Travelling is something we just can’t do at the moment, but there is a way to temporarily quench the wanderlust — through virtual travel. We know, we know, it definitely isn’t the same, but hear us out! Walk Japan is a pioneer of luxury travel walking tours, taking small groups to the undiscovered places of Japan. As a way to continue to explore the beautiful country, they’ve launched a new series of virtual travel tours — Talk Japan. It’s a brilliant way of visiting the gorgeous country without leaving the comfort of your couch.

These captivating talks are a gateway to connect with Japan from the comfort of your home and you can register on their website for free. While we may not be able to physically trek through the rolling hills of Kunisaki or the snowy peaks of Hokkaido, they do insights into Japan’s vast history, culture and traditions.

Whether you’re looking to seek out Walk Japan in the future to travel or are simply interested in the wonders of this incredible country, do join for a virtual experience of a lifetime. Here are some upcoming talks for March and April.

What matters is water: ‘How I grow rice in my village’

Japan isn’t a wealth of natural resources but water is abundant across the nation. The rice paddies are a testament to this as they are flooded in the spring with each field shimmering with reflections of the setting sun and the surrounding countryside. Steaming bowls of white rice are essential to Japanese cuisine and invariably appear at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rice is also transformed into a range of other treats including senbei crackers, mochi cakes and, of course, sake.

Given its abundance, rice may seem like a straightforward crop to grow. However, in his talk, virtual travel tour leader Takuya Ugajin takes us through the dedicated year-round process of controlling huge volumes of water he needs to grow his rice in Nagano Prefecture. Takuya also enlightens us in the unique role that water played in forming Japanese Shinto beliefs and shrines.

11th March 2021 11am JST 

‘What I think about Ueno when I think about Ueno’

Tokyo’s Ueno Park is a popular spot for ohanami, the Japanese celebratory spring picnics that are held under the full-bloom of sakura cherry trees each year. The tradition of Ohanami is highly anticipated by all and are extremely fun despite sometimes being raucous social occasions. In Ueno, however, before the bloom of the sakura blossoms, it saw a dramatic unfolding of events in the late 19th Century.

Professor Bill Steele reveals in his virtual travel tour how Ueno Park became a battlefield during the Boshin War (1868-69). He describes the unrest and uproar of the age and pays heed to the heroic soldiers, who are fondly remembered to this day in Japan and commemorated with statues in the park.

1st April 2021 11am JST

‘Read before you drink: unlocking the secrets of your sake bottle’

Walk Japan tour leader and head researcher for the Sake Industry News newsletter, Shima san brings her sake expertise to her virtual talk on Japan’s libation to the gods. Shima san delves into the variety of Sake available, introducing us to the different grades and complexity of flavours available. She also provides insights on how to choose a sake to accompany different occasions and tastes, and how to just simply imbibe for the pleasure of Japan’s most unique beverage.

22nd April 2021 11am JST

To join Talk Japan events register on their website, and complete the form. Talks will also be recorded and made available for viewing at a later date.

About Walk Japan 

National Geographic has described Walk Japan as “one of the 200 Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”. The company leads the way in providing the most fulfilling and enjoyable tours available in Japan. Walk Japan has an unrivalled range of regular, scheduled tours for Japan and is researching more for the future. It also creates and runs private, custom tours tailored to customers’ particular interests. These include private tours for families, friends, societies, companies and schools.

The lunar festivities are upon us again. While we could still get our annual fix of CNY goodies, lucky bamboos and (hopefully still thick and hefty) red packets, some things will have to change for the year of the Metal Ox. Having dived straight into social distancing and WFH after last year’s lunar new year celebrations, this year’s reunion dinners and visiting will have to be a little less cozy this year. Nonetheless, a little bit of distance can’t keep us from enjoying ourselves, especially with Valentine’s Day falling on the same weekend! Here’s what we think would jazz up this long weekend whether you’re spending it with family, friends or your other half.

Cheers to love (or not)

Reunion dinners for eight are still on. Impress your nearest and dearest with a bottle of Asakura Premium from Kyushu Spirits’s new koji whisky line, crafted meticulously with the century-old fermentation process from the island of Kyushu in combination with western wood-aging techniques. With scents of honey, vanilla and coconut from the oak cask, a hint of soft white florals and boasting notes of honey work with hints of buttery brown sugar and cinnamon with a touch of yuzu zest on the tongue, this golden bottle is sure to keep everybody huat and happy.

