43 SINGAPOREAN ART AND DESIGN There is a growing local creative scene that is extraordinary. A wonderful place to start your Singaporean art immersion is at the National Design Centre in Bugis. Every Monday and Thursday, there are guided tours that o‹er an in-depth overview of the history and heritage of the building, what it stands for today, the community that lives here, and the various programs that take place in the space. Even if you don’t join a tour, you can view an exhibit that highlights how design has evolved and contributed to Singapore’s economy and development. Another must-visit institution is the Parkview Museum on the third floor of Parkview Square, which locals a‹ectionately call Gotham City. The collection consists of unique contemporary works and is free to the public. Conveniently, Atlas Bar on the ground floor makes a great gin cocktail. If that leaves you thirsty for more, grab a drink at Mr. Stork on the rooftop of the Andaz for sunset skyline views. A LOT OF SHOPPING Walk down Orchard Road and you will immediately be reminded of London’s Oxford Street or Hong Kong’s Nathan Road. This bustling boulevard is flanked on both sides by local and international department stores, tiny boutiques, o±ces, spas, beauty salons, hotels, entertainment spots, restaurants, and cafes. One could spend a whole day trawling the stretch starting from Tanglin Mall on Tanglin Road down to Plaza Singapura at the lower end of Orchard Road. Contrasting this experience is Haji Lane, one of the narrowest streets in Singapore. Located in the Arab Quarter, expect quirky designs, unusual materials and bright colors — with so many unique boutiques, you are unlikely to come away empty handed. For the epicenter of Singapore shopping, head to the Bugis Street Market. This is one of the biggest, cheapest and probably busiest places to come shopping in the whole of Singapore. Fifty years ago, Bugis had quite a di‹erent reputation, as it was the center of the city’s red light district. But it has long shaken o‹ its naughty side and become a hub of shopping, fine dining and trendy cafés and bars. TIONG BAHRU NEIGHBORHOOD This urban-chic neighborhood is a great place to get a taste of old and new Singapore. Lined with row after row of quaint art deco shops, this hip enclave is jam-packed with some of the city’s hottest food and lifestyle establishments, not forgetting the heritage-rich places that o‹er a slice of traditional Singapore. Carve out a day here in your itinerary and be richly rewarded with wonderful eats, o‹beat shopping and a spot of culture. Be sure to spend some time at the Tiong Bahru Market and browse the fresh vegetables, meats, flowers, and daily essentials on the first floor. At the second-floor hawker center, get chwee kueh (steamed rice cake), wantan mee (Malaysian wonton noodles), or prawn noodles and a soya bean drink or sugar cane juice for a truly local experience. Also explore the book stores on Yong Siak Street and treat yourself to a pistachio flavor ice cream at the Creamier. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to walk around the area’s many back alleys and take a seat at P.S. Cafe Petit or Open Door Policy for Western food and drinks or Ah Chiang’s Porridge for more delicious local fare. Mari de Armas is a travel writer specializing in luxury cruising. She is a regular contributor to the official blog of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Luxury Goes Exploring. Read more of her posts at RSSCBlog.com.