Although Singapore is often described to be a bustling metropolis with high-rise buildings dotting our skyline, we are never too far from the lush greenery that surrounds us. With so many pockets of green spaces around us, it is little wonder that most of us often take them for granted.
On 23rd June 2018, the TSL crew decided to unearth the hidden gems of Marsiling Park and Singapore Botanic Gardens to understand the true value of conserving these green spaces. Together with the Ministry of National Development (MND) and National Parks Board (NParks), we organised an Instawalk and had some of you guys join us on our journey.
0845: Despite the early morning showers, our band of Instawalkers did not let the rain dampen their spirits and gathered bright and early at Marsiling MRT station. Geared with some trusty ponchos, we boarded the bus that kick-started our adventure!
0915: The bus brought us right to the foot of Marsiling Park, our first stop of the day. With park benches in the form of vibrant metal swings, Ribbonscape adds a lively tone to Marsiling Park for visitors.
Further down was Adventure Play, Marsiling Park’s iconic colourful butterfly-shaped playground. The colours of the playground are actually based on the Painted Jezebel, a butterfly that has been spotted amongst the butterfly-attracting plants that surround the playground.
Image credit: @giletinsta360
As the weather cleared up, the sun came out and added a flare effect on our pics!
Being amidst the play areas had us all running around like kids again – just that this time, most of us had a camera in hand. This Instawalk’s themes were Play, Contrast and Nature, and our environment doubled as a photo enthusiast’s playground – participants played with different angles and framings, trying to get their best snap.
With the use of some trusty tools such as this crystal ball, many participants were able to add some unique dimensions to their shots too.
0930: To uncover the rest of the park, we made our way over the Stone Bridge, which connects the 2 halves of the park over a lake. Having stood there for about 35 years, the bridge is actually one of Marsiling Park’s oldest features. Some older residents actually had their wedding photos taken here!
The vast pond made the perfect photo-op for that #reflectiongram shot!
Across the bridge were several Chinese Pavilions, and when propped against the backdrop of nature, they did not seem to be a part of Singapore.
0945: We then continued our trek to the edge of Marsiling Park, snapping some casual shots amidst the scenic views.
At the amphitheatre, we caught sight of an old man teaching his apprentice the art of tai chi. Naturally, a bunch of us joined in on the fun, and had him teach us a couple of moves.
Image credit: @danshellia
Waiting for us at the other end of the park was the 3-storey Viewing Tower, which gave a stunning vantage point over the park. The stairwell leading up also has a new rain garden alongside it.
With a prize for the best group photo at stake, both teams took advantage of the spiral staircase to snap their funkiest photo together.
1000: There was no better way to end our outing at Marsiling Park than with another swanky playground – Fun Play. This playground has musical instruments that you can use to jam out to!
Participants not only leapt at the chance to make some music, but also made good use of the vibrant colours and reflective surfaces to snap some quirky shots.
1045: After a 30-minute bus ride, we finally arrived at the Singapore Botanic Gardens! We were at the Learning Forest – Singapore’s most easily accessible freshwater forest wetland habitat that can be visited by the public.
For the majority of us, it was our first visit here and we were more than excited to explore the unique flora here. After all, the Learning Forest is a new section of Singapore Botanic Gardens that had just opened last year.
1100: We first embarked on the Discovery Trail and soon reached the much awaited Bambusetum. With over 30 species of bamboo here, the Bambusetum may be one of Singapore’s closest shots at a Japanese bamboo forest on home ground.
1120: For a different view of the wetlands, we visited the elevated Boardwalk over Keppel Discovery Wetlands where we found ourselves standing 8m above them.
No doubt, we got a pretty great view of the wetlands from where we stood, and even managed to snap some shots where we looked like explorers on an adventure!
1200: Next up was the SPH Walk of Giants, where we found ourselves surrounded by trees that can contend with HDB blocks when they reach their full height. Not only were they tall, they had huge leaves too – these were quite possibly the largest leaves many of us have seen in Singapore.
Here’s how some of our Instawalkers used the leaves in their photographs.
Note: While getting creative is fun, remember not to remove anything from the park.
Image credit: @lalanggrapher
Eventually, we made it to our next stop: the Canopy Web. Participants could finally take a rest – not with conventional wooden benches though. Instead, they could lie on the rope nettings for a quick break after all that walking.
These rope beds were suspended between Tembusu trees at a height of 8m above ground.
1210: For the first time in #Instawalk history, heavy showers fell upon us as we left and we had to seek shelter. Nevertheless, we managed to make the most out of the weather, and snapped some great shots whilst walking in the rain!
Using mother nature to protect ourselves from the rain
1220: The skies cleared up just as we reached the Vanda Miss Joaquim Display, and everyone was more than ready to get back to snapping some shots again.
Twined around 2m-tall flower poles, the pink and white flowers towered above all of us. The tall hedges of Vanda Miss Joaquim made it seem as if we were shrouded amongst a large flower field. It was a bonus that there were additional walking paths snaking through the hedges – with the right framing, one could look as if they were emerging from an extensive field of flowers.
Some participants also made use of the other orchids surrounding the walking paths as the foreground of their shots for additional depth of field.
1235: Back in the day, the Bandstand was used as a stage for musicians. Nowadays, the iconic landmark is still a popular place for photographers and proved to be a crowd favourite amongst our participants.
From afar, the gazebo glowed amongst the trees – it is no wonder that this remains a popular spot for photoshoots. We had some of our participants pose as models for a change, just to mimic the usual shoots that take place here.
1300: The Bandstand marked the end of our adventure, and it was time for us to announce the winners of the #Instachallenge.
1330: And with that, #iWalkGreenSpaces has come to a close. Yet, having trudged through the ups and downs of the 4-hour walk together, strangers became friends, memories were made beyond the photos, and everyone left with their hearts full whilst taking a closer look into Singapore’s parks and gardens.
We’ve explored city streets, neighbourhoods, and we can now add some of Singapore’s green spaces to the list of places we’ve conquered. From the parks in our heartlands to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this walk has made us realised how connected we are to greenery – Singapore really is a City in a Garden after all! While this chapter of Instawalk has come to a close, another opens – next up, we’ll be uncovering the secrets of Bishan and Ang Mo Kio.
Be sure to follow @thesmartlocalsg and @MNDSingapore to ensure that you won’t be missing out on any updates regarding future walks. Till then, check out the shots from this walk with the hashtags #iWalkGreenSpaces and #TSLWalks.
Farewell, adventurers – we’ll see you soon for our next edition of Instawalk!
This post was brought to you by the Ministry of National Development.
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