Famed for attractions such as Gardens By The Bay, Universal Studios, and the National Gallery, Singapore is world renowned as a cultural, shopping and foodie haven. The city buzzes with life both day and night, offering visitors a smorgasbord of urban dining and entertaining options.
While the pace of life is fast in the Lion City, the island also offers many tranquil spots. These oases of calm are perfect for serendipitous encounters far from the occasionally maddening city crowd.
The team at PARKROYAL on Beach Road has curated a list of unusual experiences and activities in Singapore designed to help you find inner peace and soothe your weary soul.
Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle
Address: No. 85 Lorong Tawas, via Clean Tech View, Singapore 639823
Telephone number: +65 6265 5808
Opening hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm daily
Ghost fans, go ahead and channel Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze at Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle. No one will judge you.
Thow Kwang owns the oldest surviving brick-built kiln in Singapore. Built in the 1940s, the 36-metre long timber-fired kiln is shaped like a dragon and fired only once a year. During the wood-firing process, the pots are engulfed in a scintillating river of fire. The flames react with the glaze to produce unpredictable colours and textures, resulting in unique pieces unlike those fired by electric kilns.
Thow Kwang runs a variety of pottery making workshops for adults and children – get information on upcoming ones here. Who knows? You may discover hidden talents or long-lost dreams while shaping your glob of clay on the wheel into a receptacle.
You will need about 30 minutes to get there by taxi from Singapore’s city centre but it is well worth the travel. Moreover, you can feel good about playing a part in the revival of a dying trade, at a place that has itself experienced a new lease of life.
Tip: Venture out to the nearby Jurong Eco-Garden. Try to spot the “Sculptured Maze” installation, which was created in Thow Kwang by its resident artist Steven Low Thia Kwang.
Get directions to Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle
Address: Various venues
Scottish-American naturalist John Muir once said, "In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks."
If you need relief from the hustle and bustle of life, try your hand at forest bathing. XIU Nature Connections, founded by Yap You Min, says it takes participants “slowly and intentionally through nature” and creates a sense of oneness with nature, releasing its healing power in your life.
It is not about exercising – the walk takes you no further than 800 meters. It is not about the place either, although the event does take you to Singapore’s best gardens and nature parks.
Rather, it is about an immersive experience in nature that opens up your senses and alleviates the stress and anxiety of modern life. Hear it from a reviewer, who said, "This was a beautiful experience. I really enjoyed just slowing down and thinking about my environment in a different way."
Research studies have shown that such ecotherapy forms provide health benefits such as improved mental clarity, higher immune functions, lower stress levels, and lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
You can register for upcoming events here, or follow XIU Nature Connections' Facebook page.
Few man-made performances can match the music of a choir formed by hundreds of songbirds.
To most of us, a chirping bird is just “white noise” - a part of nature’s mysterious cacophony of sounds. After all, can you differentiate a robin’s metallic warbling from the boisterous calls of a zebra finch? But did you know that these melodic vocalisations are so fundamental to being a songbird that they have a brain area almost entirely dedicated to singing?
Make a trip to Kebun Baru to connect with nature's best musicians in a novel way. Witness the most popular and largest songbird display in Singapore in a lush green precinct that was a shoot location for the movie “Cages” in 2004.
Come with an open mind and heart; the joyous tunes and lilting tones of the birds may inspire you to create something beautiful and spontaneous. As this PBS article puts it, “Birdsong is something else entirely. It’s a structured form of expression, similar to writing a poem or, more directly, composing a song.”
You may want to pack along your yoga mat; the garden setting at this birdsong planet makes a perfect yoga backdrop. The display is on daily, but the best time to view is on Sundays and public holidays from 9:30am till noon.
Get directions to Kebun Baru
Address: 1 Coleman Street, #02-24, The Adelphi, Singapore 179803
Telephone number: +65 9456 8187
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday: 11:00am to 7:00pm; Saturday: 11:00am to 5:00pm
If the hustle and bustle of city life has got you feeling uptight, book an art session at Resin Play to find instant release. Founded by Elaine Tan, Resin Play upholds the philosophy of creative play in art, unleashed by resin, a fluid and highly versatile material.
Having spent some eight years experimenting with different brands of resins and mould-making supplies, Elaine has selected the best of them for her store at City Hall, the heart of Singapore’s civic district.
Elaine elaborates on her passion for resin, “Unlike traditional materials used in jewellery, I found resin to be the most versatile medium. It allows me to experiment with colours, textures, depth - and at the same time, embed inclusions within the material to create stories and suspended enchantment. I’ve played with many jewellery materials before, but when I discovered resin, I fell in love with it and thought, ‘this is the one!’”
Read more information on her workshops here.
Get directions to Resin Play
Address: 190 Middle Road, #02-10A Fortune Centre, Singapore 188979
Telephone number: +65 9170 4583
Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays: 7:00 to 11:00pm
“Sushi is my life!” Chef Aeron Choo declared in an interview with Wine and Dine magazine. And it has to be, considering how the 24-year-old single-handedly runs her tiny omakase outfit. Described by The Straits Times as “intense and meticulous,” Aeron has worked in various kitchens and restaurants since she was 14, and is definitely unfazed by hard work and long hours.
Tucked away in a labyrinth of shops in Fortune Centre, Kappou Japanese Sushi and Tapas Bar seats only 12, bringing the term “cosy dinner” to a whole new level. You’ll get to taste fresh, succulent, umami fish painstakingly aged by the chef herself. Revel in her stories about the dishes that you just ate or even about life itself.
As Chef Aeron flies solo, dinner may take a longer time than usual; be sure to allocate at least 2-3 hours for the culinary pleasure of her company. Take it as time well-spent as you listen to her passion-filled stories, and explore new directions for your own life.
Kappou serves omakase dinners by reservation only. Prices start from $128, with top-up options available.
Get directions to Kappou
For inspiration on places to rediscover love, read our article on Singapore’s dating hotspots.
For your accommodation and travel needs in Singapore, get in touch with our friendly team at PARKROYAL on Beach Road.