Singapore's Festive Chinatown and Hippie Tiong Bahru

Singapore Chinatown

Just came back from a fun and well-deserved vacation in Singapore. Actually, I don’t have any plans to visit SG anytime soon as I want to cap off my Southeast Asia travel bucket list there so my original plan is to visit it as the last country in my SEA bucket list. What pushed me to book a ticket and a 5 day one (they say 3 days are already enough to see SG) is purely not for vacation. 

I actually had other plans when we booked that ticket. The ticket we got is soo cheap as it is from a piso fair last year and as we all know, cheap tickets mean the travel date is far in the future. A lot of stuff happened and before we knew it, we were booking hotels and attraction tickets. This trip has become an SG getaway! 

So as they say, Singapore is just small you can see its beauty in a short time. But guess what, 5 days feel like we haven’t seen much yet! There are still a lot of places to see and discover. Our itinerary also includes a day at Legoland Malaysia but I’m glad we didn’t push through with that one as we will lack time exploring other visit-worthy places in SG. 

Before you read the rest, please note that this blog post isn't a guide or an itinerary you can use in Singapore. This is just purely our experience in Singapore. There might be some tips but don't expect to get detailed information. Just thought of letting you know before reading the rest. ;)

Singapore Chinatown
In line with the celebration of the upcoming Chinese New Year

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Our first day in Singapore consists mainly exploring the cities and different neighborhoods. Our hostel is located in Little India so we opt to roam around Little India first. Singapore is a very walkable city so it is very helpful if you have navigation apps such as google maps. Waze is also nice but it is for cars so the route suggested might be longer than usual. It's also helpful to have an MRT map of Singapore so you would know where to alight and which station have transfers to another line.

So here it goes.. our first stop in Little India was Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple. It took us some time before we get to the area. Lots of *ligaw moments* And guess what? The temple was closed for maintenance/renovation. Super lol moment. We actually had a lot of ligaw/lol/sabaw moments in SG that we just laugh if off. After discovering Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple is close for reconstruction, we decided to go to Chinatown and explore its streets first since we're staying in Little India and we can look around anytime. 

Singapore Chinatown

Singapore Chinatown

Singapore Chinatown

Singapore Chinatown
Year of the Dog!

I don’t know if it’s just because Chinese New Year is already less than a month away but SG’s Chinatown has this festive feel to it. The place is decorated with Chinese lanterns, there are a lot ang-paus/angpao and Chinese goodies everywhere. Loud music, stores selling different stuff, people roaming around, plus a very instagrammable place.. that’s how I can describe Singapore's Chinatown, very alive. This is actually one of the place that I enjoyed.  

If you also plan to buy some "pasalubong" for your loved ones, this is one of the places that offer good deals. You can get 7 ref magnets for 10SGD. And during our whole stay in SG, we haven't seen other store offer that kind of deal.

Aside from taking lots of photos (first order or business), we also went to see the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and we were lucky enough to witness a ceremony inside. The temple has a museum area that displays different Buddhas and stories about Chinese Feng Shui. 

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple - Singapore Chinatown
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
The ceremony inside

Singapore Chinatown

Singapore Chinatown

Singapore Chinatown

Come lunchtime, we already know where to eat lunch as this spot is very famous on the internet as one of the must-try hawker center in Singapore. Maxwell food center, one of the most famous hawker center in SG, is busy as we walk in. It could be because its lunch time. You know what they say about experiencing the city? Eat like a local! Or in this case "Jiak like a local" (Singlish term).

We tried different local foods. You should try Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice. It almost never runs out of customers so just by that you would know that that place is tried and tested by locals. We also would like to try Nasi Lemak.. there's this hawker stall in Maxwell that specializes in Nasi Lemak but unfortunately, during the time of our visit, it was closed. We also came to try the oyster cake. 

As for the price of the food.. you can eat a meal for as low as S$3. Most of the food priced at S$3 are noodles. Nothing to worry though, their noodles are always on point! I think Singaporeans already mastered the art of noodles. :)

As for the drinks, you can save some bucks from drinking water as Singapore's tap water is filtered already and ready for drinking. We just always carry our tumbler with water from the hostel. If you want to try their juices, it is priced from S$1.50 and up. We're not a fan of juice so it's not really problem. We just buy some when we want something cold to neutralize the heat from the weather.

Maxwell Food Center Singapore
Maxwell Food Center

Maxwell Food Center
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice - S$5

Maxwell Food Center
Oyster Cake - S$2/piece

Maxwell Food Center

After eating lunch and getting some rest.. we walked straight to Baba House. Baba House is famous for its blue exterior. It is a traditional Peranakan pre-war terrace-house. Usually, tourists would pose for a picture in front of the house. 

Funny thing was when we're looking for Baba house, we kind of got sabaw again. We're actually taking a photo outside a blue house that's not baba house! And the moment we realized it, we already took too many photos. Lol. And funny thing was when we tried looking for the real one.. we took the long cut only to find out that the real baba house is just two house away from the first blue house we went the first time. Super lol!

Baba House Singapore
The fake Baba House. lol

Baba House Singapore
The original Baba House. hahah

Lost in Singapore

This was our official first day in Singapore and we weren't really prepared for the long walks. It's as if we're walking a minimum of 7km every day! I can already hear my feet complaining every night. lol.

After exploring Chinatown, we went to Tiong Bahru to explore the hippie/artsy side of Singapore. Most of the blogs I read points Tiong Bahru as the hippie neighborhood. It was a long walk from the MRT. There's this particular street in Tiong Bahru specifically Yong Siak street where shops usually sell artsy stuff. This is also a place of chill cafes (and instagrammable one) and cute mini libraries. Though to be honest, we were kind of disappointed. We're expecting something more than cute cafes and artsy shops. 

Tiong Bahru Murals

Tiong Bahru Murals

We didn't really hang out in one of the cafes instead we searched for the murals scattered around Tiong Bahru. We're already tired of walking so imagine looking for murals you really don't know where it's hidden. And guess what? After taking photos in the mural.. it suddenly rained! Good thing was we're already done with our itinerary for the day or else it could've ruined our "Instagram day". LOL.

The good thing was we were near a bus stop that time so we were able to go home safe and sound. Once we got back from an all-day exploration, we rest first in the hostel then had a quick dinner in a hawker center near our place. 

selfeyyyy~

Chinatown MRT Station Singapore
Chinatown MRT station - very convenient

Chinatown Singapore

In fairness, most of the food we ate in Singapore are all yummy!!! The only exception was the one we tried in Makansutra. But the rest, it was all so yummy! I can live there and never get tired of noodles. Downside is, it was just too expensive. Well, what can you expect in the most expensive city to live in? It was good experience anyways. 


There goes our day 1. Super tired but it was really fun. :)


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