So, the coronavirus restrictions have loosened up (finally!) but we are still not allowed to go overseas for now. In the meantime, you may wonder, what to do this weekend in Singapore then? For the avid travellers who are struggling with travel withdrawal symptoms, here are 5 unique places that will make you feel like you are on vacation! Pack your bags now (passports not needed)!
The New Jurong Lake Gardens
Nestled in a rather far-flung part of Singapore is the sprawling 90-hectare gardens of Jurong Lake. This newest national gardens in the Singapore’s heartlands is home to a wide diversity of birds, otters and squirrels, beautiful butterfly species and even the scary-looking water monitor lizard.
The green spaces, waterways and nature trails in the newly revamped Jurong Lake Gardens are an oasis for nature-lovers, right here in urban Singapore.
And, amongst the picturesque tall grass fields stands one lone tree. It is the image of absolute tranquility and if taken right, the scene looks like you are in having a romantic romp in the tropical savanna of Australia.
If you are curious as to why there is one lonely tree left forgotten in the park, well, this solitary tree is actually not a real tree! It is an art sculpture created from recycled iron bars salvaged from old park pathways and it is a homage to the industrial origins of Jurong area.
Besides this highly Instagrammable tree, take an idyllic stroll around the gardens and you will find plenty of other scenic spots to capture some stunning pictures.
There is a bird hide, a meandering boardwalk, a trickling stream surrounded by greenery and even a grass mount where you can lie on and pretend you are in the rural countrysides. In the centre of everything is a dreamy vast expanse of water, which is Jurong Lake itself.
With so many things to do and so many insta-worthy spots that can pass off as a holiday, Jurong Lake Gardens is definitely one of the unique and free places in Singapore to visit on a boring weekend!
Raffles Marina Lighthouse
Lighthouses have this ability to evoke a sense of romanticism and grandeur. It could be their lonely mystique or the unfaltering symbolism of strength and hope. Regardless, this maritime beacon still remains a favourite object for many photographers.
Out of 6 operating lighthouses in Singapore, the Raffles Marina Lighthouse, also known as the Johor Straits Lighthouse, is probably the most photographed beacon on our little island. This is because the Raffles Marina Lighthouse is the only lighthouse not owned by the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore and is open to the public to admire.
Even though it is far away from civilisation, the remoteness of this lighthouse is what makes it so postcard-perfect.
Located at the tip of Raffles Marina Club's breakwater, this 12-metre-tall lighthouse was built in 1994 and overlooks Malaysia and the Tuas Second Link. It hypnotisingly flashes every 10 seconds and is especially beautiful during sunset.
Without a doubt, the Raffles Marina Lighthouse is a popular spot for photography enthusiasts, influencers, couples looking for a little bit of romance and cycling communities as well. This is also a really unique place in Singapore for tourists looking for activities that are off the beaten track.
During the evenings, watch the skies and the sea change colours as the sun slowly sets. It is so pretty and calm that you could almost mistake the moment for being somewhere in a remote port in New Zealand.
Heard of the famous streets of Georgetown in Malaysia that are full of vibrant and creative street art? Well, you do not have to take the 8-hour bus ride to Penang to appreciate street art anymore because we have it right here in Singapore!
In between rows of hipster cafes, fabric shops and bustling eateries, there are plenty of stunning urban artworks that are hidden away in the alleys of Kampong Glam. As the Muslim center of Singapore, Kampong Glam has evolved to become an eclectic hub of history, culture and art.
Imaginative, avant-garde and reminiscent of nostalgia, this unique place in Singapore is buzzing with artistic vibes and makes you feel like you have travelled to Melbourne or Ecuador.
Get ready your camera and just wander aimlessly around the back lanes and side alleys; you will be in for a surprise. Colourful art murals created by local and overseas artists pop out from the unlikeliest of locations, such as Haji Lane, Aliwal Street and Muscat Street.
Do not rush, take your time to find the best angle for that perfect shot.
Another fantastic way to explore this cultural enclave is to join the Kampong Glam Walking Tours organised by Monster Day Tours. Led by professional local guides who are familiar with the area, this walking tour lets you get the most out of your street art experience while learning more about its rich culture and history.
Never heard of it? We don’t blame you. Little Guilin (affectionately known as Xiao Guilin to the locals) is a little-known spot in the west side of Singapore that is only frequented by the residents who live around Bukit Gombak and Bukit Batok area.
Pictures of Little Guilin can easily pass off as being in the limestone mountains of China or Taiwan. It was named because of its resemblance to the scenic granite rock formations in Guilin, China. As a matter of fact, the olden-day Chinese Wuxia drama shows shown in Singapore were also filmed here!
This area was formerly a thriving granite quarry. The rock formation found here, named the Gombak Norite, is tested to be more than ten times stronger than concrete. During its peak, there were nine quarries operating at Gombak Norite.
After the quarries closed, this gorgeous landscape was converted into a park where people can come to relax, have a picnic with friends and soak in the view. The surrounding paths give a fantastic view of the peaceful lake, with the towering rock cliffs creating a majestic backdrop while being reflected off the water.
And, if you visit in the early morning when the air is cool and the birds are chirping, this place really does not feel like Singapore!It is not surprising that this area is a perennial favourite for landscape photographers and for outdoor wedding shoots.
Fun fact - the Little Guilin’s towering rock cliffs reaches 133metres, which makes it the second tallest hill in Singapore!
Fort Canning Park
A stumble away from the hubbub of the city, be transported away to the paradise island of Bali at the Sang Nila Utama Garden at Fort Canning Park. If that is not enough, the recently revamped garden space will also bring you back in time to the South-east Asian royal gardens of the 14th century!
The Sang Nila Utama Garden is aptly named after the Palembang prince and the first ancient king of Singapore. This relaxing haven welcomes visitors with rather splendid Javanese split gates, reflective pools filled with lily pads and statues of frogs, fish and ducks.
When you are done perfecting that pensive pose along the Javanese gates, head over to the magnificent Pancur Larangan for another scene out of Bali’s travel brochures.
A freshwater spring used to flow from the face of Fort Canning Hill at this location. In ancient times, it was known as Pancur Larangan, or the ‘Forbidden Spring’ as it was where the noble ladies of the royal court of Singapura came to have a bath. This ancient bath has been recreated in the 14th-century Javanese style and features an exquisite mural wall handcrafted in natural volcanic rock.
Fort Canning Park is an Instagrammer’s delight and is also home to that famous spiral staircase that became a new Instagram hotspot for Singaporeans & tourists last year. Besides being a charming backdrop, Fort Canning is also one of the top free places to visit in Singapore!
For more useful travel tips and interesting articles related to travel in Singapore, check out our revamped Monster Day Tours travel blog - Mega-zine!
Also, the coronavirus has severely impacted the tourism industry in Singapore and we are unable to operate our free walking tours for now. In light of COVID-19 and to celebrate Singapore's 55th birthday coming up in August, we call on everyone here in Singapore to support our local tour guides and to save tourism by joining us on our Special Edition #SG55tours !