Singapore may be small, but it certainly doesn’t have any shortage of tourist destinations. From Sentosa Island where you can find Universal Studios Singapore and the S.E.A. Aquarium, to the Downtown Core where Marina Bay Sands and the iconic Merlion is located, you certainly won’t run out of things to do and places to visit in the Lion City.
Now, the destinations mentioned aboveare among the Singapore’shotspots, places where you can find numerous tourists milling about.If you prefer to take the road less travelled, however, you should know that the Changi area is full of underrated destinations. More than just housing Changi International Airport, considered one of the best in the world, Changi also has hidden gems you’ll surely love. Here are just a few.
Changi Beach Park
Located at the northern tip of Changi, Changi Beach Park covers 28 hectares and is actually one of the oldest coastal parks in Singapore. If you’re a fan of the 1960s and 1970s atmosphere, you’ll definitely feel that “kampung” or village character when you visit. Changi Beach Park is a popular spot for picnicking, fishing, and camping. Watersports enthusiasts can also enjoy various activities near the shore. Another common activity here is to simply watch the sunrise and sunset, and the airplanes landing and taking off from the airport. The park is near Village Hotel Changi, one of the most popular hotels in the area, which is only about 15 minutes away from the airport.
Before it became a tourist destination, however, Changi Beach was once a bloody field. It served as one of the killing grounds of the Sook Ching massacre, where 66 Chinese male civilians were executed by the Japanese HojoKempei during World War II. You can see the war monument plaque near Camp Site 2 of the park.
Changi Point Boardwalk
If you’re already coming from Changi Beach Park, there’s an entry point that you can access to reach Changi Point Boardwalk. The other entry points are located at Changi Village, Changi Sailing Club, and Changi Beach. Along the 2.2-kilometer path, you can glimpse towering heritage trees like the Damar Gajah Hitam and the Malayan Ringas. These heritage trees are mature trees that serve as important landmarks and are protected by the Singapore government. You can easily spot these trees because they have individual plaques identifying them.
This temple is dedicated to the worship of Hindu’s presiding deity, Rama. It began as a small shrine at the foot a tree planted on the site of today’s temple. At the end of World War II, Ram Naidu of the British Indian Army secured permission to build a temple. Since then, the SreeRamar Temple has attracted a bigger congregation. There are also statues of the Lord Buddha and Quan Yin for the use of non-Hindu devotees who visit the temple.
Pulau Ubin Island
If you want to reach the island of PulauUbin, you have to takea ferry from Changi Point. The most famous destination here is ChekJawa, which covers 700 hectares of the island’s 1,020 hectares. ChekJawa was previously a coral reef and is now home to a variety of marine creatures like various species of fish, sea hares, starfish, sand dollars, cuttlefish, and colorful nudibranchs. On the western tip of PulauUbin is the ChekJawa Boardwalk. The path passes through the mangrove forests, where tourists can observe the various plants and sea creatures up close. If you happen to visit during the low tide, you may be allowed to explore the tidal flats.
Republic of Singapore Navy Museum
Located in east Changi is the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Museum. Here, you’ll learn more about the early days of the Singaporean naval forces and how it became the modern maritime fighting force that it is today. Model displays of the RSN submarines and ships in a water tank, with a huge jigsaw puzzle backdrop, will welcome visitors upon entry. You’ll also see pictures and videos detailing the history of the RSN, the technology they are using, and some of the operations that they have conducted through the years.
An important thing to remember is that because the museum is located in the naval base itself, groups of 10 or more are required to submit a list of names at least 7 days before the intended date of visit. A museum curator can provide a guided tour for groups of 10. For those who are fond of souvenirs, you can buy some at the museum’s shop. Finally, there’s a courtesy bus that can take you from the museum to the Tanah Merah MRT station.
The Johore Battery is a former British coastal artillery battery, consisting of three BL 15-inch Mk. I naval guns. These are the largest to be installed outside Britain during World War II, which were destroyed when the British Army surrendered to the Japanese in 1942. The tunnels underneath were sealed and largely forgotten. Today, a replica of the Mk. I naval gun stands on the site. Weighing 800 kilograms, the replica features a lifting level which visitors can use to attempt to hoist the gun and feel just how heavy it is. There are also above-ground trails that trace the path of the tunnels underneath.
There’s nothing wrong about wanting to visit Singapore’s most famous spots. They’re famous for a reason, after all. However, if you’re looking for a change in scenery, these Changi destinations might just be the ticket.