West-siders rejoice! Finally something that talks about the west which is not referring to Jurong area. Situated just far enough to be called the west, but not so far as to be clumped together with the rest of Jurong, the Bukit Batok-Bukit Gombak area has often been ignored and glossed over for the likes of Jurong. With upcoming plans for the Tengah HDB projects in the area, the district is soon to have new blood injected into it, and you can look forward to the latest developments coming its way. While this area may not have had huge new malls and commercial buildings sprouting up over recent years, it remains a calm and tranquil neighbourhood, one of the few left in Singapore, and that makes it the perfect place to unwind and relax over the weekend.
Reconnect with Nature – And no, its not Bukit Timah Hill again
Like a scene out of a Chinese drama, Little Guilin bears uncanny resemblance to its ‘big brother’ in China. The old quarry has long been retired, and now serves as part of a nature park for Singaporeans to soak up the natural air and take those Instagram worthy pictures. The picturesque park is a sight to behold for all, offering the perfect background for all sorts of activities. Whether you are doing some yoga, going for a run around the park, or even thinking of taking pre-wedding photos there, there is a sort of tranquility in the air that helps you reconnect and unwind your mind.
Overlooked by Little Guilin is the Bukit Batok Nature Park. Just minutes away from Little Guilin, is another old quarry which has long since become defunct. While the quarry in this park is smaller, the park still has much to offer, from grueling hiking trails to gentle footpaths, be sure to climb up to the highest look-out point that gives you an unbeatable view of the crystal clear water of the quarry from 10 stories high.
Take a Break at a Country Club
Bukit Batok area is home to not one, but two clubhouses, or to be more accurate, resorts. Both Civil Service Club and Hometeam NS have resorts located in the district. While you will get more benefits from being a member there, non-members are still able to go in and enjoy the facilities available.
Hometeam NS has all sorts of activities to get your blood pumping. Equipped with the usual swimming pools, driving range and tennis courts, the resort has even more to offer.
With a challenging high elements course in its backyard, its sure to get your adrenaline pumping. What’s more there are also team bonding activities you and your friends can bond over. The compound also has a Laser Quest site where you can pit yourselves against one another, or even team up against other players to rack up the points. Challenge Cubes is another unique experience only found here. Participants can look forward to a session of artificial caving where they have to use all their senses and work together to get out of the ‘cave’.
Civil Service Club is not short on activities either, its swimming facilities feature a wave pool and a three-storey slide! You’re sure to make a splash hanging out here.
If you prefer to sit back and relax, the club has its own in-house spa and wellness centre which you can make use of. Kick back after a long week of work and let the load slide off your shoulders as you reach nirvana.
If you’re thinking of doing some indoor activities, the bowling alley is the perfect place for you. For those who can, and those who can’t bowl, its sure to be a good time for everyone as you escape the tropical heat for a few hours and get a few laughs at one another.
Walk back in Time
If you’re more of a historian, or you find yourself intrigued by Singapore’s history, Bukit batok is home to many relics of the past which you’ll enjoy. At the foot of Bukit Batok Nature Park is the Bukit Batok War Memorial from World War II.
What used to be a shrine commemorating the Japanese soldiers who died in the fight for Singapore is now a bronze book. The site has many structures which pay homage to the fighting that happened around Bukit Batok, as well as to those who ultimately perished in the war.
Another historical site is just a stone throw away. The Old Ford Factory, as many of us know, is where the fall of Singapore was confirmed. While it may have been long in the past, the factory has been restored by the national Archives to an exhibition remembering war-time Singapore. Entry to the exhibit is free for Singaporeans, and tours conducted daily, with 2 tours on weekends at 11am on Saturdays, 2:30pm on Sundays, and at 3:30pm on both days.