(1) A Day in the Life of a Singaporean
You’re invited! Want to experience the “real” Singapore lifestyle and see where Singaporeans head to after work and on weekends? Then, journey outside the “major-brands” shopping district of Orchard Road and into the Singapore heartlands. Start the day by driving-through a HDB (Housing Development Board) estate. Over 83 per cent of Singapore’s population live in well-designed HDB estates across the island. In 2008, the United Nations even awarded HDB a prestigious Public Service Award for its “Home Ownership Program”.
Experience life as a typical Singaporean as you walk in our footsteps for a day:
- Visit the private HDB home of a Singapore family.
- Navigate the HDB estates by riding on the public train system.
- Revel in the smells and sights of fresh produce in a neighborhood ‘wet’ market.
- Get the inside scoop on Singapore hawker treats in your neighborhood “kopi tiam” (coffee shop).
- Indulge your inner shopaholic by exploring the hole-in-the-wall shops and stores.
Whether shopping in a suburban mall; wandering through a maze of bakeries, clothing and accessories stores, traditional medicinal halls; or simply watching the world go by in a kopitiam, this is definitely an authentically Singapore heartland experience that you won’t want to miss!
(2) Becoming Singaporean: Have you eaten?
The first thing you’ll likely be asked when you visit any Singaporean home would be: “Have you makan already?” (have you eaten yet). The topic of food to Singaporeans, regardless of gender, age or ethnic group, is one we share intimately as a people. Be it simple hawker fare or fine dining cuisine, Singaporeans are passionate about our food. And, almost everyone has an opinion on what is good, and where serves the most tasty treats. More importantly, Singaporeans are always eager to share our food passion with anyone who’s willing to hear us. Get a crash course on Singapore’s national obsession!
- Become a Singaporean “foodie” for a day as you gain in-depth insight into a a typical ‘wet’ market.
- Satisfy your palate with a selection of “die-die-must-try” favorites in a hawker center.
- Try your hand at cooking some of Singapore’s popular dishes with a chef.
- Sample and rate your own creations – decide if your own culinary skills match up to those of the Singapore hawker masters.
(3) The Great Singapore City Escape
Get under Singapore’s ultra-chic exterior and experience first-hand what Singapore has to offer as you trace our incredible progress from an unknown fishing village to the cosmopolitan powerhouse it is today.
- Revel in the fresh air and lush greenery at Fort Canning Park, one of the most historical sites in Singapore.
- Enjoy a typical Singaporean breakfast at a hawker center.
- Uncover Singapore’s fascinating colonial past and hear all about our amazing progress and developments.
- Get the low-down on the architecturally interesting “shophouses” dotted across the city and hear the life stories of the people who’ve lived in them.
- Enjoy Singapore’s national cocktail – the refreshing Singapore Sling at the world-renown Raffles Hotel.
- Relax with a massage in a city spa.
(4) Chinatown Tales: Fame & Fortune in the Southern Seas
See Chinatown the way the early Chinese pioneers did when they first stepped onto the Singapore shores:
- Visit “Ma Zu” (Goddess of the Sea) at Thian Hock Kheng temple to give thanks for your safe passage to Singapore. The temple has even garnered the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for Culture Heritage Conservation Building in 2001.
- Check out your extremely cozy” living quarters in a restored shophouse.
- Explore the bustling streets of Chinatown through the eyes of the poor and sometimes enterprising young immigrants.
- Try your hand at an early pioneer trade – see if you can impress the master enough to get a job as his apprentice.
- When you’ve made your fortune, you can finally settle into a life of comfort and ease. Start your days of luxury by indulging in the delicate art of traditional Chinese tea making and appreciation.
- Extend your day of luxury with a therapeutic Chinese foot reflexology session.
(5) Malay Royal Legacies: All the Sultans’ Men
Archaeological evidence has since proved that Singapore’s thriving past began as early as the 14th century, with the Malay Sultans (kings) ruling the land.
- Start your day by visiting a Malay ‘kramat’ (shrine) of a 14th century Sultan at Forbidden Hill. Marvel at the historical 14th century artifacts found at Singapore’s earliest archaeological dig.
- Head to the Istana Kampong Glam, now the Malay Heritage Centre, and learn the fascinating history of the people who used to live and work in the streets around the area.
- Taste delectable Malay snacks as we take a refreshment break at one of cafes.
- Learn the art of “batik” painting, a Javanese technique of painting or create your own scents at a local shop specializing in non-alcohol perfume oils.
- Recharge with a traditional head massage.
(6) Pioneer Stories from Little India
The first Indian settlers arrived with Singapore’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles, as his assistants and soldiers in the 1820s. But, the area of Little India became the focal point of the Indian community only from the 1830s onwards.
- Enjoy a local breakfast of “roti prata” (type of pancake) and a hot cup of “teh tarik” (“pull” tea) at a local coffeeshop.
- Get a visual feast of fresh fruits and vegetables, sparkling jewelery, shiny brassware and carvings and discover soak in the scent of fragrant jasmine, rose and marigold garlands as you step into a Hindu temple.
- Taste traditional Indian snacks and sweets and have your hands painted with colourful designs by a Henna artist.
- Decipher the intricacies of the ‘sari’ (traditional Indian attire for the ladies) at a sari shop and learn why it is often described as the apparel that ‘covers all…yet reveals all’.
- End with a relaxing Ayurvedic massage.