Punggol is a new town in the northeast heartland of Singapore; most newlyweds applying for their first new public housing apartments will end up living here. It may not be near to Singapore’s shopping or business districts, and it may still be peppered with large patches of undeveloped land and swamps, but it’s where many future Singaporeans will grow up — and where travellers should head to check out Punggol Waterway Park and a slice of ordinary Singapore.
The key feature of the 12-hectare, two-year-old Punggol Waterway Park is a lovely stream of sorts: the “Waterway”, with an accompanying track that stretches for over eight kilometres and is great for a run or stroll.
In 2012, the North Eastern Riverine Loop, which links this park together with neighbouring parks in the same town and adjacent Sengkang town, was completed, creating a 26 kilometre trail for fitness enthusiasts.
A visit to Punggol Waterway Park starts at the Punggol bus interchange or MRT station on the North East purple train line. A 15 -minute walk to Sentul Crescent Road brings you into the fold of its rustic charm — then just follow the path.
The track along the waterway gives way to a red laterite gravel reminiscent of the old Singapore kampung (village) days, and you’ll pass over various bridges as the trail runs alongside the reservoir. When tired, take a break in elegant rest shelters resembling seashells, while looking out for park dwellers like kingfishers and orioles. Hungry otters occasionally come right up to the banks.
After leaving the laterite you’ll arrive at a bridge that leads you to the Lorong Halus wetland. Formerly a landfill site, this parcel of land that’s the size of 18 football fields collects and treats rainwater before it reaches the Serangoon reservoir.
Look beyond the wetland and you might catch glimpses of Coney Island, a lush island of vegetation that’s currently closed and being developed into another park attraction.
After your stroll in the wetlands, return via the Lorong Halus bridge to the main track, by which time you’ll likely be tired but satisfied after an excellent workout through the beautiful park. The extremely sporty may continue on to the rest of the Loop, but you could end your Punggol visit with a ride on the Light Rail Transit, a service unique to Singapore’s new towns resembling a mini-MRT that connects various points in the Singapore heartland.
Once you get to the main train stations on the North East Line, that iced tea is just a few steps away.
How to get there
Punggol bus interchange or Punggol MRT Station (NE7); it's a 10-15 minute walk from Punggol Central Road to Sentul Crescent Road.
By Fen Chia
Last updated on 3rd December, 2015.