Tired of mainstream tourist spots? Check out these hidden gems when you’re in Singapore!
TOP 1 Lazarus Island
Step into Lazarus Island, where the tranquility and soft sandy beaches might make you question if you are still in Singapore. The long stretch of white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters look like they are taken straight out of a postcard. While there aren’t many facilities around, that translates to an unspoilt beach with few visitors that is the perfect getaway from the city. Take a stroll along the beach and enjoy the feeling of the waters lapping at your feet, or change into your swimming apparels and hit the waters. This is indeed a hidden gem.
How to get there: Take a boat from Marina South Pier to St John’s Island, then walk to Lazarus Island (about 10 minutes)
TOP 2 Punggol Waterway Park
As its name suggests, Punggol Waterway Park is built around the Punggol Waterway, enabling park users to enjoy a variety of activities along the waterway. Jogging, cycling or just taking a stroll amidst the lush greenery and tranquil waters does wonders to help you relax. Its many bridges provide the perfect spots for you to capture that enchanting sunset. Be sure to head to the sunset strip and the Jewel Bridge where you can enjoy a full view of the setting sun. The round structure on the Jewel Bridge is made of steel strips and shaped like a jewel. If you’re lucky, you might catch the beautiful sight where the golden rays land on the structure, causing it to glisten like a jewel. On the other side of Punggol Waterway Park lies the Sunrise Bridge, which is perfect spot to catch the sunrise at Punggol Waterway Park. Who says you can’t get the best of both worlds!
Punggol Waterway Park is also the gateway to the nearby Coney Island if the explorer in you is still not satisfied!
Address: Sentul Cres, Singapore 821313
TOP 3 Gardenasia
Tucked away at a tranquil corner in Kranji, Gardenasia is a combination of farm, bistro and event space. For the ultimate getaway, stay in one of the only four one-bedroom villas here which are modelled after the black-and-white British colonial houses. Wind down by walking through the farms, enjoying a sumptuous meal at Bistro Gardenasia with dishes crafted from freshly harvested ingredients from the farms, and enjoy the other facilities such as tennis court, swimming pool and children’s playground.
Address: 240 Neo Tiew Cres, Singapore 718898
TOP 4 Smith Marine Floating Restaurant
Fancy a fresh seafood dinner out at sea? Smith Marine Floating Restaurant is a modern kelong located between Pulau Ubin and Changi Point ferry terminal. Catch your own seabass and snapper in the “sure catch pond” and have it cooked in Hong Kong or Teochew Style. Tuck into dishes such as garlic lobster, sambal mussels and chilli crab amidst the sunset and sea breeze. The restaurant is halal certified so you can bring your Muslim friends there too! If you are planning to go there, be sure to book a ferry ride and make a reservation at the restaurant 3 days in advance (details can be found at their website below).
Address: GPS Coordinates: 01’23’52″N – 103’57’42″E
Opening hours: 10am-7pm (closed on alternate Mondays)
TOP 5 Cafe de Nicole’s Flower
Café de Nicole’s Flower is not just another floral-themed cafe. It also doubles up as a flower shop, an event space and a pet playground. With its floral arch and glassy exteriors, it is instagrammable even before you step into the cafe. Once you’re in, the flowers and tropical plants that adorn the cafe in pots and hanging baskets beckon you to snap more photographs.
The garden theme doesn’t just stop at the decorations. The food and drinks too, are arranged in a delicate manner with dried or fresh flowers added to them, making it almost impossible not to take a handful of photos before digging in. One must praise the artistic direction that goes into the food presentation. With cut fruits, berries and flowers arranged in such a delicate and cohesive way, the plate of souffle pancakes (pictured above) look more like a piece of artwork than a plate of food.
Address: 224 Telok Kurau Rd, #01-01, Singapore 423836
Closed on Monday
TOP 6 Ann Siang Hill Park
Ann Siang Hill Park is a small park in the outskirts of Chinatown nestled among the rows of chic bars and eateries. The hill was named after Chia Ann Siang, a wealthy and successful businessman. The Ann Siang Hill trail begins at Telok Ayer Green and ends at Club Street. You will pass by rows of beautiful shophouses and historic landmarks such as the Thian Hock Keng Temple, which is the place of worship for many Chinese immigrants, the Chinese Weekly Entertainment Club, which was set up by Straits Chinese elites as a social club, and an old well at the foot of Ann Siang Hill. This is one of the best places to get a glimpse of the lives of the early immigrants in Singapore.
Address: 78 Club St, Singapore 069447
Opening hours: 24 hours
TOP 7 Kampong Lorong Buangkok
Kampong Lorong Buangkok was built in 1956 and is the last remaining village in mainland Singapore. Located along Sungei Punggol, the rustic wooden houses, overgrown gardens and mud paths stand in stark contrast against the modern developments surrounding it. Currently, approximately 30 Malay and Chinese families are still residing in the village which also has shops and a mosque. A step into this piece of land seemingly untouched by modernisation will transport you back in time instantly, allowing you to reminisce the past when life was simpler.
Address: Kampong Lorong Buangkok, 7 Lor Buangkok, Singapore 547557
TOP 8 Wessex Estate
Wessex Estate is another place that will transport you back in time. The enclave of black and white colonial buildings which comprises apartments and semi-detached houses built in the 1930s and 1940s were named after towns and villages in England. They used to house British servicemen who worked at military installations and their families. After the British troops leave Singapore, these properties were handed over to the Singapore government and they became available to the public for rental. Today, Wessex Estate is home to many art galleries and studios set up by local artists and photographers. However, it still retains its colonial charm.
Address: Woking Road, Portsdown Road
TOP 9 Jurong Lake Gardens
The 90-hectare Jurong Lake Gardens is perfect for those looking for tranquility amidst this bustling city. The Jurong Lake Gardens comprises the famous Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden, and the newly revamped Lakeside Garden and Garden Promenade, all of which are clustered around the idyllic Jurong Lake. You can take a leisurely jog by the lakeside, have picnic at one of the gazebos or green patches, or just take a walk and take in the sights with your eyes and camera. The garden is popular with residents staying nearby who enjoy jogging, having group exercise classes such as qi gong and even playing musical instruments in the garden.
The bad news is the Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden with their characteristic pagodas, pavilions, Chinese landscaped-gardens and bonsais are closed for redevelopment works and will only reopen in 2021. In the meantime, visitors can head to the Lakeside Garden to immerse in nature with its various features such as Alstonia Island, Rasau Walk and Neram Streams. There are plenty of play spaces for children, and plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife such as otters, birds and butterflies.
How to get there: Lakeside Garden (Jurong Lake Gardens) is accessible from Lakeside MRT station, and also by bus services 49 and 154 from Jurong East or Boon Lay Interchanges.
TOP 10 Cook and Tras Social Library
Located just a stone’s throw away from Maxwell Food Centre, Cook and Tras Social Library at Six Senses Maxwell is an exquisite social library unlike any other. The uniquely designed interior will draw you in immediately, first to the classic decor and then to the scores of book arranged neatly on tiers of shelves. Take your seat at one of the tables surrounded by the shelves of book, and grab a bite from their menu which features Straits Heritage cuisine and Southern-European creations.
You are free to browse the 3000 books housed in its premises, or get some work done on your laptop with power points and free WiFi. With its long opening hours, you can literally work till midnight!
Address: 2 Cook Street, Singapore 078857
Opening hours: 6.30am – 12am daily
Credits: Silverkris, honeycombers, Cafe de Nicole’s Flower, timeout, visitsingapore, tripadvisor, Cook and Tras Social Library
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