TRAVEL FRAGMENTS - SINGAPORE
1- Tiong Bahru neighbourhood
We fell in love with Singapore upon discovering this traditional and atmospheric Art Deco neighbourhood. With its heritage small buildings, old shopfronts and up-to-date independent retail, Tiong Bahru is the perfect counterpoint to ultra-modern Singapore areas like Marina Bay. It is friendly and perfectly walkable, with plenty of opportunities to pop into air-conditioned cafes when the heat gets too much.
We particularly enjoyed two addresses, both on Yong Siak Street
Plain Vanilla Bakery. A gorgeous pastry shop with a shaded terrace and a playful swing, selling beautiful goodies made on site, as well as a curated selection of teas and tableware.
Books Actually. Quite possibly the most stunning bookshop in the world. I don't know whether they decide to stock books upon their cover, but their selection is heartbreakingly beautiful and encourages to browse through aesthetics and discover the unexpected - there is such a thing as judging a book by its cover.
2- Far East Organization Children's Garden (Gardens by The Bay)
You are bound to visit the impressive Gardens by the Bay at some point. If you are travelling with (young) children, don't miss a visit to the so-called Far East Organization Children's Garden, a water and music playground located within the park. The water feature means that kids get a good run-around outdoors, even in the typical sweltering heat of Singapore. There is no entry fee and we ended coming back a second time to enjoy the musical fountain extravaganza.
3- Gillman Barracks Contemporary Art Cluster
Another pleasant surprise about Singapore was the quality of the art scene, the city-state functioning as a hub for South East Asia and beyond. This complex, housed in former military barracks set in lush surroundings, hosts a strong mix of local and international galleries and exhibition spaces. We had a great lunch at Red Baron, followed by ice cream at Creamier, and again, if travelling with kids, do not miss Playeum Children's centre for Creativity and its participative workshops and activities for kids 1-12 years of age.
4- East Coast Lagoon Food Village
That's the fancy name for a hawker centre with a great variety of food stalls. This one is located within East Coast park and beach, for a much welcome post prandial walk, cycle or swim, gazing at the cargo traffic of the Singapore Strait. There is a huge variety on offer, but our clear family favourite was the duck rice from Cheok Kee Duck Rice. We stumbled upon this particular vendor because it had the longest queue by far. We eventually realised Cheok Kee is a bit of a local legend. Queues were always long on our return visits, but do not let it deter yourself, in true Singaporean fashion, the wait is efficient and orderly. The kids are still talking about their meal months later !