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Singapore's Best Kept Secrets

Singapore's Best Kept Secrets

Picture of Matthew Clark
Updated: 28 July 2017
As one of the largest cities in Asia, Singapore is full of amazing restaurants, bars and things to do, but with so much out there, it’s sometimes hard to know what to do and see. This list shows some of the hidden gems and alternative attractions in this incredible city. Read on to discover Singapore’s best kept secrets.

St. John’s Island

Located about six and a half kilometres south of Singapore City is the beautiful, secluded St. John’s Island. If you’re looking to get away from the intensity and corporate-atmosphere of the city, this is the perfect place to go. You’ll find gorgeous lagoons and beaches, as well as some great picnic spots and trekking routes. This is a great place to come to see some of the natural flora and fauna that Singapore has to offer and to get in touch with nature.

Books Actually

Books Actually is one of Singapore’s best independent bookstores, specializing in genuine Singaporean literature alongside rare or obscure editions, as well as selling vintage handmade stationery like post cards, notebooks and pencils. This shop is a bit off the beaten track, and it’s certainly not one of the top tourist destinations in Singapore. But its definitely worth the visit, especially if you are a lover of books and want to check out some great local literature.

Books Actually, 9 Yong Siak St, Singapore, +65 6222 9195

Syonan Jinja

Examples of the immense multiculturalism in Singapore, spread throughout the entire country. The city’s art, food and music are clearly inspired by many different countries, thanks to Singapore’s geographical location and historical role on the trade routes between Asia, the Pacific, Europe and America. One other thing in this country that is inspired by many cultures around the world is religion. An example of this is the Syonan Jinja, the remains of a shrine dedicated to the Japanese Shinto religion that was built during the Japanese occupation in the Second World War. The shrine was destroyed when the British re-occupied Singapore at the end of the war. This remains a difficult to find piece of history, and is accessible through unmarked tracks on the Terentang Trail in the MacRitchie Reservoir forest.

Syonan Jinja, MacRitchie Reservoir, Lornie Road, Singapore

The Library Bar

Hidden away in downtown Singapore is one of the more alternative bars in the city, The Library Bar. If you love a good cocktail, cool jazz and blues tunes, and walls lined with a huge selection of books, you will love this bar. It was once one of Singapore’s coolest places, that only those in the know would be able to find, but with drinks as good as the ones you can find here word spreads, and it has turned into one of Singapore’s more popular cocktail bars. It’s a great opportunity to go for a bit of an adventure, so dress up nice, head over to Keong Saik Road and try the great drinks at this bar.


The Library, 47 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore, +65 6297 7969


Just outside Singapore’s city centre is one of the few places where you can find produce sold direct from the country’s farmers. PasarBella Farmers Market gets its name from the Malay word ‘pasar’, which means ‘market’, and the Italian word ‘bella’, meaning ‘beautiful’. This market is a premium destination for grocery shopping, and it stocks a range of great, organic local and international produce, including less common exotic products. You’ll find everything that you need for your next dinner party or special meal, from artisan beers and wines and fresh seafood, to organic fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy.

PasarBella, 200 Turf Club Rd, Singapore, +65 6887 0077

Fratini La Trattoria

Stripped back to the traditional basics of Italian cuisine, Fratini La Trattoria doesn’t have a menu. Instead, you entrust your dining experience to Gabriel Fratini, an award-winning Italian chef with over four decades of experience. Without a menu to stick to, ingredients and dishes change by the day depending on the available produce of the season. Fratini La Trattoria is elegant yet homely, more like a private kitchen than a restaurant, and is perfect for a romantic dinner.


Fratini La Trattoria, 10 Greenwood Ave, Singapore, +65 6468 2868

Seafood pasta at Fratini La Trattoria | Courtesy of Fratini La Trattoria
Seafood pasta at Fratini La Trattoria | Courtesy of Fratini La Trattoria


On the ground floor of the experimental and boutique Wanderlust Hotel is the rustic French bistro Cocotte. Cocotte serves delicious French cuisine in a comfortable and casual setting, with unpretentious decor that will leave you feeling at home and relaxed. The menu offers provincial style, heart-warming dishes that conjour the beautiful French countryside. For brunch expect a free-flow brunch trolley that serves a large choice of savoury and sweet treats.


Cocotte, 2 Dickson Road, Singapore, +65 6298 1188