5 Places You Never Knew Existed In Singapore

secret places singapore

At We Are Spaces, we are all about helping fellow Singaporeans (or heck, even visitors from abroad) discover great places for memorable events! In this post, our team member, Joyce, scouts Singapore to unveil five places you never knew existed in our city.

If there’s one thing I love about Singapore, aside from the local food, it would be that despite its puny size of 710 km² (as compared to other major world cities), she is endlessly fascinating.

In recent years, the population had been climbing the way property prices and transport fares do, and with more people and development the inevitable city building frenzy commenced. New malls sprouted up, more office buildings were erected, tourist attractions aplenty with new additions like Sentosa Sea Aquarium, the Adventure Cove Water Park, and the Singapore Zoo River Safari that is now home to two very special Pandas in our little red dot.

That led me to question, is there any place we don’t know anymore? A small island facilitated by extensive media coverage means that we know just about everything at home. Every new cafe or bar in town, the upcoming shopping mall in the west, where to find the best satay bee-hoon, and where to join in the queuing craze for a newly launched donut joint from the US.

While online websites like TimeOut Singapore and lifestyle magazines like 8Days or Cleo may make it seem like they’ve got every explorable corner in Singapore covered, there remains a 5% minority of places that most would not know exist. In fact, is is even hard to imagine room for these places in a city so packed with high-rise buildings and skyscrapers.

And that’s what today’s installment is all about – going off the beaten track in discovering our city. So after a bit of scouting and surveying done among my peers, here are 5 places you probably never knew existed.

1. Lorong Kampung Buangkok

In our highly industrialized country of HDBs, stylish walk-up apartments,  and flashy condominiums, one would think that most rustic housing options will probably be the shophouses along Little India or Chinatown. However, much to my surprise, a kampung still exists!

Previously featured in Spaces Forgotten: The Golden Days Of Singapore, we introduced Singapore’s only remaining kampung dated back to 1956. Singapore’s urbanization had seen the demise of Khatib Bongsu, not too long ago in 2007. This leaves us with the only survivor of its kind- Lorong Kampung Buangkok.

The kampung located near Gerald Drive off Yio Chu Kang Road is an area of residence for less than 30 families, made up mostly of the Malay and Chinese ethnicity.

For most of us Milleniums from Generation Y, this place will be nothing more than a place of exploration, a breath of fresh air, and an interesting picture-worthy landmark to be posted on Instagram. Perhaps a little visual insight into the “kampung” we’ve only heard about, and even a place for concept photoshoots. The following photo is taken from an online fashion apparel store, who made use of the rustic backdrop as a photoshoot location for their merchandise.

Image Credit: thetinselrack.livejournal.com

However, for the older generation, this place will be a nostalgic remembrance of their yesteryears, and a reminder of the stark contrast between the fast-paced city happenings and the laid-back, communal way of life.

Image Credits: wikimedia.org, clubsnap.com, http://lupcheongent.files.wordpress.com

2. Tanglin Hill Brunei Hostel

While some places like Lorong Kampung Buangkok had stood the test the time, some hasn’t.

As the government embarks on its massive tearing and rebuilding process in recent years, there’re still places that are left behind in this process. My guess is that they are either forgotten/unnoticed or there are simply no plans for the development of these places.

And among the many abandoned places in Singapore ranging from schools to old HDB estates and even the famous Old Changi hospital, this last place you never knew existed is for the handful of you out there who’re slightly more adventurous. Or at least adventurous enough to venture into an abandoned hostel!

The Old Brunei hostel had used to be home to the top students of Brunei sent to our country by their government to further their studies. Looking at the photographs, it is indeed hard to imagine that this place had once housed the bustling lives of youths, and had been a place of work and play for them.

