Think rainbow eucalyptus trees and natural hot springs, and your mind probably pictures Australia and Japan respectively. What if we told you they could be found right here on our sunny little island?
We’ve also unearthed a dilapidated treehouse that looks spooky but is completely safe to enter, plus a state-of-the-art observatory conveniently located at a community club. Behold, 10 rare places in Singapore you didn’t know existed.
Standing tall at Katong Park is the Mindanao Gum, a heritage tree also known as the Rainbow Eucalyptus.
The gorgeous streaks running up its bark is a result of varied shedding time.
As separate portions of the tree trunk peel off to reveal the bright green inner bark, different areas mature at their own timing and transform into pastel shades of maroon, purple, pink and blue.
Address: 59 Fort Rd, Singapore 439105
Getting there: Enter the park from the signboard and keep walking straight, past the sand playground.
Whether you have a penchant for the intricate science of astronomy or just fancy being treated to a crystal clear sighting of all the stars in the sky, Woodlands Galaxy Community Club is a godsend.
The concept of an industry-grade observatory being open to public usage – regardless of age and astronomical background – is extremely rare and frankly very exciting. We also love that it’s conveniently situated within a community club, and costs a mere dollar.
Fret not about getting lost in the stars! An uber knowledgeable team of volunteers will be present to guide you through the various constellations seen in the galaxy.
Bonus: Exit the observatory room and turn to the left to access the caged stairwell, a strong contender for the most Insta-worthy staircases in Singapore!
Address: 31 Woodlands Ave 6, Singapore 738991
Telephone: 6366 2218
Make payment of $1/person at the information counter on Level 1 before taking the lift to the observatory on Level 6
Stargazing sessions are held every Friday & Saturday 7.30PM to 9.30PM
Looking straight out of a horror movie set is the massive Banyan Tree at Kallang Riverside Park.
Wander through the cascading branches and aerial roots to fully immerse yourself in what feels like a jungle adventure, even though it’s in an open-air area close to residential buildings.
It already evokes haunted jungle vibes in broad daylight, we can’t even imagine what it’d be like once night falls.
Address: 5 Stadium Rd, Singapore 397732
Getting there: The huge banyan tree can be seen from the park’s entrance.
Private hire vehicles have become so commonplace that a phrase like “let’s Grab there” makes perfect sense. Back in the heyday of cabs, though, small establishments called Taxi Service Stands could be seen around the country.
These no-frills shacks were built as rest stops for taxi uncles to catch a breather after hours of non-stop driving and now remain as a nostalgic piece of unique 60s and 70s history in Singapore.
Address: Unspecified address. Head to Sembawang Hills Food Centre instead: 590 Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574419
Getting there: Cut through Sembawang Hills Food Centre and head to the right to cross the road. It’s directly behind the SPC petrol station.
The only experience you have with kampungs may be from tales told by your grandparents, but there remains one last kampung deep within the ulu Lorong Buangkok region.
A day trip here offers an authentic glimpse into true-blue village life, unlike anything you’ve read from history textbooks.
Everything from the quaint houses to the lack of proper roads signifies a part of Singapore that has remained in the good ol’ days while the rest of us moved on to sleek skyscrapers, new-fangled technology, and the accompanying stress of bustling city life.
Address: 7 Lor Buangkok, Singapore 547557
Getting there: Walk down the street behind Esso petrol station until you reach a sign saying “Kg. Lorong Buangkok”, then turn inwards to your left.
Note: While visiting Kampung Lorong Buangkok provides a major blast to the past, keep in mind that it is still a residential area. Be sure to keep volumes low so as not to be a disturbance, and never peek into windows or trespass into the housing properties. Remember, treat the space how you would like others to if they happened to swing by the vicinity of your abode!
Fuel your need for speed without forking out a single cent on amusement parks. Across the whole of Singapore, Admiralty Park boasts the highest number of slides in a single playground.
They also happen to be mega long, super speedy and heaps more thrilling than the childhood slides you’re used to. The pair of seemingly never-ending metal tubes you see above provide a downward zip that’s beyond exhilarating. You’ll be racing back to the top for round after round!
Simply making your way up the rope-climbing “bridge” forces you to bid your fear of heights farewell.
Address: 31 Riverside Road, Singapore 730000
Opening hours: 24 hours daily
Taking the phrase “go big or go home” to greater heights is the Sembawang God Of Wealth Temple, where a ginormous God Of Wealth statue bigger than you can ever imagine is perched on top.
Towering at a remarkable 9.4 metres tall, it’s said to be the #1 largest Cai Shen Ye statue in the world. Kudos to Sembawang for bringing honour and acclaim to our humble nation, and for something so unique and rooted in culture!
Who knows, a quick visit may very well bless you with extraordinary fortune for the days to come. Huat ah!
Address: 28 Admiralty St, Singapore 757611
Opening hours: 9AM – 8PM daily
Telephone: 65553040 / 9145 0918
Gone are the days where you have to race across the playground for one out of two highly coveted spots on the swing set.
Canberra Park is home to over 15 swings of different shapes and sizes, so you can take your pick and not worry about hogging a particular seat for too long.
If you’re bursting with energy, conquer the rope playground for a boost of adrenaline before retreating back to the swings.
Playtime will have you working up quite a sweat, but it’s nothing a hearty swinging session won’t help to cool down.
Address: Sembawang Cres, Singapore 750325
Opening hours: 24 hours daily
“Sembawang” has a natural ring to it, but have you ever paused to ponder the meaning and origin of the name? I checked in with my Malay pal and although “bawang” means “onion” in Bahasa Melayu, “Sembawang” actually doesn’t have a Malay meaning.
Mystery solved! The little-known fact is that Sembawang was named after a tree by the very same name, scientifically known as Mesua Ferruginea. It’s supposedly the last of its kind in Singapore, so if you want to see a real-life Sembawang tree in all its magnificent glory, head over to Sembawang Park.
While you’re there, make sure to stop by Singapore’s largest shipwreck playground too.
It’s full of hidden Instagrammable spots!
Address: 1200 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758526
Getting there: Walk from Sembawang Park’s main car park at the entrance to car park 1, where the tree sits in the middle of the parking lot.
Revered by generations for its rejuvenating properties said to boost immunity and improve skin conditions, people have even brought eggs to the Sembawang Hot Spring to cook up a hard-boiled feast for the fam.
Mark your calendars, as 2019 will see a major revamp of the site involving a cascading pool, floral walk and cafe to boot. It’ll also reopen as a community park 10 times the current size, and we foresee plenty of jaw-dropping photo ops to go around.
Check out our full Sembawang Hot Spring guide.
Address: Along Gambas Avenue
Opening hours: 7AM – 7PM daily
Getting there: Walk down the road with the “HDB Centre of Building Research” sign until you reach the metal gates.
Our Little Red Dot has shopping malls and hipster cafes aplenty, but hidden gems are dotted all over the island just waiting to be explored. Providing a fascinating glimpse into the nation’s history for both young and old, these places will switch up your weekend itineraries and add a new lease of life to boring outings.
The North, in particular, seems to be brimming with rare finds, some dating back as far as over a century ago. From iconic landmarks rich in local heritage to modern must-visits, these secret spots are a point of pride for Northsiders and give everyone else around Singapore a tempting reason to visit.
Image credit: Kampung Sembawang
Before embarking on your journey to the North, make sure to follow Kampung Sembawang on Facebook to receive updates on things to do, see and eat.
Check out our other Northside guides:
This post was brought to you by Kampung Sembawang.
Photo credit: Pichan Cruz
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