5 Best Places To Drive Out For A Date

David Foo
10 Feb 2020
 

While non-drivers might scoff at these ideas, this is perhaps the quintessence of car ownership, for what do car owners have, if not the intangible pride and joy derived from their cars?

I remember a date I had with my wife, back before we were married and were still initially dating. I had borrowed my father’s Mercedes-Benz for this date, as a result, leaving at home my first love, a Suzuki Swift Sport. I did so because I wanted to impress my wife with the more luxurious, branded, continental car. As it turned out, she was rather unimpressed, not so much with the car, but more so with the fact that I had tackily tried to flaunt wealth that wasn’t mine. Luckily, she still agreed to marry me in the end.

I share this anecdote because, at least once in a driver’s life, I am sure each and every one of us has ever been tempted to show off our cars while on a date. We do this in a variety of ways. Those with sporty cars may rev their engines to exhibit strait-line speed or showcase the exhaust note from their tailpipes, those with luxury cars may opt to take a longer, scenic drive to showcase the grandeur and opulence of the drive, while those with pretty cars may simply opt to visit a restaurant with store-front parking, so that their car can be admired by everyone present. While non-drivers might scoff at these ideas, this is perhaps the quintessence of car ownership, for what do car owners have, if not the intangible pride and joy derived from their cars? Though I am now married, my wife and I still make it a point to drive out on date nights, and I still totally understand why we as drivers do what we do, which is why I thought I would compile my list of 5 best places to drive out for a date. 

Seletar Aerospace Park

Seletar Aerospace Park sits in the north-eastern part of Singapore, and is home to Seletar Airport, as well as the offices of some of the major aviation firms like Rolls-Royce, Fokker, Hawker Pacific, and Pratt & Whitney. What is interesting about this place is that before it became an aviation hub, Seletar was home to numerous military installations during Singapore’s early years under the British. This is why the place is littered with beautiful colonial style buildings such as mess halls, bungalows, and barracks. This is where the British officers used to live, work, and play. Today, many of these colonial era buildings have been conserved, restored, and repurposed into restaurants, cafes, and offices (all very insta-worthy). There are a few restaurants and cafes such as The Summerhouse, Wildseed Cafe, and Wheeler’s Estate that operate in the Park Lane cluster, representing a mix of semi-fine dining restaurants, and more laid back brunch-style cafes. Each establishment has their own little carpark up front, and is free after 5pm on most days, and the whole of Sunday. 

Aside from the beautiful architecture, Seletar Aerospace Park is also quite sparsely built-up, with plenty of greenery, open fields, and green landscape in and around the area. Driving into Seletar Aerospace Park, there is a real sense of occasion and adventure, and the beautiful surroundings will definitely make for a quiet and romantic date.

The drive into Seletar Aerospace Park is also quite a unique experience. There are two scenic ways to drive into the area. You can either come through Yishun via Yishun Dam which has water bodies on both sides of the road (very cool), or you can come through Picadilly Circus, which features wide open fields and other old colonial houses along the way, including the iconic Picadilly Guard House.

Mount Faber Peak

If you enjoy a slightly more unique driving experience, then Mount Faber Peak is going to be right up your alley. While Mount Faber is not actually very tall, the drive up still provides enough elevation and corners to keep things exciting, but not enough to induce car-sickness. While the initial parts of the drive up feature 2-way traffic, the final two-thirds of the drive up are one way only. While this allows you to open up your throttle a little bit more, do not go overboard as there are sometimes cyclists or pedestrians utilising this road as well.

Once at the top, you will find Faber Peak, which is a building that houses a couple of restaurants, as well as the Mount Faber Cable Car Terminal. This is where the cable cars launch toward Sentosa. The two restaurants, Dusk Restaurant & Bar and Arbora, both offer scenic views from Mount Faber, where you will be able to see Keppel Island, parts of Resorts World Sentosa, and parts of Fort Siloso in the distance. At night, the view is arguably better, as you can see the entire trail of street lights lighting up Keppel Island Bridge, as well as lights from some of the vessels anchored off the coast of Fort Siloso. This is arguably one of the best scenic views in Singapore in my opinion. If you fancy, you can even take a cable car ride via Faber peak.

On the drive up, just before you reach Faber Peak, and on the drive down, just after Faber Peak, you will find parking spaces. Spaces can be limited, but generally, Mount Faber does not get too crowded so I would not worry too much about this. Even if you have to park a little farther away, there are lovely walking trails on both sides that offer alternative views of the southern ridges, Telok Blangah estate, and even the CBD in the distance. 

Dempsey Hill

Of all the destinations in this list, Dempsey Hill offers the most in terms of dining options, as there are easily more than 25 restaurants situated in and around the entire Harding Road cluster for your selection. In this collection of restaurants, you will find firm favourites such as P.S Cafe, Open Farm Community, The White Rabbit, Min Jiang, and many many more. Apart from dining, Dempsey Hill is also the most complete destination in terms of lifestyle, as there are actually many things that you can do before and after a romantic meal. There are art galleries, art studios, luxury furniture stores, boutique homeware stores, spas, salons, and even a dance studio. To be honest my favourite thing to do here is to visit the Dempsey Hill Fountain located near Block 13, where the management keeps some huge fish including Arapaimas, Red Tail Catfish, and Pacus. These make for great viewing, and is a lovely spot to just have a romantic after-dinner stroll.

