Tag Archives: sandpit playground

6 things to do in Singapore.

I have put together a small list of things to do in Singapore, a result of last year’s resolution to explore a bit more of the island. This list excludes tourist sites like the Universal Studios Singapore, Singapore Zoo, and Gardens by the Bay – places which you would already know of if you are planning to visit the city. Instead, this is a compilation of lesser-known places and activities that contribute to the local experience. Needless to say, they present opportunities for one to indulge in photography.

The list is not exhaustive, and I might even do another one down the road. For now, here are 6 things you might want to try out.

Visit Kampong Buangkok

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We still talk fondly about the kampong spirit, a kind of camaraderie that existed between neighbours back in the old days. Singapore’s last kampong gives you a peek into the lives of the general population more than 30 years ago.  Today, less than 30 households occupy the village which sits on about 12,300m2 of land off Yio Chu Kang Road.

Explore old playgrounds in the housing estates

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Children of the 70s and 80s used to play in outdoor sandpit playgrounds that take the shape of fruits and animals. The collective memory of these old mosaic playgrounds is detailed in Mosiac Memories as part of the Singapore Memory Project.

Cycle in Punggol Point Park

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Cycling at the Punggol Point Park was surprisingly enjoyable. The park is relatively new and clean, and it isn’t crowded like East Coast Park, so you get to cycle more of the way without having to skirt through people who fall into your path. A pretty good way to take a break from city life I’ll say.

Take a trip to Pulau Ubin

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People flock to this island, north-east of Singapore, to cycle, but it is not for the faint-hearted as the roads are steep and designated cycling paths are non-existent.

There is plenty of room on this island for the non-cyclist though. Discover plant and animal varieties as you trek the – sometimes mud-trodden – paths, and explore Chek Jawa, a natural wetlands made up of 6 interdependent ecosystems. If you love being surrounded by nature, you’ll enjoy this island.

Have a picnic at the Botanic Gardens

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After its revamp, the Botanic Gardens became one of my favourite places to spend an idyllic afternoon. And there is Island Creamery around the corner, serving what I would say is one of the better ice-creams on the island.

Visit a cafe in Tanjong Pagar

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How can a list about Singapore be complete without food? Tanjong Pagar is one of the best places to go to if you want to experience cafe culture in Singapore, apart form Tiong Bahru. Head down to Flor for the best mille-feuille, Drury Lane and Nylon Coffee Roasters for coffee, and The Plain for brunch and ambience.

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The Dragon Playground

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I belong to that generation of children whose playtime places included the once ubiquitous sandpit playgrounds. The old swing was the best thing ever; as a kid, nothing very much came close to the kind of exhilaration it gave me, wind in face, as I watched the sky come and go with each swing.

This is one of the last-standing sandpit playgrounds of that era. Back then, playgrounds were built in the shape of animals and fruits, with the dragon being the commonest design. As time evolved, such outdoor playtime equipment were replaced by a new type of playground (on rubber mats) that was designed for a wider crowd.

This old dragon playground has gained quite a bit of fame in recent years (with calls from members of the public to conserve it), and is perhaps even over-photographed. But for those of us who grew up playing in these sand pits, a tinge of nostalgia lingers till today. Well it did for me at least, and I thought I had to see one for myself again – just for old times’ sake.

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A rope hangs where a swing used to be.