The western part of Singapore is an enigma.
Depending on who you ask, it can be a drab industrial estate or a vibrant university town.
And somewhere between the old and the new are immaculately manicured gardens, museums and a buzzing commercial centre that rivals Orchard Road.
Fortunately for us, our journey to the west will not involve any trials and tribulations apart from a traffic jam at worst.
Now that the weekend is here, why not check out these five fun things you can do in the wild west.
1. Head down to the westernmost point of Singapore
Tuas, the great unknown.
Other than the Second Link that takes us to Malaysia, it is safe to say that as one of the least-explored areas in Singapore, the allure of Tuas is Tuas itself.
But even so, there are gems in the area.
A stroll along the Raffles Marina promenade brings us to a picturesque lighthouse.
Otherwise, hop onto a bike and cycle to the celebrated Tuas Lamp Post 1. Even our very own Minister Ong Ye Kung has paid homage to it with a sticker.
Visit Singapore’s one and only Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
Are you a big fan of the Jurassic Park franchise? Or do you harbour lifelong dreams of being a palaeontologist?
A visit to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum will allow you to get up close and personal with the fossils of not one but three diplodocids, which were some of the largest animals to roam planet earth.
Besides dinosaurs, the museum is home to over 2000 specimens of plants and animals spread across 15 thematic zones.
And if you are not already fascinated by the zombie fungus in ‘The Last of Us’, a special exhibition titled Body Snatchers should pique your interest in the world of parasites.
3. Enjoy peace and tranquillity around Jurong Lake Gardens
Don’t underestimate the size of Singapore’s very own Lake District because Jurong Lake Gardens is a massive place with tons to do.
With a sparkling pool of water, you can rent a pedal boat or kayak and indulge in some water sports.
Not feeling adventurous? Walk the park from end to end and discover grasslands, wetlands and swamplands. And if you are lucky, you might spot a few otters or even a water monitor lizard.
Singapore might lack natural wonders, but we are not without man-made ingenuity.
4. Learn how beer is brewed (and enjoy some too)
Tiger Beer is probably one of Singapore’s most famous exports. You can find it in a local kopitiam, all around Southeast Asia, and even in the pub in London.
Visit our local Tiger brewery for an hour-long tour where you will learn how this beer with a 90-year-old heritage is brewed with just four ingredients in five steps.
But the highlight is perhaps the tasting session that comes after. Because this is where you will have the chance to tap your own beer and drink the freshest Tiger Beer on tap straight from the source.
5. Discover your inner artist and create some pottery
Practically a local legend, Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle is Singapore’s oldest surviving dragon kiln, run by the Tan family since 1965.
Today, you can take a self-guided tour around the premises and pick up some unique pieces of artisan tableware for your home.
Alternatively, sign up for a pottery-making workshop and turn a lump of clay into a piece of priceless art.
Remember that iconic scene from “Ghost”? Now is your chance to recreate it.
Transforming the West
As Singapore’s largest region by area (201.3 km2), western Singapore is undergoing rapid change.
Jurong, in particular, would be the epicentre of this renaissance with the development of Jurong Lake District (JLD), the largest mixed-use business district outside our city centre.
In addition to the all-encompassing JLD, residents in the west can look forward to more commuting options with the introduction of the Jurong Region Line and Cross Island Line.
Car-lite mobility corridors and sustainable living spaces will also become the norm to create a more pleasant environment for work and play.
Moving industries to western Singapore is also part of a nationwide effort to bring growth and job opportunities into more areas of Singapore.
Being a small island, land use in Singapore requires a meticulous, long-term approach to ensure that every square inch is optimised.
Photo Sources: Ong Ye Kung via Facebook/Raffles Marina/Tiger Brewery/NUS/Thow Kwang Pottery/NParks/URA