The city at 02.23am

It is 02.23am, and most of us are deep in slumber. But for some, it is a time for work, play, travel, and more. Esso Synergy powers through the night, taking you on a trip across Singapore at 02.23am, to help you get more fun and thrills out of your journeys.

The first time that your car breaks down can be a stressful affair, especially if you are inexperienced and unprepared for the breakdown, or if you are driving home late in the night. Thank goodness for the 24-hour tow truck services in Singapore; you will not be left stranded for too long.

In recent years, more auto workshops have extended their hours late into the night. Besides an emergency fix for your car, you can also visit them to buy tools and accessories. Of course, you can also swing by Esso stations at any time of the day for some handy gadgets or nifty accessories for your car.

The Senoko Fishery Port comes alive in the wee hours of the morning, as fishermen haggle with seafood vendors over their catch. They gather from 2am to 6am, shouting and bargaining over prices, above the slosh of goods being exchanged, and the slapping of sandals on the wet floor. We like how vastly different it is from our regular lives, and making a trip there is more for its assault on our senses, than it is for seafood shopping. Because of the hour of the night, it is only accessible by car or taxi, but it is easy to locate and we would definitely recommend a visit. 

We grew up with a bunch of close friends who lived in the same neighbourhood. As we got older, our lives took different routes and some of us moved to other parts of Singapore.

We still make it a point to catch up over supper a couple of times a year. We would convene at the 24-hour hawker centre that is near to where we used to live, and over a late-night snack, we would share the latest changes in our lives and have a good laugh over old times.

For many years, we had no idea that the car spoiler had a purpose or even a name. We thought it was purely a cosmetic enhancement.

It was only recently when we saw a trending meme online that led us to read up more about spoilers.

The meme shows a group of "car lovers" bonding over cup noodles off the top of the spoiler, with the caption “I finally know what those are for.”

The durian is our favourite fruit, and we are proud to say that no other fruit inspires such feelings of love (or dislike) in Singapore the way the durian can. When they are in season, incredibly long queues form at the stalls regardless of high prices. 

We enjoy observing how the sellers split the thorny husks to reveal the creamy flesh within, in lightning speed. This fruit that the Chinese deem ‘heaty’ is usually enjoyed in the cool of the night, so the stalls are at their busiest in the evenings. 

Stalls that open 24 hours cater to people with midnight durian cravings like us. Dropping by late at night also gives us an excellent opportunity to chat with the sellers and perhaps get a tip or two on how to pick an excellent durian. 

The retro style has become trendy again - from the things we wear to the things we use. Retro interiors are also all the rage, evident from the many bakeries and café that have popped up all over the island. 

For the real deal, however, there are a couple of old bakeries and coffee shops in Singapore that have survived the years. 

We found ourselves at this quaint 24-hour bakery that specialises in bread. They bake through the night to deliver fresh loaves to coffee shops across the island before dawn. 

They also serve walk-in customers. If you buy a loaf of bread, you can get them to slather peanut butter and kaya (coconut jam) on the bread for a delicious sandwich at any time of the day.

Embarking on a trip in the middle of the night feels very different from the other times in the day. The world has long gone to sleep, but you are gearing up for an adventure. You take your bags and get into a car or taxi, and make your way to the airport. There is little traffic and the drive is smooth.

Every moment is charged with quiet anticipation as you leave the familiar behind. In no time, you will be at the airport. When the skies turn bright, and the world wakes up, you could find yourself in a different time zone in a place far removed from your daily life.

We are at the Marina Barrage to experience the allure of kite flying at night. The kites come alive like fireflies dancing against the Singapore skyline. It is a breath-taking sight. Some look regal and elegant, while some are playful and energetic.

Flying has always captured the human imagination, be it kites, aeroplanes or drones. Under the cool night sky, the kites are a mesmerising sight, and for this group of hobbyists, it is something worth staying up late for.

Night cycling can be both a social and solitary activity. You move in a group, enjoying the camaraderie. Yet on the bike, you are alone with your thoughts, in the still of the evening.

It is much cooler in the night and a joy to pedal against the wind. As there are many cyclists and drivers in our team, we look forward to see how the National Cycling Plan can provide a safer and better connected network for cyclists in Singapore. The Land Transport Authority's (LTA) National Cycling Plan will have a cycling network of 700km ready by 2030, which will include both park connectors and cycling paths in Housing Board towns.

Sometimes, when sleep is elusive, we take a drive around Singapore. Late nights are a good time to familiarise yourself with places you hardly visit, and discover better ways to get to places that you frequent.

Wind down the window at night to listen to the sound of the wind without the usual daytime street noises. Or even drop by an Esso station to pay your bills, top up petrol and pick up a snack, before continuing with your journey. 

If there is a favourite supper food for Singaporeans, it's probably roti prata. The thin, flaky folds of fragrant pastry that can be eaten in so many ways: plain, with egg, cheese or even chocolate, dipped in sugar or savoury curry.

The popular prata joints in Singapore attract people from all over the island. Even in the middle of the night, hungry patrons would go the distance to satisfy their cravings.

These shops also typically serve up some of the best teh tarik. Many Singaporeans would agree that there’s no better way to complete a prata meal than with a frothy, milky cup of teh tarik.

With work keeping us busy in the day, many of us can only spend time with our friends and family at night. We visited a prawning facility in Punggol late one night, and it was a lively affair as people chatted by the pools.

A benefit about prawning at night: Your catch goes straight from hook to grill, for a sweetly satisfying supper.

As we walk through East Coast Park, we hear the rumbling and pealing of rubber wheels on concrete. The young men who are there skateboarding will fall, get up and brush themselves off time and again. It is just one of the many nights they spend at the skate park, finessing their skateboarding skills. They proudly show off their skateboards which are, for most of them, their first set of wheels.

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Stand to win $50 Esso fuel vouchers on Esso Singapore’s Facebook page from March 14 – 24, 2016.

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