Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Park Connectors in Singapore

The National Park Board has done a great job in beautifying Singapore. It is the brainchild of the former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1968. At that time, it was to build a Garden City. Trees and shrubs were planted along roads. There is even an annual Tree Planting Day since. Then land was allocated to build parks.
Fast forward to year 2007, Singapore now wants to move from a "Garden City" to "City in a Garden". Thus, the National Park Board has now constructed 'park connectors' linking park-to-park. Isn't it wonderful?!
I have decided to test out some of those park trails to see how they measure up. So I did, cycling from Changi-Pasir Ris-Bedok Reservoir-Siglap-East Coast-Kallang-Esplanade-Old Parliament-Clarke Quay-River Valley-Kim Seng and back. About 50kms.
Pasir Ris Beach - where the trail starts
Pasir Ris Park
This is all on land reclaimed in the 80s.

Pasir Ris Park

From Pasir Ris Park, we are led by paths like these by the canals to the housing estate.
These are government Housing Development Board (HDB) apartment blocks. 85% of Singaporeans live in HDB apartments.
The HDB has come a long way towards building more attractive looking apartment blocks since its early days in the 60s.

Actually cycling is forbidden on many of these bridges, but generally, people do. :)
I don't see why it should be forbidden if the cyclist is gentle.
That's the great thing about cycling, we don't get traffic tickets! Well not yet anyway!

This bridge brings me over and across to the other side of the expressway.

Can be tough going up these ramps. We encounter several of these along the Park Connector trail.

Mature trees like these are kept during the construction of the estate. People are more conscious about keeping big trees these days.

Street artist!

Dillenia philippinensis (origin: Philippines)

Many of the paths are along canals and below MRT train lines.

In land scarce Singapore, every square foot counts! :)


Sign posting along the trail is quite good generally, but somehow, I got lost and ended up in a tapering and narrowing path.

.Then I ended up outside a small farm! :)


Ok, we got out of it and now back on track. Well, not quite, as we choose to go off track to cycle within the HDB quarters where the trails are quieter and prettier.


Now getting out of the HDB area.

This is Bedok Reservoir. It stores some of the water we need, so that we don't have to rely totally on Malaysia for our supplies.

If you look carefully, you will see that we are storing something else in the distance.

Let's zoom in...


Here on the opposite bank, we also hoard sand.

This is a sand mountain. Let's zoom in further to appreciate how big it is...


See the scale, it is even higher than the trees.

This reminds me of the former PM of UK, Margaret Thatcher hoarding coal before the miners strike. As it turned out our sand mountain comes in handy when the Indonesians decided not to sell us any more sand.

You have to worry about everything when you live in a small country that have no natural resources but 4 million mouths to feed! sigh!


This is Temasek Polytechnic, built along the banks of Bedok Reservoir.


This beautiful and serene setting of the water front is only 'skin deep' as it is built on top of a huge ugly canal underneath!

As land in scarce here, we got to be innovative!

We stopped by for a drink in the Polytechnic.

We are to bring back our cups to collection points. Here it is... they are so organised... separating the dishes used for different foods. I can understand the separation for Chinese and Muslim food, but why Western food?

Along the way, we stopped by a pebbled path for foot reflexology. For those of you who don't know, it is supposed to be healthy for you if you walk on its pointed ends. Try not to scream as it can be very painful!!!!

Ha! You can add this one to your "Fine City panel" collection.


This canal separates the public housing (HDB flats) from the lower density housing on the left, as the latter wants a little privacy for the hefty price they have paid for their private houses. :)


This is St Patrick's School - a historical building.
From Wikipedia :
The school was founded in 1933, originally as a temporary branch school of Saint Joseph's Institution, another Catholic boys school in Singapore, and was built on land acquired by the La Salle Brothers in 1898. The land was originally meant to be a resort bungalow for the brothers. But Brother Steven Buckley saw the growth in the eastern side of the island and petitioned the La Salle Brothers to build a school on this piece of land. The main school building was completed in 1932, and Saint Patrick's School became a school in its own right in 1933.
In the war years, this school was used by the British as a hospital and by the Japanese as an administrative building. It was officially returned to the Brothers in 1946... more .
One of our bikes needed new brakes and bearings.

