Singapore East Coast Park is a beach and park along the southeastern coast of the Singapore island.
The 185-hectare park-cum-beach was opened in the 1970s. It is built entirely on reclaimed land off the coast of Katong, Kallang and Changi with a man-made beach. Yup! you heard me right, the park sits on reclaimed land and the beach is man-made.
Despite being man-made, East Coast Park is one of the most popular places where locals spend their weekends, drawing hordes of families and friends who come to relax and enjoy a wide range of activities.
The park has barbecue pits, entertainment facilities, chalets, food and beverages, and amenities for sports activities, including a cycling and in-line skating track that runs along the perimeter of the park, measuring about 20 km long.
Fun Things to do at the Singapore East Coast Park
1. BBQ Away!
During weekends, you will be hard-pressed to find any available pits, but no worries, you can BYOP! (bring your own pit). Look out for signboards indicating sites you can bring your own equipment and not be left out.
Every time I walked past a group barbecuing, the lure of the aroma of chicken wings and sausages grilling away is so hard to resist. Feel like party-crashing sometimes, or pretend to be a friend of a friend maybe…
2. BLADE over!
Watch out for those speed monsters on their rollerblades whizzing past! Well, they are just showing off their skills to the chagrin of those still struggling to get on their feet in those hard to control rollerblades and people who prefer to jog or walk.
I have tried rollerblading several years ago, and the result is a broken lip and a bruised ego. I am just not good at anything that requires “balancing” – whether biking, rollerblading etc.
I feel the most secure running on my own two feet! Maybe someone can explain this to me – is this some sort of genetic make-up/defects? So, I can only watch these blade monsters from afar in envy.
3. BIKE smart!
If you really cannot get a hang of those rollerblades, then consider renting a bike. I love the tandem bike due to the “balancing” issue, riding becomes effortless and a breeze, just make sure you find a strong partner, not a lazy one!
And you can talk as you are riding, which makes the ride more interesting and a great way to bond (or romance for the love-birds while giving the guy an opportunity to show off his prowess on the bike).
After all these strenuous physical exertions, time for re-fuelling!
4. PIG out!
Try the UDMC Seafood village which is quite popular among tourists and local foodies as it offers a wide array of restaurants serving up local seafood delicacies like Pepper or Chilli Crabs! The competition is stiff so be prepared for restaurants staff to try to “tout” for business as you stroll along the beach-front. It is quite an experience watching the sunset over the sea as you savour local delights.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village is another place to find good and cheap eats. It is what we locals call a hawker centre. Must try dished include: satay, BBQ chicken wings, spring chicken, fried oyster, grilled sambal stingray and bak kut teh (pork ribs tea soup)
Must-see attractions at Singapore East Coast Park
1. The Bedok Jetty
The most non eye-catching stretch of the park has to be the Bedok jetty where anglers make a beeline for.
There are old bus-stop shelters mysteriously dotting the jetty. It is a weird sight because bus-stops are normally found along roads. I have always wondered why they are there. Maybe someone from the transport authority had a spark of inspiration and rescued the old bus-stop shelters and moved them to the jetty for a “second career“.
No matter why they are there – they provide much-welcomed shelter from the sweltering heat during the day.
Aspiring anglers come and plonk down their fishing necessities. These include a few creature comforts such as tents, radio, even tiny mobile TV sets. Of course, a pail of water to hold any potential big catch.
Joggers, roller-blade riders, cyclists all stop at the jetty to see if the anglers caught anything and for the great view of the city.
At the jetty, one can catch the sun setting over the city skyline. Awesome sight!
One can also watch the planes flying really close to land at the Singapore Changi International Airport which is nearby.
If you are lucky, you may chance upon someone who finally hit pay dirt – well, not exactly dirt, usually a small to medium-sized fish. I have actually seen an angler caught quite a large one and she was hawking it on the spot!
