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Go from CBD to chaos-free in minutes. Going Places Singapore reveals how to get your dose of Zen in the heart of the city.

Our downtown area is described in a myriad of ways: frenetic. Bustling. Lively. But if you look hard enough – and get creative enough – it can also be soothing. Calm. Peaceful. Check out our favourite green or peaceful areas below, and feel free to share yours with us!

Fuk Tak Chi Street Museum, Far East Square

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Though it is a public space, and a free museum, this enclave has the advantage of being quiet, serene and cool. Step away from the lunchtime rush hour, when thousands of office workers descend from their skyscrapers to get their blood sugar going, while you get your own dose of serenity.

An added benefit? You’ll learn about the area’s past, and can harken back to those halcyon days when skyscrapers and rush hours were unheard of.

Ann Siang Hill Park

In every city, there are places to loiter at, and places that are just for transit. Most of us think of walkways as the latter, but the covered, jungle-like connecter between Amoy Street and Ann Siang Hill is a haven in itself, and well worth a visit if you want to de-stress.

Cool, quiet and dim, there are even benches to park yourself for a bit and see if you can hear nearby traffic (usually you can’t). So the only worry is that you might fall asleep. The family of street cats that take gloriously long afternoon naps in the bushes certainly won’t help.

Telok Ayer Park

It might seem comically small, but this cosy green space actually has everything a peace-hunting pilgrim could want. There’s a small babbling pond you can cross on a doll’s house-like wooden bridge. The heady scent of tropical flowers in the air. Statues of water-carrying coolies that add a nostalgic touch. What more could you want?

And if you start to get sweaty, Vanilla Bar and Café, at 3 Boon Tat Street, is just metres away. Walk to the back of this air-conditioned eatery (always quiet if you go after the lunch rush) and you can sip a fortifying coffee in their tiny open-air area, flanked by some potted palms.

Teck Lim Road

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Yes, Teck Lim Road is just a road. Not a park, or a lushly-landscaped rooftop bar, or a Zen temple. But for much of the day, this compact stretch of land exudes a sleepy charm you’d be hard-pressed to find in the middle of town.

Here’s what you do: stroll to the Esquina tapas restaurant and park yourself on the strip of grass, shaded by trees, just outside. Watch a couple of old uncles chatting nearby as the afternoon sun starts to dip. Realise that while the city toils away, you’re enjoying the quiet rhythm of a laid-back neighbourhood. We guarantee you’ll feel calm and cool in less time than it takes to say ‘tranquil Teck Lim Road’.

Keyaki Japanese Restaurant

Housed at the Pan Pacific hotel, this fine-dining Japanese joint might be a bit expensive if you come for a full meal. But there’s nothing that says you can’t order a warming cup of green tea – then sit and enjoy the Japanese outdoor garden, or gaze at their hypnotic koi pond. The serenity is made all the more poignant when you realise you’re surrounded by Marina Bay Sands, the Singapore Flyer and dozens of skyscrapers.