What’s In The “Bi” of Bishan – Ang Mo Kio Park?

One of the things I hope to achieve during this break, besides resting, sending resumes and looking for jobs, is to enjoy the finer side of things that Singapore has to offer. During my time in the office, I had accidentally discovered places I never quite knew existed, or never knew they were actually accessible to the public. I’m not referring to quirky indie stores in some hipster district, nor am I talking about themed cafes or bars. Rather, I’m talking about the more natural sights, like Punggol Promenade, Bishan Park (I haven’t given it a stroll since the refurbishment works completed not too long ago) and the southern islands, particularly the latter, I’dreally love to visit…

Feeling completely bored on this particular Easter Sunday, I decided to do the one right at my doorstep. The good thing about where I live is that it takes anywhere from one to fifteen minutes to get to one of the many nature destinations in the area, including the Macritchie, Peirce and Seletar Reservoirs, as well as their respective parks, and of course, Bishan Park, which has since been renamed to Bishan – Ang Mo Kio Park. As part of the Public Utilities Board’s plan to turn every stretch of exposed concrete canals from real eyesores into a quasi-naural-esque river, they worked with the National Parks Board to refurbish and integrate the water elements into the park.

So let’s take a walk…

This water lily-filled pond has been around for a long time, and on the rare occasion, it doesn’t actually look like Sadako’s imagination complete with mostly dead plants. On the rare occasion, this place, filled with blooming water lilies, is an absolute sight, like cherry blossoms blooming in the mid-Spring air. Visiting during the scorching heat of the Chinese New Year season would probably be a good time to catch them, plus most of the park’s flowers bloom during that extreme heat anyways.

The well-known children’s playground has been replaced by a playground even adults might find challenging from randomly placed logs, and balancing beams which will be great for those who’ve always liked outdoor adventure sports like the Flying Fox. If this looks too hard, move down east and you’ll find a water-themed area similar to the one at Children’s World at the Singapore Zoological Gardens. While it’s not going to be as exciting as the one in Mandai, there are still ankle-high pools, streams, slides and fountains, which is quite amazing considering this is completely public.

There’s a strategic reason behind Kallang river’s naturalization – Marina reservoir. To prevent the freshwater lake from becoming stale, the water’s constantly circulated back upstream via underground pipes to its major tributaries, such as the Kallang river, allowing the water to be oxygenated, cleaned and providing a steady stream of water to previously functional storm canals. Major tributaries of the Kallang river, such as this one pictured below, are now regulated to keep water levels stable.

Park-goers may go down to the water level, but have to be alert for the sirens and announcements at 100 metre intervals which detect rapid water flow which may overflow what is essentially the floodplain. Allowing the river to swell upstream over hear may prevent flooding in the low-lying areas of the Singapore and Kallang river areas.

View downstream.

View upstream towards my apartment.

We progress “inland” where I get hints of West Lake and Northeast Asia-style scenery complete with terraces.

The terraces empty into a very scenic lake.

I’m getting really strong West Lake vibes here…

Most images shot with Sony NEX-5N with intelligent Auto on “Pop” settings.

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