2. The Cable Ski Park
For those who enjoy water sports, East Coast Park spots the only cable ski park in Singapore. Skiers are not pulled by a boat but by an overhead cable, similar to a snow ski lift except it is erected around the water edge.
The cables run counter-clockwise around the water edge and you are hooked up to the cable while it’s on the move. It can accommodate up to 8 skiers or wake-boarders.
At first glance, it looked like a merry go round. It looks easy but I know it is not. I tried wake-boarding once (on a real boat) and I was not going to make a fool out of myself again attempting one of these rides. I have seen too many fall even before they could leave the starting point.
Watching is enough for me, from a comfortable distance, especially if it is from a cafe by the water.
The cable supposedly travels at the same speed as the boat in tournament waterskiing and wakeboarding, maintaining a speed of between 20 – 58 kph.
In other words, the organizer is trying to say that skiing at the cable ski park is no different from skiing in the open water, just cheaper.
The obvious advantage is the dramatic reduction in the cost for the individual skier. Or if you just want to enjoy the views and the people, just sit back and let the cool sea breeze and the sounds of the waves ease your troubles away.
The cable ski park is not restricted to wakeboarding and waterskiing. One can also try trick ski, kneeboard, or even surf without the wave. But I have not seen those yet.
3. Playground @ Big Splash
Playground @ Big Splash was previously known as Big Splash, a very popular water theme park in the 1980s.
The old place brings back loads of childhood memories for me and my family. I spent many a weekend sliding down the water slides, and hanging loose in a huge tyre float drifting down the convoluted water routes. Then having a picnic on the deck chairs, munching on granny’s yummy curry chicken and French loaves!
This place held such fond memories that I was elated when I heard news that it will be reopened!
But it was a deep disappointment when I realized it will not be restored as a water theme park as it was deemed not economically viable! It has been transformed into a young and sporty lifestyle hub for the young and young at heart instead.
Attractions include a wide range of premium wine-and-dine outlets and various sporting goods rental outlets. There is also a childcare centre and playground for kids.
One eating place to try is the Old Town Cafe. They serve the famous Malaysia’s White Coffee, as well as a drink concoction comprising both coffee and tea. Don’t forget to try their yummilicious Ipoh Hor Fun!
I grew up playing in the old water park, it will now be a place that hold a different set of memories for these children in the future.
Beach or Park
Let’s get the fact straight, Singapore East Coast is more a park than a beach hangout – so don’t expect to see bikini-clad girls playing beach volleyball or semi-naked bodies baking in the sun.
You might be a bit disappointed if you are looking for something resembling the white powdery sand of Phuket beaches. The sand here is coarse and there are only a few stretches where you can really walk comfortably barefooted.
If you are looking for a place to get that beautiful tan while sipping pina colada under the swaying coconut trees, then you are better off at the Siloso beach on Sentosa.
Swimming is possible, but not necessarily the most preferred activity at the park.
By Public Bus
Along East Coast Park Service Road:
- Take bus 401 from Bedok Interchange (which is next to the Bedok MRT station) that goes to East Coast Park Service Road.
- This service is only available on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays
Underpasses also link the park to the nearby Marine Parade housing estate and the Bayshore condominium.
- Take Bus service no. 16 from town (River Valley, Orchard or Chinatown; check the bus guide at bus-stops or ask the bus captain) and alight at Marine Terrace.
- Use the underpass to cross the East Coast Park (ECP) expressway and you arrive at the park.
For details of bus routes and where the bus services are available, visit the SBS Transit website to plan your route and check the bus guide.
The park has ample parking spaces. Just beware that some offer free parking while others do not.
Use Google maps to plan your travelling route. Type in “Singapore east coast park” as your starting location.
Last but not least, you can always call a cab or Grab. Do find out the exact place you are going so your driver know which is the nearest exit to drop you.
Whatever mode of transport you decide on, it’s definitely worth the effort to make a trip down to Singapore East Coast Park!
Feature image credit: A panoramic view of East Coast Park, Singapore by Chensiyuan