Think you know what Singapore is all about? Whether you’re a repeat visitor or heading here for the first time, the multi-faceted city unveils layers of character with its intriguing contrasts.
Whether you’re going for a quiet stroll along Punggol Waterway or enjoying a bustling night out at Clarke Quay, visit these stops along the North-East MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) line and explore various locations along the way at your own pace and convenience.
Escape from the city bustle with some peace and serenity in Punggol, right at the tip of the North-East MRT line. Make your way to Punggol Waterway Park, where fitness enthusiasts can jog or cycle on the designated tracks along the waterway, and families can splash about at the water playground after picnicking in the park. There’s also Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk, a scenic waterfront boardwalk that overlooks Serangoon Reservoir. Look out for a cluster of dining places right by the boardwalk on Tebing Lane — we recommend café Whisk & Paddle, for brunch with a view on the outdoor patio.
Tired from all that walking? Refuel at Punggol Settlement, an F&B venue that exudes ‘throwback’ vibes reminiscent of the old Punggol district — think traditional local food, nostalgic décor, and good ol’ kampong (small village or community) spirit.
Adventurous ones can also head to Coney Island (you can take a 15-minute walk over from Punggol Point Park) where you can take on rugged cycling trails or spend a peaceful afternoon bird-watching.
Step out of Serangoon MRT station and you’ll find yourself in NEX, the king of heartland megamalls. Indulge in some one-stop shopping here (the mall is home to brands such as H&M, Sephora and Isetan department store) or take a short walk to Jalan Riang. You’ll need to do a bit of navigating amidst residential estates to get there, but it’s worth the effort. Treat yourself to a chocolate marshmallow pie or sticky date pudding from Wimbly Lu Chocolates and a hearty meal at bistro-bar Rokeby — both eateries are favourites of residents in the area.
Just a short bus ride away is Serangoon Gardens, a residential and lifestyle enclave. The highlight of the neighbourhood has to be Chomp Chomp, a hawker centre that’s been serving up excellent local fare since 1972 — be sure to join the queue for some delicious satay (grilled skewered meats). Wash all that nosh down with a pint or two from Thirsty Craft Beer Shop, a homely store that stocks over 300 craft beers and ciders. Then, work off those calories at SkyHigh Trampoline Park, or sing your lungs out with a karaoke session at K-Garden Family KTV.
Get a glimpse of Little India’s tradition and culture at landmarks such as The Temple of a Thousand Lights (a Buddhist temple, the centerpiece of which is a 15-metre-tall Buddha statue), Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (a Hindu temple which dates back to the 19th century), or the House of Tan Teng Niah (an iconic, colourful Chinese villa in the heart of Little India). You can also experience Little India’s culture through its food. Tuck into authentic Indian fare without breaking the bank at Gokul Vegetarian Restaurant, or Blue Diamond Restaurant, where they serve up a mean briyani (an Indian spiced rice dish with meat or vegetables).
No trip to Little India is complete without making a pilgrimage to Mustafa Centre. This 24-hour shopping behemoth sells just about anything you can think of — running the gamut from household knick-knacks to sports shoes, and kids’ toys to frozen foods.
For a fun night out, look no further than Clarke Quay. Embark on your own pub crawl and grab a few — or many — drinks along the Singapore River. Head to The Pump Room for some ice cold house pours, or Crazy Elephant, an amazing live music venue that serves up tipples and bar snacks.
Looking for a dose of adventure? Strap yourself onto the G-MAX reverse bungy or GX-5 extreme swing thrill rides, where you’ll be hurtled skyward at up to 100 kilometres per hour or swung in the direction of the river. If the thought alone makes you squeamish, enjoy a more peaceful viewing experience on board the Singapore River Cruise, a historic bumboat that cruises the length of the river.
Book a stay in the heart of one of Singapore’s most colourful districts at Swissotel Merchant Court or Park Hotel. If you’re traveling on a budget, try 5footway.inn Project Boat Quay, an affordable and charming hostel just down the river.
Head to VivoCity to get your retail therapy fix — the sprawling mall is home to popular fashion brands, such as Zara, Topshop, Benjamin Barker, American Eagle Outfitters and more. Be sure to swing by department store TANGS for great fashion picks as well. If you’re travelling with kids, bring them to the open-air playground on level 2 or the level 3 SkyPark water playground at VivoCity, where they’re sure to be entertained.
Then, take a breather on a leisurely stroll down Sentosa Boardwalk. The boardwalk begins at VivoCity’s waterfront promenade, and leads to Sentosa Island where more fun awaits. Besides being a great vantage point for scenic views of the harbour, the boardwalk also hosts a bazaar on the weekends.