Day 1: Heritage designs
Start your tour by exploring one of Singapore’s precious architectural gems. Built around 1895, Baba House is a meticulously restored three-floor townhouse that was once the ancestral home of a Peranakan (Straits Chinese) family. Visitors can take guided tours of the building from Tuesdays to Fridays and self-guided tours on Saturdays.
From here, take a stroll through the neighbouring historical areas of Keong Saik Road, Duxton Hill and Ann Siang Hill to take in more examples of the city-state’s unique shophouse structures. Depending on when they were built, shophouses display different architectural influences, though their most distinguishing features are the bold use of colour and patterned tiles.
Along the way, pop into the Singapore City Gallery to gain an insight into the nation’s various planning challenges over the years. A massive architectural model provides a bird’s-eye view of the city centre. Once the hunger pangs hit, make a beeline for Lau Pa Sat hawker centre a short 10-minute walk away. Take in its striking 19th-century architectural features – soaring arches, fretted eaves and slender Victorian columns topped with intricate filigree work – while you feast on local fare such as chicken rice, satay and popiah (spring rolls).
A five-minute taxi ride will get you to the National Gallery Singapore, an expansive art space that houses the world’s largest public collection of Southeast Asian art. Besides the artwork on display, the building itself consists of two restored national monuments: the former Supreme Court Building and City Hall. Around the corner lies the revamped Capitol Building. Completed in 1933, the Neoclassical structure features a retail arm, Capitol Piazza, where the flagship stores of local designers such as Sabrina Goh and the Reckless Shop can be found; Capitol Theatre, with its distinctive Art Deco entrance; and the recently opened Capitol Kempinski Hotel.