31 October, 2014

Side Trip: Bugis, Singapore


I am really, really thankful for whatever little time I was blessed with earlier this year because I was able to squeeze in a visit to Singapore. It was unexpected, slightly not planned but it was certainly a much-needed trip. I want to give myself props and a pat on the back for not flaking out last minute. Otherwise, I wouldn't be writing this post about Bugis. Lol.

Some time in 2012, a friend asked me if I was in Singapore because of a Foursquare check-in at  Bugis Singaporean Street Food . It's a very casual food place with not-so hawker-esque price that my colleagues and I used to frequent because of their Laksa, Shrimp Snow Balls, and Singaporean Street Food. At that time, we've been told that most of the stuff on their menu were imported from Singapore — and this is when I started to become curious about the real Bugis.




A glimpse of Bugis' history
"In the 1950s, Bugis Street was renowned internationally for its notorious night activities, where flamboyantly dressed transvestites would gather and parade themselves, attracting sailors and military personnel from overseas. In the evening, the entire street would come alive as push carts gather to offer a wide selection of cheap goods and hawker food, hence earning its night market or 'Pasar Malam' namesake.

Today, Bugis Street has become a unique retail shopping destination. After undergoing a major facelift, Bugis Street now houses almost 800 shops, making it the largest street shopping location in Singapore. With a unique blend of retail concepts ranging from chic and fashionable clothing and accessories, to beauty services like manicure parlors and hair salons, you will be constantly enticed by the ever changing shopping landscape and its buzzing activities."

What to expect.
I like going to street markets whenever I travel. Aside from snagging good buys for pasalubongs ( presents given to friends & family members when one arrives from a trip, it's a very Filipino thing ), a street market is always a great place to experience local culture and I'm happy to share that all those that I've been to didn't disappoint.

My friend, Eggie, was nice enough to take me to Bugis the afternoon that I arrived in SG. Although she said that we can walk from Orchard to Bugis, we opted to take the MRT because I was on a pretty tight schedule that day, which was a comfortable less than 10-minute ride from my hotel.



I read in a CNN Travel article that Bugis used to be Singapore's former red light district, but it has been re-created and today, it has a nice mix of shopping and dining options. There's a mall ( Bugis Junction, it's air-conditioned ) and a more organized flea market that made me think about Manila's Divisoria. Ours isn't as organized as theirs, but there are portions that had a bit of a semblance.

It's a very busy place, crowded but tolerable. It's bustling with activities and seems to be a popular shopping destination for locals and tourists alike.





What to do. What to see. What to eat.
Bugis is a popular shopping place in SG. Locals come here for value-for-money retail therapy because there are just sooooo many fabulous finds from clothes, bags, shoes, accessories ( SGD1.50-UP ), watches, and everything in between. With clothing items that range from SGD3 to SGD20, it's certainly a fashionista's heaven.

While tourists can get their souvenirs in other Singapore tourists spot, turistas like me come here to get souvenirs and well, pasalubongs too — magnets, pens, caps, bags, shirts and other clothing apparel, key chains, mugs, chocolates, fruits, etc. It's just strange that I didn't find the only souvenir that I like to get whenever I'm on a trip: a post card. Absurd, right?

Eggie and I practically walked the entire afternoon, but it was worth all the calories we burned. Both somewhat tired, but still willing to go for it, we stopped by this stall that sold fresh fruit shakes and fresh fruit juices. Admittedly, I am not a juice person, but I felt adventurous that afternoon and tried different juices. I mostly gulped those that I don't see here in PH. The Rose Bundong ( or Bandung, priced at SGD1 or approx. P33 ) is a new favorite.





Image Credit: eatdrinkkl.blogspot.com


And, if you like Kaya Balls ( yummy mini dome-shaped buns with coconut egg jam & butter that come at SGD4 for 8-pieces ). You have to head over to Bugis for the best Kaya Balls in Singapore. P agrees with me. He didn't go with Eggie and I, but I brought some for him and he kept comparing the Kaya Balls that I bought from Bugis to the other Kaya Balls that we had during this trip.

Another Singapore goodie that I really liked is the Fresh Popiah. Egs introduced me to it, said she used to have it almost everyday when she was trying to manage her weight. Popiah has a Chinese origin, but has variations in Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia. It's actually a lot like our Fresh Lumpiang Ubod here in the Philippines. I had an entire roll all to myself and it was filling! Thank goodness for the long walks, otherwise, I wouldn't have room for dinner that night.






If I wasn't so much in a russ-h that afternoon, I would have walked some more to see the temples and other sights that are near Bugis. I would have gone on more local gastro-adventures. So, it looks like I will be back but this time, P has to be with me. He felt bad that he didn't to join Egs and I at Bugis. It's a very interesting place and I would love to come back to see more of it because half-a-day here is certainly not enough. ☮..Peace + _Love + Spreading Some Travel Vibes. RUSS.

50 comments:

Amby Felix said...

I can't wait to visit Singapore! I would actually love living there. The food looks amazing, and I'm going to be on the lookout for that rose drink now. I'm sure I can in my city! I am always finding amazing new things to try. It looks absolutely beautiful!

Masshole Mommy said...

I would love to get to Singapore one day. What a fun side trip you took.

Fiona said...

Looks like such a great place to visit. I love the look of the food and the lanterns everywhere, it just exudes culture :)

Shaney Vijendranath said...

My hubby wants to visit here soon, we love traveling! I really like your pictures.

Nicci said...

What a colorful street market. I'm glad you had a good time!

bxcrochet said...

Looks like you had an amazing time. Great pictures too.

Michelle F.

Aisha Kristine Chong said...

