Singapore City Walk

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Singapore City Walk

With a trip to Singapore for The Eras Tour scheduled for March, a trip to the Lion City was a must. Before my visit, I didn’t have much expectation for this equatorial hotspot itself, so the good thing is that after a short two-day experience, I went from having no expectation to feeling a lot of unexpected surprises. Singapore is not all fishtail lions and Sands hotels, but there is a lot for travelers to sit back and experience. I was lucky enough to not only catch the hard-to-find times tour, but also experience a new romance unique to the equatorial region from the perspective of a short-term traveler.

The beginning is a Strong Flavor of Sophistication

Speaking just by chance, after grabbing the concert tickets while there is no outrageous price hike immediately booked flights, round-trip happen to be all Singapore Airlines, so from the security check after boarding, has been surrounded by a strong flavor of Singapore. Boarding moment to see wearing the logo Malay sarong flight attendants, as if they have come to Southeast Asia over the sky.

Singapore Airlines has been recognized as the “World’s Best Airline of the Year” four times, and this is due to the control of every detail of the service. Not only did the entertainment facilities follow the latest North American awards season movie (Barbie Helmer Takes Over the Air), but the Taylor Swift song list was also introduced to fit the concert atmosphere, so it is clear that SIA has a very precise control over these service details. Meals are supposed to be SIA’s strength, with one Chinese and one Western meal to choose from, and even the knives and forks insist on sterilized stainless steel rather than disposable cutlery. If you’re a sipper like me, don’t miss the Singapore Sling from SIA, and a Monarch at the end of the meal will have you in the tropics in no time. It’s just a shame that the five-hour flight has been so engrossing in all things living that I didn’t leave a memory of the meal.

In fact, the absence of the latest movies, fine dining tableware is not a big deal to airlines, and the choice of second-class service can even bring in more profits, but the sophistication and seriousness of Singaporeans have prompted them to choose to provide a wonderful experience to each and every passenger who experience Singapore through the airline. The most appropriate way to start a journey to Singapore would be with the exquisite SIA.

Walking Route 1: From Tanjong Pagar to Ao Nang Garden

A food court that you can experience everywhere
Tanjong Pagar is one of the earliest Chinese neighborhoods in Singapore, and is close to the popular Chinatown night market. As a beneficiary of Singapore’s first commercial center redevelopment program in the 1960s, Tanjong Pagar area should be the earliest CBD in Singapore, and I chose my hotel next to the Tanjong Pagar MRT station because of the convenience of traveling. Before booking the hotel, I didn’t do any strategy, and I didn’t know the distribution and history of Singapore’s various districts, just considering the convenience of going to National Stadium, but I didn’t expect to check the routes after checking in, but I accidentally found out that a few neighborhoods I planted my seeds in are just a stone’s throw away.

When I got off the plane at 1pm, the food court near the hotel became my first stop on my trip to Singapore. The food court in Singapore can be very “noble” or very simple. Prices are basically the same as Hong Kong’s, and I was able to spend a solid $48 on an absolutely huge portion of shrimp and mushroom fried rice.

Darth Ridge HDB Flats
Following the direction of the map navigation (Tanjong Pagar MRT Station – Oran Park MRT Station), take the path and you will naturally pass by one of Singapore’s masterpieces: the Das Leng HDB flats. It is hard to imagine that HDB flats, which are the foundation of Singapore’s housing and social functioning, are now available in more innovative designs. From its appearance to its design, the HDB flats look very much like a private residential area, but in reality, it is a veritable public housing estate. The Singapore government has in recent years revamped and built a lot of new popular HDB flats in order to ensure the quality of life of the HDB flat dwellers. Through changes in design, color and spatial structure, the majority of the country’s residents are able to enjoy a clean and stable living environment. The concept of Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) has become deeper and better with the construction of these so-called Netflix HDB flats today.

