September 27, 2022
Things to do in Yishun - Kayakasia

Things to do in Yishun


“Walou, must be in Yishun again,” seems to be the auto-response towards news of any grisly events in Singapore these days. Accuracy: >50%

Once a sleepy neighbourhood, Yishun is now twice as happening as any other township in Singapore, and has swiftly gained a reputation for being a ‘hood of hooligans – no thanks to the series of unfortunate events that have recently plagued it.

But other than being (in)famous for stabbing incidents, cat killers, and drug busts, Yishun is so much more to me – it’s been my hometown for my entire 23 years of existence, and counting. And I might be biased, but I daresay it’s a pretty neat neighbourhood, with lots to see and do:


1. Explore Khatib Bongsu on a kayak


Things to do in Yishun - Kayakasia
Image credit:
@kayakasia.sg

Even if you’re a Northie, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of Khatib Bongsu before. This relatively ulu nature spot houses Singapore’s largest mangrove riverine habitat, making it worth the visit. It’s pretty hard to explore the area on your own, so we recommend signing up for Kayakasia’s guided kayak tour around the area. 

The 5-hour tour will take you through a swampy terrain, where you’ll find yourself amidst towering plants and mangroves – a true sight to behold. 

Contact: 9756 2040 (for updates on their tour starting points and prices) | Kayakasia Khatib Bongsu tour website


2. Satisfy your childhood cravings at Nelly’s Retro Snacks


Things to do in Yishun - Nelly's
Image credit:
Nelly’s Retro Snacks Facebook

From time to time, we all get sudden cravings for childhood snacks – but the most torturous thing about this is that it’s super hard to get our hands on them at regular supermarkets these days. If you find yourself in Yishun, be sure to visit Nelly’s Retro Snacks to please your inner child. 

Old-school snack
If you grew up in the early 2000s, we bet you miss this 7-11 staple snack.

Image credit: Nelly’s Retro Snacks Facebook

This snacks store sells many old-school faves, from tinned sugar biscuits to powdered candy and even 7-11’s discontinued Craze Hottis. Since there are over 300 goodies to browse, you’ll definitely be leaving with your tummies and heart’s content. 

Address: 18 Yishun 9, #01-49 Yishun Junction 9 Mall, Singapore 768897
Opening hours: 9am-11pm, Daily
Contact: 8776 8200 | Nelly’s Retro Snacks’ Facebook


3. Go for a late-night dessert run at Coconuto


Coconuto
Image credit:
@coconutosg

It’s pretty clear by now that Singaporeans go crazy over coconut-flavoured goods. If you’re a self proclaimed fan of the fruit, be sure to check out Singapore’s very first coconut-themed cafe, Coconuto. What’s more, it’s open till 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, and midnight for the rest of the week, making it the perfect supper spot. 

Things to do in Yishun - Coconuto
Image credit:
@coconutosg

The cafe serves up a range of coconut smoothies starting at $4.20, which you can customise with unique toppings like chendol ($0.80) and nata de coco ($0.80). If you’re down for something more filling, try their affordable waffles (from $4.50) and top it off with yummy coconut ice cream selections (from $3.80/scoop)

Address: 645 Yishun Street 61, #01-322, Singapore 760645
Opening hours: Mon-Thu, Sun 12pm-12am | Fri-Sat 12pm-2am
Contact: 9645 3262 | Coconuto Facebook


4. Let your inner child out at some of the quirkiest playgrounds


Quirky crooked playground Yishun

A Salvador Dali creation come to life? Or just an unfortunate structure that melted in Singapore’s unbearable heat? Nope, this wonky-looking playground at Block 330 was proudly born this way, with no mistakes.

Quirky crooked playground Yishun


5. Take on the Canopy Sky Walker 18m above ground


 Canopy Sky Walker Cargo Net Bridge SAFRA Yishun
Cargo Net Bridge.
Image credit: @iamsoulhappy

If getting active on flat ground doesn’t cut it for your thrill-seeking soul, take it up a notch – literally – with the Canopy Sky Walker at SAFRA Yishun’s Adventure Sports Centre. You’ll be hoisted 15-18 metres up in the air to clear 4 tiers of obstacles: the Cargo Net Bridge, Broken Island, Zig-Zag Trail, and Flying Fox.

 Canopy Sky Walker Zig Zag Trail SAFRA Yishun
Zig Zag Trail.
Image credit: Meetup

Don’t worry; you’ll be strapped into a harness and there’ll be experienced instructors on site to help belay and guide you. Adventurous young children can take on the course too, so head on down for some family bonding high up in the foliage.

