If you really want to get away from the city, and most of the parks and nature spots in Singapore can’t cut it for you, head over to this offshore island instead.
And we’re not talking about Pulau Ubin.
Located off the northeastern coast of Singapore, Coney Island is a nature-lover’s haven. Most of the island (also known as Pulau Serangoon) has been left as it is so you can really get a sense of what Singapore must have been like before urbanisation.
Here are some things you should know if you’re planning to visit.
Wear good walking shoes
Most of the terrain there is unpaved so it might be a little challenging for strollers and wheelchairs.
Cycle across the island
If you really want to explore the entire island, cycling is the best way to do it. You can rent bicycles from Punggol Settlement on the mainland just before you enter Coney Island via the West Entrance.
Visit the rustic beaches
There are four beach areas on the island but we heard there is a lot of sandflies there so long pants, covered shoes and an obsessive amount of insect repellent are highly recommended.
Spot some birds
There are a couple of bird hides where you can observe wildlife from a closer distance without alarming the birds with your presence.
Adventure area for all ages
The Casuarina Exploration was built from timber from uprooted Casuarina trees and your kids will have fun challenging themselves on the Millipede, Earthworm and Caterpillar facilities.
The Singapore government is looking after a cow on the island
You read that right. There is a free roaming cow somewhere on the island and it is under the care of NParks. No one really knows how it got to Coney Island. But if you do see it, just chill and walk away slowly (more tips here). Most visitors never get to see it (I think the cow needs a name!) anyway.
There are hardly any modern facilities
The only restroom is all the way at the other side of Coney Island near the East entrance and you can’t buy food or drinks on the island. Bring your own and take your trash with you.
All in all, Coney Island is a good place to immerse yourself in nature for a few hours and take a break from the busy city life. I just wish they would just call it Pulau Serangoon instead.
Coney Island got its name in the 1950s when a businessman planned to turn it into a resort and recreation destination. It never quite took off.
In the 1930s and 1940s, it was owned by Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par (yup, the brothers behind Haw Par Villa) and it was called Haw Par Island.
The brothers built the Haw Par Beach Villa on the island. It still stands today but it is in ruins and structurally unsound, and the members of public are not advised to visit it without a guided tour.
For directions on how to get to Coney Island, visit this page.
By Muneerah Bee, April 2016
Photos by Muneerah Bee