If you have been hiding under a rock recently, then you can be forgiven for missing out on the latest Hollywood blockbuster, set in Singapore. Based on the popular book series by Kevin Kwan, you can buy the books here or watch the trailer on YouTube. Based on the adventures of the super-rich elite in the glittering city, you might want to know where some of the locations were based.
Unfortunately, much of the movie was actually filmed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and not in Singapore. However, there are some key sets that were filmed in the city and that you can go and visit any time.
Changi Airport Terminal 3
This is where the lead character, Rachel, marvels at the butterfly garden inside the airport, and we highly recommend that you visit this if you are ever in terminal 3. The airport is spectacular, with a movie theatre, transit hotel, and plenty of shops and restaurants to feast your eyes on. There is also a swimming pool, sunflower garden and numerous art sculptures. You might be surprised, but the airport is quite the hangout spot, as the open spaces and air conditioning provide a respite from the city. You don’t even have to be travelling.
Newton Food Centre
This is where Rachel is taken to her first Singaporean meal by Colin and Araminta. In the book, they went to Lau Pa Sat but instead, the movie features Newton. Singapore’s hawker centres are among one of the many highlights of living in this city, and you can get some fabulously cheap and tasty food. The best time to go is at night during dinner, when people to hang out and enjoy food with friends or family. This hawker centre is also the author’s favorite. Not all the stalls featured in the movie will be seen, as some were built especially for the movie (like the satay stalls). However, there will be something there that will tantalise your tastebuds and you can eat for under S$5 here. Remember, reserve your seat with tissue paper!
Bukit Pasoh Road
This is seen in the movie when Rachel is telling Peik Lin about her argument with Eleanor, and the two can be seen in an alfresco restaurant on Bukit Pasoh Road. This road is located just outside of Chinatown and is under the Pinnacle, Singapore’s largest housing block. The road has plenty of beautiful shophouses and have plenty of restaurants and shops, many of them dating back centuries. In the movie, the characters are actually in Humpback, which specialises in cocktails and seafood.
This is where the wedding takes place in the movie, although in the book the wedding takes place in a fictional church. This church was once the site of a famous convent but now it is fulled with bars and restaurants, and is extremely popular as a nightlife spot. It’s right next to Raffles Shopping Centre, Raffles Hotel and the Bras Basah arts and culture district. Popular with expats, you might be surprised to find that the real-life hall isn’t quite as beautiful as it is in the movie. It does have pretty stained glass windows and a high roof, but everything else was added for the movie.
Gardens by the Bay
This is where the wedding reception takes place under the trees in Supertree Grove, and against the backdrop of Marina Bay Sands hotel. Of course, you will know this location by now as it is one of the most recognisable in Singapore. It is entirely free to visit and there is an evening light and sound show, the Garden Rhapsody. You can walk between the lower trees on a walkway, get a drink at a bar or just relax and breathe in some fresh air.
Ann Siang Hill
Eleanor is seen walking along here before meeting with Rachel at a Mahjong parlour, and whilst the interior was filmed in Malaysia, the exterior shots were filmed at Ann Siang Hill. This is located in the Chinatown district, with plenty of conserved shophouses, but it is also a popular nightlife spot.
This is where Nick proposes to Rachel after they break up and meet up again. The scene was shot on Queen Elizabeth Walk, near the Lim Bo Seng memorial. This is an underrated part of Singapore, and the park is quite lovely. It has fountains, a cenotaph and some quaint statues and people mostly come here to jog or to have a picnic. It is also close to the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, in the Civic district. The National Gallery and Asian Civilisations Museum is also nearby.
Marina Bay Sands Skypark
As well as being a backdrop to the city, the Marina Bay Sands is also the backdrop to most of the movie. The Skypark (shaped like a ship) is what opens the movie where Radio1Asia tells the world about Nick bringing Rachel to Singapore and at the end of the movie, where the couple celebrate their engagement at Ce La Vi restaurant, complete with synchronised swimmers in the infinity pool. If you aren’t staying at the hotel, you will have to pay S$23 to enter the Skypark and observation deck. The view is beautiful, but be prepared to pay for the view if you decide to order any food or drinks. The infinity pool is only for guests, unfortunately.