Never Stop Exploring – Bulim Forest

The Bulim/Tengah forest will soon be gone – converted into another block and block of flats and condominium. So before it is gone forever, I went down with some friends to have one last look and also first look at the place.

First thing that strike me when I entered the place was its sheer size. From the main road, it looks just like any small patch of forest but once in, we were like Oh Wow! Just take a look at these photos:

As I understand, these place used to be a kampung before the villagers were resettled in the Chua Chu Kang and Bukit Batok areas and the SAF took over the place for the army training. Hence, the nice wide paths that criss cross the entire area.

There is supposed to be a small stream but we didn’t manage to locate it. Instead what we saw was this little longkang which I understood was a lifeline for the people there during the second world war.

This stream and all the mini waterways there eventually leads to this new longkang.

While we were there, we observed many birds including a large flock of Long tailed Parakeets and many other smaller forest birds. We also spotted Brahminy Kite and White Bellied Sea Eagle flying overhead.

A rather beautiful place to admire Mother Nature and admire its beauty. Sadly scene like these will disappear soon as the crazy Gahmen continues on its relentless quest to concrete the whole of Singapore.

Cheap and Good – Sumo Prawn Noodle

Have heard much about this place at Ang Mo Kio and its prawn noodle that comes with lobster. Finally managed to find time to go there and try it out. There was a short queue when we arrived around 8 pm. Fortunately, the service was fast and the queue moved swiftly.

The four of us ordered 2 bowl of prawn noodles that come with 4 big prawns and 2 bowl of noodles that come with 2 crayfish.

This is the $8.00 prawn noodle. Beside the prawn, there is also clams.

This is the crayfish noodle which also comes with clams and cost $13.00 each.

We didn’t order the Lobster noodle as we felt it doesn’t the cost of dinner at such a place. It is however rather reasonably priced at either $18.90 for Asian Lobster or $24.90 for Columbia Lobster depending on the stock availability.

Regardless of prawn, crayfish or lobster, the stock is the same. Not overwhelmingly sweet but just nice that it will not cause one to get jeilat after drinking it all down. While the prices may seem pricey compared to other prawn noodles out there, considering the quality of the ingredients, I will think that it is cheap and good!

 

When is a footpath a footpath?

There is this car park in Pasir Ris that is heavily utilized by the people fishing at the fishing pond; the residents of the surrounding HDB flats and visitors to the White Sands Shopping Mall. It is especially busy during peak hours in the evening and even more so on Friday and Sunday evenings where parents pick up/dropped off their sons to/from Tekong.

The carpark serves as shortcut to pedestrians from the MRT station to Pasir Ris Drive 1 and beyond. And inevitably everyone walk on the carpark itself notwithstanding that there is a footpath between the row of parked cars and the pond. 
Oh wait, did I just said footpath?Apparently it seems that not all footpath are “footpath”. When I sent the feedback via OneService App, it was to ask that something be done to prevent the rear of the parked vehicles intruding into the footpath and thus forcing pedestrians to walk on the car park among the moving cars. Like what this photo shows.

Simple query and to me a simple conclusion. Just install railings along the footpath or car stopper on the lot. Problem solved. But not so it seems.

A friendly guy from HDB called me and informed that that is not a footpath but a drain cover. And because it is not a footpath, they cannot do anything. Stunned by the answer – I asked him what is the definition of a footpath. Apparently, a footpath is a footpath only if it leads to a HDB block or some building and since this one leads to the park and the road it does not count as a footpath.

So now we know. A path that is clearly a path is not necessarily a footpath. Maybe just like a train breakdown is not a breakdown but a signaling fault and a flooding is not a flood but a ponding!

Toa Payoh Town Park

Took a walk down memory the other day when I dropped by Toa Payoh Town Park previously known as Toa Payoh Garden. In its hey days in the seventies, it was probably the 2nd most popular place in Singapore for wedding photos after the Botanic Garden. Now it is a shadow of its past mostly deserted and frequented only by exercise enthusiasts on weekend morning and Myanmar maids.

Toa Payoh Park is a smallish 4.8 hectares park dominated by a pond with beautiful overhanging willow trees.

Time seems to stand still here. Practically all the iconic landmarks are still there. Good thing is looking at the paintwork, it appear that there has been regular maintenance and everything seems relatively well maintained. 

