Punta Cana

Punta Cuna


PUNTA CANA is the name of a town and tourist region at the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic,  The region, covering about 420,000 sq.m (approximately 1,100acres), is home to a coastline of sandy white beaches.

In the Province of LA ALTAGRACIA, with a population estimated at 100,000, the region borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east.  To the north, it borders BAVARO & EL CORTECITO Beaches.  It also borders CABEZA de TORO, CABO ENGANO and further west, JUANILLO.
Punta Cano has a tropical climate.  Although it is mildly windy, the ocean I the area is mainly shallow with several natural marine pools in which visitors can bathe.  The weather is fairly constant, with an average temperature of 26degrees C.  The hottest season lasts from April to November, and during the day the temperatures might reach 32degrees C.  From December to March, temperatures during the evening are around 20degrees C.  Very little rain falls around the area, mostly because of the flat landscape.  The summer months tend to be very warm and very humid.
Punta Cana was founded as a tourist resort and tourism still is 100% of the local economy.  Lots of resorts employ the tactics of scaring their visitors from venturing outside by propagating stories of robberies and murder.  These have to be taken with a pinch (or a pound) of salt.  People tend to be very friendly and helpful.  Still flashing jewellery, expensive gadgets or lots of money is not recommended.
There are quite a few interesting places to visit :

Altos de Chavon


(1)  ALTOS de CHAVON : A modern – day artist’s village, resembling a 16th century Mediterranean town.  It is set upon a spectacular hillside cliff overlooking the winding CHAVON RIVER.  It is home to a 5,000-seat amphitheatre, an archaeological museum, craft workshops, artists’ studios and an assortment of galleries and restaurants.


Juanillo beach

(2) JUANILLO :  It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic.  Until a few years ago, it was a very small village of fishermen.  The entire village was purchased as a part of a very large project called CAP CANA.  In return, for giving up their rights to occupancy, the residents were offered alternative housing, money and jobs  While Juanillo was at one time inaccessible to the public, it is now accessible to people staying at one of the Cap Cana Hotels and to property owners within the Cap Cana Project and their guests.

Santa Domingo


(3) SANTA DOMINGO : This is the Europe of the Western Hemisphere.  It has preserved its Colonial Heritage for more than five centuries, and is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.


Saona Island


(4) SAONA ISLAND : It is set in the natural reserve of the PARQUE NACIONAL del ESTE.  You can relax on powder-white sans, where palm-studded beaches meet the soft surf of the Caribbean waters and sometimes even dolphins swim alongside your catamarans.


Dolphin Island


(5) DOLPHIN ISLAND :  A short boat ride takes you to a floating platform where visitors can swim with trained dolphins in the sea.  The package includes 15mins of free time with these unique creatures.


Punta Cuna

(6) DOMINICAN ALPS : (near the town of JARABACOA), where 18 waterfalls cascade between chasms of rock to water the rich, fertile earth below.  If you are a white-water fan, the RIO YASQUE is the longest river in the Caribbean and offers challenging kayak or rafting courses like the MIKE TYSON, which features a 12ft vertical drop.
(7) MARINARIUM :  In this water park, you can experience some of the best snorkelling in the area, complete with nurse sharks and sting rays.  Enjoy a COCOLOCO ( 100% pure coconut water) as you cruise along the coast to your final stop ——– a waist-deep natural pool in the sea.
(8) SEAQUARIUM :  You are provided with a diving helmet and allowed to walk the bottom of the clear waters with an unforgettable view of reef and coral life (no certification required)
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Niihau

Niihau island


NIIHAU is the westernmost and seventh largest of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands in the US state of Hawaii.  The Island is about 4.9 million years old, making it, geologically, younger than the 5-million-year-old neighbouring island of KAUA’I.  NIIHAU consists of one extinct volcano that had a large landslide to the east.


Niihau


The Island is relatively arid and because it lies in the rain shadow of Kaua’i and lacks the elevation needed to catch significant amounts of trade wind rainfall, Niihau therefore, depends for its rain on winter KONA storms, when more northerly weather systems intrude into the region.  As such, the Island is subject to long periods of drought.  Historical droughts have been recorded several times, one in 1792 by Captain James Cook’s former junior officer George Vancouver, who had been told that the people of Niihau had abandoned the island because of a severe drought and had moved to Kaua’i to escape famine.


