So here we are at the end of 2020, and we are no closer to travel home to see the family than we were a few months back. Although we will not be roasting marshmallows by the fire or warming our body with mulled wine this year Christmas is a magical time of year, even in the tropical island of Singapore.
Although there will be no snow falling this Christmas while we are here in Singapore, there is plenty of fun things to do with the family during this festive season. Whether you choose to explore the red dots hidden gems or decide to get creative with the many choices of arts and crafts, Singapore is filled with surprises (even for the long term residence of this island city).
Night Time Activities
Picnic at the Marina Barrage
For most, The Marina Barrage is somewhere most of us have visited during the day where you will find avid kite flyers everywhere. But have you ever been there during the evening? Grab a picnic basket, a blanket and the family and sit and enjoy the cool breeze while you are spoilt by one of the most beautiful views in Singapore. Check times of closure, because, at the time of writing this, you must enter before 8 pm where you will be required to log in and get your temperature checked. Want to know more? Check out the website here.
Recommendation Walking around Marina Bay at night with the family is one of my favourite things to do. This part of the city at night is pretty impressive!!!
The Projector Movie Theatre
For most families, dinner and a movie is the norm during school holidays (well at least it is in my household). If you want something a little more than the Hollywood blockbusters that you find at movie theatres in Singapore, then you should check out The Projector Movie theatre. Why? Because this Indie come retro-style movie theatre with incredible documentaries and Indie style movies. You will find the movie theatre at 6001 Beach Rd, #05-00 Golden Mile Tower, Singapore 199589. Book your tickets to The Projector here (remember weekends are busy).
Recommendation You are walking distance to Vatos Urban Tacos from here, so why not book in for dinner after the movie?
Sunset at Lower Peirce Reservoir
I had mentioned previously about spending the day walking from upper Peirce Reservoir to lower Pierce Reservoir, but why not head over with a picnic basket and watch the sunset at Lower Peirce Reservoir instead? This location would have to be one of the most beautiful sunsets in Singapore, and it is right at most peoples doorstep, and they aren’t even aware of it. You can enter from across the road from Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park at 1384 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, Singapore.
Recommendation You could always go for an early dinner at Casuarina Curry (Thomson), 136-138 Casuarina Rd, Singapore 579526 before the sunsets and then walk down.
Bring on the Christmas Cheer at The Jewel
If you head over to the Shiseido Forest Valley on Level 1, from 630pm (and on every hour after that), you will be able to see the snowfall experience. Spend $30 anywhere at The Jewel, and you will qualify for you and one other person to enter the forest (children three and under free). There is plenty to do in this Winter Wonderland, and this includes finishing off at the 16 metres tall Christmas tree to top off the experience. But wait there is more!!! From The Drone flying workshop to creating Christmas Craft. There is plenty to do at Changi that will have you and the family entertained for hours.
Recommendation Why not step it up a notch and go on a glam-cation there are a few to choose from, which means you can camp out at the airport, no worrying about bugs or being hot and humid while you sleep! You can book online here for your overnight experience at Changi Airport.
Christmas Markets and Magical Domes
You may not be in Europe walking around in the snow enjoying the Christmas markets, but you can venture over to Capital Singapore and visit the Christmas markets here in Singapore? Book, your Dome experience at Capitol and Chijmes for dinner here where you will find your own air-conditioned dome that is covered in Christmas decorations along with lights and music from the nutcracker.
Recommendation There are many Christmas workshops for the kids to enjoy, if they are a fan of the nutcracker then there are many workshops to choose from here.
Walks For The Entire Family
Sentosa Jungle walk
Although most of us when we think of Sentosa Island, we see dollar signs, what most do not know is that Sentosa has many tracks to walk that will not cost you a cent. You can walk from Vivo City to the Sentosa jungle tracks, and the paths are relatively easy so that they are appropriate for all level of fitness. The trails are sheltered from the sun, so makes it the perfect location for the whole family. There are many signposts and maps along the way, which makes even the most directionally challenged hard to get lost (that would be me). There are many places to rest, loads of areas to get great photos and some wildlife to spot on your walk.
Recommendation Finish your walk at the bottom near the Luge, right opposite Coastes, which is an excellent place for brunch, however, booking ahead of time might save you waiting around for a seat to be available. Bring your swimmers, because you will need a dip in the ocean after your hike.
Lower and Upper Pierce Reservoir
If you want a walk with plenty of wildlife, an abundance of luscious green scenery, then this an excellent choice for you and the family. Whether you choose to walk it or take your bikes and ride it, either way, it is a great day out for the entire family. If you are planning on a morning stroll, then I would suggest starting at the top (there is a car park there) and working your way down with a stop for lunch halfway down. Alternatively, if you are planning on heading there in the afternoon, I would aim to be at Lower Peirce Reservoir by sundown as the view from there is fantastic! Better still, heading to Lower Peirce Reservoir just for dusk is also a great idea, bring a little picnic and enjoy the view (you can walk there from Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park).
