Discover Singapore from dusk till dawn

Mar 12, 22
Discover Singapore from dusk till dawn

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They say New York is the city that never sleeps, but in Singapore you can now eat, drink, and even fish around the clock. Begin your night at any one of Singapore’s highly acclaimed cocktail bars or by tucking into tasty nosh at a local eatery, then set out to discover the Lion City after dark.

Riverside bars and restaurants at Clarke Quay are popular with tourists and locals alike
Singapore's colourful Clarke Quay gets buzzing as night falls © wsboon images / Getty Images

Party until dawn

As night falls, the riverside bars and restaurants along Clarke Quay start buzzing with tourists and locals alike. Start your night here before heading to clubbing powerhouses Attica and Zouk to dance the night away. Prefer to belt out your own tunes? Karaoke rooms are for hire at Tang Music Box; make sure you’re aware of the minimum spend before commandeering the mic. Thrill seekers make a beeline for G-Max Reverse Bungy, where you’ll be sent hurtling at a speed of up to 200km/h into the night sky. There’s a lovely view of Singapore to be had if you can keep your eyes open.

After a truly crafty cocktail? Check in to some of Singapore’s most lauded bars – our picks include hidden bars Employees Only, Native, Operation Dagger and 28 HongKong Street. Gin lovers should not miss the towering three-storey gin wall at Atlas; coupled with the plush art deco surroundings, it’s a sight to behold.

Colourful fabrics for sale at a stall in Little India’s Mustafa Centre
The Mustafa Centre in Little India is a bargain hunter's paradise © Felix Hug / Lonely Planet

Shop until you drop

Shoppers have no need to fret when the swanky malls of Orchard Road close their doors for the evening, as Little India’s Mustafa Centre is open 24/7. A bargain hunter’s paradise, it hawks everything from household groceries to the latest electronics, bolts of exotic fabrics to glittering gold jewellery. Heaving during regular shopping hours, the aisles finally quiet down around midnight leaving you plenty of space to meander without having to squeeze past a sea of shoppers. Be prepared, however, to become completely and utterly lost once inside this behemoth centre; there is no rhyme or reason to the layout and some hallways lead to complete dead ends. Don’t try to find where you came in; it’s easier just to head outside and then figure out where you are and how to get home.

A street-corner coffee shop and Chinese restaurant in Geylang district
Chinese restaurants in Geylang district, one of Singapore’s foodie havens © Ulysses Nemeno / Shutterstock

Uncover Singapore’s underbelly

Peek behind Singapore’s shiny, modern and sometimes sterile facade with a nighttime tour through Geylang, the island’s unofficial red-light district. Expect to hear stories of the area’s origins, its mishmash of religions and its shady history while touring some of Singapore’s less savoury streets, where you’re bound to see a side to Singapore you may not have known existed. Not everyone heads to Geylang for a walk on the wild side, however – the area is also known as one of Singapore’s foodie havens. Home to many famous eateries, including chilli crab hot spot No Signboard Seafood and frog porridge purveyor Geylang Lor 9 Fresh Frog Porridge, this is the place to head for local cuisine at its best. With the streets here tending to be busier at one o’clock in the morning than at one o’clock in the afternoon, it’s definitely worth a late-night visit.

A Singaporean food stall heaving with cheap, tasty dishes
Piling food on the plate at one of the Singapore's hawker centres © Elena Aleksandrovna Ermakova / Getty Images

All night feasting

Singapore is known for its dazzling array of tasty nosh and no matter what time of the day or night, you’ll find something to tantalise your taste buds. Late-night dim sum lovers head to around-the-clock 126 Eating House for steaming dumplings and juicy pork belly buns. At centrally located BK Eating House, a number of stalls continue to churn out cheap, finger-licking good dishes into the wee hours of the morning – try the mee sua (wheat flour noodles) at Yan Kee Noodle House.

If you’re craving an after-dinner treat, you’ll love the sinfully good desserts (best paired with an equally decadent cocktail) at famous Singaporean chef Janice Wong’s 2am: dessertbar. If you prefer something a little less sweet, why not sample some durian? Fondly known as the ‘king of fruit’, this spikey cannonball-esque fruit’s smell precedes it. A sickly-sweet stench, which some liken to rotten meat, will assault your nostrils as you arrive at one of Singapore’s all-night durian stalls. Sellers are typically too happy to educate you in the fine art of durian selection, opening and eating. Plastic gloves are provided, and many first-timers say the initial bite is the worst. Those that make it to their second say it’s slightly better. Tuck in if you dare.

Singapore's Chinatown is the go-to place for massage joints
A fish spa and massage joint in Singapore's Chinatown © Paer Svensson / Shutterstock

Midnight massage

Wanting to soothe your aching muscles after a long day exploring the Lion City? Peoples Park Complex in Chinatown is a local go-to spot for cheap and cheerful massage joints; Mr Lim Foot Reflexology is one of note that will have your weary feet walking on cloud nine. If it’s after 10pm, head for 24-hour Le Spa where you can choose from Swedish or Balinese massages, with added extras including cupping and ear candling. If you’re looking to try a traditional Chinese massage, book in for a ‘tui na’ session at Natureland. This manipulative treatment is said to clear blockages that interrupt one’s ‘qi’, the vital energy of the body in traditional Chinese medicine. Make sure to drink plenty of water post-treatment.

Deep-fried tiger prawns, best enjoyed with Tiger beer
Deep-fried tiger prawns in rich, hot and spicy chilli paste sauce © PixHound / Shutterstock

Cast a line

Prawning is a favourite Singaporean pastime, so much so that many prawning farms are open 24/7. Simply hire a rod at the door, pull up a seat next to the dark-watered pool, cast your line and wait. A few time-honoured techniques include making sure you’ve cut the bait small enough, holding your rod at a particular angle and reacting quickly when you feel that highly anticipated nibble. If you’re not having any luck, ask the attendants for some pointers. Once prawned out, head to the grills to cook your freshly caught catch, which is best enjoyed with an ice-cold Tiger beer.

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