Image Credit: http://melchan94-jjlinr0x.blogspot.sg

The dilapidated building is run-down, with its section collapsed, walls burnt, and stairways strewn with debris and fallen pieces of furniture and building. While it is nothing more than an abandoned building to most of us, some others turn this hostel into a breeding ground of creativity by taking their photography, filmography or even graffiti projects and work there. The more daring lot had even ventured there in search of paranormal activity within the abandoned compound.

tanglin hill former brunei hostel7

Image Credit: remembersingapore.wordpress.com

While the place still stands as a building of over 30 years of history, perhaps you would like to mark this on your map as the next place of exploration. But we would highly recommend you do not go alone for the place is very deserted. You’ve been warned!

3. Sengkang Riverside Park

Fresh greenery and views of the boundless sky had always been the stuff of city nomads’ dreams. Rushing from an appointment to another within the CBD and barely having enough time for lunch, it seems that we are constantly deprived of nature in the concrete jungle we live and work in.

However, play is an entirely different story.

Image Credit: muaythaisg.blogspot.com

The Sengkang Riverside Park is a hidden sanctuary tucked away in the Northeast between Sengkang and Punggol. It is of walkable distance from Anchorvale Community Centre that is equipped with sports facilities (including a public pool and Gymnasium) and dining options (Pastamania & Jack’s Place Brewbakers Kitchen & Bar).

Along the walkway towards the park, one will be able to enjoy views that are only possible towards to end of a heartland area. I would love to caption this photograph “where water meets the sky” if not for the expressway in obstruction of the two different hues of blue.

Another thing I absolutely love about the place is that when you go farther into the park, there will not be a single building in sight and all that surrounds you is the azure sky, an abundance of trees, and sparkling bonds outlined by bushes of tall green grass.

As not many people know about the place, it is relatively quiet on weekends and even more so on weekdays. I would also go as far to say that this may be one of the cleanest parks I’ve ever seen in Singapore. Its cleanliness, coupled with the spaciousness it offers, makes the park a lovely venue for an evening picnic on a weekend with your loved ones. This is especially ideal if you don’t fancy the often-overpopulated Marina Barrage, or East Coast/Pasir Ris Park where greenery is sadly dwindling by the day because of the large numbers of visitors.

Most park-goers would come here for a jog, to cycle, blade, or simply fly a kite. The unobstructed views of the sky also makes a relaxing setting to watch the sunset on a Sunday evening.

4. D’Kranji Farm Resort

In between our tightly-packed schedules, it’s often a difficulty juggling work and personal time. While it seems like weekend staycations or a family chalet stay is the way to go. Indeed, we are familiar with the 5-star names, the Ritz, the Mariott, and the famous one with the infinity pool. But how come nobody has ever considered a farm stay as a local holiday option?

Located at 10 Neo Tiew Lane 2, D’Kranji Farm Resort is an attraction listed on holiday-makers’ platforms like Tripadvisor and Bookings.com, yet ironically it seems that only a handful of locals know about this place.

As Singapore’s first Agri-tainment farm, the resort is a relaxing place in the Lim Chu Kang area for retreats. While your regular staycation at a local hotel has a predictable program (taking a dip in the lap pool, indulging in the continental breakfast before you check out…), the farm resort offers an entirely different experience closer to nature with its rganizing farm tours, fishing and spa sessions. My guess is that this would be highly popular among families because these tours are refreshing and are likely to appeal to the kids!

Does a farm stay compromises on the luxury factor? Fret not. Each room in the resort is well decorated and furnished with the amenities you would typically see in a hotel. Some villas offering picturesque views of the surrounding greenery and there are barbecue pits if you’re holding a large family gathering or a party. Like any other hotel, there is also wifi, shuttle services and a 24-hour front desk should you require any assistance.

Image Credit: www.jaredrezel.com

Guests can dine at the seafood restraurant or relax at the lounge or the beer garden where there would be live music.

If you desire a weekend staycation away from the city’s air-conditioned establishments and fancy restaurants to recharge yourself and your family, D’Kranji Farm Resort is definitely a great place to consider.

