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Tanjong Pagar

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THE NEW YEAR HAS ANNOUNCED ITS arrival and with it comes the age-old slew of lofty goals. Better decisions, better experiences, a better you. But before you can renege on your New Year resolutions, make time for better experiences with just one MRT train ride. If adventure and spontaneity are on your list for 2017, the one district to visit is Tanjong Pagar.

While remaining the obvious haunt of white- collar and media types in the central business district (CBD), it has also blossomed into more than just an after-hours watering hole. Brimming with snazzy new bars, exotic up-and-coming eateries and the latest nightlife events, this cultural enclave will allow you and your partner to take a journey around the world in less than 80 hours, without the need for a plane ride or passport.

Gastronomania

Tucked away in an unsuspecting corner of Tanjong Pagar near the Red Dot Design Museum is Fat Prince. Fondly referred to as a “café-kebabery”, the bar combines craft cocktails with Middle Eastern fare in a luxe Arabesque setting, reminiscent of Istanbul’s artsy Karakoy quarter. Choose from a list of traditional Turkish dishes with a modern twist — think duck-fat hummus and taco- sized kebabs — for a Sultan-era feast straight out of the Ottoman Empire.

For a cure to your beach side blues, head over to Keong Saik Road for Potato Head Folk, a three-storey wine-and-dine outlet with a rooftop tiki bar. Toast the New Year with a delicious tipple in hand while soaking in the laidback, tropical atmosphere. And if you and your date are looking for a more casual dining affair, swing by Park Bench Deli on Telok Ayer Street. Its menu is a spin on classic American sandwiches, with hoagies like the Vietnamese-inspired kong bak banh mi and fried chicken sandwich.

Off the Beaten Path

It’s not all wining and dining at Tanjong Pagar, though. There are also activities to bring out the adventurous side in you and your partner. Want to put your thinking skills and teamwork to the test? Then get caught at Trapped, a horror-themed escape room that will force you to put on your thinking caps and work together to break free. Choose between two themes — Hostel or Alice in Wonderland — and get ready to solve puzzles without the help of Dr Google. That’s right, mobile phones are not allowed here.

Creative souls can also wander off the beaten track and into the industrial Tanjong Pagar Distripark for a taste of Southeast Asian art. Don’t be fooled by its factory-like appearance — the warehouse opens up into five vast galleries filled with colourful, indigenous art pieces.

Heritage Trails

Amoy Street, Pekin Street and Telok Ayer Street are renowned today for their vibrant mix of eateries and shops. But they were once the stronghold of Hokkien immigrants who sailed from the Fujian province of China hoping to carve a life for themselves on our shores. Take a trip with your partner down memory lane and visit some of Singapore’s oldest Hokkien temples, which include the Thian Hock Keng temple, one of Singapore’s most majestic Chinese temples to date.

 

This article was first published on DUET magazine.