(Photos: ST, TNP)

3 unique road trips for Singapore’s urban warriors

On your next free weekend, take the time to explore this urban jungle we call home.

SPH Content Studio
May 25, 2015

Small though it may be, Singapore is more than just a little red dot.

But with most of us busy and strapped for time due to the hectic urban lifestyle that we live, there is likely still a whole swathe of Singapore that we have yet to discover.

On your next free weekend, take the time to explore this urban jungle we call home. There may be some surprises and adventures yet, as you drive around to discover or even rediscover cafes, attractions and experiences.

We help you get started with some road trip itineraries to make the most of your weekend jaunt.

Rail-ly good time
(4 hours)

Have a filling lunch at a unique open-concept market before exploring neighbourhoods by a historic railway. Cap off the trip with a stop at one of Singapore’s burgeoning lifestyle neighbourhoods.

11.30am: Drive over to PasarBella, a market space inspired by the interiors of Covent Gardens in London and the aroma of fresh produce in Melbourne.

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Pasarbella

Once there, take your pick from the delicious lunch choices provided by their traders – from paella to pasta, pork cracklings to pies, coffee, fresh produce, seafood, and more.

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Pasarbella

After filling your tummy with delicious grub, stroll around the marketplace to see a selection of local and international products amid its rustic interior.

Getting there:
PasarBella
The Grandstand in Bukit Timah
200 Turf Club Road

  • From the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE), take exit 22 (Eng Neo Avenue)
  • Turn right at Vanda Link
  • Turn right again at Turf Club Road

2pm: After lunch, explore the Rail Corridor, a 24-kilometre long former railway line. Previously known as the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Railway Line, it has been an important part of Singapore’s history since 1903. This stretches from the north, near Singapore’s border with Malaysia, all the way to its grand terminus at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station at the heart of the Central Business District (CBD).

3 urban road trips in Singapore - The Rail Corridor

The Rail Corridor. PHOTO: Nature Society (Singapore)

While you can explore it on foot or while cycling, an alternative way of looking at it is by driving through the neighbourhoods that it passes – from high-density public housing estates, private housing enclaves, to industrial estates, business parks, and nature reserves.

Some of the sights you can see coming from the north down Woodlands Road include the Mandai mangroves before passing through Kranji MRT station, the Kranji War Memorial, Sungei Kadut Industries, Choa Chu Kang town, Pang Sua park connector, Choa Chu Kang road crossing, the Rail Mall, Dairy Farm Nature Park, Bukit Batok Memorial, Bukit Batok Nature Park, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and the Old Ford Factory.

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

Your end point, the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, was gazetted as a National Monument in 2011. Known for its Neo-classical and Art Deco architectural style, the railway station will be redeveloped in the next few years, so now’s the time to visit it.

Getting there:

  • From Turf Club Road, head to the PIE going to Tuas, continuing on to the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE). Keep going until you reach the end of the expressway (exit 10B) to reach the site of the Woodlands Train Checkpoint.
  • Continue the drive down Upper Bukit Timah Road
  • Head down Jalan Anak Bukit to reach Clementi Road, then turn right to Ulu Pandan Road to reconnect with the railway track at Holland Road
  • Go straight, then turn right to North Buona Vista Road
  • Turn left at Commonwealth Ave to reach Queensway
  • Turn out to the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE), which runs parallel to the train tracks, before reaching the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

3pm: Drive over to Everton Park, a neighbourhood near the Central Business District (CBD) that is now home to cafes, cake shops, delis, and even lifestyle stores such as The Redundant Shop.

3 urban road trips in Singapore - The Redundant Shop

Located at a HDB void deck, Everton Park’s The Redundant Shop stocks design-conscious lifestyle products.

At this cluster of blocks off Neil Road, choices abound. Have coffee and bring home coffee beans at Nylon Coffee Roasters, satisfy your sweet tooth at Batterworks Bakery & Café, or for a more savoury snack break, unwind at The Provision Shop. There are more to choose from, so walk around to see what suits your fancy!

Getting there:
The Redundant Shop
5 Everton Park #01-22

Nylon Coffee Roasters
4 Everton Park #01-40

Batterworks Bakey & Café
4 Everton Park #01-40

The Provision Shop
3 Everton Park #01-79

  • From Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, head east on Spottiswoode Park Road
  • Turn left at Everton Road
  • Turn right at Everton Road

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Map

 

From east to west
(8 hours)

Explore this route and realise that whether you’re in the East or the West, there’s something for everyone – great food, nature parks, and even history.

