CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28274615
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28274615
Singapore isn’t a cheap travel destination, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save while you’re here! Hotels in Singapore are notoriously pricey, but the city’s clean and unique hotels are here to give the big chains a run for their money. Here are the top 10 hostels in Singapore for maximum comfort at minimum price.
Adler Hostel is a boutique hostel housed in an art deco shophouse in the middle of Chinatown. Just footsteps away from Sri Mariamman Temple, the hostel is decked in contemporary chic. Equipped also with a tastefully decorated lounge, it certainly feels more like a boutique hotel than a hostel. The curtained pods provide privacy and there’s even a fancy coffee bar to provide you with liquid energy.
Located in the city centre, hipstercity is an independent luxury hostel for budget travellers. You’ll get burned out from bunking with ten other travellers in close proximity sometimes, and hipstercity offers you a break from that at prices lower than hotels. Their single beds come with full-length privacy curtains that basically compartmentalise your space so you can lie back and recharge. If you’re travelling with your partner or friend, they offer double loft beds too! The hostel is also equipped with a cafe that morphs into a movie lounge by night!
Ever wondered what it’s like to be on a spaceship? Located mere footsteps away from Kallang MRT station, Spacepod@com provides clean, comfortable pods you can hide away in and live out your interstellar fantasies! Travellers are happy with the novel sleeping experience, convenient location and FREE laundry between 7pm and 7am. They weren’t too pleased with the single toilet shared by all guests.
6 Jalan Ayer, Singapore 389144
Phone: +65 8183 5636
Another space-themed hostel, The Atlas Station provides individual sleeping pods wired up with electricity! The capsules could have come right out of a space opera (dun dun dun dun duh-dun dun duh-dun), and you can even choose whether you want a front (peasant) or side (nobility) entrance.
The Atlas Station
424 Race Course Rd, Singapore 218670
Phone: +65 6291 5113
Situated right in the heart of Bugis, Coral Hostel is a fantastic choice for heritage lovers on a shoestring. Travellers love the hostel for its squeaky clean interiors, comfortable beds, and superb location. Its beds are fitted with individual reading lamps! However, the rooms are quite small and there is no common space for socialising, so you’ll have to weigh your priorities!
Atlantis Pods @ Bugis is situated along the bustling Tan Quee Lan Street in Bugis, a prime location for travellers looking to visit the Arab Quarter. With Bugis MRT only a short walk away, getting around the country is incredibly convenient too. Each pod is equipped with a personal reading light, electrical socket, hanger and fold-down table, so you can use the energy saved from climbing up and down the bunk beds for sightseeing instead. FREE towels and toiletries are available, so you can save precious space for souvenirs!
The Bohemian is located just a block away from Chinatown MRT station. The hostel is great for travellers looking for a central spot to put down their weary heads. Light sleeper? Select their soundproof pods equipped with a personal reading lamp and an international electrical socket! The receptionists are kind and helpful, and there is a FREE one-way departure shuttle service to the airport. No need to worry about clogging up the trains with your huge backpack!
OSS Backpackers Hostel is located in Lavender, surrounded by a diverse range of food establishments. The rooms may be simple, but the price and convenience more than makes up for it. Travellers loved the hostel for its cleanliness, great location, comfortable beds, and decent breakfast for the price. Be sure to check out Mustafa Centre just 600m away to stock up on travel essentials!
Happy Snail Hostel is located away from the hustle and bustle of the city in the quiet neighbourhood of Bukit Merah. It’s a mere 15-minute commute to town with the perks of homeliness, camaraderie and a true immersion into Singaporean living. The rooms and decor may by simple, but the spirit of travel more than makes up for it. Travellers love the common space, free tea and coffee, comfortable beds and the communal spirit. It seems that Happy Snail Hostel manages to attract travellers who are looking for forge friendships, so you might just find a fellow snail to roam the streets with!
Beary Best! by a beary good hostel occupies a restored shophouse in the heart of Chinatown. It sits just a stone’s throw away from major attractions and a wide range of food establishments, making it the perfect choice for travellers interested in food and culture. Beary Best! by a beary good hostel also has a lounge and pantry for travellers to get to know their newfound friends over a round of video games and some coffee! The hostel even has a roof terrace if you prefer the sun and fresh air.
