If you haven’t been to Singapore, you might indeed by tempted to visit the sunny island-state after watching the box office smash hit “Crazy Rich Asians”. As of September 2018, “Crazy Rich Asians” has officially crossed the elusive 100 Million USD mark, making it one of the best performing films of the year. Since the film’s release, searches for Singapore have skyrocketed as well and a rise in tourism is to be expected this year!
“Crazy Rich Asians” features some of Singapore’s most popular local actors and actresses like Tan Kheng Hua, Pierre Png, Janice Koh, Amy Cheng, Koh Chieng Mun and Selena Tan. These stars are commonly featured in local theatre, musicals and serial dramas. The remainder of the cast features popular Asian superstars that were born, raised or currently live outside of Asia like Constance Wu (Fresh off The Boat), Henry Golding (BBC’s The Travel Show), Ken Jeong (Hangover), Ronny Chieng (Ronny Chieng: International Student), Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8), Gemma Chu (Doctor Who and Sherlock) and Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon).
Here’s a list of places that are featured in “Crazy Rich Asians”, and we hope this guide serves a great starting point for a first timer in Singapore. Even those who are returning to the island after a few years would be pleased to explore new attractions. Spoiler alert: If you haven’t caught the movie yet, you might want to head to your nearest cinema first before reading the rest of this article!
No. 1: Changi Airport – Airport scene where Rachel Chu and Nick Young first arrive in Singapore.
Singapore’s Changi Airport is worthy of being a tourist attraction of its own right and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best airports. Rachel Chu rightfully points out in the movie that it’s the only airport with a Butterfly Garden and a Movie Cinema. If you want a truly “Crazy Rich Asians” experience when you’re flying into Singapore, choose to fly with Singapore Airlines on its new A380 Suites (even more luxurious than the fictional Pacific ASEAN Airlines featured in the movie). If you’re flying with your lover, choose the Double Suites, and the cabin crew will prepare a luscious bed for 2. The signature routes that feature the new SIA A380 Suites setup is between Singapore and Paris, Sydney or London.
No. 2: CHIJMES – the wedding chapel where Colin Khoo (Chris Pang) and Araminta Lee (Sonoya Mizuno) get married (the core event of “Crazy Rich Asians”)
CHIJMES is one of the most popular wedding spots in all of Singapore due to its stunning architecture and historical significance. CHIJMES was the original location of Singapore’s oldest Catholic convent school, the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. The chapel was originally built and designed by Father Charles Benedict Nain and was officially consecrated in 1904, making it one of the oldest chapels in all of Singapore. CHIJMES is located about a 5-minute walk from City Hall MRT Station (EW13/NS25) so it’s a good place to start a walking tour from there!
No. 3: Peranakan Shophouses in Joo Chiat (Koon Seng Road) – Important cultural setting in “Crazy Rich Asians”
The vibrant and colourful shophouses located in the Joo Chiat area have been preserved since the early 20th century for their cultural value. The shophouses serve as a reminder of a simpler time and it’s easy to be filled with nostalgia when you see them. The area became a popular residential estate with Peranakans and the area is also well-known for having some of the best Nyonya restaurants in Singapore like Guan Hoe Soon (38/40 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427762).
No. 4: Gardens by the Bay (Supertree Grove) – location of the wedding afterparty scene in “Crazy Rich Asians”
Gardens by the Bay is one of the most highly rated tourist attractions in Singapore and has been raking in massive crowds since its opening. There’s a nightly light show that is on display to all visitors called Garden Rhapsody, and you don’t have to be rich to watch it as it’s free of charge. You can catch it at 7:45pm or 8:45pm daily (do arrive early to get a good spot). The nearest MRT to Gardens by the Bay is Bayfront MRT Station (DT16/CE1).
No. 5: Humpback (Seafood Restaurant at Bukit Pasoh) – the alfresco area where Rachel Chu and Goh Piek Lin have a heart to heart talk.
