25 September 2015

AMPED - A really fun afternoon trampolining

I think people who know me well would tell you I'm not big on exercise (other than going walking) and I am probably not the most adventurous of people either when it comes to more active/sporting pursuits. When I was in secondary school though I used to belong to and compete a little for the school trampolining club and whilst I wasn't amazing at it I used to really enjoy it. Friends at work had recently found an indoor trampolining park actually not to far from my home (though I think this one may now be closed), had been along and enjoyed it and I figured it might be fun to try it once again so I agreed to go with them to the AMPED trampolining park the next time they went. 

Thanks to the irregular hours we work we were lucky to be able to go during the daytime in the week when it is, in theory, a little quieter than it would be in the evening or at the weekends. So we all met up one Friday afternoon, this time opting for the park near River Valley Road (there is also a park in Jurong) as this was close to work so convenient for those we were meeting who'd just finished for the day. Despite it being a weekday, however, it was still pretty busy (to be sure of a spot you should book in advance) so I can't imagine how manic it must get during weekends and school holidays!

The view post bounce

As I mentioned it is recommended you book online in advance and the first time you go you are required to sign a waiver form just in case you get injured. You also need to buy a pair of special socks with grips on to wear on the trampoline beds. They reminded me a bit of the slipper socks that were very popular a few years ago. I can't recall how much they cost but they weren't very much and you can then keep these to use every time you go. After all that (make sure you wear suitable clothing too) you are good to go.

The centre has numerous larger and smaller trampoline beds all joined together so you can bounce from one part to another very easily. There are also a few crash mats dotted around and a foam cube pit thing for younger children. You get an hour's slot to bounce as much as you want. Believe me even if you take breaks and are just there to have some light-hearted fun an hour is more than enough! There is air con at the River Valley Road branch but you will still be super hot by the end so go dressed appropriately and prepared to get sweaty.

It was a brilliant afternoon, I certainly felt a few muscles I've not used for a while afterwards. I was also impressed by how many moves I could still remember and still kind of do! It was fun to have the chance to do something again that I used to enjoy doing and also to do something just a little different with good friends. It's a great activity for children and with the current haze problems something good for them to do to burn off energy but also do indoors, but to be honest it's good fun whatever your age.

20 September 2015

East Coast Park to Gardens by the Bay

Yet more walking for us, we really do do quite a lot don't we? This time though we walked from East Coast Park to Gardens by the Bay on the fairly recently opened path/bridge which seamlessly now connects the two without you having to venture anywhere near a main road.

We live near East Coast Park so this is an easy place for us to get to and enjoy when we don't have any other plans. Earlier this year an overhead bridge was opened that connects East Coast Park near Fort Road to the open space on the other side of the road and allows you to walk (or cycle) right to Gardens by the Bay East. From here you can, if you wish, then continue across the Marina Barrage and around to the main part of Gardens by the Bay. 

For us the walk began close to Tanjong Katong Road at the underpass (near the Big Splash) allowing you to walk under the ECP. Once you reach the other side you are in East Coast Park and ready to begin. As you can see in the photo below the path is, as always in Singapore, beautifully laid out and clearly marked for walkers and cyclists. There is no need to worry about getting lost the path will take you all the way there. For most of the route you'll walk (or cycle) with the ECP on your right hand side.

Off we go!

As you get closer to Gardens by the Bay you'll pass the Marina Bay Golf Course on your left. Not being interested in golf and by default not a golfer I was amused to see people standing in what looks like a building with no walls, on several different levels, all practicing their shots. From there you shortly find yourself in Gardens by the Bay East and can catch a first glimpse of MBS through the trees.

There's MBS

From here, if you want to, you can walk on through this part of gardens, over the Marina Barrage and into the main part of Gardens by the Bay. We did just that when we visited but this final part of the walk is something that we'd done previously so were already familiar with. This is a great walk (and one we've done again since), it's great to be able to walk all the way to Gardens by the Bay from our home and certainly proves how small Singapore is and how easy it is to walk what seems quite a distance away. This is yet another simple, well laid out and easy walk and whilst there may not be lots of new things to spot along the way it is absolutely worth doing at least once, whether you are on foot or on a bike.

