Travelling is back on and Singapore has become a popular destination for a post-covid vacation especially when travel requirements for Singapore have been simplified with no quarantine or tests needed — you just gotta be fully vaccinated! Many come to Singapore to have a good mix of culture and to experience the glamorous nightlife.
On the list of the most known tourist places to visit in Singapore are Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Flyer but these massive constructions aren’t the only thing that the country has to offer. Apart from the glitz and glamour, there’s a quaint and grounded side to the dazzling country that most tourists (and maybe even locals) don’t know about. Whether you’re vacationing or you live in the city, here are 5 out-of-the-box Singapore places of interest that are worth capturing for the gram!
Japanese Cemetery Park
Photo credits: @edutil.os
A cemetery is definitely not your average tourist spot but it’s a unique choice if you want to experience a different side of Singapore. The cemetery park offers a piece of Japan and is the resting place of Japanese immigrants dating back to 1891 including more recent military personnel from World War II. With 910 tombstones scattered all over the park, the graveyard is filled with rich history and a surprisingly zen and peaceful atmosphere.
A prayer hall stands at the main driveway where you’ll be able to spot traditional Japanese architectural elements such as the elevated flooring, the tilted roof and sliding doors. While visitors are not allowed to enter the hall, you can still admire it from the outside. The most insta-worthy spot you’ll find is their floral pink bougainvillaea archway which mimics the dreamy cherry blossoms in Japan. We can’t lie, it’s pretty romantic, especially with the petals dancing through the Singapore monsoon winds. While it’s a great Instagram spot, visitors are always reminded to be respectful as they explore the park.
Nearest MRT Station: Serangoon Station. Take buses 103 or 109 and alight at stop ‘After Serangoon North Ave 1’. Walk 6 minutes to your destination.
Address: 22 Chuan Hoe Avenue, Singapore 549854
Opening hours: 8AM - 6PM
Heartland HDB Estates
Photo credits: @edutil.os
When you have Marina Bay Sands and Orchard Road, heartland areas don't typically become known as one of Singapore's places of interest. Tourists tend to spend their time in the Singapore city centre and hardly explore the heartlands while the locals who live in the heartlands may not see the beauty of Singapore's neighbourhoods. HDB apartments are the public housing flats that the majority of Singaporeans live in. HDB blocks are designed similarly throughout Singapore but some of these blocks are painted with rainbow hues, pastel colours and an artistic gradient palette, which surprisingly make great photos for the gram.
As tourists, it’s a different experience to take a look at the day-to-day lives of the typical Singaporean in these heartlands and as a local, you can appreciate the uniquely Singapore estates you’ve grown up in your whole life. Here are some HDB blocks in Singapore that are totally Instagram-worthy:
- Blk 77, Bedok North Rd
- Teck Whye Ave Blk 7
- Blk 931 Jurong West St 92
- Circuit Road Blk 68
Photo credits: @sjy_sabrina
For those looking for a beach getaway, Sentosa isn’t the only island on the ‘places to visit in Singapore’ list. While Pulau Ubin and St. John’s Island are some popular off-the-coast spots that locals visit, Kusu Island is a lot quieter but boasts beautiful lagoons and beaches.
The name ‘Kusu’ means tortoise in Chinese as legend has it that a tortoise turned into an island to save two Chinese and Malay shipwrecked sailors. Today, the island is home to Da Bong Gong, a Chinese temple, and three Muslim shrines.
The untouched beaches are popular for an afternoon swim and even snorkelling so put on your swimwear and take a dive! There are also shelters, tables and barbeque pits for a picnic with your family but do bring along your own food and drinks as you won’t find many food options on the island. Kusu Island has a strict no-camping rule so be sure to take note of the ferry schedule to grab the last boat back to the mainland.
How to get there: Public ferry from Marina South Pier. View ferry schedule here.
Kranji Countryside - Kranji Marshes
Photo credits: @shuutravels
Singapore is not just a concrete jungle with jaw-dropping skyscrapers. The modern country also has its own countryside in the far north-west of the island. The Kranji Marshes is Singapore’s largest freshwater farmland with impressive scenic views of marshlands, grassland and forests. It’s a great place to put on your walking shoes and explore a very different part of Singapore that many tend to forget.
Get a panoramic view of the marshes at the top of the 10.65m wooden Raptor Tower. Visit the jetty and walk on water at the floating boardwalk located at the Reed Crossing. The platform leads to conservation spots that can only be accessed by booking a guided tour. So if you’d like to see more of the marshes that aren’t open to the general public, book yourself a tour to learn more about the conservation practices adopted in the Kranji countryside.
Nearest MRT Station: Kranji MRT. Take a free shuttle bus from the station. View bus schedule here.
Address: 11 Neo Tiew Lane 2, Singapore 718814
Opening hours: 7AM - 7PM
Joo Chiat Community Club
Photo credits: @shuutravels
Joo Chiat Road is definitely on the list of places to visit in Singapore with its amazing eateries, shopping and Peranakan houses but this lively street also has one of the most instagrammable community centres in Singapore. The community clubs in Singapore aren’t exactly known for their aesthetics but the one on Joo Chiat Road hits different with its Wes Anderson pink pastel hues. By the way, we’re right opposite the community centre (412 Joo Chiat Road), so come by for a visit after you’ve got the perfect pic for the gram, of course!
Nearest MRT Station: Eunos Station
Address: 405 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427633
Opening hours: 10AM - 10PM
Words by Shona Menon