6 of Singapore’s best-kept secrets

There’s more to Singapore than meets the eye, we found six Singapore hidden gems you need to seek out on your next trip.

Think you know Singapore? You’ve done Sentosa, Gardens By The Bay and the Singapore Zoo? These six Singapore hidden gems might surprise you.

Just 27-kilometres long and 50-kilometres wide, the city of Singapore packs a punch disproportionate to its size.

Singapore hidden gems
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Singapore has Universal Studios, one of the best zoos in the entire planet and a zipline from the cliffs to the beach that will take your breath away.

But if you’re looking to find something that hasn’t been done, these six Singapore hidden gems are worth popping on your list.

1. Edible Garden City

Singapore hidden gems
Credit: Edible Garden City

Edible Garden City, near the south coast of Singapore, is one of the most underrated places in the city. As the pioneer of the grow-your-own-food movement, the company live by three important words: build, teach, grow.

By transforming normal gardens into flourishing food forests, Edible Garden City have built over 200 vegetable havens since 2012. These now belong to schools, restaurants, hotels and offices all over Singapore.

Farming workshops are curated and conducted by the company in an effort to teach both companies and schools the importance of sustainable farming. Travellers can also join in.

Restaurants throughout Singapore also receive fresh herbs, flowers and vegetables from Edible Garden City. This is in an effort to supply food outlets with locally sourced and organic food.

However, the best thing about Edible Garden City is its Citizen Farm initiative. This neighbourhood collective brings people together who are interested in and passionate about growing their own food.

Singapore hidden gems

It provides a community space for the residents of Singapore to cultivate fresh produce and work together towards something bigger. There are numerous above-ground garden beds full of seedlings and plants. Chickens roam freely. There are sheds with shelves for the particularly vulnerable saplings. It truly is a holistic haven.

Citizen Farm supplies people with locally grown food and gives those who may be less-advantaged an opportunity to work and earn money. The farm can be found at 60 Jln, Penjara.

The unique holistic experience that Edible Garden City offers to residents and tourists alike make it one of the Singapore hidden gems you just have to know about.

2. Pulau Ubin

Singapore hidden gems

The island of Pulau Ubin, north-east from mainland Singapore, is another one of Singapore’s hidden gems.

To get to the island you need to catch a bumboat at the Changi Point Ferry Terminal. The journey will only take you 15 minutes. It’s the perfect opportunity to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of the city and immerse oneself in nature.

Stepping onto Palau Ubin is like stepping back in time. The island boasts the last kampong to exist within Singapore, which is a traditional Malaysian village. The island doesn’t have cars, instead, you’ll be getting around by bicycle or walking.

Singapore hidden gems

Pulau Ubin has several bike trails that’ll be sure to get your heart pumping. Try a spot of kayaking through the waters surrounding the island, or brave the vertiginous hike up Puaka Hill.

The view of the abandoned quarry below will make the sweat worth it. If you’re considering a swim, resist the temptation of the alluring blue water and opt for the beach instead. The quarry is extremely deep and cold from drilling and there is no lifeguard supervision.

Head to the east of the island, where you can meander along the boardwalk over the Chek Jawa wetlands. The 1.1-kilometre walk will carry you over the island’s peculiar flora and fauna, including Fiddler crabs and the millennia-old coral reef.

Singapore hidden gems

Make time to chat with the beautiful people of Pulau Ubin. Tan Leong Kit, 86, has lived here for more than 30 years and owns the ‘Y u so like that!’ drink stall. He’s always up for a good chat. He may even be able to tell you where to find the best fresh durian in the jungle.

You can stay overnight on the island for free in one of its three campsites, which include public toilets and campfires.

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Palau Ubin does not have any ATM’s, so collect some cash before leaving the mainland. You’ll need spending money for the boat trip over, which costs S$6. Other things you might need money for include meals and bike rentals.

Pulau Ubin is one of the Singapore hidden gems we highly recommend due to its stunning shores, rich history and endless activities.

3. Changi Village

Singapore hidden gems

Changi Village is east of the city-centre and is one of the most underrated place in Singapore. One of the absolute highlights of this quiet village is the Changi Village Hawker Centre, which is home to numerous authentic food stalls. Perfect for foodies, these stalls offer local dishes at affordable prices.

We highly recommend Amigo Chicken Chop Hor Fun, who do their own take on signature Singaporean dish Hor Fun, adding crispy fried chicken in with the noodles and broth.

For a taste of the sea, try Woon Woon Pek Beehoon. Crayfish, scallops and prawns are acquired fresh daily, amongst other delicious options. Meals come in individual and group portions.

