Coney Island used to only be accessible by boat. Since 10 October 2015, the opening of two bridges connecting the 50 hectare island to mainland Singapore has made it accessible to the general public. The little island houses a wide variety of habitats, including coastal forests, grasslands, mangroves, and casuarina woodlands. It is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora, some of which are critically endangered. Worth exploring? We shall see.
Written by Nic, photo captions by Gill
On the day that we (finally) set out for Coney Island, the weather was so beautiful it could begin a badly written zuo wen. Everyone was rushing to office, while we were going to an island with a cow. Gill and I were on a double date, with James and Nadene. Double dates are great; they are good tripods.
To get to the island, take 84 at Punggol MRT. The bus stops right outside a stall selling mee siam. I bought a packet. As with all food on the internet, a review is necessary – I rate it 8. Don’t forget to add a nugget.
On the way there, you get to admire Punggol in its full glory. When I made a comment about it being a nice spot for BTOs, however, it was not well-received. Clearly westie snobs.
The ride is a little more than 5 minutes. Upon alighting, you’ll see a lil wooden area for admiring the sea. In fact, we saw a bridal party taking photos, though we wisely refrained from taking photos of them taking photos. (They had tattoos that running along their arms, and the colors of the rainbow can be spotted in their hairdos)
Like all overly excited first-time bloggers, Gill took many pictures at the start. Here are those that survived the cut:
Walking along the path, with the sea on your left, you will pass by Punggol Settlement. With numerous empty seafood restaurants, I’m sure most of them are selling deals on Groupon.
We went to 7-11 to stock up on water. At this juncture, I would like to say that 7-11 is ethical for not doubling price of water in this ulu place.
Continue forward and you will be rewarded with a bicycle rental shop called Jomando. It is manned by two good-looking dudes. Students enjoy discounted bike rental rates – this is how business should be done. The 3 of us took adult bikes, while Gill took the dwarf bike.
We entered via the West Gate. This gate is opened from 7am to 7pm.
Directional signs were overwhelming. We now know that you have to take the dirt path. Guys, it is the one that reminds you of Lorong Asrama. Another piece of advice for the men: watch out for your winky. The path is not smooth.
Along the way, we spot a bird-watching place.
NParks website promises 80 species of birds. Collectively, we only know two local species – the mynah and the sparrow. We hoped to expand our limited knowledge of birds, but only chameleons greeted us. Our dismal find was probably due to James – he was complaining about his winky. In any case, even if you are clueless about birds, you should still visit. The watch-spot is unique and peaceful.
Leaving our bikes on the dirt road, we wander to a nice beach spot – Beach Spot A. The view is untainted and almost melancholic. Actually no, it is just blue. That explains why we did not take any photos here.
Onward, we see Beach Spot B. We do not recommend Beach Spot B. It plagiarises Beach Spot A. Ditto Beach Spot C and D. They are apparently themed – Beach B focuses on Beachfront Shrubs while C focuses on rare coastal trees. Therefore, only go if you are ecologist or gunning for your young botanist badge.
Since the island is almost empty, we race on the dirt road. On hindsight, we do not recommend it. There is a possibility that you will crash into a wild boar. More crucially, you will miss the flora and fauna.
If you are up to it, you may visit the Mangrove Boardwalk. This is next to Beach Area C. It required us to dismount from the comfort of our bikes; so we made it quick. It is what it is – a jaunty mangrove swamp. The kind you learnt about in ‘My Pals are Here’.
1.5 hours into the adventure, we reached the end. This is also the East Entrance, where a PUB is located. Some say it is the journey that matters, not the destination, but we humbly disagree. This is where the toilet is.
People claim that they spotted otters at the embankment. Damn, were they fortunate. We saw none of them otters. We also saw none of Coney’s Cow. We did see an aggressive male monkey, however. Since this was the only mammal we’d seen, we were more excited than we ought to be. Cue scramble of photos. Monkey is not too impressed. It looks like an irate Arsene Wenger at Camp Nou.
If you have to return your bike at the West Entrance, please set aside 20 minutes for the journey back. Use the same dirt path. Girls, also use this dirt path for shameless photo-taking.
What Coney Island is Gr8 For:
- Double Date
- Marriage Photo
- Data Connectivity (surprisingly fast!)
What Coney Island isn’t For:
- Seeing Cow
Gill & Nic