Wednesday, 6 Feb 2013
Caught in Singapore over Chinese New Year and don’t know how to tackle the dearth of open malls and restaurants? Will supermarkets be open? How’re you going to entertain the kids?!
Hon, you know we’d pull through.
See inside the Istana
The official residence and office of the President of Singapore, the Istana is a 106 acre estate right on Orchard Road. Open Houses are only held 5 times a year: Chinese New Year, Labour Day (May 1), National Day (August 9) and Deepvali (October/November), and Open Houses have free entry into the palace and the gardens. Pack a picnic and pretend your royalty for the day!
To market, to market
Okay, getting a dinner reservation can be a bit of a nightmare since plenty of places close shop (but plenty more open) during CNY. So you’re taking the opportunity to throw a holiday lunch and maybe a barbecue dinner. Great news – supermarkets are still operating! 24hour Cold Storage outlets will be open as per normal operating hours while those that aren’t 24 hours will open later and close earlier (we’re told a 1-2 hour buffer, so hit the shops midday and you’re good).
So your favourite kids-friendly café may be closed… But a mega playground remains open. Universal Studios Singapore will be operating as usual, and great news for adults – ditch the cooking and eat out! Restaurants both inside the park and on RWS will be open. Psst: it’s also a great time to head to the new oceanarium!
Or head to the Singapore Art Museum – for free!
Catch a movie
Let’s do the math. Movies show as per usual but about half the country (or more) will be busy doing family visits. Dare we say our audience to seat ratio will be at least 1:2 (but probably 1:4)? Count us in.
Go online shopping
If you ever needed a reason to shop, this is it. Most malls will be open (here’s a handy guide) but individual retail outlets will probably be closed for at least the first day of CNY. Parking may be way easier but heading to Orchard Road, Singapore’s new ghost town? Not worth our time. Here’s how we like to shop internationally but plenty of local e-tailers too: try Zalora, GNOSSEM, Club 21, Vama Style, Lulu Bare, Attaby, and Minor Avenue. Heck, you can even order some new furniture online!
If you’re determined to use the extra few days off to unwind, don’t bother with washing the dishes. Tip: most Chinese restaurants will be closed CNY eve and the first day of the Lunar New Year, so your best bet is a more Western cuisine. Try French, Mexican, or Italian. Our family-friendly fave inITALY will be open, so ring up Chef Mario and book a table quick! While you’re there, make sure you feast on a Crostino for us. And since you’re on holiday… double up on desserts. They make a mean chocolate lava cake.
Tip: Chinatown is a great time for kids pre-CNY, but avoid the place CNY even and the first two days. Everyone’s closed for the holidays.
Image: Singapore Art Museum