Bedok Reservoir is fairly well-known in Singapore, if only for the wrong reasons.
In the latter half of 2011, 6 bodies were found in the reservoir over a 6 month period, all apparent suicides. Cases ranged from a mother and her 3 year old son to another where only the lower half of a young man’s body was found. In early January 2012 a man was arrested for his (unsuccessful) suicide attempt there. Yes, suicide is still considered a criminal offense in Singapore. Barely a couple of weeks later another man’s attempt proved successful however and yet another body was found floating in the reservoir. Bedok Reservoir very quickly became infamous for being Singapore’s suicide site du jour.
Earlier in 2011 Bedok Reservoir had already been in the news for being attacked by mass swarms of midges (not midgets), probably attracted by the algae in the reservoir surrounds. The small green seasonal flies returned a year later to plague reservoir visitors and nearby residents again. “Safe” pesticides were sprayed around the reservoir and added to the waters. Uh-huh.
With all these goings-on at the reservoir, residents of Bedok were understandably concerned about their water supply. Singapore’s national water agency, the PUB, was quick to reassure residents however that the decomposing bodies, midge infestations and pesticides had no effect on the water supply and that their water was thoroughly safe to drink.
The Bedok (then) seaside area was home to a number of sand quarries in the 1960s and ’70s. A large quarry that ceased operating in 1972 was filled in to form the Bedok Reservoir, which opened in 1986. The sand quarry had previously been used by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), Singapore’s public housing agency in the construction of thousands of high rise apartments as well as for the land reclamation of East Coast Park. The reservoir today serves as a collection point for rainwater channeled in by drains and canals from the surrounding large towns of Bedok, Tampines and Pasir Ris.
The reservoir measures 88 hectares while the surrounding park is approximately 40 hectares large. A welcome oasis in the middle of dense public and private housing estates, it’s a pity that Bedok Reservoir has been getting such bad press and has even been dogged by rumours of it being cursed and haunted, as the serene reservoir park is really very scenic and enjoyable.
Bedok Reservoir Park is a nice place for a morning or evening stroll or jog, especially if you live in the ‘hood. There is a lovely gravel path 4.3km long encircling the reservoir – don’t you just love the scrunch of gravel underfoot? Well if you don’t there is also a paved road on the outer ring, perfect for cyclists and rollerbladers. If you’re going around the reservoir make a small detour up the hillock close to the Bedok North Road side of the reservoir for some nice views.
Close to the canal side of the park there is the Forest Adventure area which offers zip lines and height-based obstacle courses for those seeking challenges and thrills. You’ll need to book your slot in advance though so check their website for availability. On the water you can fish at designated fishing spots, or if you’re up for something more active there are water sports such as wake-boarding or water-skiing, kayaking or even dragon boating.
There is also a cosy-looking cafe/bistro where you can grab a bite or chill over drinks. The strangely-named Wawawa Bistro is open only in the evenings except on weekends, so be sure to check their business hours.
Outdoor events are occasionally held on the floating platform and open spaces as well.
The park is easily accessible from multiple points. If you’re driving, there is a car park by the main entrance along Bedok Reservoir Road just before the Sungei Bedok Canal, and another off of Tampines Ave 10. If by foot you can enter the park just about anywhere. Thanks to the island’s Park Connector Network (PCN), you can even run or bike along the canal all the way to the East Coast Park by the beach.
There are toilets at the 1.5km, 2.5km and 4km points (the track has distance markers).
Along Bedok Reservoir Road (accessible by Tampines Ave 10 on the north side)
Park is lit from 7pm – midnight, and from 5am – 7am
HOW MUCH TIME
A leisurely stroll around the reservoir took me about an hour and a half.
- The deepest part of the reservoir is 18m.
- The government authorities organised an inter-religious blessing of the reservoir in Nov 2011, where religious leaders from 8 faiths took turns to recite prayers. On the very morning of the blessing ceremony the 6th body was found in the reservoir however, and in spite of the blessings the suicides continued.
- The park is wheelchair accessible/friendly.
- At the entrance to the park you will see stone tablets alluding to segments of the Berlin Wall on display in the park. The 4 panels of the Berlin Wall containing graffiti art on display in the park have been removed however, as they were privately owned and have been returned to the owners. The glass enclosure that housed the wall segments is now disused.
- Official National Parks Board (NParks) site on Bedok Reservoir Park
- PA-Water Venture Sports at Bedok Reservoir
- World’s Top 5 Suicide Spots. Also a TED Talk about jumpers off the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge.