Hidden Gems (Emeralds, to be exact)

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The hustle and bustle of Singapore can get tiring.

Wherever you go, there are swarms of people surrounding you.

And, whilst I do love the city, it sometimes lacks the sense of tradition and charm which is present in some of its Asian neighbours. Recently, someone commented to me that, “Singapore isn’t real Asia.” Whilst I found this statement slightly ludicrous – what on earth does ‘real Asia’ mean?! – I could understand where she was coming from; the level of cleanliness here is often cited as one of the major benefits, however, it can also be viewed as a downside, with elements of Singapore feeling slightly clinical.

Personally, I like to be able to feel a city – does that make sense?!

So, you’ll imagine my delight when, after I had fought and elbowed my way down Orchard Road, I stumbled upon Emerald Hill.

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Emerald Hill is a calm, quirky neighbourhood, with a vibe reminiscent of London’s Notting Hill.

It has a natural, relaxed atmosphere, with people slowly milling around, going about their days.

Former home to nutmeg plantations, Emerald Hill was residentialised by Singapore’s Peranakan community, evident in the architecture of the colourful terraces.

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We strolled down the hill, enjoying the cool temperatures thanks to an earlier downpour; the scent of frangipani wafted along with the light breeze, and small, colourful birds could be heard chirping from within their antique bird cages.

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Having taken in the sights of Emerald Hill, we decided to stop off for a quick drink before hopping back into a taxi.

We stumbled upon No. 5; a popular local haunt, the upmarket cocktail bar is housed in one of the terraced houses – it could easily be missed, if it weren’t for the young waiter hastily resurrecting the outdoor tables following the rain.

Inside, No. 5 is dingy and dark in all the right ways. It’s as though a backpacker bar has been given a sophisticated makeover, complete with top shelf spirits and an experienced mixologist. There’s a real sense of history (the story of No. 5 is written in the bar menu), and an eclectic mix of people slurp stunning cocktails to the backdrop of cheesy music (the good kind!)

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I opted for a Singapore Sling, and I have to say, it was my best yet…sorry, Raffles!
NB. I’m in Singapore for the week to celebrate my Birthday, so brace yourselves for the upcoming Singaporean posts!

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