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  • Writer's pictureRiver Valley Student Editorial Club

Hidden Hangout Spots: Where to Unwind and Chill With Your Friends

Dawn Alethea (24J07)

As an RV student who lives in a different region of Singapore, the West is quite a new place to me. I’ve only been here a couple of times before becoming an RV student so I’m quite curious about my surroundings. 

I often look out the bus window on my way back home, and drink in the beauty of the neighbourhood: children laughing and running around playgrounds, aunties pushing their shopping carts, lively coffee shops and other quieter sights. 

This has made me wonder: while RV students often hang out at Jurong Point or in school after lessons end, are there other unexplored corners that are just out of sight? 

Perhaps looking at places with a fresh pair of eyes might unveil a whole new world!

What first caught my eye were the many interesting-looking playgrounds, and I even saw one nearby with swings! While, yes, playgrounds are designed for younger children, they are easily accessible and can be quite a nice (even quiet) place to rest and chit-chat with friends, and psst -- no one is stopping you from having a bit of fun! 

Want a retro, unique playground with more private spaces to have conversations? Look no further than the playground in front of block 176, which has been around since 1988 and is a mere 3-minute walk from RV! Its structure is quite different from what you’d imagine when you think of playgrounds in Singapore; the colourful plastic-built ones found in most neighbourhoods. 

This playground has small coral-pink tiles, much like those used in bathrooms! It is shaped like an alarm clock plus a larger clock connected via a “hand”, also covered in tiling. The larger of the two is shaped like a house, with two large, brick-red circular window grails for ventilation and a swimming-pool-blue scalloped roof (extra privacy and shelter from the sun!) The hands of the clock can even be turned via a steering wheel! It is a nice, cosy space to have dabao food and drinks and chill with your friends in a quieter space, since most children only go to playgrounds later in the evening. Ps. don’t forget to dispose of your trash and clean up before leaving!

A concrete slide on one end!

And a ladder on the other that makes it resemble a treehouse!

Another really interesting playground is the one nestled between a few blocks at Jurong West St 62. A 10-minute walk from Jurong Point, it is the perfect place to chill with food or drinks from JP. The really cool thing about this playground is that it is not single, not double, but triple-deckered! 

I personally love playgrounds like that because I love heights, which might sound strange. But there really is something thrilling about heights, and even if you are afraid of heights, the height of playgrounds is not an issue either. The playground also has a twirly tube slide down from the top layer, a “hidden” place just like the one I liked to sit in when the playground near my house had such a slide. 

Although this playground is a bit obscure and ulu, it more than makes up for it with quiet serenity. Not to mention, its triple layers are a rare, impressive sight. 

Extra-extra tall playground!

The tube slide - whizz through to another dimension! 

Building on the tangent about heights, if you have always wanted to sit on an HDB rooftop, feel the wind lick at your hair and stare down at the city below, you might be interested in this rooftop garden at blk 673 Jurong West Street 65, which is located on top of a car park. While it is not exactly the same thing as HDB rooftops, it is a safer and actually viable alternative open to the public. 

Sit at one of the tables if you want to study with your friends or play board games, et cetera, or lean on the railings and admire your surroundings. Do note that this might be a better spot if you end school in the evening or after CCA, when the sun is going down and it is cooler, and when children come out to play at the playgrounds :) 

Fun fact: this project, which appeared in the news last year, is one of the pilot rooftop gardening projects helmed by HDB! How fortunate that it is near RV, just 10 minutes by bus 99 from the bus stop right outside the main gate! 

Shelter and table up the ramp!

If you have been to JP too many times to count, a good alternative to explore is Boon Lay Shopping Centre, which is a 7-minute walk away from RV. Because it is an older mall, it is non-air-conditioned, but this also means that there are a myriad of old mom-and-pop shops to explore, with interesting items that might be difficult to find or find cheaply elsewhere. It is also home to Burmese and Indian shops if you like to explore unfamiliar places, and maybe pick up a thing or two native to the countries. Additionally, its food court has cheaper food options than more modern malls. Why not spend an afternoon window-shopping and chit-chatting with your friends?

The facade of the shopping centre

Just beside Boon Lay Shopping Centre is Boon Lay Place Food Village, the resident hawker centre. It is known for being a food haven which is especially great for us students to enjoy without breaking the bank. Its namesake stall, Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak, is an alluring option if you are willing to queue a little longer for a good plate of nasi lemak (which you probably are, considering the queues at Chinese Delights) with fluffy fragrant coconut rice and a golden, crispy and juicy chicken wing. The hawker centre also offers Satay Bee Hoon, a local dish you hardly come by elsewhere. As its name suggests, it consists of bee hoon drowned in a spicy nutty satay sauce, it is found at “Yao Heng Cooked Food”. Another gem is Boon Lay Fried Carrot Cake & Kway Teow Mee, which has generous portions of wok hei dishes at the usual hawker centre prices. There are many other stalls that are worth trying with your friends after a long day in school, so don’t miss out!

The front of this food haven!

Skilled hawkers at work!

Whether you are seeking respite from the busyness of school life, or looking for satisfying food in the area, these are just a few of the places that offer an alternative to the popular Jurong Point. Take your eyes off your screen the next time you walk or ride a bus around the area, and you might just discover your own hidden favourite place!😉


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