Cheap beer towers, buying eggs in bulk, secret shrines, colonial bars and more - here’s the Singapore secrets and hacks you might not know about straight from the Honeycombers team
While we might’ve gotten the National Day hype out of the way, we’re still loving Singapore all month, and it’s not just because of its countless top restaurants, cocktail bars, and attractions like the Merlion. Because our motherland just turned a grand 53 years old, we decided to let you in on a few of our personal secrets. You’d better take notes!
1. Don’t hesitate to go to neighbourhood salons for blowouts; they are cheap and do a decent job – I get mine done at E-Layer at Woodlands sometimes! But if you’re in town instead, here are our recommended places where you can get your blowout fix.
3. On keto? There’s a local version of bulletproof coffee! Ask the kopi uncle for a kopi gu you and watch him sock filter a cuppa and add a big slab of butter.
4. If you’ve just moved to Singapore, tech has your back. There are plenty of locally relevant apps to make life easier like CityMapper that makes it impossible to get lost.
5. There’s a secret trail that loops behind ORTO Yishun. It’s great for birdwatching, and there’s plenty of fruit trees – Yishun’s really not that bad.
6. Hit up the neighbourhood boxing gyms sometimes, like King of Strength along Sembawang Road (which started at a void deck) and Legends Fight Sport in Delta, run by Singapore super-featherweight champion boxer, Muhamad ‘The Chosen Wan’ Ridhwan.
8. Tekka Market in Little India is best for the freshest meat and fish.
9. Sundry shops, more fondly known as the ‘mama shop’, are great for cheap snacks, drinks and other random items like old-school toys. Best place to find them? Void decks of HDB flats in the heartlands.
10. The best laksa in town? We cannot decide between Mr Teh Tarik at Changi Business Park andJanggut Laksa at Roxy Square, Katong which has been around from the 1950s.
12. If you want to go ‘treasure hunting’ for vintage finds and Singapore knick-knacks, Odds N Collectables at Telok Ayer is the spot to do it. Sift through cool retro advertisements, old photos of rowdy parties and solemn brides and wooden kueh molds. Best finds? Retro rattan children’s chairs for $15 each, a pair of vintage kopitiam mugs for $8 each… biggest splurge? Mao-era figurines at $250. Shhh!
14. Marina at Keppel Bay is not only Asia’s first fish-friendly marina by the Marina Industries Association standards – you can actually find a healthy coral reef ecosystem under Keppel Bay!
15. Take the scenic bike route from East Coast Park to Gardens by the Bay and take the kids to splash around at Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden in Gardens by the Bay. If parks and the outdoors are your thing, there’s heaps in Singapore for you to explore.
16. Can’t get enough of Singapore antiques? There’s Tong Mern Sern on Craig Road where you can even find banana money from the Japanese Occupation.
17. Maybe you’ve walked past this mysterious Muslim tomb in the Duxton area – the tomb is marked as the Shrine of Sharifah Rogayah, but no one really knows who she was and where she came from.
18. You can find the best and most affordable seafood dishes at Hua Yu Wee at Upper East Coast Road, but remember to book ahead.
19. Explore the provincial life at Kampong Lorong Buangkok, the last surviving (not much longer!) kampung in Singapore.
20. For anyone with a sweet tooth, Pint Society is an ice-cream subscription where you’ll be delivered a new flavour (or two) every month.
21. Legend Café at Sengkang Community Centre, rolls out a mean 1-for-1 deal for a two-litre beer tower on the weekends.
22. There is a fabulous little ‘hidden store’ in Cluny Court – Shiva Designs which has a great collection of jewellery, homewares and gift ideas.
23. For a budget mani-pedi, Miracle of Nails at Coronation Plaza is a winner – the service includes shaping, buffing, cuticle trimming and paint and polish all for $25. But if you want to glitz it up a bit, we have options too.
24. At the edge of Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort is Tanjong Rimau, a raw gem on a thoroughly reconstructed island. Singapore’s Western tip that boasts mangrove trails, large rocks and even secret, tiny caves can be accessed via a rocky slope down the beach.
25. Elements Concept is a beautiful new homewares range which you can view at The Attaby Collection in Joo Chiat. This stunning rattan range has been used to furnish Potato Head in Bali, so very hot and on trend right now.
26. Coney Island in Punggol is the perfect place for ‘escaping’ Singapore – but stick to exploring in the morning before the afternoon sun hits you hard!
27. Das Erzebirge-Haus is my favourite store to browse for handcrafted toy collectibles imported from Europe. There are a few stores located at ION Orchard and Raffles City.
28. Drop by your neighbourhood beauty salons for eyebrow threading from only $5 – from Hougang to Woodlands, there’s always a good deal.
