If you've visited Singapore multiple times, chances are you’ve explored popular attractions like Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, and Sentosa Island. Perhaps you've savored local delights at hawker centers or indulged in shopping sprees at the likes of Mustafa Centre, Orchard Road, Little India, or Haji Lane.
The good thing is that Singapore never ceases to offer enjoyable and thrilling experiences, even for seasoned visitors. This is precisely what the Singapore Tourism Board's Made Singapore campaign aims to capture.
“The Made in Singapore campaign is anchored on our Passion Made Possible destination brand, which embodies the Singapore spirit of fulfilling individual passions and creating new possibilities,” explained Kenneth Lim, STB's Assistant Chief Executive (Marketing Group). “Through this latest campaign, we would like to reinforce Singapore as a destination that turns imagination into reality.”
During our recent familiarization tour, we delved into offbeat thrills that transcend the usual tourist hotspots. Here are some unique activities to inject excitement into your next Singapore sojourn:
1 Dine with a view at the world’s highest rooftop farm
It's a delightful discovery that atop the 51st floor of the CapitaSpring Building in Singapore's Financial District, there’s a thriving 10,000-square-foot urban farm called 1-Arden. It isn't your typical garden — it’s a food forest that cultivates over a hundred crop and herb varieties from around the world. Created by 1-Group, a well-known hospitality and lifestyle company in Singapore, in collaboration with Edible Garden City, a social enterprise supporting the Grow-Our-Own-Food movement, 1-Arden proudly claims the title of the world's highest rooftop urban farm.
It's a great place to be inspired by Singapore’s sustainability initiatives through its beautifully curated gardens. But the best way to appreciate it is by trying out the dishes highlighting the fresh produce from this food forest. Within the building, there are two farm-to-table restaurants that share the crops from 1-Arden — Kaarla, which serves contemporary Australian cuisine; and Oumi, which showcases modern Japanese dining.
We had a hearty three-course dinner at Kaarla Wood-Fire Grill. The refreshing La Latteria Burrata, featuring heirloom tomatoes and garden salad, complemented by almond romesco and herb oil, was a perfect prelude to the main course, which was Wood-Roasted Angus Sirloin Beef MB4+, served with pommes anna, caramelized onion, and truffle wine jus. We ended the meal with a really nice dessert — Arden Grown Tigernut Ice Cream, which highlights the nutrient-rich tuber that also gives it a unique flavor and texture.
2 Explore Singapore by night on a vintage Vespa
If you're seeking an exhilarating way to explore Singapore, we recommend taking a Vespa sidecar tour with Singapore Sidecars at night. Singapore can be quite hot and humid during the day, making a nighttime tour a more comfortable option. The cooler temperature in the evening enhances the overall experience, allowing you to enjoy the ride without the intensity of the daytime heat.
While Singapore is generally well-organized in terms of traffic, touring at night may offer a quieter and more peaceful ride. With less traffic on the roads, you can navigate through the city streets more smoothly, enhancing your overall enjoyment. Singapore comes alive at night with its stunning city lights and illuminated skyline. The iconic landmarks, modern architecture, and vibrant streets create a magical atmosphere that is best enjoyed when the sun goes down.
3 Dine with the wild at Mandai Singapore Zoo
For one day during your stay in the Lion City, we suggest you deviate from the typical hotel breakfast routine and instead dine amidst lush greenery and the captivating sounds of animals at Mandai Singapore Zoo. After enjoying the buffet spread, you can even have the opportunity to have your selfies with the featured animals.
Following your hearty breakfast, you can go on a leisurely tram ride through the zoo, allowing you to explore the park at a relaxed pace and listen to fascinating stories about the diverse animals that call the Singapore Zoo home.
It’s also curious to see the different bird species up close at Bird Paradise — there are about 400 bird species and a total of 3500 birds there, according to one of the zookeepers — and witness the amazing talents of these furry creatures with their dedicated trainers via the scheduled presentations at the Sky Amphitheater.
