Insider's Guide to Singapore
Singapore is a tourist’s dream; clean, easy to navigate, and lots of things to do. Sentosa, Gardens by the Bay, the Marina Bay Sands hotel and Universal Studios Singapore are ever popular. But for hidden spots within these as well assome of Singapore’s best restaurants and bars, take some advice on where to go from our insider:
A BIT ABOUT OUR INSIDER:
Name: Ben Crouch
Place of birth: Singapore
Occupation: Business Development Manager
Hobbies and interests: Cycling, travelling, eating, horology.
How long have you lived in Singapore? Five years. I was born here but moved to the UK at a very young age. I moved back here more recently, with work.
A BIT ABOUT singapore:
How do you best navigate your city?
The MRT (metro system) is island-wide and very cheap. Taxis are also really reasonable, you could get from one end of the island to the other for SG$40-50.
What do you think Singapore does better than other cities?
The shopping is excellent; from top-end designers to bargain hunting at local markets. I also love that it's a very diverse city, which inevitably leads to it doing food really well too - there are so many culturally varied cuisine options.
Where is your favourite view of the city?
From the top of Mount Faber looking back over the city at sunrise. The view from the swimming pool at Marina Bay Sands is also pretty epic.
Where is your favourite respite from hectic city life?
Go to Sentosa, then find Palawan Beach, then take the rope bridge from the beach across to a small island on the other side. This spot also professes to be the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia.
What is your favourite building in Singapore?
The Park Royal Hotel on Pickering, its exterior has unique hanging gardens.
Where do you consider to be Singapore's most underrated location that more people should visit?
Tiong Bahru - one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city that is today very trendy with lots if independent cafés and stores.
What is your favourite place for a workout?
For me, it's road cycling. Early mornings on the Singapore roads before the traffic hits are unbeatable.
Where would you stay if you were visiting, and why?
Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, because it’s the only Singapore hotel with private beach facilities.
TELL US ABOUT THE FOOD SCENE:
Which dish is a must-try?
Lor Mee (a Chinese inspired noodle dish) at Tiong Bahru Market.
Is there a local delicacy we should try?
Chilli Crab! Long Beach Seafood restaurant. It's an old favourite with many and has a street food vibe.
Which restaurant has the best atmosphere?
Neon Pigeon, it's a modern Japanese restaurant with an 'underground' vibe.
Where serves the best value for money dining options?
Wine Connection. There are a few across the city.
Where is the best place to splurge on a delicious meal?
Tippling Club; they've often been spotted on lists of the world's best and Asia's best bars and restaurants.
NOW, ONTO THE NIGHTLIFE:
Where might we find Singapore's best cocktail?
For me, it's the Whiskey Sour at 28 Hong Kong Street.
Who has the city's best winelist?
Les Amis. They claim to have over 3000 bottles in their wine cellar.
And the bar with the best atmosphere?
Atlas Bar. It's a seriously impressive art-deco lobby bar.
Which bar is the best value for money?
No.5 Emerald Hill; a cocktail bar close to Orchard Road. Perfect after a busy day shipping.
And the best splurge?
CÉ LA VI inside the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel. The stylish bar is on the 57th floor so has views to match its vibes.
And finally, where is the best place to carry the night on, post-midnight?
Brix. You'll find it in the Grand Hyatt hotel, and are likely to catch some live music there too.
FOR CULTURE VULTURES:
Who is your favourite local artist?
Safaruddin Bin Abdul Hamid. Check his online portfolio.
Where is your favourite local gallery?
Singapore Art Museum.
And your favourite international gallery?
National Gallery Singapore, it's the world's largest collection of Southeast Asian art.
Can you sum up why you love living in this city?
There are so many reasons to love living in Singapore! The diverse cultures, which in turn encourage so much amazing local food; everything from the high end to the mind-blowing (and even Michelin starred) hawker stalls. The greenery; the city-planners have done a great job to keep so much lush greenery and parks throughout. The safety, and all-round cleanliness. And for me (as with everywhere I’ve lived) the people really make the place; both locals and expats - I've made so many great friends in this friendly city, and hope to make many more!