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Day 1: Get a taste of Peranakan culture

1 Joo Chiat/Katong

Morning: Hotel Indigo

Set up camp at Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong.The hotel brims with nostalgic charm—be greeted by the refurbished façade of the former Joo Chiat police station, and décor inspired by the culture and heritage of the surrounding Joo Chiat/Katong neighbourhood, in the form of art murals along the walls of the lobby and your room. Make use of the hotel’s family-friendly amenities—the whole clan can take a dip in the rooftop infinity pool, or just relax poolside. Choose to stay in connecting rooms, so there’ll be tons of space for the family. Adding to that, the hotel is also a wheelchair-friendly and fully non-smoking property.

Afternoon: Peranakan appreciation

Get acquainted with Peranakan (of Straits-born, usually Chinese and Malay, culture) tradition in the historic neighbourhoods of Katong and Joo Chiat. Head to Rumah Bebe, where you can admire an array of Peranakan beadwork, embroidery and other trinkets in a multitude of vibrant colours. Then, make your way to a gem of Joo Chiat, The Intan—heritage house dedicated to conserving Peranakan culture. Sign yourselves up for a tour and a spot of tea with the Intan Signature Tea Experience, and wander through the carefully conserved antique house as you snack on a variety of Peranakan dishes and homemade kueh (bite-sized desserts). The tea tours can take place at any time of day, and are SGD 45 per person for a group of six. Book your tour via email (contactus@the-intan.com) or phone (+65 6440 1148). 

Evening: Traditional dining

End the day with some tantalising flavours at Quentin’s Eurasian Restaurant to savour the traditions of Eurasian cuisine, passed down from generations to chef Quentin Perreira. If you’re looking to spice things up, try their curry debal (devil’s curry, a traditional Eurasian dish of spicy curry flavoured with candlenuts and vinegar).

Day 2: Enjoy the gardens of Singapore

2 Singapore Botanic Gardens

Morning/afternoon: A walk in the park

Start the morning in serenity at the Singapore Botanic Gardens and walk amongst beautiful flora at Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop by the Symphony Lake for a family picnic or enjoy an outdoor concert at the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage while soaking up some sunshine. You can also grab brunch at one of the Gardens’ many dining places, such as Corner House, Halia, or Food For Thought (which has a playground—perfect for restless kids). The Singapore Botanic Gardens also provides wheelchair and stroller rental and accessibility.

Evening: Going green

For an unconventional dining experience, make your way to Open Farm Community. Here, you’ll get a first-hand look at Singapore’s budding urban farming community while experiencing the farm-to-table concept that’s a growing trend in Singapore. Open Farm Community grows their own crops in their urban farm (located right by the restaurant), using these fresh greens as ingredients in their meals. Pro tip: Open Farm Community features a big outdoor recreation space, where you can book a lawn bowling or table tennis session for some family fun.  

Day 3: Learn and create

3 Marina Bay

Morning/afternoon: Edutainment

Get in touch with your inner culture vulture at the ArtScience Museum, and feast your eyes on a multitude of exhibitions that highlight and celebrate both art and science. Works that have been featured at the museum include exhibitions on dinosaurs, Andy Warhol, the deep sea, and even the Harry Potter films. Time your trip to coincide with the museum’s Family Fridays too, where up to four children under 12 years old get to enter for free with every adult ticket purchased. Look out for workshops and special guided tours in line with the museum’s ongoing exhibitions—it’s the perfect opportunity to get the family together for an educational experience. 

Evening: Arts and culture

After sundown, take a stroll across the bay via the Helix Bridge to Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay to catch free public performances at the outdoor theatre or concourse. Also check out their event calendar and purchase tickets to performances or shows that catch your eye. Take your arts experience at Esplanade beyond mere observing—the venue also hosts hands-on workshops and educational arts talks that you can participate in. Get the whole family together for a craft-making session, and take home your very own works of art—there’s no better holiday souvenir.

Day 4: See the ‘then’ and ‘now’ of heritage areas

4 Chinatown

Morning/afternoon: History meets hip 

Stand at the crossroads of old and new at Chinatown. Here, you can opt to café-hop (for starters, head to Nanyang Old Coffee or My Awesome Café), shop (Pagoda Street promises great souvenir shopping at affordable prices), or explore a variety of historic and sacred sites. Chinatown is also testament to the melting pot that is Singapore’s culture—you’ll find places of worship of various religions within walking distance of one another, such as the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, and Jamae Mosque

5 Singapore River

Evening: River cruises and bus tours

No heritage tour of Singapore is complete without a visit to the Singapore River. The mouth of the river used to be the historic Port of Singapore even before Singapore’s independence, and it’s where the city first started growing into what it is today. Take a River Cruise in the evening to enjoy the stunning views (with the sunset as a backdrop, if you go around 7pm) and the buzz of local nightlife in Clarke Quay and Boat Quay. You can also opt for hop-on bus tours such as the City Sightseeing DUCK tours and HiPPO buses which also operate around the area.

Day 5: Shopping and dining in the city

6 Orchard Road

Morning/afternoon: Shop till you drop 

If shopping’s what you came for, Orchard Road is the place to be. Start at Plaza Singapura, where you can pick up new threads from Adidas, the DC Comics Superheroes store, Cotton On Kids, and more. Make a stop at Hamleys, a two-storey toy store that’s bound to bring excitement to the little ones. If you need to catch a breather, head to the Family Lounge at level 4, a 1000-square-foot room that’s made for R&R and packed with facilities such as a TV with cable channels, toys, magazines, and massage chairs. The mall also offers nursing rooms in selected bathrooms, as well as wheelchair accessibility.

Evening: For the foodies

There’s more to Orchard Road than retail therapy. For a real treat, round up the whole brood for a family dinner at any of the Michelin-starred dining destinations in the area. If the folks are craving for something traditional, book a table at Crystal Jade Golden Palace, which offers family-friendly sharing plates of classic Chinese fare such as roasted suckling pig. 

Day 6: Family fun at Sentosa

7 Sentosa Island

Morning/afternoon: Play all day 

Get your sunscreen ready and head to Sentosa’s most family-friendly beach, Palawan Beach, for a day of frolicking (or simply lazing) in the sun. If you have a family of adrenaline junkies, head to Universal Studios Singapore for thrilling amusement rides. Or, take a stroll through the S.E.A. Aquarium and marvel at the sharks at the Shark Seas habitat, and the gentle, gliding manta rays of the Open Ocean exhibit. Sentosa also offers plenty of other attractions for the kids—they’ll definitely be spoiled for choice. 

Evening: Well-earned relaxation

If the kids have been tucked into bed after the day’s activities, get some well-deserved couple-time at Sentosa’s best spas. Unwind and rejuvenate your tired muscles at The Capella Singapore’s Auriga Spa or W Hotel’s AWAY Spa (both spas stay open till 10pm daily). 

Day 7: Go cruising

8 Marina Bay Cruise Centre

Now that you’ve seen Singapore, hop aboard a cruise at Singapore Cruise Centre or Marina Bay Cruise Centre and explore the rest of Southeast Asia. Both cruise centres offer state-of-the-art facilities and trips by top cruise lines to some of the most idyllic destinations in the region. Modern cruises are also packed with lifestyle and entertainment facilities such as on-deck swimming pools, live performances and even skating rinks and rock climbing walls. There won’t be a lack of entertainment for the family as you cruise along, for sure!