Niihau island


As an arid island, Niihau was barren of trees for centuries  ——– Captain James Cook reported it ‘treeless’ in 1778.  Aubrey Robinson, grandfather of current owners Bruce and Keith Robinson, planted 10,000 trees per year during much of his ownership of the island.  Robinson’s afforestation efforts increased rainfall in the dry climate.  Island co-owner, Keith Robinson, a noted conservationist, preserved and documented many of Niihau’s natural plant resources.  The Island is designated as a critical habitat for the OLULU, an endemic and endangered species of Hawaiian LOBELIOID.  AYLMER ROBINSON, a Pritchard palm tree, named for Keith’s uncle Aylmer Robinson, is an endangered  species native to Niihau.


niihau-island


Several bird species thrive on Niihau.  Intermittent PLAYA lakes on the Island provide the KOLOA MAOLI (Hawaiian duck).  The critically endangered MONACHUS SCHAUINSLANDI (Hawaiian monk seal) is found in high numbers on Niihau’s shores.  Niihau’s secluded shoreline offers them a safe haven from habitat encroachments.  “Conditions here are better than the Government refuges of the North western Hawaiian Islands,” according to Robinson.  When the Robinsons originally purchased Niihau, no monk seals were present, because they lived in the north-western part of the Hawaiian Island Chain (NECKER & MIDWAY Islands).  They have been relocated to the main Hawaiian Island Chain by NOAA Fisheries over the past 30 years, and some have found homes on Niihau.

Big game herds, imported from stock on MOLOKA’I RANCH in recent years, roam Niihau’s forests and flatlands.  Eland and Aoudad are abundant, along with Oryxes, wild boars and feral sheep.  These big game herds provide income from Hunting Safari Tourism.

Niihau island Hawaiian seal


Approximately 80% of Niihau’s income comes from a small Navy Installation atop 1,300ft-high cliffs.  Remote-controlled tracking devices are used for testing and training with Kaua’i’s Pacific missile Range Facility.  Modern missile defence tests are conducted at the site for the US and its Allies.  The Installation brings in millions of dollars a year and provides the Island with a stable economic base, without the complexity of tourism or industrial development.  The sale of shells and shell jewellery is an additional source of income.  Niihau’s beaches are known for their PUPU (tiny shells) that wash onto shore during winter months.


Niihau island ranch sheep


Species used for shell leis include Momi, Laiki or rice shells and Kahelelani.  The shells and jewellery are so popular that Governor linda Lingle signed a Bill in 2004, to protect Lei POPO O NIIHAU from counterfeiting.  A single intricate Niihau shell lei can sell for 1000s of dollars.

Many residents of Niihau were once employees of Niihau Ranch, farming cattle and sheep until the Robinsons shut down the operation in 1999.  It had not been profitable for most of the 20th century.  Honey cultivation was also no longer viable by 1999.  KIAWE Charcoal was once a large-scale export, but aggressive Mexican price competition ended that as well.  Mullet Farming has been popular in Niihau, with ponds and lakes stocked with baby mullet which reach 9 to 10 pound apiece before being harvested and sold on Kaua’i and O’ahu.
Niihau’s owners have offered half-day helicopter and beach tours of the Island since 1987, although contact with residents is avoided and no accommodations exist.  Since 1992, Hunting Safaris provide income via tourists who pay to visit the Island to hunt eland, aoudad and oryx, as well as wild sheep and boars.  Any meat the hunters do not take with them is given to the village.

Samosir Island

Samosir Island


SAMOSIR ISLAND is a large volcanic island in Lake Toba, located in the north of the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia.  Administratively, SAMOSIR ISLAND is governed within SAMOSIR REGENCY.

The lake island was formed after the eruption of a super volcano some 75,000 years ago.  The Island was originally connected to the surrounding CALDERA wall by a small isthmus, which was cut through to aid navigation.

Samosir Island


At 640sq.km, SAMOSIR is the largest island within an island, and the fifth largest LAKE ISLAND in the world.  It also contains two smaller lakes— Lake SIDIHONI & Lake AEK NATONANG.  Across the lake, on the east of the island, lies ULUAN Peninsula.  The island is linked to the mainland of Sumatra on its western part by a narrow isthmus, connecting the town of PANGURURAN on SAMOSIR & TELE on mainland Sumatra.  TELE consequently offers one of the best views  of Lake TOBA & SAMOSIR Island.


