Despite the towering skyscrapers, the ever-expanding MRT map, and the booming bangs from constructions site, the urban landscape of Singapore is surprisingly green.
But if manicured parks, award-winning botanic gardens and tree-lined highways aren’t exactly your idea of communing with nature, then take a trip to Coney Island Park. Recently reopened, this state park has been redeveloped to protect and expand its rich biodiversity. Here are 5 things to do there:
1. Explore untouched beaches. You won’t find vast areas of white sand to anchor in a beach umbrella but you can see the incredibly diverse fauna at 5 beach areas. Bring the mozzie spray and watch out for sand flies.
2. Peep the Birds. With over 80 different species, you’ll definitely spot some beautiful (and rare) birds like the blue-throated bee-eater, Oriental Magpie-robins or Spotted Wood Owls. Coney Island Park will serve as a safe haven for some of these threatened species.
3. Take a hike. There is a boardwalk area but the real fun is going off the beaten path. Go searching for the single Brahman bull who roams the island. (Poor fellow was found during redevelopment looking poorly and weak but has since recovered.)
4. Go for a bike ride. The bike trail cuts through the interior of the island.
5. Play! Casuarina Exploratory is designed to be an environmentally friendly playground. By using fallen Casuarina trees and other natural materials, this area may not be quite like your average plastic and metal playground but just as much fun.
Good to Know:
- There is no running water on the island. Bring a water bottle.
- Bring your water bottle home with you. You’re encourage to “leave only your footprints.”
- Do not engage or get close to any animals you see. Do not feed them. Do not get too close when taking photos.
- Park is only open from 7 am – 7 pm.
- Long pants and shirts are best to protect your skin from insects.
- Terrain can be rugged. Probably not the best place for young children.
How to Get There:
By Car – See park website for driving directions.
By Public Transport – From Punggol interchange, take bus 84 to Punggol Park/Punggol Settlement. Walk about 500m east along the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk. Look for signs to the entrance.
By Kathleen Siddell, January 2016
Photo: Courtesy Park’s official website