Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Farm Visit in Singapore: Bollywood Veggies - Beware of Dogs

things to do with kids singapore
Bollywood Veggies - Fruit Farm in Kranji

I am writing this post not to discourage people from going to Bollywood Veggies or the other farms at Kranji but rather to let you know of my experience so that you can come there prepared. I admit that I love taking my kids out to explore things and especially like to expose them to fruit farms, animal farms and what nots that my husband would probably only bring us to after much badgering / sulking / coaxing. So, sometimes when I am in Singapore on my own with my two small kids, I will take the opportunity to go to these places with them by taxi of course (since I wouldn't want to be driving while having to attend to my two kids). 

So, during the long Hari Raya school break (Malaysia gives 1 week school break), I was in Singapore with the kids while hubby went back to KL and I asked my kids whether they would like to go to a fruit farm and my first born (who is ever so interested in plants) replied a very loud yes! 

The weather was really nice that day, shady with lots of clouds and I pray that it wouldn't rain while we are there and it didn't :) However, in the taxi, the driver asked me "Why are you going into such a remote place?" and added "There are a lot of dogs there and I don't think that you can get any taxi back" I begin to feel a bit worried, so I called up Bollywood Veggies and asked if transportation back is going to be a problem and they said "It's not going to be easy to get a taxi back but we have a shuttle that can take you to Kranji MRT" ooooookkaaaayyyyy.. I put down feeling relieved and told the taxi driver that I am going ahead as planned. 

In my mind were two things:

1)  "the area might have dogs roaming around but inside the Bollywood Veggies compound it shouldn't be an issue since it's a kids attraction in a multi-religious society, I am pretty sure the owner would know of such sensitivities. I have been to Kids Kampong (a fish farm) at Pasir Ris before and even though the place is right next to a dog grooming place and you can see big dogs come and go in their owners' cars, the dogs are always attended to. So, I assumed it is also going to be the case in Bollywood Veggies / Kranji.   

2) shuttle - and the first thing that came to my mind was a dedicated shuttle from Bollywood Veggies to Kranji MRT (silly me.. ok that is really my fault, I am dumb in that sense) not a bus service that ply a specific route in the Kranji Countryside area. 

fun places for kids singapore
Farms in Kranji

We arrived at Bollywood Veggies and I happily waved the taxi driver off. A sign said to enter the farm via the Poison Ivy restaurant. I pushed the door and aaaahh.. the air-conditioning blast was great.. until my kid started to point out that there is a big dog at the other side of the restaurant (next to the owner I assume) but big and unleashed and walking back and forth a bit. The kids refused to go in or even let me go near the counter to enquire. I stood at the front of the door and in a few minutes a cheerful girl came to attend to me. She was very nice, told me that entry is free for kids and $2 for adults, gave me a banana-shaped map (cos they specializes in bananas), Jurong Frog Farm brochure (cos the shuttle has two directions, one going to the frog farm and the other to Kranji MRT) and the Kranji Express schedule. She said that since the kids are scared of the dog, we can use the side gate at the other side. Still in a good mood and excited, I said thanks with a big smile and went to the side gate. 

Near the side gate (I can't remember before or after) is another gated compound with another big dog behind the gate (not so scary since it's on the side of the gate) and then we were happily looking around the farm. It was small but educational for the kids, there were yam plants.. I wish they have one basket at the side of the plant so that when my kid asked me what is a yam? I can just point to the yam and say that it is the root of this plant under the ground. There were also star fruit tree, many different kind of bananas that I myself have not seen.. and then.. just as we were eagerly exploring.. a very loud jet came zooming by.. it was super loud, you can hear it before it appears over your head and can still hear it even after it disappears from your sight and it went on and on and on maybe for about 5 rotations.. my kids were very scared and put their hands to their ears (they dislike loud noise) and refused to look around the farm again after that. 

It was still a good 20 minutes before the next shuttle so I brought them to the alfresco area of the restaurant cos we wanted to avoid the big dog in the air-conditioned area. All was well for about 2 minutes when my 3 year old started crying and screaming again. I asked "why?" and he said "Dog..dog" I was getting quite angry at this point and said that there is no dog out here! Then I turned and sigh another big dog on the loose on its own and it was sniffing around.. the kids went ballistic and I had to calm them down cos I was scared that they might agitate the dog with their cries and we were trying to make it to the exit slowly without the dog getting close to us. Luckily, one of the staff helped by calling the dog away from us and holding the dog off. 

20 minutes waiting for a shuttle with nowhere to sit.. (cos of the dogs) so we stood in front of the Bollywood Veggies sign, I called for a cab.. the operator said to give her 15 minutes since the place is very remote, I obliged.. 15 minutes later, no taxi is available.. another 5 minutes and the shuttle arrived. Paid $3 for myself and $1 each for the kids. The driver said, the shuttle is headed to Frog Farm and will be back to Bollywood Veggies in 30 minutes before going in the direction of Kranj MRT. I said fine, rather that I stand at the roadside for another 30 minutes waiting for you. 

At the frog farm, it was really run down, there were a few tanks displaying tadpoles and frogs and my 5 year old being himself wants to go and see.. the driver said he is stopping there for 10 minutes so I said ok to my son. We were looking at the very limited display when again my second son cried "Dog!" this time just few steps away from us.. big dog.. my heart nearly fainted as I took my 5 year old near to my side and hug my 3 year old tightly, fortunately, the dog went away from our direction and begin sniffing the shuttle door as if contemplating whether it's worth it to go up the shuttle? 5 pounding heart beats later, it decided to walk away from us and the shuttle.  We quickly went up to the shuttle and I asked the kids to sit way at the back while I stay guard at the door. 

My 5 year old kept asking to go back down to see the frogs while my 3 year old refused to get out of the shuttle.. it was a draining battle trying to pacify them.. all while praying that the dog will not change its mind and go up the shuttle.. it was the longest ten minutes wait ever!

kranji MRT


After the frog farm, the shuttle went to Fireflies Farm to pick up an aunty then back to Bollywood Veggies, D'Kranji Farm Resort, Gardenasia, Sungai Buloh Wetland and finally.. 1 hour after I first board the shuttle I arrived at Kranji MRT! My 3 year old managed to sleep in the shuttle then woke up when we arrived at Kranji MRT and both of them decided that they want to try taking the train...feeling guilty especially to the elder one that they couldn't enjoy the farm visits that I so cleverly planned.. I said ok.. but I bought tickets for only 1 station (As it was nearly peak hours.. I wouldn't want to be stuck in a super crowded train in peak hours with two small kids!) and next station we got off and hailed a cab! Thank God for civilization!

So, if you decide to take your kids to the farms around the kranji area, it would really help if you have your own transportation and enough snacks and drinks (if you have a special diet). Bollywood Veggies is near the goat farm Hay Dairies (but you have to go early like 9.30am for milking) and another farm that looks interesting (website here) For a list of farms at Kranji Countryside and their contact number and opening hours, please refer here. You would need to call and confirm if they accept public visits. 

Overall, I think Kranji is a nice place to take the kids out to when they are bored or if you are looking for cheap things to do with kids in Singapore. But, its not really a touristy place especially if you are from countries that have huge fruit orchards and farms with variety of animals.