Divya Unni's Singapore sojourn and the country's little-known tourist spots

Divya Unni's Singapore sojourn and the country's little-known tourist spots

With the second wave keeping all and sundry indoors, many celebrities are sharing their travel memories on Instagram. Actor and dancer Divya Unni recently posted her Singapore travel pictures on Instagram. “Marvelling at the beauty of this world.” She had visited Singapore with her family and explored places like Jurong Bird park, Merlio Park and zoo. In the event of the pandemic, Singapore has introduced strict Covid protocols for travellers. Indoor dining has been prohibited. Work from Home has been made permanent now. The lockdown restrictions which were announced on May 14th will be on till June 13th. Singapore and Hong Kong have once again pushed back the start date of a long-anticipated air travel bubble arrangement. The travel bubble, which would have allowed travellers to skip quarantine, had been planned to begin on May 26. The scheme has faced multiple rounds of delays from its initial launch date in November 2020. Singapore’s transport ministry said in a statement that “in light of the recent increase in unlinked community cases, Singapore is unable to meet the criteria to start” the travel bubble.

10 hidden gems every tourist should know in Singapore

Pasar Bella: Pasar in Malay means “market” and Bella in Italian means “beautiful.” Pasar Bella is a charming little farmer’s market, located just outside of Singapore’s city Centre. You get to buy organic, local fresh produce as well as exotic produce rarely found in other markets, directly from the farmers. And you should also try some amazing food from their quaint little restaurants.

Books Actually: Yong Siak Street is a beautiful nook for artsy and quirky finds. Books Actually is just one of the beautiful stores you can see along Yong Siak Street. Calling out to all bibliophiles and stationery nerds, this store on 9 Yong Siak St, specializes in original Singaporean literature, along with rare and obscure collections of books and some delightfully handmade eclectic stationery.

The Singapore Really Really Free Market: The RRFM is a unique movement started to counter capitalism in a peaceful way by simply sharing things and skills. One can literally walk in and pick whatever they like and not pay a penny for it, although a culture of take some, leave some is encouraged.

MINT Museum of Toys: Whether you’re visiting the MINT museum with kids or on your own, the vast collection of over 50,000 vintage toys is sure to leave a lasting impression on you. With displays spread across six levels comprising various themes, the MINT Museum of Toys showcases childhood memorabilia from more than 40 countries. With some toys that are over a 100 years old, this museum is believed to have the largest collection of its kind in Southeast Asia.

The Live turtle and tortoise museum: It’s rare to find an entire museum dedicated to turtles and tortoises, and this place in Singapore brings together over 200 of them from 60 different species. From the majestic Radiated Tortoise to the red-eyed Elongata, and Thailand’s Golden Temple Turtle, you’ll find the rarest and most exotic varieties living in this museum. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to witness eggs hatching right in front of you! Check out their souvenirs’ shop for ornaments, toys, tableware, and even pieces of furniture created in the shape of these adorable, shelled creatures.

Seng Chew Quarry: Said to have water with magical properties, Seng Chew Quarry in Bukit Gombak is a product of the mining heydays in Singapore. Only thing is that it isn't as prominent (and as accessible) as the other quarries in Singapore. Though it is not completely a restricted area, it is mostly undeveloped and can be dangerous. The hidden quarry is located behind a residential block of flats in Bukit Gombak. Wear proper non-slip shoes because you have to climb steep hills before you find a huge drain at the top. Follow the drain and Seng Chew is just a short walk away from. Beware of the mosquitoes and tread the muddy trails carefully – but the views are worth the climb.

Bollywood Veggies: The brainchild of Ivy Singh and her husband Lim Ho Seng this farm was started in 2000. Along with fresh organic produce, Bollywood Veggies has, over the years, expanded to include a culinary school and a museum. There’s even a bistro that uses free ingredients harvested from the backyard. You will also love a trail around the farm with its various fruit trees, vegetables, an irrigation pond, and plenty of banana trees and even a lotus pond. Don’t forget to have their fig or lemon grass tea, freshly baked banana bread while you are there.

Former Queen’s Theatre: The Former Queen’s Theatre was once a hot spot for cinephiles in Singapore. From 1930 to 1982, it screened films from Singapore-Malaysia, Indonesia, and even Egypt on the big screen for as low as $1. Today, it forms part of Grandlink Square, but the façade of the old theatre can be admired from Lorong 44.

Keppel Hill Reservoir: If you're willing to go off the main path, bash through some super tall ferns and wild grass and get slightly scratched by thorny plants and stems to find the secret Keppel Hill Reservoir, you will be greatly rewarded. There's nothing like a challenging hike and in this case, elusive views at the end. Formerly used as a private reservoir in 1905 and then a swimming hole from the 1940s, the body of water was totally left out on official maps of Singapore from 1954. Start your trek on Keppel Hill Road before slipping into a man-made path which leads to the reservoir.

Wessex Estate: Once a British Army base built in the 1930s and 1940s, these black-and-white colonial buildings surrounded by lush greens now house numerous art studios and galleries. For a blast to the past, spend a day hopping from place to place and chat with various artists who will spin an interesting story or two. For a quick pick-me-up at this secret spot, stop by the ultra-retro Colbar for a no-frills meal of Western food and coffee.

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