Relief the good old kampong days at the Bottle Tree Park! Enjoy activities like fishing, prawning, dining and even paint balling!
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Have a visit while you can...till Oct 18
Time changes things...probably everything. This is especially true for the Bottle Tree park...where the lease is expiring on the 18 Oct (after extension). The area will be cleared for commercial purposes thereafter.
But generally speaking, when a venue is great...chances are you will make repeated visits. But having visited this park... I did not find the inclination to do so. The place is, personally , humdrum at best. There is a few activities to do : "duck boating", pond fishing, the bottle tree "park", a small children playground and dining at the restaurant (which is best avoided, if possible. If you are really hungry and needed to filled up...then go ahead. But I don't see the eatery command a special journey just for their food. 1 tip I have to add: avoid their prawn paste chicken...just take a look at my attached pic...and you will know what I meant)
As you can see , it lacks that "oomph" factors necessary to sustain a repeat visitors base. Even the many recently opened nature parks with supporting facilities will serve visitors better and this in turn takes away visitorship from this park.
Will I make another visit to this park before it closed - No...will I miss this park ... again No.
The bottle tree running track
You know how, when you live near a certain attraction, you rarely actually utilise it? It's just like those condos with the unused swimming pools. That's exactly what Bottle Tree Village was to me - a commodity too near to be truly valued. As such, I have been there twice, and I must say, while the food is mediocre, the concept and view is quite a treat in itself. Nestled off Sembawang road end, it is only accessible by travelling down a dirt road, in the middle of the jungle. One would most inevitably think he or she was lost before finding it.
Unfortunately, that branch of Bottle Tree Village is now occupied by some sea-sports facility. But the location is still the same. Running alongside it, is a canal where local fishermen like to cast a line or two. A jogging track runs along the canal and goes on for about 4 km. At a stage in my life, I found myself walking down this very same dirt path in the middle of the night to catch catfish. Terrifying as it was for a young kid, the lure of feeling the pull of a fish on my line was stronger. As such, there isn't much to do there unless you're one of those who gets a kick out of a good night walk.
A nice stopover but a little bad smelling
This is a nice park to visit over the weekends with the family. There is no entrance fee, of course but has a few activities for the family. When I visited with my parents, there were a few playgrounds and I saw some people engaging in prawning and fishing activities. There were these small enclosed ponds that were shallow enough for kids and toddlers to stand in with their care-givers and catch some small fish with a given mini fish net to scoop the fish out of. Given that it was a weekend, this spot was already crowded but I wasn't keen on even going nearer as it was rather smelly.
There was also a seafood restaurant there, which was also very crowded given that it was the only food centre in this park from miles away. My parents are I didn't bother trying to wriggle between the crowd and just decided to sit by the quiet areas of the park to enjoy the breeze and take photos of the scenic view. It wasn't the best or most memorable experience for the matter, but it was relaxing for us. Its a nice and breezy place for some quiet time and relaxation. But if there was one thing I couldn't forget about the park was the bad smell from the prawning and fishing activities. It took alot to keep the smell from making me puke.
Coming out of the SLE through Lentor, this little piece of greenery have tempted my curiosity once too often and so, on my next foray into far-off Yishun, I decided to make time for a little visit.
Upon entering, I was surprised that this was actually a private park. NParks had done such a good job of monopolizing the park scene in Singapore that the average Singaporean will immediately identify any landscaping and trees with NParks. However, that also resulted in a sense of uniformity and a feeling of sameness to most of the parks in Singapore.
In this regard, Bottle Tree Park was indeed a refreshing change, First off, there was the rare Bottle Trees and other uncommon plants that you couldn't find in most other parks in Singapore, complete with their identification tags. There were also pond rides, an extinct form of entertainment that one don't find in parks today.
I was there on a weekday afternoon and it was tranquil and relaxing, though I guess any park can accomplish that on a weekday afternoon. Since I was only lured there for a short visit, I did not get to try the food or activities in the park. By the looks of it, everything there is gonna be on the higher end of e budget anyway. Justifiably so, I would say, but a poor man can't afford life's luxuries..
All in all, I definitely didn't regret my side trip to this green haven. As one of the few, if not only, private park in Singapore which allows visitors free access, I would have returned to slack in its shade a few more times if it is not so darn far from my home in Bedok!
My little spot of paradise
It was a particularly restless day when Hubbs and I were feeling totally jaded. We hopped into a taxi and asked for the taxi driver to send us to a prawning spot at Ang Mo Kio. En route there, the chatty taxi driver was just so friendly that we asked him what other prawning spots are there that are not so "enclosed", because other prawning spots were housed in old badminton courts and the pools were cased in cement with dark murky waters. He suggested The Bottle Tree Park and we agreed for him to send us there instead.
When we reached Bottle Tree Park, it was like a totally different environment. Surrounded by lush trees, it was quiet and tranquil. We could even smell the soil and trees around us! The prawning experience was absolutely pleasant! We sat under strategically placed shades and fished for prawns in this open concept pool. Being a weekday afternoon, there was not much crowd and the wading pool for children to catch guppies was not occupied. The damage on our pockets were about $120 for 2 rods for 5 hours. We were absolutely "HOOKED" (pardon the pun) since then.
