Is Crazy Rich Asians the movie of the summer? It is a smashing financial and critical success, adapted for the big screen from Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel. The film, starring an all-Asian cast, has surpassed $120 million in box office revenue, star Constance Wu graced the cover of TIME, the chairman of Warner Bros. teased two more sequels, and it’s not only theatergoers who are obsessed – the movie scored 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregates hundreds of critics’ ratings and reviews.
But when I sat in the theater – while charmed by the love story and laughing out loud at the sheer insanity of it all – there was one predominant thought: Singapore has never looked better. And I want to go now!
It turns out I’m not the only one. “The movie has definitely sparked a lot of interest in Singapore,” says Ashley Isaacs, founder and CEO of Artisans of Leisure, a Virtuoso tour connection that plans custom trips. “Travelers are even more intrigued by the destination, and want to see locations that are featured in the movie.”
Artisans of Leisure can work with a Virtuoso travel advisor to plan your private Singapore tour focused on movie sites, she says.
In the movie, New Yorkers Nick Young and Rachel Chu fly to Singapore for Nick’s best friend’s wedding, and for Rachel to meet his family for the first time. Unbeknownst to her, his family is insanely wealthy – and incredibly judgmental.
Here’s where to follow in their footsteps:
Start with flying first class to Singapore, like Nick Young and Rachel Chu do. Though the airline they fly on (Pacific Asean Airlines) is fake, Singapore Airlines offers luxurious private suites and beds.
Upon arrival, Rachel is starry-eyed at Singapore’s Changi airport, often voted the best airport in the world. (In contrast, she declares that JFK is all “salmonella and despair.”) With lush gardens, Singaporean and global food choices, entertainment, shopping, and art, you’ll experience the same kind of WOW arrival.
After they arrive, Nick and Rachel meet up with friends for a taste of Singapore. The night market scene was filmed at Newton Food Centre, but there are hundreds of street food stalls throughout Singapore. Here, Nick boasts that street food vendors earn Michelin stars, and that they are eating the “best satay on the island.”
Nick and Rachel stay at the iconic Raffles Singapore (when their alarm rings at 8am). The hotel is in the midst of a major redesign by Alexandra Champalimaud, and is due to reopen in early 2019.
Rachel meets up with her dear friend Peik-Lin on Bukit Pasoh Road in Chinatown to dish about Nick’s family. They sit on a terrace across the street from The Reading Room, a coffee shop and bar.
The $40 million wedding scene (where water lines the aisle) for friends Colin Khoo and Araminta Lee, was filmed at Chijmes, a former nineteenth-century chapel turned food and market space. And their over-the-top wedding reception was filmed at Gardens by the Bay, famous for the towering Supertrees. Visit at night for the best views.
After a major fight, Nick and Rachel meet up to talk by the water in Merlion Park, across from the Fullerton Hotel Singapore, a 400-room property in the heart of the Central Business District. While the characters don’t go in, you can try the hotel’s signature butter and cinnamon “thousand-layer” Kueh Lapis cake.
The final scene is a major celebration (we won’t spoil it for you) on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands, a fitting send-off to this fun summer movie.
Find more of our city secrets from Singapore here.
Top photo: Getty Images/Boule13.