Recommendation Stop for lunch at Casuarina Curry 87 MacPherson Rd, Singapore 348545, which is halfway between Upper and Lower Pierce Reservoir. Opened Monday to Friday from 8 am and 10 am on weekends.
MacRitchie Nature Trail & Reservoir Park
Did you know that MacRitchie Reservoir is the oldest reservoir in Singapore?. MacRitichie’s is approximately 11km of well-signed trail that has many maps along the way. Start your hike early because it can become rather hot the later you leave it, remember to take plenty of water and keep your camera (or phone out) as there will be lots of wildlife along the way. Here you will find Singapore’s largest reservoir. Treetops walk was closed at the time of writing this, so check online before you go as rules change often.
Recommendation Worth mentioning is that ActiveSG Canoe Academy KIAK has “learn to Kayak” school program for ages 9 to 15-year-olds, interested? You can register here.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is so different from all of the other trails in Singapore, the wetlands here are damp (and mostly covered) with swamp-like surroundings. You are guaranteed to see an animal or two (this includes crocodiles so be on the lookout). Sungei Buloh Wetlands is open from 7 am to 7 pm daily (you would not want to be hanging around in the dark anyway). With an educational aspect to the walk (there is an educational centre there), you can check out what to look out for and have fun spotting the many different types of native plants as well along the way. Remember you can not take your dog, fly drones or cycle through the wetlands, this is a walking trail only.
Recommendation Bollywood Veggies is only a 5-minute drive from the wetlands, so it would be an ideal place for lunch (book, before you go otherwise the wait, can be lengthy).
The Green Corridor
The now-defunct Jurong line “Bukit Timah Railway station” was once the Singapore to Johor Bahru KTM Intercity line. Following its closure, the railway track between Tanjong Pagar and Woodlands was removed. However, the few metres of the platform at Bukit Timah railway station are the only sign left it was once a railway line. In its place is the green corridor which provides residents and visitors with a green network of lush green spaces and walking tracks for everyone to enjoy. Ensure you check ahead of time because there is quite a lot of the path closed at the moment.T
Recommendation If you want to make an entire day of it, why not hike around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve?
Quirky Places To Eat
Everyone on the planet has watched an episode of friends at least once in their lifetime, haven’t they? So why not take the family out to experience a meal at the infamous Central Perk Cafe, here in Singapore? Fans of the hit show will be delighted to hear that this is the only Warner Brothers licensed cafe outside of the US, which means yep! You guessed it; there is merchandise here for you to purchase an early Christmas present or two! Opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm daily, and the address is 1 Magazine Road Central Mall #01-01, Singapore 059567
Recommendation Make a reservation here and request to sit at the famous lounge! Oh and I highly recommend Chandlers edible helium balloon dessert.
Vatos Urban Tacos
Who knew that Korean and Japanese could even be a thing, better still who knew how delicious the combination would be. Having lived in Seoul, Korean food (especially Korean BBQ) has always been a family favourite. Mexican is also a fan favourite in our house, so a combination of the two well then you get the best of both worlds. This little beauty gets busy, so book a spot at Vatos Urban Tacos here before you go. Opening hours at Vatos Urban Tacos are Tuesday to Friday 5 pm to 10 pm and with Saturday and Sunday opening at noon. You can easily find this cool restaurant at 36 Beach Rd, #01-03 South Beach Quarter, Singapore 189766
Recommendation for those over the age of 18 I highly recommend their Margaritas!
Although the name of the restaurant suggests that the only time to dine at this quirky restaurant is in the morning, it is not the case because the menu ranges from Fluffy Pancake Stacks to juicy burgers. So book a table at Brunches Restaurant online for any time of the day. You will find the cafe at 96 Rangoon Road in Little India. This vintage style cafe does serve all-day breakfast from 11 am to 10 pm Monday to Friday, and 10 am to 10 Pm on the weekends.
Recommendation When making your booking, ensure to ask for the booth in the car, the kids will thank you I promise.
Although there are plenty of things to choose from on the menu at Slappy cakes restaurant, it is the pancake platter that people come to this restaurant to enjoy. Why? Because not only do you (and the kids) get to choose your batter (yes, they are flavoured), but you also pick your toppings and sauces as well). But wait, there is more!!! Here is where the fun begins, your children get the chance to make their pancakes. There are three locations for slappy Cakes -The Grandstand (closed Monday’s) 200 Turf Club Road (Old Turf Club in Bukit Timah) #01-20/21 Singapore 287994, Plaza Singapura 68 Orchard Road, #03-02, Singapore 238839 and newly reopened venue Resorts World Sentosa (closed Tuesdays) 26 Sentosa Gateway #01-29, Singapore 098269
Recommendation This restaurant is fun for all ages. I am not going to lie; it is fun with or without the kids!! Make a reservation here before you go.
