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Hidden Treasures In The North

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Singapore’s northern region houses a number of rustic spots that allow you to get away from urban life and connect with nature.

This is the place to go to if you are keen on pursuing leisure activities, both on land and on water. Here you can go kayaking, jogging, dragon boating, and bird watching. The park has a Family Bay, where visitors can watch performances on a multipurpose stage, a water play area for children, and a wading stream. There is also a heritage deck, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the reservoir and learn about its history.

Location: Bounded by Yishun Avenue 1 and Lentor Avenue
Park lighting hours: 7pm–7am daily

Another sanctuary in the north for nature lovers is Orto. Roughly the size of seven football fields, the recreational complex has taken over the former Bottle Tree Park. The space has been revamped into an adventure park, where visitors can go prawning, fishing, go-karting, and trampolining. Children can also experience an activity from days gone by: longkang fishing. They’ll be provided with a plastic tank and net to catch small fishes from a pond. Overlooking a beautiful lake are three venues that are perfect for holding events, from birthday parties to wedding receptions. There is also a plethora of dining options, including BKK Bistro and Bar, which is well known for its 50-cent boat noodles! As Orto is open 24 hours a day, it is popular with those looking to have a late-night supper. What’s more, it offers free parking, too!

Address: 81 Lorong Chencharu
Opening hours: 24 hours a day daily

If you are eager to get away from city life and chill out in rustic surroundings, you’ll feel at home at Kampung Kampus. The community-learning setup was created by non-profit organisation Ground-Up Initiative (GUI), and is located within Orto. It has farming plots, an amphitheatre, a communal kitchen, and camping grounds. Workshops on woodworking and programmes on sustainable farming are often held here.

Address: 91 Lorong Chencharu
Opening hours: Saturdays 10am–1pm (retail counter); to visit or volunteer, visit the website at https://groundupinitiative.org/

Sembawang Hot Spring Park has the distinction of being Singapore’s only natural hot spring. The park used to be a little rundown but, after undergoing renovations and reopening in January last year, it has become a pretty space with cascading pools, seating areas sheltered by flowering creepers, and a water collection point with different tap heights that supply hot spring water at 70°C. Scoops are provided, but you have to bring your own pail. You can even boil eggs at its Egg Cooking Station!

Location: Along Gambas Avenue
Opening hours: 7am–7pm daily

Yes, Singapore has quite a few rustic attractions, but they hardly have the eye-popping scale found in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand. If the travel bug has bitten you badly, why not attend a complimentary live webinar organised by Automobile Association of Singapore that will share tips of safety driving in these two countries. The webinar will take place on 25 September 2021, so sign up here now!