SINGAPORE has a reputation of skyscrapers and shopping but it has a lot more to offer than you think. You just have to look under the surface. Here’s how to do it.
Get to Know Singapore’s Founding Father
Sign up for Tribe Tours’ popular “About Mr Lee” tour, a tribute to Singapore’s founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew (also known as “LKY”), who was sorely missed by the entire nation when he passed away in 2015. Hop on the tour to find out where Lee grew up and attended school, and retrace the steps of his enduring love story with his wife, Mdm Kwa Geok Choo.
Notably, the tour takes you to Oxley Road, the Lees’ residence for half a century. Visitors may recognise this as the home thrust into the international spotlight in 2017, when the fate of the home became an issue of national debate. The tour concludes in the vicinity of Singapore’s oldest colonial building—the former Parliament House, which is used as an arts space today. It was here that Lee held court and displayed his political finesse as the first and longest-serving Prime Minister of Singapore.
Take the Vespa Sidecar Tour
It’s a joyride like no other—Singapore Sidecars offers you the chance to travel in the world’s first vintage Vespa sidecar tour. It’s cooler than a trishaw, and faster too.
Choose from a variety of culturally rich neighbourhoods to explore, or go wild with a ride into the night, where you’ll get to let loose and mingle at some offbeat beer spots while knowing that your designated driver is watching your back. If you’re in the mood to splurge, try the “Crazy Rich Asians” tour to relive the set-in-Singapore hit movie in all its extravagant glory.
Discover The Red Light District
No one loves Geylang, Singapore’s notorious red-light district, the way Cai Yinzhou does. Cai grew up in the neighbourhood, but he only realised when he was older that some of his neighbours led colourful lives in the world of drugs, gambling, and vice. For Cai, showing this intricate web of community to others has become a pastime and a passion. He advocates for the vulnerable in his beloved neighbourhood, including the migrant worker communities, through his initiative known as Geylang Adventures.
Book a guided tour with him, and he will take you through side streets and back alleys for a peek into the neighbourhood’s different lives and livelihoods. You’ll get to hear stories and notice telltale signs that only an insider would know.
Cook Like A Local
If you’re wondering what mum’s cooking tastes like in Singapore, make a date with Mummy Soh to prepare and enjoy a meal at her home, affectionately dubbed “One Kind House.” You’ll learn to use garden-fresh ingredients to prepare a three-course traditional meal. While doing so, you’ll also get to explore Mummy Soh’s double-storey family home. It is a living museum of sorts, where you will find relics from the past, such as an over 100-year-old Singer sewing machine, which is still in working order.
Step Back In Time
Every significant building in Singapore has a backstory, and the man to hear it from is Jerome Lim, a 53-year-old history buff, blogger, and occasional tour guide. His blog, titled The Long and Winding Road, is the go-to resource for locals seeking a link to the past. It’s also the reason why the country’s National Library Board and Land Transport Authority have approached him to collaborate on heritage tours.