The neighbourhood of Seletar adopted its name from the Orang Seletar, an indigenous subgroup of Malay sea gypsies who lived in the area before the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819.
Originally a rubber plantation estate, a large area of the grounds was purchased by the Straits Settlement government and given to the British Royal Air Force (RAF) to establish a military airbase in Singapore. Completed in 1929 and opened in 1930, Seletar Airport served as the first RAF base east of India and as SG’s first international civilian airport.
The area has recently been developed into an aerospace park to cater to the growing aerospace industry in Singapore. The airport is still in use, too – with chartered and private flights, and frequently for training purposes by several aviation schools in SG!
There are a number of reasons why this chilled-out nabe in the northeast of SG is totally worth a day trip.
Top of the list? Seletar has multiple F&B outlets situated in its many still-standing colonial bungalows, where you can watch planes fly overhead with a cup of joe in hand. Here are some places to go while in the nabe:
Champion sustainability as you enjoy a delectable spread of farm-to-table cuisine at this restaurant. Savour the freshness of its dishes – most ingredients are sourced from farms in SG – including Miso Shiitake Linguine ($22, add $8 for three grilled fresh prawns) and Hot Smoked Scottish Salmon ($32).
Tip: It has a private garden dome – perfect for a romantic dinner for two or party with close friends.
3 Park Ln., Seletar Aerospace Park, 798387
image: Soek Seng 1954 Bicycle Café
You’d be hard-pressed to find a location in SG with better views of planes taking off and landing than here. Owned by a vintage bicycle collector, who proudly displays his bikes and vivid artwork around the premises, this cafe serves up a juicy Chicken Katsu Don ($7.80) in a heated stone bowl.
Soek Seng 1954 Bicycle Café
80 Seletar Aerospace View, MAJ Aviation Building, #01-01, 797563
Skip the zoo or bird park and let your kids experience the rustic charm of a kampong (village) alongside farm animals at The Animal Resort. Get up close and personal with geese, ducks and exotic birds like the cassowary and marabou stork. Be sure to buy a pack of carrots, hay or bread ($1 per pack) for these freeroaming animals as you walk around.
The Animal Resort
81 Seletar West, Farmway 5, 798061
One of Seletar’s many hidden gems, this bar and grill situated at a former British military airbase (now known as Seletar Aerospace Park) is an ideal spot for some cosy communal dining. Order the Tequila and Lime Pork Spare Ribs ($58) or Mediterranean-Style Sea Bass Cartoccio ($58) to share with family, friends or fellow office mates.
2 Park Ln., 798386
This once-obscure Western food stall in Seletar Hills Estate has gained popularity for its flavourful, hearty yet affordable fare. Try the thinly battered Fish & Chips ($6.50) or fan-favourite Chicken Chop ($6). Make sure to soak up the delicious gravy with its greasy but highly-addictive buttery bun.
The stall only opens in the evenings, but get there early to beat the crowd!
Seletar Western Food
2 Jln. Selaseh, Seletar Corner, #01-04, 808433
Explore this green space that’s steeped in history, with colonial-era black-and-white houses dotting the area. Once owned by the British Royal Air Force, it now includes an aviation-themed playground featuring a giant-sized version of Aeroplane Chess and airplane-shaped play structures that kids will clamour and clamber over.
The Oval at Seletar Aerospace Park
3 Park Ln., 798387
Visit Seletar Reservoir’s iconic lookout tower. A favourite among locals in the 1970s, this “rocket ship” was built to commemorate and celebrate Singapore’s 150th anniversary since its founding as a British trading post. If you’re feeling adventurous, climb all the way to the top for a panoramic view of the lush greenery and waters!
Seletar Rocket Tower
Mandai Rd., Track 7, Upper Seletar Reservoir
If you haven’t heard about this 24-hour activity park, you’re certainly missing out. At 555,000 square feet, it’s Singapore’s first multi-recreational park with a rustic, kampong (village) feel – and plenty of activities for the whole family! Try your hand at freshwater sportfishing, prawning, riding go-karts or shooting paintballs. You may enter the premises for free and pay for individual activities.
81 Lorong Chencharu, 769198
Opened in the first half of 2019, this park within Lower Seletar Reservoir Park is already popular with rowers and dragon boaters. Plus, it’s a great spot to catch the sunrise or sunset. If you’re a cyclist, check out its useful D.I.Y. bicycle repair station, including vending machines that sell repair equipment!
Rower’s Bay Park
Seletar Club Rd., 797790
By Melodi Ghui, The Finder Issue 300, September 2019 / Photos: The Straits Times + respective shops and businesses.
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