There is also a small spacious square under the HDB flats, and even in the late afternoon, there are chickens strolling around here, not disturbing the surrounding residents who are chatting and walking their dogs. As many neighborhoods in Singapore have wild chickens, it was no surprise to see them here. Of course, the location of this HDB flat is also well-connected, with forks in different directions that may radiate to the various nettlesome classics you’ve swiped on Little Red Book. Weaving through the place will probably give you the illusion of a moving maze.

Bukit Pasoh Rd & TEO HONG Rd

Passing through the HDB flats in Tat Chee Leng, you will naturally walk into a small street with a southern flavor: Bukit Pasoh Rd. The streets in this area are very short, but the good thing is that even the shortest street has a street name. This is also a former Chinese neighborhood, and the Zhangzhou Chamber of Commerce and Fujian Association Hall are still on the buildings along the street. It was raining on the day of my walk, but thanks to the architectural style of the buildings, it was easy to navigate the street without an umbrella. Perhaps this is a very niche alley, except for the locals, there are hardly any tourists. Almost all the stores along the way are on the second floor, more like a lot of small companies like studios.

On the corner of Bukit Pasoh Rd and TEO HONG Rd, there is a bookstore called Grass Roots Bookstore, which is definitely a place for book hunters to find surprises. The small store is full of books, and there are even thematic books arranged according to a certain type of theme, giving you a feeling of being wrapped up in Chinese culture from the moment you walk in the door. The most popular books in the store are about the history of Chinese culture in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, and some rare cultural books can be easily found here. Many books are left on the traces of people flipping, but the boss does not care, and even only a single book boss also directly unpacked and placed on the shelves for flipping, of course, the shortcoming is that when I happen to want to buy the single book, I can only be forced to accept the many fingerprints.

Entering TEO HONG Rd, this is the most common place for tourists to visit. Firstly, because it is close to the Ou Nan Yuan MRT station, most tourists visiting this area will get off here, and secondly, because at the end of the street, near the MRT station, there is 99 Old Tree Durian, the most common place for tourists to visit. The store fills up easily, but tourists don’t mind sharing tables. If you come here specifically for durian ice, it is also recommended that you try the durian puffs, and even for some durian-na├»ve users, the durian puffs in this shop are a good entry point to try, with little to no sweetness and greasiness, and won’t let you down.

Old Basha Night Market at the Old Airport

After a long walk, you need to find a place to fill up your stomach. Starting from Onan Park, you can get to Mbadeng after two transfers, and then you can walk slowly towards the Old Baksheesh Night Market. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the Mombaten MRT station, but trust me, it’s never boring: the blue sky, palm trees, and HDB flats in the evening can be a unique sight to behold.

Although the old airport night market was bustling with activity, it wasn’t too crowded with tourists on the day I visited. The most famous thing here is the Michelin-certified Lao Fu Zi fried kuey teow. Not only tourists, even other shopkeepers in the night market would come here to order a plate. A steaming hot serving of fried kuey teow with a strong flavor of salsa. With weekday dining in the city barely escaping the fate of pre-made dishes, an occasional serving of pan-heated fried kuey teow can barely be considered cleansing for the stomach.

The night market culture in Singapore is not the same as in Taiwan. Most of the stores here close at 8 or 9pm, and almost all of the night markets are under shanties, making them less “popular” in the open air. Indoor night markets can’t help but feel a little hot in the summer, and the moment you walk out you can feel refreshed. Singapore has abandoned the general public in many ways, but in the night market, no matter whether you are a suited and booted financier, a neighbor in flip-flops, or a tourist like me, you can easily blend into the fireworks of the night market. Life, as it should be.

Cathedral and National Gallery

Looking diagonally across the street, St. Andrews Church’s white building shimmers against the night sky. Move your eyes to the left again and the National Gallery of Singapore will catch your eye. What may feel solemn and serious here during the day is experienced as quiet and lustrous at night. Walking this route in the evening, there is no hot sun, no crowds, basically you can enjoy the whole quiet walk alone, eyes with their own pace to observe the two sides of these important cultural buildings in the Singapore City Hall area, it should be said that it is a very beautiful thing.

