Saturday, August 1, 2020

A Glorious Day at Lower Peirce Reservoir Park, Singapore


Navigating life during a full-blown global pandemic can be tough. More so when the pandemic has already been around for months, ravaging countries, hurting economies, terrorizing people and yet not showing signs of abating any time soon. 

Children are not the face of this pandemic but they risk being among its biggest victims. While they have largely been spared from the direct health effects of Covid-19 (at least to date) – the crisis is having a profound effect on their well-being. Children have an inherent need to explore, play and socialize. Being cooped up at home in a relatively sterile environment all the time can be detrimental both to their physical as well as mental health. 

In the era of Covid-19, children living in Singapore have been relatively fortunate. Yes they did face restricted movement and school closures but it was only for a short duration. Since the start of June, they have been back at school albeit with several 'new-normal' rules and regulations in place but they have been able to get back a crucial part of their lives. They also have considerable freedom to engage in outdoor activities. As a parent, I feel grateful that my children have been largely able to escape from the spell of tenebrosity cast by the pandemic.

So whenever the opportunity presents itself to take them outdoors where I can gauge the level of risk to be minimum and effectively maintain safe distancing measures, I go for it! 

Last year, we had been to the Upper Seletar Reservoir park near the Singapore Zoo for a family picnic and for the girls to get used to their new bicycles. The park was picturesque, uncrowded, quiet and we had an absolutely marvelous time there. The girls enjoyed riding their bicycles (though they still needed training wheels at the time). 


Fast forward to a few weeks ago, we wanted to go out for another cycling expedition to celebrate the girls bidding adieu to their training wheels 😊

I had heard a lot about Upper and Lower Peirce Reservoir located in the Thomson area near MacRitchie Reservoir. We had been wanting to visit for a long time but just never got around to it. 

The Lower Peirce Reservoir, Singapore's second-oldest reservoir, was built by impounding the upper reaches of the Kallang River. The reservoir was named in recognition of Robert Peirce, who was the Municipal Engineer of Singapore at the start of the 20th century. It only acquired its current name in 1975, after the Upper Peirce Reservoir was built. The Lower Peirce Reservoir, together with the MacRitchie Reservoir, the Upper Peirce Reservoir and the Upper Seletar Reservoir, bound the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. 


As we got closer to the reservoir, we caught sight of plenty of monkeys along the road and dangling on trees. Even in the parking lot there were plenty of them. People planning picnics, do take note! 😀

Along the reservoir you have a straight long track which is great for walking, jogging or cycling. With a verdant green carpet of grass blanketing one side and the vast reservoir on the other, it is a lovely spot to get some heart-pumping exercise or even take a leisurely stroll. There are even quaint benches if you want to just sit down, take in the panorama and savor the silence. I thought of my father-in-law fondly and kept thinking how much he would love to sit there. I made a mental note to bring him here on his next visit to Singapore 😊



I was delighted to note that there were hardly any people around and there was no sign of rain either. 

When life has recently been so strange and unsettling, the glorious deep blue sky dotted with milky white clouds, the emerald green trees, the glistening still water and the symphony of nature just transported me to another world and made me forget about the unpleasant realities for a few hours. I took the opportunity to practice mindfulness. I felt so much at peace that it can almost be described as therapeutic. 




My kids got on their bicycles and with a little bit of coaxing, they were on their way!



You can see the water intake tower and adjoining bridge. We took a pleasant stroll exploring our surroundings and polishing off homemade oatmeal cranberry muffins, cheese sandwiches and fruit from our picnic basket. Fortunately for us, there were no monkeys in sight! 




While the kids were preoccupied riding their bicycles under their daddy's watchful eye, I armed myself with my camera and sauntered off to check out more of the park. 



The tropical rainforest that lines its banks is dotted with numerous rubber trees and oil palms. Be aware that recreational fishing is permitted along a short stretch along the edge of the reservoir, so don't worry about anyone doing anything illegal 😀




There is a pavilion with a lovely view where you can sit down for a spot of reflection, read a book or just chill. 


The Lower Peirce Trail meanders through a mature secondary forest and along the edge of this reservoir. Along the rustic 900-metre boardwalk, you will be rewarded with invigorating forest views as well as a variety of flora and fauna. The forest happens to be home to more than 900 flowering plants, 100 ferns and 250 animal species. 

