Singapore Bucket List – Sites to See When it’s Not So Sweaty!
There’s a sweet breeze winding its way across the island. In all the time I’ve lived in Singapore I’ve never known the weather to be so cool and refreshing. Gentle winds are blowing through trees and entering homes where doors and windows have been flung open to take advantage of the natural air flow we’re being blessed with, instead of the ubiquitous air conditioning. I’m almost afraid that by writing this that I’ll tempt fate and make our good fortune disappear!
It’s rare to encounter wind here. Stagnant air hangs over the Straits as north and south trade winds render each other useless. And the modus operandi is one of endurance rather than enjoyment when it comes to coping with the weather. Life on the equator is not called the doldrums for nothing.
So right now I am using the chance to get outdoors with less perspiration (or at least perspiration that will evaporate) to discover some of the hidden gems on my Singapore Bucket List.
I’m not quite sure that I can tackle this one yet. NParks closed this little-known circuit a while ago for upgrading. Tucked away off Jalan Kampong Chantek, beyond the PIE, between Binjai Park and the site of the British Club, it was a rather untouched piece of Singapore nature - rustic and unmanicured. Winding through the site of an old Kampong (you can see the occasional tile embedded in the mud), it eventually leads you to a boardwalk that reaches up to Rifle Range Road. But if you take a little detour of the track and wade up through the stream you can see little pond skaters and reach a tiny waterfall running over rocks and clay. Check it out when it re-opens.
Who knew that there was a series of shipping containers stacked up and sandwiched between buildings at Prinsep Street housing an art photography space? Well, there won’t be for much longer. This unique gallery with library is set to be dismantled in March and funding is being sought to build a more permanent structure in its place. I hope they succeed and manage to keep the initiative in the community, but I also want to see it as it is now.
No, I don’t want to swing and play. A bit old for that! But I do like taking in Singapore’s old school architecture. I’ve heard about these vintage tiled playgrounds for years and never seen them in real life. So, I plan to venture out to gather a few shots of the Tampines Watermelon, The Tao Payoh Dragon, the Pasir Ris Sampan and the Bishan Clock Playgrounds. I may even throw on a filter and post them ironically on Instagram.
Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle is hard to get into. Every time I try to get a ticket tours are booked up months in advance. It’s a traditional Chinese kiln featuring a long and narrow passage designed for firing ceramics and is apparently impressive to see - mainly because you walk up inside it.
Tiong Bahru Estate
Yes, everyone knows about the wet market and the hipster cafes and bookshops. But what I want to check out is the housing estate itself, which was built on the site of a former cemetery and has the only remaining intact air raid shelter underneath it (for which you need a permit from Tanjong Pagar town council to enter). I plan to roam the streets looking up the various street names, which are all named after famous explorers, and pondering the spiral staircases where mistresses used to enter to entertain gentleman back in its heyday.
Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club
I visited this place some years ago and have always wanted to return. It’s a strange site. Initially I’d gone in search of the original Bird Singing Corner in Tiong Bahru which was overrun by construction many years ago. As a nod to its past, developers did create a small space for the activity to continue, complete with hooks for hanging cages. But the community dispersed and eventually found a new home in the heartlands of Ang Mo Kio. It’s an amazing site to see hundreds of flagpoles in an open grassy plan with cages hanging from them. Add to that the sound of birdsong and you’ve got a pretty wonderful local site. Only in Singapore.
If I manage all of that I’m pretty certain I’ll be a sweaty mess, despite the breeze. So, I highly recommend a trip to Salted Caramel, a little known ice creamery on Upper Thomson Road with some of the best ice cream in Singapore!