Singapore Famous Cocktails & Molecular Restaurants! Tippling Club, Raffles Hotel Long Bar.

sunrise singapore landscape, marina bay sands waterfront

Ah, there’s no skyline like Singapore. I’m still catching up on posts from my recent trip to Asia (I was in Tokyo to filming with Travel Channel TV, and also Bali and Singapore). But things are about to heat up some more… as I’m now heading to three new countries on two continents.

Morocco, Portugal and Spain — here we come!

fashion bloggers marrakesh morocco outfit

I’m excited to share that I will be in Spain, Portugal and Morocco with my filmmaking partners, Borderless Media! (Above is a photo from Israel’s Jaffa market.)

Spain Tourism is sending us over to capture stories of cool culture. I went to Barcelona years ago, but never Granada and other parts of this gorgeous country. We’re also partnering with Eurail again and riding their trains around Spain, and to Porto and Lisbon. Finally, we’re heading south to Fez, Marrakesh and Ouarzazate with Plan-It-Fez tours, to support women-run businesses and get immersed in Moroccan culture.

We’re excited to hear your travel suggestions for all these cities. Please let us know in the comments or on Facebook, and check out my daily updates on Instagram and Snapchat (@lacarmina.)

merlion park, fountain statue

But for now, back to the pink skies of Singapore. Some travelers make the effort to wake before dawn, in order to shoot photos in the first light. However, I’m not a morning person, and never managed to make this happen. The only reason I was able to capture these sunrise images for you… is because I took an overnight flight to Singapore, and landed around 5:30am!

blacklane limousines, airport transfers

When you step out at the airport after a red-eye, disheveled and jet-lagged, the last thing you want to do is struggle with transportation. 

I was invited to try out Blacklane Limousines, and booked a driver to pick me up and take me to my hotel. I was impressed by the seamlessness of the process, from the online reservation to the meet-up. Blacklane texts you to let you know your driver is on the way and gives you his cell number, so I never had to stress about a missed connection. Each time, the driver was waiting at our exact meeting point, holding a sign that said “La Carmina.”

blacklane private car driver ervice

Blacklane’s service is a splurge but worth it. It’s a relief to have a calm, direct car ride after a long flight, especially if you have to travel a long distance to your hotel (such as from Narita to Shinjuku, which can take two hours in traffic.)

merlion mouth, water fountain

Blacklane’s drivers are a class act. My Singapore driver offered to stop by Merlion Park on the way to my hotel, so I could take these images of the famous fountain. He also gave me a bunch of local travel tips.

The mythical Merlion is the symbol of Singapore. The fish body symbolizes the city’s humble origins as a fishing village. The lion head refers to its original name, Singapura, which means ‘lion city’ in Malay.

singapore flyer ferris wheel, flower building

Across the bay, I spotted the unmistakable Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel, and the ArtScience museum shaped like a lotus flower. Marina Bay Sands hotel stands to the right (I’ll take you inside, in an upcoming article.)

When I was a child, my family and I never went to Singapore (even though it’s a short flight from Hong Kong) because it wasn’t considered a “must-see” destination. All this has changed, and tourism has boomed in the past years. Believe it or not, the Ferris wheel, MBS hotel, Gardens by the Bay and ArtScience museum opened only in the 2000s! Yet they’ve completely altered the cityscape, and are now as iconic as the Merlion fountain (which was established in 1972 by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew).

singapore buildings cityscape

My driver stopped at a different look-out point so that I could see the Merlion from across the water, surrounded by skyscrapers. Crazy to realize that none of these buildings existed a few decades ago.

(All photos are taken with my beloved Sony A7 / Alpha 7 mirrorless camera. Available here; it’s a must for travellers.)

naumi liora hotel chinatown

However, Singapore is not just about high-tech architecture. The government puts careful attention into preserving historic, colonial homes and ethnic neighborhoods.

My friends at Naumi Hotel also invited me to stay at Naumi Liora, their boutique hotel that is dedicated to this mission. (Address: 55 Keong Saik Rd)

singapore potato head club, chinatown building

My hotel is in Chinatown / Tanjong Pagar, a hip area for restaurants and bars. The entire street consists of heritage buildings with charming shutters. (This is the view across the road.)

naumi liora room, lobby

Naumi Liora turned a 1920s Chinese townhouse into a 79-room boutique hotel that maintains the original Peranakan elements. Double-leaf doors, French style windows and lattice patterns give character to the lobby and rooms.

naumi liora boutique hotel singapore

However, the comforts of the modern world abound! Air conditioning, modern amenities — even free ice cream, lattes and snacks in the lobby. No wonder Naumi Liora is a hit among 20-something travellers.

bin 38, tippling club entrance

We were steps away from one of the city’s coolest and best-rated restaurants: Tippling Club (Address: 38 Tanjong Pagar Road). Look for the sign Bin 38, which refers to their new test kitchen and private dining space.

