Highlights of enjoying Singapore's finest

The Telegraph cherished some ‘reimagined experiences’ on a recent trip to the lion city

Saionee Chakraborty Published 15.07.22, 01:40 AM

I was back in Singapore after a decade recently and lapped up the “reimagined experiences” that the Singapore Tourism Board had planned. From yoga at the break of dawn to visiting the ‘world’s first Apple Store to sit directly on water’, the album was a treasured one. “It was intentional that we wanted to showcase all of these reimagined experiences. They are not all new experiences. Some of them are very new like the Adidas store that just came up. All of them are transformed experiences. It is the same Singapore that you know and love but there is so much more to discover,” said Renjie Wong, area director, India, Middle East & South Asia, Singapore Tourism Board. Here’s looking back at the trip.

Apple Marina Bay Sands: Located in the heart of freshwater reservoir Marina Bay, nightclubs and event venues had been converted into an Apple store that opened in the middle of the pandemic, in September 2020. This one presents great pictures of the skyline and once you stepped out on the deck, you could spend hours soaking in the tranquil effect of observing the ripples in the water.


HeadRock VR @Sentosa: Just six months old, it brought out the child in me. I screamed and screeched as the jungle safari plunged us deep and flung us far!

Sunrise Yoga at Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Observation Deck by Virgin Active: We woke up before the sun and headed to the 56th floor of Marina Bay Sands. Mats, headphones, towels in hand, we stretched for a session of yoga with Megan Huang. As we breathed in and out, up came the sun and took our breath away!

Where: 10 Bayfront Avenue

Top tip: I did the session with a bunch of seasoned ones, but gave up competing with them. Instead I focused on following the instructions to the best of my abilities. Carry your own mat for more comfort and try to position yourself at a spot from where the instructor is clearly visible.

The MakerLab at #HOMEGROUND Adidas Singapore Brand Centre: This store that opened in December 2021 was a cool spot to check out. You could choose from a selection of embroidery patches to customise your Adidas buy. We loved the local motifs like the duck ride, old public telephones, Carnation milk, capsule machine and White Rabbit sweets.

Where: Orchard Road

The Wellness Sensorium at Gardens By the Bay, “the lungs of Singapore”, felt like a unique initiative which could double up as a fun outing with friends and family. Stacking stones mindfully (Stone Ritual; in picture) for the manifestation of intentions or just relaxing or soaking in the light and sound for a minute of oneness with your inner being (Sound & Light Bath), this pop-up had it all. We especially loved the bicycle experience at the Spin Orchestra.

Design Orchard: A hub of local designers, it was the spanking new fashion and accessory store that opened in 2019. Every month they had new programmes and was ‘home to over 100 Singaporean fashion and design brands’. We also checked out the Gucci x Adidas ‘capsule collection’ that they were hosting, ‘the only brick-and-mortar pop-up in Southeast Asia’. Yes, the one Ranveer Singh and Karan Johar were seen sporting recently.

Where: Orchard Road

Kampong Gelam @ Arab Street: Kampong Gelam looked straight out of a storybook. This “rectangular district” is called the Little Middle East of Singapore where “Muslims and Malays gather for social activities”. Colourful and vibrant, you could spend hours clicking beautiful photographs of the art and architecture that defined this multicultural hub.

“The colours draw a lot from the heritage and there is a lot of young creative spirit,” said Renjie Wong, area director, India, Middle East & South Asia, Singapore Tourism Board. We were told ‘kampong’ meant village and ‘gelam’, tree and that it was essentially a “trading place” with “80 per cent... businesses”. We took a look at the gleaming Sultan Mosque, an iconic tourist site, towering over Kampong Gelam.

“This was historically a centre for trade and commerce for the broader Malay world in the region. Today, you have a lot of contemporary cafes, restaurants which are Malay owned and run. A lot of the eateries, whether it’s your burger dens or Swedish bakeries, they are all halal. You even get halal dim sum, ramen.... In the past 10-15 years, it has taken on the character of art. Street art... graffiti has had an interesting history in Singapore. For the longest time, the government didn’t think too well of it. Over the years they have realised that street art can beautify a space and make it extraordinary,” said Renjie, as we took a look at ‘Southeast Asia’s first Graffiti ‘Wall of Fame’, 5ft in height and about 230 metres in length, unveiled in 2021, done by a mixed bunch of artists. “All of it has been done during the Covid... repurposed construction hoardings which are not an eyesore,” he added.

I couldn’t stop marvelling at how beautiful the buildings looked. “Geometric, floral, the shophouse architecture... this is the style of architecture you see all across Singapore, in the more historic parts. It originates in the pre-War period, in the late 1800s and you see these in all the port cities of Southeast Asia. The ground floor would be a merchant space and then the family would live upstairs,” said Renjie. The five-foot way, which was “a sheltered walkway”, reminded us of the stretch in front of The Oberoi Grand.

Must clicks: The buildings, Sultan Mosque and Malay Heritage Centre.

Top tip: Keep around 1.5 hours to roam around.

Best time to visit: 5.30pm and weekends.

Buy: Carpets, crafts, textiles from Arab Street.

Indulge in: Dim sum, gelato, halal Japanese food.

Pictures: Saionee Chakraborty & Singapore Tourism Board

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