January 29, 2012

Pasir Ris to Buangkok

The route was along the coastline from Pasir Ris Park to Serangoon East Dam, then through Lorong Halus Wetland along the eastern bank of Sungei Serangoon to Buangkok MRT Station .
Sungei Api Api
The original plan was to reach Tampines Road by following the Sungei Serangoon all the way but because of the hot weather and the muddy trails caused by the recent rains, we left the trail at Buangkok East Drive to proceed to Buangkok.
A solitary fisherman sitting by the Pasir Ris Beach
Pasir Ris Park
From White Sands Shopping Centre we walked through the bus interchange to the Pasir Ris Park. When we reached the beach we turned left to follow the coast. At the end of the park we stepped onto the beach. We selected a day when the tide was at the lowest so as to allow us ample beach access. The first stretch was easy going as it was beach sand but we soon arrived at a stretch where there were stones lining the coast. We proceeded with caution and soon arrived at a stream that blocked our way. We met some hobby fishermen relaxing in the shade while waiting for the tide to turn.
Lorong Halus Wetlands Park
As we were scrambling on the granite stones, we noticed a patrol boat racing toward us beyond a line of floats put up to hamper unauthorised landing on the beach. It was speeding quickly parallel to the floats but suddenly slowed down. It probably realised that we were a bunch of hikers armed with walking sticks and cameras. On another occasion at Marina East, we were approached by a patrol car but they were not interested in us and were expecting to see some foreigners landing at the wave breaker near the helipad. This was just after our famous Mas Selamat was "selamat datang" in Johor so the coastal patrols were edgy.
Horseshoe Bridge from Lorong Halus Wetlands Park
We followed the stream and found a bridge that allowed us to cross. We then walked along the embankment of granite stones lining the beach outside an army camp to Pasir Ris Farmway 6. We tried to continue our progress along the granite stones but found them a bit challenging. A contractor approached us telling us that it was dangerous to proceed along the stones. We accepted his advice. We walked along Farmway 6 until we reach the access road to the dam and followed it all the way to the dam. Along the way, we saw a few fishermen park their cars along Farmway 6 before proceeding to the dam to fish. The dam led to Coney Island (Pulau Serangoon) where a fisherman was killed by lightning a few weeks ago.

Lorong Halus Wetlands Park
After a short rest while observing the fishermen, we proceeded to the Lorong Halus Wetlands Park & Visitor Centre. There was a pedestrian bridge linking it to the Punggol Waterway and Punggol Park Connector. We then headed for the trail on the eastern side of Sungei Serangoon. The gate was locked but we took a short detour to get outside to the trail. From here to Tampines Expressway, there were patches of wet and muddy ground due to the recent monsoon rain. This trail is better accessed during the dry season.

We braved on and when we arrived under the Tampines Expressway, we spent a bit of time freshening up i.e. wash our shoes and changed our socks. What a difference a pair of fresh dry socks could do.
Tampines Expressway
With our morale boosted we made short work of the trail to Buangkok East Drive. The trail here was much better than the earlier part. At Buangkok East Drive we decided to call it a day and proceeded to Kopitiam near Buangkok MRT Station for a rest.

Route

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Related articles
Punggol Park Connector - from Buangkok to Punggol
Punggol Point 
Punggol Waterway | Punggol Promenade 

January 6, 2012

Bukit Timah Bike Trail

The Bukit Timah Bike Trail follows approximately the boundary of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. The total trail distance is 6km. This walk would include side trips to the Hindhede quarry in the Hindhede Nature Park, the Singapore Quarry and the Wallace Education Centre.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor Centre
Hindhede Quarry
We started the walk after lunch at the Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre at Pei Wah Ave off Upper Bukit Timah Road. It has a wide selection of food to choose from. We headed for the visitor centre at Hindhede Road via Jalan Jurong Kechil and Jalan Anak Bukit. We accessed the track next to the toilet at the visitor centre that led to the Hindhede Quarry in the Hindhede Nature Park. After that we followed the trail that led us to the carpark from which we began walking along the bike trail. The start of the trail was steep and filled with rough granite stones. The bike trail consisted mostly of dirt track with steep portions clearly designated on mapboards.
Hindhede Quarry

Singapore Quarry
Just before the track went under Jalan Asas through a tunnel, there was a path on the left that allowed one to reach Jalan Asas. This road would end at the Singapore Quarry where one could rest and admire the quarry cliff and the wildfire and plant life. On some occasion one could see see the white bald headed eagle.

Tunnel Under Jalan Asas

We spotted some immature durian on the ground leading us to look up to check on the durian tree.
Singapore Quarry

Near the MOE Adventure School we could hear students going through their training. At the Dairy Farm Pass was an open field between two cliffs. We came across film crews doing location shoots. At one time an Indian film crew with artistes in period costume were filming some Indian epic and on this trip another crew with modern theme busy doing their makeup. We also came across a guy in full backpack training for a trek to Nepal.

Filming at Dairy Farm Pass

Wallace Education Centre and Wallace Trail
After some steep climbs, the track crossed a road that led to the Wallace Education Centre. It had clean toilet facilities and drinking water, an information hall and a training hall. It was a dairy farm in the colonial days hence the names of the surrounding areas such as Dairy Farm Trail, Dairy Farm Pass, etc. Beyond the Wallace Education Centre was a small trail called the Wallace Trail that looped back to the access road. There was a sign mentioning the last tiger being spotted there.


Wallace Education Centre
We returned to the bike trail and moved on until we hit the Belukar Trail where we turned right. Here we had a choice of staying on the Belukar Trail or the open Pipeline Trail which was parallel to it.

Bukit Timah Pipeline Trail

Just before Rifle Range Road there were two sets of exposed pipelines. Between the two sets of pipelines we looked for the trail on the right that would lead us to the Senapang Trail. Senapang means rifle as this trail was beside the rifle range below. When we reached a junction we followed the sign that pointed us to the visitor centre. The other trail would continue on to the Kampong Trail and MacRitchie Reservoir.

See Also:
Exploring Bukit Timah Hill  

Route

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