Singapore's unique location in the Straits of Malacca has made it a meeting point for many cultures in its brief 200 years of recorded history.
When we've finished visiting its shiny malls and modern architectural marvels, we can slow down the pace and retrace the paths of our history through these iconic but lesser known places.
NUS Baba House
Built around 1895, this historic townhouse was the ancestral home of a Peranakan Chinese family. Its blue, intricate exterior beckons visitors inside, where a guided tour showcases the richly decorated furniture, beautifully restored interior and all the stories that they hold.
I frequently passed by this place on my way to my favourite ang ku kueh shop nearby. This century old row of townhouses stands opposite another landmark that was recently torn down, so I knew it was important to pay a visit here whenever I had time. It was difficult to find time during a work day to do the guided tour, but I'm really glad to have done it. The volunteer guides are so knowledgeable and passionate!
Reflections at Bukit Chandu
The Battle of Pasir Panjang took place not far from this location, where the Malay Regiment made their courageous stand against waves of Japanese forces. The upper floor of this museum also has a side exhibit on Singapore's opium days, making it two learning experiences in one!
I'd visited many other WW2 museums around Singapore and had this one on my list for a long time, as it isn't the most convenient to get to. But that's precisely what makes this a hidden gem! The green trail that leads here from Hort Park or Kent Ridge Park, is also a serene path I enjoyed on the way there.
Old School Zhi Char
Tucking in to delicious food is a favourite pastime of any Singaporean. This restaurant does it with flair, with its unpretentious retro ambience and lovely waitresses.
I passed by this place several times but never actually knew it was a restaurant, since its facade is not typical of restaurants of our time. My parents could clearly recall its seafront view though, and were themselves surprised that this restaurant endured the decades of change literally surrounding it!
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