It is easy to describe days out in Singapore as "unique" - from city tours to jungle hikes, pottery experiences to kayak fishing, zoos, aquariums, adventure and museums, Singapore has a wide range of activities that suit all ages, styles and tastes. But this was a truly unique experience in the North West corner of this small but varied country.
The Kranji countryside is the keeper to Singapore's only farmland and largely untouched jungle. We started our day bright and early, reaching Kranji MRT station, Bus Berth 3, for a 9.30am pick up. The Kranji farms shuttle, which runs only on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays, costs just $5 per person for the whole day and takes you from stop to ulu stop, making this day out easy for backpackers, families, and anyone else keen on exploring this hidden treasure of Singapore.
The seven destinations on the shuttle bus route are all well-worth the stop - Sungei Buloh wetlands is one of our faves, but we planned a three-stop tour for an action-packed day, full of adventure, discovery and, of course, food! Follow along for a day we would fully recommend.
Once we got on the 0930 bus (comfortable and fully air-conditioned), we stepped out at Kranji Marshes, about 25 minutes away. The landscape changed from town to industrial warehouses, to the sea, to very different, jungle-surrounded roads. We were greeted with a visitor's shelter (from the rain and sun!) and some of the nicest toilets we have experienced outdoors! Well-maintained and beautifully designed, we particularly enjoyed washing our hands in chic round sinks with an open view of the jungle! Onwards, we walked toward the raptor tower. The first 15 minutes of this short hike is a straight paved path, with jungle and woodland to the right and some farmland to your left. At times, you will not notice the buildings and equipment, hiding behind the trees that shield them and we were distracted by the nature to our right. Lizards, squirrels and butterflies were aplenty and we kept an eye out for snakes too. While wildlife is clearly present, don't spend too long looking into the thick growth for animals - the best bit is still to come! The raptor tower appears out of nowhere and some beautiful stepping stones lead you across a stream to the 75 steps that take you to a beautiful treetop view where you can take in the birdlife and expanse of blue skies. If time allows, delve further into the marshes, taking in the west marsh and lotus pond.
Be sure to time yourself on your way out, as you'll need to make your way back to the visitor centre for the 11:27am bus. Just one stop away (a short 3 minute ride - enough to cool down in the aircon!) is Bollywood veggies. Named after the owner's love for singing and dancing, Bollywood veggies is totally unique in Singapore. The bus pulled over in an area with a hustle and bustle of people, wooden, hand painted, colourful signs for plants, toilets, and the restaurant makes you feel like you have transported to a fun, rural beach settlement in Australia. We toured the farm first of all, following the signs for the longer route. Rows of well-labelled trees and plants will have your intrigue wanting more, whether you are a kid or an adult. The huge site is home to its own irrigation pond and pump, shelters from the rain and even a serenity garden, which allows nudity if feeling at one with nature is what you like to do! (This area is not compulsory for anyone nervous about seeing any erm... wildlife!)
We took our time wandering around these gardens (fully clothed, I might like to add) and we made our way back to the restaurant - Poison Ivy, by 12:30pm. Poison is not on the menu, which is beautifully crafted by Ivy, the Bollywood loving owner. We ordered the harvested veggies, the jackfruit lemak, sayur lodeh and the nasi lemak. If the best nasi lemak in the east is at Changi Village Hawker, this one takes it in the west for us! You can taste the freshness on the plate and we wondered whether that certain je ne sais quoi was the organic flavours in the vegetables and eggs!
After a relaxing lunch (we over-ate but it was totally worth it!) we got on the 13:30pm bus to our final destination - the Hay Dairies. The Hay Dairies was a very familiar place for us, having grown up and lived in Norfolk, UK - full of farms. This working goat farm produces fresh Goat milk to Singapore and beyond. The kids bought a large bag of hay each at $5 and we proceeded to the Goat pens to feed them (the goats, not our children!) . These adorable goats are friendly and tame, responding well to being touched and petted as they eat from your hands. We made our way back to the entrance area where there is a place to sit and enjoy some fresh dairy products from the goats you just fed! We would recommend buying some fresh milk as well as trying the chocolate milk too!
The place was bustling with visitors young and old, all enjoying the wonder of the animals and the unique slower farmyard lives in this incredibly modern and fast-paced city. The last bus from Hay Dairies leaves at 15:05pm and we took it back to Kranji MRT where we made our way home.
This tour made us feel like we were on holiday, exploring local culture and, strangely, it felt at times like we were going back in time to experience kampong life in Singapore of yesteryear. We would fully recommend this experience and you must do it soon, as the Hay Dairies Goat Farm is moving in October to a new site (nearby and still on the bus route for anyone who goes after October 2023).