A guide to Coney Island Park

Singapore is an island surrounded by other, smaller islands. The newest one that’s open to us is Coney Island, also known as Pulau Serangoon. 

Guide to Coney Island Park
Guide to Coney Island Park
10 Mar 2016

Guide to Coney Island Park

Once owned by the Haw Par brothers, the island passed through the hands of an Indian businessman, who had the brilliant idea of turning it into an amusement park like Coney Island, New York, before returning to the government in the 1970s. Today, it’s an ecologically sustainable park that’s home to several threatened fauna in Singapore.

The sand and gravel terrain makes it ideal for walking or cycling, though we wouldn’t recommend that you bring a scooter. Expect to spend about three hours on the island, although cycling will allow you to cover it in less than that amount of time.

5 things to do on Coney Island
5 things to do on Coney Island
10 Mar 2016

5 things to do on Coney Island

Look out for the solitary Brahman bull

It’s a breed of cattle from the United States that was initially imported from India. This particular bull is thought to have wandered in from Punggol or Lorong Halus.

Photo: How a Brahman bull looks like – ’cause the Coney Island specimen is so elusive. Image by Owen Young.

5 things to do on Coney Island
5 things to do on Coney Island
10 Mar 2016

5 things to do on Coney Island

See the Haw Par Beach Villa

…from afar. Built by the Haw Par brothers – Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par – who created the Tiger Balm ointment, the building was damaged during World War II and its grounds are currently managed by the Singapore Tourism Board as a tourist attraction. As the building is structurally unsound and sits in a mangrove area subject to rising tides, visitors are advised not to enter without an NParks guide.

Relive your childhood

There’s a playground made from recycled Casuarina tree wood; but really, it’s mostly about going back to a time where enjoying oneself didn’t involve electronics or a smart-anything.

Photo: Timber from uprooted Casuarina trees were collected and recycled.

5 things to do on Coney Island
5 things to do on Coney Island
10 Mar 2016

5 things to do on Coney Island

Give bird spotting a go

There are more than 80 species of birds, such as the black-crowned night heron, the spotted wood owl, the red junglefowl, changeable hawk-eagle or the red-wattled lapwing, in Coney Island Park due to the diverse habitats. Yes, we’re saying birds can be interesting too.

Check out the five beaches

…creatively named A, B, C, D and E. Each one of them has a different plant theme, such as Rare Coastal Trees and Coastal Climbers, so there’s definitely something more than meets the eye.

How to get there
How to get there
10 Mar 2016

How to get there

There are 2 entrances to Coney Island, the west and east entrance, and it spans 2.4km. The East Entrance begins at Lorong Halus while the West Entrance of Coney Island is along the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk, which is also the more accessible entrance.

If going by bus, bus 84 from Punggol bus interchange takes you to The Punggol Settlement. Alight and walk along the waterway to get to the entrance.

Essential tips
Essential tips
10 Mar 2016

Essential tips

Photo: Otters on Coney Island

* The only toilets on the island are located by the East Entrance. Be sure to empty your bladder before entering!

* Keen to rent a bicycle? There is a rental kiosk en route to Coney Island along the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk.

* Bring your own food and hydration supplies.

* Bring an insect repellent and wear covered shoes, as mosquitoes and sandflies are supposed to be rampant.

* Opening hours are from 7am to 7pm. The island is almost self-sustaining – the toilet pumps are solar powered while water used for washing is harvested from rain – with no piped water nor electricity, so you wouldn’t want to roam around after dark.

* Many photo enthusiasts have been spotted there doing their photoshoots. Make a trip there soon if you haven’t, before you see the end of #wildsingapore.

This story first appeared on City Nomads.

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