10.30am: Head for a leisurely brunch at the Coastal Settlement, located at the outskirts of Changi.

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Coastal Settlement

Inside Coastal Settlement

About a 30-minute drive from the city, the casual dining restaurant has a cosy and eclectic vintage feel and serves decadent comfort food.

Getting there:
Coastal Settlement
200 Netheravon Road

  • Take either the PIE or the East Coast Parkway (ECP) to hit the Tampines Expressway (TPE), exit 2.
  • From here, go all the way straight along Loyang Avenue until you reach Cranwell Road.
  • Turn left; then turn right at the next junction at Netheravon Rd.
  • Keep your eyes peeled to your left to see The Coastal Settlement.

1pm: After brunch, go for a bit of history at The Changi Museum, which is dedicated to those who lived and died in Singapore during the second world war. Here, you will find storyboard displays as well as showcases of the tools, materials, and belongings of prisoners of war (POWs). You can also get a glimpse of what life was life in Changi Prison before as well as artwork created during the war.

Take an enlightening look at a somber period of our history that hopefully, will be relived only in museums like this.

Getting there:
The Changi Museum
1000, Changi Road North

  • From Netheravon Road, take the scenic route along Changi Coast Road. Stretching from Changi Village all the way to East Coast Park, this tree-lined path is also a great way to catch the awesome sight of planes taking off and landing at Changi Airport.
  • Go all the way until you reach Xilin Ave in Tampines.
  • Continue on Simei Avenue
  • Turn right at Upper Changi Road East
  • Turn right at Upper Changi Road North

3.30pm: It’s time to relax for a bit after all that walking, so drive over to East Coast Park, where you can check out the recently completed Parkland Green, with its stretch of new bars, restaurants, and cafes. Tip: Park at Carpark C1!

Try Pick Me Up Cafe for all-day breakfast -style food and cold-pressed juices, Sandbank for pizza, pasta, sandwiches – and even a sports match on the big screen. If you’re feeling hot, you may even want to take a dip in its 15-metre plunge pool!

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Pick Me Up

Pick Me Up Cafe

If you’re in the mood for burgers and western-styled grilled seafood, try Full Pint Brewery & Fish Bar Restaurant, while Patro’s Sports Bar & Restaurant is an interesting mix of Indian and Mexican.

Getting there:
Parkland Green
920 East Coast Parkway

Pick-me Up Café
#01-02 Parkland Green

Sandbank
#01-28 to 32

Full Pint Brewery & Fish Bar Restaurant
#01-20/24

Patro’s Sports Bar & Restaurant
#01-18

  • From Upper Changi Road North, head east, then make a U-turn at Changi North Street 1.
  • Take a slight left at Upper Changi Road East.
  • Exit to the PIE (Changi Airport)
  • Continue on ECP (City). Take exit 10B (Marine Parade) onto Still Road South.
  • Make a U-turn at Marine Parade Road to reach the East Coast Park Service Road.
  • Turn left at East Coast Park Service Road.

4.45pm: Now that you’ve had time to catch your breath, head over to the Henderson Waves bridge.

Walk along the undulating wave-shaped bridge, which at 36 metres above the ground, is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. Explore the shell-shaped recesses and niches of the bridge, which links Telok Blangah Hill Park and Mount Faber Park.

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Henderson Waves

Henderson Waves

If you’re up for it, go for a nature park hike through these two parks plus Kent Ridge Park as part of the Southern Ridges Walk, a five kilometre hiking trail.

Getting there:
Henderson Waves 
Henderson Road

  • Drive through the ECP and experience what is likely the smoothest stretch of road in Singapore now, at the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE).
  • Continue on the AYE, then exit at Lower Delta Road (exit 3).
  • From here, turn left at Jalan Bukit Merah.
  • Turn right at Henderson Road.

6.30pm: Cap off your road trip with an early dinner at Gillman Barracks.

Singapore’s contemporary arts cluster is set in 6.4 hectares amid lush greenery, and has 17 international art galleries and the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA).

