DO AS THE LOCALS DO // Singapore

I am fairly confident I took over 200 photos on our first day in Singapore. A combination of the excitement of a new city and a new camera had me snap happy, and Chris rolling his eyes as I stopped every fifty metres to take another photo. One day he will appreciate all these memories!

After ticking off all the tourist must-sees around Marina Bay, we set off towards Chinatown, which was much closer than we thought. Singapore turned out to be far more walk-able than anticipated – we only used the metro a couple of times!

Thanks to a random tourist map from the airport and some handy street signs, we toured a few temples and religious sites. The above and below temples were from Thian Hock Keng temples.

Chinatown also included a number of Hindu temples and Islamic mosques. We were able to enter to above Hindu temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, on the condition I borrow one of the communal saris. Given the 30 degree beating sun, I was quickly sweating under the cheap fabric!

The largest and most popular temples was the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. We innocently wandered into the main room, but I was quickly yelled at to leave for wearing a dress. The halls leading to the upstairs museum were inundated with other tourists, so we made the decision to leave and instead admire the architecture from outside.

Chinatown itself was a bustling maze of market streets, food vendors, and haggling stalls. We weren’t in any mood for shopping, but stumbled across the Chinatown Hawker Centre. For the uninitiated, the sight of a local Singaporean food hall was quite overwhelming! We took note of the location, but decided to try another nearby food street. Once again, we were victims of an overpriced meal (prices often exclusive of tax and service – look for the ++ on the menu!).

By this time we had already clocked up over 10kms of walking, so we wandered back to our hotel for a swim in the pool and a rest in our air conditioned room.

For the later half of the afternoon, we decided to mix things up with some more walking. We wandered up towards Fort Canning Park, but not before I found another temple to admire – the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple.

Another cute animal? I am so predictable.

Fort Canning is a small park near the CBD of Singapore that has a long history of palaces, settlements, and (strangely enough) forts. These days it is full of lush greenery and some peaceful paths that wind around a reservoir.

You can just imagine how much Chris is rolling his eyes behind the camera as I posed for this photo.

Eventually it was time for more food, so after another pit stop at the hotel for a quick research session, we decided to take the step of trying hawker food. On our walk we stumbled across the below graveyard, strangely located on the side of a busy road!

A quick Google session had revealed that Tiong Bahru Market was a clean and welcoming hawker hall, which we took to mean friendlier to those of us who have no idea what they are doing.

Hawker halls are essentially a mix between food courts and market stalls. Except the food is excellent, local and dirt cheap. After draining half our savings on our previous two meals, we were more than happy to spend a grand total of $10 AUD on three savoury dishes and a dessert!

Don’t ask what our dessert was, as we have no idea. It was called ‘Special Dream’ our something equally as terrifying, and was covered in a suspicious amount of unknown fruit jellies.

That night we sat along Clarke Quay and paid a ridiculous amount of money for a ‘craft’ beer. Despite only being in the country for 24 hours, we had our usual conversation of ‘would we live here’ – a common topic when moving overseas is on the mind.

Answer: I am skeptical of the hot and humid weather, but we probably would!

– Reanna.


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