Anyone who’s visited Singapore or has researched this destination will know about its major landmarks and points of interest. However, as it is with most cosmopolitan cities, there are attractions that even the locals are clueless about.
We’ve taken it upon ourselves to dig out the best of Singapore that are usually not on the mainstream tourist list of things to do.
- Underwater Hockey
Head over to Queenstown Swimming Complex at 473 Stirling Rd and for some cool underwater hockey sessions. Twice a week, both men and women gear themselves up with snorkels and get into the water. They play hockey with the regular sticks, placing the puck at the bottom of the pool. Don’t worry you’ll get plenty of professional guidance. One thing we can tell you though; you never felt this weightless playing hockey before!
- The Arts House
The present Arts Center in Singapore was once a Parliament House. Today, the multidisciplinary arts center features intriguing exhibitions, workshops, movie screenings, and speaker sessions. There are also cultural performances; fashion shows choirs and other ensembles. What’s more, if you have a special event coming up, you can host it at The Arts House!
- Gillman Barracks
A little away from the busy city is the contemporary arts enclave, the Gillman Barracks. You can enjoy various limited-time exhibitions here showcasing artworks from promising or famous artists in one of its 11 galleries. Attending open studio sessions with artists in residence at the Gillman Barracks is one of the most underrated things do in Singapore.
- Children Little Museum
The Children Little Museum in Kampong Glam has a life-sized tin robot guarding the entrance. This place stocks knick-knacks, antique memorabilia and yesteryear paraphernalia. In the courtyard, you can pose for photos with a classic Vespa bike and a Coke booth. Access kampung childhood curios on the second floor with a two-dollar token and enjoy checking out antique tin toys, plastic soldiers and hand-made set props such as a street barber’s booth, a bookstore and school setting.
- Chinatown Food Centre
Here you’ll find Singapore’s largest hawker center, the best way to get dirt-cheap authentic Singaporean cuisine. There are more than 260 stalls here offering glutinous rice, Lian He Ben, chee kueh (steamed rice cakes) and more. If you’re not sure which is the best dish, just join the line that’s the longest and you’ll be fine.
- Chinatown Wet Market
Want to see live frogs and eels jumping about in the water, ready to be purchased for dinner? Then head to the Chinatown Wet Market just two levels below the Chinatown Food Center. You’ll even find live turtles here for sale. This place is undeniably Singaporean, right from the mixed dialects and the seafood and poultry scents and the haggling.
- Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
You’ll find some of Singapore’s most ecological bird and wildlife trails at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, which is a known migratory stop for birds. Spot some frisky otters, mudskippers, kingfishers and herons. Between September to March, you might spot shorebirds such as plovers, on their way to Australia. Watch out for monitor lizards, crocodiles and tree snakes. A bug spray and a pair of binoculars are a must here!
- Kusu Island
Kusu Island (Tortoise Island) is just the perfect escape from the city. There are several picnic spots and seaside barbeque pits, apart from two swimming lagoons. The beaches are wonderful and warm with soft sands that’ll caress your feet. Enjoy fantastic views of Singapore’s skyscrapers from here. This island is a sanctuary to hundreds of tortoises; watch them crawling to their holes in the beach when the sun goes down. Watching those cute tortoises scramble about is one of the best things to do in Singapore!
- Tong Mern Sern Antiques Arts and Crafts
If you’re into antiques and old-time crafts, this place is a must-visit. You can collect some real cool stuff that you won’t be able to find anywhere else, like old paintings, dinner sets from 50 years ago and old Grandfather’s clocks. You can spend a nice afternoon browsing the dusty old shelves and maybe, just maybe, find a treasure that someone’s overlooked.
- Evernew Bookstore
What could be better than the dusty smell of an old dog-eared book? Head out to the Evernew Bookstore at Bras Basah Complex and check out their collection of incredible second hand books. You can find vintage comics, copies of classics, leather-bound bounds and hard-cover primary editions and more. It’s the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon, swimming through nostalgic dusty memory lanes.
What’s better than bowling? Bowling in the dark! Orchid Bowl at SAFRA Yishun offers Comic Bowling where the pins and balls glow-in-the-dark. There will also be continuous party music playing in the background to ensure that the adrenaline rush is present!
- Durian Feast
The village of Geylang takes on a unique atmosphere during the Durian Feast each year. You can pick up incredible durians here, too-sweet, just-sweet-enough and bitter ones. Even the not-in-season durians taste good here. Browse through multiple fruit stalls and pick out the best. Also be sure to try out some durian fruit juices and other concoctions while you’re in Geylang.
- Khatib Bongsu
Khatib Bongsu in Singapore’s north is a 7.5 kilometer area filled with mangroves. You can kayak through the mangroves, deftly avoiding the roots and the submerged braches. Don’t worry; there are plenty of toilets and showers here for you when you need them. Just in case you fall into the water, be sure to bring a change of clothes and some sunblock too.
- The Projector
Forget about the regular cinemas and head out to The Projector for some rarely-seen indie films. What’s more, this is the most relaxed cinema hall you’ve ever been in. It’s got soft bean bags instead of seats! Roll around on the bean bags, munch on popcorn and enjoy the living-room like atmosphere of The Projector.
When you’re in Singapore, check out other not-so-well-known but charming places to visit. You’re bound to find many more than we’ve listed here. These charming little nooks and unknown activities are what give charm to a travel destination.