Sunlight on your skin, breezes in your hair, the sound of the waves lapping against your vessel… if you have already explored all of Singapore on land, where do you go next? The water, of course. After all, we are an island and with travel restrictions still in place, there’s really no better way to go ‘overseas’, literally. That’s why more families in Singapore – with children as young as three! – have taken to the kayak like ducks to water.
With COVID-19 safe distancing measures putting a halt on larger groups activities, this is something fun to do away from the crowds too, reckons Clarence Chua of Ninja Kayakers. The father of two started bringing families out on kayak trips around Singapore in July last year, during Phase 2 of the circuit breaker, and has continued to do so this year.
So if you’re looking for an awesome family adventure that offers tranquility away from the city, insta-worthy photos, and that will show you a side of Singapore you’ve probably never seen before, get on a kayak!
FAMILY KAYAK TRIPS
Run by adventurous dad Clarence Chua, Ninja Kayakers offers innovative routes that suit paddlers “from 3 years old to huncles”. First-timer? No problem. Pack your water, sunscreen, and gear up. Everything is provided, from the kayaks, to personal floatation devices (PFD), and even an outdoor lunch cooked over portable stoves on certain routes. For families with younger kids aged 6 and below, Clarence recommends shorter trips like Secret Sentosa (3.5km), OB Marker (4km), and the 3.9km Changi Creek trip, where you’ll get to see the Ubin bumboats, paddle through a secret estuarine creek, and have your lunch on an open grass field with planes taking off overhead. Groups are kept small, with a minimum of five, and a maximum of 18 people. Book your trip here
Even if you kayak with them once a month, it will still take you one and a half years to do all 18 local and overseas trails that Kayakasia offers. Trips are seasonal, and children from 4 years onwards are welcome to join in (route-dependent), with safety vests (determined by weight for those under 50kg) provided. “As long as you can walk 10km, you are fit enough for our trips, since we design them carefully to mitigate outdoor risks and to paddle in conditions suitable for kids and beginners,” Huey from Kayakasia assures. First-timers can ease their way in with the 7km Mandai Rivers Trail, or the 7.5km-long Sungei Simpang Trail, which runs all year long. Book your trip here
The Short & Sweet Adventures are perfect for beginners. Try a 2.5km Quarry Paddle (which also includes a hike along mountain bike routes) or the 4.5km Pasir Ris Paddle where you get to paddle under bridges and along iconic HDB blocks! Crafty adventurers will love the Mangrove Exploration & Clean Up (3.5km) where you’ll get to make a unique greeting card on-site using collected trash (materials provided; inspired by @washedupcards). Book your trip here
Specially designed for beginner adventure seekers, this is suitable for kids from age 4+ and up, together with their parents. It’s also pet-friendly as long as your pet can fit in the kayak. Explore the rich eco-system of Ubin’s mangroves, and do your part to nurture it by picking up trash that’s been left behind in the waters. What we love is the option to hike up 74m-tall Puaka Hill, Ubin’s highest point which overlooks a cerulean granite quarry. On the way back you’ll also get to visit a local kampung, and buy fish directly from a kelong. Do note though that from now till 18 August, there is no hike to Puaka Hill. Instead, you will explore other parts of Pulau Ubin by kayak. Book your trip here
Fever Kayak Fishing
Go beyond kayaking and step into the world of kayak fishing. At only 2 to 4km long, this family-friendly activity is suitable for anyone new to kayaking, or fishing. Children from age seven are welcome to join in the fun, but must be accompanied by an adult in the same tandem kayak. Over gentle currents, you’ll drop a line for fishes like parrot, groupers and snappers, then let them go to ensure sustainability of the reefs. If you have not used your SingaporeRediscovers Vouchers (SRV) yet, you can break them out them for this! Book your trip here
KAYAK AT RESERVOIRS & BEACHES
PAssion WaVe outlets islandwide
For a fun day out on the water, head for the PAssion WaVe outlets at Bedok Reservoir, Marina Bay and Jurong Lake Gardens. The outlet at Bedok Reservoir offers scenic sights of lush greenery and clear waters away from the bustle of the city. See the skyline of Singapore from Marina Bay as you kayak, while visitors to Jurong Lake Gardens will have iconic landmarks like the White Rainbow Bridge and Twin Pagodas (currently undergoing redevelopment and refurbishment) in their background.
These outlets offer sit-on-top kayaks that do not require the user to have a certification to rent, but kids must be at least 7 years of age and accompanied by an adult above 21 in a double seater. Kayak rentals are currently available at all outlets (except East Coast), and certification is required for closed deck rentals at Marina Bay, Sembawang and Pasir Ris.
