The sky was clear, the air was crisp and what better thing to do than having a nice stroll at a park? When my husband and I went to Singapore recently, we thought of having a walk around Singapore Historical Landmark. It would be nice to just get some fresh air in the city.
And the best place to do that? Fort Canning Park.
Fort Canning Park, Singapore Historical Landmark In The Heart Of The City
First of all, it is important to don comfortable clothing (preferably thin cotton) and shoes before walking around Fort Canning Park. I don’t know how you feel but I think Singapore can be quite humid at times without wind and I would sweat profusely because of this. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I see but I don’t really appreciate the trickle of sweat going in between my boobs (pardon my French).
Other than that, I’m all eyes to the always-changing-always-upgrading Singaporean attraction.
My husband and I went to Fort Canning Park via the MRT. We dropped off at Dhoby Ghaut, took the exit to Penang Road, walk through Dhoby Ghaut Green and follow the walkway to Fort Canning Tunnel. That was the first place went to first because my husband wanted to take a photo at the famous spiral steps at the end of the tunnel.
Sadly though, there was such a long line of people taking photos there and we weren’t very patient so we skipped that and walked up the stairs towards the Information Centre. We wanted to join the Battlebox Tour but that was happening in almost two hours from when we were at the Information Centre so we decided to have a stroll nearby first.
We first went to check out the Battlebox entrance (only guided tour are allowed to get inside), the Sally Port. Then, we walked towards the Fort Canning Centre and saw that there was a show going on inside the Fort Canning Centre for the Time Traveller experience called “From Singapore to Singaporean : The Bicentennial Experience”.
Of course my husband and I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to watch the show ourselves. I must admit, by the end of the show, it brought the nationalism feeling in me – and I’m not even a Singaporean.
The show was an hour long and add that up with us taking photos and buying some mementos, we missed the time to join the Battlebox Tour (yes, that sucked). So we just ended up walking at the Pathfinder area and checking out some very interesting pieces up here.
At the Pathfinder area, you would be able to see these:
- Emporium of the East
- House of Maps
- Seed Conservatory
- Reflections of our past
- Pavilion of Words
All this even before heading towards the Fort Gate.
What Can You Find At Pathfinder Fort Canning Bicentennial Park?
I really wasn’t expecting to find such gems in a place like this. When I stepped into the Emporium of the East at the Pathfinder area, I was immersed in the displayed replicas of commonly traded goods that are found in Singapore from centuries ago.
I found pieces like the Keris (common dagger by the Malays), Bamboo Spear, Hornbill Casque, Headless Horseman, Songket, Quarter Dinar and so many more.
In case you didn’t know: In the 19th century, Singapore is a very famous trade port and some of the things traded here includes Cotton, Wool, Iron, Steel, Firearms, Glassware, Clocks from Europe, SIlk, Tea, Porcelain, Medicines from China, Opium, Cotton, Cloth from India and Spices (such as nutmeg and cloves), Rice, Coffee, Bird’s Nest, Precious wood (such as sandalwood and teak) from The Malay Archipelago.
There were so many Secondary school children around the Lookout, Seed Conservatory and Lightbeam areas so I skipped those and went straight to House of Maps.
At House of Maps, you can find the story of 10 maps throughout the centuries. You see, at first Singapore was a nameless island. But when it began to be a significant trading port, cartographers from around the world started acknowledging this little island’s presence and gave it many names like Sabana Emporium, Cingatola and Bargungapara, among others.
I loved how the maps at House of Maps were displayed like sails to reflect the maritime theme of when it started to become a popular shipping route.
Maps by Al-Idrisi (1300 copy of 1154 map), Mao Kun (1600 – 1900 print), Vndecima Asiae Tabvla (published by Johann Reger, 1486), Cantino Planisphere (1502), Ortelius (1588 – 1612), Linschoten (1598), Selden Map of China (1620 – 1629), Moll (1717), Bellin (1755) and Horsburgh (1824).
You know, I wasn’t very good in my Geography subject in school but perusing all these maps slowly from centuries ago, made me think how little I was in this great big world.
You could really lose track of time when you’re here, especially if you take note of all the information available.
If you have extra time, you can even check out the Heritage Trails BalikSG Augmented Reality App. As you walk around Fort Canning Park and even other Singapore Heritage Trail (in Clarke Quay and others), you will be furnished with information of the history of that area.
As we walked past the Fort Gate, we realized there’s a door and stairs that leads to the top of the fort. From the Fort Gate as were walking back to the Battlebox Roundabout, we came across information about Sir William George Sheldon Dobbie or better knows as Dobbie Rise before coming upon Hotel Fort Canning.
By the time we arrived at our starting point, we realized more than 4 hours has passed us by. We wished we had more time to explore the other parts of Fort Canning Park (read: the gardens) but we had another pressing matter to go to next. Oh, so sad that we had to leave before properly exploring this huge and amazing park in the city.
Watch this short video of our stroll at Fort Canning Park below:
What Other Things Can Be Found In Fort Canning Park?
Fort Canning Park offers a variety of recreational activities as well as historical, educational, entertainment and cultural experiences. Back in May, Singapore National Parks Board announced that it has completed the first phase of the historical restoration of Fort Canning Park.
This first phase was done on 9 new gardens in Fort Canning Park to allow tourists and locals to experience Singapore’s historical and heritage-inspired gardens. The gardens includes:
- Raffles Garden – a garden inspired by Sir Stamford Raffles
- Sang Nila Utama Garden – a garden inspired by the first ancient king of Singapore, a Palembang prince from Srivijaya kingdom
- Artisan’s Garden – Singapore’s last archaeological dig sites
- Spice Garden – inspired by the plantations that Raffles had experimented with and according to Singapore National Parks Board, by year 2021, a gallery trail that with provide information to visitors will be completed
- Farquhar Garden – inspired by Raffles’ right-hand man and first British resident and commandant of Singapore
- Armenian Street Park – inspired by the Peranakan
- Pancur Larangan – Pancur Larangan or Forbidden Spring is a Javanese-themed water area that was used as bathing place by noble ladies in the royal court of Singapura
- Jubilee Park – play area for children with swings, slides and more
- First Botanic Garden – find many types of plants here
So yeah. It certainly is the City’s Green Lung here at Fort Canning Park and it’s just so easy to lose time when you’re here.
If you’re in the Lion City and would love to get out of the hustle and bustle of city, a whole day at Fort Canning Park would definitely just be a walk in the park.