When I went to SG - my favorite part of the trip was when I went to bugis - I enjoyed the place, the people and the shops and food too!

Grace | A Shutterbug's Lair said...

Seems like a pretty crowded place! :) But looks so fun to explore! :)

Carmen Perez (listen2mama) said...

I've never been to Singapore, but it definitely looks like a very vibrant city. Great photos!

Chrissy Mazzocchi said...

It's kinda like NYC with all the people everywhere! Love it!

madhippies said...

Sounds like an amazing place with a fascinating history!! Between the shopping, food and culture, so much to experience.

Yona Williams said...

I would love to try some of those juices...like the strawberry juice. That looked really good. Also, what are Shrimp Snow Balls? Sounds like something I might like.

Jamie McGillen said...

I LOVE travel photos and these ones are great! I would love to go shopping there some time :)

Elizabeth O. said...

I love Bugis in Singapore too! So many great finds.

Mrs. Mashed Up said...

Sometimes it is those last minute, slightly disorganized trips that turn out to be the best. It is when you get to find some places and things you might have missed.

nova hedges said...

Someday i would like to visit that place along with my family to see the beauty and the cleanest city of the world.

Miranda Myrabev said...

Singapore is beautiful, love the food

Breanna Sheffield said...

What an amazing city. Your pictures really capture the culture and way of life there. The thing I want to do the most is travel just to sample genuine food abroad!

Kori Tomelden said...

I've always wanted to visit Singapore. It looks like a very vibrant country.

Rebecca Swenor said...

This looks like an amazing place indeed. I would love to go there but make sure you know the laws there because some are insane. Thanks for sharing.

Margarita Ibbott said...

pasalubongs ... I l love learning new words and learning about new customs so this is today's word. Thanks for that. Love the review. One day I hope to visit Singapore.

Cam | Bibs and Baubles said...

Sounds like a great place to explore. The food looks deelish!

mail4rosey said...

All of the different foods sound so interesting. I would love to visit!

melanie feehan said...

I've never been but this is on my bucket list. I loved your photos.

Cheap Is The *New* Classy said...

I have never been to Singapore, but it looks like a wonderful place to visit. I love all the roadside foods and local shops.

Liz Mays said...

It definitely sounds like a place that you need to spend more time at. The tastes sound so worth it!

Carly said...

It looks like you had a great time in Singapore! I would love to be able to visit sometime.

FamiGami said...

It looks like a nice place to visit! I wouldn't mind going to China but I think the culture shock would be intense!

Melissa said...

I'm just in awe right now! First, everything looks so great for formerly being a red light district. & second, my wallet could get in some serious trouble if I ever made the trek there one day! LOL

R.F. Dietz said...

I love seeing other places around the world and the fun things they do I think the whole transvestite attracting sailor story is interesting and I love the red light district past of that one place. It's pretty neat

Jessica Doll said...

I love going to different markets when I travel, it's so fun and easy to learn more about the culture and to find goodies you might not find by sticking to main stream stores.

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Krystal Butherus said...

I love your photos! I really can get a feel for the place.

Winter White said...

You're so right about venturing off to street markets to get the local vibe when you're out of town. I love going and find all of my souvenirs there. Bugis looks like a great place to visit!

Amie said...

Really interesting view point of my country from a foreigner (: I daresay you would be more knowledgeable than the average Singaporean than our own history of the tourist spots! ^^

Raine Pal said...

Pretty cool place, but what I really adore is the clothes you wear. Very jolly and comfy!

It's nice to see things like Food, SCENERY etc....and also the person doing the travel, getting all the info and giving us ideas what to do and what to eat..where to go...etc...

Thanks! Very interesting!

Fred Hawson said...

I have been to Singapore but I have not really heard of Bugis before. This year, my wife was looking for a Singapore hotel, and she found a lot in the Bugis area. I will show her your article.

Hannah Green said...

One place I want to visit is Singapore especially now our friends have moved there. I'm unsure of which parts I would like to go to though. This was a great little taster. I agree markets are always a good spot, bursting with culture and locals.

Louise Banta said...

This made me really miss Bugis! It's one of my favorite places in Singapore. Not just because it has so many shops but because they have much cheaper food and beverage for sale! There's two (2) fruit shake stall in Bugis, which one did you go to? The one near the front entrance or the one inside? :)

Tiffany Yong W.T. said...

It's nice to read about my country from a foreigner's point of view. Thanks for writing about Bugis! It's quite an interesting perspective!

Elizabeth O. said...

I've been there once, but I have never been to this part. I am planning to come back and Bugis will definitely be in my list of places to visit in Singapore.

Sunshine Kelly said...

I have been to Bugis a few times, that place the food are quite good and cheap. You can get some knick-knacks quite cheap too.

MELISASource said...

Oh wow I really want to travel there one day! Looks and sounds like an amazing place to visit!

papaleng said...

I've been there 2013 and I definitely agree, Bugis is a great place to visit when you're in Singapore.

Jason P. said...

I really really love Bugis Street! They have the coolest stuff there! You look like you had a great time! :D

Fernando Lachica said...

It's nice being in another place and as a tourist. Unlike, others are in another place because of employment. Very well portrayed by your photos.

Franc said...

I love the Bugis area because there are a lot of food and shopping places. I always have my lunch here even if my hotel is in City Hall.

Karen said...

I will take note of your short adventure in Bugis Street, coz the family is planning to visit Singapore hopefully before this year ends.

Amanda Love said...

I've never been to Singapore but I hear that its wonderful there and you just confirmed it for me. I would love to visit it one day.

Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen said...

I love streetfood and I want to try what kind of streetfood Singapore has to offer!