Black Tap Singapore
I am mentioning Black Tap not for their burgers (although they are delicious) but for their infamous crazy shakes! The line at Black Tap Singapore Which is at #L1-80, Bay Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 018956 is always long, but trust me when I say it is worth it. The Marina Bay Sands Venue Opens from 12 noon to 11 pm weekdays and from 11 am on weekends. Want to know more? Check out the website here.
Recommendation The shakes are enormous, and if you are taking little ones, you are probably best to share a shake or two. I highly recommend the Cotton Candy Shake; it is every little girl’s dream.
Family Day Outs
Bollywood Veggies and Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle
Wanting a full day out with the family, but you aren’t sure what to do or where to start planning? Well, why not start by booking a class at the Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle? Here you and the entire family can start your morning exploring the pottery jungle and take a photo with the infamous Dragon Kiln. Followed by a pottery class, the whole family will enjoy.
Your next stop will have you wandering around the farm at Bollywood Veggies; you can book a farm tour here (which are only on Sunday’s) or explore this fascinating farm yourself. Followed by lunch at the Ivy Bistro, be sure to book before you arrive as waiting times can be extensive (especially on weekends)
Recommendation There are other activities for the kids at Bollywood veggies, but you will need to reach out to them and see what is available at the moment.
Stand Up Paddle and Wakeboarding
Singapore is the perfect place to learn how to stand up paddle or wakeboard. What better way to do it than during the school holidays with the whole family. At Aloha Sea Sports, you can learn how to SUP, windsurf or for the brave you can even try your hand at a little SUP yoga. Already know how? Not to worry – you can hire the gear here.
If you have spent the morning at Aloha Sea Sports but feel like you have more in the tank for a little more fun, then why not try your hand at wakeboarding? At Singapore Wakepark you and the family can enjoy your afternoon on the water at East Coast by booking here. Whether it is your first time or your hundredth, there is something for everyone.
Recommendation If this is too much for one day, then split it into two separate days, especially for beginners.
Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club
Spend the morning at the Kebun Baru Bird singing Club at Block 159 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5, Singapore 560159. Weekends from 9 am to 12noon are the best times to enjoy the birds singing. Walk a little further, and you will find both a wet market, grocery store and hawkers market for the rumbling stomachs along with a place to purchase a bird and the cage.
A short drive away, you will find one of the largest urban parks in Singapore. Although the water playground is closed at the time of this blog post, there is plenty to do at Bishan Park. Why not make the most of your time here by exploring not only the luscious green surroundings this park has to offer but the wildlife that lives amongst it. Have lunch at the Canopy Garden dining by making a reservation online to ensure you get a table.
Recommendation Learn more about what the park has to offer by booking one of the free family-friendly eco-park tours here.
Why not take a bumboat out to Pulau Ubin and spend the day hiking or biking around this lovely island. Although you may not be able to leave Singapore, you can at least leave the mainland and feel like you have spent the day abroad by island hopping for the day. Catch one of the bumboats from Changi Point Ferry Terminal, no need for booking they just wait for the boats to fill up.
Rent a bicycle from the many shop’s rental shops available or bring your own if you can! There is plenty to see and do and will have you busy the entire day. Remember to bring cash as there are no ATMs and the restaurants and shops do not take cards. There are a couple of restaurants to choose from, so you will not have to bring your lunch if you don’t want to.
Recommendation All campsites are currently closed, by things change almost daily in 2020, check here for the latest notices before you go.
Spend the Day at Snowcity
Sure you are living in South East Asia, and cold weather means the temperature has hit 26 degrees Celcius. But why not imagine you are somewhere else by spending the day in the snow at snow city. From drifting on ice to sliding down slopes, it will have you entertained for hours.
For the older kids aged 14 and above (and parents) why not try a hand at winter shooting arena. For the paintball enthusiasts, this will be right up your alley, as you will love the change of terrain to play in. There is even an area for target shooting. Snow City is located at 21 Jurong Town Hall Road, Snow City Building, Singapore 609433.
Recommendation If the cold weather gets too much spend the afternoon at the Science Centre at 15 Science Centre Rd, Singapore 609081.
Singapore Philatelic Museum
Although the Singapore Philatelic Museum is closed for renovations at the time of this blog post, it does offer some great holiday programs for kids. The programs are either online or in Fort Canning; either way, you can find out more information here. Want to know more about the museum? Then head over to one of their many virtual tours, where past exhibitions come alive.