There are few things more romantic than a bouquet of roses, but we’re definitely swooning over the Rosé Multi-Vintage, a sunset pink number from Nyetimber. With vineyards earnestly cared for by husband-wife duo, Cherie Spriggs and Brad Greatrix, you’re sure to feel the love bubbling in every sip.

For the lovebirds who are planning to stay home this Valentine’s weekend, the folks at Vivant will be going live with three master producers of seductions’ favourite beverage. Grab a bottle from their specially curated Experience Kit, cuddle up and delve into The Roots of Champagne with your significant other.

Meanwhile, anti-valentiners can head out and join like-minded souls at Neon Pigeon, where singles are celebrated with tomahawks and cocktails. The design team at EDG have captured the essence of the modern Izakaya, marrying it with an underground vibe, creating a gritty, urban environment to unwind over creative cuisines and beverages. 

Find time for self-care

If all the festive snacking has got your guilt meter through the roof, you can head down to Yoga Movement’s new design-centric Orchard flagship studio to burn off some of those pineapple tarts. The studio offers the seven signature YM class types as well as Pop Up classes, YM’s version of themed classes. There’s no need to fret even if you’re just an aspiring Yogi as all classes are multi-levelled – from Basics for foundational yoga postures, to Power Flow or Hot classes that will get you working up a good sweat. After your sessions, go ahead and grab a cuppa at the Yoga Movement coffee bar, where you can wind down and watch the bustle of Orchard Road rush by.

As most of us look forward to celebrating the festive season at home in Singapore this year, the stunning celebrations and decorations happening around the world still fill us with hope, excitement, and inspiration for our upcoming travels. The V&VPR team have rounded up our favourite places across the globe that are filling us with Christmas cheer!

📍London – The Savoy

The Savoy, the storied hotel on the Strand, is this year partnering with Nyetimber, the leading English Sparkling Wine producer, on some fabulously festive initiatives this December.  Together they have created opportunities to shop, learn and indulge so that guests and visitors can enjoy a Christmas with added fizz this year!

📍Hong Kong – The Upper House 

This festive season, The Upper House is aglow with a Christmas tree inspired by the iconic street signs of Hong Kong in collaboration with architectural studio, COLLECTIVE and Streetsign HK, which will be auctioned off to raise funds for local charity ImpactHK. 

Inspired by Hong Kong’s iconic illuminating street signs and with the guidance of Streetsign HK, a group that advocates street signs as urban cultural heritage, COLLECTIVE reinvigorates the fading art of neon sign making with the creation of the “Doodle Tree”. Breaking with convention of 2D neon signs, the team and Mr. Wu Chi Kai, one of only three remaining local craftsmen, expertly fabricated the neon tubes into 3D form through perpetual experiments and traditional heated glass bending techniques.   

📍Chengdu – The Temple House 

The Temple House has unveiled a seven-meter gold-coloured Christmas tree constructed partly from recycled bamboo.

For the past four years, The Temple House has commissioned a one-of-a-kind tree that incorporates whimsical elements created from recycled materials. This year, the unconventional Christmas tree features bamboo partly recycled from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding decorated with hundreds of golden ornaments. After the festive season, the bamboo will be reused to house the herb garden in our courtyard during the winter months.

📍Bali – Capella Ubud

Throughout December, Capella Ubud, Bali pledges to donate 5% of room revenue from direct bookings to the English for a Brighter Future initiative, which supports elementary students and youths in the Keliki village with complimentary English language classes. 

 As English is the language of tourism in Bali, Capella Ubud hopes to enrich the lives of the local children and nurture them to become the hospitality leaders of tomorrow. Students are empowered to take charge of their education by collecting plastic waste in the neighbourhood in exchange for a place in the classroom; this, in turn, fosters love and respect for the environment.

As the world works together to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, Capella Hotels and Resorts pledges to support the youths of their community with the launch of their Capella Youth initiative, just ahead of the festive season. 

