“This pandemic really sucks!” Yes it does, and we feel you. One of the biggest downsides this year, among many others, has to be the closed borders. That holiday you were looking forward to since last year? Cancelled. The amazing sights and sounds you were hoping to experience? Not happening. And the food. *collective sigh*
But since we're "grounded" for the foreseeable future, we might as well make the best of what we have! While most people only think of "travel" as going out of the country, Singapore too has a wealth of interesting spots you can visit; with some of them even looking and feeling like they're NOT in Singapore. All it takes is to look at it from a different lens.
We’ve whipped up a list of places like these to visit during this local travel season. So restart your wanderlust engines, and let the local discoveries begin.
Image Credit: @kbt.ography
Ever wanted to experience what it’s like to be living in one of Australia’s many lighthouse accommodations? Well, you can’t really do that here at Raffles Marina Lighthouse; but it does come close it!
Located in the far-west of Singapore, this 12-metre lighthouse actually overlooks the Tuas Second Link, Singapore’s second bridge to Malaysia. It was built in 1994 and flashes a 15-metre light beam every 10 seconds. It’s the only lighthouse in Singapore that is privately owned, which is great because the club that owns it keeps it open to the public (as long as you comply with their rules, of course). If it gets too hot, you can always find respite in the club right next to it.
How to get there: Take an MRT on the East-West Line to Tuas Link (EW33) and walk along Tuas West Drive. Turn left when you see the driveway of Raffles Marina.
Image Credit: @ommarika
Who would’ve thought you could pretend you’re in Bali while walking through a garden right here in Singapore?
This garden is just one of nine historical gardens in Fort Canning Park that was launched in 2019. Part of the plan was to highlight Fort Canning Park’s history and to make it even more accessible to visitors. This garden was named after a Palembang prince, who was said to have founded and named Singapore in 1299. It’s a reimagination of a royal orchard typically found in 14th-century palace grounds. So get your cameras ready and wear your best summer outfit to experience a journey back in time, with a backdrop of brick split gates, intricate structures, water ponds, flora and fauna of this period – without leaving Singapore!
How to get there: Take an MRT on the Downtown Line to Fort Canning (DT20). Come out of Exit B and turn left to Jubilee Park.
Image Credit: Chris Howey on Shuttershock
“Blue waters, clean beach, and not in Sentosa?” We hear you. It’s pretty unbelievable that something like this is within reach right here in Singapore. In fact, it’s just a 15-minute boat ride away from Marina South Pier!
While Sentosa is touted and branded as "the State of Fun" (we stan a clever pun), Lazarus Island is all about tranquility, and is fairly known for its relatively clean and quiet beaches. Word of advice: there’s not a single shop there, so the only thing you can do really, is to laze around and soak in everything the place has to offer – perfect for anyone looking to recreate that island getaway you missed this year. It’s also a good idea to bring some grub and drinks (just remember to pick up after yourself) because, what’s a beach trip without a picnic? Some other things you can do there: fly kites, explore “the woods” as if you’re in a romantic film, and crack open a coconut from the ground and drink from it. If you love cats, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise!
How to get there: Take an MRT on the North-South Line to Marina South Pier (NS28). Come out of Exit B and walk to Marina South Pier ferry terminal. Purchase a ferry ticket (S$15 for adults, S$12 for children aged 1–12) to Lazarus Island.
Image Credit: @chxreechew
In KL, the Sky-Dome Hotpot has made waves with its glass-like domes on the rooftop terrace of Wisma Trax. But here in Singapore, we’re keeping things a little more grounded (quite literally) with The Summerhouse.
Hidden away in the tranquil Seletar Aerospace Park is The Summerhouse – an English countryside-inspired restaurant, garden and bar that’s housed in a gorgeous two-storey conservation bungalow. The food here is divine because of the amount of attention they put into their dishes. Not to mention, this farm-to-table multi-concept establishment sources their produce from local farm collectives, kelongs and the edible garden in their own backyard. Besides the food, the restaurant’s main draw are their garden domes that let you wine and dine in the air-conditioned comfort while you enjoy the view of the sky and the surrounding gardens. These illuminated bubble-like structures also come with themed decor for that extra special touch.
How to get there: Take an MRT on the North-South Line to Khatib (NS14). Come out of Exit A and cross the overhead bridge to the bus stop opposite (bus stop 59049). Take 117 for 17 stops and alight after Seletar Aerospace Rise.
Image Credit: @photographer.pooooo
You may not be able travel China, but you sure can get close to it.
Lying just a stone’s throw away from Bukit Gombak MRT Station is Little Guilin. It got its name because the granite rock sitting within its lake resembles that of Guilin – a Chinese city known for its landscape of limestone karst hills. Take a walk along the banks of the lake or just zen out at one of the two dome shaped shelters that come with a great view of the serene lake. If you’re lucky, you might find an off-the-beaten-track pathway to a deserted staircase that leads you up the hill. Fun fact: Bukit Batok (which translates to “coughing hills”) got its name because of the sounds of quarrying works in the area in the past.
How to get there: Take an MRT on the North-South Line to Bukit Gombak (NS2). Then walk towards Little Guilin.