The Path Less Traveled in Singapore

A great benefit to moving to Singapore is you get to be a tourist for a year. Everything is new, the Singaporean culture, food and weather to name a few. But there are also new places to explore, museums to visit and attractions to see. There is the basic top 10 must see (which actually, in the last five years, has grown to 20) but there are also some less known things to do in Singapore.

Butterfly is on a constant lookout for new things to do on the island. Having been here collectively for 25 years, and despite the ever-changing landscape and newly erected buildings, one can get the “done that already” feeling.

Statue from Haw Par Villa

Here are a few ideas to mix-up your weekends, they are excerpts from some of our visitor itineraries that we have planned for clients.

1) It doesn’t have to be Halloween to enjoy this tour! Join a guided tour of Singapore’s paranormal activity. You will tour cemeteries, derelict buildings and shady groves all the while hearing about the ghosts that dwell around them and the eerie rituals people still practice today.

2) Looking for a backdrop for your Christmas card? Look no further than Haw Par Villa. This park was originally a garden designed and built by the famed Tiger Balm brothers. The sculpture garden was planned in order to teach people about (and abide) Chinese values and traditions. They loaded (about 1,000) colorful, sometimes gruesome, over life-sized statues that represented Chinese teachings and folklore. Sometime in the 80’s, someone got a brilliant idea and decided to make it into an amusement park. It failed… DUH?! Fast forward 2012, many of the original statues have been replaced and the garden is returning to its original OTT, kitschy splendor. It’s a definite “see it to believe it”!

3) It’s free, it’s tranquil and… well, it’s free! Not an easy thing to do in Singapore these days. This beautiful garden is a perfect respite from the hustle and bustle or for that matter, the Botanic Garden. It’s just a little off the beaten path, I say a little because if you’re not driving, it is a straight shot on the newly built Circle Line. Pack a picnic or enjoy lunch over looking the lake.

4) Shop til you drop! It’s pretty easy to do on Orchard Road with just about every International flagship store available (usually x 2). Butterfly suggests you step over to the funky side and explore the unique and hip boutiques of Haji Lane. A narrow street nestled in the heart of the Muslim quarter, runs from North Bridge Road to Beach Road and is home to independent designers, restaurants, and bars. Shop late in the afternoon and stay for cocktails and/or dinner.

5) For the intrepid adventurers… The Southern Islands off Sentosa offer an enticing overnight camping treat for the whole family. St. John Island, with its bungalows and bunkrooms, is perfect for the cautious camper. Where as the Sister Islands, with just areas to pitch a tent, offers a more authentic camping experience. Both have BBQ pits and personal facilities but neither has any catering/F&B. So pack up your cool boxes (with A LOT of ice), a few bags of charcoal and several boxes of matches (they get damp quickly) and head over for a night of campfires and sleeping under the stars.

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