Get pampered with food
Tucked away on the third level of Suntec City Mall, Rustic Nirvana serves up massages inspired by Asian cuisine. Green Tea Massage ($180 per hour) or Hot Pot Detoxification Compress ($180 per hour), anyone? How about the Yao Bath ($480), where you stew for 20 minutes in a tub filled with 38 species of natural herbs and plants from Yunnan, China, before an hour of lymphatic drainage massage? Another treatment that catches our eye is the Prata Therapy ($230 per hour). It starts with a hand massage using warm Indonesian jamu oil, after which a chip of Aventurine stone is used to knead away knots on your neck, shoulders and back for half an hour. When that’s done, the therapist dips rolls of prata dough in oil, then spreads these flat on your pressure points to cover up pores dilated by the heat and help expel toxins faster. #03-50/52/54, Suntec City Mall Tower 3 (6238 6890). MRT: Esplanade.
Soak in Singapore’s only hot springs
Hidden in the grounds of the Sembawang Air Base is Singapore’s only natural hot springs, where three stations pump out jets of hot sulphurous water that is said to have healing properties. Don’t go expecting a luxe jacuzzi – you can either fill two buckets and pop a foot in each, fill a larger tub and immerse your whole body, or just lie on the concrete as the water shoots at you. Though it’s quieter than in its glory days – in the 1960s, gamblers used to come here for good luck before horse races – you’ll still likely find a handful of friendly regulars. Best of all, it’s free. Gambas Ave, between Woodlands Ave and Sembawang Rd. Free.
Get a massage on a volcanic rock
Hidden among a strip of nondescript shophouses on Bukit Timah Road is Ikeda Spa, the only one in the city that offers an authentic ryokan experience. In one of their rooms is an imported ganbanyoku, a giant slab of stone made from volcanic rocks from Japan. It is heated underneath by a pool of water boiling up to 50°C, and used as a massage bed for the signature aromatherapy treatment. While it takes some getting used to, the hot stone bed is said to emit infra-red rays and negative ions that help improve your blood circulation and detoxify your body. 787 Bukit Timah Rd (6469 8080). Buses: 66, 67, 170, 171. $180 for 60 mins.
Buy organic vegetables straight from the farmer
Every first and third Thursday and Friday of the month, farmer Cynthia Wee-Hoefer opens up her house (5 Pasir Panjang Rd; 6468 3127) and sells hand-picked herbs, vegetables and fruits grown in organic hilltop farms in Nepal. She imports hard-to-find ingredients such as yacon and likes to introduce unusual items, like stinging nettle tea, to her regulars. Stop by for a chat – or sign up to the Organic Himalaya newsletter, where the former Her World magazine writer dashes off cooking tips and personal stories about her idyllic life. Depending on the season, you can also score homemade preserves like rhododendron flower jam, pickled chili mustard and cabbage sauerkraut. For at least $70 and a delivery charge of $10, she can deliver a box of produce to your doorstep. To get on the mailing list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Uncover a fashion gem
Though increasingly on the radar, Tiong Bahru boutique nana & bird just about qualifies as hidden for its hole-in-the-wall space at the back of a Tiong Bahru shophouse. What started as a pop-up in Georgina Koh’s home has become a boutique run by Koh and best friend Tan Chiew Ling – the pair have curated a beautiful selection of vintage-inspired clothes, from beaded necklaces to feather earrings, tote bags and polka-dot blouses, some laid out on a reclaimed door-turned-table. #01-02 Tiong Bahru Commons, 79 Chay Yan St (9117 0430). MRT: Tiong Bahru. Sat-Sun 11am-7pm, Mon-Fri by appointment only.