It is May Day today and a wonderful public holiday for us to finally take a break from work and rest and relax. Although, haha, we have to confess as workaholics, we did do some work this morning. Anyway, Shine thought we should take a walk today and it is pretty amazing that we found this itinerary to get started. We shall document your walk today. Only without the answers to this 'treasure hunt'. Ha! You thought we would make it easy for you?

How to play

Follow the directions and fill in the answers to the clues to win prizes. The walks all start at MRT stations and take less than two hours to complete – though you’re welcome to take detours and pit stops (we’ve included a few suggestions in case you get tired; look for the PIT STOP tag thoughout the feature). Don’t worry if you get lost – remember, this is really just a way to discover some new parts of town, so put on your trainers, don’t forget to pack some water and have fun.

The prizes

There are brilliant prizes to be won for each walk (see individual trails for details), and if you correctly answer the questions for all five walks before the end of this month (31 May), you’ll automatically win a free six-month subscription to Time Out Singapore, and also be eligible for our grand prize: a stay in a fancy Terrace Suite at Hotel 1929 worth $450++. Send your answers here and include your name, address and contact number. Winners will be notified via email by 5 Jun, and we’ll post the results on our Facebook page.
Kampong BahruExplore the renovated Tanjong Pagar market and the HBD centrepiece Pinnacle@Duxton before going on to café paradise Everton Park and Kampong Bahru Road in this hipster-friendly walk and win a chance to try a special chef's tasting menu for two (worth $136) at Open Door Policy, with new menu items courtesy of award-winning chef/partner Ryan Clift and new head chef Daniele Sperindio. The revamped menu showcases Sperindio's Italian leanings mixed with plenty of South-East Asian flavours.

Explore the renovated Tanjong Pagar market and the HBD centrepiece Pinnacle@Duxton before going on to café paradise Everton Park and Kampong Bahru Road in this hipster-friendly walk and win a chance to try a special chef's tasting menu for two (worth $136) at Open Door Policy in Tiong Bahru

First published on 28 Apr 2014. Updated on 30 Apr 2014.


Tanjong Pagar MRT

1. Old school crunch

Take Exit A at Tanjong Pagar and walk west under the tree-shaded walkway along Choon Guan Street, next to the work-in-progress that is Oasia Downtown Hotel. Cross the road at Orchid Hotel and bear left towards the car park entrance of Tanjong Pagar Plaza Food Centre and Market, which recently reopened after being refurbished as part of the National Environment Agency’s Hawker Centres Upgrading Programme. The wet market on the ground floor has become a little more subdued in the day, but nevertheless presents a good chance for you to get a meal or stock up on some snacks for the walk ahead. PIT STOP For a bite of nostalgia, The Biscuit Shop (#01-08/09) and its unnamed neighbour (#01-05/06) sell fancy gem, honey dew wafers, lemon cream biscuits and the like – the latter store fishes your treats out of goldhued Khong Guan-style biscuit tins, just like your favourite biscuit auntie used to do.
Q: At the entrance of the Tanjong Pagar market carpark, look for a street sign that says ‘Tanjong Pagar Plaza’. What’s unique about it?

2. Pools and prayers

Continue walking straight past the carpark, then take the small pathway leading to a pagoda in a small park behind Tanjong Pagar Market to the Singapore Poo Thor Jee Temple on Yan Kit Road. Dedicated to Cundhi Guanyin (the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion), the temple was originally set on the now-expunged Narcis Street (named after Nerses ‘Narcis’ Joaquim, brother of Agnes Joaquim, the breeder of the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid) in 1911. Continue uphill along Yan Kit Road – named after a Hong Kong dentist immigrant – and you’ll come to a white round building on your left, which is the remains of the Yan Kit Swimming Complex. Built in 1952, the compound was Singapore’s second public swimming pool, and featured three pools – one for adults, a splash pool for children, and a diving one (the deepest) – but it was subsequently closed in 2001 due to flagging attendance rates. Opposite the complex, there’s an entrance to Duxton Plain Park – enter the park and ascend the first set of stairs on the left. Continue straight under the block of flats to the end of the courtyard. You’re now at The Pinnacle@Duxton – the showpiece of the success of public housing in Singapore. Learn more about the history of the Housing Development Board and other milestones that led to the making of this complex from the exhibit at the Heritage Garden.
Q: Look at the wall at the start of the exhibition. Who declared the opening of this iconic estate, and when?

3. Café crazy in Kuan Yew’s hood

If you’ve got a bit of extra time for this walk, we recommend a visit to the Pinnacle Skybridge at the 50th level (daily 6am-10pm, $5/person) before leaving the area. It’s a pretty cool experience that offers one of the best bird’s eye views of the city. To get up there, make your way to block 1G, swipe your EZ-Link card (if your card needs a top up, there’s a 7-11 just around the corner) and take the elevator up to the top.
Once you’re done, look for the staircase taking you down to Cantonment Road away from the HDB flats, then turn left when you hit Neil Road and head west. Just past the junction, you’ll see Everton Park HDB estate to your left, which is home to the largest concentration of cafés, third wave coffee joints and hip multi-label retailers across six HDB blocks. We recommend the java at nano-roasters PIT STOP Nylon Coffee Roasters(#01-40, 4 Everton Park, 6220 2330), cakes in jars at Grin Affair (#01-77A, 3 Everton Park, 8222 2678), sweet treats at Batterworks (#01-42, 4 Everton Park, 6438 2208) and retail tat at The Redundant Shop (#01-22, 5 Everton Park, 6707 2005). A cheaper, more retrospective option is the gleaming multi-coloured ang ku kueh (steamed rice cakes, $0.70) at Ji Xiang Confectionery (#01-33, 1 Everton Park, 6223 1631) with traditional fillings like corn, coconut or durian ($0.70-$1 each).
Continue on to the Everton Road side of block 6 and cross the branch road that is flanked by shophouses. Home to wealthy Chinese merchants (including Lee Kuan Yew’s family, who owned a plot on Neil Road, parallel to this street), the Art Deco and modern Early Shophouses on the quiet street feature picturesque doors and unique front façades.
Q: Look at the plaque above unit 12 on Everton Road. What’s the word above the door post?

4. Kampong Foot Way

Stroll on down Everton Road and take a right at Spottiswoode Park Road. Art gallery and retail space Vue Privée (63 Spottiswoode Park Rd, 6226 2508) features works by local and international artists and a selection of artist-made lifestyle goods if you’d like to detour for a dose of culture. Otherwise, continue down Spottiswoode Park Road and take a left down another row of shophouses along the junction of Neil Road and Kampong Bahru Road, where cafés like PIT STOP Strangers’ Reunion (37 Kampong Bahru Rd, 6222 4869) and Highlander Coffee (49 Kampong Bahru Rd, 6226 1686) also serve java and pastries.
Q: Pay close attention to the floor of the five foot way at units 69 and 70. What’s embedded in it?

5. Train tales

Continue west along Kampong Bahru Road, past the block of shophouses. You’ll see a huge open green area to your left, which was once the rail yard serving the Kereta Tanah Melayu (KTM) rail lines originating from Singapore. The rail yard has since been dismantled following the closure of the rail line’s historic Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in mid-2011. At the stoplight, veer left to continue down Kampong Bahru Road, then take the next left fork down Spooner Road, which brings you to two blocks of flats, the Kemuning Residential Block and Melati Residential Block. These blocks were previously used as housing for workers serving the KTM railway, and have since been converted into rental units for low income and needy families.
Q: The spaces outside the ground floor flats have a unique metal feature. What are they?

6. These old houses

Walk back out to Kampong Bahru Road via the small staircase at the Melati block and cross the road onto Silat Avenue, where there’s an estate of blue low-rise flats. Built after World War II between 1949 and 1952 by the HDB’s predecessor, the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), these Art Deco-styled blocks could have potentially become a hipster enclave like Tiong Bahru (which was also developed by SIT), had the government not moved to en bloc the flats in 2007. Now in varying states of abandon (the blocks further away from the road are in the process of being demolished), it’s nevertheless interesting to walk around and take in the unique architectural features like scallop-patterned air vents and wooden shutter windows. Most of the doors and windows have been boarded up and emblazoned with ominous notices of ‘STATE PROPERTIES, NO TREPASSING’, but for a glimpse into these houses of old, look out for window shutters left open on the ground floor of blocks facing Kampong Bahru Road.
Q: Look for the estate notice boards placed around the compound. What was the motto of the estate’s town council, and who was its MP?

Getting Home

Walk back out to Kampong Bahru Road where there are buses to Harbourfront or Outram Park MRT stations.

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