This seaside park is in an unusual setting – on the doorstep of a housing estate. Tucked away in a residential enclave just across from the houses along Pasir Ris Road, Pasir Ris Park is also deep in the heart of the laid back HDB (government built high rise flats) town of Pasir Ris. The neighbourhood, including the adjacent Loyang area will in fact see the addition of a slew of apartment buildings over the next few years, as massive condominiums with beguiling names such as Oceanfront Suites, Sea Horizon and Ripple Bay etc. on the edge of the park are all in various stages of construction right now.
Pasir Ris beach was already a popular seaside venue from as early as the 1950s. In the late 1970s the original beach was enhanced with reclaimed land, and in 1989 a garden park built along the beachcoast – we do love our beachside garden parks. Pasir Ris Park came to be, and the area became a favoured venue for weekend stays, long before staycations came in vogue or the term “staycation” was even coined.
Many of the houses fronting the park built in the 1980s were actually government or company-owned holiday bungalows, referred to as “chalets”, that civil servants or corporate staff could book short stays in. Some of the houses are still used as corporate holiday chalets today, and larger beach resort chalets have also sprung up. Pasir Ris remains a popular destination for Singaporeans looking for a short holiday without having to leave the island.
The park is a lovely, sprawling beach park with wide open lawn spaces as well as shaded areas under the many beautiful mature rain trees. Oh and of course there is the sea and beach too, although the waters are placid and there isn’t much of a sandy beach to speak of. Over the years the park has been continually developed with new amenities and facilities added, and is now a destination park with a smorgasbord of family fun activities available making the park a firm family favourite.
As the park is quite large, decide what you want to do, check out the map and then head to that area. If you just want a cosy picnic for two, head to the quieter areas and avoid the more crowded recreational activity areas.
Here’s a rundown of what’s on offer at the park:
Within the park (area around the Sungei Api Api river – car parks D, E and F, and area between Sungei Api Api and Sungei Tampines rivers, car parks B and C)
- Mangrove Swamp Forest: A hidden delight.
- Kitchen Garden: An herb, fruit and vegetable garden, great if you are an aspiring horticulturalist. Watch out for the wildlife though. This Rainbow Tree Snake on a sweet potato plant caught me totally unawares.
- Maze Garden: A wooden framed maze where you can spot life-size cutouts of the mangrove swamp animals. I didn’t understand how this would be fun so gave this a miss.
- Pony rides: Gallop Stable offers pony rides and pony riding lessons for kids around a small paddock.
- Huge kiddie playground: One of the largest in Singapore, the playground is currently closed for upgrading works however. It is slated to be fully open again by mid-2014, with a Hill Mount and Swings area opening later this year.
- Watersports: PA Water-venture rents out kayaks and sailing dinghies and conducts courses too.
There are the usual beach park activities as well: Loads of barbecue pits, a large designated camping area, bike and roller blade rentals and a cycling track, plus a few restaurant and bar dining options such as 5 Drunken Rabbits Bistro and Bar, Silvery Moon cafe, and Summer Breeze cafe.
Next to the park (area next to Sungei Tampines river)
- The huge Downtown East mega fun and entertainment hub: Billed as a “Lifestyle and Leisure Destination”, Downtown East’s centrepiece is the Wild Wild Wet water theme park, currently being expanded. You’ll also find the 300+ room Costa Sands Resort, a cinema, bowling alley, shops and restaurants.
- The beach side resort chalet, the Aloha Resorts Loyang is primarily for people working in the civil service although members of the public can book stays here as well.
- Aranda Country Club: The club has restaurants open to the public.
Along Pasir Ris Drive 3. Park is lit from 7pm to 7am.
HOW MUCH TIME
You could easily spend an entire day here with your family if you wanted to – or even do an overnighter.
- During the 1950s – 1970s there was a grand old hotel on the beach called the Pasir Ris Hotel that was apparently quite the party central.
- The Aloha Resorts at Loyang (and Changi), primarily civil service resorts, are also designated quarantine and containment centres in the event of an outbreak of swine flu, avian flu or what have you. In 2009 during the H1N1 “Swine Flu” Pandemic the resorts were closed to holiday makers and set aside for emergency quarantine use.
- Elias Road, off Pasir Ris Drive 3, is the main road in to the housing estate overlooking the park. The road is named after Joseph Elias, a prominent Jewish businessman and one time Justice of Peace of Singapore in the 1910s. The Elias family owned a holiday bungalow (villa) in Pasir Ris, and the road leading to the house was named Elias Road.
- You can see a “kelong” floating platform fish farm off the coast at the beach.