Gems in Sembawang

With several property launches in recent years, Sembawang is expected to become more populated and lively.

Two new executive condominium projects – The Visionaire and Parc Life – were launched in April. The Visionaire is by Qingjian Realty and will be at Canberra Drive, while Parc Life is by Frasers Centrepoint Limited and will be next to Canberra Park. Nearby executive condo include Northwave EC , Brownstone EC, The Visionaire ECSignature at Yishun, Skypark Residences and Parc Life EC .

CANBERRA PARK

With hoardings still surrounding this park, it may be hard to locate it.

But go towards the sounds of children shrieking with excitement across the road from Block 325 Sembawang Crescent and you will soon locate the 1.5ha adventure park.

Apart from an amphitheatre, BBQ pits, bicycle and fitness stations and cycling and jogging paths, the park also has a large playground that houses the most number of swings in Singapore.

Called the Swings of Differences, these are inclusive contraptions that cater to different age groups and abilities.

There are smaller swings for toddlers as well as those for children with disabilities, which have seats with full back support and a lap bar for safety.

When The Straits Times visited earlier this week, the swings were in high demand, with children waiting their turns.

Housewife Wendy Ching, 31, is at the park every evening because her two-year-old son Levin loves to play on the swings.

“This park didn’t have much for kids in the past, but after the revamp, it’s a lot more fun,” she says.

The park was officially opened in 2006, but underwent a $2.2-million upgrade in 2014.

Construction took more than a year, with equipment supplied by local company CT-Art Creation and made mostly by Playworld Systems, a manufacturer of fitness and playground equipment in the United States.

It re-opened in March last year.

The park’s playground is said to be Singapore’s first inclusive one, with wheelchair-friendly features such as a ramp and handrails and panels with bells and drums to cater to the visually handicapped.

SEMBAWANG PARK CONNECTORS

Whether you walk, jog or cycle, these green corridors are a great way to explore the neighbourhood and its flora and fauna.

The 1.6km Canberra-Sembawang Park Connector links Canberra Link to Tuah Road via Sembawang Road and runs along private residential estates to join Sembawang Park.

Part of the route is a nature way, which is an ecological bridge between areas of high biodiversity.

Look out for trees and shrubs planted to mimic the structure of a natural forest and plants that have been selected to attract butterflies and birds.

Interesting trees along the way include the Singapore durian, a forest tree which can reach about 40m in height, and the endangered seashore mangosteen.

More greenery awaits in the Simpang Kiri Park Connector, which starts at Yishun Avenue 2 and runs along Sembawang Road.

The 3km route passes the scenic Sungei Simpang Kiri, a canal flanked by lush vegetation and filled with interesting creatures.

In the canal, horseshoe crabs are commonly found and the stretch also teems with water birds, such as elegant white egrets and brightly- coloured kingfishers.

Underfoot, watch out for the brown shells of apple snails, which are freshwater snails unique for having both gills and lungs.

SEMBAWANG PARK AND BEACH

Located at the end of Sembawang Road, this seaside park has one of the last few natural beaches in Singapore.

Popular with families, anglers and kayaking and camping groups, it is also a favourite spot for bird-watchers. Eagles, kites, kingfishers, orioles and white-bellied sea eagles have been spotted in the area.

After a two-year upgrading exercise completed in 2013, the park now boasts a large children’s playground modelled after a battleship, with adventure play equipment including a rock climber, tunnels, a suspension bridge and a caged tower that leads to a spiral tube slide.

Other amenities include a fitness area, petanque court and an extended beachfront promenade.

In late 2014, a dog run about the size of 21/2 basketball courts was built at the park.

There is also Beaulieu House, a restaurant which overlooks the Johor Strait. Set in a colonial-style mansion, it serves a mix of Chinese and Western fare.

A short distance away are two other dining venues: Woody Family Cafe, which offers Western fare and Peranakan-inspired fusion food, and biker-themed restaurant Handlebar.

SEMBAWANG HOT SPRING

This is the only hot spring in mainland Singapore, and admittedly, it does not look like much.

It is basically a couple of taps channelling hot water from deep within the ground.

Still, many people come with buckets to fill with spring water, which is rich in minerals and believed to be good for health. Some come for the fun of boiling eggs in the water, which is about 70 deg C.

Whether you are here to soak your feet or cook some eggs, it could make for a diverting short trip – but you have to bring your own basins, pails and towels. There are no toilets on site.

The spring is located near the junction of Sembawang Road and Gambas Avenue, along Jalan Ulu Sembawang. It can be accessed by entering a gate along Gambas Avenue and walking down a path for about 100m.

A deserted brick house, believed to be part of a former bottled drink factory, marks the site, which was discovered in 1909 by Chinese merchant Seah Eng Keong.

Facilities are non-existent at the moment, but some developments may soon spring forth.

In April, it was reported that the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) has agreed to return to the State the land that the hot spring is on.

Ms Kartini Omar, National Parks Board’s senior director of parks development, said the agency is working with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore Land Authority and Mindef on the feasibility of using the area as a park.

SEMBAWANG SHOPPING CENTRE SPLASHPARK

Get wet at this rooftop water playground on the third floor of the mall, which features 13 water features, including water shooters, jets and three slides that link it to the dry play area.

Suitable for children between the ages of three and 12, the water play area is open daily from 11am to 2pm and 5 to 8pm. Entry to the 1,100 sq m park is free.

There are changing rooms with toilets and shower facilities.

Free shuttle buses to the mall run from Yishun and Sembawang MRT stations.

For a dining option outside the mall, check out You Huak Restaurant (22 Jalan Tampang), a popular zi char eatery known for its white beehoon or bai mi fen.

executive condo and park connector pic 2