Seven­waysto­live like a Crazy Rich Asian

In­spired by the box-of­fice hit, Katie Wright heads to the pros­per­ous is­land city of Sin­ga­pore for a taste of the high life

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - TRAVEL -

Crazy Rich Asians has been a global cin­e­matic smash, top­ping the US box-of­fice and be­com­ing the high­est gross­ing ro­man­tic com­edy film in al­most a decade. It cen­tres on Nick Young (Henry Gold­ing), who brings girl­friend Rachel Chu (Con­stance Wu) over from New York to meet his ex­tremely af­flu­ent fam­ily in Sin­ga­pore, and at­tend the wed­ding of his best friend, Colin.

The movie has been praised for its hi­lar­i­ous script and fan­tas­tic cast, but it’s not just the ac­tors who shine in this rom­com. Sin­ga­pore, with its epic sky­scrapers, vi­brant street-food scene and lush parks, pos­i­tively gleams.

And the good news is you don’t have to be one of the su­per-rich to ex­pe­ri­ence the lux­ury life­style, be­cause lots of the film’s lo­ca­tions are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and cheap, or even free to visit, as I dis­cover when I spend three days in the city-state.

Here are seven ways to live like a mul­ti­mil­lion­aire in Sin­ga­pore, even if you’re on a shoe­string bud­get...

1. Eat at a hawker cen­tre

The first thing Rachel and Nick do af­ter land­ing in Sin­ga­pore is head to New­ton Food Cen­tre, one of the many bustling hawker mar­kets that heave at lunch and din­ner time with hun­gry lo­cals chow­ing down on plates of chilli crab, chicken satay and ‘car­rot cake’ (the mis­lead­ing name for a savoury radish-based fried dish). Every­one I speak to agrees that New­ton isn’t ac­tu­ally the best hawker cen­tre. I was taken by a na­tive Sin­ga­porean to Tiong Bahru. My favourite bite? The mound of tasty seafood noo­dles. If you’re pushed for time, lively Lau Pa Sat is walk­a­ble from the cen­tral Ma­rina Bay area and serves all the culi­nary clas­sics.

2. Marvel at Gar­dens By The Bay

Colin and Aram­inta’s wed­ding re­cep­tion takes place in Gar­dens By The Bay, which isn’t a wed­ding venue at all, but a sprawl­ing park filled with plants that rep­re­sent the dif­fer­ent el­e­ments of Sin­ga­pore’s her­itage, along with two domes (the Cloud For­est, which has its own wa­ter­fall, and the Flower Dome), plus a grove of huge, man-made su­pertrees.

You have to pay to get into the domes but en­try into the main grounds is free. Here, you’ll find the su­pertrees, which come alive ev­ery night at 7.45pm and 8.45pm with an in­cred­i­ble light and sound show.

3. Get a bird’s-eye view from Ma­rina Bay Sands

Sin­ga­pore’s most recog­nis­able mod­ern land­mark, Ma­rina Bay Sands is the mas­sive three-tower skyscraper with a boat-shaped rooftop that serves as the back­drop for a ma­jor scene in the movie.

It’s truly the holy grail ho­tel if you want to live the Crazy Rich Asian life­style as the fa­mous 57th floor in­fin­ity pool is only open to ho­tel guests, so check­ing in for at least one night is the only way you can guar­an­tee that all-im­por­tant cityscape In­sta­gram pic. Rooms start from around £213 per night. But there are other ways to sum­mit the five-star Sands. Tick­ets to the ob­ser­va­tion deck (also on level 57) are around £13 for adults, or you could grab a drink at one of the three bars at the same level.

4. Wan­der down Bukit Pa­soh Road

When Rachel and Peik Lin have a heart-to­heart over lunch in the film, they do it at seafood restau­rant Hump­back on Bukit Pa­soh Road, a pretty stretch near Chi­na­town that’s lined with colour­ful old-style ‘shop houses’ now con­verted into hip eater­ies.

Straits Clan is a chic pri­vate mem­bers’ club that the Crazy Rich Asians cast vis­ited when they were in town for the pre­miere. The ground floor Clan Cafe is open to non-mem­bers and is the per­fect spot for a sight­see­ing pit-stop.

5. Stay at a high-tech ho­tel

Lo­cated in leafy Robert­son Quay, uber-cool M So­cial of­fers a stylish and in­no­va­tive al­ter­na­tive to the os­ten­ta­tious ho­tels of the Bayfront area, and is pop­u­lar with Sin­ga­pore­ans en­joy­ing a ‘stay­ca­tion’ week­end in the city. The con­verted ware­house build­ing is pep­pered with mod­ern art, has an in­fin­ity pool and is home to two in-house ro­bots. Aura will de­liver ameni­ties to your room while Ausca will whip you up an omelette or fried eggs in the morn­ing. Com­pact but im­pec­ca­bly de­signed rooms start from around £134 a night.

6. Un­wind on Sen­tosa Is­land

While there are beaches on the is­land — which is less than two square miles in to­tal and is reached by bus, car or ca­ble car — there are also a host of theme parks and other fun at­trac­tions, and that’s why it’s known as ‘Asia’s favourite play­ground’. But the most pop­u­lar pas­time for the wealth­i­est vis­i­tors is, I’m told, pam­per­ing time at one of the is­land’s lux­ury spas, such as Auriga Spa.

7. Hang out at the air­port

No, re­ally. Changi isn’t your av­er­age air­port. Here, you’ll find art in­stal­la­tions, a swim­ming pool, koi pond, cin­ema, 12-me­tre high slide, cac­tus gar­den, wa­ter lily gar­den and or­chid gar­den (all gar­dens are free to en­ter), plus a huge ar­ray of high-end shops and din­ing op­tions.

So, even if you’re not fly­ing by pri­vate jet, you can en­sure your de­par­ture ex­pe­ri­ence is first class.

CRAZY BEAU­TI­FUL: The view over Sin­ga­pore from the Ma­rina Bay Sands in­fin­ity pool. Above, Katie Wright vis­it­ing Hump­back restau­rant on Bukit Pa­soh Road and Gar­dens by the Bay Su­pertrees

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