29. Beat long ATM queues and just head to a 7-11 to withdraw money, and pick up some mints.
30. You’ll recognise the scent – Axe oil is your local cure-all for everything from throbbing headaches to pesky mosquito bites.
31. For some MRT hacks, head to the last cabin for better chances of seats and aim for seat in the middle because there’s less pressure for you to give up your seat for someone else.
32. Yes, we love our otters in Singapore. Learn about the different families and watch them in action at rivers around Singapore – remember to respect their space.
33. Mustafa Centre is great if you want to hang out somewhere past midnight that is not a bar or eatery – and you can get some shopping done. From batik shirts to toiletries, Mustafa Centre is a haven for random finds.
34. Buy your eggs wholesale and for cheap (and in bulk, if you eat a lot of eggs) from Swee Leong Eggs Distributor in Jalan Kayu – there are even different types and sizes.
35. Those black and white colonial bungalows? You can bid to lease some of them them via the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), and they range from under $5,000 a month to $25,000 and above.
36. For uncomplicated, simple, and good classic chocolate cake, hit up Lana Cake Shop at Greenwood Avenue – you’ll have to place an order in advance but it’s worth it.
37. Crikey! See crocs in the wild at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
38. As someone who is very particular about toilets, we advise that you should head to the higher floors of the malls for cleaner toilets.
39. Pulau Semakau, also known as the landfill island, is the only place in Singapore where the Milky Way is visible from the ground. You might as well hop to the other islands around Singapore like Sister’s Island and Pulau Ubin too.
41. If you’re not buying into the cafe hype, Colbar is one no-nonsense food spot you’d want to put on your list. It’s a good spot for beer, a classic fry-up or hor fun even, and a bit of a history lesson.
42. Treat yourself and bring the spa right to your home. Sole Service gives you the spa experience with massages from the comfort of your own home.
43. Skip the fuss of choosing fresh flowers at a store, and order them online. Some places like Fleurapy and Triceratops do bespoke bouquets based on your personality, and some like The Flower Co. even help you remember important dates. Useful!
44. Move away from the crowded Singapore River to the Punggol East riverside scene where container bistros serving no-nonsense grub and craft beer await you.
45. If you’re thirsty and feeling thrifty, go to the nursing rooms in malls to refill water – there’s also hot water available.
46. Eating clean? Bollywood Veggies is an organic farm in the Kranji countryside is where you can learn about local culinary history and then tuck into a hearty meal made with fresh produce. We also had a chat with the founder and owner, Ivy Singh-Lim.
47. There’s a hidden Japanese shrine in MacRitchie, but you can find it if you follow the Syonan Jinja trail. Get on trek with these trails around Singapore!
48. Looking for your fellow Rastafarians in Singapore? There’s actually a thriving reggae party scene in Singapore, courtesy of the rude bois behind music collectives, Dub Skank’in HiFi Soundsystem and Singapura Dub Club. Check them out if you want a slice of little Jamaica on our shores.
49. Dead tired of cultural precincts and need a change of scene? A self-guided walk around Bukit Brown cemetery, one of the largest and last-remaining graveyards, might liven things up. Just download this PDF and be on your way.
50. Animals need help too – volunteer at these awesome places and spend more time with furry friends.
51. The Intan at Joo Chiat is a Peranakan house and museum with authentic Peranakan antiques and art passed down from the owner’s family as well as his personal collection.
52. For a great cup of Teh Tarik (one of the best in Singapore), head to the no-name Teh Sarabat stall opposite Kampong Glam Café and drink up cup after cup as you do some people watching.
54. Sure, you can eat durian like a fruit, but to make things extra fun, try durian in sweet, savory and strange dishes. We dare you.
56. We found one of Singapore’s last streetside barber, Mr Lee in a in Telok Ayer. You’ll find him in the back alley of right behind Moosehead.
57. Wanna go plastic-free? At The Social Space on Kreta Ayer Rd, you can bring your own containers to fill from the dispensers of castile soaps, shampoo and cleaning products. It’s all produced with natural and environmentally friendly ingredients too.
63. Need a quiet place in the city? Pearl Hill City Park near Outram MRT might just be your spot. Trek up a small hill to this tranquil green patch that also features a lovely pond with fish and turtles.
64. You’ve not had the real Singapore experience until you’ve scoured through pre-loved items at a flea market in Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road. You’ll uncover affordable cosmetics, perfume knock-offs, souvenirs, electronics and more.
65. The Dairy Farm Nature Park’s Wallace Trail is not as done-up as other trails in Singapore. It’s muddy and perfect for mountain bikers.