Note: participants must be at least 7 years old or have a height of 1.1m and above

SAFRA Yishun Country Club
Address: 60 Yishun Avenue 4, Singapore 769027
Timings: Tue – Sun: 10am – 12pm,  2pm – 4pm
Contact: 6377 9889 | SAFRA website


6. Kayak along the tranquil waters of Lower Seletar Reservoir


Kayaking Lower Seletar Reservoir Yishun
Image credit: @salman_mricn

Devoid of the crowds that plague Kallang Basin during weekends, Lower Seletar Reservoir is a haven for avid kayakers who don’t wish to knock paddles with others. Go ahead and rent a kayak from the Lower Seletar Water Sports Centre there, and werk those arms!

Heritage Bridge Lower Seletar Reservoir Yishun

Those who’d prefer something less intense can take a tranquil stroll along the waters, and head out to the Heritage Bridge for some stellar views – especially during sunset.

Water Play Area Lower Seletar Reservoir Yishun
Let your little ones run loose at the water play area. Image credit: new88 on TripAdvisor

Sunset Lower Seletar Reservoir Yishun
Image credit: @ngyiyang

Lower Seletar Water Sports Centre
Address: 00 Yishun Ave 1, Lower Seletar Water Sports Centre, Singapore 769140
Opening hours: Tue-Wed, Fri 9am-5pm | Sat-Sun 8am-pm (Closed on Mondays & Thursdays)
Contact: 9154 9424 | Lower Seletar Water Sports Centre website


7. Go bowling from $3.50 at Sonic Bowl


Things to do in Yishun - $3.50 bowling
Image credit:
Sonic Bowl website 

If you’re looking for activities to enjoy with the fam, head down to Sonic Bowl at SAFRA Yishun for some competitive fun. The alley is equipped with bumpers and light-weight bowling balls, so kiddos can join in too. 

There are also darts stations and foosball tables scattered around the vicinity, so visitors can switch between activities whenever they like. From now till June 2023, Sonic Bowl is running an NS55 promo for $3.50 games, so be sure to snag the deal before it’s over. 

Address: 60 Yishun Avenue 4 #02-09, S769027
Rates: From $3.50/game
Opening hours: Sun-Thu 11am-11pm | Fri-Sat & PH 11am-1am
Contact: 6759 9737 | Sonic Bowl website


8. Grow organic fruit and veg at KTPH’s rooftop herb garden


Khoo Teck Puat Hospital rooftop herb garden

With its lush greenery leading out to Yishun Pond, the ground floor of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital looks more like a garden than part of a medical centre. However, most don’t know that its 7th floor is home to an actual garden – where everything grown is edible!

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital rooftop herb garden

From corn to Thai basil and wintermelon, the myriad of produce here – as well as the fertiliser used – is 100% organic. You can gain access to the garden as a volunteer tending it on weekdays too. To sign up, simply contact the hospital or fill up a form via their volunteer page.

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital rooftop herb garden
A rare strawberry plant which miraculously managed to bear fruit in our humid climate

Even if gardening isn’t your thing, you can still purchase the fruit and veg for your own consumption! Plucked fruits and veg cost $1-$2, while whole potted herbs go for $3-$5. Proceeds are channelled into a Green Fund used for the purchase of seeds and tools for upkeeping the garden.

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital rooftop herb garden
The inside of the loofah fruit, which can be used as a sponge

Most of us are familiar with ORTO by now – and if you keep up with the news, you would’ve heard about its upcoming closure by mid 2023. Before we bid goodbye to our favourite late-night prawning spot, be sure to check out these activities: 

Address: 81 Lorong Chencharu, Singapore 769198
Contact: 6257 8858 | ORTO website


9. Interact with turtles at The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum


Things to do in Yishun - Live Turtle & Tortoise museum

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum holds the Guiness World Record for the largest turtle collection – so if you’re looking to interact and learn more about these adorable reptiles, this is the place to be. 

Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum
You can also purchase food to feed the turtles at just $2.

The museum houses many different turtle species, including rarer ones like the Aldabra Giant Tortoise and African Spurred Tortoise. As you roam the museum grounds, you’ll also get to interact with reptiles of different sizes, from tiny terrapins to larger box shell turtles. 

Book tickets to the Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum.

Price (Singaporean & PR): $6/pax for 3-6 year-old children | $10/pax for visitors above 6 years-old | $6/pax for senior citizens
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 10am-6pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Contact: Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum website


10. Bounce around at Katapult Trampoline Park


Katapult Trampoline Park ORTO Yishun
Image credit: ORTO

Imagine a huge room where pretty much the entire floor is made of trampolines and inflatable bouncy mattresses – that’s exactly what Katapult Trampoline Park is. Other than trying out backflips on over 30 interconnected trampolines and angled trampoline walls, you can also play a game of dodgeball, defy gravity on a wall run, or test your courage in a Free Fall.

