Our parents love reminiscing about the “good old kampung days.” But that idea is hard to envision for those of us who grew up in a concrete jungle. Thankfully, even as our little island grows taller each day with towering skyscrapers and new BTOs, there’re still some places that embody the tranquil, old-school country vibes – albeit with a 21st-century twist.
From cultivating good farming habits to exploring the kelongs and fish farms at Pulau Ubin, here are eight kampung things you can do to escape the hustle and bustle of the city in 2021. These activities can be done on both weekdays and weekends, making them perfect for the school holidays and long weekends.
If your young kids are developing an interest in having their own aquarium, you can bring the entire family for a tour of the Qian Hu fish farm, one of the OG farms in the country.
As one of the biggest importers and exporters of ornamental fish, you’ll be greeted by rows of aquarium tanks with a variety of beautiful fishes from bettas to goldfish. The two-hour tour will also educate you on the fish farming industry and how Qian Hu has adapted to modern times and new technologies.
After your tour, you can also check out other features of the fish farm including a fish spa to soak those tired feet and a longkang to practice your angling skills.
Availability: Mon – Fri, from 2PM-4PM
Price: $50/adult, $45/youth 6 -17 years old, free for children under 5
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Escaping to the Southern Islands of Singapore is a respite we all deserve. This seven-hour tour takes you around five islands including Kusu Island, St. John’s Island, and Lazarus Island where you can experience an idyllic afternoon away from the city.
Over at Kusu Island, you can check out the many multi-cultural attractions like Da Bo Gong Temple and the Keramat Kusu Malay shrine. Check out more on what to do in our full guide here.
Your sunscreen should already be applied by the time you reach St. John’s Island, as the beaches are perfect for a picturesque picnic with views overlooking the Singapore skyline. Cross a causeway and you’ll also find yourself at Lazarus Island where you can’t miss the resident felines who love attention from humans. P.s. we hear they love wet food.
Address for ferry pick-up/drop-off: Marina South Pier, Cruise Terminal, 31 Marina Coastal Drive, Singapore 018988
Availability: Mon – Sun 9PM-4PM
Price: $170/pax for a join-in tour, $800/private tour of up to five people
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Those who love water sports can try an alternative view of mangroves instead of sandy beaches when they’re kayaking to Seletar Island.
The sights you’ll uncover along the tour as you enter the mouth of the Simpang River are not what you’ll see daily. Think 20-metre-tall mangrove trees and mud lobster mounds with nary a skyscraper in sight.
Here’s a pro tip: the duration of the tour is a whopping five hours, so you’d want to prepare some light snacks and water to fuel your energy as you’re wading through the river. At the end of the tour, you can rest your weary feet at the Sembawang Hot Spring Park.
Availability: Mon – Sun 8.15AM-1.15PM
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Biking around Pulau Ubin is one of the best ways to see all the sights the island has to offer. But if you can’t navigate on Google Maps to save your life, you can join this biking tour that takes you through the scenic roads and tracks you might otherwise miss out on.
You’ll be led by a certified guide into the depths of Ubin to see the charming villages detached from the hubbub of city life. The route will also take you through some of the well-known sites like Chek Jawa wetlands and Ketam Quarry.
The Jejawi Tower gives you a bird’s eye view of the Chek Jawa wetlands
Along the way, you should look out for the wildlife like Malayan water monitors and hornbills while staying clear of the hungry boars and resident monkeys.
The entire tour will take about four hours, and there are two slots every day at 9AM and 1.30PM.
Pro tip: bring along a change of clothes to make the bumboat ride back to the mainland a lot more bearable. Prepare some light snacks too as food is not provided in this tour package.
Address for ferry pick-up/drop-off: Changi Point Ferry Terminal, 51 Lorong Bekukong, Singapore 499172
Availability: Mon – Sun 9AM or 1.30PM
Price: $85.60/adult, $69.55/children 7-12 years old (ferry tickets sold separately)
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Rather than see Pulau Ubin’s sights from land as most people do, why not try out a different perspective and tour the island from a bumboat cruising around its coastline?
This three-hour tour will take you around the waters off Singapore’s North-East coast where there are many active kelongs and fish farms. During the tour, you’ll make a pitstop on land at Pulau Ubin’s Fo Shan Ting Da Bo Gong Temple which was the place to be for cultural celebrations like Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival.