My white cut-out dress is from Chaser the Brand. The bunny-ears Japanese headband is from WeGo Tokyo.

tippling club bar

Tippling Club’s interior is modern eye candy, and hints at the fun-house meal awaiting you. The hanging bottles over the bar are both for form and function.

hanging bottles bar, bartenders

The cocktail menu looks like a map, with drinks sitting on a continuum: sweet, sour, fruity, dry. I loved the Occiton, created for  “Diageo World Class 2015,” which puts together gin, pineapple vermouth, thyme, basil.

tippling club cocktails

Tipping Club is famous for its cocktails, which come with a cheeky presentation. I ordered the bubble tea with melon and mangosteen infused gin — and it had a dome of giant bubbles on top, made with a fish tank air pump! The Panda’s Escape (left) creatively combined rum and coconut water with Southeast Asian pandan, with two panda cookies on top.

bottles chanderlier, modern lights

Tippling Room wins my award for “coolest lights.” The upper level is a private dining space, which lets diners sample new creations straight from the test kitchen. Many of these experimental dishes later become part of the main menu.

tippling club upstairs private dining room

Each creation is paired with wine from Penfolds’ celebrated Bin series. I’d love to have a party with my foodie friends here.

chef ryan clift, open kitchen

Downstairs, British born chef Ryan Clift works his molecular magic right in front of you. We sat at the open kitchen counter, and tasted over a dozen small bites.

singapore molecular gastronomy restaurant

As you can see from the photos, Chef Clift’s amuse bouches are playful and aims to defy expectations. He began with bite-size twists on bar snacks, anointed with flavors squeezed from droppers. I bet you’ve never had a white truffle cracker that looks like Styrofoam, and is served on the material itself!

Tippling Club is often described as molecular gastronomy, but it goes beyond that. Take the Singaporean curry (top right) with puffed rice and curry coconut foam. Although made with molecular twists, it captured the flavors of this traditional local dish.

singapore best restaurants

Same goes for their roasted monkfish with green curry and lime tofu. (Photos by Ken Yuen)

tippling club menu, food

Don’t miss out on their signature charred red pepper with a soy wasabi dipping sauce (right), and mango and togarashi sorbet white chocolate Meteorite for dessert (left).

fun molecular desserts creative

Chef Clift gets especially whimsical with his desserts. There are cheesecake pills served in a prescription bottle, and a rainbow Fizz Bomb packet that bursts on your tongue like Pop Rocks candy. On the right: a beetroot and blackberry sorbet sandwich came impaled on a moving metal rod, which I had to catch in my mouth. 

The word “memorable” gets tossed around a lot, but it truly applies to Tippling Club. A must-try if you’re in Singapore.

raffles hotel colonial architecture

I couldn’t leave without checking out the legendary Raffles Hotel and drinking a Singapore Sling. Established in 1887 and named after Singapore founder Stamford Raffles, the hotel maintains a feeling of colonial-era grandeur. (Address: 1 Beach Road)

My dress is from Alice’s Pig. and I got the cat-ear sunglasses at Parco Shibuya in Tokyo.

raffles singapore famous hotel lobby

Outside, anyone can wander through the courtyard gardens — you’ll feel like a member of the old gentry, on the way to a decadent ball. Raffles now has a row of high-end shops outside.

Inside, only guests of the hotel are allowed. I was invited to peruse the lobby and tea rooms, and it felt like The Grand Budapest Hotel come to life.

raffles hotel indian doorman costume

I couldn’t resist taking a photo with the doorman in a colonial Raj military-style uniform.

We were invited to visit the revamped Long Bar, which is now being more geared to locals.

long bar singapore, raffles

The staircase shows the hotel’s rich history over the years. Ah, to be a flapper in Singapore!

Inside, the architecture retains the old-time feeling, with a 1920s  spiral staircase.

singapore luxurious 5 star hotels

The Long Bar’s row of rattan fans is a throwback to the days before air-conditioning. This is probably the only place in Singapore where littering is encouraged. Every table has a bag of peanuts, and it’s tradition for customers to throw the shells onto the ground. 

(But what if you have a peanut or nut allergy? Then you can wave around this “no nuts or I’ll die” sign, which Naomi made to help out travellers! Just print out a copy of this helpful peanut allergy poster.)


Raffles is the birthplace of the Singapore Sling, a pink cocktail made by Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915. In these olden times, it was considered uncouth for women to drink alcohol. The bartender skirted these rules with a girly-looking mix that still packed a punch (ingredients include cherry liqueur, pineapple juice, Cointreau).

The Long Bar is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Sling with mixology classes and other events, making this is a good year to visit.

ferris wheel singapore flyer

I leave you with a few more glowing photos of the Singapore Flyer…

singapore marina view, buildings

.. and skyscrapers over the water.

merlion statue fountain, half fish lion

Doesn’t Singapore have a fascinating history? I’m glad I finally got a chance to travel here.

