Singapore is famous for its world class tourist attractions, endless shopping opportunities and gastronomic delights. But for those travellers willing to dig a little deeper, Singapore can offer up a whole array of off the beaten track, hidden secrets.
With so many famous landmarks and world class attractions from the iconic Gardens by the Bay and the Merlion Park to the superlative Zoo gaining the tourism spotlight for short term layover visitors, it isn’t hard to imagine why these attractions always top every single list of things to do in Singapore. The problem is that it can be easy to assume that once you have seen the highlights, you have seen all Singapore has to offer.
Nothing at all can be further from the truth.
Singapore is a thriving, pulsating cultural powerhouse that really rewards those who take the time to delve a little deeper and uncover the hidden, local hot spots and attractions that most tourists will never see. So if you have done the usual two or three day Singapore itinerary, explore the island a little more and uncover all the culture, art, history and entertainment beyond what Sentosa island has to offer and enjoy just some of the highlights of a hidden, off the beaten track Singapore.
Hay Dairies Goat Farm.
Located near the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Hay Dairies is a working goat farm that supplies goats milk to Singapore and beyond with a focus on animal welfare and responsible and sustainable farming. They have sessions where tourists can go and view the goats and watch them being naturally milked most mornings, and even have feeding sessions where anyone can purchase some hay and feed the goats themselves.
Pasar Bella is Singapore’s answer to Covent Garden in London, with a range of community based food and retail markets and a rustic, hipster vibe despite being smack bang in the middle of the upmarket Bukit Timah.
The Art Science Museum.
This iconic landmark on Marina Bay is well worth a visit just for the architecture alone, but there is also an ever changing rota of exhibitions and displays over the 20 gallery spaces inside that are always worth a look to see if there is anything that catches your interest. I was lucky enough to catch the travelling Harry Potter Studio Tour exhibition there once, with items that they didn’t even have at the tour in London!
Perfect for a day trip, many Singaporeans come here to worship at the islands numerous sacred Chinese and Malay sites, especially during the annual Kusu pilgrimage season in the ninth Lunar month and revel in telling the legendary origins of the island. But for most visitors this is a picturesque island perfect for a picnic, scenic strolls and even a bit of beach swimming and snorkelling. You can get here on the public ferry from Marina South Pier.
St Andrews Cathedral.
Almost directly on top of the City Hall MRT, this is Singapores first – and largest – Anglican Cathedral and is worth a visit for its stunning and dazzlingly white architecture. It is also surrounded by a manicured park that locals use at the weekend for picnics and relaxing.
Asian Civilisations Museum.
There is a huge treasure trove of artifacts, exhibits and displays throughout a maze of galleries that showcases the rich and diverse history of Singapore that is well worth setting aside a good few hours for, but it is the grand colonial architecture of the building itself that draws just as many eyes.
Just a short walking distance from Clarke Quay, this short stretch of the famous Singapore river is perfect for catching picturesque views over the riverfront, with the central business district one one side and Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion Park on the other. And if you get tired from all that walking in the heat, there are a plethora of waterside lanes filled with vibrant bars and restaurants.
Located in the Civic District, Chijmes is a former convent that has been converted into a foodie and entertainment haven. Its stunning colonial architecture has been carefully restored to fit a huge array of restaurants, eateries, hipster bars and even a few shops into the former classrooms and halls, making a visit to this complex a visual and aesthetic treat as much as anything else. For those travellers who aren’t in any rush, Chijmes is the perfect place to spend the afternoon, grab some great food and drink and stroll around and appreciate the space, especially if the open gardens and lawns are hosting some of the regular free musical or theatrical shows.
Chinese and Japanese Gardens.
The Chinese and Japanese gardens are vast tracts of open, green spaces and carefully manicured gardens that reflect the spirit of the two eponymous cultures they are made for. Perfect for early morning exercise, meandering through for a leisurely stroll or even a relaxing picnic, there are a variety of shady spots to get you out of the sun as well as a host of picturesque stone bridges and pagodas.
Haji Lane is a walking street in the heart of Kampong Glam, and despite being relatively taken over by hipsters with fancy cafe’s and a few restaurants, it remains at heart a quirky glimpse into Singapore’s past with colourful traditional shop houses that are filled with little boutique stores and eateries.
Singapore is far more than just it’s main tourist attractions, and whether you are here on a short lay over, have been multiple times or just want to spend a little longer in this amazing city, then you will never run out of things to do, see or experience!
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