Monday, November 18, 2013

Kent Ridge Park , Hort Park

Pasir Panjang Terminal , from Kent Ridge

 It has been a soggy November but this morning offers a rare window of opportunity for a rain-free walk in the park. Seize the day I did and after depositing the little one at Science Hub, it was me-time at the nearby Kent Ridge Park, where Bukit Chandu is.

The park is not exactly accessible by public transport. The nearest bus stop is located at Pasir Panjang Road which demands a very steep climb.

A walk in the ( Kent Ridge ) Park
I parked the car at car park B, steps from Kent Ridge Park’s lookout point. Facing west,  I took in Pasir Panjang Terminal and the western sea,  partially obscured by tree tops. 10.30am is a decent time for a nice , clear photo as the Terminal and sea was lit up by the morning sun.

Trees, trees and more trees at the canopy walk
South of the lookout point, a lush avenue of trees led to the canopy walk and Bkt Chandu. The canopy walk is one of Nparks works that links Kent Ridge to the Southern tip of Singapore, Mount Faber. The walk, a 20m odd boardwalk with lookout points was immaculately maintained, free of slippery leaves and debris.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Kent Ridge Park

Near Kent Ridge lookout point
The boardwalk ended at the entrance of Bukit Chandu, a heritage point that witnessed fierce fighting between the local freedom fighters and the Japanese in WWII. Bukit Chandu was closed because it  was a Monday but a nearby plaque gave a vivid account of the battle which, as history knows, we lost.

Hort's own Lombard Street
At this point, a short slight of stairs led to a Lombard Street like walk path that opens up to the nursery at Hort Park. Hort Park was stately even at the 11 am sun, with a huge swath of green that housed many greenhouses.  

A little of Botanic Gardens, no ?

I especially recommend the community farm that grows dwarf versions of every possible herbs and vegetables.  There was a small playground which was too hot to enjoy in the noon sun.

Community farm at Hort

Vineyards the Restaurant is located the end of the landscaped garden. At this point, I refreshed myself at the public amenities ( including chilled water cooler ). Hort Park, like Botanic Gardens and the zoo, has one of the nicest, eco-friendly public washrooms in Singapore which I highly recommend.

As seen from Vineyard at Hort Park
Mozaic murals, at Vineyard
The total distance from Kent Ridge Park to Hort Park is about 1.5 km which takes a leisurely 1 hour, more if you are a chronic shutterbug.

Greenhouse at Hort, where testbeds of plants are housed
I backtracked my way uphill from Hort to Kent Ridge. Between the stone steps and canopy walk up to Kent Ridge , I much prefer the scenic canopy walk. Unless I am in a hurry, the steps look murderously unending all the way to the top. Not to forget, there’s not much of a view using the stairs up too.

All in all,  the 3 km walk gives a good summary to the area which is impossible to navigate by car. If these parks have a personality, I would think Hort is stately as Kent Ridge is friendly. Much as Hort is beautifully manicured, I prefer the shadier Kent Ridge. Though the narrow park is flanked by Normantan and Pasir  Panjang, it offers great views and is cooler because of the trees.

Normanton Park, from Kent Rdge
Pasir Panjang at noon

Either end of the walk, there’s not much in the way of drinks, except for a vending machine and water cooler. Bring along a bottle of cold water because the Singapore sun does a good job of sizzling you up at any time.

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