16 August 2015

Red Dot Roaming - Kadaloor LRT - Punggol Promenade Nature Walk

It's been a while I know since my last Red Dot Roaming post but I managed to get to the next place of interest to me, the Punggol promenade nature walk. This is another stretch of the North Eastern Riverine Loop of which I've been to the Punggol Waterway park and the Sengkang Riverside park areas previously. If you are interested in exploring any of this part of Singapore check out this really handy guide produced by the National Parks and, of course, my previous posts!

This time though we got the LRT to Kadaloor station, the first time my husband had ever been on the LRT, and began our walk from there. We began not too far from the Lorong Halus Wetland park, somewhere else I would like to visit but something we decided, this time, to save for another day. As with so many of the walks and routes to explore in Singapore everything was beautifully sign posted and the paths well cared for, making it perfect for all the family to enjoy. We did make a slight error getting on to the walk and had to backtrack a little but we were soon on the right route and underway! If you decide to join the walk from Kadaloor LRT make sure you head under the bridge close to the building works and RiverParc Residence (rather than walk across it) to join the jogging and cycle path which will then take you around to the nature walk.

The point of the walk near Lorong Halus Wetland park (that bridge leads across to it) where you can decide whether to join the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk or go in the opposite direction and join the Riverside Walk

From this point we were then on the nature walk with the sea to our right. Throughout the whole walk the path was well defined with much of it being split between a cycle path and a footpath. As you can see from my photo below the first part was tree lined and really didn't feel much like Singapore. We visited on a Sunday but asides from a few runners, walkers and cyclists we hardly saw anybody until we reached the end of our walk.

Before long though we left the initial tree lined walkway and were out in the open with very limited shade. Make sure you take plenty of water and wear plenty of sun cream! It is from this point that we could see Pulau Serangoon or Coney Island as it is also known, lying between Singapore and Pulau Ubin and another of the many islands off the coast of Singapore. 

As you follow the walk around you pass two bridges connecting the island to the mainland but both have large gates restricting access. In the past I have read that you can get across to the island but I honestly don't know if we could have as it didn't look like it, needless to say we didn't try it. I've read that Pulau Serangoon has been earmarked for development with residential areas, areas for sport and recreational use and for a nature reserve. As I understand it some of this will be opening this year (not sure if it has yet), lets hope the residential plans etc. don't destroy the natural nature side of the island.

View across to Pulau Serangoon (Coney Island)

As we continued around we passed alongside the Serangoon West Dam which is the second connection between Pulau Serangoon and Singapore and from here across the water the edge of Pulau Ubin came into view and further on so did Malaysia. At this point we started to see more people as we came closer to Punggol Point and the Punggol Settlement. There were people fishing as well as walkers, cyclists and so on.

View Towards Pulau Ubin
View Towards Malaysia

At the Punggol Settlement we were greeted by the welcome sight of a couple of convenience shops as well as some restaurants over two levels, a little oasis of life after the relative isolation of the walk. We were definitely grateful for the opportunity to get a drink and then something to eat. I've read since that the area used to be a popular dining spot in the 1970s and is now enjoying a bit of a resurgence. Certainly with the riding stables, holiday chalets (who knew) and outward bound centre that we spotted close by I imagine this is a popular place to satisfy your hunger. Also the views as you dine looking out to sea and towards Malaysia are very pleasant and a welcome change.

A little of the local wildlife

Punggol Point and the beach is also an important spot for those interested in history as this was the site of part of the Sook Ching massacre, the extermination of perceived hostile elements among the Chinese in Singapore during the Japanese occupation of Singapore. At this site (one of several) between 300 to 400 Chinese civilians were massacred on the 28 February 1942. These victims were some of the 1000 Chinese men previously detained after a door-to-door search of the Upper Serangoon Road. The Sook Ching massacre took place in various locations, both here and in Malaysia (Malaya as it was then known) between the 18 February and 4 March 1942. This area at Punggol Point has been declared a national heritage site and there is a small plaque acknowledging this piece of the area's history at the site.

After our lunch and with our walk ended we headed home, at least once we managed to secure a taxi. The relative remoteness of the spot (despite the restaurants etc there) means that can be a little challenging. It was, however, great to discover this part of Singapore. I had not realised beforehand that the Punggol Settlement and Punggol Point area was quite so developed with plenty more than just places to eat and drink. I can imagine it's a popular spot for those who live close to the area and even for those living further afield. It seems like somewhere refreshingly different, whether you are visiting with family or looking for somewhere a little more unusual to go to with a loved one (especially with those sea views) though admittedly not the easiest spot to reach (or get back from) if you don't have a car. Hopefully I'll get back there again at some point.

Kadaloor LRT (PE5) is on the Punggol LRT line. It can be accessed via Punggol MRT on the North East line (NE17).

As I mentioned above this walk was another section of the larger North Eastern Riverine Loop, take a look at my previous posts on the Punggol Waterway and the Sengkang Riverside park floating wetland.

If you missed any of my previous Red Dot Roaming posts, check them all out here

05 August 2015

Gardens by the Bay Celebrates SG50 in Style!

Last Friday evening saw us head to Gardens by the Bay to enjoy the opening night of their latest floral display in the Flower Dome, 'From Tales to Legends: Discover Singapore Stories'. This is a celebration of some of the many tales and legends of Singapore and is just one part of the Gardens celebrations for Singapore's 50th anniversary of independence.