Parking in Dempsey Hill is super easy, as there are ample parking spaces everywhere. If you are lucky, you may even get a parking spot right outside the restaurant that you are visiting. However, if you are new to Dempsey Hill, you might want to check out exactly where your dining destination is located prior to heading down. As Dempsey Hill also used to serve as military barracks, the layout can be quite confusing to the uninitiated. So do your research, or you might end up having to park a distance away from your desired destination, and getting lost! Not ideal for a date to say the least.  

Bukit Timah Saddle Club

Although this location isn’t actually very out of the way, and is in fact located off Eng Neo Avenue, taking the short drive into Bukit Timah Saddle Club is really quite special, especially if your date has never been here before. After you turn into the service road off Eng Neo Avenue, the road becomes a narrow, slightly winding two way road, which sets the tone for a slow, relaxing drive. Along the way, you will initially pass through some fairly dense vegetation on both sides of the road, and pass under some unique concrete bridges (like the one on rifle range road). After navigating your way through this initial part, the view opens up and you’ll be driving along a large stretch of field which runs right along the entire road. This is where the riders from Bukit Timah Saddle Club can sometimes be seen trotting or cantering their horses. If you’re lucky, I’d assume you could possibly catch horses galloping, though I have never had the privilege to witness this here.

At various times of the day, you may also witness tractors towing bales of hay across the road, to and fro between the stretch of field on one side and the stables on the other side. During evenings especially, you may also spot children on their riding lessons. The more advanced learners will usually be on larger horses in the stretch of field, while the beginners will be on smaller horses inside a paddocked area on the other side. For all the reasons above, this location is probably the most special one. You almost get the feeling like you’re Gandalf the Gray, rolling into hobbiton on your horse and wagon (or in this case, your car). The feeling is surreal, and juxtaposed against Singapore’s modern and fast moving landscape, being here really feels like a treat.

Once you get inside to the main car park, there are exactly 3 restaurants (Picotin, Rider’s Cafe, and Royal Thai), a mini golf course, as well as one of the most beautiful golf driving ranges in Singapore. The golf driving range is sort of built against a ridge with thick foliage on one side, and seems to extend into nothingness. At night, only part of the ridge is lit, with the foliage casting beautiful shadows on the ridge. Call it mood lighting if you will, but the overall result is an atmosphere that is soothing, unhurried, and unpretentious. Parking here is free and ample, but if your date is wearing heels, please be careful, as the road surface in the car park is quite uneven and rough. There is also a gravel car park to the side of the main car park. 

Changi Coast (National Service Resort & Country Club)

If you grew up in the Eastern part of Singapore, chances are that you have been here before. National Service Resort & Country Club (NSRCC) is actually located right on the eastern end of the main East Coast Park compound, and is split into 2 compounds. The first, is the main clubhouse along with the chalets and golf course. You will also find a bowling alley here that is open to the public. This part of NSRCC has gantry parking, and is more of a family oriented place. However, just across the street, is the sea sports centre, which is a smaller, less fancy compound which has free parking. This is the compound you want to visit on a date.

This compound hugs the coastline, and surrounds a little cove where sailors from the sea sports centre can be seen going about their circuits in the day. There are 3 restaurants that line a boardwalk overlooking this cove (Belly View, Stella, and Gurame). All offer great views of the ocean, and come night, transform into a really beautiful place to be, with fairy lights lining the boardwalk. Adding to the atmosphere, is the sound of waves gently breaking on the rocks below the boardwalk and on the nearby breakwaters, creating a really soothing and tranquil environment. This is coupled with a usually gentle sea breeze. In the distance, the moonlight also shines through against the treeline of Casuarina Trees that hug the coastline, casting silhouettes that give you the impression that you might be in another country altogether. In the distance, you can also easily spot the lights from the various shipping vessels. On occasion, you can also hear blasts from the respective ship’s horns.

This location also sits directly below one of the aircraft approaches to Changi Airport, which means that at regular intervals, you will get to experience full size passenger aircraft flying almost directly above you, with landing gear deployed, ready to touch-down at Changi Airport. The fun part of this is that you can actually spot the plane headlights as they approach from quite a distance away, and you get to see them throughout their entire approach. A game I like to play with my wife when we visit, is to see who can first identify the carrier that each approaching plane belongs to.

To end things off, if you fancy a long drive after dinner, you have the entire Tanah Merah Coast Road and Changi Coast Road to stretch your car’s legs, though you will want to watch out for speed cameras along the way. Of late, the scenery during this drive has been somewhat affected by the massive construction taking place for Terminal 5, so I can’t say the drive is scenic by any means. The drive does however, give you the opportunity to cruise along aimlessly, providing a great setting for the best conversations.

While Valentine's Day is around the corner, don't forget to stay safe and clean!

#valentines #Valentinesday #Food #restaurants


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