By: Miriam Bribiesca
Welcome back to our treasure hunt. If you’re a college student yearning for adventure and a dose of the past then this is the read for you! Our next adventure will take place in Singapore, a tiny island nation that packs a punch with its history and culture.
Singapore might be known for its futuristic skyline, but its historic nooks and crannies narrate tales of an era of cultural exchange and biodiversity. Time to lace up your shoes, grab that notebook (or phone), and embark on a historic hunt in the heart of Southeast Asia!
But before we get into it, make sure to check out our flight deals exclusively from Singapore Airlines for our ScholarTrip fam. Talk about starting this treasure hunt on the right foot!
1. Punggol Kampong Lorong Buangkok
Starting off strong, we encourage you to make a visit to the last standing kampong (village) in mainland Singapore. Kampong Lorong Buangkok offers a rare glimpse into the country’s “rustic” past. Given the rapid urbanization of Singapore in the 80s and beyond, this kampong stands as a testament to what the simple, community-based life that once was.
While this is not a tourist attraction in the conventional sense, add it to your list if you have a desire to connect with locals.
Travel Tip: We recommend walking the narrow lanes, notice the traditional wooden houses on stilts, and if you’re lucky, engage in a chat with some of the elderly residents who have lived there all their lives. Their stories can provide firsthand accounts of a rapidly vanishing way of life in Singapore, but one that deserves to be remembered and honored!
2. Dragon’s Teeth Gate (Long Ya Men)
Located near Labrador Park in the southern part of Singapore and once used as a navigational aid for sailors, the Dragon’s Teeth Gate underscores Singapore’s early importance as a trading post in the 14th century. Its connection to the maritime Silk Road showcases the island’s role in facilitating trade, cultural exchanges, and the movement of people from various parts of the world.
Travel Tip: While here, take a leisurely walk in Labrador Nature Reserve. You can even explore the tunnels and fortresses in the park that are remnants of the British’s attempts to fortify Singapore’s southern coast during WWII. History buffs, this location is calling your name!
3. Raffles Lighthouse
Perched on Pulau Satumu, the southernmost island of Singapore, the Raffles Lighthouse was built in the mid-1800s and is considered one of Singapore oldest maritime landmarks. Named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, this lighthouse has been guiding vessels safely into the Singapore Strait for more than a century. Now let it guide you into discovering a little part of history and the importance of landmarks like these.
Travel Tip: To visit, you’ll need to arrange a special trip as the lighthouse is still operational and isn’t open to the public all year round. Certain agencies like Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), or even Nature Society (Singapore) organize visits occasionally. That means you will have to plan ahead of time, but we promise once you observe the panoramic views atop, combined with the tranquil surroundings, will make it worth the effort.
4. Reflections at Bukit Chandu
Now this wouldn’t be a treasure hunt if we didn’t recommend a museum where you can learn about history first-hand. For those interested in Singapore’s wartime history, THIS is a must-visit. Reflections at Bukit Chandu is a World War II center dedicated to preserving the memory of the Malay Regiment soldiers who defended the last stand against the Japanese invasion during the Battle of Pasir Panjang in February 1942.
The bungalow-turned-museum offers multimedia presentations and exhibits detailing the brave battle the soldiers fought. Learning about the past is critical to understand the present and what better place to keep that spirit going than here.
Travel Tip: While at Bukit Chandu, enjoy the surrounding nature and take a hike in Kent Ridge Park. We recommend the Canopy Walk. It’s a trail that connects to HortPark, giving you an elevated view of the forest and the city beyond. You’re welcome!
5. Cavenagh Bridge
As one of the oldest bridges in Singapore, the Cavenagh Bridge stands as a delightful architectural specimen of the craftsmanship of the colonial era. Commissioned in 1869, it was originally a suspension bridge meant for pedestrians and light traffic. Now, it serves as a pedestrian only bridge connecting the Civic District on the north bank to the Commercial District on the south.
Travel Tip: Due to its location overlooking the Marina Bay, taking a leisurely walk across the bridge is a good idea as it offers breathtaking views of the Singapore River and the city’s skyline. Evening visits are particularly scenic and a popular time for tourists and photographers alike. As a treat, keep an eye out for an old police notice specifying the bridge’s weight limit and prohibiting the passage of cattle and horses.
Armed with these historic spots for your Singapore adventure you are now bound to have an unforgettable experience! One that is rooted in history and a mix of cultures. Now it’s time to start thinking about flights! And as always we are excited to offer some of the best deals to get you there thanks to our friends at Singapore Airlines. Click HERE and let’s make it happen!
Have you experienced our thrilling historic treasure hunt through Seoul? Catch up our previous installment: South Korea Hidden Gems: A Student’s Historic Treasure Hunt in Seoul and start planning your next adventure!