Focused on empowering younger generations to create a better tomorrow, the Capella Youth initiative Is an ongoing programme, whereby each property within the esteemed portfolio will work with long-term charitable partners to give back to the community. The initiative was born out of the recognition that opportunity arises from education. Now, more than ever, the Capella Hotels and Resorts team wishes to galvanise their local communities and enable them to thrive for years to come. 

Capella Singapore 

Capella Singapore is making this festive season all the more special by working with the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) on two unique initiatives, which will allow guests to support a worthy cause while standing a chance to spend the festive season at Capella Singapore with their loved ones. Working synergistically with Association for Persons with Special Needs (ASPN), the property empowers youths to harness their full potential through curated mentorship opportunities. 

Capella Singapore’s first festive initiative will be an online auction to raise funds for APSN, whereby guests will be able to bid online to win an exclusive staycation package over the festive season, which will include seasonal epicurean experiences. Four stays are up for grabs, with two on Christmas Eve and two on New Year’s Eve. In addition to the online auction, Capella Singapore will be inviting long-stay residents and colleagues to play ‘Secret Santa,’ and ensure that the children protected by APSN receive a special gift this year. 

Capella Bangkok 

Having welcomed its first guests in October this year, Capella Bangkok is committed to a longterm partnership with “Wat Wang Pla Cheed” school in Nakhon Nayok district. In December, Capella Bangkok will kickstart the collaboration by supporting the renovation of the school’s canteen, with members of the culinary team curating a healthy menu for the students. 

Guests of Capella Bangkok are invited to support the initiative over the festive season by purchasing star ornaments, which will adorn the hotel’s Christmas tree. 

Capella Ubud  

Throughout December, Capella Ubud, Bali pledges to donate 5% of room revenue from direct bookings to the English for a Brighter Future initiative, which supports elementary students and youths in the Keliki village with complimentary English language classes.

As English is the language of tourism in Bali, Capella Ubud hopes to enrich the lives of the local children and nurture them to become the hospitality leaders of tomorrow. Students are empowered to take charge of their education by collecting plastic waste in the neighbourhood in exchange for a place in the classroom; this, in turn, fosters love and respect for the environment. Proceeds from recycling the discarded plastic bottles are reinvested to purchase school books and further educational tools for the community.

Capella Shanghai   

Capella Shanghai is kickstarting a collaboration with Shanghai Young Bakers, an empowering charitable initiative that provides French bakery training to marginalised Chinese youths who have been forced to drop out of school due to family circumstances and are unable to find stable employment. 

Capella Shanghai is offering two 10-week internships, whereby students will receive one-on-one mentorship from Executive Chef Romain Chapel of one-Michelin-star le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire. Over the festive season, a portion of all proceeds from Capella Shanghai’s Boulangerie will also be donated to Shanghai Young Bakers. 

Having spent more than enough time indoors this year, we’re all itching to get out and about, and what better place to start than our gorgeous, wildlife-filled Garden City?

To help you embrace the Great Outdoors, and discover a new side to Singapore, we’ve rounded up our favourite weekend activities that are sure to work up a sweat.

Glide around MacRitchie Reservoir 

Had enough of hiking and trekking around Singapore’s oldest reservoir? Why not try kayaking upon MacRitchie’s calm waters

Kayaking will not only make you work up a sweat, but also turn your stress down a notch, and give you the chance to enjoy a change of scenery featuring monitor lizards and monkeys. For those experienced in kayaking, venture far and wide around the reservoir, while first-timers or inexperienced boaters should opt for the large area cornered off near the Paddle Lodge to prevent sailing adrift. Book in advance for weekends as the kayaks sell out fast! 

The Paddle Lodge offers a range of different kayaks from $12 per hour, including solo vessels and double kayaks for you to enjoy the water with a friend. For more information or to reserve a kayak call 6258 0057.  

Enjoy the serenity of the sea at Constant Wind

Offering a multitude of water sports, Constant Wind on Singapore’s East Coast is a water sports hub, ideal for aqua addicts. From stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing, powerboating and sailing, enthusiasts can sign up to a lesson with an experienced instructor or rent the equipment for a few hours. 

Rates start from $27 for one hour on the weekend and $20 for an hour during weekdays. For those who don’t want to get wet, we recommend booking a Laser Bahia — at 16 feet, these dinghies can comfortably fit up to five people and you sit out of the water. For more information, or to book your slot on the water, please call 6445 5108. 

