A Homegrown Guide To Uncovering Gardens By The Bay, Lau Pa Sat, & The Peranakan Shophouses

L: Gardens By The Bay R: Joo Chiat - Koon Seng Road
L: Gardens By The Bay R: Joo Chiat - Koon Seng Road

Tell us that the thought of floating on clouds has never crossed your mind. Now, what if we tell you that this seemingly fantastical childhood desire could actually be fulfilled? Well, almost fulfilled. In our opinion, an ethereal walk through low hanging mist is as close as we can bring you to an adventure on the clouds. So, hold your breaths as we bring to you experiences that are exclusively Made in Singapore.

And, while you may think you know everything there is to know about Singapore, there are many hidden gems waiting to be discovered in places where you least expect them. Explorers and those in search of wanderlust alike, can all find themselves a haven for what lies beyond the ordinary.

In an effort to give you a taste of the unexpected, we are bringing to you the uniqueness of the vibrant island city through an immersive 3D anamorphic installation. It’s a portal into a contemporary new-age Singapore, with experiences across food, attractions, cultural hotspots and more at the Phoenix Palladium Mall, Mumbai from the 7th of March 2024 onwards. To ensure you are on the lookout for these extraordinary experiences, read on, because we have you covered.

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay

Gardens By The Bay

In the heart of the island city dotted with towering skyscrapers, is a sanctuary abound with greenery and blooming flowers in every shade your imagination could possibly muster. Situated by the Marina Bay Waterfront, Gardens by the Bay is a masterpiece in garden artistry. Spanning over 101 acres or a whopping 77 football fields, is this collection of 3 gardens - Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay Central Garden.

With a mountain lush with botanicals from around the world, The Cloud Forest is a dreamy experience. Almost like a burst of clouds, the forest is also home to the world’s largest indoor waterfall.

Bursting in full bloom, is the Flower Dome with flowers from across the world, transcending the boundaries of regional landscapes. Right on theme, the Bay South Garden was actually designed to architecturally resemble Singapore’s national flower, Orchid. Unabashedly proud, the Flower Dome also holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest glass greenhouse. 

From fantastical indoor waterfalls to sprawling aerial walkways, the gardens create a self-sufficient ecosystem of global diversity. Abuzz with colourful dragonflies, this destination is something out of a bedtime fairytale. 

Gardens By The Bay (Night)
Gardens By The Bay (Night)

All things said, the night-time experience at the Supertree Grove is the show-stopper. The drama of this surrealist destination is not just limited to the archway of the OCBC Skywalk connecting its two tallest structures; it also lends itself to the supretree observatory. For those enthusiastic about capturing beauty in a frame, is this observatory. Situated at the canopy of the tallest Supertree, it offers an unparalleled view of the gardens. By nightfall, the Supertree finds itself extraordinarily transformed as it is lit up by the Garden Rhapsody, a light and sound show. It offers you the distinct opportunity to feel like you are stargazing at the lights that twinkle through the darkness.

Gardens by the Bay does not only have flora and fauna from the world over. It is also home to culinary experiences that range from casual Mediterranean cuisine at Hortus to delectably fresh sushi at Douraku. In the mood for a little buzz before diving into the Gardens? No problem! Hopscotch’s artisanal cocktails will get you right on your way and possibly even have you coming back for a nightcap. For those seeking an extra-special getaway, The Flower Dome has an escape in store. Nestled in The Flower Dome, with an open kitchen is the Michelin-starred Marguerite. It has a 12-course degustation menu for dinner, waiting to be experienced.

Lau Pa Sat
Lau Pa SatMarklin

Lau Pa Sat 

In our opinion, late night savoury cravings after an evening of drinking, should be categorised as an emergency. But worry not, because the streets of Singapore’s Lau Pa Sat got you! Now, we can’t promise that the most popular hawker-style stalls wouldn’t have sold out, but given the plethora of options that Lau Pa Sat offers, we would like to hold space for some of that intoxicated optimism.

Located in the Downtown Core area of the city, Lau Pa Sat translates to ‘old market’ in the dialect of Hokkien. Originally a fish market, this distinctly octagonal structure is one of the oldest Victorian buildings in Southeast Asia.

While much of Singapore’s street food was shifted to open air pavilions, also known as hawker centres, Lau Pa Sat boasts of preserving its multi-generational heritage. Bustling streets, lined with street food carts, there is very little that compares to the old world charm of the Singaporean street food experience.

Lau Pa Sat — Man barbecuing Satay
Lau Pa Sat — Man barbecuing Satay

At 7pm every evening, the outdoor area transforms into Satay street, enveloped by the sizzle and the smell of grilled meats. Culinary experiences are made extraordinary not only by the ingredients used, but also by the intermingling of culture-specific flavour palettes. Singaporean street food culture offers you a large variety ranging from traditional Singaporean dishes like Hainanese Chicken Rice and Laksa to international favourites like Korean BBQ.

You can truly immerse yourself in magical experiences through food, whether it's getting a workout in while trying to get to the meaty goodness of crab claws or staring at the glittering night sky over a steaming bowl of noodles while enjoying al-fresco dining.

The Peranakan Shophouses 

From architecture to fashion, while representing a confluence of myriad cultures, the Peranakan culture proudly retains its very own distinctive identity.

Lined with rainbow-coloured terrace houses, Joo Chiat is the home base of Singapore’s Peranakans. The word “Peranakan” in Indonesian and Malay means someone born from a mixed marriage between a local and a foreigner. Their heritage lies in mixed marriages between primarily Chinese immigrants and the locals.

The cultural complexity and heritage of the Peranakan lineage is pervasive. For instance, the Malay and Indonesian influences on Peranakan cuisine, can be seen in the use of coconut milk and rempah (spices). It also often employs pork as an ingredient, which is strictly forbidden in Malay cuisine. The confluence of South Asian and West European influences on Peranakan culture is also evident in their architecture. The air vents in Peranakan houses are in the shape of a bat which is a Chinese sign of good luck and of long life. Similarly, the structure of the swinging wooden doors are inspired by the west while the carvings on it have distinctly eastern roots.

Joo Chiat - Koon Seng Road
Joo Chiat - Koon Seng Road

The Peranakans make themselves known even through their fashion. The Peranakan ninyo kebaya embellished with embroidered motifs of flowers and butterflies among others. Paired with hand-beaded slippers and a batik-print sarong, the outfit is a dream come true for lovers of homegrown fashion. Amidst the futuristic-looking skyscrapers of Singapore, Peranakan shophouses are often easy to tell apart, given the eye-popping, bright colours they are adorned in.

These are the extraordinary remnants of a history that is often complex to articulate, yet so seamless to experience.

Imbued with tradition and modernity, Singapore has many hidden gems waiting to be uncovered. So, allow yourself the gift of exploration, for you never know what you might discover! Get ready to experience a taste of all of this and more.

Dive into everything Singapore has to offer — tap this link and follow these steps to win an extraordinary trip to Singapore: Use the AR filter —> Make a video with a creative twist —> Share and tag @visit_singaporein & @homegrownin on Instagram. The best one stands a chance to win a trip to Singapore!

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