Culture club: The digital nomad’s guide to travelling deeper in Singapore
Whether you’re in Singapore for a day or months for work, a vibrant scene of creative communities is waiting to be discovered. Here’s a guide for travellers looking to eat and play as hard as they work.
- October 2019
The growing army of digital nomads are not just paving the way for flexible work arrangements to be the norm in the future — they’re seeing the world in a whole new way. They’re sending emails out of a hipster café in Shanghai; they’re using food apps to find the best wonton noodles in the neighbourhood. And before tonight’s conference call with Europe, they’re learning how to make dim sum from a local.
For digital nomads, travelling today has less to do with tourism and more to do with using technology to pursue authentic local experiences, and then choosing to disconnect from it all by engaging with an offline community.
So what should you do when you find yourself working remotely in Singapore? Kick off your new adventure with these off-the-beaten-track experiences.
Seek forest therapy in the urban jungle
Forest bathing is about slowly and mindfully taking in nature through our senses. It’s scientifically proven to boost your immunity, reduce stress and increase overall well-being. Xiu Nature Connections offers 2.5 hour-long forest bathing classes every weekend, which take place at various parks and gardens across Singapore.
Leave your mark with street art
Small-group tour agency Culture Curious organises a walk called Kampong Glam: Of Malay Royalty and Colourful Streetscapes, where you’ll get to visit iconic buildings and check out the street art dotting the Malay heritage district. What’s great about this is the extra option of a hands-on workshop, where a street artist demonstrates spray paint techniques and helps your group to create a collective piece of art on an outdoor wall.
Check out a residential art gallery
Public housing estate Taman Jurong is unique for having its own self-guided art trail, Of Gardens & Dreams. A collaboration between local residents and established artists, the artworks are installed at void decks and spaces across the neighbourhood.
Inspire conscious living
Emporium of the Modern Man peddles everything from design objects to clothing. Open by appointment only, the boutique believes in taking the time to understand every customer’s needs. It also organises an annual pop-up called Jalan Besar Salon, a series of workshops and exhibitions centred on conscious living. This year’s edition is currently ongoing — check out its Instagram or Facebook page for details.
Shop at The Green Collective SG
This 5,000-square feet store at Funan mall features over 40 homegrown brands curated based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. You’ll find green alternatives to everyday items such as eco-friendly detergents and upcycled footwear. It also holds regular workshops teaching you how to compost or make your own lip balm.
Check out the Affordable Art Fair
The hugely popular Affordable Art Fair is all about breaking down the misconception that contemporary art is uppity and, well, expensive. This is its 10th year in Singapore, so come feast your eyes on the artworks and have a chat with artists and gallery owners — even if you’re a total noob. It’s on from November 22 to 24 at the F1 Pit Building.
Indulge in Peranakan cuisine at Godmama
This Peranakan restaurant’s decor might be decidedly modern but make no mistake, the food honours culinary traditions even when dishes are presented in newfangled ways — like a burger with spicy grilled chicken, a fried egg and buah keluak (black nut). The two owners are Peranakans who are passionate about keeping the famously laborious and complex cuisine alive, and most dishes featured on the menu use family recipes that have been passed down for generations.
Party at NINETEEN80
NINETEEN80 is a retro arcade-bar in Singapore’s CBD. It throws recurring parties including boy band nights, and a Fight For Your Right arcade tournament featuring classic games like Street Fighter II. Even if you’ve outgrown all that, come for the grown-up cocktails like the signature sumac-topped and white rum-based Donna Summer.
Stay at a co-living space
Sharing facilities in a communal dwelling has become a metaphor for sharing your life and experiences with others, and co-living spaces like lyf Funan Singapore are a great alternative to hotels for millennial travellers who want to meet like-minded people.
Things to know about lyf Funan Singapore:
1) There are eight different kinds of apartments, ranging from studios that are great for solo travellers or couples to six-bedroom duplexes.
2) It has everything you need: high-speed Wi-Fi, 24/7 security, fully-equipped kitchens, laundry facilities — and one much-appreciated service in a shared space: weekly housekeeping.
3) There are plenty of opportunities to interact with your neighbours, thanks to beautiful communal spaces like a co-working space, lounge, outdoor patio, gym and kitchen.
4) lyf Funan Singapore curates experiences for its guests at least once a week. One week, you could be picking up a new skill at a photography or leather crafting class; the next, networking at industry talks or going on a heritage tour led by community managers called lyf Guards. Whichever you go for, you’re bound to meet fellow travellers on the same wavelength.
Address: Level 4, Funan Mall, 67 Hill Street
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Book your stay now
Daily rates are competitive and monthly rental rates start from SGD $3,060++ if you’re an Ascott Star Rewards member. It’s excellent value considering lyf Funan Singapore’s prime location in Funan mall, which is a five-minute walk from City Hall MRT station and close to landmarks like Asian Civilisations Museum and National Gallery Singapore.