Forget about building a wall around Yishun - we show you why this Northern 'hood isn't the most terrifying place in Singapore. Here's a complete guide to where to eat, drink and what to do here.
Contrary to what you may think, Yishun isn’t all that bad. Sure, with all the murders, cat killings, drug syndicate busts and giant caterpillar sightings going on, it may seem like Singapore’s Gotham City. But is Yishun truly as scary as it seems? This Northsider’s answer is a resounding “No”.
Aside from the occasional bizarre incident, Yishun is a fairly tame neighbourhood with charm in spades – there’s tonnes of greenery everywhere, a close-knitted community (this is true despite its rather massive size), and plenty to see and do. Need further proof? From hole-in-the-wall cafes and ice cream parlours to secret kayaking destinations and nature parks, we dish out eight reasons why this Northern Singapore neighbourhood is still worth visiting.
1. Bowl in the dark
The city may have heaps of alleys for you to knock down a few pins, but at SAFRA Yishun’s Orchid Bowl Cosmic Bowling sessions, you can double up your bowling shoes as dancing ones in a glow-in-the-dark atmosphere (and safely test out that victory dance you’ve been saving).
Orchid Bowl, #02-V2 SAFRA Yishun, 0 Yishun Avenue 4, Singapore 769027
2. Indulge your sweet tooth
Like Creamier in Toa Payoh, Holy Cow Creamery has the same charming vibe and tiny store size, but with equally delish ice cream flavours and desserts. Also popular amongst folks with a sweet tooth is The Daily Scoop, which takes pride in the fact that their ice creams are made from local ingredients and seasonal fresh fruits.
3. Grab a cuppa and a cake
If it’s decent cuppas and cakes you’re after, visit residential favourite, Doughwory bakery. It’s loved by both the young and old, thanks to a selection of both local-style (pandan cake, anyone?) pastries and fancier offerings like tarts and macarons. Over at Jalan Tampang, Baker’s Brew Studio welcomes both inspiring bakers and cake lovers to wile the day away over moist cakes and steaming hot cuppas, or to hone their skills in its hands-on baking classes.
Doughwory Bakery, #01-03, Block 504, Yishun Street 51, Singapore 760454
Baker’s Brew Studio, No. 6 Jalan Tampang, Singapore 758950, p. 6635 7166
4. Hawker hunt
For hardcore hawker hunters, Yishun’s local food scene won’t disappoint. Slurp up the delectable thick gravy with fresh, plump cockles at 928 Yishun Laksa or tuck into the famous Yishun 925 Hainanese chicken rice, which always comes with juicy, flavourful chicken meat and fragrant rice. For nasi lemak that packs a punch, head to Chong Pang Nasi Lemak – do yourselves a favour and order the spicy signatures of spicy long beans and sambal brinjal .
If it’s soul food you’re looking for, don’t miss Coba Coba: an authentic nasi padang haunt which resembles a cafe, with its brick walls, vintage decor accents, and kitschy trishaw located just outside its premises.
928 Yishun Laksa, Block 928, Yishun Central 1, Singapore 760928.
Yishun 925 Hainanese Chicken Rice, #01-249, Block 925, Yishun Central 1, Singapore 760925.
Chong Pang Nasi Lemak, 47 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758404
Coba Coba, Block 156 Yishun Street 11, #01-106, Singapore 760156
5. Chow down on comfort food
If you’re planning on catching a movie in Yishun, there’s only one place to go: Golden Village cinema at Yishun 10 Cinema Complex, located adjacent to Northpoint Shopping Centre. But here’s what’s worth the bloat: Build your own burger via self-ordering kiosks at homegrown Burger Up, or head to Arnold’s for hearty, spicy fried chicken before heading early to the theatre for a quick, pre-movie nap. You’re welcome.
6. Explore the hidden waterways of Sungei Khatib Bongsu
Described as the ‘Land of Giants’, Sungei Khatib Bongsu boasts a hidden natural river. Singapore’s biggest mangrove riverine habitat is home to large trees and wildlife, including various species of birds and mangrove inhabitants, including crab-eating frogs and dog-faced water snakes. To visit, look out for kayaking tours via Nature Society Singapore, or book a kayaking tour via KayakAsia.
7. Find sanctuary in nature
If you’re looking to escape the constantly crowded bustling center of Yishun, your ticket to peace and quiet is found in the neighbourhood’s nature spots. Pack a picnic and drive up to Yishun Dam (located near Lower Seletar Reservoir). Note that it can get crowded on weekends, with family gatherings and cyclists stopping for a breather. We’ve also got a not-so-secret spot for evening strolls: Yishun Pond Park, located just behind the architectural marvel that is Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital. With its huge variety of trees and marshland plants, water promenade and spiral tower, this park’s a tranquil haven for both residents and nature-seeking visitors.
Alternatively, head to Orto – a recreational park encircled by greenery on a balmy evening for a laid-back day. Dine at any of its restaurants – these include Thai Mookata and Singaporean-Malaysian bistro SGMY – and grab a beer at open-concept bar Quench! which overlooks surrounding ponds. For a taste of the slow life, you’ll find Singapore’s largest prawning facility here, as well as a fishing pond.
Yishun Dam, Yishun Avenue 1, Singapore 769130
Yishun Pond Park, Yishun Central, Singapore 760323
ORTO, 81 Lor Chencharu, Singapore 769198
8. Feed your inner adrenaline junkie
Rustle up your posse and get your protective masks ready for a wicked paintball game at Red Dynasty Paintball Park. Or blow off steam by bouncing off the walls at Katapult, an indoor trampoline park which includes activity areas like slam dunk and dodgeball.