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Travel like a local in Singapore


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Forget sight-seeing, hotel pools and room service. There’s only one way to experience Singapore: do what the locals do! You’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience.

I spoke to a local Singaporean to find out how you can make the most out of your time in the beautiful south-east Asian city best known for its food, cultural heritage and stunning skylines. Here’s what he had to say.

 Where should you stay?

“There are quite a few hostels – and plenty of good food – in Chinatown. Apart from that, the City Hall area is always buzzing and has the Grand Dame Raffles Hotel.”

Travel Tip: Avoid Airbnb. Singapore enforces strict rules on renting private accommodation.

What’s the best way to get around the city?

“Public transport is excellent and thorough enough to get you around Singapore easily.”

Travel Tip: No eating or drinking on public transport. Even water is not allowed!  

Where should people go to learn more about the culture of Singapore?

“Singapore has an incredibly diverse culture, and a big part of this is exemplified in our food scene. Hawker centres are lined with food stalls, each of which makes a small range of dishes that mirror our varied past. Many of the owners have been cooking these dishes for years. The huge amount of pride they take in their work – invariably resulting in dishes that are cooked to perfection – means gluttony can be written off as education.”

Travel Tip: You don’t have to worry about tipping in Singapore – it’s already included in the service fee. Simply enjoy your food and appreciate the culture.

What is a must-see destination?

“The Botanic Gardens, especially its National Orchid Gardens. It’s a lush, green oasis not far from town. I worked nearby last summer, which meant relishing a walk through every morning.”

Travel Tip: Respect public spaces. Don't litter on the streets of Singapore when you’re out and about unless you're up for paying a fine of up to £2,500.

What local cuisine should you eat?

“After a walk through the Botanic Gardens, head to the nearby Adam Road Food Centre for a good plate of nasi lemak. This is rice (nasi) cooked in coconut milk alongside a fried egg, crisp anchovies (ikan bilis) and a chili paste (sambal). A staple.”

Travel Tip: You might want to skip on the alcohol with your meal. It is illegal to drink alcohol in public between the hours of 10:30pm to 7am, and drunk and disorderly conduct is also illegal in Singapore.

Remember, if you’re going to travel like a local, you have to live like a local. That means doing your research and brushing up on your knowledge of this “Lion City” for a truly authentic, local experience that you’ll never forget.

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