Singapore’s Most Exciting 2013 Arrivals

Green Corridor Run

Fitting in perfectly with the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s efforts to promote community activities  along the Rail Corridor, the Green Corridor Run (January 27, 7am) is a 10-kilometer run with a difference. If the thought of running through a scenic trail with fellow sports and nature lovers doesn’t spur you to put on your running shoes, nothing will. The Green Corridor Run promises to be a unique course over former railway land—from the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station to the old Bukit Timah Rail Station. “Most races in Singapore are road races,” says Green Corridor Run founder Ben Williams.  “This is a trail run… and runners will be surrounded by greenery from start to finish and will get to see a part of Singapore that not many have seen. The main aim of the race is to raise the profile of the Rail Corridor and to give the community an opportunity to show their support for keeping the area as natural as possible.” Participants will be capped at 6,000 (with slots almost filled up) with three start waves separated by 30 minute intervals, aimed to reduce the amount of people on the course at any one time; though a recent recce run suggests it’s the mud, not your fellow competitors, that you’ll need to look out for.

Jamie’s Italian

There’s plenty of F&B openings on the horizon, but this is one of the biggest. After all, Jamie’s Italian will be the first of Jamie Oliver’s chain restaurants to arrive in Asia (and at VivoCity, no less). A collaboration with mentor Gennaro Contaldo, this highly-anticipated venue opens in the third quarter of the year. Expect the same kind of unpretentious, fresh yet rustic food that The Naked Chef is known for.“Jamie’s Italian is all about taking really authentic Italian flavors and offering something exciting and delicious, but at an affordable price,” says Oliver in an exclusive interview with us. “We don’t serve anything fussy, just great produce cooked well. The restaurants have a nice casual, relaxed ambience but there’s always a really fun buzzy vibe, too. It feels like we’ve cracked that great balance when, be it business lunches, people out shopping or families, everyone can have a great time. Oh, and we’re aiming for a really cool, relaxed, industrial feel.” You heard the man.

John Clang’s first major solo show in Singapore

The first major solo exhibition here by revered New York-based local photographer John Clang has been a long time coming. Housed at the National Museum, Being Together: Family & Portraits (January 23-May 26) amasses a total of 90 works by the 39-year-old, featuring his past oeuvres like Being Together, new portraitures of the modern international family with its juxtapositions of images through a series of photographic projections as well as Fear of Losing The Existence, where images of Clang’s parents are blurred out, shot while they were on a vacation in Hong Kong. “For this exhibition, I have the majority of my work installed as a typology. This attempt will allow viewers to look at the various images and allow them to compare the subtle differences and similarities between them, to allow for further analysis or contemplation,” says Clang. “It speaks about my fascination with time and the different dimension. I would like the images and the installation to evoke an expression… a feeling. A well-curated exhibition always makes me think beyond what was presented and I hope to be able to achieve that with this one.”Certainly, with the works’ effortlessly haunting and lyrical quality about time and existence, this monumental exhibition is simply unmissable.

Super Fly

Last year was great for frequent flyers: It marked the introduction of local low cost airline Scoot and plenty of new routes. In 2013, expect even more new flights to historic destinations like Chinese cities Qingdao (from $202 return) and Shenyang (from $262 return) both starting on January 11. Indian budget carrier SpiceJet is also set to fly a Singapore-Madurai route from mid-April, making easier to get to India’s Southern state Tamil Nadu for its famed Dravidian architecture, beach resorts, religious landmarks and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.Further afield, look out for Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS)’s new Singapore-Zurich service going for US$1,384 ($1,700) return. The airline flew a Singapore-Bangkok-Zurich route for decades but stopped in 2009. Fans of SWISS can hop back on the national carrier starting in May.