Cycle around Pulau Ubin from Singapore 

As we’re currently unable to venture out of Singapore, Pulau Ubin is the perfect way to ‘jump ship’ and discover an area away from home. Shaped like a boomerang, the island is home to Singapore’s last kampungs — reminiscent of our Garden City back in the 1960s — and also includes Chek Jawa Wetlands, a rich ecosystem, which can be explored on a boardwalk or via kayaking. Situated only a 15-minute bumboat ride from Changi Village Ferry Terminal, Pulau Ubin is a hub of recreational activities and an entire island ripe for discovery. 

Featuring all sorts of tropical wildlife (watch out for monkeys on the road!), dense vegetation and quarries, Pulau Ubin offers Instagramers a variety of photo spots for taking pictures, as well as plenty to look at and admire. In our experience, Pulau Ubin is best enjoyed on a bicycle — bring your own or rent one there. Enjoy venturing across the island on foot, or on two wheels, and remember to take plenty of water and mosquito repellent with you. 

Get off-the-beaten-track 

The vast mangrove forest at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is about as far away from ‘normal life’ in Singapore as it gets. Situated in the Northwestern part of the island, visitors can venture through the pathways and discover an impressive array of wildlife including monitor lizards, and a selection of birds such as egrets, hornbills and crocodiles. Indeed, Sungei Buloh’s wetlands is home to the estuarine crocodile which are critically endangered and on the danger list of Singapore’s threatened animals due to habitat loss and sadly, poaching.  

What are your favourite off-the-track adventures in The Little Red Dot? 

With weekend getaways off the cards for now, we’re embracing this new normal of exploring our own backyard and have realized that a day out is always more fun with our fur kids in tow! From green spaces where your dog can let off some steam, to pet-friendly restaurants and hotels, we’ve rounded up the best spots to give your pup a taste of a ‘Singapoliday’.  

Pup-friendly Hotels

Capella Singapore

Capella Singapore is one of the most luxurious pet-friendly hotels that welcomes small- to medium-sized pets (one pet up to approximately 6kg per guestroom, suite or villa). Well-known for their unparalleled personalised hospitality, it’s no different when it comes to your beloved family pet. Pet amenities include include pet bed, treats, toys, pee-pad and bowl.

Regent Singapore

Regent Singapore offers a five-star staycation experience for you and your four-legged friend. Plush bed, gourmet treats and chew toys galore. The Regent Pet Staycation package also comes with $100 in-room dining credit and a customised pet welcome amenity kit. Don’t forget to take your pup for a morning stroll at the iconic Singapore Botanic Gardens, which sits close to the property.

Restaurants & Cafes For Dog Lovers

Tanjong Beach Club

Pooches are allowed on the sun-soaked stretch of sand, which Tanjong Beach Club is perched on. The closest we’re getting to a Bali beach club; this tropical spot is the perfect place to catch some rays and for your pet to meet some fur friends. 

Ménage Café

Nestled in Bishan, Ménage Café offers grub for both pets and their parents to allow them to bond over mealtimes. Humans can opt for signatures such as the Fish & Chips or the Spicy Crabmeat Linguine, while pups will delight in sous vide meat with brown rice and broccoli.  

Parks and Dog Runs

Bishan Park Dog Run

Located in central Singapore, the Bishan – Ang Mo Kio Dog Run comprises of two fenced up areas, one for small and medium-sized dogs and one for large-sized dogs. One of the larger dog runs in the city, the 2,100 square meters area will allow your dog to get its fill of exercise. The dog runs here are well equipped with gravel footpaths, bench seating and water taps to keep your pets hydrated.

Jurong Lake Gardens Dog Run

Jurong Lake Gardens is one of Singapore’s biggest public dog runs; the 2,200-square-metre grass field is large enough for big dogs to run freely. Your pet will love the grass mounds that provide natural obstacles to slalom around.

Circuit breaker was a glorious time for delivery dining; satisfying that craving in the comfort of your pj’s all while supporting local? Sounds like a dream. Well into phase 2, most of our favourite restaurants have reopened their doors, filled with diners desperate for a good restaurant meal (while adhering to safe distancing, of course). Yet, there are many who would still rather opt for a meal at home either for convenience or safety reasons. When you’re not in the mood to cook, opt for these restaurants that are open for dine-in and still do delivery.  

