Globetrot in Singapore

Globetrot in Singapore
This Myanmar temple in Tai Gin Road attracts many worshippers from the country.

Want to try West African drumming?

What about eating authentic salami cured in Singapore, just like how the Italian artisans do it?

And did you know the only Buddhist temple outside Myanmar that features the Myanmar architectural style is right here?

Singapore may be small, but the diversity of dining and recreational options available means you can sample what the world has to offer without leaving town.

For an itinerary that lets you "travel" around the world in 12 hours, check out these 10 places that offer authentic experiences of other cultures.

All you need is a sense of adventure, a healthy appetite and some good company.

MYANMAR: 10 TO 11AM

Kick off the tour with a visit to the Burmese Buddhist Temple in Tai Gin Road in Balestier. With its gold and white facade and teak carvings, the architecture is typical of that of temples in Myanmar.

In fact, this is the only traditional Myanmar-style temple outside the country.

Myanmar national U Thar Hnin built the temple in 1878 to spread Theravada Buddhism in Singapore, a religion practised primarily in the Indochina region.

The Shrine Hall houses the largest enshrined Buddha statue carved out of marble outside Myanmar, which stands at 3.3m tall. It was made in Mandalay.

Next, head to the Meditation Hall on the third floor, which houses an impressive mural depicting the temple's history. It moved from Kinta Road in Serangoon to its current premises in 1988.

"At the time, there were not so many Myanmar people who came to the temple," says resident monk Venerable U. Tilokasiri, 66.

A typical temple celebration then drew only about 50 people, he adds.

Now, it is not unusual to see up to 8,000 devotees, mainly from the Myanmar community in Singapore, on special occasions such as Chinese New Year and Vesak Day.

They are usually clad in their traditional dress called the longyi, which resembles a sarong.

It makes for a vibrant cultural experience if you go on a special day, but even on weekdays, a regular stream of devotees offering prayer and seeking blessings are a usual sight.

Burmese Buddhist Temple
Where: 14 Tai Gin Road
Open: 6am to 9pm daily
Info: Call 6251-1717 or go to www.bbt.org.sg

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