North Eastern Riverine Loop: Part 1

The National Parks website has a page listing out all the nature walks that can be found in Singapore. After looking through the list, I decided to try doing to North Eastern Riverine Loop. The website says that the walking time is about 3-4 hours. It seemed quite doable; not super easy, but still doable as it would be flat land and there was no tiring uphill climb.

Following the instructions, I got off at Buangkok MRT Station and walked for about 15-20 mins to Punggol Park. It was a hot day and I was perspiring before I even reached the start of the route.

I didn’t go into Punggol Park as I wanted to conserve my energy. So I walked on the other side of the canal that bordered Punggol Park, thinking that it would save me some steps. I was wrong as I found out later that the way to the Park Connector Network (PCN) was on the other side. The side I was on was blocked by a gate. So much for trying to conserve my energy.

But it was not all for nothing. As I walked along the canal, I noticed that some of the trees along Buangkok Drive was covered in red leaves. I thought the leaves looked beautiful against the blue sky.

While trying to photograph some sparrows, a motor raft drove past. The raft moved in a snaking pattern, going from left to right of the canal. At first I thought that the two guys in the raft were doing this for fun, but thinking about it now, they were probably using the waves generated by the motion to push floating debris to the sides.

I kept seeing people walking or cycling on the other side of the canal. If I lived in one of those flats, I could enjoy a daily walk in such nice surroundings. But who am I kidding? I would probably be too lazy to get out of the house.

Finally after what seemed like ages of walking, I reached the PCN path. This part of the PCN is a shared path, meaning that joggers and cyclists both shared the same path. So there were signs reminding people to keep left and to be careful.

Despite the hot weather, I saw quite a few people jogging. Some looked totally drenched. I saw one guy who was so hot that he took off his t-shirt and continuing jogging with the t-shirt in his hand.

The path was somewhat shaded in the beginning but soon there was no shade to be found. I was glad that I brought my newly bought Klean Kanteen insulated bottle along. I had filled it with ice water before I left home. Even though the ice had melted, water still remained chilled. It felt really good to have chilled water to drink in the middle of a hot, sweaty walk.

Hot and humid weather really sapped away my energy fast. So I was really glad when I spotted a rest stop for me to rest my feet. This was the happiest sight so far.

However, I did not sit there. A bit further down, there were benches facing Serangoon Reservoir. While some benches were under the sun, others were in the shade and it felt like more scenic place to rest. So I sat on one of the benches instead.

After resting for a while, I continued on. To be honest, I didn’t feel like moving but the weather was only going get hotter and I still had a long way to go. I came to a portion where the path divided up into two, with one for the joggers and one for the cyclists.

There were viewing points with some benches. Along the edge were metal rods with looked like they had LED lights attached at the end. They would probably look quite pretty at night, perhaps even romantic.

After about 15 mins of walking, I saw a bridge connecting to the opposite shore.

The bridge had an interesting shape. There was a sign next to the bridge with information on the Lorong Halus Wetland on the other side. Normally I would be interested to walk over and take a look, but I am really tired and I’m running out of water (despite refilling the bottle once at a water dispenser). I guess I just drink so much more when the water is deliciously chilled.

So I decided to turn left and follow the canal which flowed towards Punggol Waterway Park. Over the canal was the Sunrise Bridge, so named because it faced somewhat eastwards.

My second happiest sight was finding another place to sit down. Second, in chronological order, not second in the intensity of the emotion. I rested longer here; I’m just so tired. It’s a pity that I was nowhere near any roads where I could flag a taxi.

The canal ran through some housing estates. There was still quite a bit of construction going on. Punggol is going to get quite crowded. Even though there were flats on both sides, I didn’t really met anyone. I guess most people are not crazy enough to take a walk under the hot midday sun.

Because there was nobody around, I had a chance to see some wildlife like the monitor lizard that leisurely crawled across my path. It looked like it moved slowly but actually it was quite fast. By the time I walked around the bench, the monitor lizard had already disappeared into the bushes that grew along the bank.

I stopped and rest for a third time. A crow on a nearby tree eyed me and then cawed loudly. Probably to complain that I’m invading its personal space.

On the next bench, a young man sat down and opened a soft drink can. I heard a metallic click and the telltale hiss as the gas escaped the can. Looking over enviously, I wondered if I could offer to pay the man to sell me his soda, but it felt so loser that I immediately rejected the idea.

Punggol Road was nearby so that meant there wasn’t much further to go to hop onto a public transport. After a short walk up a slope, pass some blocks, I hopped onto the LRT to Punggol.

So ends my North Eastern Riverine Loop walk. I hate leaving things incomplete so I do want to try and see if I can finish the walk. Obviously walking the whole route at one go was too much for me. I will just have to break it up.

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