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Orchid Bowls YishunI’ve had quite a few firsts with the boys in recent weeks, and this blog is focusing on two in one day – learning how to fish and Ten Pin bowling. Fishing is not something I am keen on doing – I get all sad when I see the death throes of the fish, but Ten Pin Bowling, bring it on! I love it, although it’s been many years since my last game. It was great doing it with the boys for the first time and they absolutely loved it, so we’ll be going again. I researched two places for both activities, working out that my best bet was a day-trip to Yishun to visit Bottletree Park and then onto Orchid Bowls at the SAFRA Yishun Country Club.

Bottletree Park SingaporeObviously getting out to Yishun is easier by car – especially if you’re on the other end of the Island – but there is also great public transport out to this area, and you might just need to take a few quick cabs in between. I’m sure if you’re keen on doing the whole thing by public transport a bus/train combination is possible, but if you want to keep things easy, best to drive.

Bottletree Park Net FishingFirst stop was Bottletree park (here’s directions), which is a wonderful big space designed in the Kampong style, with loads of things to do for the family, including lots of seafood options in the restaurants if that’s your thing. Our initial focus was on the small wading pool for kids, where they are supplied with a net and bucket to go fishing. Alas, the boys caught lots of tiny fish and not a single one lived to tell the tale…  Called “Long Kang” (drain) fishing, it costs $10/child and they get to keep the bucket afterwards. If you don’t want your kids to get wet, I can recommend packing swimsuits for this, but you can also roll up their trousers. The boys enjoyed this for a while, but very quickly my eldest son Lex was eyeing up the prawn fishing pond, asking me if he could give it a go.

Bottletree Park for kidsThis has never been an activity I wanted to do with my kids but rather than say no outright, I asked the uncle working there if he’d be interested in giving the boys a lesson? It wasn’t busy, so he happily gave the boys their first fishing experience, and while I thought it would get their attention for all of five minutes, both boys happily sat for a good 40 minutes – amazing. It helped that the uncle was successful in catching a few prawns, which motivated the boys to keep trying, and it was a terrific experience for the lads. They didn’t catch anything because they were stuffing around too much to succeed, but they liked it and that’s the main thing. This costs $20 for an hour, which includes bait and fishing line hire.

I have to provide a note of caution for any fishing hole in Singapore. These places seem to be the last bastion of public smoking in Singapore and while I don’t want to take that away from the people who enjoy their fishing with a smoke, it can be rather unpleasant to expose your kids to the strong second hand smoke. I’ve been to a few of these places in Singapore and it’s always the same, so just make sure you sit on the opposite side of the pool to the stalwart fishermen who like to hang out there.

Bottletree Park SingaporeAfter you’re done fishing, you could easily make a day out of it with Swan Paddling, more fishing in the main lake, paintballing and there’s also a remote control car racing track. This makes it perfect for older kids too and while there are signs up everywhere saying no eating on the grounds, we snuck a picnic in at one of the tables by the lake – the food on sale just wouldn’t appeal to my lads. If you haven’t been to Bottletree Park yet, I can highly recommend it, although it’s hot.

Orchard Bowls SAFRA Yishun Country ClubAfter this, we drove to the SAFRA Yishun Country Club for the boys’ very first Ten Pin Bowling experience at Orchid Bowls. This SAFRA Club is huge, with a great swimming pool – so we will be going back – but the Orchid Bowls concept (they have various locations around the Island) is fantastic because they provide lighter bowling balls, which is perfect for smaller kids. It was busy the day we went, with a corporate event taking up a large chunk of lanes, as well as a school getting lessons, but we didn’t have to wait for long and the boys absolutely loved the whole experience, from bowling, to selecting several pretty coloured balls, to just messing around with the ball dispenser. It took a bit of patience and effort to get the boys focused on the job at hand, but once they started getting some success with knocking down a few pins, we were onto a winner.

Orchid Bowls Yishun lessonIt’s well run, big, and the staff were terrific. It’s also cheap at $4.00 off peak or $4.50 busy period (kids are $3.00 off peak), plus $1.20 for shoe hire and $1.50 for socks (remember to pack socks), so it’s a great day out and not too expensive. There’s a small café in the bowling alley for drinks and sweets, plus you have the entire SAFRA Club to explore if you want to make a day out of it.

Orchid Bowls YishunBoth venues can be full day adventures or you can combine them together as we did. It’s a really great day out, but make sure you come prepared for a hot day at Bottletree Park – with hats, sunblock, snacks, water and a change of clothes if the kids get wet. For Orchid Bowls at Yishun, just make sure you pack some socks and if you want to take advantage of the swimming pool, it looks like a good one. Just remember the pool guards are usually pretty strict at the SAFRA Clubs, so if your kids are wild in the pool, it can be a little tedious hearing the whistle constantly going off because of the antics your loves… That’s my life.

Orchid Bowls YishunLet me know what you think if you go?