Opening hours Wednesdays to Sundays, 9 – 11am or 2 – 4pm. Closed on public holidays
Cost $9 per pax (PAssion Card Member), $10 per pax (Non-Member)
Reserve your slot www.go.gov.sg/pawvrental (rental reservations are available one week in advance, released every Monday morning)
Water Sports Centre at Sports Hub
Kayak to explore the scenic Kallang Basin, and see if you can spot the family of otters who call it home. Single and double sit-on-top kayaks can be rented. The minimum age is also 7 years old, and children between 7 and 12 years have to be accompanied by an adult in the same vessel.
Opening hours Mondays to Fridays, 8am – 10am, 11am – 1pm, 2 – 4pm; Saturdays 10.30am – 12.30pm, 1.30 – 3.30pm, 4.30 – 6.30pm; Sundays 7.30 – 9.30am, 10.30am – 12.30pm, 1.30 – 3.30pm, 4.30 – 6.30pm
Cost $12/14 (adult local resident rate, non-peak/peak hours) $8/10 (child/student)
Booking Walk in to the Water Sports Centre counter, or call 6653 8900
More details https://www.sportshub.com.sg/kayak-canoe-rental
Camelot at Lower Seletar Water Sports Centre (LSWSC)
If you prefer to kayak at leisure in the calm waters of a reservoir, this centre, just a 15-minute walk away from Khatib MRT, is perfect. Single and double sit-on-top kayaks are available, and as with the other centres, kids have to be at least 7 years old (by birthdate) to paddle (together with an adult). Try the An ABC Kayaking Experience ($25 per person, 2 hours) which brings you through the history of Seletar, while learning about the flora and fauna at the reservoir. There’s also a 2-hour Kayaking Introductory Programme ($25 per person) with an instructor, which requires group of four to start.
Opening hours Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 8am – 6pm
Cost $24 (2 hours for 2 persons in a double sit-on-top kayak)
Book your slot https://cmltest.schedulista.com
The Paddle Lodge at MacRitchie Reservoir & Pandan Reservoir
Our tranquil reservoirs are ideal for families and kids who want to get their feet wet (literally!) in the art of kayaking. Again, kids have to be at least 7 years of age to share a sit-on-top kayak with an adult. Older children aged 12 years and above can paddle on their own in a single sit-on-top kayak. You will need to create an account in order to book a kayaking slot, or take your chances and walk in.
Opening hours Daily, 9am – 6pm
Cost $15 per hour
Book your kayak https://scf.org.sg/pages/boat_booking
Ola Beach Club
Paddle in the gentle waters off Sentosa’s Siloso Beach in a solo, or a double kayak. Kids need to be at least 7 years old, and accompanied by an adult. If that upper body exercise has worked up an appetite, you can opt to end your excursion with a burger and drink at the club!
Opening hours Daily, 9.30am – 5pm
Cost $35 per hour for two people (double kayak); from $42 per person (kayak with burger and drinks
Book your kayak https://watersports.olabeachclub.com
KAYAK COURSES AND TRAINING
PAssion WaVe kayaking programmes
All PAssion WaVe outlets offer kayaking programmes which are suitable for families. The Kayak Explorer and the Mangrove Discovery programmes (currently virtual) take place monthly, and are open to those aged 12 years and above. Other programmes such as the Reservoir Discovery Series and My Bay Experience are family-friendly as well. Get more details here and follow PAssion WaVe on Facebook and Instagram for updates.
During the 10-week Kid-in-a-Kayak (KIAK) programme, primary school-aged kids pick up skills under the guidance of dedicated coaches in a fun environment. Eventually, they may progress on to other kayak disciplines such as sprint, canoe polo and slalom, or to simply enjoy the great outdoors on a kayak expedition. Kids who wish to join will need to be more than 135cm tall, weigh between 30 and 50kg, and have at least a SwimSafer Silver, or be able to swim 200 metres unaided. Get more details here
Sports Hub Water Sports Courses
Anyone aged 9 years and above can start paddling in the 3-hour Kayak Orientation Programme for new water enthusiasts, where you’ll learn to control your craft and enjoy a mini-tour of the Marina Reservoir. Participants have to be a reasonable level of fitness and must be able to swim. Want more of a challenge? Those above 12 years can sign up for the Kayak 1- and 2-Star Personal Skill Awards to learn additional strokes, manoeuvres, and even rescue techniques. Get more details here
Featured image: PAssionWaVe