Toured enough of Singapore’s same old touristy highlights? Clicking your insta-worthy photos at Marina Bay Sands or going to the ethnic enclaves such as Chinatown and Little India is exciting for first-time tourists, but those who want to avoid the traveller crowds and catch sight of a more local side of Singapore, here’s our list of non-touristy experience to do in Singapore.
Go to an offshore island
Did you know that Singapore isn’t just an island country but an archipelago of above 63 islands? Abandon the tourist popular Sentosa Island with its casino and theme park and go north instead. You can catch a ferry to Pulau Ubin, recognised as a home to one of Singapore’s final remaining village kampungs and the Chek Jawa wetland nature reserve park, or, if you do not want to take a boat, find out more about the classic Coney Island, also identified as Pulau Serangoon.
Cycle all about the island
Singapore’s public transport is extensive and useful, but one fun mode to explore the many outdoor highlights in Singapore is on a bicycle. There is a park connector network connecting up parks and bike routes, and if you are up for the challenge, you could ride 150 kilometres all about Singapore. Bicycles are affordable and easy to hire, whether you like bike-sharing services to more conventional bike hire kiosks found at the parks. Find out some less touristy cycling paths in Punggol Waterway Park, Lorong Halus Wetlands, Woodlands Waterfront Park or Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
The Singapore Zoo and Night Safari are famous tourist spots, but most guests don’t realise that Singapore has a surprisingly vibrant surplus of biodiversity left in its natural habitat despite urbanisation and its tiny size. Bird lovers will gasp at the collection of migratory birds that go through during the months of September and March – Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, in special, is one of the top places for bird watching, though there are numerous other possibilities in Singapore’s other parks and reserves. If you are blessed, you might even find more massive creatures like crocodiles, otters and even a unique pangolin wading by in the evenings.
The bumboat cruise along the Singapore River is a relaxing way to marvel at Singapore’s skyline from the river, but for those who want something more effective, kayaking is a good productive mode to explore Singapore’s shoreline. Have a more relaxing paddle at Macritchie Reservoir or Kallang Basin, or start on more exciting kayaking excursions to explore Singapore’s offshore islands or its mangrove jungles in the north with companies such as Kayakasia and Adventures by Asian Detours.
Scuba dive and discover the underwater world
Singapore has some excellent scenic hikes, but did you know that there is an underwater path that you can scuba dive through at the Sisters’ Island Marine Park? The path has helpful signs filled with data about the encircling reef ecosystem to assist you to recognise what is around you. Another of Singapore’s offshore islands that local divers commonly visit is Pulau Hantu aka Malay for ‘Ghost Island’, but the only creatures inhabiting this spot are wildlife lovers who return frequently to click pictures of the astonishingly distinct creatures buried in the dusky waters throughout the island.
Trip to the farms
Take a pause from the shopping plazas and spend a free day travelling Kranji Countryside and its various farms instead. Some of the farms are free for visiting and you can buy some fresh produce; swallow some fresh goat’s milk at Hay Dairies, educate yourself on frog farming at Jurong Frog Farm or see how prestigious koi fish are grown at Hausmann Aquarium. Experience some farm-to-table wholesome dishes at Bollywood Veggies and GardenAsia Bistro.
Enjoy the weird and wonderful
Universal Studios Singapore may draw in the masses these days with its roller coasters, but it will never be as weird and wonderful as Haw Par Villa. Long ago, a famous tourist spot and theme park, Haw Par Villa is a copy of its former fame today but still just as weird. This park is packed with life-sized figures and dioramas full of stories from Chinese legends and fables meant to give out learnings on good ethics and culture, including a moralistic but bloody ‘Ten Courts of Hell,’ which describes how various types of sinners are abused in hell.
Eat a meal at a local hawker centre
Eating affordable indigenous street food should be a part of any Singaporean itinerary as it’s often called as the country’s favourite past time. But rather than regular famous tourist hawker centres such as Lau Pa Sat and Newton, go explore other local loved ones such as Old Airport Road, ABC Brickworks and Changi Village rather. Do as the locals do and use local food websites such as Hungrygowhere or Burpple to assist you to rank down the top places where Singaporeans really love to eat.
Enjoy Singapore in an offbeat way with this list of non-touristy experiences in Singapore. Book your Singapore packages with customizable trip packages companies like PickYourTrail to tailor-make your itinerary to include as many offbeat experiences as possible rather than the same old touristy tour packages. What are you waiting for? Book your Singapore vacation asap and fill your hearts with memories.