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Gillman Barracks

Gillman Barracks

Settle in for a relaxing dinner at the casual restaurant and bar The Naked Finn, with seafood from around the world grilled al fresco, or enjoy the rest of the night with live music, pizza, and art at Timbre@Gillman.

08_gillmanbarracks_03_st

Gillman Barracks

Getting there:
Gillman Barracks
9 Lock Road

  • From Henderson Road, head north, then make a U-turn at Tiong Bahru Road.
  • Turn right at Henderson Road.
  • Turn slightly left at Depot Road.
  • Turn left at Lock Road.

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Map from East to West

 

Full city escapade
(24 hours)

As a city, Singapore is ultramodern and cosmopolitan, but that’s not all it has to offer. Take a step out of your comfort zone to see the rural side of Singapore before going back to town for an urban escape.

11am: Start your day by taking a meandering drive to Lim Chu Kang, located in the north of Singapore.

Cruising along here will feel like the clock has been turned back, with its kampong atmosphere and lush greenery comprising trees such as angsana, broad leaf mahogany and rubber.

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Lim Chu Kang Road

This 1.8km-stretch of Lim Chu Kang Road has been gazetted as a Heritage Road to retain the lush vegetation and the kampung ambience of bygone days.

You can almost picture the old attap and zinc-roofed homes, as well as the shophouses that that lined this beautiful road back in the old days.

Getting there:

  • Take the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) heading to Tuas
  • Exit at Jurong Town Hall Road (exit 13)
  • Turn right at Jurong East Street 11, continuing on to Toh Guan Road
  • Take the PIE (Tuas), exiting at Jalan Bahar/Kranji (exit 36)
  • Continue on to Lim Chu Kang Road
  • Drive from the junction of Sungei Gedong Road until the the junction of Ama Keng Road for a nearly 1.8 kilometre stretch of greenery and a bit of nostalgia.

12 noon: Now head over to Bollywood Veggies for a healthy lunch, set by the rustic northwest Kranji countryside. The restaurant offers a mixture of local and Western dishes, so there’s something for everyone. Then take a guided farm tour, where you will get to learn more about the sustainable farming undertaken there, as well as touch, see, and feel the vegetables, fruits, medicinal plants, as well as the herbs and spices available.

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Bollywood Veggies

Bollywood Veggies

There are other activities to choose from, such as a 3-hour cooking class, a pottery session, a mead making and tasting workshop, and even a harvest treasure hunt.

Getting there:
Bollywood Veggies
100 Neo Tiew Road

  • Go North on Lim Chu Kang Road
  • Turn right at Neo Tiew Road

2.30pm: After lunch, explore the Kranji Heritage Trail, which covers 14 historical and agricultural trail markers.

Apart from Bollywood Veggies, the agricultural trail spots include:

    • The goat farm at Hay Dairies (3 Lim Chu Kang Lane 4) where you can watch the milking process early in the morning as well as a look at a working farm in action;

      3 urban road trips in Singapore - Hay Dairies

      Hay Dairies
    • Hausmann (291 Neo Tiew Crescent) which provides tours and presentations on koi and tortoise rearing;
    • Kok Fah Technology (18 Sungei Tengah Rd) which offers a different kind of grocery shopping on weekends with farm fresh vegetables;

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Sungei Tengah Road

Kok Fah Technologies
  • Lian Wah Hang Farm (also at Farmart Centre) which specialises in game bird and quails in particular;
  • Jurong Frog Farm (56 Lim Chu Kang Lane 6) where you can catch live displays and demonstrations of American Bullfrogs; and
  • Nyee Phoe (240 Neo Tiew Crescent), a garden and landscape company which also hosts activities and workshops on environmental sustainability.

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Map of Kranji

 

The historical spots include:

    • the Kranji War Memorial (9 Woodlands Road) which is dedicated to the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who fought against the Japanese invaders in World War II,

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Kranji War Memorial

Aerial view of the Kranji War Memorial
  • the Kranji Railway train crossing (Kranji Road) which was one of the few operational manned level crossings in Singapore,
  • the Kranji Army Barracks, a military base used for armaments and ammunition storage during World War II,
  • Neo Tiew Road, named after Mr Neo Tiew who paved and created the road to allow for access to motor vehicles as well as made a lot of contributions to the development of Lim Chu Kang,
  • Sungei Buloh (301 Neo Tiew Crescent), Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park,
  • Thow Kwang Industry (85 Lorong Tawas) which is home to one of the last surviving dragon kilns in the country,
  • and the World War 2 First Landing Site which saw the surprise Japanese invasion of Singapore.

