I have been promising the boys a session of fishing for some time, and as their mother absolutely refuses to do this with them (even though she got caught up in it at Bottletree Park once, much to her horror) and the pressure was mounting to make it happen. I had to find somewhere new, but I also needed to plan a full day out to give the boys a great adventure. So we headed to Sembawang Beach to tire them out a little first, and then for some Lonkang Fishing at Qian Hu Aquarium in Sungei Tengah.
While I’m sure you could definitely catch taxis and other forms of public transport, this particular adventure is definitely easier by car, especially if you plan to do both of these activities in one day. Then again, Sembawang Beach is probably best avoided for now due to construction work, but do put it on your list for the future – it’s got promise. But there are still options for kids if you decide to go anyway.
So we turned up at Sembawang Beach to a construction zone. The plans for the area are definitely good, but for now, you have two very small (and pretty dirty) strips of beach for the kids to play, and some wide-open grass areas for them to run around as well, so it isn’t a lost cause. As we were already there, we decided to go for a swim in the ocean and have a play on the beach, but there are much better places to do this in Singapore. It’s obviously a very popular fishing and picnic area for folk (you need to watch out for fishing lines – and irate fisherfolk), and while we did have a great time there, I’m looking forward to taking the boys back when the adventure playground is finished. There is no date specified on the Nat Parks website – so it could be open by now. There were plenty of signs around – all very politically correct (see photo) so I reckon it will be good once it’s done.
Towards the west side of the park, nestled amongst the trees, is a beautiful old colonial house that has been converted into a café / restaurant called Beaulieu House; whilst we didn’t eat here, it looked good.
After this, we cleaned up and piled back into the car, heading for Longkang Fishing at Qian Hu Aquarium in Sungei Tengah. A publicly listed company, the corporate Website is a bit of a mess if you are looking for any information on things to do with the family, but here’s another parents’ blog talking about their experience, as well as the Street Directory map again. As you can see, it’s in the area of Farmart, which we covered here and here.
First up, we did some prawn fishing – as this is what the boys really wanted to do. While it took a while to get any service, we eventually found out you had to pay at the shop and we hired two rods for one hour – total cost $30. Naturally, the boys struggled to keep their attention on the job-at-hand for an hour, but they were equally happy to relax and let me do it for them. “We” even caught a prawn, much to the boy’s excitement – although the reality of coming face-to-face with a snapping prawn spun them out a lot.
From a customer service perspective, we eventually had a really excellent experience here that is worth highlighting. When we arrived, we couldn’t find a member of staff, however this older chap finally turned up and he was absolutely terrific in helping all of us get the rod ready, put the bait on the hook and get going. He was super-patient with the boys, seemed to really enjoy their antics and he really added to the whole experience for me. I have to be honest and tell you that I am not the sort of man who has any interest in fishing. As such, it was definitely great to get the extra help.
Activities, other than prawn fishing, include having a poke around the Agro Education Centre, which allows the kids to try Longkang Fishing – net and bucket-type fishing, but my boys seem a bit bored of this now. You can also buy food ($1) to feed the Koi and do a foot spa, although I didn’t realise this until the end, but it looks like a lot of fun and is certainly cheaper than doing it at the foot spas in the City – it costs $10 for 30 mins. I can recommend this as a good place to take your kids if you are into fishing and want to give them a Lonkang experience.
We’ll certainly go back, and the Koi Aquarium is very impressive too. Other than this, there’s a fair bit for the little ones to see including all the fish tanks – just be wary of maybe feeding them away from the species that ring in at $4,500…
We took a picnic for the day, hats, sunblock, bathing suits, towels, and everything else you need to get the kids through a day, including lots of water.
It was a great day out. One aspect didn’t quite turn out how I hoped – Sembawang Beach – but it didn’t matter, because my boys are still boys and love having a poke around any-old-where.
Any experiences to share on either place? Let us know – we’re always happy to hear.