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How to enjoy a weekend in Singapore – tips from a local

Today we talk to Nicholas Lam about his hometown Singapore! He gives us  insider information about how to make the most of a weekend in Singapore.

An interview with a Local – How to spend a weekend in Singapore

Hi Nicholas, Where are you living now?

I’m living in Singapore – a city, a state and a country all in one.

Tell us about yourself? 

I was born in Singapore and I’ve lived and worked almost all my 32 years here. For the last three, I’ve been working full-time in a local NGO. When I’m not writing about my travels on Rambling Feet, I go for a swim, meet friends and visitors from abroad over meals and research my next trip!

I’m also a big fan of motorsports such as Formula 1, rallying, MotoGP and Formula E. I probably caught the travel bug through attending races in places like Malaysia, Poland and Mexico over the last 12 years.

Local advice for your singapore trip

What is your favourite thing about Singapore?

Singapore’s well-connected within and to the rest of the world, so there’s always something happening, be it a music festival or a new restaurant opening. It’s also easy to get to those events using public transport. The rest of Southeast Asia can be reached within four hours and there are non-stop flights to most of the other continents on the planet!

What is your favourite thing to do on a weekend in Singapore

There’s a patch of primary rainforest in Bukit Timah, the only one outside Brazil that’s in a city. There are paved trails there and in the secondary forests scattered around the island, so it’s not entirely wild, but they’re perfect for a run and the variety of flora and fauna is massive. It’s the perfect thing to do on a weekend in Singapore.

What in your opinion is the one thing you can’t miss when you visit Singapore for a weekend?

Take a walk around the city centre, starting from the Marina Bay area, and take in the contrasting mix of colonial buildings, glass skyscraper facades, tropical greenery and restored shophouses. Do it around sunset. It never gets old. Few things make me glow like seeing our cityscape beamed around the world during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

Local advice for your singapore trip

Any top tips for things to do on a rainy day in Singapore? 

When it rains in Singapore, it pours. However, the rain is warm and if there’s lightning, the storm will usually end within a couple of hours. In the meantime, you can visit the National Gallery and see paintings and sculptures by Southeast Asian artists. It’s connected to the City Hall MRT (metro) station and the nearby malls via sheltered linkways and underground passages.

Where is your favourite restaurant in Singapore?

I’m a person who likes variety so I don’t have a regular restaurant. What I would suggest, however, is going to one of the big hawker centres (Maxwell, Chinatown Market, Seah Im near Sentosa, Old Airport Road, etc) and ordering what you like from the stalls. You’ll find dishes that our ancestors brought from various parts of China, the Malay archipelago and the Indian subcontinent and a few local creations. Most of them will have signboards and prices in English, so don’t worry. It will be hot and there will be no service but it’ll be cheap and you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

And where do you suggest going for a drink in the evening in Singapore?

In the second-floor hawker centre of Chinatown Market Complex, you’ll find Smith Street Taps. It’s probably the first place in the world that serves draft craft beer in an un-gentrified street food setting. The beer geeks who gather there five nights a week are a lot friendlier than you might expect. Alcohol in any dining establishment is expensive, thanks to the high taxes it attracts, so you may as well pay for a good brew. SST have imported and local brews – if you want to check into a local brewery using Untappd, try something from Brewlander & Co. or Rye & Pint. A pint at SST will set you back between S$10 and $18.

Is there one thing not many people know about Singapore? 

This one’s an old chestnut: You won’t be flogged for chewing gum into Singapore! Only the import and sale of gum is illegal, so no-one will detain you for carrying a few packs in your bag. The number of people who still believe otherwise continues to astound me.
Local advice for your singapore trip

Anything else you think we should know before spending a weekend in Singapore? 

Be aware, when you order dishes like chilli crab, that prices will be based on the weight of the seafood and the “market price”. It’s rarely transparent, especially in a hawker centre setting or at the restaurants in touristy areas like Boat Quay. Go with a local who knows his/her way around ordering seafood if you can.

Nicholas owns a blog called Rambling Feet focusses on solo budget travel and helping people get off the beaten track. He’s a big fan of art, architecture and sampling the local cuisines. He’s travelled to 33 countries but the countries which feature predominantly on the blog are New Zealand, Iran, Finland and the Baltic countries.

Local advice for your singapore trip

Other things to do on a weekend in Singapore

So, there we have it, our locals guide for your Singapore Trip! If you’d like to read more  from  Nicholas, be sure to check out his blog Rambling Feet

Have you been to Singapore and can share some tips with us? Or perhaps you’re super excited to be planning a trip there right now?! As always I’d love to hear from you! 

If you enjoyed this Interview with a Local, you may enjoy these previous interviews! 

Jamaica  Tel Aviv  Dubai  Rio de Janeiro  Tenerife   Paris   Lisbon   Washington  San Diego

Or if you are ready to book your trip, check out this Southeast Asia packing List.

Save these Singapore travel tips for later by pinning them to your Pinterest boards! 

singapore tips

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I love listening to local’s advice as they seem to give the best ones, tips you can’t read anywhere. This is an exceptional local’s guide for Singapore which everyone planing there should read!

  2. Joseph Willett

    Singapur is one of the best city in the world. It is one of the cleanest city around the world.I like it. I love to traveling. The swimming pol is so unique. When you there I thing the world is different look. Thanks for share the wander view. I will try to go there and injoy the view.

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