29 Jan 2017
There's more to Singapore than new condos and shopping malls. We went off the beaten track to seek out these hidden gems you might have passed by but never noticed.
Tampines Quarry Park
Calm waters of Tampines Quarry
Most of us know Tampines is home to three shopping malls and an upcoming town hub. But did you know this estate has a quarry? Tucked away in a corner off Tampines Avenue 10 is Tampines Quarry Park, a former quarry site. Water now fills up the cavity left behind in the ground, converting it into a lake. Unlike a typical park, you won't find an entrance or signages to Tampines Quarry Park. Neither are there amenities such as walkways, park benches, streetlights or toilets. But it's worth knowing that such a rarity is hiding in plain sight.
Water storage tanks in Tampines
NEWater storage tanks in Tampines
UFOs in Singapore? That was what we thought we had spotted while driving past Old Tampines Road. Turns out these inverted cone shaped structures are actually storage tanks designed to hold NEWater. Each measures 43 meters wide and contains some 8500 cubic metres of NEWater to be supplied to nearby electronic chip manufacturing factories that need clean water in their daily activities. That's roughly the same amount of water as four Olympic-sized swimming pools!
Singapore's last fishing village
Piers floating at Yishun dam
Said to be Singapore's last fishing village, it's probably one of the last places you can find local fishermen making a living by the sea. A short drive along Yishun Ave 1 and soon enough, we spotted rickety-looking piers floating on water beyond Yishun dam. There were several huts along the shore, and each had its own wooden boardwalk that stretched into the open waters. As it's a private property, we weren't allowed entry into the jetty. We did however see a few people emerging from the pier with bags of fresh seafood.
Peranakan homes along Blair Road
Colourful Peranakan terrace houses
Front porch of a Peranakan-inspired terrace house
Emerald Hill isn't the only district dotted with quaint Peranakan homes. Be charmed by Blair Road's terrace houses that lie within the Blair Plains Conservation Area. Built in the 1920s, these houses feature an eclectic mix of Chinese, Malay and European design influences. Continue your stroll along Kampung Bahru Road to see what early shophouses looked like, with their single window openings on the second storey front facade. Then pop into the many cafes nearby for a breather before exploring the other parts of this quaint neighbourhood.
Everton Road Murals
"Barber" mural along Everton Road
Singapore's street art is alive and well... at Everton Road. Thanks to the deft touches of self-taught artist Yip Yew Chong, these lifelike and life-sized images of Singapore's past give us a glimpse into local heritage lost in time. A boy gets an old-school haircut while another reads an Old Master Q comic in between sips of Green Spot. A few steps ahead and an amah, or housemaid, handwashes sarong kebayas in a metal tub. Mr Yip was inspired by the murals in Kampung Glam and combined his passion and childhood memories of walking along that same road for 20 years into the murals we enjoy today.