Sands with Chinese New Year Celebration Float in the Foreground, 2013

PictureSingapore, Arab Quarter 2013

Rule One: Never enter into a Shopping Mall, no matter how badly you need to use the restroom or crave the air conditioning. If you’re body starts to gravitate towards Sim Lim, try to conjure memories of the valleys and creeks that you will never set your eyes on again after being sucked into the materialism that is Sim Lim.

Rule Two: Hawker Centers, food centers comparable to cafeteria style food courts, offer an array of food choices and give you the opportunity to try a variety of local delicacies. There are numerous Hawker Centresthroughout Singapore, typically one per neighborhood. Each food stall is graded according to cleanliness, housekeeping, and hygiene. If you end up choosing one of the more touristy Hawker Centers, beware of the vultures that will circulate you for business. I recommend the Hawker Centre in Chinatown, the Bukit Timah Market. Climb to the highest level for the Hawker Centre, the lowest level is the food market (grocery) and ground level is a clothing market.

Rule Three: Take a journey to the outskirts to the European-style Singapore Botanical Gardens and let yourself breathe before entering into the Marina Bay Sands complex, which has followed Abu Dabi and constructed its own landmass featuring a indoor-garden monstrosity surrounded by a resource-sucking 250 acres of gardens. It is, however, a extravegant sight and features massive tree-like structures that put on a light show to music at night. If you end up getting an hotel room to enjoy the infamous infinity pool on the roof at the Marina Bay Sans resort, you can watch and hear it from the rear bar.

Rule Four: Venture to the Arab Quarter (Kampong Lam) for everything. It is a tiny oasis that transports you out of the hustle and bustle. There are various shops, restaurants,eclectic spots with nightly live music and art happenings, and cafes. Remember that in the Arab Quarter, no alcohol is served or allowed. It is only allowed on the outer streets. While you’re there, swing into Blu Jaz Cafe for a myriad of art and live music happenings.

Rule Five: There are plenty of architectural splendors and oddities that can serve as your escape route from the heavy metal and concrete. Below are a few traditional architectural hideouts, inquire for more…
#1. Parkview Square (“Gotham Building”)
– Art-deco like structure, square features bronze statues of notable scholars, philosophers, and scientists. The ornate lobby has is simply breathtaking. Have a drink at the bar.
Central Fire Station 
– Candy stripped
 Raffles Hotel
– The atmosphere simply invites old-fashioned class and provides a refreshing breath of air, reminiscent of the past.

If you go:

Drink & Dine
Bukit Timah Market – (Coffee stand up the stairs and to the left is amazing. There should be a line.)
116 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 588172

Raffles Hotel (They do have happy hour at the back bar, though not as special as the courtyard.)
1 Beach Rd, Singapore 189673

Maharajah  (North Indian Tandori Restaurant)
Cuppage Rd, Singapore 229461

– Singapore Botanical Gardens

– National Museum of Singapore (Wonderful collection of contemporary art.)

– Fort Canning Park (Great view of the city on this little, historic hilltop)
70 River Valley Rd, Singapore 179037