The Fishtail Lion and the Sands Hotel

Passing through some unknown side streets, you will come across the city’s symbol: the Fishtail Lion. Maybe it’s because of Taylor Swift’s magic, there were no crowds near the fishtail lion, so I was able to find a good spot to take a photo with it. The Sands Hotel was just a stone’s throw away from me. I returned later in the day with a group of fellow travelers, but it was nothing like it was at night. The interlocking lights at night really bring the Fishtail Lion, the Sands Hotel and the financial district behind it into the modernity and ecstasy of the city, while in the daytime there is less of a neon urban feel to it.

Clarke Quay Area

Leaving Fishtail Lion Park, on my way towards Clarke Quay, I stopped by to explore Anderson Bridge. Apart from its size, it can almost be considered as a scaled down version of Shanghai’s Waibaidu Bridge from any angle. The bridge is closed to traffic, making it very friendly to tourists who need to take photos.

Crossing the Anderson Bridge, it’s time to take a side trip to Clarke Quay to have a look around. Clarke Quay at night is perfect for ordering a tipple at the alfresco seats of the pubs to feel the evening breeze from the pier, while Clarke Quay during the day is the base for good food and great views. Jumbo Seafood, which most tourists would choose, has a restaurant right next to the pier, and Mr. Coconu, the recommended must-hit meat bone tea, is also near the Clarke Quay area. Of course, if you happen to be shopping at the mall next to it, you can also catch the view of the green hills of the pier through the glass. Meanwhile, there’s also a colorful police station to convince you that you’re really deep in the colorful world of Southeast Asia. Clarke Quay may not be a showstopper nowadays, but if you come here, you will not be disappointed with the world of color.

Telok Ayer Street

At the end of the Clarke Quay sightseeing, I chose to walk back to my hotel with the cool breeze of the summer evening, but to my surprise, I unlocked the biggest surprise of the trip: Telok Ayer Street, which is the longest road from Clarke Quay to Tanjong Pagar, and at first, when I entered from the section of the financial district, I didn’t really notice the road, thinking that it was just an ordinary one among the roads in the city center. I thought it was just one of the many roads in the city center, but as I walked, I began to see the beauty of this road. It started with tall buildings, and the deeper I went, the shorter it got, and soon I noticed the bustling crowds of people starting to gather in the stores that line the street. The central part of this road is practically surrounded by bistros and restaurants, and on Friday nights, most of the young people who have finished their week’s work start to gather on this road with their friends to get a taste of the night while mingling and mingling.

What surprised me the most is that a road synonymous with prosperity and modernity still retains many collisions with tradition. On one side of the intersection there were American street taverns, but as I came to the intersection it suddenly quieted down and I saw a well-preserved old church and a Taoist temple, and even a few family shrines that were still in full bloom. As I stood in front of the shrine and turned around to see the completely modernized buildings on the other side of the street, I couldn’t help but marvel at the city’s tolerance. Even in such a narrow street with only one lane of traffic in each direction, the city’s cultural imprint is preserved. Respect for tradition and modernity have never been in conflict in this city, and the diversity and tolerance of this culture is truly amazing.

So I returned to this street for breakfast early the next morning. During the daytime on weekends, it becomes a gathering place for cycling enthusiasts again. Of course, it’s also a good testing ground to get a feel of Singapore’s prices. I ordered a latte and a smoked salmon bagel at Sarnies, the famous Aussie cafe on the street, and it easily cost me S$14. The amount and freshness of the salmon in the bagel was basically amazing, and the latte was really Aussie, with a creamy flavor that’s unlike anything you’d expect from this tropical region. For those who maintain a ‘middle class lifestyle’ on a daily basis, prices in Singapore may just be a basic leveling off.

