It’s easy to think of Singapore as a glittering metropolis, a city filled to the brim with gleaming skyscrapers and bustling air-conditioned malls. However, despite its conspicuous lack of mountains — with the 164-metre high Bukit Timah Hill being its sole claim of fame — Singapore turns out to be a city with more than just a few surprises up its sleeve!
Yes, it may be modern; and yes, it may be all shiny and new, but contrary to popular perception, there are actually plenty of opportunities to enjoy the wonders of nature right here in our little red dot. And what better therapy is there than to bask in the sunlight and breathe in all that fresh air?
Here are a couple of top hiking hotspots in Singapore that are suitable for all ages:
Previously functioning as a railway track, the Green Corridor has since been transformed into a scenic hiking trail. The route acts as a connector of sorts for multiple green spaces, such as Clementi Woodlands, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and the Kranji/Mandai Mangrove and Mudflats.
The entire trail is 24-kilometres long, allowing you to take your time to appreciate the lush flora and fauna — with lots of scenic views to boot! — along the way.
How to get there: 7-minute walk from Hillview Station, with the starting point located next to the Rail Mall.
Stretching over a length of 10 kilometres, the Southern Ridges’ Marang trail starts at Mount Faber Park and weaves through Telok Blangah Hill Park, Hort Park, Kent Ridge Park, and Labrador Nature Park.
Look out for the Forest Walk and Canopy Walk, two elevated walkways that take you through a secondary forest canopy; the Sembcorp Forest of Giants, home to 600 giant trees that tower up to a height of 80 metres; as well as the iconic Henderson Waves Bridge, which is Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge.
How to get there: 6-minute walk from Harbourfront Station, with the starting point located at the Seah IM carpark.
Macritchie Reservoir Park
Boasting trails that range from 3 to 11 kilometres in length, Macritchie Reservoir Park has something for everyone. You’ll encounter all sorts of terrains here — take your pick from easy boardwalks, muddy routes, and rocky paths that snake through the trees. See you can spot any of the park’s teeming wildlife, such as long-tailed macaque monkeys, flying lemurs, and pangolins along the way!
One of the highlights is the HSBC Treetop Walk, which is the cherry on top of a long, rewarding hike through the park. The 250-metre long free-standing suspension bridge reaches a height of 25 metres — seven storeys high! — at its highest point, and offers stunning bird’s eye views. It’s best reached via a 1.5 to 2-hour hike from the Venus Drive Carpark or, if you’re feeling ambitious, a 3.5 to 4-hour hike from Lornie Walk.
How to get there: 14-minute walk from Caldecott Station; or take buses 52, 132, 163, 166, 167, 855 and 980 to Venus Drive for the Treetop Walk.
Enjoy a nostalgic blast to the past at Pulau Ubin, an island home to one of Singapore’s last surviving kampongs. Experience the rustic charm of little villages, wild greenery, and perhaps, even a wild boar or two!
Hike along the boardwalks of Chek Jawa Wetlands, which can be reached via a 40-minute hike from the jetty. The Wetlands boasts six different ecosystems, which are best seen at low tide. In addition, don’t underestimate the short but gruelling 15-minute hike up Puaka Hill, where you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views of the Granite Quarry.
How to get there: 15-minute bumboat ride from Changi Ferry Point Terminal.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Bukit Timah Hill is Singapore’s highest natural hill, with the 1.4 kilometres journey to the top requiring about 40 minutes to complete. Be prepared for a good workout; the trail is a steep incline most of the way, topped off with a flight of uneven stairs just before the summit.
The nature reserve itself contains approximately 40% of Singapore’s flora and fauna, and comprises one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. The hill has a historical significance to it as well, as it was once used as part of the British military’s defence against the Japanese Army in World War II.
How to get there: 10-minute walk from Beauty World Station.
Lace up your hiking shoes and cancel any weekend plans — there’s really no better time to get out there and start enjoying the great outdoors!