Pasir Ris — to many, an isolated enclave in the East of the country — has so much more than meets the eye.
Located at one extreme end of the green MRT line, this town is almost like undisturbed treasure. As one of the more matured housing estates in the country, Pasir Ris is a treasure trove of discoveries, fun things to do and great places to eat.
Pasir Ris also means “white sand” in Malay (hence, its White Sands Shopping Mall). This apt name for the town comes from the long stretches of sandy beaches which face Pulau Ubin along the northeastern shores of Singapore. What was once an area of villages and huts became a place for recreation and leisure by the beach, and today an integrated community that is undisturbed by the hustle and bustle of town.
Ready to explore Pasir Ris and be surprised by what it has to offer? Read on to find out what to do, where to eat, and where to shop while you’re here!
Things To Do
1. Get wet (and wild!)
The equivalent of Sentosa’s Adventure Cove, Pasir Ris’s own Wild Wild Wet is one of the top waterparks in Singapore for families and friends to get wild and wet. Opened in 2004, this waterpark, one of the largest in the country, has been hailed as one of the top 10 water parks in Asia. From adrenalin-pumping rides to relaxing ones, visitors can enjoy a fun-filled day while they beat the heat. The park has also been continuously expanding and revamped.
In addition to its original nine slides and rides, guests can enjoy seven newer attractions such as the Royal Flush — Asia’s first hybrid ride — and the Kraken Racers — Singapore’s first four-lane mat racer slide. If you’re looking for something more exciting, dare yourself to go on the Torpedo or Free Fall for a mind-blowing experience. There are also rides for little ones over at the Kidz Zone, ensuring that there is something for the whole family. Rides are not all it offers too. Ever heard of a wedding happening in a water theme park? That can be arranged for along with company retreats, family days and celebratory events like birthdays and anniversaries for a splashing good time.
Wild Wild Wet
Address: 1 Pasir Ris Close, 519599
Tel: 6581 9128
Opening hours: 12 to 6 p.m. (Wed. to Mon.; Closed on Tuesdays)
2. Unwind by the beach
Remember, Pasir Ris is derived from the Malay term for “white sand”. So of course, white sandy beaches will be what you find here. From Pasir Ris Park all the way up to Changi Beach, this coastal town attracts locals from far and wide, and residents from nearby to its pristine beaches. With great views of Pulau Ubin and some parts of Malaysia, there’s so much to do by the beach.
Fancy a picnic? Grab some food and refreshments from the malls and stores nearby and feast by the waters! Public toilets and amenities are available for a great picnic out. Want to fly a kite or throw some frisbee instead? You can at the various open green spaces along the beach. There even are two beach volleyball courts at Pasir Ris Park! Else, it’s also nice to just sit by the beach and take in some me-time. If the many benches are occupied, try taking a seat on the breakwaters with the waves crashing in near your feet. There’s not much more therapeutic than that.
3. Try out some fishing
Imagine fishing in a huge pond in the middle of a residential estate. Well, in Pasir Ris, that’s no imaginary feat. In the heart of the town lies Pasir Ris Town Park — just a crossing away from the MRT. Here, you can meet fellow anglers who gather around the park’s three-hectare seawater fishing pond. Non-professionals can even rent a rod from the fishing shop and challenge themselves at the well-shaded fishing pond!
Want to try fishing but don’t have the equipment? Well, this park is for you. After getting your hands on some fishes, head beside to Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre, where good food and even better vibes await.
4. Go on a nature boardwalk
It doesn’t take long from the town centre for you to find yourself completely immersed in nature. Nestled in between Pasir Ris Town Park and Pasir Ris Beach is a mangrove boardwalk — a rustic footpath through the original mangrove swamps of the area. On the trail, you can get up close to the inhabitants of the forest. The three-storey Bird Watching Tower located within the mangrove also allows bird enthusiasts to observe birds in their natural surroundings. Talk about never being too far away from adventure!
5. Venture to Changi Village
If you’re not in a rush, we’d definitely recommend venturing out to Changi Village — that’s probably to most northeasterly one can go in the country. While it is a long drive away from the nearest MRT, the Changi Village enclave remains ever so popular among Singaporeans. From Changi Beach, to the Hawker Centre and the many chalets and resorts, this neighbourhood is almost like a beachside villa away from Singapore.
