Want to ditch the city grind? Head to these hidden spots to experience a different side of Singapore
In an island so tiny yet densely populated by soaring buildings and famous landmarks, it’s hard believing that some parts of of the city remain wonderfully undiscovered (or rarely visited). Ready for these Singapore’s best kept secret spots? Here are the things you’ll need to explore these hidden places: a GPS, a ride (most of these places are fairly inaccessible through public transport), and a sense of adventure.
Travel back to the 60s at this quaint colonial bar. Previously a canteen for the British Army back in 1953, Colbar serves a wide selection of British beer and comforting Hainanese Western grub. The selling point of this charming bar is in its atmosphere. During their relocation, the owners ensured everything including its clay roof tin and timbre walls were carefully redesigned to mirror the original bar. From vintage weighing machine to historic photos of the Colbar Football Club, Colbar delivers a slice of old Singapore.
Colbar Eating House, 9A Whitchurch Road, Singapore 138839, p. 6779 4859.
Unless you’re equipped with a car, Tuas is not an easy place to shoot at. Any serial Instagrammer worth her salt would have heard about the sand dunes and lalang fields. While these do exist, it requires patience to sniff out. Take your time to drive around and recce – abandoned and open construction sites are aplenty here for adventurous ‘grammers.
It’s not everyday that one encounters a lighthouse in Singapore’s cityscape. Head straight to the pier, where the Johor Straits Lighthouse awaits at the edge, with the Tuas Second Link bridge as another interesting focal point in the backdrop. Later, walk around the luxe Raffles Marina Country Club and stroll along the promenade, soaking in the sea breeze and gorgeous views. Don’t forget (pretend) to live the high life with an #ootd amongst the many yachts docked at the marina.
Raffles Marina, 10 Tuas West Drive, Singapore 638404.
By now, you’ve probably been to Coney Island, but did you know that the park is home to hidden white sand beaches? Access here is closest to Punggol Ranch, so if you’re entering via the main gates, take your time to explore the grounds. Budding botanists with keen eyes should look out for several rare plant species that are presumed to be extinct in mainland Singapore. The island also serves as a refuge for migratory birds, so wildlife enthusiasts might want to pack a camera and a zoom lens.
Coney Island, 900 Punggol Road, Singapore 829168
In an island that’s been thoroughly reconstructed, stumbling upon a raw gem is cause for celebration (and a thousand photos, of course). The last remaining undeveloped Sentosa coastline along Singapore’s Western tip boasts mangrove trails, large rocks and even secret, tiny caves.
Tanjong Rimau is located at the edge of Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort. Access is only possible via a rocky slope down the beach.
A city girl’s best bet for a serene farm break, the modest Bollywood Veggies boasts a rustic farm-to-table cafe, Poison Ivy. Strike a conversation with owner Ivy Singh Lim if you see her – we’ve met her, and boy were we struck by her hilarious candour and boisterous personality. Bollywood Veggies also hosts culinary classes, hands-on horticultural programmes and tours.
Bollywood Veggies, 100 Neo Tiew Road, Singapore 719026, p. 6898 5001.
Once a British Army base, these black and white colonial buildings house numerous art studios and galleries. Spend a day hopping from studio to studio and chat with various artists who will spin an interesting story or two.
Wessex Estate, 9A Whitchurch Road, Wessex Estate, Singapore 138839.
The Coastal Settlement
At this cosy little spot, you’ll find tonnes of vintage knick-knacks and quirky decor on display. Food-wise, expect honest comfort food, including burgers and pizzas, as well as local favourites like curry chicken and nasi lemak. It’s also located next to a not-so-hidden haunted spot that you can check out if you’re up for it!
The Coastal Settlement, 200 Netheravon Road, Singapore 508529.
Singapore’s first wetland reserve is home to a myriad of riverine species including water monitors, mudskippers and, if you’re really lucky (or unlucky), the ferocious estuarine crocodile. If you happen to be trekking through the park’s many trails during migratory season, you’ll definitely be able to see flocks of shorebirds like sandpipers and plovers.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, 301 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718925
Kampong Lorong Buangkok
If you’ve ever wanted to go back in time to Singapore’s former provincial life, Kampong Lorong Buangkok is the best place to do that. Located off Sengkang East Avenue, it’s the last village left on Singapore’s main island, with 26 dwellings left. Here, chickens, and other stray animals run freely. Redevelopment is in the works, but as you can imagine, people are up in arms in calling for conservation efforts.
Kampong Lorong Buangkok, 7 Lorong Buangkok, Singapore 547557
Whisk and Paddle
This massive open-air bistro provides tranquil views of the river and offers a plethora of comfort grub like macaroni and cheese, pulled pork soft tacos and eggs benedict smoked salmon served atop waffles. It’s also a charming watering hole in the evening – perfect for kicking back over cocktails and some bar bites.
Whisk and Paddle, #01-01, 10 Tebing Lane, Singapore 828836, p. 6242 4617.
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