crepe making event during this Father’s Day celebration at the restaurant. With wife egging me on, I obliged.

So I was invited to a table with all the ingredients and equipment prepared near the exit to the swimming pool. A restaurant staff Jeremy introduced himself as the chef for this event and Mohamed who invited me, helped me put on an apron and hat to get this event rolling. I happened to be the first to try out crispy crepe making. Jeremy demonstrated once and it seemed so easy for him to get the crispy crepe done with some nuts, chocolate chips and other mouth watering ingredients added.

Then it was my turn to try out as Jeremy explained the process again. The first time was a flop. The batter seemed to stick to the wooden stick after turning more than one round. So I tried again. It was still the same tragic outcome. I had a go for one last time. This time it was still not successful but much better than the first two tries. With a hole in the middle of the crepe, I still couldn’t add any sweet ingredients to complete the crepe making process.

It was three consecutive failures, albeit, it was good fun. I thanked Jeremy for his time and patience and I was given the first crepe he made for our desserts later.

Games area outside The Square Restaurant
Games area outside The Square Restaurant
Father's Day Gift from the Hotel
Father’s Day Gift from the Restaurant

Back to our table our food were already there. Again, the portion was huge and we shared some portions with each other to sample different dishes. Because the restaurant was packed, we only had a square table for the four of us so there wasn’t much space to maneuver our plates around. So we got rid of the bread basket and dipping sauce and other unnecessary items on our table to make space so we could enjoy our lunch properly. While having lunch, the restaurant manager presented my dad and I a small Father’s Day gift. It was a nice gesture indeed.

Father's Day Lunch
Father’s Day Lunch

Eventually, we survived our lunch and with belly filled up we left the restaurant. We also collected our Accor member’s cake where we were entitled to every year. So our children back home would have afternoon tea when we reached home. Back to our room, we used the toilet and brushed up, collected our bags and descended back to the hotel lobby on the seventh floor again to check out.

Hotel Main Lobby on level 7
Hotel Main Lobby on level 7

Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel has been one of our favorite hotels for a staycation. It is located at Clarke Quay where food and shopping are in the vicinity. Liang Court Shopping Mall is also just next door. Taking an MRT train to the Clarke Quay Station walking across the bridge will bring us to the hotel. There is also a bus stop right outside the shopping Mall connecting to the hotel. The hotel also has a self-service laundry facility.

Self-service laundry facility
Self-service laundry facility

Crossing the main road from Liang Court Shopping Mall is the Fort Canning Park. From the top of Fort Canning Hill, you may enjoy a splendid view of the city centre. Catching the sunset or watching the city gradually lights up is a good option if you don’t wish to travel far away from Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel in order to continue with the night life at Clarke Quay later in the evening.

Exit Central Mall from Clarke Quay MRT station
Exit Central Mall from Clarke Quay MRT station
Restaurant outside Central Mall
Restaurant outside Central Mall
Riverside Point and Clarke Quay
Riverside Point and Clarke Quay


Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel from Central Mall
Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel from Central Mall
Central Mall from the bridge to Clarke Quay
Central Mall from the bridge to Clarke Quay
Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel
Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel

Along Singapore River, the ambience at night is just right for an evening outing for a walk or dining along the river. A water taxi station is just across a street from the hotel. Hop onto a water taxi, you could enjoy the lighted city skylines at night along the river all the way to the Marina Bay financial district.

Amazing night scene at Singapore River Clarke Quay
Amazing night scene at Singapore River Clarke Quay


Novotel Hotel across the Singapore River
Novotel Hotel across the Singapore River

Having settled our outstanding bills, my parents and us went separate ways. They continued with their shopping while we took a cab home.

Though it was a very short stay and spent only a day with our children, we were nevertheless very satisfied. After our North Vietnam trip last December, we never thought we could get together again for a break so soon.

Going overseas together would be close to impossible with everyone’s conflicting schedules but staycation is still within reach. Perhaps next year we might try to have a staycation over at the Sentosa Island, if everyone is keen.

So our next trip would be in September for a weekend break in Medan just for leisure and shopping.