But if you explore, you’ll know that there actually are still many residents staying in the low-rise public housing apartments here. With only a few hundred residents calling this neighbourhood home, you’ll expect to find some peace and quiet. That is until Singaporeans from all parts of the country come here too to relax. So hurry down when you can and discover this town that is seemingly frozen in time (and read more about the food here below).
6. Spot some planes
Yup, in the east, you’re never too far away from Changi Airport. Whether it is from Changi Beach or Pasir Ris Park, you’ll be able to see airplanes take off into the skies, or be welcomed into sunny Singapore. While it is not the best time to travel, there’s nothing stopping us from admiring the fascinating structures that are our planes. But don’t worry, the town of Pasir Ris is undisturbed by the bellowing jets and screeching rubbers.
If you really want to get up close to the planes, Changi Village is the place to go. On the way there, you’ll already notice buildings getting lower — as part of safety regulations around the airport’s airspace. Besides the many army camps and the massive Changi Air Base, you’ll also spot airplane manufacturing factories, aerospace engineering companies, as well as the nation’s Aviation Academy — where young and old pilots go to train. Here, you’ll sure hear the majestic roars of the jet engines. That’s probably the closest we’ll get to airplane travel.
7. Ascend a rock wall
Back in the vibrant town of Pasir Ris, there’s more adrenaline-pumping activities to try, like rock climbing. Located in E!Hub of Downtown East, a towering rock wall stands where the indoor ferris wheel used to be (until it was recently removed, sad!). Nonetheless, adventure seekers from all walks of live can come to Upwall Climbing and try to scale the rock walls.
Upwall Climbing is a beginner-friendly facility which aims to introduce rock climbing to people of all ages, in a safe and friendly environment, of course. For those looking to pick up a new skill, or refine their talents, Upwall Climbing also offers programmes and classes. There is even a 1-to-1 coaching service available here. Oh, and did we mention? It is all located indoors in the comfort of air conditioning. Phew!
8. Play some water sports
Back out at Pasir Ris Park, adventure seekers can also venture out to sea in kayaks or paddle boards. Adventure Paddlers offer water sports equipment rental for those who want in on this action. Grab a friend and rent a kayak, and go explore the mangrove swamps, or the coastal environments along Pasir Ris. If you’re confident with your balance, try stand-up paddle boarding and feel like you’re standing on water!
Introductory courses and lessons are available for rookies who require more help — which might be most of us. Or, if you’re looking to do something more meaningful, Adventure Paddlers also organises beach clean-up programmes and day trips to Pulau Ubin, too.
Address: 131 Pasir Ris Rd., 519148 (off Carpark A)
Tel: 9737 7944
9. Rent a chalet or villa
Another thing Pasir Ris and Changi Village are synonymous with are chalets. As the former town was initially developed to be a space for waterside leisure and escape, there are many chalets and villas that are available for rent in the area. Right in the heart of Pasir Ris, there is Downtown East’s D’Resort. It is a nature-inspired resort — located beside Wild Wild Wet — where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and enjoy quality time with your loved ones.
Further up at Changi Village, there are the famous Changi Chalets including the SAF chalets, Civil Service Club chalets, and the class ones along Netheravon Road. Many Singaporean teenagers love organising class gatherings or friends outings at the chalets here — and the daring ones venture to the Old Changi Hospital at night. What a classic Singaporean story!
10. Camp overnight
We’ve yet to exhaust the list of things that can be done in Pasir Ris. If you want to fully immerse yourself by the beach, participate in water sports, and maybe hold a barbecue all in one day, then why not try camping overnight too? At the various campsites in Pasir Ris Park, all you need to do is apply for a permit, actually own a tent and start packing for your overnight stay.
Public toilets and vending machines are available all over the park, as are public playgrounds, barbecue pits, and concrete benches. This makes the park and beach a very popular spot for families and friends to make camp there. While current Covid restrictions places a halt on outdoor camping, you can start planning to make your return or your inaugural camp here once the situation gets better. For more details on camping in Pasir Ris Park, see here.
