Best Singapore Staycation Ideas for Nostalgia Lovers
Looking for a staycation itinerary in Singapore that brings back the sweet taste of nostalgia? One where you can travel back in time while on a local getaway?
Evolving from a rural village less than a century ago to a thriving metropolis, traces of Singapore’s heritage are slowly fading away. Thankfully, Singapore still has some local places of interest that pay tribute to its unique history.
Take some time off from work (you need to clear your leave anyway!) with a Singapore local staycation that offers a healthy dose of nostalgia? The teams at Pan Pacific Singapore, PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, PARKROYAL on Beach Road, PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road, Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Beach Road, Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard and PARKROYAL Serviced Suites Singapore recommend this list of 20 places that will take you back in time.
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Walk Down Memory Lane at Kampong Lorong Buangkok
Kampong Lorong Buangkok
|Address||7 Lor Buangkok, Singapore 547557|
Savour a slice of kampong life (rural living) at Kampong Lorong Buangkok, mainland Singapore’s last surviving kampong. Domestic chickens still roam freely here, and old, colourful houses with zinc roofs line the road. As you meander along the small cluster of decades-old houses, gaze appreciatively at the open green spaces, feel the breeze wafting through the air, and tune in to the barks from friendly neighbourhood dogs.
Purchase and Savour Old-school Snacks
|Address||130 Casuarina Road, Singapore 579518|
||+65 6458 0925
||11am to 10pm (Tuesday to Friday, and Sunday), 12pm to 10pm (Saturday), Closed on Monday|
Ready for the literally sweet taste of nostalgia? Relive the taste of your childhood with beloved old-school Singaporean snacks. With more than 75 types of traditional biscuits, be spoilt for choice at Biscuit King. Apart from biscuits, the store sells a kaleidoscope of sweets as well as the physical games that local children used to play. Use this opportunity to introduce your children to games like “chatek” and “zero-point” as well as “five stones”.
Transport to Yesteryear at the Rustic Cafe Colbar
|Address||9A Whitchurch Road, Singapore 138839|
||+65 6779 4859
||11:30am to 8:30pm (Tuesday to Sunday), Closed on Monday|
Set in the “wilderness” at Portsdown, a visit to the rustic Cafe Colbar is like travelling back in time. With old archival photos hanging on the walls, an un-furnished concrete floor, and 70s and 80s style furniture, the cafe screams nostalgia every which way you turn. Staying true to its roots as a mess hall for British soldiers when Singapore was under British rule, even Colbar’s menu harkens back to the past. The food served are dishes served to locals and British soldiers back in the day, such as fried rice, hor fun (thick rice-based noodles), sausage and eggs, and more.
Reflect on Singapore’s Wartime Heritage at Bukit Chandu
|Address||31 - K Pepys Road, 118458|
||+65 6375 2510
||9am to 5:30pm|
Learn about Singapore’s sordid WWII history with a trip to Bukit Chandu, once a battleground during the Battle of Pasir Panjang. This was where a Malay Regiment fought valiantly against the Japanese during World War II. The place has since been turned into a World War II learning centre. Uncover the story of wartime hero Lieutenant Adnan Saidi of the Malay Regiment’s 1st Battalion, who died valiantly fighting the Japanese in one of the fiercest battles in Singapore.
Unleash Your Inner Child at the Toa Payoh Dragon Playground
Toa Payoh Dragon Playground
|Address||28 Lor 6 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310028|
Enjoy a blast from the past at the Toa Payoh Dragon Playground. Dating back to 1979, the iconic outdoor park used to be one of the most popular playgrounds in Singapore. Although there are four such playgrounds left, this is the only one still housed in a sandbox. (The playgrounds today are built on rubber mats to better protection children from falls.) This Dragon playground made it to the Top 15 Amazing Playgrounds From All Over the World by Flavorwire.com, a culture blog based in New York.
Relive Old Kampong Days at Pulau Ubin
Changi Point Ferry Terminal
|Address||51 Lor Bekukong, Singapore 499172|
||+65 6542 7944
Retreat to life in the 1960s as you journey by bumboat to Pulau Ubin, home to Singapore’s last (offshore) village. To get there, take an old-school style ferry from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Amid the lush greenery is an abundance of wildlife like wild boars, otters, birds and reptiles, which remained unchanged since its early days. Here, outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, or cycling await you.
