SINGAPORE - Who says Singapore is boring? Enjoy the view on these five public bus rides, hop off to explore the sights, and see the island from a fresh perspective.
Refer to the TransitLink website for the full list of bus stops, flesh out your itinerary with the help of Google Maps and busrouter.sg, and don't forget to top-up your ez-link card!
BUS 145: SHOPHOUSES, MONUMENTS AND CRANES
Where: Toa Payoh Interchange to Buona Vista Terminal
What: Enjoy this whistlestop tour of old shophouses and national monuments as the bus drives through Kampong Glam, Boat Quay, City Hall, Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar.
Keep an eye out for Sultan Mosque, Sri Mariamman Temple, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Central Fire Station, Old Hill Street Police Station, and Pinnacle @ Duxton, Singapore's first 50-storey public housing project.
After the bus turns into Keppel Road, look out the left window for a glimpse of the Keppel Harbour cranes. Then spot the cable cars in the distance (after Harbourfront MRT station) and look up at Henderson Waves Bridge overhead (after Telok Blangah Heights).
Disembark at Block 46 in Holland Drive and walk over to Holland Village for some grub.
Tip: Try to sit on the right side of the bus on this ride, which takes more than 1.5 hours. If you ride in the opposite direction - starting from Buona Vista Terminal - expect different views of Bras Basah, Bugis and Chinatown. It may also be harder to spot the cranes.
BUS 975: LIM CHU KANG HERITAGE ROAD
Where: Bukit Panjang Interchange to Lim Chu Kang Road (loop service)
What: Journey back in time on this bus route, which takes you past Hai Inn Temple, Chengtai Nursery, several cemeteries, and down the Lim Chu Kang heritage road.
The heritage road, stretching between the junction with Ama Keng Road and the junction with Sungei Gedong Road, was built in the 1800s to serve the gambier, pepper and rubber plantations. It used to be lined with single- and two-storey residences and shophouses. and broad-leafed mahogany, angsana and rubber trees can be found here.
Later, near the junction with Neo Tiew Road, you will see the abandoned Neo Tiew estate, which consists of three-storey blocks of flats and had a wet market and playground. Residents moved out in 2002 after an en bloc sale, and has since been used for military training.
To visit Hay Dairies, Singapore's only goat farm, alight opposite Lim Chu Kang Lane 4 and walk down the lane. Otherwise, stay on the bus which approaches the Police Coast Guard (with a view of the jetty) before doing a u-turn back to Bukit Panjang.
Tips: Watch out for traffic if you alight on Lim Chu Kang Road.
The entire route takes about 1.5 hours. Don't do this trip after dark - you won't be able to see much, aside from your reflection here. Also, note that buses leaving Bukit Panjang Interchange after 10.50pm terminate at the Police Coast Guard stop.
Bus 172, which begins at Choa Chu Kang Interchange, will take you down Jalan Bahar where more cemeteries are.
If you want to explore the farms and nature reserves in Lim Chu Kang, opt for the Kranji countryside express bus, which stops at Kranji MRT station every day.
BUS 117: YISHUN DAM AND SELETAR AEROSPACE
Where: Punggol Temporary Interchange to Sembawang Interchange
What: You can alight before Seletar Aerospace Rise and cross the road to spot the broad-leafed mahogany heritage trees near the bus stop. Keep walking towards Seletar Aerospace Park - home to black and white colonial bungalows-turned-restaurants such as Wheeler's Estate and The Summerhouse.
If you stay on the bus, look out for the planes on the right as the bus drives round the Seletar Aerospace area.
The bus will then drive down Yishun Dam, with scenic views of the water on both sides.
There are two subsequent stops with nearby attractions - Lower Seletar Reservoir Park (bus stop: opposite Block 816 in Yishun Avenue 1), and Orto recreational park (opposite Yishun Sports Hall), where you can try your hand at fishing and prawning and visit The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum.
Tip: The ride takes less than 1.5 hours, but you can cut the travelling time down to an hour if you alight before Khatib MRT station.
BUS 518: SIGHTS AT ORCHARD AND MARINA BAY
Where: Pasir Ris Interchange to Orchard (loop service)
What: This express bus winds through Pasir Ris, Tampines and Bedok before zipping towards town. Take in the sights as you ride through the Orchard Road and Bras Basah areas, before circling the Suntec City Fountain of Wealth.
As you approach Marina Bay Sands, look out for Singapore Flyer to the left, and the ArtScience Museum and Helix Bridge to the right.
Later on, the bus will ride down Benjamin Sheares Bridge - Singapore's longest bridge -and take you across Marina Bay, with a final view of the ArtScience Museum on the left, and the Singapore Flyer on the right. It then curves to the east and crosses the water again with a view of the pointy-roofed Costa Rhu apartment blocks.
Look to the left for a glimpse of Suntec City, The Concourse and Golden Mile Complex, as you journey back to the east.
Tips: The loop takes more than 2.5 hours - perfect if you want some time alone with your thoughts. Alternatively, hop on at Bedok North MRT station or Moulmein Road.
Do not forget to head to the bathroom first. Your bladder will thank you later.
BUS 980: LEAFY AVENUES AND NATURE WALKS
Where: Sembawang Interchange to Lorong 1 Geylang Terminal
What: A leafy route for nature lovers who do not mind hopping off to explore some of the nearby attractions, which are not all visible from the road:
1. Sembawang Hot Spring Park
Alight at Block 114 in Sembawang Road and walk to the park located off Gambas Avenue. Relax at the hot spring, enjoy the greenery and cook some eggs while you are at it.
2. Chong Pang City
Yishun New Town's first neighbourhood centre, is visible from the bus.
Alight opposite Dieppe Barracks and head down Bah Soon Pah road to explore the nurseries. Beware of oncoming traffic as there is no sidewalk.
4. Springleaf Nature Park
5. Thomson Nature Park
Alight before Tagore Drive to explore nature trails and check out the ruins of a Hainan village.
6. Lower Peirce Reservoir
Hop off before Sembawang Hills Food Centre, cross the road and walk down Old Upper Thomson Road towards Lower Peirce Boardwalk. There are nurseries in the area too. This bus also passes MacRitchie Reservoir.
7. Singapore Polo Club and the Mount Pleasant heritage road
Alight opposite the Singapore Polo Club, cross the road and walk down Mount Pleasant Road. Take a stroll down the heritage road that begins after Denham Road and soak in the sights of saga trees and elegant pre-war homes.
The bus later passes the Novena, Bugis and Beach Road areas - with views of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Golden Mile Complex - before terminating in Geylang.
Tips: This route takes you through tree-lined avenues in air-conditioned comfort - a relaxing 1.5-hour ride, but you will not see many of these attractions without hopping off.
Visit this website to check how crowded a park or nature reserve is before heading down.