If you miss traveling but aren’t quite ready to plan a holiday just yet, we’ve got good news for you! Right here in Singapore, you’ll already find ample activities to do and places to visit that will make you feel as if you’re in another country. We’ve rounded up ten of the best spots around the island that’ll give you the best overseas vibes, so go on, tick them off your to-visit list one by one!
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At Keyaki Japanese Restaurant, you’ll not only be able to indulge in skilfully prepared dishes but will also be surrounded by an authentic Japanese setting while enjoying your meal. Inside, there are Tatami-style private dining rooms which you can request when making a booking, while outside, the restaurant is surrounded by a beautiful garden and koi pond. A visit to this lovely restaurant will no doubt have you feeling like you’ve been whisked away to Japan.
Keyaki Japanese Restaurant, 7 Raffles Blvd, Singapore 039595, +65 6826 8240, www.panpacific.com/keyaki
You don’t have to travel halfway across the globe to feel like you’re in New York City. Central Perk, a cafe that mirrors the one frequently seen in hit sitcom “Friends”, makes you feel like you’re seated in one of NYC’s cafes from the 90s. Apart from that, a portion of the cafe is also decorated to look like Monica’s home itself, so it’s the perfect place for fans to spend an afternoon at. As you and your pals gather around their sofa seats sipping on coffee, you guys will really feel like you’re chilling in the Big Apple.
Central Perk Cafe, 1 Magazine Rd, #01-01 Central Mall, Singapore 059567, +65 9025 2524, www.centralperk.sg
Sometimes, the best part about being overseas is the tranquility, right? If you’re burnt out and want a little bit of time and space to yourself, book a staycation at Resorts World Sentosa’s Treetop Lofts. You’ll be surrounded by nothing but lush greenery, which offers you a chance to unwind and recharge while feeling like you’re in an overseas resort on the outskirts or maybe Thailand or Indonesia. You can spend the entire day sipping tea by the balcony and taking in the view.
Treetop Lofts, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269, +65 6577 8899, www.rwsentosa.com/treetop-lofts
Experience a little bit of Japan in Singapore by visiting Yunomori Onsen & Spa. They’ve got a public hot spring that’s communal but gender-separated, so it feels just about as authentic as the ones in Japan. Once you’re done soaking in the hot spring and relaxing, head to their Yonomori Cafe for a hearty Japanese meal while dressed in a yukata. This is the perfect way to spend your afternoon if you need a short respite.
Yunomori Onsen & Spa, 1 Stadium Pl, #02-17/18 Kallang Wave Mall, Singapore 397628, +65 6386 4126, www.yunomorionsen.com
Need a little break from our concrete jungle? Take a day trip to Kampong Lorong Buangkok, Singapore’s only surviving village for a slow stroll to feel like you’re in a different country (and era) for a bit. There are around 30 residents still living here, and it’ll be an interesting experience exploring the place while admiring the differently decorated houses. Of course, be mindful while you’re touring the place and refrain snapping pictures of private properties.
Kampong Lorong Buangkok, 7 Lorong Buangkok, Singapore 547557
Who says we don’t have spectacular scenery right here in Singapore? A trip to Seletar North Bridge Link will prove you otherwise, with its gorgeous view of Sungei Punggol that’ll have you in awe. It’s such a serene and tranquil scene with beautiful waters, and you’ll instantly feel like you’re in another country. We’d recommend heading down on a sunnier day because it looks best when the sun’s shining or during golden hour.
Seletar North Link Bridge, in between Punggol Barat Island and Punggol Timor Island
If you’re bored of the typical cuisines commonly found in Singapore, why not have a meal at Kafe Utu? It’s Singapore’s first African-themed cafe, and they not only serve delicious African dishes but have also done an amazing job decorating the space according to theme. It’s situated in a quaint little shophouse, and on the menu, you’ll find East and West African food as well as specialty coffee — perfect options if you’re looking to fuel up for the day.
Kafe Utu, 12 Jiak Chuan Rd, Singapore 089265, +65 6996 3937, www.kafeutu.com
Located at Bukit Batok Town Park, Little Guilin is a gorgeous quarry that’ll make you feel like you’re admiring the scenery in China. It’s actually very accessible and pretty close to the main road, yet the moment you’re there you’ll feel like you’ve been transported overseas. Sit down and enjoy the tranquility of the area for a little bit, and snap a photo or two while before heading off — you’ll realize that your photo really looks as if you snapped it while overseas.
Little Guilin, Bukit Batok East Ave 5, Singapore 650242, www.nparks.gov.sg/bukit-batok-town-park
If you're missing Japan, visit Shinjuku Kissa Tetsudo, a cafe centred around the Japanese railway system. The experience is meant to make you feel like you're seated in a Japanese train, complete with train timetables resembling the ones in Japan. They've even got an interactive diorama section — the cafe's main highlight — which you can touch and play around with. Enjoy tea-time treats like sakura coffees and roll cakes as you admire the impressive interior.
Shinjuku Kissa Tetsudo, 111 Somerset Road #02-54, Singapore 238164, +65 6208 0508, www.uchimawari.jp
Drop by the newly opened Friends Cafe HK at Yishun for a cha chan teng (Hong Kong tea house) experience in Singapore! With its retro decor literally mirroring old-school tea houses in Hong Kong, you’re in for an immersive experience that’ll make you feel like you’re overseas the moment you step foot into the space. Here, you even get to enjoy a selection of comfort food staples commonly found in Hong Kong, like the Peanut Butter Milk Toast.
Friends Cafe HK 朋友冰室, 60 Springside Walk, #01-18, Singapore 786020, +65 8621 1125, www.facebook.com/friendscafehk
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Main Image Credit: @chuplayavirda on Instagram