Aug 12 2013
Tampines Eco Green is a 36.5 hectare park in Singapore’s east boasting grasslands, freshwater wetlands and secondary rainforest — right in the midst of a high-rise, high-density township. This might be the only place in Singapore where you can stand right beside a swamp, yet see a public housing dweller on her balcony and an above-ground MRT train whizzing by just metres ahead.
Located at the fringe of Tampines and Pasir Ris townships, if you’re not getting here by taxi, you’ll have to take a bus or train to Tampines and walk through Sun Plaza Park, past playgrounds and tarred bicycle tracks, to arrive. The Eco Green will seem a totally different world, where the wild things are.
Whether you see the wilder fauna, including hunting birds such as the white-bellied sea eagle or brahminy kite really depends on your luck, but you’ll definitely get to see several species of butterflies, dragonflies, bumble bees, and pretty flora. Two main trails intersect each other: a marsh trail, which runs alongside the swamp, and a forest trail. Both take less than an hour to complete. Be brave and check out the vibrant ecosystem that lies within the dank area of any one of the ‘snags’, or dead tree trunks.
The Eco Green is well designed, with helpful signs explaining the biodiversity peppering the entire park and QR codes, which your mobile can scan to provide you with additional information about the park. It’s impossible to get lost here, given the way the wetlands are in the centre with trails along the circumference of the park.
Astonishingly, from any point within the park one can see beyond to some of Singapore‘s public housing estates, which makes this a safe place to venture to alone. At peak hours, such as in the evenings, you’ll see many retiree joggers — the 4.4 kilometre trail is a perfect distance for a daily run. Going too late is not advised because there’s no lighting at all within the park. If nature calls in the midst of nature, try out the eco-toilet, a waterless, chemical-free system that turns human waste into organic compost.
The Tampines Eco Green is above all an excellent example of how the Singapore government continues to find innovative ways to squeeze out pockets of greenery amid the concrete sprawl – it only opened in 2011. From a two-hour trek in this suburban jungle, it’s nice to know that at the end of it, one’s kopi peng is just a 15-minute walk away.
Tampines Eco Green
Along Tampines Avenue 9 and Tampines Avenue 12
Take the MRT train on the East-West (Green line) to Tampines
Walk 20 minutes to the park via Sun Plaza Park
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