5. Punggol Stables

It seems that a town once quiet and forgotten in the North-east, is beginning to see a transformation towards a waterfront town. This saw the construction of Punggol Waterway. Isn’t she a beauty?

The development of the waterway saw more and more people flocking to the vicinity for leisure and like cycling or jogging. Along with that, establishments like seafood restaurants, bars, and even recreational centers like Hai Bin Prawning had sprouted up to cater to the incoming crowds.

But it is not the waterway that we think you don’t know about. It’s something farther in.

Photobucket

Image Credit: blog.shanicekoh.com

Does this even look like Singapore?!

What you’re looking at is just a part of Gallop-Stable, a relatively new establishment located at Punggol End. As the name would suggest, it is a place that offers horse and pony riding activities catering largely to families and childrens.

And no, these little cutesy houses you saw earlier are not stables for the horses. They are Gallop Wagons – caravan-shaped chalets that are opened to the public!

All the Gallop Wagons are well equipped with basic amenities like wifi, mio-TV, shower/toilet facility and air-conditioning. Well, a countryside experience should best be kept minimal and idyllic! On top of that, barbecue pits can be rented as well for $30. The rates for the chalets are as follows:

Deluxe Wagon charges: $170 (Weekdays) / $200 (Weekends)
Family Wagon charges: $190 (Weekdays) / $230 (Weekends)
Extra Beds – $60 (weekdays) & $80 (weekends)

The Bacon & Booze cafe is an eatery that serves all day breakfast and beer as well, providing the visitors a place to rest and fill their tummies after a tiresome and enjoyable evening at the Gallop Stable.

Images Credit: http://gforce-guru.blogspot.sg

Coming to the end of this feature, it suffices to say that you can now walk away knowing a few other corners of the city that not many know of. An old kampung, an abandoned hostel, a quiet and beautiful park, a new staycation location and a promising countryside getaway. Keen to explore more hidden gems in Singapore? Head over to http://wearespaces.com for a range of places for your next meeting or event!

Like what you’ve learnt in this article today? Do share it with your friends! 

Marketing Executive (Editorial) for We Are Spaces. Economics/finance student who crunches numbers by day and stays up to write by night.

25 Comments

  • […] extractedfrom We Are Spaces, written by Joyce […]

    • Reply February 13, 2014

      Shey

      Hi, May I know if the gallop stables chalet rates is still the same? Cause it really looks nice and it’s a good play for teambonding with my other friends! 🙂

      • Reply February 14, 2014

        Sharon Lourdes

        Hey Shey,

        As we are helping to promote venues but not the management itself, it would be more accurate if the venue quotes the rates. However, no fret! We have liaised with venues so that when you enquire through our website, they will receive it immediately.

  • Reply December 5, 2013

    Rohit Jacques

    Absolutely incredible! I have jotted them down in my hit list and hope to visit them soon. Thanks for sharing and keep me posted about your future posts.

    • Reply December 5, 2013

      Joyce Yang

      Dear Rohit,

      Thank you for your kind comment! We’re glad you liked it. Feel free to like our Facebook Page to be updated of our future posts! Link: https://www.facebook.com/weareSPACES

      Joyce

  • Reply December 6, 2013

    Brandon

    Thanks Joyce! The boys are having headaches of getting a chalet for Jan Bros retreat. Guess I found some idea! 🙂

    • Reply December 8, 2013

      Joyce Yang

      Hi Brandon!

      It’s my pleasure, thank you for reading. Please let me know how the stay goes if you do go to the Gallop Wagons or the Farm Resort, cause’ I’m planning a visit to the Gallop Wagons myself!

      Joyce

  • Reply December 7, 2013

    Remington

    Hey Joyce this is a great article and a good read, however I think promoting the Brunei hostel here might not be the best thing to do, because as much a you would like to introduce people to interesting places, inviting people to the Brunei hostel will increase the risk of vandalism at this already badly vandalized place. However good article though!

