Since I got my driver’s license in the 90s, I’ve always enjoyed driving. Back then, I would try to get the family car to go out with friends. When we went out as a family, I would always be the one to volunteer to drive. When I went to study overseas, I would plan for long road trips with my University mates. Naturally, when I got married, I knew that saving for a car was one of my top priorities!
Fast forward to my days as a Daddy. I love spending time with the kids in the car. It is most fun to drive the family around and taking the time to chat and sing silly songs on the way. Through the years, we have driven to many little curves and corners around Singapore. Some of them are pure spontaneous fun with no specific destination in mind, while some are attractions that we can look forward to after a drive.
While reminiscing this, I have put together my top 5 favourite places for families to take a drive to in Singapore! All you need is your car, and most enthusiastic family members to enjoy the drive!
1. Fairways Drive (Off Eng Neo Ave)
This is one of the most picturesque drives in Singapore. As you turn off Eng Neo Ave, you realise the scenery changes almost immediately. Suddenly the road becomes narrower and bumpier. You see a lot of trees, before seeing the strangest signs.
This is definitely NOT a sign you normally see in Singapore!
And then you, see fields of green, with zero high rise buildings in sight. As your car bumps around a little more, the change of landscape rolls into a clearer picture… really quaint buildings, and then a horse! Yes, you see a horse, and maybe another three or four more if you are lucky.
The entire drive around Fairways Drive is not very long, just maybe about 20 min. You get to see really scenic scenery, and the drive will make you think you are somewhere overseas. At the end of the drive, there’s Rider’s Café and Marmalade Pantry where you can have nice coffee and tea to end the afternoon.
2. Macritchie Treetop Walk
One of the interesting places that you can explore with your family, can be found at the Macritchie Treetop Walk.
The entrance to the Tree Top Walk is actually quite far from the Main Reservoir, so do not park your car at the Main Entrance. The National Parks Board suggests for all drivers to park at Venus Avenue which is located after Thomson Plaza (Towards Sembawang). For those who need a bit more directions, Venus Avenue is found off Thompson Road, in the direction towards Singapore Island Country Club.
Although the walk onto the Tree Top Walk may take you a good 45 mins to an hour, the views from the Sky Bridge is stunning! The bridge is 250m long and has a height of 25m from the highest point. Through the walk, the family will get to experience the forest and see lots of monkeys as well.
Remind the kids not to feed the monkeys, as they can get aggressive in the pursuit of food. My kids and I always enjoy the birds eye view of the forest, and it will definitely make a great family outing on the weekend. (Click to find out more about the Macritchie Tree Top Walk).
3. Gardens By the Bay
Located on 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore and adjacent to the marina reservoir is The Gardens by the Bay – truly transforming Singapore into the ultimate Garden City. Although it is relatively near the city, getting to the gardens ain’t that straight forward. This is especially after the MCE opened!
This drive is rather short, but the roads here are a breeze to drive in. Wide and spacious, and very clean and new looking. (If you check out the bitumen along the route, it looks really new and black!).
The kids will love the big open grounds, and the 2 conservatories to explore. You can find many different species of plants here, and even Carnivorous plants like the Pitcher Plant and Venus Fly Trap.
Gardens by the Bay also boasts of a children’s playground that caters to kids up to 12yo. From exploring a 7.5 metre-tall tree house to splashing around in interactive water tunnels, the playground will serve to be a hit with the kids.
4. Punggol Park
The drive of course is via the Expressways. If you live in the North-Eastern part of Singapore, this would be familiar. But for the rest of us, driving to Punggol is always a treat. We get to zip past the CTE and TPE. Along the way, we see an array of sights from HDB estates to flat empty grounds.
My Waterway@Punggol features Singapore’s longest manmade waterway at 4.2 km, with five bridges. Created out of barren land, it connects Punggol Reservoir to Serangoon Reservoir. Besides the playground obstacles, the kids will find water obstacles as well. Kids and water-play always go together – and the kids will simply love this.