Get directions to the Changi Point Ferry Terminal (for the ferry to Pulau Ubin)
Visit the People’s Park Food Centre
People’s Park Food Centre
|Address||32 New Market Rd, Singapore 050032|
||+65 6225 5632
||7:30am to 10:30pm (Tuesday to Sunday), Closed on Monday)|
Feast on all-time favourites at the People’s Park Food Centre, which started off as a humble food shelter in 1923. Interestingly, the hawker centre turned into a part of Singapore’s biggest “shopping cum residential complex” in 1969. The food centre today has seen a few facelifts but still retained many local favourites.
A visit here gives you the chance to sample tasty dishes such as the Zhen Zhu Fang Roasted Delights, which sells Cantonese roast meats like roasted pork, duck, and chicken. The stall has been listed in a Michelin Guide with a Michelin Plate for several years. Other stalls of note include Yong Xiang Xing Dou Fu (Hakka Chinese cuisine consisting primarily of tofu filled with ground meat mixture or fish paste) and Toh Kee Roast Duck.
Explore Singapore’s Oldest Chinese Temple
|Address||158 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068613|
||+65 6423 41616
||7:30am to 5:30pm daily|
Step foot into the oldest Chinese temple in the country—the Thian Hock Keng Temple. Built by the island’s Hokkien speaking population, the temple received an honourable mention in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage 2001 Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. The temple’s interior has not withered with time, but is continually restored and repainted. Its tiled roof has detailed carvings of soaring dragons, while its pillars feature intricate carvings depicting scenes from Chinese mythology. Look out for the regal lion and tiger statues guarding the grand entrance of the temple.
Visit Singapore’s Once Famous Cantonese Opera House
|Address||80 Eu Tong Sen St, Singapore 059810|
||+65 6227 8130
||Monday: 10:00am to 6:00pm (Tuesday to Sunday)|
Make a trip down to The Majestic—a historic building previously known as the Majestic Theatre when it laid claim to being Singapore’s most famous Cantonese opera house. The landmark was renovated into a three-storey shopping mall in the early 2000s, retaining the original building's structure, which combines Western and Chinese architectural styles.
Sneak a Peek at Singapore’s World War II Defence Quarters
Battle Box (Fort Canning)
|Address||2 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179622|
||+65 6338 6133
||9:30am to 5:30pm (Friday to Saturday), Closed on Monday to Thursday)|
Steeped in history, Fort Canning is a hill that holds many of our country’s war stories. And one of the Fort’s areas of significance during this period is the Battle Box. Constructed with tunnels that burrowed deep into the hill, the bomb-proof bunker originally served as Britain’s Headquarters for the Malaya Command operation. Today, it hosts visitors as a museum depicting the final days of the WWII Battle of Singapore, with displays of moving figures, wax figures and wartime artefacts.
Relive Childhood Toys at the Mint Museum of Toys
Mint Museum of Toys
|Address||26 Seah St, Singapore 188382|
||+65 6339 0660
||9:30am to 6:30pm|
Be swept by waves of nostalgia as you step into the Mint Museum of Toys, with its rows of vintage collectibles, toys and comics from yesteryears proudly displayed for all to see. Some may be familiar to the older generation, while others—especially those which hail from countries such as Germany—may be eye-opening. A treasure trove of tin, wooden and plastic old school toys, the museum boasts of more than 50,000 toys, with some dating back 120 years.
Check Out Our Defence Systems During WWII at Fort Siloso
|Address||Siloso Rd, Singapore 099981|
||+65 6736 8672
||10am to 6pm|
One of the three forts used to defend Singapore from sea invasion, Fort Siloso is the only preserved coast defence fort. A popular historical site for visitors to Sentosa, Fort Siloso is likely to be visited by older Singaporeans at least once in their childhood. Revisit the free attraction to look at Singapore’s World War II-era military cannons, tunnels and structures through adult eyes.
Pay Homage to the Oldest Hindu Temple in Singapore
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
|Address||141 Serangoon Rd, Singapore 218042|
||+65 6293 4634
||8am to 12pm, 6:30pm to 9pm daily|
Admire the elaborate religious carvings and intricate architectural details on the facade of the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, located in the middle of Little India. The oldest Hindu temple dedicated to the Goddess Kali, the religious building is well over a century in age but remains well-maintained thanks to its regular worshippers.
