Walking in Punggol
Lately I have been walking in Punggol twice. Actually those were the first and only two times so far.
It’s quite far, at the very north of Singapore, so I think that’s kind of a valid excuse, isn’t it?
I read that Punggol in Malay means hurling sticks at branches of fruit trees to bring fruits down.
In the past Punggol was larger than it is now, flanked by two rivers.
Who lived there?
The first settlers were Malay fishermen, while Chinese migrants came to work on the many rubber and coconut plantations that appeared in Punggol.
Punggol Beach Massacre
Right after the Japanese occupied Singapore, they rounded up a lot of Chinese civilians as part of a planned and organised purge, named the Sook Ching purge. In this area alone, the Japanese transported 1.000 Chinese in trucks and massacred them by firing squads at Punggol Point at the beach, an event that we refer to today as the Punggol Beach Massacre.
From kampung to HDB’s
Kampung living in Punggol
Until the 60’s Punggol was still all about kampung living.
Villagers had no piped water. no electricity, no paved roads or drainage systems. They lived in wooden houses, drew water from wells and had no flush toilet.
In line with the kampung spirit, villagers used to work collectively on building new houses or preparing for weddings and funerals.
Today, Punggol is fantastic for recreation, but it has already been a hotbed for recreation for decades.
Long ago there was a Zoo, a Japanese hotel, a fishing pond, a floating bar and restaurant.
Later, in the 80’s, people came to this area for chilli crab and mee goreng at the famous seafood restaurants that were located here. There were boatels, there was boating, water-skiing and diving.
The first HDB flats in Punggol
In the 70’s pig farms were relocated to Punggol and the first HDB flats in Punggol were buit.
In the 90’s land was reclaimed for more new flats.
Eventually the pig farms, other farms and boatels were moved out to make way for the new towns of Sengkang and Punggol.
Punggol 21 and Punggol 21+
Punggol 21 was built in 1996 as a compact, pedestrian friendly town.
The layout included a lot of common greens for visual and spatial relief and for interaction among residents.
Good transportation was of the essence too.
In 2007 it was time for Punggol 21+.
Waterfront eco living
Punggol 21+ was planned as a waterfront town of the 21st century.
With attractive waterfront eco-living and recreational opportunities, like kayaking, canoeing and al fresco dining along a waterway.
A new waterway
My Waterway@Punggol is a newly made waterway of 4.2. km long. It links Sungei Punggol Reservoir and Sungei Serangoon Reservoir to transfer water between them.
There are footbridges, it is built environmental friendly, with terraced gardens, courtyards and water features.
The area has a riverine town park, an 8.7 km long coastal promenade, and a waterfront town centre.
What’s not to like?!
Two HDB’s worth mentioning
One of the new HDB’s is Waterway Terraces. It’s an enormous complex, inspired by Asia’s rice fields and rain forests.
Most flats have scenic views of the waterway and are surrounded by a verdant oasis with sky gardens and rooftop terraces.
Another innovative HDB is Treelodge@Punggol, filled with green technologies:
- solar-powered lighting for common areas
- centralised recycable refuse chutes
- rooftop rainwater collection
- and exercise stations made from recycled materials
I have no pictures of Treelodge@Punggol, unfortunately.
Lots of options for walking
You can walk for kilometers in different directions: The Punggol Waterway walk, the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk, the Punggol Park Connector, The North Eastern Riverine Loop, Coney Island.
Walking towards Punggol Promenade you suddenly start seeing patches of beach. Not the prettiest beach and not a wide stretch, but a beach it is: Punggol Beach.
Have you been to Punggol? Which are the sights and parts that you like most? Any recommendations for my next visit?