Andsoforth Academy has two great programs for your children these school holidays. Princess Workshop will have your little ones living a real-life dream, being able to spend three days transforming into a princess. Ages are from 3 to 10 years old and camp lasts for 3 hours per day. Book early as spaces are limited. The second program is around the world in 80 days, where your child will learn about Jules Verne’s writings. The workshop is 75 minutes long, and the exact at Balister will be sent to you 24 hours before your date of participation.
Pe Lin Crafts
Personalise some of your Christmas gifts these school holidays or paint your own mini Tingkat by joining one of the fun arts and craft groups at Pei Lin Crafts, book online before the classes are full as limited numbers are available. This is an excellent activity for the whole family to enjoy (even those who can not paint like me), Ami is a very patient teacher and is there to guide you through the process. You will find True Blue at The Substation 45 Armenian Street, where you can also order lunch (well worth it).
Holiday Ice Camp
If your little ones (or not so little ones) would love to learn how to ice skate, well then here is their chance. The Rink at 2 Jurong East Central 1, #03-11, JCube 609731 have holiday ice camps that offer Four 45-min intensive lessons in a week. The courses include all ages and all levels of skating. The Rink also offers skaters passes which include 20 sessions in a 2-hour window.
Jurassic Mile Cycling Exploration
You can get walk to Jurassic Mile or rent a bike from GoCycling or even bring your own. You can start your journey from either East Coast Park or Hub & Spoke Cafe at Changi Airport. Or you can purchase a Jurassic Mile package here to make things easier. Weekends are busy (like everywhere else in Singapore) so weekdays are a better option for the little ones.
Start your holidays learning about Singapore’s history and what better way to do this than with learning about Britain’s surrender to the Japanese. This self-guided tour is first in best dressed so check out the tour times here. Remember to check restrictions before you go; the cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children, opening times are Wednesday to Sunday (and public holidays) from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm. Don’t forget to continue on the day exploring Fort Canning Park and all it’s hidden gems!
Recommendation – watch the movie “The Railway Man” at home, based on the true story of Eric Lomax after the surrender.
The Former Ford Factory
Continue your history timeline and visit the former ford factory where this museum has an interactive app that can be downloaded here before you go. The museum is full of many interesting films and keepsakes, with the original room where the British surrendered still in tack. Book a spot at the former ford factory online here 24 hours before your intended visit. Opening hours are 9 am to 530pm Monday to Saturday and 12 noon to 530 pm Sundays. The address is 351 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, 588192 Entrance fees are $3 per person or free for Singapore citizens and PR’s with a maximum of 5 pax per booking.
Recommendation Closest place to have lunch is the Rail Mall (Hillview MRT station) which is about two bus stops ahead from the Former Ford Factory or Beauty World which is about three bus stops before the museum.
Marsling War Tunnels
A short distance from the old immigration checkpoint from Malaysia to Singapore you will find the hidden Marsling War Tunnels. If you are up for a little adventure and you are continuing on the history trail, then you can’t miss this. Bring a torch and wear sneakers that you don’t mind getting grubby because you can get dirty! You will find the tunnels in Admiralty Rd Woodlands, Singapore. It will not cost you any money to enter, just a good eye to find them.
Recommendation Not far away is Kranji War Memorial the Kranji War Cemetery is currently open to the public Monday to Friday 9 am to 4 pm.
Fort Siloso is Singapore’s Coastal fort, and it served as part of the countries defence force in WWII. The trail will have you and the family entertained for hours, visiting tunnels and the Command post. Start at the Fort Siloso Skywalk and finish off at the museum with the perfect photo opportunity right next to the cannons. The museum has loads of memorabilia and videos that have documented war history. Fort Siloso is on Siloso Rd Sentosa 099981 both Fort Siloso & Surrender Chambers is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily.
Recommendation Free tours 26 Oct and 31 Dec 2020. Tours take place every 2nd and 3rd Saturday of the month from 3 pm to 4.30 pm. Book a slot here for your free Fort Siloso tour.
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
This two-story colonial building at 12 Tai Gin Rd, Balister Singapore 327874 is a museum paying tribute to Sun Yat-Sen who visited the red dot approximately nine times in eleven years. Although designed and initially built in 1901 as a home, during the war, the Japanese military took over and used the villa as a communication base. Opening hours on Tuesday to Sunday are between 10 am and 5 pm at the cost of $8 for adults and $5 for students (Singapore citizens and PR free).
Recommendation guided tours in English on Tuesday and Fridays at 2 pm and weekends at 3 pm and mandarin tours are on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 230 pm.
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