The Fo Shan Ting Da Bo Gong Temple still hosts festival celebrations for the island’s villagers today
Image credit: National Parks
Address for ferry pick-up/drop-off: Changi Point Ferry Terminal, 51 Lorong Bekukong, Singapore 499172
Availability: Mon – Sun 4PM-7PM
Price: $150/pax, $620/private tour for up to eight people
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It’s no secret that millennials are leading the charge on houseplants. But beyond caring for succulents, most of us might not really know the ins-and-outs of agriculture. To cultivate your green fingers and learn more about farming, you can take a one-hour course at an edible garden and orchid farm.
During the workshop, you’ll learn about the basics of soil care, microgreens (another name for edible plants), and how to effectively use them.
Image credit: Fleur House
If you feel like you could grow edible plants after taking the tour, you can also get their family planting kits after the session at just $25 per box. You can pick up to two types of seeds per kit, with your choices ranging from kang kong to pea shoots.
Availability: Every first and third Sunday of the month at 12.30PM and 3PM
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It’s not every day that you’ll have the chance to dine at a floating restaurant. Enter Smith Marine Floating Restaurant, Singapore’s only halal-certified kelong seafood restaurant.
The highlight of dining here is their “sure catch” pond, where you can try your hand at catching your own fish that the kitchen will then prepare and serve to your table.
You can choose between a four-course meal which feeds about two to three people and comes with flower crab, cereal squid, mixed vegetables and seafood fried rice.
If you have a bigger party of three to four, you’re better off getting the five-course meal which has chilli crab, steamed prawn, salted egg squid, soup, mixed vegetables, and complimentary seafood fried rice.
Address for ferry pick-up/drop-off: Changi Point Ferry Terminal, 51 Lor Bekukong, Singapore 499172
Availability: Mon – Sun 10AM-7PM*
Price: $270 for a four-course meal (feeds two-three pax), $360 for a five-course meal (feeds three-four pax). Bookings include two-way ferry trips.
*Last ferry from the terminal to the restaurant departs at 4.30PM
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Those looking for a breather from the concrete jungle can spend a breezy Saturday morning at Ground-up Initiative, a 21st-century Singaporean kampung. The tour that’s roughly three hours long will take you and your family through a farm tour of the clean and green campus.
The tour itself comprises an hour-long sensory farm tour and some time at the kampung’s play stations which is great for the kids. You’ll also get to check out the farm’s marketplace once the activities are done where you can buy handcrafted wooden toys like an aeroplane and a boat.
Once the tour is done, you’ll also have the option to visit kampung Lorong Buangkok, Singapore’s last-surviving village.
Address: Meet at Khatib MRT Station, 201 Yishun Avenue 2, Singapore 769092
Availability: Every Saturday 8.30AM-11AM
Price: $155/adult, $148/child
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You don’t need to travel all the way to Tioman Island just to scuba dive. Pulau Hantu’s serene landscape and untouched reefs have made it one of the more well-known diving spots in Singapore.
If you’re inexperienced but you want to learn how to scuba dive, you can book a two-day long Open Water Course that’s inclusive of two dives/day, provided you attend a theory and pool session prior to the dive dates. Those who already have been scuba diving can also arrange for their Advanced Water Course here. Scuba gear and light refreshments will be included.
Address for pick-up/drop-off: Raffles Marina, 10 Tuas West Drive, Singapore 638404
Availability: Contact the operator to reserve dates
Price: $515/pax for Open Water Course, $479/pax for Advanced Water Course, $145/pax for Leisure Dives (inclusion of scuba gear is an additional $40 for leisure dives)
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There’s more to see in Singapore than theme parks and glamorous infinity pools. These rural attractions that evoke a nostalgic “kampung spirit” have plenty of beauty and charm. The best part is that some of these are still somewhat undiscovered, so you know your IG backdrops won’t have any cameos from strangers walking by.
Whether you want to see Pulau Ubin from an alternative view or you want to learn how to grow your own crops just like our forebears did, you can easily book an adventure to see another side of Singapore through Klook.
Klook makes finding these off-the-beaten-path activities as smooth as the Singapore Straits’ waters. When you find yourself in need for some R&R in 2021 and travelling overseas isn’t viable yet, you can take a day off to recharge your soul away from the city instead.
Some of the photos featured in this article were taken before Covid-19. When visiting these attractions, activities, and tours, make sure to take precautions and practise Covid-19 safe distancing measures at all times.
This post was brought to you by Klook as part of the SingapoRediscovers campaign.
Disclaimer: All images were shot prior to Covid-19 or while adhering to safe distancing measures.
Cover image adapted from (clockwise from top-left): Eatbook, Yi Hu Fish, National Parks, @seasia.kayaker
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