As you disembark from your plane at Changi Airport, you’ll probably hear plenty about Singapore’s Mandai Zoo, Bird Park, ArtScience Museum and S.E.A. Aquarium. And indeed, these famous attractions are certainly worth a visit.
That said, Singapore’s not just a nation of pretty theme parks; it is also full of hidden gems for the free-spirited and unconventional traveller. So if you’re craving a different kind of adventure, allow me to take you off the beaten path to discover some of the best-kept secrets in Singapore.
Morning – Decompress At The Reservoir
Singapore’s reservoirs are a picture of serenity at sunrise. Even before the city stirs, the birds begin their morning song amidst emerald foliage. The magical light of dawn illuminates the lake with soft colours, and the air is clear and cool. A few moments at these lush sanctuaries will restore you with a quiet sense of calm.
This scenic spots also offer adventure for solo travellers, adrenaline junkies and families with young children. Bedok Reservoir Park for instance is a popular spot for dragon boating and kayaking. It also features a 2.5-hour Forest Adventure with bridges, trapezes, wobbly logs, a Tarzan swing and zip lines across the reservoir. There is also a Kids Course and Mini Course, if 2.5 hours seems a tad long. Do keep your eyes out for swallows, herons and kingfishers amidst the 14,000 diverse wetland plants.
Noon – Discover Art Havens
Take refuge from Singapore’s unforgiving mid-day sun at our latest contemporary art cluster. Gillman Barracks is so named because it used to be a military camp. The charming colonial barracks now houses 11 international art galleries, the NTU Centre of Contemporary Art Singapore and three restaurants.
These galleries feature art from the region and around the world. I’m currently fascinated by the fantastical, subversive and dystopian worlds depicted by some of the artists at Mizuma Gallery, as well as the well-curated exhibitions at Arndt, Fost Gallery and Sundaram Tagore Gallery.
Late Afternoon – Explore Secret Beaches
Singapore and Sentosa island are too small to harbour any secret beaches – so rent a yacht, head out to sea and go island hopping. Pack a picnic, pop some champers and soak in the golden sun rays. Companies such as Lloyd Marine and White Label Charters offer private yachts of various sizes for rental.
Besides pristine beaches, Kusu Island has a lovely tortoise sanctuary, Sisters’ Island is perfect for snorkelling or hiking, and Pulau Ubin is home to Singapore’s last kampung (a traditional Malay village), as well as a diverse ecosystem of mangroves and corals.
Night – Rendezvous At A Hidden Bar
There’s something irresistibly sexy about secret bars or speakeasies – perhaps owing to a sense of covert romance. So if you’ve had enough of rooftop bars, swing by these ‘underground’ establishments instead.
Try Operation Dagger along the hip Ang Siang stretch. Its name sounds like a Hong Kong spy flick, and you won’t find any signage here – merely a gothic symbol near the door, as well as apothecary-like bottles with indecipherable labels. Another fun find is Bincho @ Hua Bee (more information via City Nomads here), a nuclear bunker serving Japanese whiskies and cocktails. Pick a tipple you’ve never tried before, an have an unforgettable evening!
I love discover the many secrets in Singapore! For more interesting and unusual experiences, speak to your Personal Assistant at Capella Singapore, then share your favourites with me!