11. Play at the arcades
Downtown East used to house one of the most popular arcades on its highest floor. Many Singaporeans would recall running into Zone X (the arcade), and having a blast at the basketball hoops machine or Animal Kaiser games, or taking cute photos at the neoprints stations. While this popular Zone X arcade that is beside the cinemas is no longer there, it has since been replaced by the equally fun and exciting Cow Play Cow Moo — a brand new arcade experience where you can earn thousands of tickets to be exchanged for prizes (don’t worry, the paper tickets are recycled and reused!).
Also within the premises is Whimsy — another mini arcade with fun and exciting games for you to explore. If you’re looking for something to entertain the kids, you’re in luck. At Downtown East, there is the famous Tayo Station on level 3 — a massive 10,000-square-foot indoor playground that is themed after the popular Korean animation series Tayo the Little Bus. For more on what Downtown East has to offer, see here!
12. Cycle by the sea
Finally, another popular activity to do while you’re around Pasir Ris is to just cycle your blues away. At one corner of Pasir Ris Town Park lies GoCycling’s self-service bike rental outlet. If you’re coming in from far away, consider renting a bike from here and hitting the beachside pavements. If you’re near, there are park connectors that offer seamless connection to Pasir Ris from areas like Sengkang, Punggol, Tampines, and Bedok.
Or, if you’re willing to travel here on your hardy bike, take on the route towards Changi Village after you have explored Pasir Ris. The park connector from to Changi Village takes you through Loyang, as well as numerous army camps — including the famous Hendon Camp, the home of the commandos. With sea breezes and tropical trees, a cycling trip here is bound to be unforgettable.
Where to Eat + Drink
1. Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre
Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre is a two-storey modern food centre located right beside Pasir Ris Town Park. On the ground floor, you can find local favourites from Mixed Economic Rice to Nasi Padang and Fish Soup. The Teh Tarik from the corner shop is also a hotspot for residents in need of something sweet. The modern and clean design here makes the dining experience so much more pleasant. Then, there is a surprise is waiting for you on the upper level.
As you take the lift or the staircase to the second floor, you’ll notice the decor change a little. Indeed, on the second level of the hawker centre, there is a plethora of trendy and hipster hawkers to choose from. Think juicy Korean fried chicken at Seoul Kitchen, tantalising Japanese bentos at Eki-ben, or delicious hotplate grills and pasta at Daburu. Food here boasts a more modern and sometimes healthier take on the popular foods around the country. And the views of Pasir Ris Town Park? Consider them the cherry on top.
Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre
Address: 110 Pasir Ris Central, 519641
Opening hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (daily; opening hours vary with stalls)
2. Wild Olives
While Wild Olives is within the Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre (yes, on the second level), the editor has decided that it deserves its own special mention. First opened in an airport food court by a lovely couple, Wild Olives has been serving up immaculate Western food at extremely affordable prices. Think juicy Grilled Pork Chops ($5.90), tender NZ Sirloin Steak ($10.90), and crunchy Breaded Chicken Cutlets ($5.90) — all at amazing price points.
Oh, and the mains comes with sides too! We personally recommend the Herb Potatoes — crunchy and savoury potatoes in their magical sauce. Also available are Mushroom Rice, Veggies, French Fries, Mashed Potatoes and more. A meal here is guaranteed to be delicious, value-for-money and make you want to come back for more. Just one caveat: Hours before Wild Olives opens (in the morning and then in the afternoon), the queues start forming already. If you’re here during peak lunch or dinner hours, expect a queue that can last for more than an hour. But good things are worth the wait, or an early queue.
Address: #02-19 Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre, 110 Pasir Ris Central, 519641
Tel: 9684 0689
Opening hours: 12 to 3:30 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m. (Closed on Tuesdays)
3. Ministry of Burgers
Located in E!Hub within Downtown East, Ministry of Burgers serves up classic Ramly-style burgers… but better. Inspired from the nostalgic Pasar Malams (Malay for night market), which are bazaars that pop up in the heartlands once in a while (but temporarily suspended due to Covid), you will be able to enjoy a taste reminiscent of what you’d find in those lively markets.
