How to use your Singapore stopover

If you are going on a long-haul trip, chances are you will stop at Singapore. The city is wonderful, so you may want to consider breaking up your journey by spending the night.

Here are just a few of the things you can enjoy if you give yourself eight hours in Singapore.

History and tradition in Chinatown
Book a 40-minute guided tour at the Singapore Musical Box Museum, to see a demonstration of how vintage music boxes work and learn about their place in global culture and history.

Indulge in more nostalgia when you visit the Peranakan Tiles Gallery. Here, you can admire 20,000 ornately designed tiles on display – these include heritage tiles salvaged from demolished shophouses, as well as replica tiles.

Your visit’s not complete until you enjoy an authentic Peranakan meal. You can try Nyonya mee siam (rice vermicelli dish), laksa (rice noodles served in curry), or Nyonya kueh (cake) at many of the cafes in Chinatown.

The Chinatown Heritage Centre is also worth a visit. Here, you can experience what life in the area used to be like for Singapore’s early settlers, who not only carried out backbreaking work, but often had to share resources and very limited space.

Visit City Hall
City Hall is where modern life in Singapore began. Most of Singapore’s best museums, such as the National Museum and the National Gallery, are located in this area.

However, if you are pressed for time, consider devoting your energies to a smaller specialty museum such as the Battlebox. This rustic attraction was named the country’s top museum in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards last year.

Built in 1936, Battlebox was a former World War II British underground command centre, located on Singapore’s Fort Canning Hill. The command centre was utilised by the famed Malaya Command – the heroic army that defended Malaya and Singapore during World War II. It was inside the Battlebox that the British made the decision to surrender Singapore to the invading Japanese on 15 February 1942.

Entry to the Battlebox is strictly by guided tour only, and it’s a great way to learn about the fall of Malaya and Singapore during the war. Discover what truly went on inside this underground bunker, which is nine metres (three storeys) below the ground.

Take in some art and architecture
The Kampong Glam district is rich in Malay heritage and it’s also one of the best places in Singapore for street art spotting – a great activity if you’re looking for things to do on a budget in Singapore.

Bookmark this street art guide by a local, with a link to a map as well as a self-guided audio tour. Or opt for purely serendipitous encounters, which can be just as thrilling.

Along the way, look out for the Vintage Camera Museum, which is your chance to step into a camera-shaped building to view cameras from bygone eras. Exhibits range from a six-metre long Mammoth Camera to tiny cameras that were attached to pigeons during both World Wars – the precursor to today’s drones.

Have you ever taken a holiday in Singapore? What would you recommend people see in a short stopover visit?

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Written by Ben

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