When I first heard of the term ‘babymoon’ I made a mental note for the future- in bright red, bolded, and underlined. Any excuse for a holiday right?
Fast forward a few years and we’re announcing the exciting news that we’re expecting to our friends and family. After the standard congratulations, we were often met with a remark along the lines of ‘guess that means you’re traveling days are over’. And each time we’d respond with a smile, stating that we have no intention of a letting our future bundle of joy stop us from exploring the world. Perhaps we are a bit naive, but ignorance is bliss right? Plus, we’ve seen plenty of families with kids of all ages on our travels over the years. If they’ve managed why can’t we?
I won’t deny that a new addition to the family will change the way we travel, at least for a little while. And that started with our babymoon. We chose to visit Singapore as it provides the comforts of the modern world while still offering up a melting pot of cultures and (hygienic) food. Oh and it’s nice and warm. At 27 weeks my ankles didn’t yet resemble those of an elephant so the heat was welcome. Anyhoo, here’s the low down on what we got up to on our fifth visit to the lion city:
Eating & Drinking
Ok so the drinking (alcoholic beverages anyway) was left to Niall this time round, but we managed to eat at a variety of hawker centres, cafes and restaurants- I just chose stalls with an A or B rating or ordered meals that were cooked fresh. Here are some worth a mention:
Makansutra Gluttons Bay
Located on Raffles Ave and with views across to Marina Bay Sands this outdoor hawker centre is a great choice for a balmy night, so long as you don’t mind waiting to find a table and paying a bit more for that view. The stalls here were handpicked based on their quality by the Makansutra team, Singapore’s famous hawker critics. We ordered mee goreng, satay and water spinach, all of which were delicious although the spinach was a little heavy on the shrimp paste for my liking.
Chinatown Food Centre, Smith St
Another spot popular with tourists, this pedestrian only area again took a bunch of popular hawker stalls from across the city and plonked them in the one convenient location. Giving the illusion of outdoor dining, the Chinatown Food Centre is actually undercover and offers free wifi, although annoyingly we had to take our phone off aeroplane mode to receive the login code. We’ve dined here before, this time round we enjoyed the food from Serangoon Raju Indian Cuisine (#17) and kway teow from stall 8 which we washed down with a fresh papaya juice.
Smith St Taps
Just around the corner is the perfect stall for lovers of craft beer. Located in the maze that is Chinatown Complex (02-062) Smith St Taps was heaving with locals and tourists of all ages when we visited as our trip coincided with Singapore Beer Week (for those playing at home, yes I’ve been super lazy in writing this particular post). With a great selection of brews to choose from and a friendly owner, it is quite possible that this little spot is very popular year round.
Ji Biru 313 @ Somerset
If you’ve worked up a thirst shopping along Orchard Rd this little Japanese place makes a good pit stop. The edamame were enough to keep me happy while Niall made his way through a selection of tasters.
ABC Brickworks, Bukit Merah, Redhill
Apparently named after the Archipelago Brewery Company which used to be nearby, the ABC Brickworks, or ABC market as the locals seem to know it by, is a less touristy option, probably as it’s a bit more effort to get to. But with nearly 100 stalls to choose from it’s worth the trip. Niall tucked into some roasted meat marinated in char sui sauce from Fatty Cheong (01-120) while I played it safe with more noodles, this time mee hoon.
Maxwell Food Centre, Kadayanallur St
This place always seems busy and rightfully so. It’s easy to get to and has a wide selection of stalls, including Tian Tian which is renowned for its Hainanese Chicken Rice. Unfortunately for you we’ve never had the patience to join the long line of patrons salivating over this famous dish so we can’t tell you if it indeed lives up to its reputation. Instead we opted for the Chicken Rice from Hong Xiang (#52) which had an encouraging but more appealing-sized queue. I also grabbed some popiah from a few stalls down. In hindsight it probably wasn’t the best choice for pregnancy given the uncooked veg and bean shoots but oh well it was nice and spicy and only $2.50. If you have room we’d definitely recommend also treating yourself to a coconut pancake from Granny’s (#93)- 80c well spent!
Banana Tree, Keong Saik Rd
Speaking of treats, Banana Tree is a Korean dessert chain that can help satisfy that sweet tooth. Aircon, magazines, nonalcoholic mojitos and adorable desserts- what more could a pregnant gal want? We ordered the banana and strawberry flower paap pot puddings. At $6.50 each they’re not cheap but in my opinion worth it for a sugar hit and respite from the afternoon sun.
The Reading Room
A few doors up from our hotel on Bukit Pasoh Rd is this little gem, a cozy cafe lined with books for patrons to peruse or purchase while enjoying a scrumptious panini and refreshing lemon iced tea. Not necessarily worth making the trek to but if you’re in the area and need a break from asian cuisine it’s a good option.
See & Do
Singapore Art Musuem, Bras Basah Rd
Set in an old school with beautiful architecture, SAM is a good way to spend a rainy morning in Singapore. It’s worth checking the programme in advance though, as there were only two exhibitions on when we visited.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Given its frequent placement on “top things to do in Singapore” lists we thought we should finally check out this city oasis, especially as the team at Unesco generally seem to know what they’re doing. The gardens were certainly beautiful and a nice way to spend a few hours escaping the hustle and bustle of the city. The grounds are huge and thankfully have plenty of spots to stop and rest along the way. Even still we only managed to get half way through before bailing. We can see why people love it but in our opinion it’s not a must-see, particularly if you’re only in town for a short while. That being said, entry is free so if you’re on a budget and looking for a way to pass time or for a good picnic spot go for it. Just do yourself a favour and skip the midday heat!
Buddah Tooth Relic Temple
If you’re looking for somewhere to relax, we found the rooftop garden atop this temple a better option than the botanic gardens. Built to house one of Buddah’s teeth (a claim we’re always a bit sceptical of), this relatively new temple on South Bridge Rd is a stunning example of Tang-style architecture. Be sure to explore all five levels, not just the main prayer hall on the ground floor.
No trip to Singapore is complete without a little bit of shopping. We kept ours to a minimum but managed to visit infamous Orchard Rd as well as Haji Lane in Kampong Glam. As one TripAdvisor review very accurately stated “if pinterest were a street” Haji Lane would be it. The quaint and colourful lane houses boutiques full of hipsteresque items as well as a few cafes and street art. Another alternative, if this is your sort of scene, is the suburb of Tiong Bahru. A longer walk from the MRT, this neighbourhood has some nice clothing boutiques, an awesome book store and delicious bakery.
That is the point of a babymoon afterall, so we decided to stay at the New Majestic Hotel. As well as being well situated (next to the Outram MRT and walking distance to central Chinatown), the New Majestic is a beautiful design hotel that has commissioned various creative locals, from fashion designers to film directors, to design and decorate each room. Being a boutique hotel the staff were lovely, and we whiled away the afternoons lounging around the desserted pool.
Stay tuned for our first trip with bub in tow.