You might have lived in Singapore for a while and think that you know all there is to know about the city. You might assume that amidst the skyscrapers and luxe hotels, there isn’t a square metre that lies undiscovered. Maybe not, but there are parts of Singapore that do not have quite the same footfall as others. These secret corners have some tantalising delights for tourists, expats and locals alike. Let’s take a closer look.
This bar used to be a British Army hangout back in the 1950’s and it has retained some colonial charm. They sell plenty of beer (British nonetheless) and Hainanese Chinese cuisine, including a great Hainanese chicken rice. There are plenty of historical artefacts, and the owners have tried to keep as true to the original as possible. Look out for the antique weighing machines.
Much like it’s namesake in New York, Coney Island is quite popular among locals and tourists alike. There are also plenty of white beaches, that look as if they could be straight out of a Thai holiday brochure. Punggol Ranch is the entrance point, and it is worth looking at itself, for all the flora and fauna on display. Some plant species are even believed to be extinct throughout the rest of Singapore. You might even be lucky and catch some birds in migration.
This organic farm, run by Ivy Singh Lim, is out of the main drag of the city but is well worth the car trip. There is an excellent restaurant here, which really does farm to table exactly right. The restaurant is not the only gem here. There are also plenty of workshops, kids activities, cooking classes and tours of the grounds.
Umbrella Trees of Little India
Thanks to Singapore’s tropical climate, the city receives a significant amount of rainfall. However, in Little India, you can find shelter under the trees but instead of leaves, there are umbrellas. This is actually part of an art installation by Marthalia Budiman and are the perfect place to recline beneath the trees for a while.
German Girl Shrine
This is exactly what it says. A shrine dedicated to an unknown German girl who has become a deity in Singapore. The shrine is in Pulau Ubin, just off the coast of Singapore and the hut is a curious bright yellow. Inside, you would be forgiven for thinking it is all a little creepy. There is a doll believed to be the German Girl’s physical manifestation, with a small altar full of lipsticks, nail polishes and other paraphernalia given in offering. The history of the girl is widely believed to be that she was the daughter of a plantation owner, who fell to her death attempting to escape from the British at the outbreak of WWI. Tragic but rather creepy, the shrine is an attempt to deify a girl whose tragic end is part of local history.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
This is a relatively new building, completed in 2007, that costs upwards of $50 million is located in Chinatown and houses a particularly important relic. The temple was built to house a tooth that is rumored to belong to Buddha himself and has the utmost significance for Buddhists. The tooth is rumored to have been found in Myanmar among the ruins of a stupa and you can see it for yourself, but only at certain times. The temple itself, aside from the tooth, is particularly impressive with plenty of statues and icons of the Buddhist faith.