Quayside Isle

Sentosa heats up with a new swanky dining destination that’s right across from the equally luxe W Singapore at Sentosa Cove. Quayside Isle features more than 20 dining and retail concept stores targeted specifically at hotel guests from W, residents of Sentosa Cove and trendsetters (that will be you). While establishments like Spanish joint Sabio by the Sea, Tapas & Grill and Belgian bistro Brussels Sprouts are already open, Australia’s Grillado and Kith Cafe, Japanese restaurant Ezoca, and American barbecue specialist Cove Stadium will open next month.“Quayside Isle has an enchanting location that offers escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, allowing you to experience a unique getaway without having to leave Singapore,” says a spokesperson from City Developments Limited, which is behind the concept. “You get to enjoy a well-curated list of international cuisines with a panoramic marina backdrop, providing the perfect magical setting for lovers to romance, families to celebrate, and special occasions to be remembered. With a strong concept and so much to offer, Quayside Isle is set to be the Capri of Southeast Asia.”

River Taxi

With the newly launched river taxi service jointly managed by the Singapore River Explorer and Singapore River Cruise, the days of battling atrocious jams during commutes to work may well be over. The route runs between the Marina Barrage and Jiak Kim Street, with 13 overall stops. Each one-way trip costs $3, with an express service which brings you directly to a designated point for $4. Talks about acquiring car parking spaces nearby the 13 landing points are already underway, and intervals between departures are expected to be no more than 10 minutes during peak hour, with the first starting at 7am. Whether it’ll be a success remains to be seen—but you have to applaud the attempt to improve commuting infrastructure.

Three New Hotels, Three Great Concepts

Far East Hospitality’s The Amoy is a 37-room boutique hotel located at Far East Square, with various types of rooms showcasing a unique blend of modern furnishings and traditional Chinese design and architecture, targeted to open mid this year, while Sofitel So Singapore will be the city’s first hotel to offer a fully connected lifestyle with complete Apple-based digital solutions including the provision of iPad minis in all rooms, also opening mid this year. But if you can’t wait till then, check into the just-opened PARKROYAL on Pickering. Centrally located near Chinatown and the CBD, this “hotel-in-a-garden” has over 15,000 square meters of lush gardens, waterfalls and planter walls. It’s also one of the most environmentally-conscious in town, boasting comprehensive energy and water conservation features such as the light, rain and motion sensors, and the use of rain harvesting and NEWater in its showers.

Singapore’s First Goyard

Move over LV. If there is a luxury brand that no local fashionista should do without this year, it’s Goyard. Its classic monogrammed shoulder bags were some of the hottest sellers over the past few seasons, and when its Singapore flagship store opens in the fourth quarter at Takashimaya Shopping Centre, expect a long crawling queue for these babies. Fans previously had to fly to Hong Kong to visit its flagship store located at The Peninsula (the closest they’ve got) to purchase its full range of trunks, bags and accessories—all of which will be made available for local shoppers soon enough.“Goyard is a special brand and one that evokes the romance of luxury, no ordinary task in today’s saturated luxury marketplace,” says Nash Benjamin, CEO of F J Benjamin Holdings, who is responsible for bringing in the French label. “As the retail environment in Singapore continues to evolve, Goyard will continue to be a leader in the highest tier and bespoke luxury segment.” Beyond the full range of ready-made bags, fans can also look out for bespoke trunks and personalized Goyard items featuring hand-painted monograms. Go gaga.

River Safari

Now that Kai Kai and Jia Jia have settled in, the River Safari, which was supposed to open last year, is scheduled to open in the first quarter this year (furry fingers crossed). Apart from our panda friends, the $160 million attraction from Wildlife Reserves Singapore, the same crew behind Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park, will bring the world’s eight greatest rivers—the Amazon, the Congo, the Nile, the Ganges, the Mississippi, the Murray River, the Mekong and the Yangtze—and their wildlife to town in an attraction that is half walking trail, half river cruise. It will also feature some 300 animals including 38 endangered species such as the Mekong’s giant catfish and giant stingray, and the Amazon’s capybara (the world’s largest living rodent), as well as over 150 plant species.And even more to look forward to: the Frozen Tundra, which will have a climate-controlled environment that simulates the glaciers and semifrozen freshwater systems of the Arctic North to better house Inuka the polar bear. There are also plans for three viewing levels, including one with an underwater view. Better late than never.