There has been an eternal debate between Easties and Westies over which is the best side in Singapore.
The arguments are usually centred around food, convenience and places to shop but you can get a fair share of all three elements wherever you live.
So it sometimes boils down to endless bickering on minute differences in food quality and shopping havens. A tedious fight.
But the North is above all that.
Because what sets the north side apart from the rest of Singapore is its wild side.
You can fight to be the best till the cows come home but the north side is easily the wildest place in this concrete jungle.
Encounters with wildlife
While people are still searching for the legendary cow on Coney Island in Punggol, those in the north have been treated to various extraordinary sightings of wildlife in past years.
You’ve heard or seen the giant caterpillars making the roadside trees their home sighted back in 2017:
And most recently, a sky full of Malayan flying foxes, one of the largest species of bats in the world:
Even the owls which recently decided to make Yishun their home have some quirks:
Or a horse at a Yishun car park:
Perhaps due to having Mandai forests and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve in the area, Northies are no strangers to these fellow wilder residents.
Nowhere in Singapore is more at one with nature than the north.
One thing that the Circuit Breaker and prolonged work-from-home arrangement has made me realise is the importance of nature.
You feel so much better to see some beautiful sunsets or head out for a jog in the park after being cooped up at home for hours.
In the north, you get a picturesque view of the Lower Seletar Reservoir:You can also take a relaxing drive down Mandai road, one of the heritage roads preserved in Singapore, flanked by mature rain trees on both sides.
This tranquil green tunnel in the north will transport you back to the time before independence.
This road will also lead you to the animal kingdom in Singapore, one of the favourite places for Singaporeans to hang out over weekends.
Singapore Zoo, River Safari & Night Safari
Almost all the wildlife parks are located in the north.
The idea of creating a Singapore Zoo was conceived by Ong Swee Law, then chairman of the Public Utilities Board back in 1968.
Ong wanted to open up more of the protected water catchment areas for public use and envisioned the Singapore Zoo to be a place that met recreational, social and educational needs for Singaporeans.
The Singapore Zoo was officially opened in 1973 with a storm-water drainage design that ensures that the wastewater will not pollute the reservoir. Back then, it housed around 300 animals, mostly from the Southeast Asian region.
Ong later noticed that some visitors were reluctant to leave the zoo even when it was nearing closing hours so he mooted the idea of opening the Night Safari.
The River Safari opened in recent years, introducing animals that live in tropical rainforests and freshwater habitats.
In time to come, the Jurong Bird Park and a new Mandai resort will be added to the area as well.
Some of these animals residing in the wildlife parks are those that can’t be spotted easily - they range from animals who are native to Singapore to those that can be found overseas, such as the tapirs, penguins and elephants.
Wild but not ulu
If you are not staying in the north, the wild experience will definitely be worth the distance.
One way to get to the wildlife parks is to board the shuttle bus from Khatib MRT station at only S$1.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is having a 50 per cent discount on tickets to River Safari between Sep. 5 and Sep. 9.
For families with seniors or young children, you can book a private guided tour during your visit and cruise through the Singapore Zoo comfortably on a chartered buggy. Here’s an extra perk if you book the tour in September: You will also receive S$55 F&B/Retail vouchers.
To cater to the tastebuds of Singaporeans who are spending their Singapoliday at the zoo, there is the S$5.50 dining menu during this period. The menu consists of Nonya chicken curry and rice, dry prawn noodles, Bulgogi and more.
If you really love the trip and wish to get a momento, you can get something from the gift store with up to 70 per cent off for items like plushies and figurines.
How can you say no to this manatee?
If you’re doing a staycation over the September holiday, there is also a bundle package available when you book your stay with Millennium Hotels and Resorts.
As part of their “Wild About You” campaign, the WRS will be introducing different events, tips and deals throughout the year to ensure there’s always something new for Singaporeans to rediscover at the parks.
For example, if you are clueless about how to tour the wildlife parks to the fullest, WRS has got you covered.
Here are some itineraries that WRS has prepared, ensuring you make the most of your time and moolah.
You can also spice up your trip a little by turning them into a scavenger hunt:
Check out more tips, deals and events at WRS this September here.
Top image: Photo by Christopher Yap Hon Weng/FB, WRS, Eric Cheong
This article is brought to you by Wildlife Reserves Singapore from the heart of the wildest side in Singapore.