Samosir Island


SAMOSIR is a popular tourist destination, due to its exotic history and the vistas it offers.  The tourist resorts are concentrated in the TUKTUK area.  The Island is the centre of the BATAK CULTURE, and many of the TOBA BATAK traditional houses (RUMAH ADAT) remain on the Island.  Most of the tourist accommodations are concentrated in the small town of TUKTUK, which is located a one-hour ferry ride across the lake from the town of PARAPAT.  The passenger ferry leaves from TIGA RAJA harbour every hour, between 8.30 & 19.00.  For those who run late, there is an option to take the passenger boat from AJI BATA to TOMOK until 8.30p.m.


Samosir Island


As you step down from the ferry at TOMOK, you will be greeted by a row of souvenir stalls selling an array of BATAK handicraft, from the traditional hand-woven ULOS cloths to BATAK bamboo calendars and all kinds of knick-knacks.

TOMOK itself is a traditional village, best known as the GATEWAY & INTRODUCTION TO SAMOSIR.

Kornati

National-Park-Koarnati-1.jpg


The KORNATI Archipelago of Croatia, also known as the STOMORSKI Islands, is located in the northern part of DALMATIA, south from ZADAR, and west from SIBENIK, in the SIBENIK – KNIN county.  With 35km length and 140 islands —– some large, some small —– in a sea area of about 320sq.km, the KORNATI are the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea.  The Archipelago is the plural form of the name of the largest island called KORNAT.


Kornati


There are no permanent settlements in KORNATI.  Simple houses in well-protected coves such as VRULJE, KRAVJACICA, LAVSA and others are used by mainland landowners as temporary shelters.  Most of the landowners are from the island of MURTER & DUGI OTOK.  Geographically, the KORNATI islands can be divided into main groups : the GORNJI KORNATI or UPPER KORNATI, closer to the mainland, and the DONJI KORNATI or LOWER KORNATI, which are mostly facing the open sea in the southwest.  The islands known as GORNJI KORNATI include the northernmost island of SIT and the surrounding islets, divided by a channel from ZUT and its surrounding islets to the south.  ZUT is the largest and most indented of these islands.


Kornati


In 1980, the 89 northernmost of the 140-odd islands, islets and reefs of the KORNATI Archipelago were declared a National Park (NACIONALNI PARK KORNATI), protecting the islands and their marine surroundings.  The area covered by the National Park mostly coincides with the DONJI KRONATI, which includes the island of KORNAT and the surrounding islets, separated with a channel from the island of PISKERA and the surrounding islets.

The National Park includes 109 islands, of which 76 are less than 1hectare in size of the total land surface area of KORNATI (62 sq.kms), 85% is stony and only 5% has been cultivated.
The most important places on the KORNATI islands are : the shallow channel MALA PROVERSA, the oval-shape TALJURIC island, SPINUTA bay, STIVINA bay, the 4th largest island LEVRNAKA, the 2nd largest KRAST rock area TARAC SVRSATA VELA island, MANA island, PISKERA island, PANITULA VELA island, the picturesque LAVSA bay, the resort island RAVNI ZAKAN, SMOKVICA VELA island, the OPAT Peninsula, SAMOGRAD island, the PURARA Reserve for marine life, VRGADA & GANGAROL islands.

Kornati park


Most of the terrain in the KORNATI islands is KARST- limestone which, in the distant geological past, arose from sediment from the sea.  In the stone on the islands, there are numerous fossils of crustaceans and fish.  In the area, there are examples of all typical forms of KARST : bizarre shapes formed by the atmosphere, unexplored caves, areas of flat rock and, above all, cliffs.  KARST rock is porous, rapidly draining and dry, and so therefore are the KORNATI islands.  Numerous cisterns supply water for people and animals.


Kornati islands


Human presence on the KORNATI islands appear to extend back to the Neolithic Age.  The presence of wealthy Romans is attested by the mosaic floors of Roman Villas and the KORNATI island has a small TORETA (tower), that was probably built in the 6th century AD.  The island of PISKERA was also inhabited during the Middle Ages and served as a storage point for fish.  Archaeological sites in STRAZISCE & TARAC and on LEVRNAKA & LAVSA provide evidence that, during the Roman Era, life on KORNATI was very active.  There are many buildings and it is known that there were also stone quarries.