You'll surely be tired and hungry after touring the zoo. Crimson Restaurant, also located inside Bird Paradise is a nice place to refuel and relax. Its menu, thoughtfully crafted by well-known local celebrity chef, Eric Teo, features sustainably sourced ingredients — from King Prawns Laksa and Seared Duck Breast, to Pan-Seared Barramundi and Portobello Burger — there's something for everyone to enjoy. You can enjoy your meal while enjoying the picturesque view of the Hong Leong Foundation Crimson Wetlands.
4 Craft your own pleated bag at Ginlee Studio
If you and your friends have a penchant for design, Ginlee Studio offers an engaging activity that could capture your interest. Through its Ginlee Make Experience, you’ll not only create a personalized accessory — a bag, scarf or top — but also delve into the fascinating world of pleating. Guided by skilled artisans, you’ll learn the intricacies of this age-old craft, complete with hands-on experience. For those who have a flair for repurposing, Ginlee Studio also offers the Tee-to-Bag Experience, where you can transform old t-shirts into tote bags. Book directly on the website or reach out via email at email@example.com.
5 Wine and dine at Dragon Chamber
One of our interesting discoveries during this trip is this Chinese speakeasy restaurant hidden behind the “beer fridge” of an unassuming local café. The interior of the restaurant is inspired by diverse Asian cultures, with marble tables and classic teak dining chairs serving as the primary furnishings, reminiscent of the gambling dens of old-time Chinatown. It's a cool spot if you want to enjoy booze with your, uhm, “secret society.” It has an extensive menu of cocktails, beers, sake, wines, whisky, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, mezcal, cognac, and some non-alcoholic beverages. Its dining menu diverges from the typical banquet-style Chinese food and explores bold flavors and unique presentation.
We enjoyed an array of pulutan, including the cheeseburger rolls, a unique twist featuring beef and melted cheese encased in crispy egg roll skin. The Flaming Pineapple Beef piqued our interest, presenting diced beef with a pineapple five-spice gravy, served in a flaming pineapple for a dramatic touch. We had noodles too with our cocktails—the crispy 'sheng mian' noodles featuring soft-shell Hokkaido crab, scallops, and bokchoy—because, why not?
6 Discover the artistry of chocolate at Mr. Bucket Chocolaterie
It’s a chocolate lover's paradise where you can not only savor chocolates in various delightful forms but also deepen your appreciation of these confections by witnessing skilled chocolatiers in action.
For a more immersive experience, you can get to participate in creating your own chocolate masterpiece by mixing and matching flavors from a diverse selection of ingredients provided. The activity not only enhances your understanding of chocolate but also allows you to create a personalized indulgence tailored to your unique preferences.
7 Join a tour of Tanglin Gin Distillery
Whether you're a seasoned gin aficionado or a curious newcomer, a visit to the Tanglin Creations Lab located in the picturesque Dempsey Hill promises an interesting experience. Begin your exploration of gin by familiarizing yourself with the award-winning brand through a comprehensive tour of its facility, proudly claiming to be Singapore's first gin distillery.
As you navigate through the intricate processes of the distillery, you'll gain an understanding of the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into crafting each bottle of Tanglin Gin, explore their botanical selection, blending techniques, and the delicate art of flavor infusion. The experience concludes with a tasting session of their gin-based concoctions at the Tanglin Gin Jungle.
8 Unleash your own Cookery Magic
If you have a penchant for cooking, you might want to learn to dish up Malay food with Ruqxana Vasanwala of Cookery Magic. This self-taught cook, who is one of Singapore Tourism Board’s Passion Made Possible ambassadors, holds cooking classes in her quaint home and showcases healthy dishes using freshly picked herbs from her garden.
The Nasi Kerabu that she prepared for us, for instance, has 18 herbs, including lemongrass, coriander, lemon basil, sweet basil, galangal, ginger flower, turmeric leaves, among many others.
If you prefer to savor the culinary delights without getting hands-on in the kitchen, that's perfectly fine – just like we did during our visit. Ruqxana regaled us with stories while we relished the feast she expertly crafted, featuring blue pea rice, Nasi Kerabu, three varieties of sambal, a comforting chicken soup, a flavorful tempeh dish, and Kropok belinjau, for added crunch. The unique experience involves combining these elements for a symphony of flavors in every bite.