Day 1: Foodie hotspots
Given Singapore’s humid tropical rainforest climate, it’s important for visitors to stay well-fed and hydrated. Start the morning at one of the island’s most lauded hawker centres, Maxwell Food Centre, between Chinatown and the financial district.
Grab a teh C (silky black tea with evaporated milk, hot or cold) or kopi halia (coffee with ginger) at one of the drinks stalls, or a soya bean and grass jelly drink at Woong Kee Traditional Beancurd to accompany your meal. Once you’ve had your fill, take a short stroll down Maxwell Road to the Singapore City Gallery at the URA Centre. Most of the gallery is closed until early November for a major upgrade, but the highlight – a large model showing past, current and future development on the island – remains open.
A quick walk down Telok Ayer Street brings you to Free the Robot (open Tuesday to Saturday), a fun café with plenty of robot action figures and imagery, which serves burgers, salmon rice bowls, avocado toasties and unusual drinks including a signature coffee made with coconut oil. In the evening, the restaurant morphs into the suave craft cocktail bar Bitters & Love.
On the same road, Thian Hock Keng is the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore, built for a sea goddess in 1839 on what was then the waterfront, with traditional pavilions arranged around a central courtyard. Explore its interior before taking a short walk to Yixing Xuan Teahouse to sample and buy premium Chinese and Taiwanese teas, some of which are also stocked at the plush Six Senses Duxton nearby.
Opened earlier this year, and the first urban property for the hotel brand, these unified former 19th-century heritage shophouses celebrate their Chinatown location through bamboo screens, shiny lacquer work and large ceramic pots. Back in the hubbub of Chinatown, Eastern and Western tapas fill the evening menu at The Keep & Commune, with small plates such as spicy slow-cooked rendang meatballs and patatas bravas. Finally, round off the day with a night cap at the intimate and award-winning 28 HongKong Street (in the name of hydration, of course).