Singapore days 3-4: Katong/Joo Chiat + Supertree Grove light show + Botanical Garden + cat cafe + more hawker eats

After the first two days of my big Asia trip, I started feeling better-adjusted and much more myself these last two days, which were also my final days in Singapore. Singapore was a short but very sweet leg, and these final days made me so grateful I made this pit stop before bouncing to the next destination.

Day 3: Putu piring from Netflix + Katong/Joo Chiat neighborhood + Supertree Grove light show

I woke up on the early side again and killed some time in the morning working on blog stuff before heading to Haig Road. Haig Road is one of the few hawker stands in Singapore that sells putu piring; I saw this hawker on a street food show on Netflix and remembered it looked delicious and I loved the owner’s story too. I mentioned in my last post how I’m making more effort to eat good food while traveling, and I suppose stalking someone I saw on tv is the epitome of that.

Putu piring at Haig Road

Putu piring was divine! It’s also not very hard for me to like something sweet. 🙂 It’s a steamed rice flour snack filled with palm sugar and topped with coconut — a classic Singaporean dessert also found in Malaysia and Thailand. Worth every effort to find it.

Putu piring

After my stalking episode, I explored more of the neighborhood called Katong and Joo Chiat. This charming neighborhood features Peranakan culture (an ethnic group from Chinese or Indian immigrants who married indigenous people from the Malay Archipelago in the 15th century). The neighborhood was so unique, filled with mixed cultures, colorful houses, heritage shops, and quaint eateries.

Katong Joo Chiat
Colorful houses in Katong Joo Chiat

After my stroll, I headed back to my home base in Little India to find lunch. Up to that point, I tried a few hawker centers near my hotel, but I found a new center for lunch that totally exceeded the other ones. This center featured more Chinese food than the others, and there were so many hawker stands with nostalgic foods from my childhood. I loved it here so much, I literally ate here every single meal for the next two days (The front door guy even recognized me towards the end. He must see hundreds of people every day!).

hawker stand in Singapore

I got these hand pulled noodles in a delicious gravy with fried chicken + fish balls. YUM.

hand pulled noodles from hawker stand

Bean curd with red beans for dessert. Beans are common in Asian desserts – it sounds weird, but I love it. I ate this every day in Singapore. 🙂

Asian dessert

I bummed around in the afternoon and then headed out in the evening to Gardens by the Bay again. I loved it so much the first day that I knew I wanted to go back again and also catch the free light show at night. It’s been raining a lot these last two days, but I didn’t let that stop me. 🙂

Singapore river selfie

The garden was something else in the rain…I felt it come to life even more as the rain livened the plants and made me feel like I was in a jungle.

Gardens by the bay in the rain

Then came the light show! It was phenomenal. I didn’t think the Supertree Grove could get any better, but it became even more alive with these lights. They played a special show for Chinese New Year, and I loved humming along to the traditional tunes. 🙂 I only wish the show was longer.

Supertree grove light show

The walk back was so beautiful…Singapore at night is a whole different scene from the day. It almost reminded me of Las Vegas, with a glowing skyline and people strolling the streets on the warm evenings. I loved everything about it.

Singapore at night
Singapore at night

Day 4: rainy day at the Botanical Gardens + kitty time

The next morning started off with breakfast at my new favorite hawker center. I got kaya toast which I tried on my first day – I loved it so much I wanted it one more time before leaving.

kaya toast

Then I headed out for the day’s activity: Singapore’s Botanical Garden. Since meeting Joe, I’ve become a big lover of gardens and try to see a city’s botanical garden if they have one. The one in Singapore is also a UNESCO heritage site, so I thought it would be worth seeing.

I was hopeful the rain would stop at some point, but it poured all morning. It slowed me down a little, but I ended up loving the garden in the rain. There was a calming vibe as I bounced from gazebo to gazebo, taking in all the greenery and listening to the rain.

Singapore botanical garden

I explored a free museum to stay dry for a bit. There was a special exhibit devoted to durian which I thought was interesting.

Overall, I didn’t think Singapore’s botanical garden had as much plant diversity / interesting flowering plants compared to other ones I’ve been to, but it was still a beautiful escape from the city.

For lunch, I found a special dish at the hawker center. These are steamed rice cake served with preserved radish & chili sauce — one of my favorite childhood dishes that I’ve probably had only once or twice, so I was super excited to eat this again after so many years.

After a morning in the rain, I wanted to find something indoors for the afternoon. I passed by a cat cafe called Catopia and thought it was the perfect activity! There was a $10 USD drink minimum, but then I got to play with a bunch of cats. It was fun to see all the different personalities and it made me miss my kitties a lot.

Found one that looks like Ben! ❤

My favorite was this chonker here…the fluffiest cat I’ve ever seen! He was so cuddly and acted like his royal highness.

cat cafe

I can’t believe my Singapore leg is already over. I’m leaving feeling like I could spend another few days here! I didn’t expect to enjoy Singapore as much as I did (usually big cities are not for me). I appreciated that Singapore was so easy – I didn’t have any major issues, and I appreciated all the conveniences while adjusting to traveling and before moving onto countries that might be more challenging.

One thing I loved about Singapore is I felt like I blended in more than any other country I’ve been to. Singapore is super diverse with many Asian ethnic groups as well as a large expat population of westerners. It also helped that I look like lot of people here (ethnically Chinese). 🙂 I’m sure every traveler can relate to the feeling of sticking out, and it’s a good feeling to be completely anonymous.

Next up, I’m flying out to Cambodia tomorrow, where I’ll be spending an entire month. While I enjoyed the bustle of Singapore, I’m excited to slow things down and shift to the laid back, countryside environment of Cambodia. 🙂


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