Thursday, 23 May 2019

Things to do in Singapore along on the East-West Line | Kampong Glam | Jurong East

Seeking out the best places to see in Singapore? Hop on the East-West train!

For guests at PARKROYAL on Beach Road, your itinerary begins at the nearby Kampong Glam district. The oldest urban quarter in Singapore, this charming precinct is also the heart and soul of Singapore’s Malay-Muslim heritage.

Start your  tour with the iconic Sultan Mosque, also known as Masjid Sultan. Built in 1824 for the first sultan (Muslim sovereign) of Singapore, it was gazetted as a National Monument in 1975.

You may also visit the Malay Heritage Centre located at Sultan Gate, or stroll through the streets and browse traditional stores selling Persian carpets, handmade perfume, and the traditional kebaya blouse. Don’t be surprised if you turn a corner to find hipster cafes or bespoke bars—this neighbourhood is well-known for its blend of heritage and modernity.

Once you’ve explored Kampong Glam, you can get around to other parts of Singapore via the train network, known as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). The MRT gives you easy access to other popular city attractions, as well as hidden gems located away from the city centre.

PARKROYAL on Beach Road is minutes away from the Bugis MRT station, which is on the East-West Line. Make time to check out the attractions along this line during your Singapore holidays!

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few a few suggestions.

For Culture Lovers: Local Food, Coffee, Books, and Street Art at Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru Food Centre
Address: 30 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 168898
Opening hours: 9.00am to 8.00pm daily

Books Actually
Address: 9 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168645
Telephone number: +65 6222 9195
Opening hours: Tuesday to Satuday: 10.00am to 8.00pm; Sunday to Monday: 10.00am to 6.00pm

Woods In The Books
Address: 3 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 16864
Telephone number: +65 6222 9980
Opening hours: Hours vary, check website for details.

Curated Records
Address: 55 Tiong Bahru Road, Singapore 160055
Telephone number: +65 6438 3644
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 1.00pm to 8.00pm

Plain Vanilla Bakery
Address: 1D Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168641
Telephone number: +65 8363 7614
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 8.00am to 7.00pm; Sunday: 9.00am to 6.00pm

Drips Bakery Cafe
Address: 82 Tiong Poh Road, #01-05, Singapore 160082
Telephone number: +65 6222 0400
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday: 11.00am to 9.30pm; Friday to Saturday: 11.00am to 11.00pm

Address: 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19, Singapore 162078
Telephone number: +65 6438 4567
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 12.00pm to 3.00pm, 6.00pm to 12.00am

Ready to venture into another hip-yet-historic neighbourhood? Alight at Tiong Bahru MRT station to explore the surroundings. The name “Tiong Bahru” means “new cemetery”—this was once a burial ground—but today, it’s one of Singapore’s liveliest neighbourhoods.

Your first stop should be to sample local foods at Tiong Bahru Food Centre. Around since the 1950s and still going strong, the food centre is a beacon of joy for Singaporeans in the neighbourhood and beyond. It’s hard to pick a “best” food stall here, but most fans agree that the chwee kueh stall (steamed rice cake, Jian Bo Shui Kueh, #02-05) is a prime contender.

Next, set out to visit the cafes and shops along the streets. Bookworms, prepare to while away an afternoon in Books Actually (specialising in books by Singaporean writers) and Woods in the Books (a children’s bookstore). Audiophiles and music fans, head to indie store Curated Records, which carries over 2,000 vinyl titles, ranging from classic and jazz to rock and house selections.

For a late-afternoon breather, pop into Plain Vanilla for coffee and cupcakes, or Drips for delicious tarts. Along the way, look out for street art scenes that depict Tiong Bahru’s past.

Cap your Tiong Bahru excursion with an early dinner at Bincho, a yakitori (Japanese skewered chicken) bar favoured by Singapore foodies.

Get directions to Tiong Bahru Food Centre
Get directions to Books Actually
Get directions to Woods in the Books
Get directions to Curated Records
Get directions to Plain Vanilla Bakery
Get directions to Drips Bakery Cafe
Get directions to Bincho


For Families: Science, Snow, and Indoor Adventures at Jurong East

Science Centre Singapore
Address: 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081
Telephone number: +65 6425 2500
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10.00am to 6.00pm

Let ‘em Play
Address: 18 Boon Lay Way, Trade Hub 21 #01-100, Singapore 609966
Telephone number: +65 6266 6125
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 10.00am to 7.30pm; Saturday to Sunday: 10.00am to 8.30pm

Paradise Dynasty
Address: 3 Gateway Drive, #02-13 Westgate, Singapore 608532
Telephone number: +65 6465 9271
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 11.00am to 10.00pm; Saturday to Sunday: 10.30am to 10.00pm

Travelling with children? Take them to the Science Centre Singapore (Jurong East MRT station)—a place remembered fondly by local adults as the destination for many a school trip.