The latest display transforms ten local legends with beautiful floral interpretations of each. These include Sang Nila Utama, the famous tale of how Singapore got its name when the ruler of the Sri Vijaya empire went on an expedition in search of new lands, discovered Temasek, as Singapore was then known, saw what he thought was a lion on this island and renamed it Singapura which means 'lion city', as well as the stories of the Merlion and the Singapore Stone. All these were familiar to me but the display also introduced me to some new tales including, the tale of Bukit Timah and that of Radin Mas, the tale of a Javanese princess who settled in Telok Blangah and ultimately saved her father from certain death by leaping in front of the blade about to stab him. Luckily for those visiting each display tells you the story of the legend so everybody, whether you are already familiar with them or not, can enjoy the tales.

The tale of Sang Nila Utama
The lion Sang Nila Utama believed he saw on Temasek leading him to rename the island Singapura 'Lion City'

All of these tales are nestled in the Flower Dome amongst a large variety of stunning orchids and other flowers. The current display features more than 8000 orchids and plants beautifully put together by Singaporean landscape architect, Damian Tang. Orchids seem an appropriate choice of flower for this celebration display as they have been a part of Singapore's heritage since the 1930s and the establishment of the orchid cut-flower industry. The display also includes the use of Singapore's national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid, named after Agnes Joaquim (1854 - 1899), an avid gardener and orchid breeder who discovered the orchid in her garden.

As you walk around the dome you'll also see several images from Singapore's past. This part of the display remembers some of the unsung heroes who helped to build Singapore. This includes the coolies, Samsui women, night soil carriers and many more. The night soil carriers was a job I wasn't previously familiar with, these individuals were sewage collectors who manually disposed of human waste back in the 1950s before modern sanitation was introduced. All of the these images are inspired by paper tole which is the art of making 3-dimensional images from flat prints. This looks really effective and makes the images really stand out and feel far more lifelike than just a flat print does.

Bukit Timah

Tanjong Pagar


As well as the lovely display in the Flower Dome right now I'm sure you'll already know that Gardens by the Bay has a nightly 'Garden Rhapsody' display, a light show beamed from the Supertrees. But did you know you can currently enjoy a special SG50 version? For the first time laser imagery is being used on the Supertrees accompanied by some local nostalgic musical favourites especially arranged and composed just for this event. We were able to see the show on Friday night as part of our visit. I've seen the usual display which is quite something and this special version didn't disappoint, the trees always look stunning lit up under the night sky and, of course, this is free to enjoy.

If you still haven't decided where to view the aerial flying displays from the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the National Day fireworks, what about popping along to the gardens? It's an excellent spot to catch them from and would make for some great photos as the planes fly over the Supertrees, a great little extra on top of your visit to the Gardens. There are several other events being held at the Gardens over National Day weekend too, including a 'Mass Dance for SG50' on the 8 August 2015. Check out the Gardens by the Bay website for more details of this and everything else that is happening over the month of August.

After all that you'll no doubt be hungry? What better way to end your evening, begin it or even break it up than by dining at Satay by the Bay? This was exactly where we headed after watching the Garden Rhapsody show on Friday night. Satay by the Bay is a large hawker style casual dining space with nineteen stalls, six satay carts and a Bar and Bistro Corner in a garden setting by the waterfront, perfect for families. Never fear if the heavens do decide to open whilst you are there as Satay by the Bay provides a sheltered dining area (as well as an outdoor area) so you can still enjoy your delicious food. 

The drinks stall operates twenty-four hours a day with most other stalls open from 11am to 10.30pm. We dined on a whole range of dishes, including satay, masala chicken, nasi briyani, BBQ chicken wings, sambal stingray, prata and lots more. I don't think you could leave hungry to be honest! in fact it was all so good I didn't get any photos of the food so you'll just have to go along and try it out for yourself.

By the way Satay by the Bay is also currently celebrating its third anniversary with an SG50 Lucky Draw. You have the chance to win ten lucky draw prizes, valued at ten times the amount you spend at Satay by the Bay. All you need to do is submit your receipt(s) with your personal details into the lucky draw box at Satay by the Bay. This is running from now until Wednesday 30 September 2015, Terms and Conditions apply.

I recommend heading to Gardens by the Bay at some point over the SG50 weekend to see some (if not all) of what is on offer and soak up a little of the party atmosphere.

'From Tales to Legends: Discover Singapore Stories' is on now until Sunday 13 September 2015, the Flower Dome is open daily from 9am - 9pm with extended opening hours until 10pm on National Day (9 August).

Admission charges to the conservatories apply.

There are currently numerous ticketing promotions as part of the SG50 celebrations offering reduced entry to the domes to both local residents and tourists, check out the Gardens by the Bay website for more details.

Garden Rhapsody - SG50 Edition will run now until 10 August 2015 with laser projection at 7.45pm, 8.30pm, 9.15pm and 10pm nightly at the Supertree Grove. It will then run from the 11 August 2015 to 13 September 2015 at 7.45pm and 8.45pm nightly at the Supertree Grove.

Admission to the Supertree Grove is free.

This blog resulted from an invitation and represents the thoughts and opinions of the writer. All information on this blog is provided "as is", with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy or timeliness and the writer will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. All text and photos on this blog are the original works of the writer unless stated otherwise.

Thank you to Gardens by the Bay for the kind invitation.

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