There’s nothing wrong with visiting the most popular attractions in a city, but sometimes you just want to escape the crowds and head to those that are off the beaten track a little. If you prefer to enjoy a little peace and tranquillity while you explore Singapore, then check out our top ten off the beaten path suggestions here.
1. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
There are plenty of national parks to explore in Singapore, but even they can become overrun with joggers, hikers and cyclists at weekends. The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a quieter option, its boardwalks perfect for some quiet bird watching and escapism. If you’re lucky you may spot a crocodile too.
2. The Southern Ridges walk
Whilst still within the urban landscape of Singapore, the Southern Ridges Walk provides a series of short walks winding through the rainforest – perfect for escaping from the high rises and traffic for a few contemplative hours.
3. Reflections at Bukit Chandu
This often overlooked war museum can be visited along the Southern Ridges Walk (otherwise take a taxi, it’s a steep walk up the hill!). Reflections at Bukit Chandu commemorates the bravery of the Malay Regiment – just 1,400 soldiers who tried to defend Singapore against a 13,000 strong Japanese army during the Defence of Singapore. The audio-visual and multi-media presentations are based on actual war diaries, making for a moving exhibition.
4. Memories at Old Ford Factory
Another overlooked war museum – Memories at Old Ford Factory is located at the very site of the British surrender to the Japanese during World War II. The exhibition captures the memories of the hardships experienced by the Singaporean population while celebrating the bravery and entrepreneurship displayed by the survivors. It’s a similar exhibition to the Changi Museum, but you’ll probably be the only visitor.
5. Chek Jawa Wetlands
Pulau Ubin is just a 10 minute boat ride from Changi and gives you the opportunity to step back in time and discover what Singapore was like fifty years ago, before the construction companies moved in. Hire a bike on arrival and head to the Chek Jawa Wetlands – one of Singapore’s richest ecosystems where you can explore the mangroves and coast via boardwalks.
6. Kusu Island
Even further afield is Kusu Island, where there are shrines and a temple, swimming lagoons and sandy beaches to explore. Singapore Island Cruises provide several ferries a day and if you head here during the week you will likely have the whole place to yourself.
7. Chinese Garden
Most visitors looking to enjoy a walk in the park head to the Botanic Gardens. Head further out of town however and you will be rewarded with the beautifully presented Chinese Garden. Modelled on the northern Chinese imperial style of architecture and landscaping, you’ll come across rainbow bridges, arch buildings, and pagodas. Don’t miss the fabulous Bonsai garden.
8. Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
Chinatown’s Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is immensely popular with visitors to Singapore, but if you prefer your temple visit to be more serene, head out to the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, a sprawling complex of temples and meditation halls.
9. Labrador Park
Labrador Nature Reserve is one of the least visited national parks of Singapore and yet hides a host of hidden treasures. In amongst the tropical rainforest you’ll find the ruins of Fort Pasir Panjang, built in 1878, and revitalised during World War II. There’s even a hidden Casemate (war bunker) and secret tunnels to explore. Take a guided tour of the tunnels or follow the History Trail – a series of storyboards that winds past the imposing 6 inch guns and offers sweeping clifftop views out to sea.
10. Haw Par Villa
This strange and surreal statue garden in the West of Singapore is filled with hundreds of multi-coloured statues and tableaux depicting Chinese myths and legends. The highlight of Haw Par Villa is undoubtedly the 10 Courts of Hell, depicting scenes of bloodthirsty torture…