Deforestation and subsequent erosion and overgrazing by sheep and goats, for whose benefit the scrub was periodically burnt, impoverished the fauna and depopulated the islands, which were purchased by citizens of MURTER during the late 19th century.

Kornati islands panorama


Apart from seagulls, which are the most numerous animals, there are some lizards and ring-snakes, and 69 varieties of butterfly, some amphibians and rodents.  As regards marine life, the KORNATI islands are typical of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean, but, due to the underwater relief, streams and special characteristics of the sea in this labyrinth, there are also some peculiarities : algae, coral and sponges.  At one time, the sea was the richest, in the Adriatic, for sponge hunters.  The rare mollusc PINNA NOBILIS, lives in the KORNATI and is protected by law.

Not only the land, but also the sea, is within the protection of the National Park.  Fishing is limited in order to allow the regeneration of fish shoals that had been severely over-fished.

Kornati national park_


Vegetation on the islands is very sparse.  There have been 200 known varieties of Mediterranean plants, but they have degenerated.  The most common plant is a tough variety of grass, but there are many scented and medicinal herbs : sage, feather grass and XERANTHEMUM, and these provide the best forage for bees.  Olive trees account for about 80% of the land under cultivation, followed by vineyards, figs, orchards and vegetable gardens.  It is thought that the KORNATI islands were once covered with forests of Mediterranean Holm oaks, QUERCUS ILEX, but as open fires demanded a great deal of wood, the forests were slowly destroyed.

Enrosadira

Enrosadira


ENROSADIRA ( ALPENGLOW) is the phenomenon in which most of the peaks of the DOLOMITES take on a reddish colour, which gradually changes to violet, especially at dawn and dusk.

This phenomenon is due to the composition of the rocky walls ( a mixture of carbonate and magnesium).  It is especially seen in the summer evenings, when the air is very clear and the sun shining drops to the west.
The phenomenon ENROSADIRA can manifest itself significantly different throughout the year and can even vary from one day to the other.  These variations in colours and durability ENROSADIRA, are due to the different positions of the sun during the year and the conditions of the atmosphere.  The phenomenon occurs on the DOLOMITES, especially at dawn it appears on the crags facing east, while at sunset is on the walls facing west, and the colours are so magical.  This phenomenon also occurs on the GRAN SASSO of Italy.  The term ALPENGLOW, which literally means “turning pink”, comes from the word LADIN ROSADURA or ENROSADORA.

Enrosadira


There is a legend of King Laurin, a dwarf king, who had the ROSENGARTEN (in German : ROSENGARTENGRUPPE) a beautiful rose garden, (the meaning of the German word is precisely “the rose garden”), it offers an alternative explanation to the phenomenon and suggestive.

One day, the Prince of the LATIMER, intrigued by the sight of roses, departed into the kingdom of King Laurin.  There he saw the King’s daughter (LADINA), fell in love with her and kidnapped her to make her his bride.  King Laurin desperately threw a curse on his rose garden, guilty of having betrayed the position of his kingdom : neither day nor night, no human eye could most admire.  But, King Laurin forgot sunset when, even today, the garden and its colours become visible and appreciated.

Chetro Ketl

Chetro Ketl


CHETRO KETL is an Ancestral Great House and an archaeological site located in CHACO Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico.

The true origin and meaning of CHETRO KETL is unknown.  Although most of the names given to CHACOAN Ruins are either Spanish or Navajo, CHETRO KETL is neither.  A Mexican who worked for the first American expedition in 1849, translated it as RAIN TOWN.  In 1889, Navajo historian Washington Mathews reported that in Navajo Mythology, the building is referred to as KINTYEL or KINTYELI, which means BROAD HOUSE.  Other Navajo translations include HOUSE IN THE CORNER & SHINING HOUSE.
Construction on CHETRO KETL began in c.990 and was largely completed by 1075.  Following the onset of a severe drought, most Chacoans emigrated from the canyon by 1140.  By 1250, CHETRI KETL’S last inhabitants had vacated the structure.  The Great House was re-discovered, in 1823, by the Spanish Governor of New Mexico and explored in 1849 by the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Scholars estimate that it required more than 500,000 man-hours, 26,000 trees and 50million sandstone blocks to erect CHETRI KETL.

