Friday, April 12, 2013

Welcome to Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park! (Update: now with video!)

Previously, I have written a ZeeloTips article about the 6 best public parks in Singapore. I don't want to spoil it for you so you should click here to check out that list. If you already read the article, I did mention about Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park. During that time, the full article for Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park was not done yet. Well, here it is. This is the full article about Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park, a neighbourhood park located right in between the neighbourhoods of Bishan and Ang Mo Kio. Formerly known as Bishan Park before the recent revamp, tt's one of Singapore's biggest neighbourhood parks. Plus, it's connected to the iconic Kallang River and Singapore's first park connector. Want to know more about this very happening public park? Find out more below.

Reaching The Park

Getting to the park was easy. There are plenty of bus services passing by the roads that surround the park such as Bishan Road, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, Upper Thomson Road and Marymount Road. I took service 58 and alighted at the bus stop right after the SMRT Bishan Depot. Thankfully, the bus service passed by my house. When I first reached the park, I noticed this. The picture you see above is the pond. Basically, it's, well, a pond. There's muddy water, lots of trees and plantations surrounding the pond and some small wooden bridges that allow you to walk over the water safely. It's beautiful and it's eye-catching. Do drop by the pond once you have reached here.

An Awesome Swing Set

After walking around the pond, I spotted this pair of awesome swings and boy it reminded so much of my childhood. Since I am a big boy, I still wasn't sure whether or not I could still fit in and swing. I took the risk and thankfully, I manage to fit my butt in it and swing myself. I'm still quite heavy so I can't swing all the way up unfortunately but it was still fun and nostalgic nonetheless. If you are not into swings and you are more into keeping yourself in shape, there is a fitness corner nearby so you can workout to your heart's content. This park is also great for those who want to pass their fitness test since all the stations are built right in the park.

Enjoying the Great View

While I was walking and continuing my journey around Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park, I noticed this beaitiful view. One of the newest features of the park after undergoing a revamp was this meandering river which is connected to Kallang River. Last time, it was just a big drain. Not only that, you can also walk or cycle all the way from Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park and go through Singapore's first park connector which is parallel to the Kallang River. I still have not walked along that particular park connector yet but I am pretty you can see a lot of great views. Back to the topic of Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park, I really appreciate the makeover they have done to this iconic neighbourhood park. Crossing the meandering river is easy, all you have to do is to just cross along any of the bridges available.

Another Way to Cross The River

Apart from the bridges that you can use to cross the river, you can also cross directly on the river itself with the help of these big rocks. However, you should do it at your own risk and if you do not mind getting your shoes or feet wet. Some of the big rocks are totally covered with water while some like the one shown above do not get covered with water. Here is a little warning though. When it is going to rain, the water level will rise so I do not recommend you to walk down all the way and cross because it is dangerous. Thankfully, warning systems near the meandering river are put in place to warn you when there is an increase in water levels. Despite all that, it's still a cool way to cross the river. The view when crossing was absolutely stunning.

Cool - looking benches

Here's something that you might not get to see in other neighbourhood parks in Singapore. There were a few benches when I visited the place at that time and it looked like those chairs you can bring along when you go to the beach. Just like a regular beach chair, you can sit here and lie down and soak in the sun. I'm not entirely sure whether or not Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park is a great place to get a tan but at least these cool seats let you rest comfortably. Furthermore, they are totally unique street furniture that should appear in other public parks.

A Piece of Art

Who says sculptures and art pieces are only available at an art museum? Here at Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park, there was this sculpture located near the meandering river. Unfortunately, I cannot really get an up close and personal look at the sculpture because there were some people there resting. In order to avoid disturbing them, I took a picture of it from afar. I hope you can actually see the sculpture on the top left hand corner because it really looks lovely. Plus, the small trees that surround the sculpture along with the rocks on the ground really make it enjoyable to look at. Hopefully, in my next visit, I can get a closer look at the sculpture.

Children's Playground Part 1

Just like regular public parks, there will of course be a section specially for children. At Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park, there were two playgrounds. That is why I added 'Part 1' in the headline above. There is another one which I will touch on a little bit later. This children's playground has a unique entrance that is made with a large and curvy red concrete wall and an entrance which require people, especially adults, to duck down because of the height of the entrance. A lot of children can be seen having fun at the playground. Some of them feature cool fixtures such as the one above. I'm not sure what this is but I do know that children can climb using the ropes in the fixture itself. Apart from this, there was also a pavement that was very curvy and it was very fun to walk on.

