It’s been a while since I’ve been there, and I must say I had some reservations. The sky looked threatening, we are still in dengue season, we would have three kids in tow, and the walk would last about 2 hours.
As it turned out, I absolutely LOVED it.
We met at Carpark A, and I was surprised that despite the weather, there were about 20 of us there. Our nature guide was the knowledgeable, intrepid Mr KS Wong. He started with a quick overview of the grounds, and the route we would take.
As we walked in, he stopped at various points to tell us about plants, trees and creepers. Here’s a liana, a woody climber that is common in nature reserves across Singapore. If you’re ever in a survival situation, cutting it apparently provides a ready source of drinking water.
This is one of several gun emplacements that forms the Labrador Battery. Built by the British in the 19th century, the battery’s function was to defend Singapore from any attacks from the southern seas. As most Singaporeans would know, this turned out to be one of the ironies of our history – in World War 2, Singapore fell to the Japanese, who attacked over land from the north.
Incidentally, there are information boards at regular intervals to inform the visitor of the historical points of significance. There are also war tunnels which you can pay to access.
The drizzle turned into rain so we took cover in a gazebo, where Mr Wong gave us a rich account of figs and cicadas.
The weather cleared and before long we found ourselves out where Carpark B was. This is where the reserve ends and the park begins. For those less inclined towards history or rainforests, I’d suggest heading here from the start. The paths are wide and pram-friendly, there are shelters and benches along the way, and we saw several families out fishing.
The playground is also a lot of fun, in particular the wooden maze, where Pilgrim Dad played a crazy game of chase with Athos and Porthos.
And there’s even a little sliver of beach
Mr Wong told us about this plant with very sharp-edged leaves,called Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (yes, it turns out botanists do have a sense of humour).
And as we headed back, Mr Wong pointed out the amazing 3D web of the tent spider, which impressed Porthos a lot.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable morning, and I was quite amazed that the boys lasted the full two hours!