Take a one-way (MRT) trip to the far east – you’ll find more than chalets and droves of army boys. Hit up Pasir Ris and Changi for a walk through nature as you explore the mangroves or chug down refreshing brews by the seaside. We round up where to hang out and what to do while you're in these two quaint neighbourhoods.
Restaurants and cafés
Little Island Brewing Co
Yes, it’s ridiculously ulu. But trust us, a visit to this one-year-old microbrewery is well worth your Uber fare. Little Island occupies a warehouse-like space on the eastern reaches of Singapore, pouring out a range of ales, porters and stouts. Bonus points for its laid-back vibe – the beach is just a stroll away – and the ’60s psychedelic-inspired beer labels.The draft beer list – Little Island also serves craft cider – is on constant rotation, with the brewery frequently concocting new brews. A Whiter Shade of Pale Ale is light enough to offer respite from the non-air-conditioned space, while the Black Magic Dry Irish Stout is a creamy, smooth and full-bodied beverage. And the prices are cut-rate, too. Thanks to Little Island’s pour-it-yourself system, you’ll only pay about $2 to $3 for 100 mililitres of happy juice.Weekend brunch is also where Little Island excels. From noon to 2.30pm, chow down on dishes like fish and chips, full English breakfasts and eggs Benedict for just 15 bucks each. We say go for the brisket sandwich (also $15), stuffed with slabs of beef made tender from languishing in the smoker for 15 hours.Steve Spinney is the brains behind the vats. The English brewmaster is best known for setting up the now-defunct Storm Beer brewery in Bali, and he’s responsible for Little Island’s intensely tasty beverages.
The Coastal Settlement
Located in the outskirts of Changi, this not-so-hidden-gem surrounded by lush greenery is a blast to the past with a great variety of collectors’ treasures and vintage items on display. And we mean brightly-coloured Vespas, antique bicycles and vinyl players that sit on shelves, immersing diners in nostalgia. Despite its ulu location, it’s worth a trip down if you’re in a big group as the café seats a whooping 300 people both in-house and at the outdoor al-fresco dining area.
Chock Full of Beans
Heart-shaped latte art’s overdone – take it up a notch with the 3D latte art at the charming Chock Full of Beans. Think grinning cats, Totoro or a wild Snorlax popping up from your drink. Flavours such as hazelnut, maple, rose and Baileys will ensure your cuppa’s more than just good to look at, too.
International Nasi Lemak
Long queues are the norm for International Nasi Lemak, a stall at Changi Village that serves up the rice dish with all the trimmings: fried chicken wings, ikan bilis, fried ikan kuning and otah. Whatever you do, don’t miss the sambal – it’s spicy, fragrant and extremely moreish.
Elsewhere on Pasir Ris and Changi...
Wild Wild Wet
From high-speed flume rides to four-storey slides and wave pools, there’s plenty to do at this water park. Small children can take it easy in the meandering river or splash around in Yippie!, a shallow sloshing area. The Yakult Professor’s Playground, with its slides, ladders, water cannons and fountains, will entertain older kids for hours. More adventurous ones will prefer the exhilarating trip down the 'Ular-Lah' raft slide, with its high, banked corners and 360° spins. There's also the 'Royal Flush', which sends riders down a steep drop, and the ‘Free Fall’ that takes them down a nearvertical slide that’s six storeys high.
Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk Trail
Spot mudskippers, herons and even monitor lizards as you amble down the Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk Trail. Great angles for the camera: at the jetty overlooking Sungei Tampines, and on the three-storey-high Bird Watching Tower, which offers views of the swamps from way up high.
Beat the heat at this indoor playground (from $9, free for infants below 12 months). The main attraction is the Adventure Highlands ($5.50/circuit), a rope course with a suspension bridge that puts your kids’ concentration, balance and nerves to the test. The lower course is designed for those below 1.1 metres – parents can walk beside them – while the upper level is for everyone else, adults included. And children above five and adults interested in rock climbing can scale The Cliff to improve their agility and hand-eye coordination, no prior experience needed. It’s not just all about the older kids, though. There’s also a ball pool with orbs that light up in a kaleidoscope of colours and a ‘kinetic sand play area’ where toddlers build their own simple sculptures.
Here's where you can catch some fish and eat it. Rent equipment at D'Best Fishing and reel in fish from the only seawater pond in Singapore. You might be rewarded with pomfrets, seabasses and groupers for dinner. Not a fan of fish? Don't worry, there's also a prawn pool to get your fill of crustaceans.
Changi Beach Park
Changi Beach bears the unsavoury reputation of being the site of the Sook Ching massacre – but that’s a long time ago. Because the beach, one of the oldest in Singapore, is located so far away from the city centre that it has remained relatively undeveloped. And that’s a good thing. Unlike East Coast Park, Changi Beach Park has a distinct kampong vibe. You’ll feel it the moment you sink your toes into the white sand. In fact, we daresay that this park is your best bet if you want to escape the weekend throngs. Rent bicycles for the family and hit the nearby Park Connectors, or book one of the 20 barbecue pits across the entire park – and since most people flock to its cousin on East Coast, it’s relatively easier to score one here.