Little Island Brewing Company also calls Changi Village home. This microbrewery and smokehouse combination sell locally-brewed craft beer with a side of delicious slow-cooked meat.

Singapore hidden gems
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Go for a stroll along the Changi Point Boardwalk, which offers views of East Singapore’s parklands and waterfront. You can choose from six walks – the Creek Walk, Beach Walk, Sailing Point Walk, Cliff Walk, Kelong Walk and Sunset Walk, which are all open 24-hours a day.

Check out the Changi Village museum, which takes visitors on a journey through time. Focusing on Singapore’s wartime history, the museum offers 45-minute tours of the site. Visitors can view photographs, letters and drawings from war. Check out the old Changi jail nearby if you’re after more historical context.

4. Royal Albatross Sunset Sail

Singapore hidden gems

This Singapore hidden gem is not so much a place, but a must-do experience.

The Royal Albatross is the biggest yacht in Singapore. The luxury tall ship, originally from Chicago, boasts 22 sails and a capacity for 130 guests.

The ship offers two scheduled trips, a Sunset Dinner Cruise and a City Lights Dinner Cruise. Both are perfect for a romantic date or a fancy night out with friends or family.

Upon boarding, enjoy the sea breeze with a complimentary welcome aperitif on the open-air deck. Watch the city roll by as the Royal Albatross charters through Singapore’s gloriously calm water. In the evening, enjoy an international 3-course dinner at your own private table on the upper-deck.

Try the guided tour of the yacht, which will impress you with its maritime history and an overview of its complex technological systems. For those seeking a thrill, the 21-metre mast climb will not only increase your heart rate but offer unparalleled views of Singapore.

Marvel at Sentosa’s white sandy beaches and Singapore’s skyline at sunset, with a belly full of delicious food.

5. Peranakan Tiles Gallery

Singapore hidden gems

A tiles gallery? Yes, this really is a one of Singapores hidden gems. You have to see this place.

Peranakan Tiles Gallery in Chinatown has deep roots in Singaporean history. The Peranakan culture is viscerally expressed through an intricate form of tile-work. Visitors can find these tiles on old buildings and homes all throughout Singapore.

The gallery unfolds in the ancient rooms of an old temple, showcasing an impressive collection of vintage Majolica tiles from all over the world. The tiles come in many different sizes, showcasing different styles that have been painted on with precision and grace.

The decorative tiles that envelop the walls of the gallery serve both beauty and functionality. Collectors and designers alike are keen to get their hands on them.

A 20-minute drive away from the gallery is the Bukit Brown cemetary, where the owner, Victor Lim, volunteers as a tour guide. Adorned with these rare tiles, many of the headstones hold a deeper meaning.

The gallery is also a shop. If you spot a particularly gorgeous Majolica tile, you can buy it. Peranakan Tiles Gallery holds daily classes, where you can design your own Peranakan-inspired coaster or magnet to take home with you.

If you’re hungry, Chong Wen Ge Café is right next door, which serves traditional Peranakan food and drink.

6. MacRitchie Nature Trail and Reservoir Park

Singapore hidden gems
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MacRitchie Nature Trail and Reservoir Park is one of the most underrated places in Singapore. It’s a place locals love, but they’re not telling everyone about.

The reserve, in the heart of the city, offers city-goers a quick and easily accessible natural getaway.

If you’re brave enough, take to the skies with the Treetop Walk, a 250-metre suspension bridge that connects the two highest points in the park.

For those who love heights, the climb up Jelutong Tower is a must. It may be an eight-storey climb, but the 360-degree view from the top is worth it.

If heights aren’t your thing, the 11-kilometre nature loop around the entirety of the park will keep that heart rate up. Look out for flying lemurs, long-tailed macaque monkeys, squirrels and monitor lizards.

For a shorter walk, try the waterside Chemperai Trail.

You can swim or kayak in Singapore’s largest reservoir, which takes up the majority of the south-east section of the park.

Singapore hidden gems
Credit: Shutterstock

We love the submerged bridge, a 40-metre walkway intentionally covered by ankle-deep water at high tide. Roll up your trousers and wade to the other side on a hot day.

Or what about the zig-zag bridge? Use it as a quick detour to cross the reservoir or set up camp in one of its corners for a waterfront picnic.

The Mushroom Cafe on the outer rim of the park offers up hearty meals to fill your belly after a day full of adventure. Try porridge, laksa, curry chicken and mushroom soup, just to name a few from the menu.

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Find out the travel rules on visiting Singapore at Singapore Tourism.

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