The Bottle Tree Park restaurant serves fresh and good food too! Except sometimes the wait staff seem more engrossed in doing preparation work instead of waiting on existing customers.
Bottle Tree Park remains a favorite prawning spot for us till this date.
PS: There is a fishing pond behind the prawning spot where you can catch an array of humongous fishes with barb-less rental baits. They don't allow you to bring the fishes home, but you can take pictures with it though. And look out for the even bigger fishes housed in a separate area near the toilets! Not for the faint-hearted!
I can't say that I've thoroughly explored the park, but the one thing i went there for was definitely to see what the park was named after, bottle trees. I spent a long, sunny Sunday afternoon just walking around and taking photos of the trees and the wildlife there. I must admit that the trees were indeed great candidates for my camera and looked glamorous on the pictures.
Other activities there include paint-ball, fishing (I had a lovely time in the pool wading after the flee-ing fishes), prawning and walking around old fashioned buildings reminiscence of the old kampong days. At the end of the day, head over to watch the birds (if you're lucky) and you'll see a whole flock of them flying back to the forests surrounding the park. An interesting observation, do see whether you can recognise the formation that they are flying in
SL Kampung by Ground-Up Initiative
Tucked deep within bottle tree park (BTP), next to the racing car track, lies a hidden gem that's been left largely unexplored by visitors of BTP - Singapore's very own 21st century Kampung, the Sustainable Living Kampung (SL Kampung).
SL Kampung serves as the working site of a non-profit organization called Ground-Up Initiative (GUI). Volunteering and participating in some GUI activities since June this year has subtlety cultivated in me the Kampung spirit that was so vibrant in yesteryear - one that is innovating, adapting, caring and sharing. This is the essence of what it means to be human. I strongly recommend GUI at BTP as a place to reconnect with yourself and rediscover what it means to live as fellow humans on this shared earth.
GUI conducts Balik Kampung (Malay for returning home) every weekend, from 9am to 12pm. It welcomes all ages from all walks of life without discrimination to their few hundred square meters of land (called the terraces) to come together to farm - harvesting, loosening soil, planting and watering seeds. Like any other programs that GUI runs, farming as a community touches us in many ways. It reminds us to be grateful for the food on our plate. The Chinese idiom ＂粒粒皆辛苦＂would never be more apt than when we are laboring it out on the fields ourselves. It also gives rise to a familiar yet fast being extinct feeling of togetherness and community, that whoever around you is your friend, not competitor.
Lastly, it teaches us grounded-ness, one of the pillars of GUI's mission. That despite advancements in technology and the automation of everything around us, what intrinsically gives rise to fuel to our stomachs and resource for our survival and advancement, all comes from Mother Earth, and intrinsically, humans' connection to our earth and the ground. That in itself, is a most humbling and enlightening lesson learnt.
Perfect hideout from the rest of the world!
Bottle Tree Park has been the place to go to whenever there's a family gathering.
Tucked in the midst of lush greenery, I feel a sense of nostalgia at the "kampong" settings.
The park mainly revolves around this huge pond for fishing. Their policy is a bit unfair though, I once saw someone catch a humongous fish but the management said they cant claim it as it's too big... so maybe you shouldn't consider fishing here if you want to keep the fish!
There is a small pond for kids to fish near the entrance, those are tiny guppies and dies really fast but for only $10, I'll say it's pretty worth it!
Prawning is available too.
Be sure to try the pig's trotters at the Bottle Tree Park Restaurant, it is THE BEST fried pig's trotter I've ever tasted. Their other delicacies are amazing too, and best of all, it is extremely affordable.
So if you need to get away from all the stress, bring your family along to relax at this wonderful park this weekend!
The park in Khatib
That was how I had always nicknamed Bottle Tree Park. I have been here on numerous occasions, as my ex-girlfriend used to live near Yishun. Many a time we had taken a stroll around the park after a hefty supper.
I particularly enjoyed this volunteer scheme they hold every Sunday at Bottle Tree Park. Reliving the kampong days and initiating a green scheme, volunteers plant trees and care for the verdant greenery around the park. I have joined them on several occasions, and it is an experience unlike any other - with an almost kampong like feel to it.
Of course, if you inclined in that direction, there are other activities held here as well, such as paintball, prawning, and even BBQ. A great place. If only there was a similar establishment in Hougang!
BBQ-ing prawns, and myself too
Frankly speaking, the Bottle Tree Park is a great place for family gatherings or meet-ups with friends. Not only one can prawn, one can also paddle around the man-made lake in a swan-like mini boat. Situated amidst trees, one would feel relaxed and stress-free. Prawns caught can be cooked immediately to experience it as its freshest!
However, when I was barbecuing the prawns in the afternoon, I felt myself sharing the fate as the prawns. The absence of shades makes the afternoon heat too unbearable for me, turning the fun experience to unpleasant and horrifying - I thought I would pass out due to the intense heat from the sun and the barbecue pit as well! Maybe prawning in the evening would be a wiser decision.