Get your sweat on as you explore the outdoors
Singapore is a fantastic place to have young kids in so many respects, but if you sometimes hunger for a little more outdoor adventure in nature but use the heat as an excuse to stay indoors and stick the AC on, I’m hoping to inspire you with my “off-the-beaten-track family day out” list.
Hay Dairies Goat Farm at Kranji is a firm favourite with the kids and adults alike in my house. For just $5 you can buy a decent-sized bag of alfalfa from the till and head on back to feed the goats. Toddlers and older kids alike are charmed by this simple activity, and at a fraction of the cost of an indoor play centre it really is an economical way to spend an hour. Just down the road from the goat farm is the beautiful Bollywood Veggies, a fully operational veg farm with onsite farm shop and restaurant. A trip to feed the goats followed by a farm tour and yummy lunch from the Bollywood Veggies restaurant is a weekend morning must.
Macritchie Reservoir Park offers a decent selection of hikes and walks to cater to all ages and walking abilities with trails that either head around or straight through the forest. Some of the paths are not stroller friendly so bring a carrier if your children aren’t yet able to manage long walks. The wheelchair (and stroller)accessible boardwalks that skirt the reservoir are well-maintained, peaceful and also brimming with wildlife. Lots of watersports take place around the lake and it is even possible to hire canoes and kayaks if you are feeling particularly sporty. It really feels like you’re miles away from busy city life, just watch out for those monkeys and keep all bags closed with food out of reach.
The Green Corridor has many different parts to it, but the bits I know and love the best are accessible from Old Holland Road and Holland Plain. Head to the south side of Holland Plain, follow the newly refurbished canal-side paths heading west and you will suddenly find yourself on a tropical jungle path alive with the sounds of birds. Woodpeckers, egrets, kingfishers, hornbills, parakeets, monkeys and monitor lizards all call this little slice of jungle home. It is a popular route for dogwalkers and cyclists as well as walkers as it is both peaceful and partially shaded. This is a good morning or late afternoon activity as you can either start or finish with a kickabout on the adjacent plain.
Cycling Punggol Waterway Park is a very pleasant and atmospheric way to spend a cool and cloudy morning or early evening, as you meander your way along the canals and park connectors, across the bridge to cycle along the dirt tracks of Coney Island and then back again. There are a couple of bike rental places (which hire out adult and kids bikes as well as bikes with child’s seats) in Punggol Park if you are reliant on taxis and not able to take your own bikes. Don’t forget your picnic!
Pulau Ubin is a small island off Singapore that can only be reached by bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. If you fancy taking a trip back in time to when life was simpler and more rustic, this is the day out for you! Catch the ferry over early, hire bikes and follow the cycle routes across the island heading for Chek Jawa. Park your bikes and enjoy the Mangroves, boardwalks and wildlife (wild boar are regularly sighted along with monkeys and a variety of bird life) before heading back to the main jetty for some refreshments. Ferries depart regularly, so it’s easy to hop back on a boat to mainland Singapore, and the hawker centre at Changi is just over the road from the Ferry terminal and very good.
This list is by no means comprehensive, I could write another blog with a dozen more suggestions because access to “wild” Singapore is actually all around us. It can be hard sometimes to overcome the sweltering heat and stifling humidity but I have never once heard my son complain about being too hot, because he is always having too much fun (don’t worry, I moan enough for both of us!). I hope this blog has inspired you to get outdoors and explore more of our Little Red Dot. All you need is sunscreen, a hat and a lot of water!
By Faith Studd