You can even try shooting hoops here – perhaps that elusive slam dunk might finally be more possible with that extra boost from the trampolines. If you enjoy bouldering or rock climbing, there’s also a brand new rock wall installation for you to work your way up.

Katapult Trampoline Park ORTO Yishun
Image credit: ORTO

Note: Children under 4 must be supervised. 1 adult gets to jump with the child for free.

Book a trip to Katapult Trampoline Park @ ORTO Yishun.

Price: From $15/hour on weekdays
Opening hours: Mon 12pm-7pm | Tue-Sun & PH 10am-7pm
Contact: 6754 5188 | Katapult Trampoline Park website


11. Catch your own prawns and fish for dinner


Prawning @ ORTO Yishun
Image credit: ORTO

Prawning at ORTO is a popular late-night activity of Yishunites looking for something to occupy both their time AND their tummies with. Amidst a lepak kampung village atmosphere, you can catch your prawns and eat them too, after grilling them to perfection on skewers.

Prawning @ ORTO Yishun
Image credit: ORTO

Seasoned prawners looking for a bigger challenge can trade their prawning rods for fishing rods at ORTO’s Fishing Paradise right next door. If you’re lucky, you might even snag a catch sizeable enough to feed the entire family for a meal or two!

Fishing Paradise @ ORTO Yishun
Image credit: Prawning at ORTO

Prawning @ ORTO
Price: From $20/hour
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily
Contact: ORTO website

Fishing Paradise @ ORTO
Price: From $13/hour
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily
Contact: 9632 7626 | ORTO website


12. Operate real construction vehicles at Diggersite


Diggersite ORTO Yishun
Image credit: @meowmelmeowmel

If you’ve ever dreamed of coming in like a wrecking ball a la Miley, Diggersite allows you to do just that – with machinery like excavators, forklifts, even tower cranes! While more targeted towards kids than adults, this isn’t just child’s play – the vehicles are real and fully functional ones, able to be driven and capable of actual construction work.

Diggersite ORTO Yishun
Image credit: @khairulannuar1

For the full Bob the Builder experience, you’ll even get to don a hard hat and fluorescent vest – just like the ones our unsung labourer heroes wear.

P.S.: there’s no maximum age limit, so adults can get in on the fun too!

Price: From $18/child
Opening hours: Sat-Sun 11am-6pm (Closed on weekdays)
Contact: 8802 0764 | Diggersite website


13. Have a quiet BBQ against the sunset at Yishun Dam


Once a top secret spot only accessible by car or bicycle, Yishun Dam is now less out of the way with bus service 103 and 117. Even so, it remains relatively crowd-free, and is the perfect place to catch a striking, unobstructed sunset by calm waters.

Yishun Dam sunset
Image credit: @caramellechaos

There’s not much else here, but this little piece of heaven is also my go-to for chill BBQs – thanks to disposable barbeque pits from Cold Storage with pre-packed coal. Bring along a picnic mat, sparklers, and portable speakers, and you’re all set for a great cookout! Of course, do be a good citizen and clean up after yourselves once the party’s over.

For a change of scenery, take a quick stroll down to Rower’s Bay Park that’s located just a stone’s throw away.

Note: clear your bladder beforehand as there are no toilets here.

Getting here: Take bus 103 or 117 and alight at “Bef Shell Aviation”.


Bonus: Take a peek at Jenal Jetty’s kelongs


It’s worth venturing further down past the far end of Yishun Dam’s boardwalk to catch a glimpse of Jenal Jetty. In land-scarce Singapore, pockets of land are constantly being built over with shiny new buildings, but fortunately this rustic spot is still being preserved. For now.

Jenal jetty

Signs screaming “NO ENTRY” line the fences, but we hear that you might just be granted entry if you make friends with the fishermen uncles there. Either way, peering in from the outside will still give you a pretty good view of the mangroves, fishing boats, and kampung huts within – a stark contrast to the cityscapes we’re used to.


Yishun, a unique neighbourhood with lots to enjoy


Ulu Yishun might be the butt of many jokes, but it also holds many dear memories for me – and over 200,000 others. Say what you will, but I’m proud to be an Yishunite from birth.

Put your reservations aside and head down with your pals sometime to experience what this little town has to offer. I can’t guarantee that you won’t run into any Yishun Crazies, but I can bet you this: you’ll be having a ton of fun, and perhaps even gain a newfound appreciation for this little estate.

Check out more neighbourhood guides:


Cover image adapted from: @kayakasia.sg, @coconutosg.
Originally published on 8th August 2017. Last updated by Gwyn Lim on 22nd September 2022.
A portion of this content may contain referral links to products. Our opinions remain our own.


#Pure #Wholesome #Yishun

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