However, Ministry of Burgers prides itself on serving an elevated version of the Ramly-burger. Think thicker and more succulent patties, freshly-toasted buns, fresh vegetables and cheese and also delicious sauces to sweeten the deal.
Ministry of Burgers
Address: #01-K101 E!Hub, 1 Pasir Ris Close, 519599
Tel: 8182 6497
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (daily)
4. Beardy Bakes Sugee Cake
Beardy Bakes specialises in assorted sugee cakes as well as meringue toppings. With a three-day preorder, you too can get your hands on their delicious bakes which starts from $39 for a medium-sized cake. If you’ve never heard of sugee cakes, it is a delicacy made from semolina, almonds, creamed butter, eggs, and sometimes brandy. This is typically served on festive occasions and holidays (like Christmas) by members of the Eurasian community in both Malaysia and Singapore.
If a whole cake is too much for you, opt for their mini sugee cakes, starting at $19.80 for 10 pieces — or get 50 pieces at $99! To make things better, they also make sugee cakes with meringue or chocolate ganache on top. Delivery is available on top of the self pick-up option at their cozy home in Pasir Ris.
Beardy Bakes Sugee Cake
Address: #02-166, Block 757 Pasir Ris Street 71, 510757
Tel: 8692 9241
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Sat.) and 6 to 8 p.m. (Mon. to Fri); Closed on Sundays
5. Georges @ The Cove
Time for some beachfront dining? Georges @ The Cove in Pasir Ris Park is the place to go. In fact, Georges, with multiple locations islandwide, started humbly at this Pasir Ris outlet, initially being a small sea sports centre with a beverage kiosk. In 2004, it started expanding, and wanted to bring to the people good food, great music as well as friendliness.
Today, this Balinese concept bistro continues to serve up great food and drinks in their specially-designed ambience. But nothing tops the seaside views at this original Pasir Ris location. If you’re hungry, go for the mains such as Beer Battered Fish & Chips ($19.90), Slow Braised Lambshank ($28.90), or share a Fisherman’s Wharf Seafood Bucket ($118) that feeds up to four people. And of course, the drinks: Whether it is local beers on the tap, house-pour spirits like rum or gin or even just some soju, there’s not better place to savour them than in the immaculate vibes here — by the beach.
Georges @ The Cove
Address: 133 Pasir Ris Rd., 519149
Tel: 6585 0535
Opening hours: 12 to 10:30 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.) and 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Sat., Sun. and PH.)
Mukshidonna, located in Downtown East, is commonly known for its delicious Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew), but is has since been rebranded into a Toppoki (Korean Rice Cake) restaurant. The term Mukshidonna means eat (Muk), rest (Shi), pay (Don), leave (Na) when translated in English — meaning “Have your food, pay and leave”. But don’t mistake this eatery for being cold and transactional.
Besides the warm hospitality, you can also expect mouth-watering dishes that are a feast for both your tummies and your eyes. The many varieties of Toppoki here makes this place a wonderful place to bring your friends and families. Think Korean rice cakes with cheese, beef bulgogi, mussels, and even budae (chicken sausages), with various add-ons for you to spice your meal up. And for a fitting end to a hearty meal here, hop on the trend and opt for the fried rice (fried directly on the Toppoki grill with all its deliciousness). And they are halal-certified!
Address: #02-324 E!Avenue, 1 Pasir Ris Close, 519599
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (daily)
7. Changi Village Hawker Centre
Now, we’ve been teasing a lot about the good food at Changi Village Hawker Centre. Indeed, this hawker centre, that has been running since 1975, is home to many local favourites. Despite renovations over the years, the hawker centre has retained its old charm and laid-back atmosphere. Throughout the day, you can spot avid cyclists, fishing enthusiasts, army personnel, and even leisure-seekers having a nice cup of kopi or some desserts here.
For the food, here’s what to put on your must-try list: Changi Village is almost synonymous with Nasi Lemak for some, so you’ll definitely find this fragrant Malay dish around the area (or even smell it!). We’d recommend Mizzy Corner Nasi Lemak — think fluffy coconut rice with deep-fried sides. Next, a more uncommon but nonetheless satisfying dish to try is the Chicken Cutlet Hor Fun. The thick rice noodles is laden with savoury gravy, and topped with a well-fried piece of chicken cutlet. For drinks, definitely order some sugarcane, and go for “gajah” (Malay for elephant) if you want a huge cup to quench your thirst. Otherwise, opt for the famous Commando Dessert, a fan-favourite of the army personnel from the nearby Commando camp.
