Pulau Punggol Timor and Pulau Punggol Barat
As with many others, I’ve explored the newly opened Coney Island (Pulau Serangoon) several weeks back. It was an interesting walk but as it was a public holiday, the island was a little too crowded for my comfort. Then the two connected islands Pulau Punggol Timor (East) and Pulau Punggol Barat (West) caught my eye. They were something I had to explore. I did some search on the two islands and found that they have been reclaimed for the purpose of storing and manufacturing supplies for the building industry. There is however a public road that cuts through both islands and they are popular for cyclists and couples taking their wedding photos (saw two couples when I was there).
To set up some context, I first landed at the Punggol MRT station and walked a really long roundabout walk towards Marina Country Club where I started my journey. Of course, the better way would have been to just take the Punggol LRT line from the MRT station to PW 5 Nibong Station and walk from there.
Before I forget, the two islands have no public amenities, there is no toilets, no shelters, no bus stops and no stores along the way so do what you need before you embark on the journey if you so choose. What you will get is an awesome journey surrounded by pristine untouched landscape particularly on Pulau Punggol Barat where there is no development. There was even a point when there was no cellular connectivity. It is probably best not to stray away from the beaten path if you are there alone or in a small group.
From the Nibong Station along Punggol Way, turn towards Seletar North Link where you see the Marina Country Club on the right. At the time I was there, the road was still in the midst of construction so be prepared for barriers and so on. At this road, it is best to keep to the right on the Marina side where you get a view of Johor Malaysia in the distance.
At the distance, you see the colorful buildings of the PPT Lodge which can house 14,000 foreign workers employed by the building industry in Singapore. It is the largest purpose-built lodging for them.
At this junction, stay on Seletar North Link along the sand bank. The Seletar Link will bring you along the perimeters of the Seletar Air Base and unto the Tampines Express (TPE), definitely not the place to be if you are walking. The Pulau Punggol Timor is not very interesting as on the left you get sand and granite mountains and on the right storage and manufacturing facilities for the building industry. Thankfully, this is the smaller of the two islands.
You know you have crossed over to Pulau Punggol Barat when you see this.
You will be greeted with the pristine reservoir of the Seletar Wet Gap. When I was there, there was a couple taking their wedding photos and some others trying their luck fishing here.
Pulau Punggol Barat is a bigger island and much of the walk would be through the island. Too bad the coast is all fenced up to prevent illegal entry to the island republic but I understand the need for security. There are interesting flowers and plants along the path so keep your eyes open.
I spotted this fruit on the island but I totally have no idea what it is.
I saw this leaf-less tree and along the branch there are some strange growth and zooming in, there seems to be a bat or a flying fox trapped inside a spider web. I thought that the idea of spiders eating bats seems weird but apparently it is quite common. Saw this on the web http://www.wired.com/2013/03/bat-eating-spiders/
At the end of the island is the bridge towards Seletar Airport and Yishun Avenue 1.
Stay towards the left when crossing the bridge as that seems to be the only side with a pedestrian walkway. It may be tempting to enter the forested area but do not do so as it is restricted land. There is even a warning sign so stay with the program.
On the right side of the airport is the last and only surviving fishing village in Singapore, Seletar Fishing Village. It is a private ground.
In front of Fokker and Howker Pacific Asia office (West Camp Road) , there is a bus stop with a sole bus number 103 which runs between Serangoon Interchange and Yishun Interchange.
I did not end my journey there and walked the whole long stretch at Yishun Avenue 1 to Khatib MRT Station.
More information about the islands of Singapore http://www.nlb.gov.sg/sure/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Cheatsheet-8-Islands-of-Singapore.pdf
Overall, it is an awesome walk and I will definitely do it again. It is not very often that I can walk to an island.