Chaco Canyon


The building contained around 400 rooms and was the largest Great House, by area, in CHACO CANYON, covering nearly 3acres.  The Great House is a D-shaped structure —— its east wall is 280ft long and the north wall is more than 450ft.  The perimeter is 1,540ft and the diameter of the great KIVA (round room) is 62.5ft.  CHETRI KETL lies 0.64km from Pueblo Bonito, in an area that archaeologists call downtown CHACO, they theorize that the area may be an ancestral “sacred zone”.

CHETRI KETL contains architectural elements, such as a colonnade and Tower Kiva, that appear to reflect MESO-AMERICAN influence.  It may have been occupied primarily by groups of priests and, during times of ritual, pilgrims from outlying communities.  Archaeologist Stephen H. Lekson believes CHETRI KETL was a Palace inhabited by CHACOAN Royalty, and the scale of its construction was motivated by, what architects call, MASSING (building imposing structures with the intent to impress onlookers).

Chaco-park


CHETRI KETL is located opposite a large opening in the Canyon known as SOUTH GAP, which helped maximize the building’s exposure to the sun, while increasing visibility and access to the south.  Its rear wall runs parallel to the Canyon, at less than 100ft from the cliffs, its proximity allowed the inhabitants to benefit from passive solar energy emanating from the rocks.  CHETRI KETL is not perfectly aligned to the cardinal directions, but its nominal southerly orientation further enhanced solar exposure to its “tiered rooms”.  By 1085, the CHACOANS had constructed Great Houses at CHETRI KETL, Pueblo Alto & Pueblo del Arroyo, during what is described as “a time of extraordinary growth and outreach”.

The most commonly harvested tree species was PONDEROSA PINE, and approximately 16,000 trees were felled for use at CHETRI KETL, and now the species is now absent from the Canyon.  Archaeologists believe that the trees were processed where they were cut, then carried back to Chaco Canyon.
CHETRI KETL’S walls were constructed using three “bulk materials” : stone, clay-sand and water.  Two types of stone were used ——– a hard grey-brown tabular sandstone that forms the bench above Chaco Canyon’s cliffs, and a softer, tan, massively-bedded sandstone that forms the cliffs themselves.  The people preferred the harder tabular stone, as it was easier to shape, but much of it had to be dug up and levered out of the ground with wooden poles.  Then, clay or clay-sand and water was used  to make mortar and the clay-sand was accessed by digging large pits, then mixing mortar in the pits and carrying the mix to the construction site in baskets.  Water is scarce in Chaco Canyon and construction probably took place during the late summer and early fall rainy season, when it was more readily available.  Water was also collected from small reservoirs in the slick rock and deep wells in the bed of Chaco Wash.

Chaco Canyon


CHETRI KETL is described as “notoriously sterile”, while several major artefacts, including baskets, sandals, painted wood fragments, digging sticks, arrowheads, and crushed pots were found there, the whereabouts of most of these items is “one of the great archaeological mysteries of the Southwest”.  The Museum of New Mexico holds several items excavated from CHETRI KATL, including pieces of turquoise, a black-on-white pottery canteen and a 14-ft long stone-and-shell necklace.

Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin panorama view


PULAU UBIN also called UBIN ISLAND, is a small island (10.19 sq.kms) situated in the northeast of Singapore, to the west of PULAU TEKONG.  The name  PULAU UBIN literally means GRANITE ISLAND in Malay, which explains the many abandoned granite quarries there.  To the Malays, the island is also known as PULAU BATUUBIN or GRANITE STONE ISLAND.


Pulau Ubin Singapore


The rocks on the island were used to make floor tiles in the past and were called JUBIN, which was then shortened to UBIN.  The island is known as TSIOH SUA in the Taiwanese Romanization of HOKKIEN, which means STONE HILL.  The highest point is at 74metres and known as PUAKA HILL.


Pulau Ubin scenery


Granite quarrying supported a few 1000 settlers on PULAU UBIN in the 1960s, but only about a 100 villagers live there today.  It is one of the last rural areas to be found in Singapore, with an abundance of natural flora and fauna.  The island forms part of the UBIN-KHATIB Important Bird Area (IBA), identified as such by Bird Life International, because it supports significant numbers of visitors and residential birds, some of which are ‘threatened’.


