ECP – Singapore’s Jewel in the Crown

The East Coast Park was a big part of our life in Singapore and is our most loved place in this wonderful little island country.

The ECP is a scenic coastline that stretches over 15 kilometres and is a great place to go to for a ride along the coastline or a lazy day at the beach.

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You can spend a few hours or an entire day at the ECP. There’s a whole bunch to do. And, it’s a beach you can go to anytime of the year. You may be aware that Singapore doesn’t really have seasons.. it is situated just above the equator and has a tropical climate.. it’s humid and sunny thru the year in this little island. And yes, it is known to rain quite often but it’s usually the kind of rain that comes pouring down with all its might but lasts just a short while. There’s plenty of gazebos around the ECP for you to take cover while the rain clouds pass over.

ECP is filled with a whole range of entertainment options. You can ride a bike along the coastline – a single, tandem or a full family seater! The view is spectacular and you’ve got a dedicated cycling path for your uniterrupted biking pleasure. Many an afternoon/evening was spent biking along the coastline while we lived in Singapore. They also have other options like rollerblading, kayaking, wind surfing, and other extreme sports for the adrenaline junkies. There’s also a paint ball and laser tag arcade in Parkland Green. Or if you’d like to just sit back and drink a pint or two while some fresh fish take the bait, you’ll find plenty of fishing spots along the ECP – the pier near Marine Parade is especially popular for this.

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If you’d rather just hang out by the beach, get a beach blanket, some snacks, and a cooler filled with your favorite beers! You’ll find plenty of folks just lazing on the beach under the shade of a palm tree, having a jolly good picnic. At ECP, you can also camp by the beach, overnight as well if you’d like to. It is a very popular activity, so you’ve got to book ahead. We never got around to camping under the stars while we were in Singapore but would highly recommend this if you get a chance to. They provide for shower facilities as well if you’d like to wash off some of that salt and sand off your skin before you call it a night.

There are a ton of options all along the ECP for some lip-smacking food – you’ll find a whole bunch of hawker centers (Singapore’s quite famous for these). It’s basically street food that is cheap and delicious. We highly recommend the satays – they are just mind-blowing! You”ll find these stalls at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village. Just a little further away, you’ll find restaurants, beer bars, and cafes as well, if you fancy a quieter place. Many of these offer a great sea view too. We frequented the Parkland Green as it was closer to where we stayed. This section of ECP is newer and offers plenty of dining options. And, for the eager cooks, you can do your own barbecue in one of the many pits around ECP. Barbecuing at the beach is another very popular activity – make sure you book in advance!

The East Coast Park is part of the Singapore national parks and is interconnected to many of the other parks so you can indulge in some park hop too, by foot, by bike or simply skate your way through.

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The East Coast Park is definitely frequented more by the folks living in Singapore but it is a great place to unwind and soak in Singapore’s fantastic culture, and relish its variety of culinary delights during your short holiday to this little island.

If there’s one thing we miss the most about Singapore, it would have to be ECP. There’s nothing like it anywhere else. While there were beautiful cycle paths along the Donau in Germany and there’s sure a great variety of food and beautiful coastlines here in Ireland, having that all-in-one experience like the East Coast Park is something we crave for from time to time.

Some of our favorite moments in ECP were riding one of ’em big family cycles along the sea, building sand castles with two of our favorite little girls, enjoying a nice pint at sundown and watching the distant lights of the boats fade into the sea… priceless memories!

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The East Coast Park holds many a precious memory from our life in Singapore. It made our lives beautiful and complete. It will always be a special place!

Krabi – a special place

I have always been in love with the sun and the sand… walking on the beach and feeling the sand squish between my toes and watching the sun go down in the deep blue sea are some of my happiest moments.

Krabi, Thailand is a paradise with beautiful beaches, pretty little islands, delicious food and just gorgeous blue waters of the Andaman sea. We wanted to stay in a place that was relatively less busy and crowded compared to Phuket. Most of Thailand is swarming with tourists anyways and for good reason.. It is a gorgeous country!

