Interesting Outdoor Places to visit
Updated: Feb 27
Last week, we published an article about study places (sorted by regions) that are worth considering. All seems fine - until you start approaching the burn out stage, that is when it is dangerous. But with the extensive amount of information available on the Internet, how can you decide where to go, and if you should for a reprieve?
Here at CNM Types, we want to advocate that work-life balance is incredibly important. This is why, after much reflection and trawling of the internet, this week's article aims to cover unique outdoor places that you can visit on the days you wish to give your brain a much-needed rest. Given that we are just starting our recess week, it is the perfect opportunity for you to plan some rest days amidst mid-term prep!
Sembawang Hotspring Park [North]
Sembawang Hot Spring park was one of the parks that I went during the Summer holidays that now seems too far away. The park is extremely quaint and small, at about 1/10th of the size of Botanic Gardens, and is home to a singular rustic-style cafe that serves decent food and drinks.I would imagine that in other circumstances, the cafe would be bustling with customers that are returning from their soak in the hotspring just a few minutes away and the place would be much more crowded.
Currently, the main park area is opened to visitors, but the hotspring attraction is unfortunately closed due to the pandemic. But this also means that the park is significantly quieter, and a lot more serene in general. If you would like a quick getaway from the stress of the semester or just life, but yet have no real want to be walking through an expansive park, I highly encourage you to take this opportunity to check this place out before it gets crowded again!
500 Gambas Ave
7am - 7pm Daily
Yishun Neighbourhood Park @ N8 [North]
Source: bykido.com (older playground)
Source: bykido.com (older playground)
If you are unsatisified with your visit to Sembawang Hotspring Park, then I would suggest making your way down to the Park @ N8, also in Yishun. There are two playgrounds in the park - the older one and newer one. The newer one had recently opened on the 1st of June, and there are already good reviews about it.
There is a myriad of amenities that you can explore in the old playground - climbing structures, ropes, swings amongst others. There are also a lot of trees surrounding the area, so under Singapore's unforgiving sun and heat, there is at least some reprieve. The newer playground is what caught my attention - the design follows a more traditional, fishing-village concept where the playhouses are built on stilts. Furthermore, there are also trampolines for you to jump on and release the pent-up stress!
809 Yishun Ring Rd, Singapore 760809*
*between Blocks 809 and 810 to be specific
Coney Island [North-East]
Unlike the other places featured on this article, Coney Island is essentially a place for hikers / aspiring hikers to explore. It is home to a wide variety of habitats, an incredible range of fauna and flora for all your aesthetic Instagram photos. The park is also ecologically sustainable with a lot of conservation efforts.
The park has a newly built boardwalk where you can admire the mangrove habitat, and eventually reach the beach that you often see on Instagram stories. Occasionally, there will also be guided talks that you can go for to familiarise yourself with the place and to delve deeper into nature. Currently, there are other virtual tours hosted by NParks that you can sign up for if you are interested to find out more about the other parks in Singapore.
Do remember to bring a bottle of water if you are visiting, because there is no electricity or piped water in the island (no kidding, I walked past the entrance once at night, and it was so dark I could barely see past the gates). The reason for this is to preserve the natural state of the park, which also maintains the rustic, country-vibe of the place. If you are not into walking or listening to guided tours, then you can also choose to cycle into Coney Island and go around the place to clear your head. There is something for everyone!
Punggol Promenade Nature Walk, 829325
7am - 7pm daily
Toa Payoh Crest [Central]
When I first discovered this playground, my mind immediately screamed: Waterpark! This park is incredibly innovative because the slides follows the theme of waterparks; long, cylindrical but twisty, and colourful. In contrast, the terrain surrounding the slides - the grey and yellow bumps - creates a more grounded feel to the entire place.
The colour scheme reminds me of swamps, and interestingly, the concept of the playground was actually inspired by the fact that Toa Payoh used be a huge swamp. There are also stepping stones throughout the place to simulate the limited places of a swamp that you can step on, which I think is pretty cool if you want to balance your troubles away.
131 Toa Payoh Lor 1, Singapore 310131
Tiong Bahru Park Playground [South]
On the other side of the South of Singapore, The Tiong Bahru Park Playground (otherwise known as Tilted Train Playground) boasts an extremely unique style. It has, as its name suggests, a tilting train as its centrepiece, where people can enter and try not to fall off onto the sandy ground beneath. Additionally, there are various entryways to the train, different types of internally netted sections to explore.
After exploring this unique playground, consider visiting the nearby food options and fill up your belly with all those delicious goodies. After all, Tiong Bahru is known to be place that hosts food gems, cafes or otherwise.
Tiong Bahru Park, Tiong Bahru Road, 168732
Coastal PlayGrove [East]
Located in the East of Singapore, Coastal PlayGrove is the perfect place to go if you are heading out with your family and your younger siblings or relatives. The place has facilities that ranges from a complex net play area to the largest outdoor slide in Singapore (4-storey high). There are also rope-obstacles that you can attempt to cross, hammocks to swing fro and rocks to grip on.
In pre-COVID times, the water jets would have been switched on and your family could have a nice splash about especially in this sweltering weather. Let us hope that as we transit into a new norm of endemic living, they will bring it back someday!
Costal PlayGrove also boasts a nature playgarden that encourages visitors to soak themselves in nature and greenery. More pertinently, there is also a large event lawn that can hold up to 5000 people, which was traditionally used to host large-scale events alongside the fun play area right next to it. If you live in the East and you are getting bored of heading to East Coast or Pasir Ris Park for your picnics, why not consider utilising this area as your next to-go picnic place?
902 East Coast Park Service Rd, Singapore 449874
Dairy Farm Nature Park [West]
After seeing people going to the Dairy Farm Nature Park on TikTok videos and Instagram pages, I was captured by its natural splendour and decided that it was a must-feature on this article. Once you alight at Hillview MRT Exit A, you just need to follow the one-way 2.2 KM Wallace Trail that takes about 45 minutes. This will bring you to the quarry where its natural towering structures and picturesque expanse of reservoir will make you feel as though you have been transported overseas.
Furthermore, if you are not the kind to enjoy staring at a scenery for too long and need something else to do, the Bukit Timah Dairy Farm Park now has a 3D Trick-Eye Wall, and an exhibit at the Wallace Education Centre. The exhibition traces the history of the park, and more importantly, showcases Alfred Wallace's* scientific discoveries on the robust biodiversity in the park.
Imagine being able to feel at peace while at the same time educating yourself on the environment around us - what a dream!
100 Dairy Farm Rd, Singapore 679057
Tue-Sun: 8.30am-5pm, closed on Mondays
*Alfred Wallace was a British Naturalist who developed the theory of natural selection and evolution with Charles Darwin.
Remember that when life throws you lemons, make lemonade (or well, visit the outdoor areas mentioned above)! We all go through tough times, but we still need to remember to take care of our own physical and mental health. It could be simple things like finding time for yourself, visiting interesting places, or to simply stop studying for just a day.
Let us know if you have visited these places before, or if it's the first time you are hearing about these quirky outdoor places in Singapore.