Worldwide icon-chevron-right Asia icon-chevron-right Singapore icon-chevron-right The ultimate guide to the countryside in Singapore
Bollywood Veggies
Photograph: Delfina Utomo

The ultimate guide to the countryside in Singapore

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life for a relaxing countryside getaway in the north-west

By Cam Khalid
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Singapore has become synonymous with towering skyscrapers, hefty price tags, and city buzz. But hidden in the north-western corner of the mainland is a rural area with barely a high-rise building in sight. Instead, it's home to sprawling farmlands, nature reserves, and lesser-known restaurants offering authentic farm-to-table experiences. 

Swap the city life for the country life, and spend time with farm animals, spot some wildlife, and be one with nature at Kranji and Lim Chu Kang. You can even experience the kampung life with a stay at one of its resorts.

The easiest way to get there is by car. Alternatively, you can take public transport (the nearest MRT station is Kranji) or arrange your own as the Kranji Express Bus service has ceased operations early this year. 

RECOMMENDED: The best offshore islands in Singapore to escape to and the best nature trails in Singapore

Do

Kranji Marshes
Kranji Marshes
Photograph: Urban Redevelopment Authority

Be one with nature at Kranji Marshes

Things to do Lim Chu Kang

At 57-hectares and with a range of natural and green habitats, Kranji Marshes is Singapore's largest freshwater farmland. The nature reserve is home to 170 species of birds, 54 types of butterflies, and 33 different kinds of dragonflies. It was cultivated since the ’70s when the Kranji reservoir was dammed, forming a wild diversity of terrains such as marshland, grassland and secondary forests.

The 10.65-metre-tall Raptor Tower offers a panoramic view of the surrounding marshes. Educational boards are placed around the open-air observatory deck of the tower, helping the eagle-eyed identify birds and pick out landmarks such as the Moorhen Pond and the BBC Shortwave relay station in the distance. From November to March, you can also catch raptor birds – otherwise known as birds of prey – that include migratory visiting species such as the Black Baza and Japanese Sparrowhawk.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Photograph: Nparks

Spot wildlife at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Things to do Lim Chu Kang

Strap on your best walking shoes and trudge through the swamps of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve to learn more about the flora and fauna that call this mangrove forest home. This wetland reserve of mangrove swamps, ponds, and secondary forest is also home to 140 species of birds. Take a spot at the observation hides or rent binoculars to bird-watch. But keep a lookout for warning signs about the estuarine crocodiles – they’re known to be around the area albeit uncommon.

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Jurong Frog Farm
Jurong Frog Farm
Photograph: Jurong Frog Farm

Catch a croaker at Jurong Frog Farm

Things to do Lim Chu Kang

The froggy farm is home to about 10,000 of the amphibians, the majority of which are American Bullfrogs. Staffers here are more than happy to show you around and tell you everything there is to know about frogs – entry to the farm is strictly by appointment from Tuesday to Friday, but it opens to walk-ins over the weekend and public holidays. And this might sound a little macabre, but you can even eat these croaking critters. The farm is known for a Chinese dessert called hashima, made from the dried fatty tissue found near the fallopian tubes of female frogs. If the little green jumpers make you squeamish, you might want to hop to the next farm instead.

Hay Dairies
Hay Dairies
Photograph: Hay Dairies

Feed the goats at Hay Dairies

Things to do Lim Chu Kang

Established in 1988, Hay Dairies houses about 800 goats of mixed breeds, and all of them get to live like bleating royalty. That’s because every goat here chews on hay shipped straight from the US, as well as special feed flown in from Australia. Perhaps that’s why Hay Dairies’ goat milk tastes so much better than off-the-shelf brands in your supermarket fridge – we kid you not. Drop by in the morning to catch the goats being milked (from 9am to 10.30am), then bring a few bottles home at the end of the day.

