10 Offbeat Experiences in Singapore That You Cannot Miss

Photo of 10 Offbeat Experiences in Singapore That You Cannot Miss by Ila Reddy

Singapore is known as "Garden City" for good reason, though its native Malay name Singapura literally means "lion city". It is one of the greenest cities I have visited, achieving that fine balance between extensive green cover and concrete buildings with modern amenities. Cosmopolitan in its truest sense, it was once famous as a "stopover" city rather than a destination in itself. This is fast changing.

Expensive by South Asian standards, it may be more popular amongst business travellers and families than amongst backpackers, but based on my recent visit to Singapore, I found that this island-state has quite a few interesting experiences on offer, not all of which are heavy on the pocket! Here are ten offbeat experiences that aren't to be missed:

1. Street Art in Chinatown

There's nothing quite like exploring a neighbourhood on foot. Chinatown and the Central Business District or CBD are popular with tourists, expats, and locals alike and can be quite busy during weekdays and weeknights. There are tonnes of restaurants and bars here, catering to the hundreds of offices in the area. However, the real magic lies in the inner alleys of Chinatown. Featuring beautiful murals at unlikely places, it's a joy to walk around and discover them for yourself!

2. Underwater Life at S.E.A. Aquarium

Sentosa island is usually on everyone's checklist when they visit Singapore. While the Universal Studios is the most popular hangout apart from the beach, the S.E.A. aquarium is the most underrated place here and must not be missed! From sharks and seahorses to jellyfish and even manta rays — you'll find them all!

3. Floatation Therapy

For the more adventurous and peace-seeking travellers (yes, the irony is not lost on me), try out floatation therapy at the Palm Ave Float Club!

Enjoy a 90-minute float in a sensory deprivation tank filled with Epsom salt and lose all sensations. Instead, focus on your thoughts and let go.

This unique experience is relaxing, meditative, and therapeutic. More about it here.

4. Explore Haji Lane

Explore Haji Lane in the early evening or night. Laced with street art, quirky stores, and artsy pubs amidst a Muslim neighbourhood with the most gorgeous mosque and food stalls serving kebabs, an evening here is sure to be a highlight of your trip.

5. Foodgasms Galore

Where do I start when it comes to food in Singapore? Or should I say, where do I end?? Truly multicultural, there are a gazillion options for all budgets and palates. From local hawker centres to Michelin star restaurants, if you're a foodie you're sure to overeat every meal in this gourmet paradise! Don't forget to try the laksa, barbeque stingray, chicken rice, bakkwa.... the list is endless.

6. Music & Nature at Gardens By The Bay

Every evening at 7.45 PM and 8.45 PM, the Gardens By The Bay come alive with music and lights for the daily Sound and Light show. The experience is magical is sure to leave you enthralled. Get ready for a sensory carnival!

7. Concert at Esplanade Hall

Enjoy a concert at the Esplanade Hall. I was fortunate to catch my favourite pianist Ludovico Einaudi perform live here earlier this year, something I'd never imagined I'd get to experience outside of Italy!

The Esplanade library is equally fascinating with a superb collection of books, records and musical instruments.

8. Offbeat Cocktails

If you're visiting Singapore and haven't tried the famous Singapore Sling, have you even visited Singapore?

Created by the mixologist at Raffles Hotel, it's now a popular cocktail at most bars. Try it at a place that suits your budget.

If you're more adventurous, check out the tiny hole-in-the-wall pub called Nutmeg & Clove in Chinatown. They make the most unique artisanal cocktails inspired by local cuisines!

9. Magical Night-walks

With humid weather throughout the year, the best time to walk around Singapore is once the sun sets! The city comes alive with lights and is particularly beautiful to walk by the river, especially the stretch from Robertson Quay to Fullerton Hotel and around Marina Bay.

10. Weekend Trip to Bintan

If you're sick of city life and want to get a taste of Indonesia, hop onto the ferry and head to Bintan island for the weekend. Perfect for a staycation, or some mangrove-exploration and paddle-boarding - whatever you prefer, this is a favourite amongst expats and Singaporeans as it's merely two hours away! More about Bintan here.

You'll get to spot many of these on Tripoto's latest webseries - 'On My Own in Singapore'. For more travel stories, follow my blog and connect with me on Instagram!