Looking for a new activity that you can experience together as a family? Love the water but want to try doing something other than taking a dip in the pool? Or, are the kids are clamouring to launch a vessel into the water? At Singapore’s central-most reservoir, families can get their feet wet – literally – in the world of kayaking at MacRitchie Reservoir.
Kayaking at MacRitchie Reservoir
Operated by the Singapore Canoe Federation, Paddle Lodge @ MacRitchie Reservoir offers the public, including children as young as five years old and accompanied by adults, a chance to get an experience in kayaking.
Located in an eastern corner of MacRitchie Reservoir Park, kayaks from Paddle Lodge can be taken out into the tranquil waters of MacRitchie Reservoir. The calm waters of the reservoir make it ideal for young kids to get an unintimidating introduction to the joys of paddling.
But before you head down to Paddle Lodge, here are eight things to know about kayaking at MacRitchie Reservoir.
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1. Getting to Paddle Lodge
Paddle Lodge is located at the eastern end of MacRitchie Reservoir Park. It is a 300-metre, five-minute walk from MacRitchie Reservoir vehicular entrance to Paddle Lodge.
From the car park area, head towards the building where the amenities are located. Make your way across a rustic wooden bridge and head up a slope toward the reservoir and you will be able to see Paddle Lodge.
2. There are No Toilets or Changing Rooms at Paddle Lodge
The closest toilets and changing facilities are at the amenities building near the car park. So, if you to use the toilets or change into appropriate clothes for your kayaking experience, do so before trekking up to Paddle Lodge.
3. Bring Cash…
Make sure you have the almighty dollars on hand as payment at Paddle Lodge is by cash only. There is no NETS or credit card payment options here. Rental rates for sit-on-top kayaks are $15 per hour per kayak – whether it is a single or double kayak.
4. …And $1 Coins Too
When you head on to the water, you are likely to want to leave your ‘barang barang’ on land. There is a choice of two locker sizes at Paddle Lodge – small or large. It is $1 for the small locker and $2 for the larger locker. Make sure you have $1 coins available if you intend to use the lockers. If you don’t have $1 coins available, try approaching the Paddle Lodge counter for change.
5. You Will Get Wet – Bring a Change of Clothes!
Novices can only rent sit-on-top kayaks. These kayaks are designed with scupper holes at the bottom that allows water to drain out and conversely, some water comes in too. This means that it can get a little bit wet in the kayak.
Be prepared to get a soggy bottom and remember to bring a spare change of clothes for afterwards!
6. Hat and Sunblock
A hat and sunblock is a good idea to protect against the sun. Enough said.
7. Novice’s Paddling Area
Once in the water, stay within the yellow buoys. This is the area designated for novice paddlers. The competition lanes are further out in the centre of the reservoir and there you will find competitive paddlers training away on certain days.
Within the novice area, you can explore the shoreline and survey the landscape of MacRitchie Reservoir Park.
Some landmarks to try spotting from the water include the bandstand, Caldecott Hill, the former flower clock and the hill where Lim Bo Seng is buried (great to point out to kids who may have learnt about him in school).
8. Watch Out for Macaques
After paddling, most people will gravitate towards the amenities centre where the shower facilities are found. Mushroom Café is also located here and this quaint establishment serves drinks and grub – perfect for some post-paddling sustenance.
Just be warned that macaques seem to have developed a fancy for the food here too and can sometimes be found around the cafe, especially during meal times. While they generally do not disturb people, young children may be intimidated by the macaques. This can be a good opportunity to remind them of how to behave around the macaques – which you can find from NParks website here.
Other Kayaking Spots
Besides kayaking at MacRitchie Reservoir, here are some other places where you can go kayaking with kids in Singapore include Bedok Reservoir and Lower Seletar Reservoir.
Do note that the minimum age to go out on a kayak at these locations is seven years old and the child must be accompanied by an adult.
Kayak, canoe and pedal boat rentals are also available the Water Sports Centre at Singapore Sports Hub. The minimum age at the Water Sports Centre is nine years old and the child must be also accompanied by an adult.
More information can be found at PUB’s Water Activities website here.