Have a Vintage Meal at Lau Pa Sat
Lau Pa Sat
|Address||18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582|
||+65 6220 2138
Feast to your heart’s content at Lau Pa Sat, also known as Telok Ayer Market. Originally built in the 19th century, the market has long been a Singapore landmark, thanks to its unusual octagonal shape and clock tower. Honoured as a national monument in 1973, the market has undergone several renovations. Thankfully, the original spirit of the popular eating place remains—it still serves local Singapore favourites such as satay (skewered meat) and chicken rice.
Revere Singapore’s Oldest Anglican Church
St Andrew’s Cathedral
|Address||11 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178959|
||65 6337 6104
||9am to 6pm daily|
Built in 1836, the majestic St Andrew’s Cathedral is Singapore’s oldest Anglican house of worship. Anybody who passes by the City Hall area of Singapore would have easily seen its captivating spires. Apparently, the original structure had a tower and spire which were destroyed by lightning. Thankfully, these were reconstructed and faithfully kept to their original architecture. Today, the cathedral’s Neo-gothic architecture, stained-glass windows and memorials draw both churchgoers and other visitors week after week.
Relive the Valour of Singapore’s Firefighters Here
Central Fire Station
|Address||62 Hill Street, Singapore 179367|
||+65 6332 3000
Built in 1908. this striking white-red building along Hill Street, is the oldest active fire station in Singapore. It also houses the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery—an interpretative centre which narrates the history and development of Singapore’s Civil Defence Force. Pop inside the Central Fire Station to see a showcase of old fire-fighting equipment, uniforms, and stories of major fire incidents in Singapore. You can also gain hands-on experience of the latest firefighting technology currently deployed by Singapore’s firefighters.
Saunter and Dine at CHIJMES
|Address||30 Victoria St, Singapore 187996|
||+65 6337 7810
Made famous by the movie Crazy Rich Asians as the lavish wedding venue of the rich, CHIJMES is a hub of upmarket restaurants and pubs located right smack in the City Hall area. Popular as the backdrop for theatrical performances and weddings, CHIJMES Hall is an exquisitely restored early Gothic-style 19th Century chapel with intricate design and detail. CHIJMES dates back to the 1950s, where it began its life as a convent operated by French Catholic nuns. Declared a national monument in 1990, it is one of Singapore’s most iconic landmarks.
Catch a Show at Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall
Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall
|Address||9 Empress Pl, Singapore 179556|
||Monday: 10:00am to 6:00pm (Tuesday to Sunday)|
Once upon a time, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall were the de facto places to catch arts and cultural performances. Up and running in 1909, the neoclassical venues were refurbished from 2010-2014 in a major exercise that thankfully preserved and enhanced its historic features. Catch a performance here to enjoy a trip to the past.
Explore the Sleepy Changi Village
|Address||2 Changi Village Rd, Singapore 500002|
Urbanisation has changed the landscape of much of Singapore’s neighbourhoods, but rustic charm still defines Changi Village. The laid-back neighbourhood is home to old-school hawker centres that serve up local comfort food, dotted with rare three-storey flats and a handful of old colonial houses. You can also spot bumboats near the jetty, ready to pick up passengers for a trip to Pulau Ubin or other islands. A trip here is like entering a time capsule where life slows to a crawl.
Pay Tribute to the Civilian War Memorial
Civilian War Memorial
|Address||War Memorial Park, Beach Rd, Singapore 189768|
Marked by four pillars towering 65 metres high in a park, the Civilian War Memorial literally sticks out in the city hall area. Most locals would have visited it at least once during their school excursions. The memorial opened on February 15, 1967, and is lovingly nicknamed “The Chopsticks”. A visit here again would bring back school memories, as well as thoughts on Singapore’s wartime heritage.
Explore Nostalgia In Comfort and Ease
Let the Pan Pacific Hotels Group which has both Serviced Suites and Hotels be your companion in your walk down memory lane. With establishments around central Singapore, your nostalgic staycation will be made all the sweeter. Book a room and rest each night in comfort as you reflect upon your day’s adventures.