While we’re best known for our rags-to-riches story, from a sleepy fishing village to a cosmopolitan metropolis today, one thing’s for sure: we’ve grown so much, it’s definitely hard to avoid the crowds in Singapore today. Honestly. Just ask any resident here, and they’ll attest to that. So where do you go when you’re looking to escape the city bustle, or are simply seeking pocket-friendly options for a quiet retreat? These places have the answers:
1. PUNNGOL WATERWAY PARK
This not-so-secret spot boasts a variety of attractions for couples and families. The up-and-coming lifestyle spot, which used to be a quiet farming area, now sees a hive of activity from young couples and families in the area, due to housing developments there.
Today, the Waterway Park features a series of fun activities designed to cater to residents of all ages, as well as picturesque surroundings for couples seeking for fun date alternatives. We like that the park pays homage to the area’s heritage with a series of mature trees and old vegetation, and offers a green respite to residents.
How to get there: You can take a few buses (including 3, 34, 82, 85, 136) from Punggol Bus Interchange. If not, you can also take a 10-15 minute-walk from the interchange, or from Punggol MRT station.
2. SUNGEI BULOH WETLAND RESERVE
Animal-lovers can consider visiting this rich spot that’s teeming with different species of animals. Tucked away in the northwest part of the country, the natural habitat covers an area of 130 hectares, and is known to be home to a large variety of birds and other animal inhabitants. More recently, crocodiles have been known to be spotted within its waters.
How to get there: You can either take 925 from Kranji MRT station or go via the Kranji Express, which operates from 8.30am to 5.45pm.
3. THE SOUTHERN ISLANDS
If you’re tired of the usual offshore options (read: Pulau Ubin and Sentosa Island), there are many others for you to consider. For pristine beaches, serene surroundings and unspoilt landscapes, you can consider the group of southern islands that are waiting to be explored. The more well-known ones include St. John’s Island and Kusu Island, but you can also look to others within the group such as Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat and Sisters’ Islands.
How to get there: Take a cruise from the Marina South Pier, and get your tickets. The cruises cover three stops: the pier, St. John’s Island and Kusu Island. From these islands, you can cover the rest via a link bridge. Alternatively (if you’ve got the moolah, that is), you can rent a charter yacht to take you there.
4. THE ABANDONED RAILWAY TRACKS
Since the KTM Malaysian Railway closed its doors, its train tracks have been left abandoned. Today, it is known to be popular with photoshoots and hipsters looking to get Instagram-worthy shots by the tracks. You can pop by the former Bukit Timah Railway Station or places where the track runs, at Cluny Road, Newton Circus, or the ones near the Ayer Rajah Expressway, Teban Gardens and Sunset Way.
How to get there: To get to the tracks at Bukit Timah, just make your way to King Albert Park, where you can spot the old railway bridge. For the one near Teban Gardens and Clementi Avenue 4, you can head to Sunset Way and travel along the road, till you reach an underpass that leads to the tracks.
5. SEMBAWANG PARK
Head to this little gem on the northern part of the island, and you’ll be able to see things you don’t normally come across, like oil rigs, and the Johor coast. The area exudes a quaint, almost old-school charm, where you can find traces of our colonial past almost everywhere. These include the black-and-white houses nearby, as well as buildings such as the Navy Museum, Old Admiralty House and the Sembawang Memorial. Plus, if you’re seeking a quiet spot for dates, or a day out with the kids, the park boasts a variety of activities, from its sandy beaches, to fishing (at the jetty), and other play areas. While you’re there, you might want to check out the famed Sembawang Hot Springs nearby, which is the only one in Singapore.
How to get there: Its nearest MRT station is Sembawang. From there, you can take bus 882 from the interchange.
6. THE KRANJI COUNTRYSIDE
The stretch of farms around the Lim Chu Kang area may be a little difficult to get to if you don’t drive, but it’s worth a visit anyway. Whether you’re looking to relive the good old days of our agricultural past, or you’re just looking to take a break, it’s a great way to spend your weekends. And there’re lots to see: from vegetables to exotic fish, chickens and frogs. You can even choose to stay a night or two in some of the farms offering resort-style options. Just make sure you load up on the insect repellent, as those pesky mozzies are always lurking around waiting for a bite.
How to get there: The nearest MRT stations are Choa Chu Kang and Kranji. From there, you can either take a taxi or a public bus, depending on which farm you’re looking to visit. Alternatively places like Farmart offer shuttle bus services – just drop by their website to enquire.
About the writer:
Amanda Tan has written pieces for several publications, which include stories on food, lifestyle and beauty. She believes life is too short for regrets, and hopes to live in London (just for the experience). She is also a self-professed cake addict, and can never resist a slice, at any time of the day. If you’d like to share life hacks, travel tips and general advice, you can drop her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.