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For the Culture Vulture

Singapore Attractions

Kick off your day with the local kaya toast and half-boiled egg at Killney Kopi Tiam (67 Killiney Road), which retains much of the bustling charm of the coffee shops of yore. Then, take a taxi to Chinatown, where you should be able to practice your haggling skills at the many Peranakan-style shophouses on Pagoda Street and its environs. Go home with a Chinese mask, or a Vietnamese lacquer box. Near Pagoda Street, on South Bridge Road, is the colourful Sri Mariamman temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore built in 1827.

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Next stop for a mid-morning Chinese tea session at the nearby Tea Chapter (9A to 11A, Neil Road, 2261175). This charming tea house serves a variety of good-quality tea the traditional way; ask a waitress for a full demonstration on how to use the tiny tea cups, teapot, fragrance cups and bamboo utensils.Then walk south-eastward along Cross Street, turning right at Telok Ayer Street. You'll find the interesting Thian Hock Keng Temple, Singapore's oldest temple. Sailors have been giving thanks in this Taoist-Buddhist temple since 1821.

From the Chinese part of town, hail a cab and whizz off to Serangoon Road, the heart of Little India. Have lunch at the popular South Indian vegetarian restaurant Komala Vilas (76 Serangoon Road, 2936980). Then take in the variety of shops selling Indian spices, Indian newspapers, gold jewelry and Tamil CDs and software at Serangoon.

Don't miss the massive shopping complex Mustafa, it sells practically everything under the sun, including some specialty foodstuffs imported from India.

After this, it's time for some historical knowledge to back up all you've seen. Take a cab to the Singapore History Museum at Stamford Road (3752510). This museum traces the history of the island from the 14th century. You can also wander around the impressive ancestral hall and bridal chamber of a fully recreated Peranakan house, and enjoy a hi-tech 3-D show presenting the nation's past.

For a truly Singaporean food experience, head for Newton Circus Hawker Centre near Newton MRT. This sprawling food centre will allow you to sample some unique dishes such as Indian roti john and murtabak, Hokkien popiah, spicy sambal stingray and Malay mee goreng. The system is strictly self-service, so pick a seat, walk around the stalls, order what you like and quote your table number to the food seller.

After dinner, go for a pub-crawling spree at Mohammed Sultan Road, the most hip and happenin' street in Singapore. Restored Chinese godowns now house some of the liveliest nightspots in the city - don't forget to take in the Old World charms of Wong San's, the funky feel of Sugar and the Eastern sophistication of The Siam Supperclub. Have fun.

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