Our tiny little red dot island is the 3rd most populated country in the world besides Mocaco and Macau. Living in this man-made matrix of steel and concrete, and with a scarce land area of 719.1km2 supporting an (over)population of 5.6 million people, one would imagine that there are few natural trails in Singapore. While the island is mostly well-developed towns, and a large fraction of hand-planted fauna and flora, beautiful cycling trails do indeed exist. For instance, you can conquer Singapore on a bike via the Park Connector Networks (PCNs) alone. They’re also wide and awesome trails to spend time on with your family. If you’re ever short of places to cycle in, these 5 family-friendly routes are yours to consider:
1) Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
Spanning 62 hectares, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is one of the largest urban parks to dominate central Singapore. Opened in 1988 and first known as Bishan Park, it was given a makeover and renamed in 2012 to the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park we know today. B-AMK Park stretches from Bishan Road to Upper Thomson and sports many well-kept lawns and grassy banks. It’s a place thriving with park activities; there, you can bring your family for a slow ride around, and have your kids rest at the playgrounds and benches when you’re tired. The (open air) restaurants located within the Park offer you ready access to family lunches. A naturalized river which feeds into Kallang River runs through the park, so you’ll have plenty of chances to enjoy water. There’s also a cool little pond with a pebbled frog-hop trail leading up to it – you tread it as though playing hopscotch.
I’ll leave you with this link to find out more on what you can do at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
2) Pasir Ris- Punggol Cycling Trail
This ostensibly remote cycling trail connects Pasir Ris through the industrial farmway end and Lorong Halus Wetland, to get to Hougang, Punggol or Sengkang (and vice versa). It is quite hidden on the Pasir Ris end if you don’t know how to access it, but once you do – Lorong Halus Wetland sports an open shelter you can refill your water at, and water-lilies grow by the dozens in ponds here. Once you plunge the wheel forward, it’s through the Lor Halus Bridge to a fabulous trail that opens you up to the newly-built Punggol estate and waterway, and onward, Coney Island and the Punggol Jetty.
Should you wish to explore more of Pasir Ris, you can hit Pasir Ris Park itself. There, find yourself immersed amid a small quiet seaside for some solitude and more family-friendly trails for cycling. The Park used to have a Gallop Stable, but sadly, it closed down.
Read this post to find out more about the Pasir Ris-Punggol Trail.
3) Changi Village – Coastal Park Connector – East Coast Park
Not exactly a triple trail. Think of it as one great length – starting from the Eastern-most sweet spot that’s Changi Village (home to one of Singapore’s oldest coasts). Have a meal at Changi Village’s giant Hawker Centre before you set off – food is cheap and the view opens up to scenic grassland. Spot aeroplanes flying low preparing to land at nearby Changi Airport. Then take your young ones over the short bridge connecting Changi Village to Changi Beach Park – this 3.3km-long linear park has stretches of pristine white beach dotted with coconut palms, barbeque pits, park benches and shelters. It is also a popular picnic ground for families over weekends. Bike shops lay scattered around – so do shared bikes. I assume you do have your own bikes, but it’s always nice to have backups, right?
Enter Coast Park Connector, where you can enjoy views and glimpses of beaches as you cycle from Changi Beach Park. This 8km-long route along Nicoll Drive Road gives you scenic views – wild vegetation of casuarinas trees and wild grass on one side, and Changi Airport’s aviation runway on the other. So occupy yourself with spotting low-flying planes that appear at first like stars, then growing specks in the sky as they prepare to enter the airport. This will be the longest stretch you have to cycle without civilization save the occasional passing cyclist. The last time it rained there, I holed up with a friend at one of the rare shelters along the way. To be prepared, bring hoodies along. You never know when the skies decide to play their “water-prank”…
Lastly, East Coast Park! It’ll be redundant of me to explain what can be done here. Find out for yourself: here.
4) Northern Explorer Loop (Park Connector Network Loop)
The Northern Explorer Loop links up the Northern end of Singapore, unifying the towns of , Yishun, Sembawang, Admiralty and Woodlands into one. You start off at Lower Seletar Reservoir around Yishun, then head on through various Park Connectors through the districts into Woodlands. Enjoy cycling by water’s edge, see the flat route turn into slightly jungle-ish trails and back to solid pavement. For this route, you’ll enjoy weaving in and out of towns, and be happy tempting yourself with thoughts of air-con buses while you take the healthier option of cycling. There’re plenty of wild creatures to spot along this trail – one of which is the Macaca fasciculari or long-tailed macaque. Ulu Sembawang Park Connector tests ever so slightly of your rougher terrain handling skills. If you time your ride to finish off at Woodlands Waterfront in the evening, you’ll be richly rewarded – with quite a beautiful sunset stretching the indigo vista of the Causeway and beyond Johor Bahru.
Read Togoparts’ guide on the Northern Explorer Loop here.
5) Pulau Ubin Ketam MTB Trail
Four island-wide routes have been covered, so why not try something classically Singapore, yet rural? Pulau Ubin lies beyond your reach by a bumboat ride at Changi Village area. Pack up some sandwiches, picnic basket, pay $2 a head to the bumboat uncle at Changi Jetty and he’ll ferry your family across to the outbound island. Pulau Ubin is home to one of Singapore’s most rural areas; you’ll spot kampong houses along the trail! There’s the option of bringing your own bikes across, or renting one from Ubin’s various bicycle rental shops. It’s a dying trade to be sure, but the shared bikes have not reached those shores yet, so the shops are still going strong.
The Ketam MTB trail isn’t very technical, so beginning riders should have no problem navigating it. However, there’re some rockier spots, so bypass those and leave it to the more skilled riders if you’re not sure. Be prepared to take certain segments of the trail at high(er) speed for a good bit of adrenaline rush! All in all, nostalgia, a rural escape, and getting close to Nature are the highlights if you take this trail.
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