Four in-the-know locals tell us where they would ‘get lost’ to discover the real Singapore.
General manager, Sofitel So
"There are a lot of nice places where you can go. If you like culture I suggest the eastern part of Singapore. It has a lot of nice local restaurants, but also a lot of heritage with emphasis on design and the production of local products.
"Then there is the other side of Singapore – lots of natural parks that are well preserved where you can take your family for the day."
Director of communications, Asia Pacific at Accor
"I get lost on a weekly basis when I go to the shopping centres as they are just so big. Every mall leads into another, so I can enter an ION mall and finish on the other side of the city. If you don’t like someone and want to get them lost, just send them shopping.
"I love Tiong Bahru which is a really hip suburb with great boutiques, spas, bookshops and cafes. That is where I would go to get lost in terms of spending an afternoon exploring. To me, Singapore is about great food, heat, sweat and access to the rest of the world."
The brains behind internationall acclaimed fashion label Hansel
"The brains behind internationally acclaimed fashion label Hansel I love to get lost in one of the nature reserves, whether it’s walking towards Labrador Nature Reserve or Bukit Timah (the hill, at 163 metres, is the highest point in the city-state of Singapore).
"It is beautiful and right at the doorstep of this concrete jungle. It’s the perfect balance of living here in Singapore. Singapore means to me ‘my home’. I was born here. I grew up here. It gave me my first start. I love the weather here and it feels like I’m on holiday every day."
Labyrinth restaurant, opposite the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre
"The real Singapore – good question. I guess I need to ask myself what the real Singapore is. Are we looking for traditional Singapore – like watching my grandmother cook over an old wok – or is it what Singapore is now, a more urban city?
"For me, I would say start in Arab Street and just walk and you will discover a traditional area; and then you walk further down past new shopping areas into a hipster area. Further down to Chinatown it becomes more traditional again. Just walk around."
What to do
Singapore City Tour with Flyer ride
Drive around the Civic District passing by the Padang, the Singapore Cricket Club, Parliament House, Supreme Court and City Hall. Stop at Merlion Park and take in the views of Marina Bay, visit Thian Hock Keng Temple, drive past Chinatown, take in the National Orchid Garden, stop at Little India and finish the tour with a 30-minute ride on the Singapore Flyer observation wheel.
The tour departs daily at 8.30am and takes four hours. Entry fees, pick-up from selected hotels and an English-speaking guide are included.
Morning at Singapore Zoo with breakfast
Singapore Zoo is a haven to more than 3600 mammals, birds and reptiles. Animals and visitors are separated by natural barriers (streams, rock walls, landscaping) to create an open zoo experience.
Tours, which start at 8am, can be taken on tram or on foot and include a jungle breakfast, transfers from selected hotels and an English-speaking guide. Tour takes four hours.
Afternoon at Sentosa
This idyllic island is 15 minutes from the city and features resorts, world-class attractions, sea sports, golf and retreats. The tour includes a cable car ride to the island, admission to Underwater World and the Dolphin Lagoon (where you can see pink dolphins) and entry to Images of Singapore Live.
The tour leaves daily at 1.30pm and includes return transfers from selected hotels and an English-speaking guide. Tour takes 6.5 hours.