A city break doesn’t have to mean endless malls and restaurants. If you’re tired of Singapore’s top-rated attractions (we won’t hate you), why not take a trip to the countryside for some fresh air and fun? It might be surprising that there are actually many different types of farms in Singapore, specialising in a wide range of farmstock, from vegetables to animals. It might not be Stardew Valley, but it makes for a pleasant day out.
Bollywood Veggies is a vegetable farm located in Kranji. Set up by its founders, Ivy Singh-Lim and Lim Ho Seng, in 2000, it has established itself as one of the most well-known farms in Singapore. The farm is filled with signs containing information about the wide range of plants available, but keep a lookout for signs making jibes at Singaporean society and politics. If you’re dropping by, schedule a pit stop at the Poison Ivy Bistro, where dishes made with plants and vegetables from the farm are served along with homemade drinks.
Bollywood Veggies / Poison Ivy Bistro
100 Neo Tiew Road, Singapore 719026
Opening hours: Wed-Fri 7am to 5.30pm (Bistro opens at 8am); Sat, Sun & PH 7am to 6.30pm (Bistro opens at 8am); Closed on Mon & Tue unless PH
Jurong Frog Farm might not be in Jurong anymore, but it still deals in frogs, large American bullfrogs, for the matter. Now run by Chelsea Wan, daughter of founder Wan Bock Thiaw, the farm is diversifying its revenue streams with educational tours and frog-centred dishes.
Jurong Frog Farm
56 Lim Chu Kang Lane 6, Singapore 719164
Opening hours: Sat, Sun & PH 9am to 5.30pm; Tue-Fri by appointment only; Closed on Mon
Hay Dairies is the first goat farm in Singapore. Its founder, Hay, began farming poultry and pigs before moving on to goats when the government shutdown pig farming. The first generation of goats were imported from Minnesota in the USA, and the current stock is the tenth generation. While goat’s milk met with resistance amongst Singaporeans initially, they have slowly warmed up to it. If you’re new to goat’s milk, this is a great opportunity to sample some as Hay Dairies produces and bottles them fresh at the farm!
3 Lim Chu Kang Lane 4, Singapore 718859
Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Sun 9am to 4pm, Closed on Tue
Click here for tour information.
Singaporean children will always have fond memories of Qian Hu Fish Farm. Don’t be terrified to see children running around with nets. They’re going for the fishes. Qian Hu Fish Farm offers activities to keep everyone entertained. If you’d like to experience old-school Singapore, opt for the Long Kang Fishing Experience. Arm yourself with a net and scoop up as many fish as you can in 30 minutes. If you’re visiting from abroad, you can’t bring them home unfortunately. You could give them away if you like!
Qian Hu Fish Farm
71 Jalan Lekar, Sungei Tengah, Singapore 698950
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm, Sat & Sun 9am to 7pm
Visit their website for information on available activities.
Kin Yan Farm prides itself on pesticide-free farming. The organic farm supplies produce such as mushrooms, wheatgrass, edible cacti, and leafy vegetables to local supermarkets and food establishments. Their mission is to provide wholesome, organic food to the people. To learn more about the farm, its philosophy and its produce, join them on a 1-hour tour for just $5.
Kin Yan Agrotech Pte Ltd
220 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718830
Opening hours: Daily 9am to 5pm
gardenasia provides a resort experience right in the Kranji countryside. Sadly, the Kranji area is located quite far beyond the city, and travelling to and fro itself can be exhausting. Spending the night in rural Singapore is sure to rejuvenate and energise weary travellers. We’re impressed by the wide array of facilities available at gardenasia. The rooms are fully equipped with state-of-the-art AV systems and exude contemporary chic, and there’s a pool right outside for your daily swim. For your meals, head to the bistro for dishes created mostly with fresh ingredients sourced from the surrounding farms.
Do also check out the education centre where classes are conducted for the general public to learn more about the agricultural industry in Singapore.
240 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718898
Opening hours: Daily 10.30am to 10.30pm
Skip the hotels or hostels in town! For a immersion in Singapore’s agricultural countryside, it’s well worth shelling out a few more dollars for a night or two at Gallop Farm Resort. Go to sleep in the peace and quiet of rural Singapore and wake to the sounds of nature. It’s the perfect way to relax and recover during a city trip with tight schedules.