The boardwalk is practically on the water's edge so as exhilarating as it is to feel so close to nature, you need to remember to watch your step! 





This place in Singapore is a haven for photography enthusiasts. There will always be something at the Lower Peirce Reservoir for shutterbugs. I spotted birds, butterflies, insects and monkeys (but I didn't manage to get any decent pics). If you enjoy nature photography, the Lower Peirce boardwalk, snaking through the rainforest, offers plenty of opportunities for first-hand encounters with Singapore wildlife. 

The common wildlife that resides in this reservoir includes Squirrels, Long-tailed Macaques, Monitor Lizards, Oriental Whip Snakes and Brahminy Kite, Pacific Swallow and the occasional White-bellied Sea Eagle flying above the reservoir. Freshwater species such as Snakeheads can also be found in the waters of the reservoir.  



I didn't walk the entire length of the walking trail since it might have taken me at least 45 min but that is something I definitely intend to do in the future. 

I got back to where my family was and together with the kids headed up the hilly green slope from where we enjoyed captivating views of the reservoir’s waters.





My children were thrilled to discover a small play area nestled in the middle of the greenery. Even though they have largely outgrown them, they still did play for a short while. 

Just as we were about to leave, the skies turned overcast and a light drizzle began which soon turned into a downpour. We got really lucky! 


On the way home, I kept thinking how the park would look at sunrise and sunset. I would like to visit again to check them out! 

Nature's Oasis of Calm...
Singapore is world renowned for its impressive skylines, beautiful architecture and man-made marvels but the aesthetic of this little red dot also includes plenty of natural landmarks too. You just need to know where to look!

Lower Peirce Reservoir park is hands-down the most scenic park in Singapore that I have seen. A place where you can not only enjoy some peace and quiet but also, exercise, enjoy family time, encounter local wildlife and enjoy wonderful panoramas of the waters flanked by a luxuriant forest. A much-needed escape especially during times like these!

While not as crowded as MacRitchie or even Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, this reservoir still attracts taichi enthusiasts, runners, bikers, hikers, anglers, families and people looking to explore a different side of Singapore. 

The mature secondary rainforest is home to thriving biodiversity which is a nature and photography enthusiast's delight. The park has a lovely nature trail and the highlight of this is the low-lying boardwalk that skirts the water's edge. There are benches and pavillions for people to take rest. There is also a small children's playground. Overall, there is something for everybody! 

Highly recommended 👍




Information


Nature reserve opening hours: 7am to 7pm

Some rules you will do well to remember in the nature reserve:
  • No smoking
  • No pets
  • No feeding of wild animals
  • No littering
  • No plucking of plants
  • No open fire, barbecuing or camping
  • No bicycles on the boardwalk 
  • No playing of loud music

How to get there:

By public transportation:
Nearest bus stop:
Bus numbers 163, 167, 169, 855, 980

Alight at the bus stop nearest to the Sembawang Hill Food Court and walk along Old Upper Thomson Road towards Lower Peirce Reservoir Park. The entrance to the trail (Casuarina Entrance) is about five minutes away.

By car : 
Follow the direction of Upper Thomson Road. Turn into Old Upper Thomson Road. Follow the road until you see the entrance of the trail. Parking facilities are available along the road near the Casuarina Entrance (paid parking). Alternatively, do what we did and park at the Lower Peirce Reservoir carpark towards the south (free parking). 

If you don't feel like arranging a picnic basket no worries! If you work up an appetite at the nature reserve, just visit the nearby hawker centre on Thomson Road or you could go for the Roti Prata at Casuarina Road. 


Oh and you're welcome! 😀


References:


Have you been to Lower Peirce Reservoir? What did you think of it? Leave a comment to let me know. 


Cheers,
Megha

10 comments:

  1. Wonderful. Try Upper Pierce Reservoir too, pristine and quiet too.

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  2. Went there last week. The park is so serene and air is so freah that many wildlife besides monkeys lurk around as I walk through the trail.

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  3. Thank you very much. Such a useful article. I come here today, I made it after waiting for the sunny day. Love SG. I'm from Thailand.

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    Replies
    1. Hi there! So happy you found the post useful. I hope you had a lovely time there :)

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  4. Excellent articulation about the place

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