Kayaking at Kallang Basin for the first time

Oh hello there, bright orange boat.

My kayak and paddle

I’m low-key proud that I’m no longer triggered by this place. I put so many hours into Kallang River and Kallang Basin during the four years I was a member of a local dragon boat team. This was where I invested my time and my love.

Kallang Basin… one of my old favorite places in Singapore

My friend Joanne asked us to join her for kayaking. Location? Water Sports Centre at the Singapore Sports Hub. It helps that I’m already familiar with the water here. It wouldn’t be intimidating at all. This is why I insisted I take a single kayak out… while Joanne and PJ can share a tandem kayak.

Kayaks that they rent out

Here’s how easy it is to get into a kayak (January 2022, with pandemic protocols in place)

  1. Go to the Water Sports Centre at Singapore Sports Hub.
  2. At the reception, pick out your type of water sports activity (e.g. kayaking). Pay the rental fee and sign the safety waiver. This is standard with water sports.
  3. If you need to change into sports attire and store your bags, there’s a locker room with showers.
  4. Go to the kayak area and wear your vest. A guide will ask if you need a quick safety tutorial which can take 5-10 minutes.
  5. Collect your kayak and put it in the water via the pontoon.
  6. Enter the kayak correctly from the pontoon.
  7. Babes, you’re in the water. Paddle into the sunset.

I paid SGD 18.00 for a two-hour session. This is the rate for non-Singaporeans/PR who are renting during peak Sunday late afternoon. Here’s the full price list for kayaks, canoes, and even dragon boats. Note they even have kayak passes… but when I computed, it makes no difference lol.

***

Being PJ and my first time to kayak, we requested for the quick tutorial which was explained in the most hyper-Singlish way… I swear, even ten years living here, that was soooo fast… dude. We got the gist of it anyway… as the nice guide, Jiansen (who knows my Coach Barak from my old dragon boat team), was able to demonstrate and provide tips anyway.

Ah, hello again, Kallang Basin

I was super excited by this point. My reunion with the dark green waters of Kallang. You can feel the dolphins jumping in glee, framed by the Tanjong Rhu backdrop. I was surprised at how I wasn’t scared to get out into the water on my own. During my dragon boat days, I used to paddle on the starboard side. Not sure what people will do with this knowledge but my right shoulder is slightly larger than my left shoulder, as a result. A blind masseuse once noticed this.

I was extra careful with my phone as I heard many people donated it to the river

I was watching Joanne and PJ try to navigate their boat. It was as if they were in last place on The Amazing Race… going in circles. They got their flow later on and I noticed they were heading further away from me.

Actual screen cap of Joanne & PJ in last place

I was so happy at that moment.

Like… I was finally reunited with the one thing I love… paddling.

[Cue Monologue] I hadn’t paddled FOR YEARS. I don’t talk about this anywhere else… but I stopped paddling for a personal reason. [REDACTED]

***

Joanne & PJ finding their way to paddle in sync… woohoo

When I think about cities or countries that I want to live in, it’s a must that there’s a paddling community there. That’s why Hong Kong is one of the places I thought about moving to.

The weather on Sunday afternoon was partly cloudy. It was perfect to be out in the water. I was avoiding the race lanes because normally that’s where the dragon boats would appear. No dragon boats were in the area though. Instead there were other kayakers… some looked like they were doing proper training. Others look like they were enjoying leisure kayaking like us.

Overall the experience was clean and easy. I’m surprised how quick it is to rent a boat and be in the water within 5 minutes. When you’re in a very developed city… these moments out in the water are absolutely therapeutic. I already started researching other places you can kayak in Singapore. I just learned you can kayak from near my house in Pasir Ris.

As for overcoming the trigger of this sentimental Kallang Basin, I’m all good. I guess after four years… it’s now bridge over troubled water.

I highly recommend kayaking as an activity to do if you want to de-stress. Personal flotation devices (PFDs) and paddles are provided. It’s recommended to also leave your phone in the locker. I’m planning to repeat this experience for a full two-hours again soon.

Water Sports Centre is located at Singapore Sports Hub, 8 Stadium Walk, Singapore 397699. The closest MRT is Stadium on the Circle Line. Due to the pandemic, there might be changes to the opening times and other safety protocols. Best to stay updated via their website here.

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