The best part about the Science Centre? You’ll hardly spot a “Do Not Touch” sign here. Instead, its interactive exhibits feature inviting push buttons and controls, and are designed to give young minds a concrete representation of how the world works.

Be prepared to spend fascinating hours exploring the permanent exhibits on butterflies, optical illusions, human phobias, and more! Kids aged eight and below will also love KidSTOP, a science-themed playground within the Science Centre.

For the full experience, catch a movie at the digital dome Omni-Theatre or head to the gimmicky-but-fun Snow City, where you can dress up in rental winter gear and slide down a 60-metre snow slope.

If the family is still raring to go, board bus 52, 99, or 105 from the nearby Jurong East Bus Interchange. Stop at nearby attraction Let ‘em Play, where a two-storey obstacle course awaits you. The course is suitable for kids as young as three to five, if they are accompanied by an adult.

Those aged six and above will be able to attempt the course on their own, surmounting fun obstacles such as hanging logs, spider nets, and balance beams. There are also climbing walls to try, including an augmented reality wall where you can play exciting games such as pinball. And yes, it’s challenging for adults too!

Feeling hungry? The mall Westgate (at Jurong East MRT station) has family-friendly offerings comparable to what you might find in the city centre. You can’t go wrong with a hearty meal at Paradise Dynasty here, which is known for serving quality Chinese fare at reasonable prices.

Get directions to Science Centre Singapore
Get directions to Let ‘em Play
Get directions to Westgate (Paradise Dynasty)

For Nature Lovers: Boardwalks, Butterflies, and a Beautiful Sunset at Pasir Ris and Changi

Pasir Ris Park
Address: 98 Pasir Ris Central, Singapore 519639

Eat Talk Drink
Address: 51 Pasir Ris Green/Pasir Ris Park Carpark C, Singapore 518225
Telephone number: +65 9828 9555
Opening hours: Hours vary, check website for details

The Coastal Settlement
Address: 200 Netheravon Road, Singapore 508529
Telephone number: +65 6475 0200
Opening hours: Hours vary, check website for details

Changi Point Coastal Walk
Address: 6 Changi Village Road, Singapore 509907

Looking for places to visit in Singapore for free? If the weather is favourable, take a train ride to Pasir Ris MRT station, where you can walk to Pasir Ris Park. There are three main attractions for nature lovers here—a six-hectare mangrove forest, a kitchen garden, and a butterfly garden—all located within proximity of each other. (Click here to download the official park guide.)

A mangrove is a tree or shrub typically found in tropical swamps, with tangled roots that grow above ground. Mangrove forests are important because they serve as buffers between the land and the sea. Beyond limiting erosion of the coastline, mangroves also teem with life—the dense roots of mangrove plants are places of refuge for young animals and fish. At the Pasir Ris Mangrove Forest, you can take a leisurely 1.5-hour stroll along the boardwalk. See if you can spot mud crabs, giant mudskippers, and water monitors here. In the evenings, you may even have a lucky encounter with fireflies!

The halfway point of the walk features a three-storey bird-watching tower with a deck that looks out over Sungei Tampines (“Tampines River” in Malay). Bird enthusiasts have reportedly spotted many bird species in the area, including the Spotted Wood Owl, Oriental Pied Hornbill, and Stork-billed Kingfisher.

If you have time to linger, visit the nearby Kitchen and Butterfly gardens. Here, you can view tropical plants with culinary and medicinal uses in local kitchens, or gaze at the butterflies attracted to such plants, such as the orange Plain Tiger butterfly or the distinctive Blue Glassy Tiger butterfly.

Should hunger pangs strike, head to Eat Talk Drink, a Western food cafe near the Kitchen Garden. Feeling slightly adventurous? Hail a cab to the Coastal Settlement, a casual dining restaurant located at a former military base. Enjoy the greenery in this off-the-beaten track location; vintage lovers can also admire the retro collectibles on display at the restaurant.

