Are you in the midst of planning a visit to our sunny shores? If so, I’ll have you know that the Merlion and Orchard Road isn’t all that’s waiting for you here in Singapore. Don’t be fooled by our size- we may be small, but you’ll be surprised at the multitude of activities that this tiny little red dot can offer you. My point is: maybe it’s a good idea to give Sentosa a miss this time and take the road less travelled, because the East is where it's at. Rich in heritage and home to some famous hawker dishes, Singapore’s eastern district is a diamond in the rough. Here are some (mostly) lesser known places of interest in the East that will give you a sense of what it truly means to be Singaporean.
1. Coney Island
The Coney Island cow may be no more, but its rich biodiversity means there's still lots to see. Coney Island Park is Singapore’s latest nature park. It houses a variety of habitats from mangroves to woodlands, and is home to over 80 species of birds. This makes Coney Island a must-visit for avid bird watchers and nature lovers.
The nature park is located beside Punggol Promendae Nature Walk.
Getting There: Take bus 84 from Punggol interchange and alight at Punggol Settlement
2. Rock Climbing
If you're looking to squeeze in a good workout while on holiday, why not have fun while you're at it? New climbing gyms have been popping up in Singapore in the recent years, so maybe it’s time to try your hand at indoor rock climbing this holiday.
Rock climb in the comfort of the shopping mall (yes, you heard me right) at Climb Central in Kallang Wave Mall. The air-conditioned gym has about 1000 square metres of climbing wall space (Read: endless amounts of vertical fun).
Getting there: The nearest MRT is Stadium (CC6)- the mall is right next to the station
3. Fu Lin Yong Tau Foo
As a hawker staple in Singapore, Yong Tau Foo is known for its clear broth and clean taste. However, Fu Lin serves up a unique version of the tradition Yong Tau Foo that is big on flavour and super indulgent. Fat noodles are soaked in a thick, minced meat gravy, but that's not even the best part- dipping your crispy, deep fried ingredients into the gooey sauce is. This killer combo bound to make your taste buds sing, even if the picture doesn’t do a convincing job.
Location: For a more modern, hipster-ish setting, visit their branch at 127 Telok Ayer Street. Alternatively, you could also go to the one at 721 East Coast Road for a more traditional hawker atmosphere.
4. Changi Chapel Museum
This one is for the history buffs. Learn about the horrors and heroics of World War II at the Changi Chapel Museum through photographs, drawings and letters by prisoners. Here’s a plus point: Bark Cafe is just next to the museum. After you're done with the museum tour, grab a couple of drinks, food (their chicken wings are to die for!), and relax the evening away in an idyllic setting.
You can combine the love of nature and other half's penchant for long romantic walks with this one. The 2.2.km coastal boardwalk is a great way to enjoy the sunset and the biodiversity of the area. To get the best view of the sunset, be sure to head to the end of the Boardwalk (Sunset Walk).
Getting there: take bus 29 or 2 from Tampines interchange and alight opposite Changi Village
6. 328 Katong Laksa
It would be a crime to not include 328 Katong Laksa in this list. Their signature rice noodles in rich curry broth has attained cult-status among locals and tourists alike. Unlike other Laksa places, they actually cut up the noodles, so don't sweat it if your chopstick skills are sub-par.
Location: 51 East Coast Road, Singapore 428770
7. Katong Antique House
Step into this beautifully preserved two-storey Peranakan shophouse and get a glimpse into Singapore's past. Here, you’ll be able to learn about Singapore’s Peranakan heritage through the carefully curated gallery of photographs, heirlooms, and antique items. Foodies take note: they sell traditional Peranakan snacks at the front of the shophouse.
Location: 208 East Coast Road, Singapore 428907
8. East Coast Park
With a scenic coastline and a host of recreational activities to offer, this park is truly a gem of the East. Relax by the beach, take a slow evening jog, or even have yourself a barbecue! Note: Getting around the park is easier and faster if you rent a bike or a pair of roller skates.
Location: East Coast Park Service Road, Singapore 449876
Looking for comfortable accommodations while you make exploring eastern Singapore your mission? The Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy might just be the place you're looking for.
Its spacious rooms are in the vicinity most of the attractions on this list, with East Coast Park located just 15 minutes away. The hotel also offers complimentary weekend shuttle bus services to Singapore's shopping haven, Orchard Road, and a daily two way complimentary shuttle bus to and from Changi Airport.
Booked your flight yet? These treasures of Singapore’s East Coast await you!