Uniquely looking toilet

After walking past the junction of Marymount Road, I walked to the other part of Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park. If you don't know, there is a break in the middle of the park with a road in the middle called Marymount Road. After crossing the junction, you can continue your exploration of the park. While I was walking, I noticed this very strange-looking structure. After taking an up close and personal look of this structure, I realised that it was actually a toilet. Toilets are not that common in public parks so it's good to see such a feature here at Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park. Not only that, the toilet also accompanies the water park which is located beside it. As for the toilets itself, they are pretty clean for a public park. Don't expect it to be squeaky clean like the ones at Changi Airport.

The Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Water Park

Here is another cool feature you can check out at Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park which is this small water park. I know I know, you may be thinking where are all the people and where is the water? Well, when I was there, I realised that the water park was not in operation. Still puzzled, I looked around and checked whether or not there was an on/off switch to switch on the water system. It seems that, according to a notice pasted on one of the lamp posts, the water park will only be in operation on weekends at certain timings. Weird? I don't think so because I think it made sense considering that there will be more people especially children, who will be coming here to the water park on weekends. Despite all that, the fixtures in the water park are really awesome and child-friendly. There were also some metal fixtures whereby people can actually control the amount of water passing through. If this area is in operation, I am sure there will be a lot of children who will be enjoying themselves right over here. Hopefully, I get to see this in operation the next time I visit Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park.

Interesting Water Body

I'm not sure what this is actually but what I do know that it's an interesting water body located just right beside the water park as mentioned above. You can actually see the reflections of trees, the sky and structures located beside the water body. The view is absolutely stunning.

The Cleansing Biotope

Another great feature of Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park is the Cleansing Biotope. According to their website, it's actually a man made wetland that enables better water treatment and it helps maintain water quality naturally without using chemicals. Not only that, some of the plants also help to cleanse the water by absorbing its nutrients and filtrate the pollutants. If it's too complicated for you to understand, it's basically a cool looking wetland that cleanses the water. You can actually see various colourful plants on the wetland and they make it a joy to walk around and enjoy the scenery. This is a very innovative way to clean the water.

Children's Playground Part 2

At the other half of Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park, there is also another children's playground. Unlike the previous one that I talked about, this one is much bigger and has much more fixtures like slides and something that allows children to climb onto like a tree, as compared to the other one. Also, I noticed that this particular playground is much more colourful and caters towards bigger and older children. It's a fun way for children to get some exercise and have some fun at the same time too.

Lotus Garden

Here is another great feature of the park, the Lotus Garden. The Lotus Garden is basically a pond with lots of lotuses and if you are lucky, you get to spot some dragonflies flying around along with some birds. You can walk along the wooden boardwalk and enjoy the view and relax by the wooden shelter located nearby. It's peaceful, quiet and a great place to pass the time. So, when you are here at Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park and you want to head somewhere peaceful and quiet, head to the Lotus Garden. I guarantee you that you will not regret visiting this part of the park.

The End of the Park

Here we are, the end of Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park. The road you see in the background is Upper Thomson Road. I realised that the two parts of Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park actually has two separate names. For the portion of the park that starts from Bishan Road to Marymount Road, it's called the River Plains while the portion that starts from Marymount Road to Upper Thomson Road is called the Pond Gardens. As you can see from the map above, the Pond Gardens' size is actually bigger than the River Plains. Nonetheless, both parts are still great and they both have unique characters. I suggest you to visit both parks if you have the time.

Final Thoughts

Here are some final thoughts I have for Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park. The park is a great place to relax and unwind thanks to the various amenities of the park like the Pond, Lotus Garden, Cleansing Biotope, beach chairs, the meandering river and so much more. If you want to exercise and maybe go for a run, Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park is a great place for runners thanks to the generous amount of jogging tracks along with the amount of exercise machines located in the park. It's a great place to visit with your family or friends and it's also a great way to spend time here with all the lush greneery available at Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park.

Getting Here

Bus services available: 50, 53, 55, 58, 156, 162, 162M (Bus stop outside Bishan Park along Bishan Road)

Nearest MRT Station: NS17/CC15 Bishan MRT Station (North South Line/Circle Line)

Website: Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park Website

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