We hit the beach again! East Coast Beach.

From East Coast, we move on to Tanjong Rhu-Kallang Basin.

This is the majestic Singapore Indoor Stadium designed by the famous architect Kenzo Tange and opened in 1989.

This is "Oasis", a cluster of entertainment joints built on piers on the waters.
Hehe, they used to have a couple of naughty nightclubs there. At one time, fights were frequent here among drunkards.
They looked pretty, especially at night (see pixs later).
I hope they won't demolish them as they are part of the current Sports Hub re-development in the area.
Do they demolish icons like these? :)
Yes they do. This is Singapore's National Stadium. It is going to be demolished!!!
The old National library was demolished, so was the National Theatre!
So don't name your building with anything starting with "National" if you can help it! :)
Now we are along the other side of the water ways. On a bridge along Nicoll Highway.These guys on the waters are practising for their dragon boat race..

The Ferries Wheel in the distance.
It is Singapore's latest pitch to be a "Cool City" along with F1 racing.
London did the same in the mid 90s after a gloomy economy in the early 90s.
Ok, this part of the trail is not well connected, or not connected yet.
It is between Tanjong Rhu and Kallang.

This is the tallest Bougainvilla tree (tree? normally they are just shrubs!) I have seen.
It has clinged on to a Casuarina Tree.

This is Nicoll Highway. The typewriter-like building you see in the distance is The Golden Mile Shopping Centre. Built in the 80s. It was the first of Singapore buildings that dare to be different. Now, it is a little enclave of Thai shops and places where Thai people hang-out.

Now out of Kallang, towards the most famous 'durain' in Singapore -
The Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay
This surrealistic picture is taken along the Esplanade grounds. The backdrop is a stage built on the river for Singapore's National Day celebrations on 9 Aug 2007.
I love this geometry!
The banking city in the backdrop.
The exhibition is on this side of the river bank, at the Asian Civilisation Museum.

Time to stop for some ice-cream along Clarke Quay
. Indochine Bar
Further up the river, pass Clarke Quay and River Valley, we found some warehouses reminiscent of the old times. A time when banks still had their hands in every business.
This godown belongs to Bangkok Bank.
. Funny why the one one the left is still not rented out after being refurbished for so long.
Particularly in these days of scarce office space in the central business district!

I thought refurbishment would have even started for the old warehouse!

Anyway, it is a beautiful waterfront property!

This temporary bridge looks out of place in this posh river front area. Looks like a mining town shack. This is the furthest point we reach up the river. The cycling path also ends here.
So, time to turn back.

Boat Quay - along Singapore River.
About where the bicycle is in the pix, labourers and coolies used to sit around in circles after a hard day's work, to listen to story tellers. I think the stories were told in Teochew.
For the time each joss stick burned out, everyone has to pay a few cents to the story teller.
Now, the row of former godowns are occupied by fashionable pubs, cafes and restaurants.
Instead of coolies, we have executives and yuppies!

By the backlanes of Boat Quay on the way to have some Teh Halia and Lassi. Thirsty!

This is outside one of the 5-star hotel along the river.
.Soon it is sunset - at Fullerton Hotel.
.The props are now lighted at the Esplanade.
.Zoomed-in from the Esplanade.
Looks like a typical tourist shot! :)
. The Oasis at night! Lovely.

By now, we are tired, sweaty and thirsty.

We have been on the road for about 10 hours now, and still have about 12 kms before we reach home. From here we headed back to East Coast, Bedok and finally Changi. We had a wonderful day! See the black line in the map - that's the route we took.


Anonymous said...

Great! Dun know how many km?

jupilier said...

To and fro about 50+ kms. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi. I think your pictures and vivid descriptions are really beautful.

jupilier said...

Thank you. I am glad you like my post.

Anonymous said...
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