In a previous article, I suggested some things to do when the pandemic ends. In it, visiting some hidden gems in Singapore was one of them. Some suggestions there were Bollywood Veggies, and Soek Seng 1954 Bicycle Cafè.
Here are some other hidden gems you can visit after the pandemic, or even right now!
1. Gillman Barracks
Once a barracks for the British during the Colonial period built in 1936, the iconic white facade of Gillman Barracks has since been transformed into an innovative visual arts institution with leading Singapore-based international art galleries such as Art Outreach and Playeum – Children’s Centre for Creativity. It also has numerous fine dining restaurants and cafes to get a bite to eat after viewing the renowned artworks.
Gillman Barracks is also home to NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (NTU CCA Singapore), researching and producing new, inspired, and powerful pieces of artwork for the world to see.
2. Slappy Cakes
Are you a fan of pancakes? Do you like cooking? Well, you can combine those two over at Slappy Cakes. Even if you don’t like any of those, you can still come down to the restaurant. This restaurant located at three locations in Singapore (Plaza Singapura, The Grandstand, Resorts World Sentosa*) allows you to cook your own pancakes.
Once seated, you can purchase pancake batter along with other ingredients, and a hot plate. You can then cook the pancakes yourself, choosing the shape, thickness, and even how done they are. You can unleash your creativity here, creating works of art if you wish. You can bring your whole family here and have fun cooking pancakes together.
*Currently closed due to COVID-19
3. The Fragment Room
A more interesting hidden gem in Singapore, this takes the form of a place where you break stuff. Yes, really. The first ‘rage room’ in Singapore, The Fragment Room allows you smash things to de-stress. Fed up with something? Smash stuff. Your boss shouted at you? Smash stuff. Just angry at the world for some reason? That’s right, smash stuff.
It’s probably the most effective anger therapy. Taking out your rage on some bottles and plates that did you wrong in some way is an excellent way to release your anger. In fact, after paying for a session (starting from $38), you’re essentially given unrestricted access to various things to break. All you have to do is put on some safety gear and begin the breaking.
The Fragment Room also offers a 20% discount on all packages from Mondays to Thursdays, from 12pm to 5pm. Note that you can only get this discount via phone or social media reservations.
4. Pulau Ubin
Familiar with just about every Singaporean, Pulau Ubin is a scenic island off the coast of Singapore, only accessible by boat. This quaint little island has been largely untouched by the urban development present in Singapore, and as such wildlife thrives there. It also holds some of the last kampongs in Singapore that have largely remained unchanged since the 1960s.
There are many things to do here, from renting a bike and riding around the island on its trails, seeing the rich marine life at the Chek Jawa wetlands, to spending a night under the stars at a camping ground.
5. Joo Chiat Road
A historic yet quaint neighbourhood, Joo Chiat boasts rich heritage. It is known for its iconic coloured houses, traditional restaurants, and historic architecture. Joo Chiat is also famous for being the centre of Perenakan culture in Singapore, and as such has many restaurants and locations reflecting that fact.
You can purchase traditional Perenakan fabrics and clothes at Joo Chiat complex, and the neighbourhood also has a massive number of restaurants and cafes for you to dine at, such as homemade popiah at Kway Guan Huat, and of course, the famous 328 Katong Laksa.
Check out this list for the best places to eat at Joo Chiat!
6. Coney Island
While not as well known or popular as Pulau Ubin above, this little island right off the coast of Punggol is worth a visit, and much more accessible, too. Coney Island is directly connected to the mainland by a pair of bridges, so you can simply walk across to get to the idyllic nature park.
Rich in history, Coney Island also has plenty of wildlife, such as some 80 species of bird, including the resident male Baya Weavers weaving their large and intricate nests from flowering Acacia trees. The island also has some excellent cycling trails, and you can always visit the pristine beaches.
7. Wessex Estate
Like Gillman Barracks above, Wessex Estate is another remnant of Singapore’s colonial past. It was also used by the British army, being used to house commissioned officers. Today, it is mostly a residential estate, with many people living in the renovated bungalows.
This estate is home to a number of artists who use their homes as a studio to create their art. You can even visit their homes and view their art and tour their studios in [email protected], and make appointments with them.
A quiet estate by nature, it is a relaxing place to have a look around.