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Cool And Unusual Things To Do In Singapore

By Lee Paul Singapore local who has been exploring his home city again through the eyes of a tourist after living in China for four years.
29 September 2020
Cool And Unusual Things To Do In Singapore

Edited by Elodi Troskie

Singapore is a highly international city with a lot of cultural diversity, yet it isn’t very big, making it possible to explore most of the city within a few days. Don’t let the size fool you – there are many things to do in Singapore and if you’re looking for cool and unusual experiences, you won’t be left wondering what to do next. With so many cultures, cuisines, and traditions coming together in a small area, you’ll find something that catches your eye around every corner - it’s exactly how I felt coming home again after four years living in China. Here are my suggestions for the coolest things to do in Singapore!


Ghost tour

Kickstart your trip to Singapore with a ghost tour of the spookiest places in the city. With all the stories and myths making their way around here, a ghost tour is definitely one of the most unusual things to do in Singapore. There are night tours that take place every last Friday of the month, starting from the Telok Ayer MRT Station and making stops at multiple destinations across the city, including Ann Siang Hill, Club Street, Sago Street, Trengganu Street, and ending at Chinatown MRT. The tours are two hours long, starting at 19:00. Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for children aged 12-16. Book in advance to secure your spooky spot!

Haji Lan

Haji Lane is a narrow street in the Bras Basah-Bugis district where you’ll find some of the coolest spots in Singapore: quirky cafes and bars, street art and indie shops. If you’re looking for arty, unusual things to do in Singapore, Haji Lane is the city’s hipster paradise. Visit this area during the day to explore colourful cafes and shops and return during the evening to experience the lively nightlife scene in Haji Lane. Most of these shops close by the afternoon, but this area is the perfect hangout spot for a laid-back night out in Singapore. Grab dinner at Piedra Negra, the best place for Mexican food in the area, and head to Good Luck Beerhouse afterwards for drinks. Note that this is car-free zone during weekends, so you can grab a taxi to get as close as you can and then explore on foot onwards!

Chinatown

Chinatown is exactly the way you’d imagine: energetic, busy, and bustling, with a feel of rich cultural heritage. You should set out at least a couple of hours to explore Chinatown’s many shops and food stalls – some of the best food you’ll find in Singapore. This is the coolest place for street-style shopping in Singapore and you’ll find anything from antique souvenirs, clothing, jewellery and traditional Chinese tea leaves. Don’t miss out on the incredible food from the hawker stalls and street food vendors along Smith Street. In the surrounding area, there are many places of cultural significance, like the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and the Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple. Sago Street, Temple Street and Club Street are well worth exploring if you’re looking for cool restaurants to visit in Singapore.

National Day Parade

The National Day Parade is held on 9 August every year in celebratory commemoration of Singapore’s independence. The parade usually takes place at Marina Bay. In my opinion, the best time of the year to visit Singapore is during September and August. The events taking place in the weeks leading up to the parade is an incredible time to be in the city! For one month prior to the parade, dress rehearsals can be attended every week. Taking part in the National Day Parade celebrations is one of the coolest things to do in Singapore. Watching traditional dances, fireworks and other live performances, experiencing the excitement and vibrant atmosphere lingering throughout the entire month, learning about the interesting history of Singapore gaining independence in 1965 – this is a cultural experience not to be missed.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is the biggest annual event in the Chinese calendar. This holiday is celebrated all over Asia, and Singapore makes no exception. Apart from the National Day Parade festivities, the time surrounding Chinese New Year is probably the most exciting time to be in Singapore! Chinatown lights up with lanterns, special markets and traditional dance performances. Although Chinatown is the centre of the celebrations, there are carnivals and performances of all kinds taking place all over Singapore. Don’t miss out on the seasonal street foods like rolled egg biscuits, buttery pineapple tarts and spicy shrimp rolls.

Explore The Island By Bicycle

The best way to explore Singapore off the beaten path is by bicycle. The areas that are safe for pedestrians and cyclists are often the most interesting. If you want to avoid tourist crowds in Singapore, this is the perfect outdoor activity for you. This is a great way to find cool hidden gems in Singapore! There is a 150 kilometre cycling route that will take you all around the island (if you’re feeling brave) but my recommendation is to rent a bike and explore the coastal area of Singapore, starting in Katong Village and riding all along the coast, ending the trip in Chinatown. You can also look for guided cycling tours if you prefer the company of a group.

Visit Singapore’s Strange Museums

For the art and history lovers, Singapore offers many museums, galleries and cultural attractions. To kickstart your cultural tour of Singapore, visit the National Gallery and National Museum for an introduction to the history of Singapore. But if you’re looking for more unusual places to visit, check out the Musical Box Museum, an institute collecting vintage music boxes in all shapes and sizes, or the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, where you can marvel at massive dinosaur skeletons and a one of a kind sperm whale skeleton. Another cool place to visit in Singapore is the Trick Eye Museum, famous for its interactive 2D and 3D illustrative setups. This is a really entertaining activity for those traveling with kids

Explore Street Art

Museums and art galleries aren’t the only places to find Instagram-worthy works of art. Exploring the incredible street art won’t cost you a cent and is a great way to discover Singapore off the beaten path. Some of the best street art districts in Singapore are Haji Lane, Victoria Street, Somerset Skate Park and the hawker market, Tekka Centre. You can also find sculptures and other public art installations mostly located across downtown Singapore. The Public Art Trust, an initiative of the National Arts Council, commissions new art pieces in public spaces all over the city in an effort to make art part of the urban environment. Free guided walking tours are offered every last Sunday of the month.