64 parks in Singapore, and 76 park connectors linking those parks together. Pretty neat for a country that’s so small on the atlas, you can’t even fit the country name on it.
Most of these parks have something unique about them but Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is a particularly interesting one. Before, a concrete canal used to cut through the park. Today, a gorgeous meandering river stands in its place. Cast aside your inhibitions and allow the glistening cool water to beckon you, and answer that call.
The look on the kids’ faces when I said we were going into the river. “Really Mama? We can go into the river?” Once upon a time, kids would run out of their homes and go splashing in rivers without a care in the world, only to return when the skies turn dark and their tummies rumbled. Today, our kids take tentative steps into the water, gripping tightly to our hands, after seeking permission and making sure it’s really alright. Times have changed. Not necessarily for the worse, but they sure have changed.
The river and its banks are home to plenty of water snails (you can see lots of snail eggs on the rocks and plants around the banks), fish, frogs (look carefully and you might spot some tadpoles) and dragonflies. If we weren’t so focused on maintaining our balance, I’m sure we would have noticed more wildlife.
Speaking of balance, do ensure that you wear proper sandals when you enter the river and tread carefully because the rocks at the bottom are covered with moss and can be slippery. It’s reasonably flat on the riverbed, but the presence of rocks coupled with the slight current makes walking a little challenging. Therefore, I think this is a really fun thing for slightly older kids. Our 7 year old had no problem, and our 4-year old enjoyed it tremendously as well. But I would not recommend this for younger children. And especially not for adults carrying little babies – safety first!
Thankfully, the kids were in good sandals. I, however, was not. But had I been sensible enough to be in sandals, I wouldn’t have slipped, and nobody would have enjoyed a good laugh at the sight of a frantic woman screaming at her drifiting flip-flop. Almost made the cut on my foot (which resulted in a couple of days of hobbling, a course of antibiotics and a tetanus jab) worth it. Almost.
On hindsight, I can understand why they were all howling with laughter. But at that moment, it was a little scary, because I was struggling to keep my balance on one foot, while trying to reach for my flip-flop that was floating away, and there was nowhere I could place my hands on for balance. Because there is a good foot of water involved, that adds another dimension to factor in, on top of the fact that when you do land, it’s not going to be on a smooth surface, and the possibility of getting hurt and cut is present. So do be careful. My foot is fully healed but hobbling about for a week was not fun.
Would I still recommend this? Definitely. Because life is for exploring, and for experiencing.
We entered the river just below the bridge at the McDonald’s outlet but I’m sure you will be able to find many gentle entry points.
Another fun section that my kids really enjoyed was sitting on the stepping stones and soaking their feet in the river. Dangling my feet in the river with my two favourite little people on a peaceful afternoon with no rush to be anywhere else. It was surreal. Definitely one of my favourite “Motherhood is so worth it” moments.
Do it, please. Sit on the rocks, enjoy the breeze, feel the tranquility, enjoy your kids’ laughter, and smile along with them.
About Ang Mo Kio-Bishan Park
Ang Mo Kio-Bishan Park is located along Bishan Road and Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1. It is within walkable distance from Bishan MRT station. There’s also a children’s water play area that’s open Thursdays to Sundays, 8am to 11am, and 4pm to 8pm. But really, try out the river. There are plenty of flat paths that are great for kids with kick scooters. Food options are limited.
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