Every so often, I dream of a break from the humdrum of daily life, even more so after coming back from a trip. Post-holiday blues is real!

While I can’t afford to go on a holiday every other month, I find myself looking for cheaper alternatives to trick my mind into thinking I’m not in Singapore without the need to travel out of the country.

One of such ways is to look for cafes, not just any regular cafe, but those with strong vacay vibes. 

Here are some cafes I’ve sieved out to get you through till your next holiday.

MOD CAFE

Mod Cafe is a newly opened cafe in the East and it’s decked in a pretty pink exterior that looks like you’re being transported to Korea. 

I won’t be surprised to see cafe-goers taking photos in front of the cafe in Stylenanda (a popular Seoul fashion brand)-inspired poses.

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The cafe carries the famous Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes and a simple menu with all-day breakfasts, wraps and pies. 

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There’s also a hair salon specialising in hair colouring, so you can plan an entire day of pampering and indulge at Mod Cafe.

Where: 1A Kuo Chuan Ave, Singapore 426888
Opening hours: 9am to 7pm 

TEA BONE ZEN MIND 

The Tea Bone Zen Mind is hidden behind an unassuming wooden door in a shophouse on Emerald Hill.

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There is no signboard, but once you enter the shophouse you’ll feel like you’ve set foot in a teahouse in Japan, complete with a koi pond and private tea rooms. 

Make a reservation and leave your worries at the door as you spend an idyllic afternoon sampling different types of tea while nibbling on pastries. 

Where: 98 Emerald Hill Rd, Singapore 229374
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 11am to 7pm; Sunday and Public Holidays closed

Take a step back in time and relive your kampong days when you visit Colbar. The cafe has been around since the 1950s and was carefully reconstructed again with the same materials after moving from its original location in 2003.  

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While its surroundings have changed with high-rise buildings erected nearby, this cafe seemed to have been frozen in time.

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Colbar serves nothing like your modern cafe grub, instead, you’ll find simple Western classics and local delights, such as chicken chop and potato wedges, curry chicken and hor fun

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Where: 9A Whitchurch Rd, Singapore 138839
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am to 8.30pm; Closed on Mondays

LOOKSEE LOOKSEE

Looksee Looksee looks like it can blend into the Korean cafe scene with its pastel pink theme and plush seats. 

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It is more of a reading room and tea house rather than a cafe, and I can see myself whiling away the hours here with a cup of tea in hand and a book in another. 

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Where: 267 Beach Rd, Singapore 199545
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 11am to 5pm; Saturday to Sunday closed

TIONG BAHRU BAKERY SAFARI

There are no wildlife animals walking around or giraffes popping their heads into the tents, but you’ll get to experience dining in a giant canvas tent surrounded by trees. 

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The safari theme follows through on the inside with items and memorabilia collected from around the world.

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Don’t leave without trying one of its colourful latte series exclusive to this outlet, such as the turmeric ginger latte, beetroot roselle latte and blue pea latte. 

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Where: 130E Minden Rd, Singapore 248819
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm

CAFE DE NICOLE’S FLOWERS

Be swept away to the English countryside, when you dine at Cafe De Nicole’s Flowers. Its furnishing is homey and warm with soothing colours and flowers, perfect for hosting the perfect tea party.

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What’s great about this place is it’s pet-friendly, so you can bring doggo out for an afternoon of bonding.

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Apart from its brunch menu, Cafe De Nicole’s Flowers also sells fluffy stacks of pancakes that are IG-worthy.

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Bring home some fresh flowers too on your way out.

Where: 224 Telok Kurau Rd, #01-01, Singapore 423836
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 9am to 8pm; Saturday to Sunday 8am to 9pm, Monday closed

The Glasshouse feels spacious from the floor to ceiling windows flooding the cafe in natural light. 

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Dominating the decor are plants and wooden furniture that reflect the greenhouse theme. Soak up the sunlight when you sit by the windows and grab some gourmet sandwiches and aromatic coffee.

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Where: 30 Victoria St, #01-03 Chijmes, Singapore 187996
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 8am to 5pm; Friday to Saturday 8am to 9.30pm; Sunday 9am to 6pm

FIVE OARS COFFEE ROASTER

The mix of industrial design and plants, plus the smell of coffee at Five Oars Coffee Roaster brings me back to my carefree days during a trip to Melbourne.  

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In the day, you’ll find familiar brunch items and grain bowls. For those working in the Central Business District, you can come after hours to wind down with craft beer, burgers, pasta and mains.  

Where: 39 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore 088462
Opening hours: 8am to 10pm 

PRIVE, MARINA AT KEPPEL BAY

Lunch on the deck of Prive, Marina at Keppel Bay and be surrounded by the views of yachts and boats parked at the marina. Look at little further and you may spot Mount Faber and Sentosa too.

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Dig into hearty fare, from pizzas to burgers and local delights. On weekends, Prive becomes vibrant with families pouring in on a slow Sunday morning for brunch.

Where: 2 Keppel Bay Vista Singapore 098382
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 12am; Saturday to Sunday 8am to 12am

SOEK SENG 1954 BICYCLE CAFE

Located beside Seletar Airport, the cafe boast an unparalleled view of planes taking off and landing.

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The cafe serves comforting dishes from beef rendang to vegetarian spaghetti to Japanese gyudon.

Its quiet and relaxing atmosphere is what draws customers back. 

Where: 80 #01-01 MAJ Aviation Building, Seletar Aerospace View, 797563
Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday, Sunday 10am to 10pm; Friday to Saturday 10am  to 11pm; Monday closed 

DON HO

Enjoy Bali vibes at Don Ho when you do brunch with your girlfriends over the weekends at the Instagrammable cafe plastered in floral and fauna wallpaper.

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Order a couple of mains and sides to share so you get to try a bit of everything. Make it a boozy brunch when you order some delicious cocktails to go with a table filled with food.

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Where: 1 Keong Saik Rd, The Working Capitol Building, Singapore 089109
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 6pm to 12am; Saturday 10am to 4pm, 6pm to 12am; Sunday 10am to 4pm

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