Can’t figure out what to do with your upcoming SingapoRediscovers vouchers? Given the recent announcement by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) that most tours in Singapore can now accommodate groups of up to 20 people – up from the previous figure of 10 – there’s no better time to discover a different side to the Lion City on foot.
While many tour operators have had to temporarily shutter their operations during the circuit breaker period and subsequent Phase 1 and Phase 2 stages, it’s likely that many of them will resume offering their services again now that they are able to accommodate larger groups. With that in mind, here are seven tours you can support – and get to learn more about the city-state while doing so.
1. Tour the Tiong Bahru heartlands
With its charming walk-up public housing, quaint cafés and boutique stores and overall chill vibe, Tiong Bahru is an easily walkable district with plenty of hidden wonders to explore. To get to know the neighbourhood in a little more detail, join the four-hour guided Tiong Bahru Heartland Walking Tour that will take you on a journey through one of the country’s oldest housing estates. You get to visit the Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre, temple and community centre; meander through the avenues between the Art Deco-style flats; and, as a special treat, get to visit a local home where you’ll be treated to a simple meal by the host.
2. Solve a mystery along the streets of Chinatown
For mystery, history and intrigue all rolled into one, there’s the Chinatown Murders game tour run by Tribe. Structured as an escape room-type experience – albeit played out on the streets of Singapore instead of within an enclosed space – participants are split into small groups and tasked with an important mission: a serial killer is on the loose, and you need to find out who it is by solving a series of puzzles around Chinatown, while learning stories about the characters who used to live in the area. While not a walking tour per se, you can chart your own route through the heritage district as you uncover clues and attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery.
3. Get into the thick of nature at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
If you want to get out of the city and immerse yourself in nature, make a beeline for the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Tour, organised and run by the National Parks Board. Located in the northern reaches of Singapore, the nature reserve – which is also Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park – is home to a wide array of flora and fauna, such as mudskippers, otters, water snakes, monitor lizards and herons. The free guided walk is suitable for all ages, including children, and takes place every Saturday morning between 9.30am to 11am. Registration opens two Fridays before the scheduled date, so be sure to secure your spot via the website.
4. Eat your way through Katong at sunset
Katong is one of Singapore’s most well-known foodie enclaves, so those after a memorable culinary experience should check out the Sunset Street Eats food tour of the area. Embark on an atmospheric, golden-hour gander through the colourful heritage neighbourhood as you sample delicacies from 10 different vendors. Potential highlights of the three-hour tour include slurping on a piquant bowl of the famous Katong laksa; sampling different varieties of kueh; and dining on a Hainanese chicken rice feast. You’ll also get to meet various hawkers and vendors and hear their unique stories about how they’ve moulded their businesses over the years.
5. Uncover Sentosa’s rich military past
While better known for its beach clubs and attractions such as Universal Studios Singapore and the S.E.A. Aquarium, Sentosa also has a fascinating military history. The My Mount Faber & Sentosa Heritage Tour – which spans Sentosa, Mount Faber, Keppel Hill Reservoir and the Southern Ridges Conservation Area – will take you through military encampments, tunnel complexes and secret reservoirs that were erected by the British to defend their naval base during the Second World War. The four-hour walking tour includes trekking over hilly terrain, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear and comfortable clothing and bring a bottle of water.
6. Go on a tea-time jaunt through Little India and Jalan Besar
For a walking tour that mixes gastronomy and culture, check out the Tea & Tiffin Tour – you’ll get to sample local tea-time delicacies while strolling through the charming heritage neighbourhoods of Little India and Jalan Besar. Stops along the eclectic tour include places of worship such as the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and Abdul Gafoor Mosque; Berseh Food Centre; Tan Teng Niah House and various spots along Serangoon Road and Campbell Lane. You’ll get to taste total of seven snacks and one beverage, and dietary requirements can be accommodated. The tour runs on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm to 6.30pm.
7. Explore vibrant street art
Get a glimpse of some of the city-state’s most impressive street art by embarking on an Artwalk. With itineraries that span three different districts – Chinatown, Haji Lane and Little India – participants can make their way through a route that focuses on the murals, their artists and the histories of the district. Notable street murals you’ll encounter along the way include Yip Yew Chong’s work outside Thian Hock Keng Teng Temple (Chinatown), which depicts the life of Hokkien immigrants who came to Singapore; Didier Jaba Mathieu’s illustration along the exterior of Piedra Negra (Haji Lane); and Jasmine of the City by Nadiah Alsagoff along Kerbau Road (Little India), which pays homage to Singapore’s migrant workers.
Some of these images were taken before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please check the tours’ respective websites for operating hours, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.
SEE ALSO: Artists Ripple Root share an art-filled itinerary to Singapore