It’s not every year that the stars line up to give us a break. And this February, not only does Valentine’s Day fall on a Saturday, it’s followed by a super long Chinese New Year weekend! For those of you who do not have 100 relatives to visit, why not take the time to explore some new parts of Singapore and embark on road trip on our every own island?
1. Time travelled back 50 years
If you think that houses with wooden planks and zinc roofs are a thing of the past, you’ll be surprised to know that a small rustic kampong village built in 1956 can still be found right here on our main island. Located at Lorong Buangkok, just off Yio Chu Kang Road, you’ll find a community of about 20 odd houses lining along narrow winding gravel roads. It was pretty quiet on a weekday and I’m not sure if all of the houses are occupied. This place might very well be cleared for new developments soon so grab the opportunity to visit it now!
2. Gobbled my favourite crispy fried flour
Road trips and junk food always just seem to go hand in hand so head over to Casuarina Curry for one of Singaporean’s favourite indulgence, Roti Prata. A lot of famous prata joints are usually overrated but the food here is decent enough. Pratas have evolved over the years and the flavours are getting ever more exotic. Here you can find the more traditional egg and onion pratas, to pratas with toppings ranging from chocolate to chicken floss and even a weird sounding pineapple cheese. Another plus point is the air-conditioning in the restaurant (also read pricier food) which is always welcome in our sunny island.
If you’re up to get your hands a little dirty, Casurina Curry also offers prata making lessons! Not sure if they are still running this workshops now but they used to run 3 weekdays sessions and 2 weekends sessions. But be ready to become a mini celebrity since the lessons are conducted just in a corner of the restaurant, in full view of all diners. I, for one, chickened out and just contended myself with eating the pratas the pros made. 😀
136 & 138 Casuarina Road, Singapore 579524
Tel: 6455 9093
Opening hours: 7am to 12mn | Daily
Price range: ~$10
Check out the reviews by thebondingtool and gurkhason
3. Climbed on board an UFO
With the belly all filled up, make your way to Upper Seletar Reservoir. One of the most inaccessible reservoirs I know, it’s pretty hard to get to with public transport. Upon reaching the carpark, you’ll be greeted by a UFO lookalike viewing tower. The tower offers a 360 degree view and you can even catch a glimpse of the Singapore Zoo on the opposite side the reservoir.
Thanks to its isolation, and one rather picturesque tree, this reservoir is a popular spot for wedding photographers. You can also find a rare merry-go-round at the same playground, one of the three remaining ones left in Singapore.
Photography opportunities are aplenty, so fire away with your cameras! Since there are hardly people around, it’s a great time to set up those tripods virtually anywhere you like and indulge in all couple/ group/ jump shots you want.
Mandai Road Track 7
4. Took a scenic cruise
If you think that scenic drives are something you only experience on holidays, wait till you take a drive along one of five Singapore’s Heritage Roads. From Upper Seletar Reservoir, head towards Mandai Road (towards SLE) where the canopies of mature rain trees frame the road and block out the world in an almost magical way.
If commutes were like these all the time, I am sure road rage will be a thing of the past. 😀
5. Paid respect to the fallen
A cemetery may seem like an odd place to visit, but once you stepped into Kranji War Memorial, it’s easy to overlook that fact and be awed by a golden star sitting 20 meters high, overlooking rows and rows of white gravestones impeccably lined up. This place honours the men and women from the Commonwealth who died in the line of duty during World War II, with more than 4,000 gravestones sitting on the cemetery’s gentle slope. There are several memorials at the top of the hill, bearings names of soldiers who died during the war. A register can also be found at the entrance.
I always found something weirdly calming about cemeteries. Perhaps it’s the vast open space or the solemnness that falls over the place which makes you unknowingly speak in whispers.
Kranji War Memorial
9 Woodlands Road, Singapore 738656
Opening hours: 8am to 6.30pm | Daily
6. Caught a glimpse of World War II
From Kranji War Memorial, continue along Woodlands Road going towards Kranji Road. Keep a lookout for 2 white Kranji Heritage Trail markers (labelled “2” and “3”) on the left side on the road. Immediately behind these markers are the Kranji Army Barracks. These were one of the first military bases to be taken over the Japanese during World War II, and one of the few remaining military facilities from the 1930s. All of these buildings are closed to the public so you can only drive along and snap from pictures from the main road.
Update on 19 Feb 2015: the barracks have been cleared and now you can only see an empty plot of land.
At the end of Kranji Road, make a left turn which brings you to Kranji Way. Here you can see the dam holding in our water supply in the Kranji Reservoir before reaching Kranji Reservoir Park, where the Battle of Kranji took place in World War II. It’s a pretty small nondescript park, but a popular spot for fishing. Despite its past, it’s quite a serene place for some picnicking.
Read more about the Kranji Army Barracks here.
Kranji Army Barracks
Along Kranji Road
Kranji Reservoir Park
Along Kranji Way
Date timer: ~ 4 to 5 hours
What other spots make for a good road trip destination?
See below for the itinerary:
|Kampong Lorong Buangkok||Explore for 45 minute||Lorong Buangkok, S547557|
|Lorong Buangkok → Casuarina Curry||15 minute drive|
|Casuarina Curry||Explore for 45 minute||136 & 138 Casuarina Road, S579524|
|Casuarina Curry → Upper Seletar Reservoir||10 minute drive|
|Upper Seletar Reservoir||Explore for 1 hour||Mandai Road Track 7, S779384|
|Upper Seletar Reservoir → Kranji War Memorial (via Mandai Road)||15 minute drive|
|Kranji War Memorial||Explore for 30 minute||9 Woodlands Road, S738656|
|Kranji War Memorial → Kranji Army Barracks||5 minute drive|
|Kranji Army Barracks||5 minute drive||Along Kranji Road|
|Kranji Army Barracks → Kranji Reservoir Park||5 minute drive|
|Kranji Reservoir Park||Explore for 30 minute||Along Kranji Way|
* Images from Freepik