A blog about the adventures of Jeannel Mah

Singaporean things to bring foreign friends to

So in my current job, I have to work with a lot of people coming in from various countries (America, Germany, Estonia, India, Hong Kong..). Very often Singaporeans are pretty stumped at to what we can suggest our foreign friends do/visit/eat while they are here. My local colleagues and I have been trying out various things with my more adventurous colleagues recently since a few of them are headed home soon. Here is a list of some of the things we did which can be used in the future. I’ll be adding onto this list as I think/ do more things.


Sure, there are the usual tourist traps of Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens By the Bay. But Singapore has more to offer than that, and often they are less crowded, and even free.

  • Chinese Gardens

Address:  1 Chinese Garden Rd, Singapore 619795
Open: 5:30AM–11PM
Cost: Free

I’ve personally not been here in person and have only passed the place while on the train. But I’ve heard this place is gorgeous.

  • Haw Par Villa

Address: 262 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 118628
Open: 9AM-7PM
Cost: Free

I’ve been here pretty often for Orientation Camp activities since its quite near NUS. Its usually not crowded since it is relatively unknown and also quite out of the way. Its super accessible now though since the Circle Line stops right outside the park. Open in the 1930s by the family that made Tiger Balm, the park basically shows you what happens when you go to Chinese Hell, what happens at the different levels and because of what crimes. May not be good for young children, but honestly its not much worse than what you see on regular television nowadays.

  • Gotham Building

Address: Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 188778
Open: I believe the building is open 24 hours, but I’m not sure.
Cost: Its free to enter the building

Its not actually called the Gotham Building, that’s just a nickname that locals gave it because it looks like something that would come out of the Batman comics since its so pretty. I believe it was build by a Tycoon from Hong Kong, though I’m not certain. The building and its courtyard is gorgeous. Its usually not too crowded since it just looks like a regular city building (its an office building). Recently the renovated the bar in the building, and the bar itself is also gorgeous (and pricey).


  • Karaoke

Probably one of most Singaporean’s favourite past times is going to “Sing K”. I don’t know many Singaporeans who haven’t gone to Teo Heng or KBox before. I just brought a few colleagues to Teo Heng last night for karaoke, and they were actually quite amused by how we get our own private room to sing here, since in most countries karaoke is usually done in more of a bar setting where *shudders* other people watch you sing.

  • Supper

I guess this also falls under the “Eat” category. But I’m putting it on its own category cause well, Singapore’s supper culture is actually a thing. Whether or not you’re in University doing work late at night, or can only find a common time to meet with your friends past midnight, or are just hungry at 2a.m, I’m pretty sure every Singaporean has gone out past midnight for supper.

The usual fare that most foreigners probably will know about before coming here are Chilli Crab, Chicken Rice, Satay. While I do admit many of us eat Chicken Rice pretty often, honestly how often to most Singaporeans get to eat Chilli Crab? (Other than my boyfriend’s family who seem to eat it at every other family gathering..) Here’s a list of some things we tend to eat on a more regular basis which usually don’t pop up in tourist guides.

  • Hotpot

Hotpot is delicious. You generally get to pick what you want to eat (at least, if you go for the buffet option), and it sums up the Asian “community” eating pretty well. But for this to go well, you’ll have to be going with people who are okay with sharing food. I know many people from America at least can’t stand the thought of sharing a common pot with other people.


  • McSpicy

Singaporeans love the McSpicy. Its probably the most ordered thing at the local McDonalds. Yes, our foreign friends may make turn up their nose at the thought of eating McDonalds while they are here, but it really is something that they should eat if they want the true Singaporean experience. Its delicious. Though fair warning, it may give you the runs, depending on how strong your stomach is. (Personally I’ve never had this issue, but it is a known issue. Not sure if its the oil or the spice, or a combination of both, but McSpicy doesn’t sit well in the stomachs of lots of people.)

  • Laksa Yong Tao Fu

  • Popiah

  • Traditional Chinese Desserts
  • Tutu Kueh (Kueh Tutu)
  • Nasi Padang

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