Changi Village Hawker Centre
Address: 2 Changi Village Rd., 500002
Opening hours: Open 24 hours daily (opening hours vary with stalls)
Where to Shop
1. Ikea, Courts + Giant Megamalls
Whether it is buying furniture and appliances for your new home, or just getting groceries and new fixtures for your current residence, you’ll find everything you need in the three megastores off Pasir Ris. For furniture, home decoration and even juicy meatballs, go to the Tampines IKEA (which is one road away from Pasir Ris). For home appliances, sofas, or new electronics, go to the neighbouring Courts Megastore. Finally, for groceries, household essentials and other supplies, cross over to the Giant Hypermarket.
Address: 60 Tampines North Drive 2, 528764
Tel: 6786 6868
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sun. to Thu.) and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.)
Address: 50 Tampines North Drive 2, 528766
Tel: 1800 222 6868
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (daily)
Address: 21 Tampines North Drive 2, 528765
Tel: 6788 5919
Opening hours: Open 24 hours daily
2. Don Don Donki
Ever since the first outlet sprung up in Orchard Road in late 2017, the popular Japanese lifestyle good store has seen long queues all around Singapore. And just in April, Don Don Donki has opened its ninth outlet in Downtown East, serving the easties of Singapore. With a plethora of products, groceries, freshly-prepared food and electronics, there is bound to be something for the whole family here. Whether it is fun and quirky toys, ingredients imported directly from Japan, or freshly-made sushi, a trip to Don Don Donki is always an experience on its own.
Don Don Donki @ Downtown East
Address: #01-339 E!Avenue, 1 Pasir Ris Close, 519399
Tel: 6244 1311
Opening hours: 9 to 12 a.m. (daily)
3. G Military
Pasir Ris Bus Interchange is the destination for all Singaporean men to board the bus, and subsequently the ferry, off the Pulau Tekong for their military training. On Sundays especially, neat rows of brave young gentlemen, clad in green, will “fall-in” here for another week of training. Of course, that means that shops selling army equipment and other essentials have sprung up here to cater to these young men.
Within White Sands Shopping Mall, G Military is one such shop. It sells army essentials from camouflage cream to green water canteens, zip-loc bags and other necessary accessories. Beyond that, they also carry various memorabilia from the different army formations, various bags and apparels for the rugged outdoors, and also supplies that you might need for a day out in the forest.
G Military @ White Sands
Address: #02-21/22 White Sands Shopping Mall, 1 Pasir Ris Central St. 3, 518457
Tel: 6636 4153
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (daily)
Cellarbration was, in fact, the first in Singapore to launch an online alcohol delivery service, bringing beers, wines, spirits and whiskies to the people’s doorsteps. As a pioneer of the online liquor business, Cellarbration has grown to country-wide presence with five retail locations around the island. Not only are the alcohol here affordable at warehouse prices, they are simply a steal when you buy them during their many sales and promotions. For example, with 24 bottles (not even cans) of Hoegaarden Beer at $64, you’re essentially paying less than $3 per bottle. Time to celebrate!
Cellarbration @ Downtown East
Address: #01-304/305 Downtown East, 1 Pasir Ris Close, 519599
Tel: 6636 4153
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (daily)
5. Sun Paradise
Sun Paradise is a multi-brand concept store that carries a wide range of swimming equipment and gear, including U.V. wetsuits that provide warmth and comfort to children, contemporary bikinis and sophisticated swimwear. The brand also has a variety of goggles, kick boards, swim cap, snorkelling accessories for both adults and children. Whether it is gearing up for water sports, or simply heading to the beach for some relaxation, Sun Paradise has what you need.
Sun Paradise @ Wild Wild Wet
Address: #01-343 Downtown East, 1 Pasir Ris Close, 519599
Tel: 6702 1972
Opening hours: 11:40 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Sun. to Mon.; closed on Tuesdays)
By Derrick Tan, July 2021