Monday, January 28, 2019

A Family Picnic to Upper Seletar Reservoir Park, Singapore


This post is long overdue!

I had made up my mind to blog about all the places in Singapore that are worth visiting. Both the popular tourist hotspots as well as the quieter, off-the-beaten-track locations. This post identifies with the latter category.

So, last year, a few months before our twins fourth birthday, we bought them their first ever bicycles. They were elated beyond measure! We were in Decathlon for about two hours and ended up emerging from the store with much more than just two bicycles and helmets 😆🙈 It took some convincing to impress upon the girls the necessity of wearing helmets but since the ones they chose were pink (it obviously had to match their bright pink and ultra girly bicycles!), they eventually consented. Both bicycles had training wheels and we felt like we should give the girls a reasonable amount of time getting used to the bicycles before taking the training wheels off.

After getting the hang of it a couple of times in one of the deserted visiting car parks within our condo premises, we wanted to take the girls outdoors for a more fun riding experience. The big question was - where? The answer came to us fairly quickly. 

One of the best things about Singapore is the abundance of well-maintained parks, park connectors, walkways, cycling tracks and open green spaces where you can take the kids out to play or cycle. It was the husband who suggested Upper Seletar Reservoir Park. Having never been there before, I was keen to visit. 

We decided to go on a weekend morning so I put together a hearty picnic brunch to keep the family happy and energized. We crammed the bicycles into the boot of the car and set off on the relatively short drive. 

The Seletar Reservoir was built in 1920 and officially opened by HRH, Princess Alexandra in 1969. In 1992, it was renamed as the Upper Seletar Reservoir and went on to become a marked historic site. The 15-hectare park features an iconic rocket-shaped viewing tower i.e. the Seletar Rocket Tower, and is a frequent venue for joggers, walkers and fishing enthusiasts.



Today, the Upper Seletar Reservoir is one of the four reservoirs that borders Singapore's nature reserves. The other reservoirs are the MacRitchie Reservoir, the Lower Peirce Reservoir, and the Upper Peirce Reservoir.


I had no preconceived notions in my mind of how the park was going to be so I was glad to see the road leading away from the hustle and bustle of the city and into more green and peaceful territory. We pulled into the parking lot and were a little surprised to see a mob of long-tailed macaques sauntering about. The girls squealed with excitement and if I hadn't restrained them, would have surely made a beeline for them! 


Once you set foot in the Upper Seletar Reservoir Park, you feel like you have entered a world painted with different hues of blue and green. The picturesque park known for its natural vegetation is teeming with flora and fauna, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers.


I noticed a few stone benches beside the body of water and immediately thought of my parents and in-laws. I imagined just how much they would have liked sitting there to take in the peace and quiet. Even better if there were to be a warm yellow sunset to grace the sky! 


It was a muggy day (as it always is here in Singapore!) but hardly any crowd which added to the visual appeal of the park. I had on my running gear and I was prepared to take my Fitbit on a heart-pumping jog! 

The park turned out to be the ideal place for the kids to ride their bikes. There was no noise or obstruction and the long straight path/track offered lovely views of the vast Seletar reservoir flanked by a canopy of lush trees. The other side of the track looked upon a beautifully manicured carpet of green, property of the Mandai Executive golf course. 




We had a thoroughly enjoyable morning - the kids riding their bikes, us jogging, me taking a whole bunch of photographs, the four of us polishing off the contents of the picnic basket whilst soaking in the natural surroundings.   





We saw a few people taking a leisurely stroll whilst admiring the serenity of the reservoir and the park’s majestic viewing tower. Good news is - for the more energetic and adventurous, there is the option of climbing up to the top of the tower to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the waters and adjacent greenery.





We also saw two wedding groups enthusiastically taking part in a professional pre-wedding photo-shoot. We also saw a young couple posing sweetly for a maternity photo-shoot. I then realized how the Upper Seletar Reservoir provides the perfect backdrop to capture precious moments of important life events like these. 


Know that visitors can also trek along the park’s many trails or go on a nature walk and discover the park’s inhabitants. But I'd advise you not expose food or drinks or else you may draw unwanted attention from the resident monkeys. 

At the time of writing this blog post, it alleged that there are crocodiles currently living in the reservoir. However no concrete evidence has been found as past reports were based on eyewitnesses accounts only. Nonetheless, signboards with "Beware of Crocodile" have been placed along various locations at the sides of the reservoir.  Urban legend? Maybe. But I'd say, it's better to be safe than to be sorry! 

On the way back we stopped for ice-cream which was a welcome treat indeed! The girls had so much fun that they insisted that they wanted to come back again the next day (I agreed and fortunately for me, they forgot all about it the next day!). 


I have updated this blog post with a few more pictures from one of our more recent visits to Upper Seletar Reservoir Park (Oct 2021). You may notice that the girls look older and if you were wondering, it has been a long time since we said bye to training wheels! 


One a sunny day, you can appreciate the clear blue sky and the shimmering blue water of the reservoir. The surrounding nature adds to the beauty of the landscape. 



We did go up the Seletar Rocket Tower after what seemed like a never-ending flight of winding stairs! The exertion paid off as we were treated to some stunning views!


See what I mean...




If you are looking for a nice spot to go cycling, jogging or just enjoy some downtime to unwind, Upper Seletar reservoir would be a great option. I would recommend going in the evening when the weather isn't too harsh to escape the craziness of city life and soak in the magical glow of the sunset over the reservoir.


Upper Seletar Reservoir Park

Location: Along Mandai Road Track 7, off Mandai Road

Access: Most convenient by car/taxi (no MRT nearby but there is a bus from Ang Mo Kio Interchange)


Admission: Free

Park size: 15 hectares

Park lighting hours: 7pm to 7am

Accessibility info: Wheelchair accessible

Other Info: No smoking zone. This is a smoke-free park


Suggested Reading:
Nparks website: http://www.nparks.gov.sg  



Have you been to the Upper Seletar Reservoir Park? What did you think? Leave a comment to let me know.


Cheers,
Megha


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