Haji Lane Shopping Street, Singapore

Beyond the Skyscrapers: A 48-hour Deep Dive into Singapore’s Culture and Cuisine

April 22, 2024

At first glance, Singapore might feel like a futuristic city, hyper-modern and squeaky clean, with the world’s tallest indoor fountain and a three-tower 57-story downtown hotel that resembles a house of cards, blurring the boundaries between art and architecture. But 48 hours is just enough time to step away from the glitz and glamour and discover the true essence of this island-city state with its umpteen hawker centres, colourful temples and melting pot of a culture. 

A place, no matter how unique or picturesque, is first defined by the people who inhabit it. In the face of countless skyscrapers jutting into the sky like fireworks raring to take off, our signature experiences focus on championing the tireless residents of this booming metropolis, whose ancestors had once travelled from far and wide to create a new home in this tropical island. It is here that so many distinctive cultures and cuisines met and evolved to produce something so specific to Singapore, that its warmth and wholesomeness would be difficult to replicate anywhere else.   

On that note, we start off bright and early on the first day to explore Kampong Glam, the city’s Muslim quarters, which is also home to live music bars, hip fashion outlets and boutiques. Your local guide will tell you about the rich history of the “Arab Kampong” and stories of a pioneering Arab family with their own MRT station, while you take in the aroma of freshly roasted coffee as you pass by popular cafes. You will also get the opportunity to meet one of Singapore’s last traditional barbers and unleash your artistic side in a graffiti workshop, guided by a skilled street artist. 

The landmark Sultan Mosque in Kampong Glam

Having built up an appetite during the previous excursion, a unique culinary exploration is next on the agenda. Singapore Hawker Centres serve as community dining rooms where people from diverse backgrounds gather to have breakfast, lunch and dinner. In fact, they are so intrinsic to the fabric of Singapore that UNESCO has deemed it as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.  
To help you enjoy the variety of delicacies that these places offer, we have curated a pairing of lesser-known hawker food with options of sparkling, white and red wine at three different places in Singapore. While savouring these dishes, you will learn about how hawker culture came up and is now an essential part of street food traditions in the country!    

Happy customers at a Singapore Hawker Centre!

On the second day, check out the eclectic Peranakan culture (Peranakans are an ethnic group descended from settlers from China’s southern provinces who came to the Malay Archipelago) and heritage that is unique to eastern Singapore on our half-day tour. Start with a visit to the iconic Joo Chiat Peranakan House, where you can don traditional costumes and take pictures. Passing by the charming streets of Joo Chiat, enjoy the sights of heritage shophouses, quaint stores and eateries where you can indulge in the exquisite flavours of Peranakan traditional kueh-kueh (sweet and savoury snacks made from glutinous rice, coconut and palm sugar) and tea and get a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of this community.   

Peranakan fun on Joo Chiat Road!

Having explored Singapore’s multicultural heritage, feel free to indulge in the usual touristy activities in the second half like posing by the Merlion, checking out the majestic Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay or taking in the panoramic views of the city from the observation Skydeck at Marina Bay Sands. As the evening goes on, settle down with a cold drink in one of the many riverside restaurants at Clarke Quay and raise a toast to your whirlwind and memorable trip to the Garden city.     

Whether you are in town for a business trip with a couple of extra days in hand, passing by during a brief layover, or even visiting to attend a much-anticipated concert, our mindfully designed Singapore itineraries will surprise and inspire you to seek out creative and lesser-known experiences in all your travels.


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