Shake Shack Singapore

Shake Shack, known for its succulent ShackBurgers, crinkle cut fries, craft beer and frozen custard, has made waves in Singapore since its arrival in 2019, with its fourth Shack soon to open in bustling Suntec City. The modern day “roadside” burger stand also recently announced that on top of the option to dine-in, it would now be delivering from its Jewel Changi, Neil Road and Orchard Road Shacks.

Yàn

Yàn offers unpretentious, authentic Cantonese cuisine. Located within the National Gallery Singapore, guests are treated to a fine repertoire of flavourful Cantonese dishes that are guaranteed to excite. They also offer free islandwide delivery, self-collection and drive-through pickup for ultimate convenience.

Candlenut

The world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, Candlenut serves refined Peranakan cuisine that preserves the essence and complexities of traditional food. Order delivery or dine-in atop Dempsey Hill, enclosed in lush greenery.

Bar Cicheti

Tucked in a charming corner of Singapore’s Keong Saik enclave, Bar Cicheti honours the tradition of a daily Italian meal—pasta and wine. The joint is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, serving dine-in, takeout and delivery. Table reservations are highly recommended and order ahead for curb-side pick-up. They deliver islandwide from $10 with no minimum spend.

Artichoke

Helmed by Bjorn Shen, Artichoke offers Middle Eastern-inspired dishes in the heart of Singapore’s Arts and Heritage district. Dine-in, deliveries and takeaways are available –– you can even order via WhatsApp!

Staycations are the new vacations, and we’ve seen an influx in locals taking ‘Singapolidays’ right in our backyard. As guests are spending more time within the resort during their staycation, Capella Singapore has created a holistic and comprehensive program of activities that will allow guests to try something new every day. Each activity encapsulates the unparalleled ‘Capella Hospitality’ and serves to truly make guests’ stay unforgettable. 

Designed by the dedicated Capella Culturist team, the series of programmes and rituals celebrate heritage, arts, gastronomy and wellness – there’s something for every type of staycationer. Ranging from Family Yoga to a Boba Milk Tea building workshop, each experience is specially tailored to allow you to discover another side of Singapore.

Family Staycation

Parents looking for a family-friendly staycation will be delighted at the host of activities for their little ones at Capella Singapore. From scavenger hunts to arts and craft workshops such as canvas painting and Peranakan pattern handicraft, these activities will allow the entire family to unleash their creativity while spending quality time together. On Sunday, families can join the Revitalising Yoga Class, led by the resident yoga expert. Budding chefs can also take part in the Little Stars Culinary Workshop, with the choice between making cake pops and decorating cookies and cupcakes. 

Foodie Getaway

Highlighting the property’s extensive culinary offerings, the Capella Culturist team have crafted immersive experiences for foodies such as the unique Build Your Own Boba class; guests will get the chance to recreate a delicious brown sugar bubble milk tea, complete with Capella Singapore’s own bespoke Navegante tea. Those looking for a more refined experience can indulge in the Tea Time at The Living Room, where a selection of afternoon tea treats and beverages await or the Rum Appreciation session, where the team at Bob’s Bar will showcase the age-old history of rum, its importance to seafarers and introduce the spirit’s distinctive characteristics. 

Cultural Escape

The new programming also features a host of creative and cultural activities, aimed to allow locals to delve deeper into Capella Singapore’s rich history. The Heritage and Art Tour takes guests around the majestic bungalows built in the 1880s for British officers of the Royal Artillery, highlighting the riveting stories behind the art pieces displayed throughout the resort as well as the five heritage trees within the resort’s compound that are over a hundred years old. Led by the floral craftsmen that have overseen the arrangements for countless of iconic Capella Singapore weddings, the Floral Styling Workshop takes guests through the basics of creating the ideal bouquet, tapping onto each individual’s creative flair.

For more information about Capella Singapore, you can visit https://www.capellahotels.com/en/capella-singapore

Capella Singapore is dedicated to maintaining the highest hygiene standards to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their guests. To learn more about their commitment to safety practices, please visit their website.

