For first-time visitors, Singapore is a city of delightful contrast—colonial-era buildings stand side by side modern malls, and verdant greenery abounds amidst our urban sprawl.
When you’re done experiencing our iconic attractions, venture a little further into our island’s outskirts. Restaurants nestled in secret gardens, beautifully-preserved historical sites and rustic nature await you. Here are some of Singapore’s best-kept secrets uncovered.
Secrets to savour
Seletar Aerospace Park
With its green spaces and refurbished colonial bungalows, Seletar Aerospace Park is the perfect destination for travellers looking to indulge in nature and tranquillity.
Formerly a Royal Air Force Station in the 1920s, this space is now home to restaurant and cafes.
Summerhouse Dining Room offers alfresco dining and farm-to-table delights such as sea bass with eggplant and cauliflower chest gratin. If you’re visiting for dinner, reserve a seat in the Garden Domes where you’ll be able to stargaze while indulging in an unforgettable meal in these igloo-shaped structures.
If you’re visiting the latter for dinner, linger beneath the fairy lights after your meal—the restaurant is home to a range of resident bands, playing everything from Mandarin Pop to Top 40s hits.
How to get there: Best by taxi or private hire cars due to its secluded location.
Closest Train Station: Punggol or Yishun.
Seletar Aerospace Park. 2 Park Lane, Singapore 798386.
You don’t have to be an equestrian to appreciate the allures of Riders Café. Located at the Bukit Timah Saddle Club in Turf City, this quaint eatery exudes old-world charm and a reprieve from the bustle of the city.
While you chow down on brunch staples like French toast and eggs benedict, keep an eye out for horses and ponies trotting on the green outside. While you won’t be able to ride off into the sunset with them, the Bukit Timah Saddle Club does offer riding programmes for those with experience.
How to get there: By shuttle bus or by Public Bus (66, 67, 74, 151, 154, 156).
Closest Train Station: Sixth Avenue (Exit B). Walk along Turf Club Road.
Riders Cafe. 51 Fairways Drive, Singapore 286965. +65 6466 9819.
A respite from hectic city life, Changi Village is home to both quaint cafes and local hawker fare. Located on the east end of Singapore, this coastal neighbourhood is a great option for travellers looking to kick back and relax by the sea.
For a hearty breakfast and a strong cup of joe head to Chock Full of Beans— famous for their adorable 3D latte art and eggs benedict—or take a 10-minute walk to the Coastal Settlement for locally-inspired brunch dishes like Chilli Crab and Eggs.
If you’re in the mood for local hawker delights, head to Changi Village Food Centre instead. The most popular stall here is undoubtedly the famous International Muslim Food Stall Nasi Lemak, and other favourites include Indonesian Ayam Bakar (barbequed chicken) and Million Stars’ Goreng Pisang (banana fritters).
After your meal, be sure to take a stroll along the boardwalk just a stone’s throw away from the hawker centre. You’ll be treated to a spectacular view of our island’s scenic coastline.
Closest Train Station: Tanah Merah. Take Bus 2 to Changi Village.
Changi Village. Along Changi Village Road.
Hidden historical gems
Raffles Marina Lighthouse
Whether you’re a shutterbug or a nature lover looking to admire a pristine sunset, the Raffles Marina is a great place to explore.
You don’t have to be a member to enter this idyllic space, which is a popular haunt of cyclists, fishing enthusiasts and explorers looking for sunsets off the beaten track.
We suggest visiting in the evening, and dropping by the Raffles Marina Lighthouse. Located at the tip of the club’s breakwater, this enchanting lighthouse would fit right into a Wes Anderson movie, and makes for a great photo backdrop.
How to get there: Take a 4min walk along Tuas West Drive until you see the pier.
Closest Train Station: Tuas Link (Exit B).
Raffles Marina. 10 Tuas West Drive, Singapore 638404.
Nature off the beaten path
Families looking to instil a love of nature in their little ones should pay a visit to Kranji Countryside. Located in northwestern Singapore, this rural part of the island is home to lush greenery, pristine nature and a monthly farmer’s market.
If you’re hankering for farm-to-table eats, pay a visit to Bollywood Veggies along Neo Tiew Road. This charming 10-acre farm grows a range of crops, which are nurtured without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides.
You’ll be able to taste the wholesome goodness of its produce for yourself at Poison Ivy Bistro, a restaurant on the farm’s compound that serves up dishes like nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk,served with an array of side dishes), banana bread and sweet potato chips.
Alternatively, drop by Hay Dairies. Owned by second-generation farmer Leon Hay, Singapore’s only goat farm is home to over 1,000 goats of mixed breeds.
The farm organises educational tours regularly, and visitors will want to drop by around 9am if they’re looking to observe the milking process.
If you’re looking to expand your palate with new flavours, you can also purchase fresh goat’s milk directly from the farm.
How to get there: By shuttle bus from Kranji MRT Station.
Sembawang Hot Springs Park
Originally a natural spring providing hot water to locals over a century ago, the Sembawang Hot Spring was given a new lease on life in 2020, when a brand-new park was constructed around it.
Besides the hot spring itself, this 1.1-hectare space is now home to a scenic floral walk, a cascading pool and a host of other amenities.
Take an idyllic stroll beneath the park’s ginger trees, kick off your shoes to enjoy a foot bath, or romp with your family in the educational zone, where your little ones can learn more about the groundwater cycle.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even bring along your own eggs, and boil them in a dedicated receptacle.
Sembawang Hot Springs Park. Along Gambas Avenue.