When people first think of Singapore, they probably automatically think of the typical markers that make up a big city: skyscrapers, busy streets, financial districts, etc, etc. (Of course right after thinking of the famous Marina Bay Sands, or a Singapore Sling.)

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The suburbs and outskirts of a city usually aren’t on the classic tourist trail when exploring a city. Not just for Singapore, but anywhere. Today, a former suburb-basher, (that’s me) is going to try and convince you that hey, they aren’t so bad, and are actually worth exploring. (I can picture my parents rolling their eyes right about….now.)

We are going to be taking a look at a suburban neighbourhood in Singapore- Pasir Ris. The last stop on the subway line (literally). The final frontier. The edge of the earth. The land before time. Ok, not really. But it can definitely be perceived that way, even from Singaporeans who may live closer to the downtown core.

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I get it, it’s a far journey (by Singapore standards) and it does seem to be out in the middle of nowhere. However, for me- it just so happens to be the neighbourhood next to mine (Tampines). A bike ride away, and the perfect excuse to explore a new area. (A much more photogenic and scenic area than my neighbourhood, sigh).

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So, I hopped on my bike (well not my bike since we are now living in the age of bike sharing, where we unlock bikes through apps) and headed for the cycle path. Surprisingly, Singapore has many bike paths, all connected through the PCN- Park Connector Network.

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See what I mean by photogenic? Cute, colourful, three storey apartments- rare in Singapore when you usually only see high rises. And believe it or not, these are all government funded housing.

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The first surprise of the ride, was what I thought was just a regular lake. However, upon further inspection, I realised that people were fishing along it’s sides. White, plastic chairs lining the perimeter of the lake, people casting their fishing lines into the water, bucket ready at their side. After doing some research when I returned home, I now know it is called ‘D’Best Recreation Saltwater Pond‘- the largest saltwater fishing pond in Singapore.

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Not what you would typically expect to see in a country like Singapore- fishing ponds in the middle of the city! Pay by the hour, hook your bait, and wait.

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The next surprise I stumbled upon was a mangrove forest. A nice little walk on the boardwalk, through the swampy waters home to the mangrove tree. All fun until you see a sign saying beware of cobras. I did not photograph that! (And I left pretty soon after.)

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I knew there was a beach and the ocean nearby, so I kept on biking until I found it. Success! Happy post-bike beach face.

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Filled with “picnic tables“- I don’t even want to call them that, because they are so much more than those lousy little wooden tables we are used to. Stone seats and tables, grills, sinks, and a rubbish bin. I’m pretty sure you have to reserve these, but cool nevertheless. Among these eating areas were also campsites nearby.

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A much needed, refreshingly delicious, popsicle. What more could you want?!

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Surfboards, and other various water sport activities available to rent. To give you an idea of how “far out” this place is in comparison to the rest of Singapore, I spotted a wild boar, roosters roaming freeand a handful of wild dogs running about.

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After spending some time relaxing and hanging out by the ocean, it was time to head home. I thoroughly enjoy exploring this suburban and residential area- yet it was so scenic, it feels strange calling it that.

I know there is even more to this neighbourhood than what I was able to see in one day. And luckily, if I ever want to go back, it’s only a bike ride away! Not at the end of the earth (aka 50 minutes on the subway) like most Singaporeans think, thank goodness.

Curious about other neighbourhoods and suburbs and Singapore?

Let me know!

Written by 

Hi! Welcome to my little corner of the interweb. My name is Laura, a twenty-something Canadian currently working in Singapore. Follow along as I document my journey on teaching, travelling, and living abroad.

5 thoughts on “Suburban Singapore: What’s it really like?

  1. Hey Kiddo!

    I’m loving your new blog! The pictures are fantastic and I really like how the images you’ve captured relate so well to the story you’re sharing with us. Those suburbs are quite nice looking! Certainly more inviting than the rather antiseptic looking suburbs here around Ottawa, with all of the cookie-cutter homes that look the same….

    I am actually very curious about The Lion City, Holland Village and though not a suburb, I wonder if the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a nice place to spend a day?!

    Keep up the great posts!

    Love,
    xo
    Dad

    1. Thanks Dad! It’s one of the nicer and more unique residential areas for sure. They do a good job at keeping it colourful! I’ve been to Holland Village, but will have to check out Bukit Timah!

  2. Great to learn you are enjoying it there Laura! I found it a marvelous place, with food of any kind so delicious and readily available in the markets and the wharf. Chilli crab…yumm! I also enjoyed the night zoo and bird park. If you haven’t gone yet, it is really worth the trip. Nose to nose with a Siberian tiger and hyenas is truly amazing! Keep the blog coming, I really enjoy it!

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