If you have the space in your car, this is a great place to bring your bicycles. The kids will not find this like the crowded pathways found at East Coast Park, but instead they will enjoy the space offered to them.
This of course, has to be included in the list. To drive across the Sentosa Gateway (although very slowly due to the speed cameras), always brings excitement to the kids. There are just so many things to do on this little island.
Enter the island early in the morning, and head for the Sesame Street breakfast with your favourite characters. Your kids will not just get to eat their favourite pancakes and waffles, but more interestingly, have personal photos with the cute adorable characters from Sesame Street.
Besides Universal Studios, you can drive the kids over to Mount Imbiah and let them experience the Sentosa Luge. Coming down the hill at quick speeds is totally fun and exhilarating, and the kids will love it.
We have seen many changes to the little island, and there is always something different to see each time we drive in. For those families who want to try something different, you can ask the kids to ride on these eco-friendly Segways. Rides will come along with friendly instructors who will guide the kids along the course.
If you want something even more exciting, you can also visit iFly Singapore. Boasting of the World’s Largest Indoor skydiving simulator and standing at a height of 56.5 feet, iFly will prove to be an exhilarating experience for the whole family. Kids as young as 7yo can try to ‘fly’, so you are never too young for the skydiving experience.
With so many sites to visit, it is important for us to ensure that the family can drive around safely. Besides making sure everyone is comfortable, we always ensure everyone has enough water to drink, tissues to clean up and lots of snacks to keep everyone happy.
I’ve also got to ensure that the car and everyone in the car is safe! AXA recently launched SmartDrive Car Insurance packages that can be customised to fit each driver’s needs. This customisation is a first for Singapore insurance, and it aims to suit each person’s lifestyles and requirements. Here’s how you can design your car insurance plan –
Step 1: Find a suitable plan
Out of the 7 core plans that AXA has, we would choose the obvious AXA SmartDrive FlexiFamily plan. This plan gives coverage for liability towards third parties, windscreen repair with no excess which is a rare find, flood protection, and also allows my car to be repaired at any workshop of my choice. Most importantly for me – it comes with 24/7 towing and transportation in Singapore, West Malaysia or Thailand. This is so reassuring to know that I can get help anytime and now almost anywhere while we are driving.
This ensures I get complete family protection. In this plan, there is a waiver of named young and inexperienced driver excess too, which is very suitable for families with older children who have just passed their driving and might be a hazard to the family car.
Step 2: Value-Add pack
Here, you can choose from any of the 5 packs offered. For our family, I would choose Family Protector which is specially designed for families.
This value-add provides medical and dental expenses for the family! It also covers personal accidents, loss of personal effects, waiver of named young or inexperienced driver excess, and a monthly allowance in case of any permanent disablement. This was refreshing to see – very important points when I consider peace of mind for my family! It is good to know that not only is my car protected, but my kids and I are covered for medical and dental too.
Step 3: Pick another add-on
Here you further customise your plan with another add-on. You can choose from 11 options! This includes excess waiver, personal accident coverage for driver, personal accident coverage of passengers, phone assistance etc.
Guess what we would choose? For our family, we would pick the option of a courtesy car in Singapore! This means that if our car has to undergo repair due to an accident, a courtesy car will be provided for us! This is ideal as we need a car for the daily ferrying of our kids to and from school and enrichment classes, And of course, for Mummy and Daddy to go to work too!
You can only imagine how effective this customised insurance plan can be for an individual or family. A single driver would have different needs from a lady driver, who would also have different needs from a newly wedded couple or a larger family like ours. The AXA SmartDrive plans give an attractive list of options for every driver. You can read more about the entire range of core plans, value-added packs and add-ons at their website here (http://www.axa.com.sg/personal-insurance/motor/smart-drive).
So, now that you have your customised AXA SmartDrive insurance in place, it’s time to check out our favourite drives in Singapore at peace! Enjoy!