While we won’t be travelling for the foreseeable future, it’s never too early to start dreaming about your first trip once international travel is a reality again. Of course, that first trip will have to be a trip of a lifetime and if it’s not on the ‘gram, did it really happen? Undeniably, this generation of travellers curate their itineraries like they do their feed. From stunning nature views to breath-taking architecture — there’s no Instagrammable destination quite like Sydney. You have the sand, surf, city and nature all rolled into one amazing, unforgettable destination. Bookmark these locations for your next visit, you’re going to want to get them all.

1. Bondi Icebergs

Sydney is renowned for its incredible ocean pools but none are as iconic as Bondi Icebergs. The 50 metre stretch of turquoise is set against the backdrop of the expansive ocean and crashing waves, and is truly a sight to behold. Whether you’re getting a shot in the water or a bird’s eye view from Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Bondi Icebergs is arguably the most photogenic pool in the world and worth a visit. 

2. Bronte Bath Viewpoint

Already captured your iconic Bondi Icebergs shot? Why not do the scenic Bondi to Bronte Walk and get yourself to the Bronte Baths? Nestled between the well-loved Bondi and Coogee beaches in Sydney’s east, Bronte Beach is where the locals go. The hidden gem is a pictorial haven, offering balmy seaside parks for picnics, a crystal-clear aquatic reserve for snorkelling and diving, as well as an ocean pool for protected swimming. Built into the rocky cliffside in 1887, the Bronte Baths can be found at the beach’s southern headland and travellers can access the panoramic viewpoint by heading to the end of the walkway and climbing up the rocks. From the semi-shaded cove, soak in the sweeping views of the bay and the ocean horizon; early birds will be rewarded with a remarkable sunrise. 

3. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair 

Mrs Macquarie’s Chair has some of the best views of Sydney’s iconic skyline – you’ll be able to get the Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge all in one frame for that money shot. Located east of the Sydney Opera House on the edge of The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, you can set up picnic rugs alongside the western side of Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and if you’re there at dusk, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the sun setting behind the Sydney Opera House. This is a sight for sore eyes, and one sure to satisfy your followers and get the likes rolling in. 

4. Manly Wormhole

One of the city’s best-kept secrets is the Queenscliff Tunnel, also known as the Manly Wormhole. The tunnel is said to have been dug out a century ago by local fishermen as a shortcut between Freshwater Beach and Manly. Follow in the fishermen’s footsteps down the 50-metre long tunnel that burrows straight through the cliff. There will be a few boulders to climb over but the view of the expansive ocean framed beautifully by the opening of the tunnel is truly worth the trip. Budding geologists can also appreciate the rock formations and cross-section of the rock layers along the way.

5.  Queen Victoria Building

Dating back to 1898, the Queen Victoria Building replaced the original Sydney markets on the site and spans an entire block along George Street. The elaborate Romanesque architecture – with its semi-circular arches, stained glass windows and mighty domes – was planned specifically to employ many out-of-work craftsmen during the recession. Now, these heritage architectural features make the landmark hard to miss as you walk down George Street and its many nooks and crannies provide a magnificent backdrop for that perfect Instagram shot. 

6. Wendy’s Secret Garden

Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden is a popular spot for locals. Nestled in the Lavender Bay Parklands, the garden is a whimsical oasis that allows you to escape the busy city and get a good dose of the best that Mother Nature has to offer. Get lost amongst the towering foliage, lush plantings and meandering paths, while stopping for the occasional artwork and sculpture along the way. The myriad of green tones and pops of colours from the native flowers will have you snapping away. 

7. Forgotten Songs, Angel Place

An ethereal cluster of over a hundred cages is suspended above Angel Place, a pedestrian lane that runs between George Street and Pitt Street. The creator of this artwork, Michael Thomas Hill, explains how the striking installation explores how Sydney’s fauna has evolved and adapted to co-exist with increased urbanisation. Once you’ve captured your shot, take a second to listen to the bird calls, which change as day shifts to night.

8.  Paddington Reservoir 

A short drive from the CBD, the Paddington Reservoir is a heritage-listed public park. Built in the early 1800s, the reservoir was decommissioned in 1914 and has since then been transformed into a Romanesque sunken garden with a lake of contemplation at its centre, a hanging garden canopy around the perimeter and an eastern chamber left empty but for the wall art. The preservation of much of its original architecture – think towering archways, brick and iron structures – make for a rustic Instagrammable spot.  