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Bollywood Veggies
Bollywood Veggies
Photograph: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Go on a farm tour around Bollywood Veggies

Things to do Lim Chu Kang

What began in 2000 as the brainchild of Ivy Singh and her husband Lim Ho Seng has since grown (pun intended) to one of the most beloved farms on the island. Groups can go on a guided farm tour or partake in activities like the Discovery Harvest, a 30-minute treasure hunt where you'll be given a list of plants to harvest. Known for more than just its organic produce, Bollywood Veggies has, over the years, expanded to include a culinary school and a museum. There’s even a bistro that uses fertiliser- and pesticide-free ingredients harvested from the backyard. It doesn’t get fresher than this.

Khai Seng Fish Farm
Khai Seng Fish Farm
Photograph: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Have your catch of the day at Khai Seng Fish Farm

Things to do Lim Chu Kang

Had steamed fish at a hawker centre recently? Well, there’s a good chance that your grouper came from Khai Seng Fish Farm. The 23-year-old fish farm is one of the few to bear the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore’s stamp of approval to operate a retail outlet in its premises. So aside from checking out how our food is reared, you’ll be able to bring home red tilapia, patin, grass carp, giant snakeheads, and other species that are even fresher than the ones you’ll find at your neighbourhood wet market.

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Thong Hup Gardens
Thong Hup Gardens
Photograph: Thong Hup Gardens/Facebook

Keep your green thumbs busy at Thong Hup Gardens

Shopping Garden centres Lim Chu Kang

What started as a humble turf supplier has grown into one of the largest and most reputable one-stop-shop for turf, landscape, and plants in Singapore. Whether you're looking for cow grass, carpet grass or pearl grass for your garden, you'll find a variety at its retail garden centre. While you're at it, bag some plants like bonsai, frangipani, orchids, potted plants, and even gardening materials to keep your green thumbs busy.

 

Eat and drink

Gardenasia 1
Gardenasia 1
Photo:Gardenasia

Gardenasia

Things to do Event spaces Lim Chu Kang

Take your alfresco dining experience to the next level at this multi-purpose indoor and outdoor venue nestled amidst lush greenery. It's one of the few places in Singapore where you can get an authentic farm-to-table experience, where ingredients are sourced from local farms and lovingly crafted into the menu. For starters, go with a classic Caesar salad ($15) featuring a classic mix of baby romaine lettuce with croutons, farm-fresh boiled quail eggs, vegetarian bacon bits, and parmesan cheese with caesar dressing before tucking into the mains such as the pan-roasted lamb ($28) finished with fresh mint sauce, garden greens, and mashed potato.

Bollywood Veggies, Poison Ivy Bistro
Bollywood Veggies, Poison Ivy Bistro
Photograph: Poison Ivy Bistro

Poison Ivy Bistro

Restaurants Lim Chu Kang

Book a table at Poison Ivy Bistro, owner Ivy's brainchild which takes farm-to-table food back down to earth with its wholesome and hearty cooking style and affordable prices. The seasonal ala-carte menu ensures that there's something new to try every time you dine at Poison Ivy Bistro – from homemade cakes to delicious curries. For example, the Nasi Lemak platter ($12 or $22) comes with blue pea rice, bollywings, sayur lodeh, sambal goreng, kranji eggs, ikan bilis and peanuts, keropok, sambal chilli and farm tempura. If you're there early for breakfast, order up the Kranji Fresh Eggs ($10) with scrambled and sunny side eggs.

Stay

Gallop Kranji Farm Resort
Gallop Kranji Farm Resort
Photograph: Gallop Kranji Farm Resort

Gallop Kranji Farm Resort

Hotels Resorts Lim Chu Kang

Make the most of your countryside trip with a staycay at the villas of Gallop Kranji Farm Resort. Off the beaten track, the farm resort offers a unique experience where you can live the kampung life, go on a beehive tour, and kick it with a prawning session. The kids can also their fun with pony rides, while mum and dad can relax at the resort's spa. Check into the Executive Villa for a queen-sized bed, steam room, and jacuzzi, or the Family Suite for four queen-sized beds, a barbecue pit, and a spacious compound to run around. It's also pet-friendly, so you can bring your fur-kids along too.

Escape the hustle and bustle

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