Just a little part of the Singapore skyline

An iconic Singapore building

09 September 2015

Red Dot Roaming - Kent Ridge MRT - Kent Ridge Park, Hort Park and the Forest Walk

I've been on a bit of a roll with my Red Dot Roaming posts and managed to get another walk in another part of Singapore done not so long ago. This time my roaming took me to Kent Ridge MRT to complete the Southern Ridges walk. I'd already previously walked from Harbourfront MRT, starting at the Marang Trail going to the Henderson Waves on another Red Dot Roam so the plan this time was to walk the other half of it. In the end we actually walked all the way back to Harbourfront MRT so ended up completing the whole of the walk.

Getting off at Kent Ridge MRT station we took a short walk through the nearby business park (absolutely devoid of life as we went on a Sunday) entering the park through a small side entrance which looked a little like we were just wandering into somebody's garden. Thankfully though it wasn't and we had entered Kent Ridge park. Our entrance was close to a lake where we saw a beautiful kingfisher type bird just watching the world (and no doubt the fish) go by. Our plan was to head towards the Canopy Walk and then on to Hort park and after a bit of confusion as to which way to go we were soon on the right track.

View from the Canopy Walk

Passing through the Canopy Walk, a boardwalk taking you (as the name suggests) up to the tree canopy we came to Hort park. Hort park is a gardeners dream and somewhere I didn't even know existed until planning this walk and looking into the area a little more. It is a 22 acre park connecting Kent Rdge park, Telok Blangah park and Mount Faber park housing a multitude of greenhouses, a visitor centre and different themed gardens including a Balinese Garden and Butterfly Garden. The park is full of educational and research elements and is right next to a business park (what a lovely spot to look out on from your office) and would be a great spot to explore more thoroughly if you were lover of gardening. We only passed through it on our way to the Alexandra Arch and Forest Walk so only saw the area fleetingly but I was very impressed by what I did see. I've since read that the greenhouses are home to some very interesting plants so maybe it will be somewhere to return to at some point.

Walking Through Hort Park

Passing through this park and on to the Alexandra Arch was a thousand times nicer than having to negotiate the busy Alexandra Road below us. I do love how Singapore does the park connectors and other paths connecting walks and cycle paths etc. here. Many times its is possible to completely avoid walking on main roads and the paths are always beautifully laid out making them great for everyone. There really is no excuse for not getting out there and exploring the parts of the island nearest to your home or a little further afield either by foot or bike.

The Alexandra Arch was designed with a curved deck and titled arch to look like an open leaf. It really is a very photogenic bridge even when it's almost swallowed up in the trees etc (see my photo below) and I couldn't resist taking several photos of it. From the Alexandra Arch we then walked seamlessly onto the Forest Walk in Telok Blangah Hill Park. Treetop walks seem quite popular in Singapore with the one in MacRitchie Reservoir and the new walk on Sentosa near Fort Siloso. Unlike the other two though this one twists and turns as you walk through the forest and gives great views towards the city and out towards sea. The walk also takes you through different elevations climbing to 18 metres in places. Just like the other two you get to walk through the treetops and enjoy a totally different view of the forest and the surrounding area.

Alexandra Arch
Forest Walk
View from the Forest Walk Towards the Alexandra Arch

As you enjoy the walk and the views you pass close to the Gillman Barracks, a former military camp and now a contemporary arts base and some where still on the 'to visit' list, anybody been? The walk also takes you close to Preston Road which through an exit allows you to view a handful of beautiful black and white houses. How lovely to live there and have this walk on your doorstep.

Black and White Houses
A path taking you through the trees on the Forest Walk

Upon leaving the Forest Walk you find yourself in Telok Blangah Hill Park and here we were close to where we finished up on our previous walk when we did the other half of the Southern Ridges from Harbourfront MRT starting at the Marang Trail. As I mentioned we actually carried on and walked all the way to Harbourfront MRT that day and if you'd like to read about that half (albeit in reverse) take a look at my previous Harbourfront MRT Red Dot Roaming post.

This is a great walk to do whether you do the whole route or just sections of it. Since doing this my husband has actually done it again with our recent visitors from the UK. You get some great views of both the CBD and out to sea, seeing some history and the natural parts of Singapore along the way. It's all beautifully joined together with connecting paths and elevated walkways allowing you to walk a considerable distance barely having to venture on to main roads.

View Towards Reflections at Keppel Bay and Beyond

Kent Ridge MRT is on the Circle Line (CC24)

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

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