SINGAPORE - For those who have always wanted to explore the nooks and crannies of Singapore's heartland, a new series of tours launched on Monday (Nov 9) hopes to do just that.
The first of 10 tours will be on Nov 29, taking participants through the estates of Ang Mo Kio and Kebun Baru.
Around 80 spots are available for the tour, which includes stops at locations of historical and cultural significance around Ang Mo Kio Town Central and Kebun Baru Neighbourhood Centre.
Led by guides from City Tours, these heartland jaunts will last about 3½ hours, and will involve eight groups of no more than 10 people moving around the districts.
In Ang Mo Kio, one will be able to explore wall murals and visit old shops and stores that have been standing for decades. And in Kebun Baru, tour participants will visit hidden gems like the district's bird cage street, where bird singing competitions used to be held.
Foodies can also anticipate stops at the Mayflower Market and Hawker Centre, and Ang Mo Kio Central Market and Food Centre.
The tour will also include a ride on a FunVee open-top double-decker bus, complete with live commentary.
Those who are unable to go for the tours can look forward to content featured on Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, and virtual videos by Fly Entertainment featuring local celebrities like Irene Ang that will highlight these locations and their history.
These tours are jointly launched by the Singapore Press Holdings' Chinese Media Group (CMG) and the Heartland Enterprise Centre Singapore (HECS), and supported by the Federation of Merchants' Associations Singapore (FMAS) and Enterprise Singapore.
The tours are part of a collaboration under a memorandum of understanding signed by the three organisations to drive heartland rejuvenation initiatives and to help give the businesses of neighbourhood enterprises and hawkers a welcome boost.
"Our hawkers and heartland businesses have felt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In collaboration with our partners, we would like to encourage more Singaporeans, expatriates, and tourists alike to come rediscover our neighbourhoods and bring back much needed footfall to the heartlands," said Mr Yeo Hiang Meng, president of FMAS and managing director for the HECS.
"Each neighbourhood is unique, and we would like to show that there's more to see in Singapore beyond the tourist spots as there is rich culture, history, and good food to be found in our heartland," he added.
Tickets for the tours cost $20 per person. Each participant will, however, be given at least $20 worth of vouchers, valid for one week, which they can spend at designated locations and merchants within the neighbourhoods.
Plans are currently in the pipeline for the tours to be expanded to other districts, including Bishan and Toa Payoh in December, and other areas like Bedok, Jurong East, Boon Lay, Clementi, and West Coast in the months to come.
Those interested in signing up for the tour through Ang Mo Kio and Kebun Baru may do so at the website.
For more stories on exploring Singapore, go to the SG Go Where page.