10 Neo Tiew Lane 2, Singapore 718813
Opening hours: 24 hours; Office: Daily 8am to 9pm
Hola amigos, I think you know the drill. For the uninitiated, check out our first weekly feature here.
This week, we’d like to move on from chicken rice to something heavier and messier. Enter satay bee hoon, a splattering sensation with sweetness and crunch in every bite.
The idea of throwing satay sauce over shellfish and cuttlefish might seem strange, but satay bee hoon has sure developed a cult following in Singapore. Scattered with crunchy raw cuttlefish and cockles, it’s a love it or hate it kind of dish. But what really matters is the sauce. It’s unbecoming to drink straight peanut sauce (hey, we’ve got a sense of decorum too), so even though the ingredients might make you think twice on their own, a good serving of sauce will usually offset your hesitation. Head to Ang Mo Kio for bee hoon slathered in sweet, salty, nutty and spicy gravy, but beware of the queue. It might set you back a good half an hour.
Centre Satay Bee Hoon
724 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6, #01-12, Singapore 560724
Nearest MRT: Ang Mo Kio
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 11am to 9pm; closed on Tue
Highlander Coffee was one of the first kids on the block when third wave coffee was gaining ground in Singapore. Boasting its own roasting facility in Singapore, Highlander Coffee is a wholesale coffee beans supplier which also serves smooth and aromatic coffee. Besides, they also conduct workshops for the aspiring barista and sell equipment that enhance the coffee drinking experience. Visit their storefront for personable service from their baristas.
49 Kampong Bahru Rd, Singapore 169362
Nearest MRT: Outram Park
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9am to 5pm; closed on Sun
Sit tight! This week, we’ll introduce you to a place so hip none of its guests know its exact location. A watering hole situated somewhere in the woods of Central Singapore, The Kave HQ is an intimate hangout for indie music lovers. Its lineup includes local indie pop bands who will entertain you as you grab your fifth drink at the bar. You want directions? Unfortunately, Google Maps can’t help you this time. You’ll have to gather at a meeting point with fellow partygoers where you’ll be picked up in either a Volkswagen Beetle or Kombi. Nothing can top this now.
The Kave HQ
Stay tuned on Facebook for details of their upcoming events.
Who says marketing always involves fresh food? Singapore is full of day and night markets selling almost anything under the sun, from household items to clothing. But what if you could leave your wallet behind? The Singapore Really Really Free Market (SRRFM) relies on a neo-bartering model where you can swap your unwanted items for someone else’s. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Do your part for the Earth and help your bank account out too!
Singapore Really Really Free Market
Stay tuned on Facebook for details of their upcoming events.
One might say that Singapore’s food culture is Singapore’s culture, and they won’t be far from the truth. Food is an integral part of the daily lives of people living in Singapore, and nothing reflects the patchwork of cultures that make up the republic more than Singaporean cuisine. It’s safe to say that Singaporeans don’t eat to live; they live to eat.
While it would be loath of us to prescribe a certain way of travelling, we feel that skipping out on food in Singapore means missing out on a great chunk of culture. The museums and architecture are great, but they lack a certain viscerality. Singapore food culture goes beyond taste. Every dish of significance carries with it a history—be it of joy or hardship, and what’s truly special is how age-old recipes have been adapted over the years to incorporate local flavours, making Singaporean cuisine as distinctive as it’s delicious.
Singapore food culture is having roti prata and teh tarik to start the day, a hearty plate of nasi lemak to fuel your afternoons, and a flavourful serving of chicken rice to end the day. Though these dishes have different ethnic origins, Singaporeans will proudly claim them as their own, regardless of the ethnicity they identify with. It won’t be a stretch to say that Singapore food culture is born out of serendipity and it’s a huge unifying factor for all Singaporeans.
Singapore’s chicken rice was brought to its shores by Hainanese immigrants and adapted with local flavours. Blanched or roasted chicken is served with rice boiled in chicken stock, then drizzled with sauce cooked in chicken fat. It’s an explosion of flavour that the appearance doesn’t justify. Singaporeans will tell you that the chilli sauce makes or breaks the dish. Every chicken rice stall has their own fans, so it’s really up to you to discover your favourite!
