Embracing Singapore’s Peranakan Heritage

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I’ve just spent 5 days in Singapore exploring all the strangely wonderful things to do beyond the typical tourist attractions. As with any city, some of these are still worth seeing and doing if they take your fancy, but I couldn’t have been more surprised at what lie beyond the misconceptions regarding Singapore as plain, boring and perhaps even sterile (not my own words). If you do plan on visiting Singapore, I would highly suggest you stay a couple of nights and take the opportunity to also experience the Singapore only locals seem to know about by embracing Singapore’s Peranakan Heritage. If you’d like to follow in my footsteps, here’s an overview of my time in the modern day international business hub with a twist that is Singapore.

Intercontinental Luxury hotel singapore

Check in to the InterContinental Singapore

If there’s one thing I appreciate about Intercontinental Hotels around the world, its their consistency. These hotels have always offered me some of the highest tier of service that can be found in luxury hotels and are often more friendly and down to earth than their competitors. There must be some hidden ingredient to the way they train their staff, because the service at the Intercontinental Hotels is always flawless – greeted by name (on arrival mind you!), upgraded when available, drink orders always remembered in the all-inclusive Executive Club, and the staff are always interested in how you spent your day and happy to give recommendations.

The Intercontinental Hotel Singapore is located in the Bugis area in an old Peranakan heritage shopfront building. This is incredibly central and the shopfront balcony in my room on the Executive Club floor level was a particularly special insight into Peranakan heritage. Everything you could ever need was within walking distance and if you didn’t want to embrace the humidity, taxi fares in Singapore are surprisingly reasonable.

Room rates from $245 per night; Executive Club Shophouse Suites at $448 per night.

Afternoon Tea London

High Tea Time

If you cannot afford to stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Singapore, you can still experience the same level of service by embracing Singapore’s colonial heritage and enjoying an afternoon of High Tea in the lobby. The setting is impeccably grand, with regal furnishings and rich tones to make you feel as though you’ve stepped inside a time warp. Light pours in through the double story ceilings and if you didn’t know any better, you’d feel as if you were in Great Britain itself!

Arab street singapore

Around the Neighbourhood of Bugis

The hotel building is an original façade dating back to Colonial days in Singapore. With that comes a range of buildings in the immediate vicinity that are also from colonial times, making this a truly fascinating area to explore on foot.

Also nearby you will find a strong contrast by visiting the colourful and creative Haji Lane and Arab Street. This area is very ‘in’ with the younger scene, so it makes for a great place to grab cheap eats or a casual drinks in the evenings.

Getting there: Singapore Air ( fly direct three times a day from Melbourne in 7 hours, Sydney in a little over 8 hours, Brisbane in 8 hours.

Also on Singapore:

Where to go in Singapore for Nature Lovers

Where to find colour in Singapore

10 Foods to try in Singapore

For further insight into Peranakan Heritage, consider Singapore’s Peranakan Museum

World of Wanderlust visited Singapore as a guest of the Singapore Tourism Board. This was a fantastic opportunity to explore Singapore more in depth! My opinion is as always, my own.

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    Image Manipulation
    September 2, 2015 at 2:37 am

    Really fascinating world. I both the inner and outer view of the scenery.

    April 12, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Hi Brooke didn’t know you were here in Singapore! Would have loved to meet you and learned from you~~ Please come again soon~~

    Brittany Stopa
    March 10, 2015 at 3:50 am

    A beautiful and wonderful experience, it seems! I always enjoy getting off the tourist path for some interacting with the local culture and people…makes the experience more memorable 🙂

    March 9, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Nice post!!

    March 8, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    beautiful photos

    Jake Ryan
    March 8, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Looks awesome


    March 8, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Looks like a beautiful trip!

    March 8, 2015 at 6:21 am

    High tea time sounds like a lot of fun. My friends fly there for work all the time and it sounds amazing!

    Marie @ Marie Away
    March 8, 2015 at 4:40 am

    I certainly can’t afford a room there, but high tea time sounds like a good investment 🙂 Singapore sounds lovely in general. I’ve never been outside the airport!

    March 8, 2015 at 4:17 am

    You inspire me to visit Singapore in 2016
    CPO Experts Ltd.

    March 8, 2015 at 3:38 am

    I honestly hadn’t given Singapore much thought before, but your posts have intrigued me. Perhaps I’ll extend a layover there one day.

    Silly Medley: Lifestyle and Travel

  • awanderlustblog@OUTLOOK.COM'
    March 7, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    gorgeous pics, it looks lovely 🙂

    March 7, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Oh so lovely pictures again 🙂
    I want to visit Singapore as well. It must be sooo nice. ♥

    Leesa and Kate
    March 7, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Great post, as always. Thanks for sharing the culture in depth.

    xx Leesa & Kate

    Travel inspiration?

    Christina Guan
    March 7, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    That high tea looks amazing, Brooke! Singapore seems like a lovely place to visit for sure. Would love to go someday 🙂

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    March 7, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I adore Singapore! I thought it was boring too, before I went and experiences it myself. I wrote a post about my experience. It’s such a great stopover city for 3-4 days with so many airlines flying through there!

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    March 7, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I adore Singapore! I thought it was boring too, before I went and experiences it myself. I wrote a post about my experience. It’s such a great stopover city for 3-4 days with so many airlines flying through there!

    March 7, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Wow you can really tell they spent a lot of time on the detail and make sure it looks aesthetically pleasing 🙂
    XO Janina

    March 7, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    I had a feeling that Singapore is just modern and modern, but the mixture of many cultures attracted me so much. Especially Colonial buildings and Arab Street are interesting to me.
    Thank you for sharing your days with us, Brooke!
    Kozue from Tokyo