Holland Village has always been one of my favourite “villages” in Singapore to wander around, and a place I regularly take visitors. It’s bursting with great stuff – from beautiful Asian artefacts, mani/pedi places galore, lovely shops full of goodies to pamper oneself with, fashion, books, magazines, tailors, shoes, toys, and more, plus there is an amazing selection of restaurants and bars to boot. However it’s also a perfect place to take the kids on an adventure if you’re looking for something a little bit different. Since the SMRT opened up in 2011, it’s even easier to get to, and if you’re driving, there are more car parking spaces than before. Additionally, since construction has essentially finished, new life is coming into the area.
One of the activities on your agenda in Holland Village should be Chip Pee Gardens on Jelan Merah Saga, and here’s a great link for a selection of restaurants along the way – in fact, Lady Iron Chef seems well worth a look for any eating out advice. One of the great things about Chip Pee Gardens is kids are encouraged to enjoy themselves (there are signs even saying so), so when my little monkeys scale the pillars and slide down the ramps, no one seems to care. There’s also a brand new ice cream shop – Daily Scoop which is reasonably priced, and at the far end of Chip Pee Gardens is a pet shop with lots of lovely pussy cats wandering around the shop. Beware the owner though – she gets a bit cranky with rambunctious children. Also don’t forget to stock up on some of the best meat in town at The Butcher– although probably better to go at the end of your adventure if you decide to buy some meat. Another delicacy destination is Da Paolo’s for all sorts of yummy food and delicacies. Chip Pee Gardens a lovely part of town and if your children are restaurant behaved, also a great spot to stop for a meal.
Wandering back into Holland Village, head up above Cold Storage (Holland Road Shopping Centre), which is a perfect place if you’re ready for a bit of cool. There are a few toy shops in the mix, including a Lego store, so sure to keep the little loves entertained for a while. You’ll also find toilets on every floor at both ends of the corridor, and if you’re ready for a meal, there is 211 Rooftop Terrace Cafe. It’s lovely up there if you want a change of scene, kids are welcome, the food and ambience nice and the staff are sweet – well I’ve always had a good experience.
One thing I always try and do with the boys is have a fresh juice. If you’re in the mood for healthy stuff, head straight down Lorong Liput, staying on the left, go down the hill, cross the road, and in front of you is a hawker stall with a juice bar. The juices are very cheap, but don’t expect the staff to smile, and you can sit by the road and watch the world go by. After that, Pet Lovers up the steep red stairs red next door, is a good place to visit as there is a Pet Spa, so the kids can watch the dogs getting “haircuts,” plus they have a collection of puppy dogs for sale. I know that Pet Lovers has had a bit of a bad rap, but we’ve always had a good experience there. I just like doing the pet shops because my boys don’t have a pet, and while the pressure is building to get one, this seems to keep them happy for now.
Larong Mambong is the main restaurant drag of HV and when it’s closed to traffic, it’s a great place to wander around. As you enter this area, there’s a large hawker centre, with a fruit and veggie stand in the back. My boys love wandering around here and we always pick up some cheap fruit and veg. There’s also flower stalls and some other delicacy stores, including a Mexican food speciality Stall, newly moved from Kallang Shopping centre. My husband is thrilled because they do great chilli sauces, jalapenos, fresh corn chips and excellent salsa – he’s easily pleased.
The other option along here is more ice-cream shops. There are two on Larong Mambong – Cold Rock and Haagen Dazs – but there’s also a Swensens on Holland Ave, near the cheap clothes shop, which is also worth a look. Cool branded kids clothes for $5-12 but it’s definitely a case of getting lucky.
So there you go, if you’ve never thought of Holland Village as an adventure option with kids, there’s loads you can do, and if your kids are well behaved when it comes to shopping, you can do even more. I certainly have to stay out of the shops with breakables, but it’s not forever.