    Cheers!
    Remington

    • Reply December 8, 2013

      Joyce Yang

      Hi Remington! So glad you enjoyed reading this.

      Actually, I included the Brunei Hostel as an interesting contrast as compared to the other places that are “Safer” or more conventional. Didn’t really think that I’d be driving human traffic there! :X Nonetheless, always nice to be able to visit something before the authorities demolish it along with all its “Art” and “character”, don’t you think? 🙂

      Cheers!
      Joyce

  • Reply December 8, 2013

    Kath

    Joyce, thanks for the great article. As a local, I didn’t know there are so many interesting places in S’pore. Well done, Joyce.

    p/s btw there was a typo error on “5-stay names, the Ritz, the Mariott,”, do you mean “5-star names” instead?

    Cheers
    Kath

    • Reply December 8, 2013

      Joyce Yang

      Dear Kath,

      Thank you for your compliment, you’re too kind! 🙂 Great to hear that my article had achieved its objective of helping fellow Singaporeans discover these hidden spaces.

      And you’re sharp! Thanks for highlighting that error, I’ve already made the amendment. Appreciate it 🙂

      Regards
      Joyce

  • Reply December 19, 2013

    Brendon

    Don’t think the residents at Tanglin Hill would appreciate the sudden influx of curious adventure seekers. The next door neighbor is a certain Kwek Leng Beng, one of Singapore’s richest individuals. In and around the neighborhood, you’ll find majestic mansions inhabited by the Who’s Who in Singapore high society, i.e.your Tatler Crowd. These people treasure their privacy and security a lot, and would not take to kindly to swarms of outsiders to their multi-million dollar enclave.

    • Reply December 27, 2013

      Sharon Lourdes

      Hey Brendon,

      that is true…guess that’s where our small island city reveals her flaws! Hope all those who visited the area were considerate 🙂

      • Reply July 30, 2014

        Eddie

        Last I was there (a couple of months ago), there was a police signage placed just outside the main gate which stated that 5 individuals were arrested recently for trespassing on that property.

  • Reply January 22, 2014

    Rachit Dubey

    Joyce, thanks for such a lovely article! 🙂 Just curious, how did you find out about these places? Word of mouth or you love to get off at random bus stops/mrt stations and explore around?

    • Reply February 5, 2014

      Joyce Yang

      Hi Rachel!

      Sorry for the late reply. We’re glad you enjoyed it! I found out about these places through word-of-mouth 🙂 But the latter sounds like a great suggestion to do sometime!

      Cheers!
      Joyce

  • Reply February 12, 2014

    M

    Hi,
    I know of a part of changi beach where there are 2 restaurants by the sea, Stella bar & Gurame indonesian which have huge open area for photoshoots, they probably have airconditioned changing rooms, you can check them out!

    • Reply February 14, 2014

      Sharon Lourdes

      Hey Maggie,

      Thanks for the “lobang”! We will be definitely checking them out 🙂

  • […] if you like what you’ve read in this list, you may also enjoy 5 Places You Never Knew Existed published by We Are Spaces some time ago. And if you’re looking to throw a party or hold an […]

  • Reply May 27, 2014

    Jennifer

    Amazing article with lovely pics. I am going to bookmark this page for further use and would like to visit these places soon. Thanks for sharing this lovely article.
    Alcohol Online Singapore

    • Reply June 4, 2014

      Sharon Lourdes

      Thanks Jennifer! Do feel free to share our tips to your peers.

      Cheers,
      We Are Spaces

  • […] Just a stone’s throw away from where Bollywood Veggies is located at 10 Neo Tiew Lane, D’Kranji Farm Resort provides an accommodation solution if your corporate retreat spans over a couple of days! You may read more about this venue from our previously published article 5 Places You Never Knew ExistedIn Singapore. […]

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