After grabbing a quick bite to eat at Mugiya, a bakery located at a nearby mall, we were feeling fuelled enough for a long day of sightseeing.
We started our day in Kampong Glam, Singapore’s “Muslim Quarter”, which has transformed over the years from an Islamic hub full of Arab traders to a Hipster pilgrimage full of street art and trendy boutiques.
Our first big sightseeing spot was the Sultan Mosque, the focal point of the area. After an original mosque was built on the site in 1824 for the first Sultan of Singapore, this impressive building, with it’s onion shaped domes, was erected in 1928 and now stands as a national monument. Although we didn’t venture inside the beautiful architecture can be admired externally and I adored the gold detailing.
An example of the more “hipster” vibe that can be found in the area can be seen at Sultan Arts Village, where you can see a plethora of colourful street art and find some unique art galleries.
This atmosphere carries on to Haji Lane, with it’s vibrant shop fronts that reminded me more of the kind of streets you’d find in Camden, London. Bars, cafes and shops, all decorated with beautiful bright murals, it quickly became my favourite place in Singapore. I ended up walking away, my arms heaving with shopping bags filled with new garms.
From the Muslim quarter it was onto the Colonial District, a reminder of when Singapore was under British rule. We spent 2 hours at the oldest museum in Singapore, the National Museum. The cost to enter was $15, which I felt was reasonable value for the amount of time we spent in there. We honestly could have spent more but we had other places to be.
There was so much to learn about the history of Singapore. I particularly liked the mural that could be seen as you descended the staircase and the exhibits that showcased some of the vintage Asian fashion.
Our walk through the district took us past some stunning buildings, all so striking with their white exteriors. Chijmes, once a catholic convent but now a entertainment complex was one example of this. Although we didn’t venture inside I hope to return to get the chance.
Raffles Hotel is a very famous luxury hotel, named after Sir Thomas Raffles, the founder of Singapore. It opened in 1887 and has a special significance for me as my Grandad was held here in temporary transit when he was recovered from the Japanese POW camps.
Raffles also owns a mall complex, Raffles City, which has a huge amount of shops and restaurants and the perfect place to take some retreat from the Singapore humidity. We decided to stop for a bite to eat at Menya Musashi, a place that served Japanese ramen. The ramen was good and we felt the price was good for Singapore. Ramen is always great for filling you up!
With our stomachs full we were able to continue on with our sightseeing, taking in St Andrews Cathedral, the main Anglican cathedral of Singapore and the Former Supreme Court building, another example of the classical architecture.
We soon found ourselves at the water, at Boat Quay, the busiest old Port in Singapore. The river here resembles a carp, a sign of wealth under Chinese belief, so many shops were consequently built here and whilst the shipping may have died down over time the bustling commercial side remains.
We crossed Cavenagh Bridge, one of the oldest bridges in Singapore, and found ourselves at Merlion Park, one of the most touristic landmarks in Singapore. The Merlion is a lion’s head on a fish body which is the mascot of Singapore and you will find impressive statues of these creatures at the waters edge.
Across the water you can see the Marina Bay Sands hotel, one of the world most iconic hotels, and its impressive design. The park can get quite busy and the midday heat meant we decided to buy some sugarcane juice from a street vendor and sit aside for a rest at this point.
There are some impressive bridges around the area, such as the Esplanade bridge, with it’s clean architectural lines and amazing views, and my personal favourite the Double Helix bridge, representing a DNA strand and is quite visually spectacular!
We then went to the ArtScience museum, the worlds first museum to blend art and technology. The famous lotus flower building houses the museum, full of interactive exhibitions and was like nothing I’d ever seen before.
Many of the exhibitions were busy, it’s very family friendly which can mean lots of children present, but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment.
We also visited the Red Dot Design Museum. Red Dot is a German design company, Adam has a particular interest in design and so enjoyed the exhibition that showcased various items and the thinking behind them. I was impressed at the pieces that discussed upcoming technology but overall I think it’s more a museum aimed at those with a particular interest.
The museum is quite small and we got around it in about 40 minutes. I felt entry was quite good value because we both got a book included in the price too.
Absolutely exhausted at our long day of sightseeing we ended up just picking up a Wingstop chicken takeaway to our hotel room and collapsing into bed!
Steps walked: 28,966