Story of Singapore by Tribe

Tribe, the tour organiser, calls it its “101” on the country. Conducted at the Singapore City Gallery, famous for its stunning diorama of the entire island, you get a bird’s eye view on Singapore’s urban planning since its independence in 1965. Your guide will take you through the conundrums Singapore faces as a city-state; the far-sighted plans it has made for housing, water, security and transport; and the clever solutions it has come up with that makes its master concept planning the envy of many developing nations. Because the entire tour takes place indoors, it is a great option for rainy days. 

Duration: 2.5 hours
Frequency: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2.30pm
Group size: No limit
Cost: S$36
Tel: (65) 6463 1031
Website: http://tribe-tours.com/tours/story-of-singapore

Chinatown Heritage Centre Character Guided Tour

Allow a samsui woman (female construction worker) or rickshaw puller to regale you with tales of Chinatown’s not-so-distant past in this character-guided tour. Your host will take you through a shophouse painstakingly recreated to portray the crowded living conditions of post-war Singapore. Enter the wondrous premises of a tailor shop, complete with authentic touches like cloth samples and sewing machines. As you make your way down from the top level, browse through the exhibits at the various galleries to understand why these pioneers took the perilous journey south from China to seek their fortunes in Singapore and the challenges they faced when they arrived.

Duration: 45 minutes
Frequency: Daily at 1.30pm and 4.30pm
Group size: Maximum of 16
Cost: S$20 (adult), S$16 (child)
Tel: (65) 6224 3928
Website: http://chinatownheritagecentre.com.sg/admission.html

Peranakan Trail by Tour East Singapore

Learn about the Peranakans – people of mixed Chinese and Malay heritage indigenous to this part of the world - on this tour around the country. Saunter through the Spice Garden at Fort Canning Hill to see and smell the aromatic herbs and spices so beloved in their cuisine. Next, visit the Peranakan Museum to behold their delicate craftsmanship in costumes, embroidery, beadwork, jewellery, porcelain and furniture. Then visit the Peranakan enclave of Katong - Joo Chiat, where shophouses dating back to the 1920s and ’30s are conserved for their colourful and ornate architecture. At the end of the tour, indulge in a sampling of Nonya delicacies, which are influenced by Chinese, Malay and European cooking.

Duration: 3.5 hours
Frequency: Tuesday and Friday at 9am
Group size: Minimum of two
Cost: S$62 (adult), S$32 (child), includes complimentary pick up from most city hotels
Tel: (65) 6735 1221
Website: http://www.toureast.net/Tour-East-Singapore/Sightseeing-Tours-Explore-Singapore/Sightseeing-Tours-Culture-Heritage

Dhobis, Saris and a Spot of Curry by Journeys

This walking tour of Little India surely appeals to the senses. Discover why flowers play such an important role in Indian life and what exactly goes into the “chewing gum of the east” at a garland and paan store. Meander through Tekka wet market and meet its plethora of exotic vegetables and fruits hardly seen elsewhere. Master the art of tying a sari (traditional costume for females) and the craft of henna hand-painting at a bazaar. Visit a spice mill to grasp why fragrant ingredients are so important in Indian cuisine. Finally, stop by the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, one of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples built by early immigrants in the late 1800s in worship of Kali, the destroyer of evil.

Duration: 2.5 hours
Frequency: Wednesday at 9.30am
Group size: No limit
Cost: S$38 (adult), S$18 (child)
Venue: Meet at Little India MRT Station, outside Exit E (Buffalo Road).
Website: http://www.journeys.com.sg/singaporewalks/tours_dhobis.asp