Let’s face it, Ang Mo Kio (AMK) has been largely overlooked as one of the oldest estates in Singapore with not much else to it other than AMK Hub. However, as the saying goes, the voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
Together with the Ministry of National Development, HDB and NParks, the TSL crew and our InstaWalkers set out to explore all the sites and sights of AMK that’ll be sure to stir up some nostalgic emotions from within – no matter how old you may be. :’)
0845: Our InstaWalkers were ready to kick it with our TSL crew on a bright and early Saturday morning – all smiles with their cameras, ready to snap away.
We readied each participant with a goodie bag filled with snacks, useful items like mosquito patches to keep the mozzies away, and a hat to keep things shady and breezy. Before setting off on our adventure, we split into two teams and boarded our tour buses for a whirl around this scenic town.
As we made our way to the first location, our tour guides presented us with the almighty #InstaChallenge. Instawalkers had to shoot three photos to the themes of Nature, Urban and Active. It was game on – we were excited to see who would impress with the best photos of each theme at the end of the day!
0900: Our band of InstaWalkers arrived at our first location – Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West. Built in 1983, this park was conceptualised as a go-to park for AMK residents to relax in the tranquil surroundings, away from the bustle of the city.
Our InstaWalkers eagerly commenced their photoshoot in this serene landscape, starting from the gleaming lotus pond to the sprawling 120-step staircase that led up to a large open plaza.
Image credit: @leeshchua
Some members of Team 2 also did their own photoshoot at the staircase – they played around with quirky poses like jumping high up in the air to create the illusion of suspension. They even gathered for a little group shot to start off the walk – 10/10 for enthusiasm!
0930: It took us a 5-minute descent on foot to reach our next destination – the Kebun Baru Bird Singing Club. It felt like we were walking into a time capsule from the 1970s – this club has been a gathering spot for bird keepers from all over Singapore to mingle and form a community.
We got talking to some of the chirpy bird owners in the area, who told us we were lucky to be visiting on a weekend – and they were right. The view of the club was truly one-of-a-kind, with bird cages hung up high on the poles making up the landscape.
1000: The Dragon Playground at AMK is a well-preserved gem that was built in 1978 as part of the initiative to introduce unique mythical designs for playgrounds Fast forward 40 years later and the playground has managed to retain its original facade. Our photoshoot at the playground was like a blast from the past, giving us a good dose of nostalgia.
We even spotted a furry friend – the perfect talent for this perspective shot.
Image credit: @riddles83
We spent a good 20 minutes at the playground since our InstaWalkers were enthusiastically experimenting with different angles around the premises.
A resourceful use of the shadows created by the spiral body of the dragon made for a super ‘grammable shot.
Image credit: @eunice.safiyah
1045: Our next stop was the park connector under the MRT tracks. It didn’t look particularly insta-worthy at first glance, but our tour guides brought to our attention cool street artwork painted on the columns of the viaduct, which instantly added life to the space.
Image credit: @glitchedhues
We tried our hand at street photography here, using the colourful hopscotch and checkered artwork on the concrete floor as our backdrop. One of our InstaWalkers even attempted a high jump to capture this cool jump shot that makes him look like he’s sprinting in mid-air!
Back-to-back on this massive checkered chess board with wide smiles to boot!
Besides being an artsy urban space, the park connector under the MRT viaduct also has a dedicated walking and cycling path for pedestrians to travel between Yio Chu Kang and Ang Mo Kio MRT stations, improving accessibility to the area for residents.
Image credit: @carolinekoa
1115: After our visit to the park connector, we were dropped off at this next location – the Kampong Murals at Ang Mo Kio Town Council. The murals were painted by local artist Yip Yew Chong as a way of remembering our past.
Each intricately painted mural brings to life familiar scenes of the kampong life, such as the traditional houses with stilts to prop up the house from the ground and grandmothers cooking with their woks in the kitchen.
Check out the adorable cat peeking out from behind the stilts of this kampong house!
1130: Our bus driver ferried us to the Recycle Hill at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park where we learnt about the origins of the Recycle Hill. Interestingly enough, the Recycle Hill was actually made up of slabs of concrete from the canal that used to run through the park. Walking around certainly had some of us green with envy, considering how such a beautiful space is just a stone’s throw away for nearby residents.
Perched on the hill’s peak is ‘An Enclosure for a Swing’, a curved metal sculpture constructed by artist Kelvin Lim Fun Kit. Our InstaWalkers explored the sculpture to capture aesthetic shots from various angles.
1225: The Clover is by no means your average block of HDB flats. As its name suggests, the building from the 1980s is shaped like a four-leaf clover, with four cylindrical blocks joined together as one. You won’t find this anywhere else in Singapore!
Upon arrival at the block, the InstaWalkers took it upon themselves to find the best angles for photos of the architecture. The result of their hard labour was a series of shots showcasing the symmetrical features of the building and some cool shots for their submission for the ‘Urban’ theme.
1250: After wrapping up our urban photography adventure at The Clover, we headed back to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to check out the Cleansing Biotope. Besides acting as a filter which helps to maintain the cleanliness of the water flowing through the entire park, the biotope’s exotic selection of flora and fauna also serves as a backdrop for some lovely nature-themed photos.
1310: Walkin’ around town is tough business – so no better place to take a breather than at the Landscape Pond. Phew!
The pristine still waters caught the attention of our InstaWalkers and inspired some of them to snap some cool #reflectiongrams for IG here.
1325: Time passes quickly when we’re having fun. Before we knew it, we were down to our last checkpoint of the day – the Therapeutic Garden in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
But this pretty spot isn’t just a respite from city life. Based on evidence-based design principles, it actually uses strategic elements and user-friendly features to meet the needs of elderly visitors to the park, including those with conditions such as dementia.
We got to see some of these features while walking around too, such as raised planters for accessibility, making it easier for wheelchair users to interact with the park’s flora from different heights.
After admiring the view, we gathered under the sheltered area where all our participants were given the opportunity to upload their photos on Instagram under the hashtags #IWalkAMK for the #InstaChallenge. Our panel of judges then picked the best photos for each theme.
Image credit: @donnnut
Image credit: @riddles83
Our #InstaChallenge winners!
Besides organizing the #InstaChallenge for our participants, we also let our photographers engage in a little bit of healthy competition. The photographers from Team 1 and 2 were tasked to take group photos of their own, with Team 1 coming out on top with their photo at the iconic Dragon Playground:
Image credit: Huy Pham
Despite the hot weather, our InstaWalkers actively participated in the journey through this central neighbourhood. With the help of our knowledgeable tour guides and our trusty cameras, we were able to gain a deeper insight into the rich heritage of AMK and its various landmarks.
What’s more, we were able to see this old neighbourhood in a novel light – a town which evokes both a fond remembrance of the old and an anticipation of the new.
AMK Instawalk may have drawn to a close, but our TSL Instawalk journey continues. Our next Instawalk will be held at the quaint streets of Joo Chiat and Katong. Whether you’re an Eastie who have lived near Katong your whole life or a resident hailing from other parts of Singapore, you’re welcome to join us on our upcoming exploration.
Follow @thesmartlocalsg and @MNDSingapore for more updates on our future walks. If you’d like, you can check out the pictures taken on all our previous Instawalks by searching up the hashtags #TSLWalks and #iWalkAMK on Instagram.
That’s all folks – see you on the next one!
This post was brought to you by the Ministry of National Development.
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