PS: Please let me know your suggestions for Spain, Morocco and Portugal — and add my Instagram and Snapchat (@lacarmina) for previews of this trip!



  1. Katy
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Look forward to your Morocco posts!

  2. Aaron
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    looking forward to reading it

  3. Marybeth
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I was just catching up on your blog and congratulations.

  4. Will
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Traveling is the Best decision of my life.

  5. BX
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous photographs!

  6. BaberSat
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    what a time you will have.
    i love spain.

  7. Eimear ♥
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    I have family in Spain but I don’t know anything cool to to there except
    for sand sculpture festivals in late Summer (I’m confused about
    seasons now that I’m in Aus, the festivals might be on now).
    Raffles looks nice inside, we didn’t bother to go but I think we will next time.

    • lacarmina
      Posted July 23, 2015 at 1:09 am | Permalink

      Oh wow, have you been to Spain? A good excuse to go!
      I hear there are some awesome arty neighborhoods in Barcelona and Granada. Where are you next?

      • Eimear ♥
        Posted August 23, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Just seeing this now! Yeah I’ve been to Spain lots of times, it was a family holiday destination when I was a kid. I’d love to return as an adult though.
        We have to stay put for a while because our cats are coming to live with us but we are going to Hong Kong and Japan again in November and then hopefully Taiwan and Russia early next year :-)

        • lacarmina
          Posted August 27, 2015 at 3:01 am | Permalink

          Amazing! Barcelona was a bit touristy but gotta love Gaudi, and it was great to see the Alhambra finally.
          Just did a new post about Hong Kong! Ahh, Russia is on my wish list but haven’t gotten a chance to go yet, and the visa is a bit of a pain… What are your plans for it? xo

          • Eimear ♥
            Posted August 27, 2015 at 5:16 am | Permalink

            We’re going to go with a tour group in Russia, mainly Moscow and St Petersburg. I usually hate taking tours but friends who have been there recommended it as it can be a little…scary for tourists. Luckily we all have EU passports so visa won’t be a problem.

  8. AFAE
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    *__* magnifique photos.

  9. Claire
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    Love! Love! Love!

  10. SequinsSal
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    makes me hungry!

  11. Nathalie
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    Beautiful picture and amazing dress, perfect!

  12. Engy Riddle
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Waaaa it’s amazing pictures!! *—–*

  13. Kelly Brito
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    As always, amazing!!!!! <3

  14. Derrick
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Wow,wow,wow‼️‼️‼️Love your style,lady! Gorgeous

  15. Kitty
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous! One day I want to travel like you do heart emoticon

  16. Barbarella
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    OMG! You´ll be so close to me! If you can swing over to Lanzarote which is off the west coast of Morrocco give me a shout! :)

  17. Hal
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink


  18. Justin
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Serving shazna realness!!!!!!!

  19. Blacklane
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    beautiful photos! We hope you had a great trip. Thanks for riding with us!

  20. Peperonici
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 1:07 am | Permalink


  21. lacarmina
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Yesss the sky trees were some of my favorites! That’s in the next post. Did you hang out with Saito?

    • Trashtastika
      Posted July 23, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      Not in touch with him these days. But I hung out with Philip Von Grave, who ran SDAM after Saito left, & Dalsix & a few others. Sadly, no one has taken over. As its so hard for alternative types to organize venues these days (govt doesn’t like alt stuff. & as always, it’s hard to break even in such a small scene. Metal does better, as more into it).

      • lacarmina
        Posted July 24, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        Yeah… so hard, even in Tokyo! Actually Philip had a Goth dance party that night at the Quay, but I was unable to go since things got really busy… At least there are the occasional events still!

  22. Joey
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Love the tones of this image!

  23. Jen
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous pics!!

  24. moroccan♡citizen
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    big big welcome hope you liked it

  25. Alex
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    If you’re going to Morocco, definitely try and check out Chefchaouen up in the north near Tangiers. The town is nestled in the mountains and the whole town is painted a beautiful sky blue. It was my favourite city in Morocco aside from Fez.

  26. Flowglo
    Posted July 24, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Love the tights!

  27. Bruno Rocha
    Posted July 26, 2015 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    tips for Spain:Barcelona is a must, mainly gothic neighbourhood and all Gaudi things (buildings, park…).
    Tell me where u go & I can tell u more smile emoticon

  28. Shirou
    Posted July 26, 2015 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    well .. just have a safe flight & enjoy yourself :)

  29. Milla
    Posted July 26, 2015 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday to you!

  30. Avery
    Posted July 26, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I loved Morocco, but no disrespect when I say that other than maybe the Sahara areas, Fez is like ALL that’s worth any time lol

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked with *