The restaurant is still there but now it is the famous Oasis Porridge restaurant that used to be at the old Kallang Lesiuredome.

One interesting thing about Toa Park Park is that despite having a small little pond, it has multiple bridges like this nice zig zag bridge

And a similar design but straight bridge

More unique is this stone bridge reminiscent of those traditional Chinese bridge in China

The most famous of all landmark is of course the 25 metre high Observation Tower. There are only 2 other similar towers in all of Singapore – the more famous Rocket Tower at Upper Seletar Reservoir, and the gigantic one at Jurong Hill. Unfortunately the tower is now locked and the public are not allowed to go up to the top for the view not that there is much of a view. A better view can be obtained from the Toa Payoh Hub and other HDB flats around the area.

The tower was given conservation status in 2009 so which means the park is probably going to be there for a long long time to come. Nice little place but probably have outlived its purpose.

Butterfly Hill at Pulau Ubin

I confess I have no idea there was such a place at Pulau Ubin. I only saw it when I went to shoot the Pesta Ubin Run recently. And I knew I have to come back to take a closer look at it.  Soback on Pulau Ubin over the weekend for a full day trek, we made a pit stop here to check out the scene. 

And my golly, there were indeed butterfly galore. Just walking alongside it, I could see a few butts flying –  a couple of Jeezebul and some Yellows. I knew I must explore the place in depth. But the hike training has to take priority and after just about half an hour of looking at the many different butterfly flying around, I have to move on with just 3 photo of butterfly out of the so many there. One Peacock Pansy, a Glassy Tiger and an unidentified butterfly or maybe moth.

Peacock Pansy

Blue Glassy Tiger

Unidentified Butterfly/moth

I consoled myself that earlier on right at the beginning of the day, I had got a photo of the beautiful Common Birdwing at the Assembly Area.

Common Birdwing

And there was bound to be other butterfly around although I swear I am so gonna come back to Butterfly Hill again just for the butts. 

Anyway, at the fruit farm, I managed to shoot a beautiful Lascar. Not too sure whether it is a Common or Malayan Lascar though.

Lascar

There was also a pair of Glassy Tiger flying around the same plant

Dark Glassy Tiger

On the way in to and out of Chek Jawa, there were a few butts flying around despite it being almost 4 pm. Despite being pressed for time, managed to get a photo of a Knight. Too bad the angle isn’t too good. It was too skittish and it didn’t help that there were many cyclists whizzing through and every time one of them pass by, the butterfly will take off.

Knight

I shall return and the next time it will only be butterfly time!

 

Pulau Ubin

It been some time since I last visited Pulau Ubin and then suddenly in the space of 2 months, I been there 3 times. Each time I am struck by its wild beauty and marvel that such a rustic place can be reached from bustling busy Singapore city with just a 10 minutes ferry ride.

The same run down little shop houses with the eateries and bicycle rentals are still there. The wayang stage is still there and nothing much seems to have changed. Time seems to have come to a stand still there which is good. Hopefully no Sentosa twin ever.

On my latest visits, we noticed 2 places that we have never seen or noticed. Butterfly Hill where there are apparently more than 140 species of butterfly spotted.

More of that in a later post though.

The numerous quarries are still there and together with view of the surrounding sea postcard like backdrop of the island.

Former Ubin Resort (now part of Learning Lab)

Fish Pond

Pekan Quarry

Chek Jawa is still a very much beloved part of the island with its picturesque jetty and mangrove boardwalk.

And we stumbled upon this little hill

At the summit which is only probably about 50 metres above sea level, one get a very beautiful view of the Ubin quarry on one side and the Pasir Ris town on the other.

View from top of Puaka Hill

View from top of Puaka Hill

Other places that have withstood the test of time includes the German Girl Shrine(which seem to have been upgraded in fact)

German Girl Shrine

and this very iconic drink stall which is on every visitor’s list of must take photo

We went to the Ketam Mountain Bike park by foot and not by bike and was rewarded with beautiful view of the Ketam Island and more view of Pasir Ris town.

Ketam Island

We followed a trail to a temple which looks like a copy cat of a Tibetan temple which colourful flags everywhere.

We were training for an upcoming hike and birding and butterflying at the same time so we took a fair bit of time to cover probably 2/3 of the hill. Good excuse to come back another time.