9. Bare Island, La Perouse

One of the many hidden gems in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, Bare Island is a small atoll that houses a 19th-century fort and old wooden footbridge connecting the island to the mainland. With dreamy coastal views of Botany Bay, this photo spot is the perfect blend of history and nature. Fun fact: the fort features in Mission: Impossible 2 as the hideout of villain Sean Ambrose.  

10. Green Square Library

Boasting floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with a multicolour array of books, Green Square Library seems to have been made for the ‘gram. Besides the impressive rainbow book wall, the library also has reading nooks tucked within the bookshelves, as well as 40 skylights to make sure you get all the natural light you need for your shot and your reading! The photogenic library is a short 15 minute train trip from Circular Quay and is a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Our vibrant garden city will soon be celebrating its 55th birthday on 9th August. While we may not be able to watch the National Day Parade from the seats of Singapore’s iconic floating platform this year, here are some other ways we can celebrate this beautiful country from the comforts of home if you’re looking to avoid the crowds over the National Day weekend (we’re still in DORSCON orange after all).

Eat

The history of Singapore’s Peranakan culture harks back to the 15th century; what better way to celebrate the country’s rich melting pot of cultures and heritage than by tucking into authentic Michelin-starred Peranakan takeaway from Candlenut at COMO Dempsey for a heartwarming dinner. Our favourites are the Chef’s Mum’s Chicken Curry and Aunt Caroline’s Babi Buah Keluak. 

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, the Chili crab from Jumbo Seafood is a must. You can add on the National Day SG55 set menu bundle which comes with other local favourites such as Deshelled Prawns fried with cereal and Mee Goreng.

Dimsum lovers can yum cha at home with Yàn’s Taste of Home August special that draws inspiration from some of Singapore’s most well-loved dishes including Char Kway Teow and Soy Chicken. 

Drink

Toasting with a glass of English Sparkling wine on Singapore’s National Day…sounds weird, right? Yet, Nyetimber’s Cuvee Cherie entices with a fine balance of zest and sweetness, perfectly matched with fragrant, lightly spiced savoury dishes and flavours found in Asian cuisines. Balance is the basic consideration when pairing the wine; the classic palate of many Asian cuisines is hot, sour, sweet, salty with a hint of bitterness, so slightly sweet wines such as Cuvee Chérie are a good contrast to the salty flavours, while matching some of the sweeter elements of these dishes. 

Nyetimber’s ambassador Murray Lang loves pairing the wine with Laksa for a fresh take on the Singaporean favourite. In honour of National Day, Analogue Wine Merchant is offering a special Nyetimber Bundle, priced at a discounted S$283 until 9th August.

Tipple up local style with GudSht’s bottled cocktails. In celebration of National Day, they’ve concocted a liquid breakfast duo – the Neslo Gao Peng, which features rice vodka infused with white cacao, Milo, and fresh-brewed coffee, and the white rum-based Kaya, I Beg Your Pandan, which brings together local kaya, coffee liqueur, and a fresh milk-and-oat infusion in one creamy brew.

Watch

In addition to the live broadcast of NDP2020 on the telly, indulge in Singaporean-made movies that are coming to Netflix ahead of National Day in a dedicated ‘Singapore, Now Streaming’ row. Highlights include Ilo Ilo (a domestic drama chronicling the day-to-day of the Lim family during the 1997 Asian financial crisis), 881 (a musical-comedy-drama film following two sisters who form a getai band) and Singapore Dreaming (following the Loh family’s aspirations for a better life and the harsh realities that prevent them from fulfilling those aspirations).

Explore 

Explore the best of Singapore’s art scene through the National Gallery’s virtual experiences and enjoy these special programmes for Singaporeans to celebrate compassion and kindness amidst adversity. Let art soothe, inspire and unite us.

History buffs can partake in a virtual tour of the Istana, where they’ll be treated to little nuggets of history on one of Singapore’s oldest heritage sites. The National Museum will also be hosting virtual conferences titled Zoom Into History this week, leading up to National Day, where visitors can interact with museum artefacts from its permanent collection like the cheese plate, voiced by local actors and comedians.

Check out the rest of our website here.