Singapore’s Katong district is most well-known for its Peranakan tradition and a strolling tour is a pleasant option to be taught extra concerning the space, however why settle for the standard strolling tour when you possibly can study Katong with just a little track and dance? I lately checked out Katong Dreaming, a musical tour that explores the Katong neighbourhood. Right here’s my Katong Dreaming Evaluate (with out too many spoilers in fact!) in case you are planning to test it out for your self.
I used to be invited as media to take a look at Katong Dreaming season 2, however all ideas expressed listed below are based mostly purely on my expertise.
The place is Katong in Singapore?
Katong is within the southeastern a part of Singapore and is greatest referred to as an space with a definite Peranakan heritage. This combined group which largely consists of Straits Chinese language intermarrying with the native Malay individuals had sturdy presence on this space, and plenty of companies and eating places right here at the moment now showcase that distinctive Peranakan flavour.
I didn’t develop up right here and by no means actually visited this space a lot till I began working in a close-by space some years again, and would sometimes make the fast jaunt down East Coast Street for some good eats. I did spend much more time right here lately on the lookout for murals and avenue artwork and giving digital excursions lately. Additionally, it feels just like the tourism business has additionally began pushing extra focus onto Peranakan tradition and the Katong-Joo Chiat space consequently.
Katong will not be on the MRT line so it isn’t essentially the most accessible location, however that can change in future when Part 3 of the Thomson-East Coast Line comes up. Most individuals both take a bus or drive right here.
About Katong Dreaming
Katong Dreaming launched in Feb/Mar 2022 post-pandemic as a efficiency arts strolling tour. Fairly merely, as an alternative of a typical strolling tour with a tour information sharing tales and info concerning the place, this musical tour has artists sharing specifically created music, poetry and dance impressed by the world’s historical past as you stroll across the space over the 2 hours.
Some bits are recorded, just like the background music that you just hearken to on headphones to supply some ambiance as you stroll alongside, however many of the efficiency occurs stay because the artists observe alongside the route and may be influenced by the environment and circumstances of the day.
Katong Dreaming is a tour by Betel Field Excursions – some may need heard of Betel Field Hostel, one of many longer operating backpacker hostels in Singapore that has been round since 2003. Their meals tour can also be fairly well-known.
My Katong Dreaming Evaluate intimately
Katong Dreaming has a late afternoon matinee timing from 4-6pm and within the night 730-930pm. I did the night present on a Saturday, which is a reasonably busy time for the district with weekend dinner crowds, however can also be a bit cooler for strolling with out the sunshine. Night does really feel a bit extra atmospheric, however if you’d like nicer pictures with vibrant colors, think about the matinee slots as an alternative.
The present began off on the Singapore Customer Centre positioned at Kim Choo Kueh Chang [Google maps location]. You should buy souvenirs right here whereas ready round – often I purchase a few Nyonya and Ba Changs (sticky rice dumplings) again for the household after I cross by right here.
We have been welcomed by Tony, additionally the boss of Betel Field Hostel, administrator and site visitors warden for the evening. He set us up with the headsets that are an important a part of the tour – as a result of we’re strolling outside with the crowds, the headsets assist you to hear all of the commentary, singing and background music with out an excessive amount of interference.
I feel random individuals strolling by our group have been undoubtedly inquisitive about what precisely we have been listening to – it’s like watching a silent disco particularly when the performers are doing their factor and all of the music/context is just occurring over the headphones so onlookers do not know what they’re shifting to.
My solely situation was that the headphones are fairly heat to put on the entire time so I needed to air one ear at a time, however the vibrant blue lights on the earpieces have been additionally helpful in figuring out the group simply as we walked round.
The primary host and narrator of the present is Mark Tan. I knew him earlier than this as a musician and singer however in true Singaporean artist kind, the person has many different skills together with being a licensed tour information. He composed the tunes and sang stay all through the tour, recited poetry, historic info and private anecdotes alike and was principally liable for carrying the present, massive kudos to him!
Moreover Mark, one other key performer on this tour is the dancer – there are totally different dancers on every day, ours was Nicole. Clad in a pink multi-purpose Peranakan-style sarong, she didn’t actually observe the group round, however popped up at key factors to assist inform the story.
The itinerary itself isn’t actually a secret – you possibly can see it within the tour description, however I like that it doesn’t simply cowl the vacationer highlights like Koon Seng Street and East Coast Street, but in addition brings you thru the residential areas and different much less well-known native gems like Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple and Roxy Sq.. We even visited an sudden spot in a carpark – I gained’t spoil it any additional, however that was a enjoyable perception into native tradition.
Whilst somebody who spent most of my life rising up in Singapore and has finished a good quantity of native analysis for journey writing, among the tales about these locations in Katong have been new to me.
As part of the tour, you’re additionally invited to hitch a whatsapp group and related hyperlinks will likely be despatched to you so you are able to do just a little extra studying afterwards, and so they additionally give some context notes that are helpful for the foreigners who may not know concerning the native stereotypes or perceptions of sure locations/individuals.
Additionally right here’s my massive tip for you – they’ll give you stools initially of the tour which you could tote alongside and sit on through the stroll. TAKE THEM. The tour lasts about 2 hours and there aren’t actually any locations to lean towards or sit on within the public areas. I undoubtedly didn’t remorse with the ability to relaxation my legs in any respect.
Must you watch Katong Dreaming?
Sure, Katong Dreaming was a good way to spend my Saturday night!
Katong Dreaming was an pleasing strolling tour with a distinction that presents the Katong neighbourhood in a contemporary manner with music and efficiency. When you’re like me and overlook all of the historic dates and particulars as quickly because the tour information shares them, you may admire studying about this distinctive Singaporean neighbourhood by songs, poetry and motion as an alternative.
Katong Dreaming a tour that each native Singaporeans and overseas vacationers can take pleasure in. I daresay the native may discover it extra significant as a result of they will higher perceive among the references and tradition, however for vacationers who wish to transcend the same old massive bang points of interest and dig into what makes Singapore Singapore, they might take pleasure in this tour as effectively.
For these interested by bringing their households alongside, I’d advocate this tour for adults or if in case you have older youngsters who can admire a little bit of historical past. These with youthful toddlers may discover it difficult to maintain them entertained and never disrupt the ambiance whereas attempting to understand the tales being informed.
Thanks once more to the Katong Dreaming Workforce for inviting me to take a look at this strolling tour with a distinction. Season 2 presently runs until finish Nov 2023 and there’s no figuring out what the longer term holds, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to take a look at the present earlier than the run ends!
The right way to e-book Katong Dreaming Tickets
This listed information is for the Season 2 run in 2023 and could also be up to date accordingly in future.
Guide Katong Dreaming: A Musical Tour tickets at katongdreaming.peatix.com. A ticket prices S$68.
Tickets can be found on weekends:
- Friday night 730-930pm
- Saturday matinee 4pm-6pm
- Saturday night 730-930pm
- Sunday matinee 4pm-6pm
It is a group tour and the utmost capability is 36pax. If in case you have your personal group or are on the lookout for non-public excursions, drop them a observe immediately.
There’s a honest quantity of strolling concerned so put on good footwear and produce a small umbrellas simply in case of the climate. The tour gives mild stools which you could borrow and tote round with you and sit on the place wanted.
Headphones are offered so that you don’t need to deliver your personal earphones.
Excited by extra excursions of Singapore neighbourhoods? Take a look at New World in Jalan Besar, or see extra offbeat issues to do in Singapore right here: