Thirty years ago, before I was born, my parents went to the island on their speed boats and in swim suits. Now that Coney Island, also known as Pulau Serangoon, has reopened on October 10, my parents were quite excited to return to the island to see what developments have been made. I tagged along, too. And if you’re thinking of heading over, here are some things for you to consider.
There is nothing to see
Not worth it: You had hopes when you’re planning your trip to Coney Island but all you’ll see are dirt roads and vegetation with no iconic landmarks. Beaches A to E all look the same. Just off the entrance is probably where everything else of note is located – the Casuarina Exploratory, the signpost for the cow, Beach Area A. Worse, there are sandflies along the beaches.
Yes, worth it: On the other hand, it is as it is – a rustic island with sand-paved walkways, undeveloped land and sometimes, nobody else around you. It feels as though you’ve left the hustle and bustle of city life and can now indulge in quiet contemplation. A sanctuary from the daily MRT commute you’d be forced to endure come the next working day.
Also, if you’re into photography or taking scenic shots, the fields of lalangs, empty beaches and untouched forest make for good backgrounds.
There is a cow
Not worth it: Not spotting the cow (it exists) will have you saying to yourself, ‘the cow is a lie’ over and over.
Yes, worth it: However, spotting the cow will be like finding money on the ground; your trip to Coney Island will feel instantly better.
Cycling on Coney Island
Yes, worth it: It cuts through the monotony of the unchanging landscape and allows you to explore the whole island comfortably in two hours, including photography time. (We looped the island from the West Entrance at Pulau Serangoon and didn’t exit at Lorong Halus). Walking will double that time and leave you sweating, tired and you’ll need to consider walking back to where you parked your car/the bus stop.
Not worth it: Bring your own bicycles. We rented ours from Punggol Settlement for an hour at $10/bike. There was much speed-riding involved as we explored the island in under an hour. Also, watch out for the macaques, they aren’t your friendly MacRitchie variety. Park your bike near them and these wild monkeys will take any chance to nibble on your bike seat or snatch at plastic bags. Their response when approached was to bare their teeth. You’ve been warned.
Walking on Coney Island
Not worth it: Trust me on this.
In the end, when asked the question ‘Will you return to Coney Island?’, my dad said, ‘no’, while my mom answered ‘yes, it is good that the government invested so much money so that we can have a green space to exercise and breathe fresh air. It’s like we have started to consider nature. We have arrived [as a country].’
I’ll leave it to you to decide.
Coney Island West Entrance is located east of Punggol Settlement. The East Entrance is accessible via Pasir Ris Coast Industrial Park 6, off Lorong Halus.Daily 7am-7pm.