Between sitting on the street and eating breakfast, I saw a convoy of cyclists passing me by, occasional cars passing by on the quiet streets, foreigners enthusiastically meeting with three or five friends to share a coffee at a cafe, and looking across the street at the old buildings and temples with the words “Traditional Chinese Medicine Association” written on them, there is nothing better than the feeling of a morning on this weekend.

Kopi

Being the coffee lover that I am, it was only natural for me to explore the coffee culture in Singapore. Before I arrived, I had been told by those who had stepped on mine that most of the Kopi in Singapore uses a refreshing roo bean, so the ones you can buy on the street will basically put you in your grave. So I did some serious homework on this, and settled on two winners: Homeground and Nylon (the legendary 19th place in Asia).

Homeground is right next to 99 Old Tree Durian, so you can easily find it by following my walking route, while Nylon is not too far away, and can be reached quickly by going through the other direction of HDB flats in Das Leng. As long as you are in the Tanjong Pagar area, both stores are easy to sample. Cafes in Singapore are not like the ones elsewhere – not only do most of them close at 5pm, but they don’t serve specialties – only black, white and hand brewed. But both stores are also attentive enough to offer a choice of different grades and types of coffee beans, and can also customize your Special drink to your personal preference. The black coffee I chose at both shops was the most expensive variety of beans, and the taste was basically to maximize the acidity of the fruit flavors, and after the ice cubes were added, you could clearly appreciate the fruity acidity that flooded your tongue. So, if you come to Singapore to find boutique coffee, then you will not be disappointed, after all, this place will help you restore the most original flavor of the beans, you will be able to find the most suitable for one of your, but if you come to a cup of commuter coffee on the street side, I’m sorry, please don’t do what I did, in front of the clerk and immediately threw it into the garbage cans next to the store.

National Stadium Details and Shock

Going back to the first sentence, the most important part of my trip to Singapore was to attend Taylor Swift’s concert, The Eras Tour, which was a hit from last year to this year, and I’ve watched countless videos of it, but there’s no way to recreate the impact of a live show from an immersive perspective. I won’t go into the physicality of the concert here, but trust me, Taylor Swift will not let you down.

However, the National Stadium was so much more than the concert itself, and all the details associated with the show gave me a sense of the sophistication and warmth of the city. An hour before the start of the show, the warm-ups had already started, and more than 70% of the audience had already entered, I stopped by the restrooms, and found that in the stadium, which was already flooded with a huge number of people, the restrooms were actually kept in such a good hygienic condition, with no bad smells, no confetti, and even no staff waiting to clean up the restrooms at any time. A performance of 63,000 people, the venue can do such a fine job, even the user experience of the restroom is not spared, Singaporeans treat the details have their own strict and principles, everyone who comes here can feel the meticulousness and seriousness of this place.

The next shock happened after the concert was over. As we started to walk out of the venue one after another, it was already 10:30pm. The staffs who guided us and checked us in were still smiling and happy to say hi every group of tourists no matter if you were the first or the last group of audience to leave the venue, you would get this lovely blessing. In addition to this, Taylor’s songs were played simultaneously outside the venue in the face of the MRT restrictions, and a DJ led the fans waiting to enter the station to sing along, so as not to let the audience feel bored by waiting for the restrictions. These operational details would not have done any good if they were not done, but if they were done, it would have brought a comfortable user experience that goes into every aspect of the show. I’ve never experienced any concert where the operations could be done so well from the inside to the outside of the venue. The audience is always the enjoyment of the concert, and all the optimized details are working hard to prove that to the audience.

I didn’t do any strategy before leaving except for two coffee shops, and I was rewarded with an excellent traveling experience in Singapore. Singapore city is not big, there are many places suitable for strolling, walking in any street may find different surprises. The equatorial people are very warm, they will ask you on the subway why your hair color is so nice, care about your travel experience, but also try to let you in a short stay as much as possible to integrate into the local life. There are still a lot of places that I haven’t explored, waiting for every stroller to visit.

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