Our very first foray into the 18-hectare Fort Canning Park consisted of an impromptu midnight stroll through the iconic hilltop landmark from the Dhoby Ghaut end right over to the Clarke Quay section of the Singapore River. We were utterly enchanted by the park that night – the elevated vantage point gave us a chance to truly enjoy the spectacular view of the city’s twinkling lights in the distance. There’s something magical about exploring unfamiliar territory while being fully surrounded by nature and looking down into a maze of brightly lit buildings. We knew we absolutely had to return to this place in the daytime, just to see if it would be just as beautiful. And of course, that was exactly what we did the next day.
Originally known as Bukit Larangan, or “Forbidden Hill” in Malay, the hill has been a local landmark since Singapore’s earliest recorded history due to its strategic location as the highest elevated point within walking distance to the civic district. It has been the exclusive address of several of the nation’s rulers and colonial leaders dating right back to the 14th century.
In 1859, increased security concerns led to the hill taking on a military role with the building of a fort, named Fort Canning after Viscount Charles John Canning, who was then Governor-General and first Viceroy of India. Many key historic events have taken place on the hill, including the surrender of Singapore to the Japanese by Lieutenant General Percival during World War II in 1942.
In 1981, the hill was renamed Fort Canning Park with the planting of a fruit tree by then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Today, the park serves as an important green lung for Singapore’s downtown city area, overlooking Orchard Road in the heart of the Central Area that forms the Central Business District. The lush backdrop and sprawling lawns have also made Fort Canning a hub for cultural and artistic creativity. It acts as a prominent venue for many recreational activities and celebrations, playing host to theatre productions and music festivals throughout the year.
Here’s a quick recipe for sweet, golden cookies with all the crunch and flavour of chunky peanut butter plus all the health benefits of flaxseeds (linseeds). Oh, and you only need five ingredients to make them! Six, if you want to sprinkle some lovely barley flakes over the top, but they’re really just there to make the cookies look prettier. The lack of flour ensures that these cookies remain low carb, while the high peanut butter content turns them into an awesome source of protein. And of course, the addition of ground flaxseeds give these an extra fibre boost! Continue reading
There was an unforgiving cold snap as we entered the final few days of our stay in Kyoto. It was perpetually gusty outside and the temperature dropped to about 2°C, which was a significant change from the reasonable 7-11°C we were given to work with upon our arrival at the old city. Despite the face-biting weather and unrelenting drizzle, we made sure to pay a visit to the famous Nishiki Market (錦市場, Nishiki Ichiba) just before setting off on our long journey south to Mount Koya (高野山, Kōyasan). Continue reading
My earliest memory I have of Singapore’s MacRitchie Reservoir Park is not a pleasant one. I was at that ridiculous age – around 3 or 4 – when throwing rocks into a large body of water constituted as “cool”, and soooo, after several rocks were flung into the reservoir, I rather predictably ended up falling right in. I panicked, thrashed about and thought I was going to drown (even though I was a foot away from the bank and the water probably only came up to my tummy, but hey, I was a toddler and I was convinced the water would totally swallow me up). When my most-likely-super-embarrassed dad finally pulled my flailing body out, I was in tears and utterly inconsolable for hours. Continue reading
Picturesque Higashiyama (東山区) is one of the best-preserved historic districts in Kyoto and, as such, makes for a perfect place to experience the traditional feel of the old capital city. Literally meaning “east mountain”, Higashiyama is interposed between the Kamo River and the Higashiyama mountain range, and stretches all the way from Sanjo-dori in the north, to Shichijo-dori in the south. Continue reading
We’re finally back in Australia and I have an astonishing backlog of travel posts that I’m planning to put up soon. I’m not even done with the Japan series yet, with several entries on Koyasan and Osaka still waiting to be written. And don’t even get me started on Singapore! I have plans to talk about Sentosa’s sandy beaches, PARKROYAL on Pickering, Chinatown in the midst of Chinese New Year, Naumi Hotel, The Pinnacle@Duxton, Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya, Fort Canning Park, Tiong Bahru Bakery, MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and so much more. It’s ridiculous. I guess that’s what you get for spending two months in another country and actually doing something different almost every single day – you collect a lot of memories! Continue reading
Serving as a haven for independent boutiques and yet-to-be-discovered hot spots, Haji Lane is one place in Singapore that appeals to the anti-mall crowd. Tucked away in the heart of the country’s bright and bustling Muslim quarter, Haji Lane stands out as a narrow atmospheric street lined with charming pre-war shophouses, many with their walls covered in creative murals and vibrant street art. Continue reading