3 urban road trips in Singapore Map Kranji

Every quarter, Lim Chu Kang is also the site of the only authentic farmers’ market in Singapore, which brings fresh local produce and artisanal products to consumers.

5pm: Head back to the city and check in at Lloyd’s Inn for a staycation at one of Singapore’s newest boutique hotels. Located just off Orchard Road, it’s an ideal place to indulge in a respite from home life while still being in the thick of things.

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Lloyd's Inn

Lloyd’s Inn

Getting there:
Lloyd’s Inn
2 Lloyd Road

  • From Lim Chu Kang Road, go straight down Jalan Bahar until you hit the PIE
  • Take the Whitley Road/Stevens Road exit (exit 19), then head to Scotts Road
  • Continue on Paterson Road, Paterson Hill, and Irwell Bank Road before turning left at River Valley Road
  • Turn left again at Killiney Road then turn right at Lloyd Road

6.30pm: After checking in, settling into your room, and freshening up, drive over to River Valley for dinner at The Fabulous Baker Boy. It’s a great place for comfort food such as pasta, pies and sandwiches set in a simple but comfortable dining space.

Better make room for dessert though, because TFBB has delicious cakes such as the FAB Red Velvet Cake, Nutty Monkey, Caribbean Lemon Slice, Humming Bird, Valrhona Chocolate Cake and more in its fab cast.

Getting there:
The Fabulous Baker Boy
The Foothills,
70 River Valley Road #01-15

  • From Lloyd Road, turn right at Oxley Road
  • Turn left at River Valley Road
  • After the ERP gantry, turn right to stay on River Valley Road
  • Turn left at Tan Tye Place to reach the Liang Court Carpark. There is no parking right by the café, which is by the foothills of Fort Canning, so parking at Liang Court just across the road is recommended.

8.30pm: Now that you’ve been properly fed, it’s time to have some more fun. Head over to Orchard Road for a round of escape game experience at Escape Hunt Singapore.

For about 90 minutes, you can solve a mystery by figuring out the clues, puzzles, and codes in one of the themed rooms. It’s fun, challenging, and will definitely be a game to remember.

Getting there:
Escape Hunt Singapore
100 Orchard Road,
Concorde Hotel and Shopping Mall
#02-43/44/45/46

  • From Liang Court carpark, head south
  • Turn right at Tan Tye Place
  • Turn left at River Valley Road
  • Turn right at Clemenceau Ave
  • Turn left at Penang Road
  • Turn right at Buyong Road
  • Turn left at Kramat Lane
  • Turn left at Concorde Hotel carpark

10.30pm: Hungry from all the mystery solving? Head over to Swee Choon for some of the most raved about dim sum in Singapore to round up your busy day before heading back to your hotel for a refreshing night’s sleep.

Getting there:
Swee Choon
191 Jalan Besar

  • From Orchard Road, turn right at Cavenagh Road
  • Turn right at Bukit Timah Road
  • Turn left at Serangoon Road
  • Turn right at Syed Alwi Road to reach Swee Choon

9am: Start your day right with a hearty serving of No. 1 Adam’s Nasi Lemak or Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak. The latter has proven to be quite popular with personalities such as the Sultan of Brunei, and even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who once served it to Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the Istana – so you know you’re in good company!

3 urban road trips in Singapore - Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak

Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak

Getting there:
Adam Road Food Centre
2 Adam Road

No. 1 Adam’s Nasi Lemak
#01-01

Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak
#01-02

  • From Lloyd’s Inn, turn right at Killiney Road then turn left at Exeter Road
  • Continue on Devonshire Road and Orchard Boulevard, turning right at Paterson Road
  • Stay on Scotts Road then Stevens Road
  • Turn left at Bukit Timah Road, continuing on to Dunearn Road
  • Turn right at Farrer Road
  • Turn right at Dunearn Road
  • Turn left at Dunearn Close to reach Adam Road Food Centre.

10.30am: Head back to your hotel to enjoy the rest of your staycation!

Brought to you by the new Audi Q3. The urban SUV.

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