Should you intend to stay out till sunset, take a 20-minute walk to the Changi Point Coastal Walk (also known as the Changi Boardwalk, download the official park guide here). There are six sections on this boardwalk, including a Creek Walk and a Beach Walk. Try to explore them all if time permits! If not, make a beeline for the Sunset Walk, which allows you to enjoy an unobstructed sunset view over the waters.

Do note that you will not be able to exit the boardwalk from the Sunset trail—it’s advisable to bring along snacks and drinks, especially if you’re travelling with children. To return to the East-West MRT line, walk to the Changi Village Bus Terminal (four minutes from the entrance of the Changi Point Coastal Walk), and take Bus no.2 to the Tanah Merah MRT station for a train back to your hotel.

Get directions to Pasir Ris Park
Get directions to The Coastal Settlement
Get directions to Changi Point Coastal Walk

Welcome to Singapore!

Friday, 17 May 2019

Canada Spring and Summer Events 2019

Snowbombing Canada, Sun Peaks
This is the ultimate party on the slopes. Europe’s biggest music festival on snow is a must-attend event when it lands in the British Columbia ski resort of Sun Peaks, for anyone who loves perfect powder and epic tunes. With world-class DJs and musical acts playing for three full days from 5 – 7 April 2019, Snowbombing is the perfect blend of dance tunes and incredible skiing or snowboarding. This year’s line-up includes Illenium and Cypress Hill.
Bluesfest, Ottawa
In July 2019, RBC Ottawa Bluesfest celebrates its 25th anniversary. Don’t let the name fool you; the RBC Bluesfest includes acts of all genres of music, from KISS and Lady Gaga, to folk band City and Colour, to rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This year, Church joins Backstreet Boys at this two-week event in the heart of summer at Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats Park on the grounds of the Canadian War Museum, from 4 – 14 July 2019.
Winnipeg Folk Festival, Manitoba
Australia’s own singer/song writer, Courtney Barnett headlined with Sheryl Crow last year at the hugely popular Winnipeg Folk Festival at the Birds Hill Provincial Park. Immerse yourself in Manitoba’s great outdoors and soak up the foot-tapping beats with everything from world music, indie-rock, electronic, country, and Celtic, with more than 75 artists rocking nine stages throughout the festival. Don’t forget the kids! The Chickadee Big Top and Family Arena serve up live children’s music, puppetry, face-painting and crafts. The festival takes place from 11 – 14 July 2019 and this year’s line-up to be announced on 6 March.
Dawson City Music Festival, Yukon Territory
Kick up your heels with like-minded, music-loving souls in the heart of Yukon’s Klondike at the Dawson City Music Festival, taking place in July 2019. Legendary for attracting the best of Canada’s finest musical talent, there’s no better setting for this eclectic festival than historical Dawson City and the spectacular northern wilderness. Yukon’s most anticipated music event on the festival calendar includes evening performances and afternoon workshops in intimate venues. 
Festival d’été de Québec
Is 11 days enough time to explore 300 shows and 10 stages? Find out at the Festival d’été de Québec from 4 – 14 July. As the festival takes over the historic district of Quebec City, you’ll be treated to world-class musical acts like Sting and Peter Gabriel, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fetty Wap, Selena Gomez, Duran, and more. With over 40 years of history, you know that this festival has good times and even better shows down to a fine art. Don’t forget to check out the street performers and night festivities too!
Calgary Stampede, Alberta
Now is the time to book your ticket to the world-renowned Calgary Stampede, the place where hides are raw, hearts untamed, and the world’s toughest rodeo stock walk on two legs. From 5 – 14 July 2019 thousands of Aussies will flock to Alberta, Canada, donning cowboy/cowgirl boots and feasting on the Stampede’s infamous carnival fare. The Calgary Stampede is as much about the music as it is about rodeo. Previous line-ups included Alessia Cara, Nelly Furtado, Ben Harper, KISS, and the Dixie Chicks. This year’s line-up will be announced next month.
Just For Laughs, Montreal
Every summer, the largest comedy festival in the world tickles Montreal into a laughing frenzy with galas, street art, theatre productions, and stand-up performances. Hosting some 1,700 artists from 19 countries as well as over 2 million festival-goers, Just For Laughs offers 1,600 performances, including 1,200 free outdoor shows. Watch a selection of last year’s gags to get you in the laughing mood! The festival runs from 10 – 28 July 2019.