With news of the expected completion of the Downtown Line 3 (DTL3) by the end of 2017, I am beyond thrilled at the prospect of exploring parts of Singapore that were previously too inaccessible.
After all, if you are a Westie (like I am), the East is practically a foreign land and you probably go to Johor Bahru more often than the other end of Singapore. Before DTL3 opens, here are eight things you have to do on the current DTL:
1. Be Blown Away By The Aerial View Of Chinatown
There’s so much to do in Chinatown, primarily shopping, eating, and drinking. The historical ethnic enclave of the Chinese is a mix of both old and new, coexisting along its bustling streets.
Amidst the army of aunties scurrying through these narrow walkways along with the constant photobombs by tourists, it is no easy feat trying to take a decent photo. Unless… you take it from above! (Drone not required)
Simply head to Chinatown Complex and take the lift up Blk 335B for this bird’s eye view of the entire district. Don’t say bojio.
Blk 335B Smith St, Singapore 052335 | Nearest Downtown Line Station: Chinatown (Exit A)
2. Check Out The ‘Other’ Rooftop Of People’s Park Complex
Always found the rooftop of People’s Park Complex too ‘lamestream’? Well, I have good news – there’s another side of it that you rarely see on your Instagram feed. Be prepared to be ‘that friend’ who always manages to find alternative angles at the most mainstream places.
Also, did I mention that the rustic charms of the space beside Lepark makes for the perfect OOTD and shoe-fie backdrop? Skip the classic top-down shot, do it Hypebeast style.
People’s Park Complex: 1 Park Road, Singapore 059108 (Take the stairs from Level 5 for rooftop access) | Nearest Downtown Line Station: Chinatown (Exit C)
3. Go Mural Hunting In Bugis
Haji Lane may be one hotspot for hipsters but if that’s not your thing, you will be surprised at the number of murals decorating the streets in the vicinity. You might think that you have seen it all, but honestly, think again.
In addition to Haji Lane, take a walk along Bussorah Street, Sultan Gate and Aliwal Street as well to find them all! And while you are at it, do not miss out on this chance to take an OOTD or two that will add a dose of colour to your Instagram feed. After all, you earned it.
Nearest Downtown Line Station: Bugis (Exit B)
4. Or… Take A Chill Pill & ‘Nua’ At Looksee Looksee
Be it for a catch-up session with friends or a much-needed ‘me day’, Looksee Looksee is the place to go to for a therapeutic afternoon spent with good books and a cup of tea.
Running on a gratuity basis, tips are encouraged instead of having a fixed price on their menu. Of course, if you enjoyed the brew, do tip generously to support the folks behind this initiative.
Price: Operates on tips
Looksee Looksee: 267 Beach Road, Singapore 199545 | Nearest Downtown Line Station: Bugis (Exit B)
5. Get Inspired At Singapore’s Very Own Container Art Space
Forget about Common Ground in Seoul, come support Singapore’s first container art space instead. Housing the works of local and regional artists, DECK was launched in 2014 to offer a platform for the growth and support of photography in Singapore.
In addition to free or affordable exhibitions and workshops, DECK plays host to the annual fundraising market, OPEN DECK, as well. Find out more about the happenings within this award-winning art space here.
DECK: 120A Prinsep Street, Singapore 187937 | Nearest Downtown Line Station: Rochor (Exit A)
6. Learn More About Little India Through Customised Trails
With the launch of a new heritage trail at Little India earlier this year, spend an afternoon uncovering lesser-known facts about the history and heritage of a precinct that built its identity organically throughout the years.
The new trail even offers three specially curated thematic routes with varying distances for the convenience of trail-goers. Find out more here.
Also, the brightly-coloured walls outside the former house of Tan Teng Niah is known as an OOTD hotspot among tourists and locals alike. Don’t be shy, pose for one. You know you want to.
Nearest Downtown Line Station: Little India
7. Venture Into Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Century-old Learning Forest
Officially opened to visitors in March 2017, Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Learning Forest features a network of boardwalks and elevated walkways for you to explore wetland and rainforest habitats restored as part of an effort to conserve our native flora and fauna.
Highlights of the new conservation core include the SPH Walk of Giants and Keppel Discovery Wetlands.
There’s even a bambusetum featuring 30 species of bamboo found in Asia where you may seek temporary relief for that post-Arashiyama travel withdrawal. Need a cure for wanderlust? Here you go.
Singapore Botanic Gardens Learning Forest: 753 Tyersall Ave, Singapore 257700 | Nearest Downtown Line Station: Botanic Gardens (Exit A, 20 minutes walk)
8. Hike Above The BKE
Many have conquered Singapore’s tallest summit – Bukit Timah Hill, but not many can say that they have seen or taken a photo of the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) from above. Earn that bragging rights by exploring this lesser known hiking trail along Rifle Range Road.
For those seeking even more of an adventure, this trail links you all the way to MacRitchie Park as well. You can check out our full guide here.
Start at Rifle Range Road, Singapore 588373 | Nearest Downtown Line Station: King Albert Park (Exit B)
The imminent opening of DTL3 later this year is set to make travelling to either ends of Singapore a breeze and shut down any excuses of inconvenience. However, before its completion, have you checked these activities off your explorer’s notebook?
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