You’ve probably heard of Singapore laksa before. Rich, creamy, and full of zing, the curry noodles are a mainstay of Singaporean cuisine and will leave you hungry for more. Its origins are murky, but it is thought that laksa was born out of the intermarriage of Chinese traders and Malay women, hence, the fusion of Chinese soup noodles and Malay spices. Each bowl of thick rice noodles is filled with spiced coconut milk broth, shrimps, fish cakes, bean curd skin, a dollop of sambal chilli, and finished with a dash of chopped laksa leaves. What a feast!
A heavy meal isn’t what most of the world would start the day with, but for Singaporeans, it’s never too early for dough soaked in vegetable/chicken/fish curry. Brought to Singapore by South Indian immigrants, Singaporean children (and adults) jump for joy when prata is on the menu for breakfast or supper. While prata is available for takeaways, nothing beats watching the prataman toss and slap the dough onto the griddle. 100% full sensory experience.
Nasi lemak probably originated in neighbouring Malaysia, but it’s inseparable from the Singapore foodie experience. A simple, inexpensive meal available at most hawker centres, the plate consists of rice cooked in coconut milk accompanied by sweet sambal (shrimp paste) chilli, fried ikan bilis (anchovies) and peanuts, cucumber slices, telur goreng (fried egg), and a meat of choice—fried chicken, fried ikan kuning (yellowstripe fish), or otah (grilled fish cake).
Let’s clear this up: Singapore carrot cake does not contain carrots. Instead, this Teochew dish consists of soft dough cubes made of white radish and rice flour fried with garlic, eggs, and preserved radish. It’s served with sambal chilli (see a pattern?), which only brings to prominence the marriage of sweet and savory.
Regarded as communal dining centres, hawker centres are the backbone to Singapore’s livelihood. It is the only place Singaporeans of all stripes break bread with each other without regard of one’s social class. It is for this reason that the Singapore government is hoping for Singapore’s hawker culture to be nominated for the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
However, there are concerns about the future of Singapore’s hawker centres especially with the retirement of first generation hawkers. Food vending is an arduous business with uncertain gains, and the young are pursuing careers in the areas more directly related to Singapore’s economic growth. There is a very real threat to the loss of the unique Singapore food culture. To encourage more youths to take up the mantle, the government has set up the Incubation Stall Programme to halve the costs of renting a stall for six months.
As hard as it is to come to terms with, Singapore’s hawker culture is waning. The future is uncertain. However, with globalisation in full force, people around the world have taken interest in Singapore’s food culture and many have even left their homes to share their cuisine with Singaporeans. Singapore has definitely developed a fondness for and openness to foreign flavours. Both Singaporean and foreign restaurateurs have set up shop selling fusion food, marrying the diverse local flavours with foreign ingredients.
Fortunately for foodies, cooked food remains one of Singapore’s most accessible exports—if you know where to look. Hit up the many hawker centres scattered throughout the island. A rule of thumb is the closer it is to the downtown district, the higher the price. Else, absolutely feel free to explore!
If you’re into gourmet cuisine and fine dining, Singapore is a regional destination for that too. However, you will need to deepen your pockets considerably. Here’s a quick guide:
A single meal at a hawker centre: $3-$5
Three meals at a hawker centre: $10-$15
A single meal at a cafe, no drinks: $20-25 pp
A single meal at a cafe with drinks: $30 pp
A single meal at a restaurant: > $40 pp (the sky is your limit)
Hawker centres are available in every district as part of the government’s efforts to maintain accessibility to cooked food. All the better for everyone! Most hawker centres will serve the five dishes listed above, and ultimately, the best taste boils down to personal preference.
Cafes and restaurants are mostly available downtown, around the Tiong Bahru and Tanjong Pagar districts. Higher end fare is common at the Marina Bay area. However, there are most definitely a few surprises out of the way.
For a general guide, visit these five Singapore food blogs below:
Singapore’s food culture is as diverse as its population, sometimes even more so. The fusion of mainly Malay, Indian, Chinese and Eurasian flavours led to the flourishing of Singapore’s strong food scene, and with globalisation in full swing, it seems that we can only expect more experimental ideas and novel tastes to hit the shores. To be honest, we can’t wait! And we hope that you’ll join us to learn about and enjoy Singapore’s culture through its cuisine.