Located at 18 Bukit Pasoh Road, Humpback is considered a neighbourhood restaurant serving up the freshest seafood (think sumptuous oysters from the Pacific Northwest) and fancy specialty cocktails (The Watermelon Sangria is to die for!). Patrons at Humpback typically order between 5-7 small sharing plates allowing them the chance to taste the wide variety of menu options (Oysters, Snacks, Garden, Seafood, Meat & Desserts). Do remember to book your table in advance!
No. 6: Newton Hawker Centre – Scene where Rachel, Nick, Colin and Araminta have their first meal together in Singapore
Rightfully described in the movie as “Heaven on Earth”, Newton Hawker Centre is one of Singapore’s most visited hawker centres. Conveniently located just a short walk from Newton MRT station, many tourists have this hotspot on their must-visit guide, especially for foodie travellers wanting to try some of the very best food that Singapore has to offer. If you’re looking for seafood (think Sambal Stingray & Chilli Crab), visit Takara Grilled Seafood (Stall No. 74) and ask for Mr Jack or Mr Liverpool. If you want to try the same satay that the Hollywood stars did in the movie, head over to R&B Express (Stall No. 76). Both these stall owners provide itemized receipts (do ask them if you’d like that as it’s not common practice in hawker centres) and their prices are clearly listed on the menus, so you don’t have to be a Crazy Rich Asian to eat there!
No. 7: Raffles Hotel – the hotel where Nick Young and Rachel Chu stay while they are in Singapore
Since its grand opening on 1 December 1887, the Raffles Hotel has hosted famous literary legends (Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad) and global superstars like Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson. The hotel was declared a National Monument in 1987 in celebration of its centenary. Raffles Hotel is also the home of the cocktail, the Singapore Sling, which was concocted by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915. Filming of “Crazy Rich Asians” was completed before the hotel embarked on the careful restoration of its premises to capture all the nostalgia and traditions. As such, the hotel is currently closed off to the public and is scheduled to reopen in early 2019.
No. 8: Ce La Vi: Marina Bay Sands Rooftop SkyBar and Restaurant – Engagement Party between Nick Young and Rachel Chu
Ce La Vi Restaurant and SkyBar, is located on the 57th storey of the Marina Bay Sands hotel offers spectacular views of the Singapore skyline. To enjoy free access to the SkyBar, hotel guests can sign up for the Sands Rewards Membership. Otherwise, travellers not staying at MBS can choose to pay for a $20 entry vouchers (think of it as a cover charge) which can be used to purchase food & beverage in Ce La Vi. Drinking and dining here do come with a high price-tag so make sure it’s a night to remember! The Skybar is located at the front tip of the ship above the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
No. 9: Ann Siang Hill – featured in the scene where Eleanor Young walks to meet Rachel Chu before arriving at the mahjong parlour (Rachel is planning to tell Eleanor that she’s leaving her son)
Unfortunately, there isn’t an actual mahjong parlour that you can find at Ann Siang Hill but it is home to some of Singapore’s most exciting & hidden speakeasies and comfort food eateries. The bars and diners there typically serve the after-office crowd from the Central Business District, but tourists are starting to discover the hidden gems here too. If you have a sweet tooth don’t miss PS. Café, a local eatery famous for its luscious desserts (like Sticky Date Pudding). If you’re looking for a tipple, visit Oxwell & Co., which offers their cocktails like Pina Colada and Gin & Chronic from special taps. And if its local food you’re craving, try the Nasi Lemak at The Coconut Club!
No. 10: Merlion Park – Featured in many scenes in “Crazy Rich Asians”
Last on this list, but certainly not the least, is the iconic Merlion Park. This is an absolute must on every traveller’s first trip to Singapore. The skyline here is fantastic whether you arrive at sunrise, noon-time or sunset. Here, you’ll be treated to views of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the surrounding Central Business District and of course you’ll get to take a selfie with the globally recognized icon of Singapore, the Merlion. From the park, you can also choose to get on one of the bumboat rides to travel along the Singapore River. Or, you can choose to walk along the banks of the river where Nick Young first mentions his intention of marrying Rachel Chu and gets rejected by her.