Pulau Ubin gate


Legend has it that PULAU UBIN was formed when three animals from Singapore ( a frog, a pig and an elephant) challenged each other to a race to share the shores of JOHOR.  The animals that failed would turn to stone.  All three came across many difficulties and were unable to reach the shores of JOHOR.  Therefore, the elephant and the pig together turned into PULAU UBIN, whilst the frog became PULAU SEKUDU or FROG ISLAND.


Pulau Ubin


PULAU UBIN first appeared on the map in an 1828 sketch of the Island of Singapore as PULO UBIN and in Franklin and Jackson’s map as PO.UBIN.  Since the British founding of Singapore, the island has been known for its granite quarries, on the island, supply the local construction industry.  The granite ‘outcrops’ are particularly spectacular from the sea, because their ‘grooves’ and ‘fluted sides’ create ‘furrows’ & ‘ridges’ on each granite rock slab.  These features are captured in John Turnbull Thomson’s 1850 painting —— GROOVED STONES on PULO UBIN near Singapore.

The granite from PULAU UBIN was used in the construction of HORSBURGH LIGHTHOUSE.  TONGKANGS ferried the huge rock blocks ( 30 by 20ft) from the Island of PEDRA BRANCA, the site of the Lighthouse, in 1850 & 1851.  Later, the granite was also used to build the Singapore-Johor Causeway.  Most of the quarries are not in operation today and are being slowly recolonized by vegetation or filled with water.  Apart from quarrying, farming and fishing were the principal occupations of the inhabitants of the island in the past.  In the 1970s, as the granite quarries closed down and jobs dwindled, residents began leaving.

Pulau Ubin biking


PULAU UBIN is one of the last areas in Singapore, that has been preserved from urban development, concrete buildings and tarmac roads.  PULAU UBIN’S wooden house villages and wooden jetties, relaxed inhabitants, rich and preserved wildlife, abandoned quarries and plantations and untouched nature make it the last witness of the old KAMPONG Singapore that existed before modern industrial times and large-scale urban development.

The Singapore Government’s development projects on the island, in the last few years, has been controversial and debate has been able to find its way through government-controlled media.  Their main idea is that the East-West Line could be extended to PULAU UBIN from PASIR RIS.  Although the government has highlighted the area for future development, the island is unlikely to be urbanised, because many foreign tourists visit PALAU UBIN and it has become a tourist attraction.
Though recent government action has been limited to widening the paths for bicycles, building shelters for trekkers and other facilities for the growing number of visitors, it is already discreetly changing the face and nature of PALAU UBIN from “untouched” to “planned”, and paving the way for further developments.
In 2007, the Singapore Government decided to reuse the Granite Quarry in PALAU UBIN, because Indonesia might restrict export of granite to Singapore.  The future of the island is in the hands of the government, which may postpone its development in order to concentrate on re-developing existing space on Singapore Island and nearby PULAO TEKONG.  For now, PULAU UBIN is a haven as a former rural way of life and will most likely disappear with its last KAMPUNG Generation.

Ketam biking park Pulau Ubin


There are a few tarmac roads, but most roads are gravel.  There are a number of minibuses, jeeps and motorbikes, all bearing PU (for PULAU UBIN) numbered plates.  Schools visit PULAU UBIN for overnight school trips.  Although the locals try to keep the island un-urbanized, they need some small boosts of money to support them.

One of the popular tourist attractions on the island is CHEK JAWA.  A previous coral reef 5,000years ago, it can be said to be virtually unspoilt, with a variety of marine wildlife, such as sand dollars, cuttlefish, sea squirts, octopuses, sponges, sea hares and starfishes.  A boardwalk runs through the mangrove, allowing visitors to observe the plant and marine life at close range.  During low tide, a limited number of people are allowed to walk on the tidal flats.

Pulau Ubin resort


PULAU UBIN is home to one of the best mountain-bike trails ——- KETAM MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK, which was built in 2007.  The trail is approximately 8km long and features a wide range of terrain ranging from open meadows to thick jungle.  There are numerous steep but short climbs and descents.  The trail is well-marked with signs indicating the difficulty level of each section..  Rental bikes can be used, but most bikers bring their own bikes.  By cruising around the island, one can stop by beautiful lakes and other natural spots.  It is a great break away from the big and busy city of Singapore.

 This is truly a SECRET OASIS and the RUSTIC SIDE of Singapore.

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