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The Ride From Punggol Park to Changi Beach

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Not long after the first nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, I became unemployed. Stuck indoors day and night, I felt restless, so I began looking into building up a cycling routine. One could say that it was my pandemic hobby, similar to everyone else who got into the craze of baking, gardening, and fish rearing during the same period. For me, fitness was a priority, so cycling was the most appealing option. It reminded me of the time I extensively rode as my main mode of transport in Taiwan years prior.

I didn’t own a bicycle and wasn’t sure if I wanted to purchase one yet. Fortunately, I lived five minutes away from Punggol Park, where there was a GoCycling bicycle rental shop. The same shop is available at various spots all over the island. The best part about them is that I could rent from one outlet and return at another, so I didn’t have to worry about doing a round trip and exhausting my stamina.

I chose the most doable route—from Punggol Park to Changi Beach, a new location I would eventually familiarize myself with. It would take no more than two hours and was frankly the most scenic route I would ever take in my cycling journey on the Singapore island thus far.

Starting at Punggol Park

Punggol Park is actually located in the vicinity of Hougang township instead of Punggol, about a 10 to 15-minute walk from the nearest metro station. With a large pond in the centre and many big trees, it’s a scenic park where I enjoyed jogging and working out prior to this time

What I appreciate about this park, besides its proximity to home, is how it is part of the Park Connector Network (PCN). Since Singapore wasn’t originally planned with bicycles in mind, the PCN was designed later to accommodate them as well as pedestrians, connecting major parks and nature areas for a scenic view as they go.

From Punggol Park, my plan was to head anti-clockwise on the North Eastern Riverine Loop, and then divert towards the Eastern Coastal Loop for Changi Beach.

The route is clearly marked by signs, and I also used the CityMapper app for assistance. Starting from GoCycling in Punggol Park, I began riding down the canal, crossed the road, and took a left turn under Buangkok Bridge. Then I continued following the river, passing two more bridges, until I arrived at Lorong Halus Bridge, recognizable by its iconic red frame. This is where I would veer off the route and head towards the eastern loop.

After crossing the bridge, it took a moment to manoeuvre out of the construction area and onto the shared sidewalk past Lorong Halus Wetland. While not as scenic, there was plenty of nature to enjoy and few cars to disturb the peace. Once I reached a residential area, I had to check the map to weave through it and find my way to Pasir Ris Park, where I made a quick pit stop and marked the middle of my journey.

Through Pasir Ris Park

Pasir Ris Park is vast, featuring a small beach, a kayaking facility, and numerous playgrounds and natural areas. Arriving late morning on a weekday, the park was virtually empty, allowing me to enjoy a peaceful ride through its trails. I even had the chance to spot a couple of monitor lizards swimming leisurely in the stream. After resting and regaining my energy, I prepared for the long second half of my ride towards Changi Beach.

The rest of the ride mainly followed urban pavement, but it remained a park connector, as evidenced by the occasional signs on the ground indicating the distance to Changi Beach. I found myself a little bored, with more concrete than nature, especially while making my way through the industrial area of Loyang. So, to combat the boredom, it became more about expending my energy as quickly as possible to reach my destination.

Despite having trained myself for more than a year, I still had poor stamina at that time. However, every sign on the ground was encouraging, and once I passed through the quiet industrial area back into civilization, I realized that I had already made it. It was the final sign that I had arrived at my destination sooner than I thought.

Finally Changi Beach Park

I couldn’t believe I had never known about Changi Beach until that day. With Ubin Island in the distance and the lack of visitors, I savored the stretch of white beach after returning my bicycle at the local GoCycling outlet. The view of the sea and the calming sound of waves were very pleasing to my accomplished spirit.

The entire journey took me 1 hour and 45 minutes. I repeated the same ride at least 3-4 times after this, and shortened it to about 1 hour and 30 minutes. It’s very doable for a beginner and could also be done without the detour to Pasir Ris Park if pressed for time.

There’s definitely more to explore in the area, with Changi Boardwalk being a favourite spot of mine for a relaxing walk, and nearby Changi Village offering sumptuous meals. But for this time, I hopped on a bus that took me straight home, encouraged for more bike rides on the island.

Behind the trip

I’m Angie, a traveller, web developer and blogger behind A Head Full of Travel. I’m here to document my adventures through words and photography, kindling a love for life. You can trust that all content and advice shared here is genuine and from my own experiences.

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