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Hong Island, Krabi

We were in Krabi to celebrate my niece’s 18th birthday. We were there for a short four days but we had such an amazing time and such wonderful experiences in this brief period. We stayed in a resort close to the Ao Nang beach in Krabi. It was a pretty resort surrounded by little hills and the rooms were partially built on stilts and we were surrounded by beautiful water everywhere in the resort. You could kayak your way through the resort.

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Our resort in Ao Nang, Krabi

On our first day, we did the 7 island sunset tour which lasted 6 hours.We started a little after mid-day and cruised the Krabi waters in a long-tail boat and occasionally a speed boat.

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Long-tail boat, traditional boats of Thailand

Our first stop was the Phra Nang Cave that is near the well-known Railay beach. This limestone cave is full of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is probably more well-known for its “Phallus Shrine” which is full of a strange variety of offerings to the symbolic phallus of Shiva or the Lingam – I was surprised to learn what the lingam actually represented (I had no idea what I was worshiping as I was dragged through temple after temple in my younger years – remember I mentioned in one of my earlier posts I was born a Hindu). Anyways, bizarre yet interesting revelation this was.

We then headed out to Koh Tan Ming where we did some snorkeling. After a bit, we hopped over to Koh Si island where the snorkeling was so much better and we had more time. The water was so clear and the underwater life so pretty!

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You see the chicken-like head sticking out? That’s the Chicken Island, Krabi

We then hovered around the Chicken island for a bit before heading over to the Tup and Mor islands where we just walked around the beach, collected shells and lounged in the warm waters. Finally, we halt at Koh Poda, where we had a Thai buffet. As the sun went down, one of the crew members entertained us with a fire dance.

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Fire dance at Koh Poda, Krabi

Finally, the island hops are done and we head back. On the way back though, we have one more stop in the middle of the sea for more snorkeling and swimming with bio-luminescent plankton. It was a great experience to hop through all those pretty islands but it just seemed like too short a time at each of the stops and we felt rushed. We did the Hong islands the next day which was SO much better and just what we needed.

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Gorgeous blue water at Hong Island,Krabi

It was again a full-day island tour where we stopped at a couple of great snorkeling spots. The tour took us to the rock island of Koh Daeng, Koh Lahding, and finally on to Koh Hong. The water in the Hong Islands especially the Koh Lahding or Paradise Island is amazingly clear and you can see marine life right near the shore without even getting your snorkeling gear on. You venture a little further into the water and you can see the most stunning variety of fish and corals. You simply cannot pull away from the water. And the beaches are beautiful white sand beaches.

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Cruising through beautiful Krabi islands

The next day we just hung around Krabi town, shopping for junk jewellery and indulging in local delights. Thai food is simply heavenly – the satays, the curries, just divine.. we binged on some lip-smacking dishes! We sampled some interesting local Thai spirits and chugged lots of Thai beer (the usual lager variety – not very exciting but definitely refreshing in Krabi’s humid weather). Singha and Chang dominate the local beer scene. Back when we visited Krabi, we didn’t research much on local craft beer and may have missed out on a couple of good places. We’ve heard that the Full Moon Brewworks may be worth a shot.

We also enjoyed some great live music from one of the local bands (unfortunately we cannot remember the name of this wonderful band) at a cosy little restaurant in the main street (and we cannot remember the name of this restaurant either – we had had one too many beers and shots).

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A Krabi local band playing some great music

It was the most wonderful 4 days in Krabi – we relaxed, swam, lay on pretty beaches, drank lots, ate lots, danced some, laughed hysterically (and cried some tears of joy), and had loads of fun!

Krabi will always be special for many reasons and we’ll make our way back there again someday to reignite these beautiful memories.

(Most of the pictures in this post were taken by my niece, a very talented photographer. Check out some of her cool pics here.)