South West Ridges and Parks

Key information: South West Ridges and Parks

  • Escape into the jungles, parks and remote green space surrounding Singapore's hustle and bustle via a series of intertwining paths, viaducts and walking platforms. 
  • Avoid thunderstorms, if you can - and seek shelter if caught out in one of them. Eating in the jungle will attract monkeys. 
  • ANYONE GOT ANY GOOD PHOTOS? WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO POST THEM!

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating81
  • Beauty28
  • Natural interest17
  • Human interest6
  • Charisma30
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating81

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 15km
  • 4-5hrs
  • Level of Difficulty: Straightforward
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WALK SUMMARY

THIS PAGE IS AT AN EARLY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT. PLEASE HELP US BY MAKING SUGGESTIONS AND SENDING PHOTOS! THANK YOU!

The following is Ley-Leng Ang's piece on walking here, which was an entry we much enjoyed for our 2011 Travel Writing Competition. Thank you, Ley-Leng, for bringing this walk to our attention!

Lion City (Singapore) Southern Ridges

In south-west Singapore, a sea-facing land strip of parks and hills, turned into a green corridor and linked by a 9km network of bridges, trails and walkways, is as close to what we get as countryside. It winds through lush spaces and treetops which bring visitors up close to the ecology of tropical rainforests, and cuts through urban areas - isolated yet accessible.

Located on highlands, Kent Ridge Park and Mt. Faber Park are on opposite ends of the trail. Access to Kent Ridge is via a secluded jungle path. The wary visitor might hesitate, but once started on the trail, is grateful for the shade from overhanging and arching trees. Walk a few metres deeper and noticeably, the temperature drops. Then, lulled by a cacophony of nature sounds that dims the din outside, all fears banished.

The path opens into a clearing, and in the middle, a pond ringed by lallang and ferns grow riot. Rest on the log bench and watch dragonflies and damselflies skate on the water surfaces. Voices from the few trekkers are muted. Cicadas' singing is amplified. Listen. You might hear the monitor lizard darts through the bushes, the pink-necked green pigeon coos, or the wind whistling through the foliage. Sudden showers are common. You hear rustling overhead; you wait. It will be a long time, and maybe, never, before you feel the raindrops.

Emerged out of the pathway at the top to a landscape of manicured lawns and pruned bushes at Kent Ridge Park, you feel disoriented.

Stroll down Canopy Walk, an elevated walkway that loops out of the park into the heart of the jungle for treetop views. Below, a hillside path slopes down to Hort Park. Tree branches poke through the railings make you pause. Glean the information boards erected on the walking deck, and discover names of these trees - Wood Cinnamon, Tembusu, Simpoh Air and Tuip-Tuip - and know their characteristics.

Nearby is the war museum: Reflections of Bukit Chandu (or Opium Hill), housed in a black-and-white colonial bungalow, in remembrance of the valiant Malay soldiers, commanded by the British, in a battle at the site; they were outnumbered but resisted the Japanese troops till the end.

Horticulture Park, with its 100 varieties of floral plants and landscaped green niches, is a gardening showcase and botanist dream. The Butterfly Garden housed 20 native species and its form at each stage of its life cycle. In the netting dome, its low ceiling allows for an intimate experience with the butterflies, which unreservedly flit around you wherever you stand.

Floral Walk, a passage through the park connects to Alexandra Arch, a steel viaduct with an open-leaf motif, in keeping with the garden theme of the park just left.

The Arch straddles Kent Ridge and Telok Blangah Hill and links to Forest Walk, a lofty steel walkway (up to 13m) that dives deep into the forest for panoramic views of soaring skylines, and for spotting birds in flight. The walkway is not fully opened. Some 200 metres away, turn back the same way or descend via Preston Road, an exclusive highland road lined with country houses built in the British days.

At Depot Road below, continue on Forest Walk by another pathway up Telok Blangah Hill. Explore the highland park, for lookout points of the Pasir Panjang harbour, for its flowering shrubs and tropical trees - Eugenia, Alstonia, Raintrees, and for its remote beauty.

Perched at the summit, Alkaff mansion - once owned by an Arab trader, now a high-end restaurant/bar - with its tiered bougainvillea gardens framed by white stone balustrades, is picture-perfect, and one of the vestiges of hillside living, then sought out by colonialists and the rich.

Forest Walk extends into Telok Blangah Hill as a zigzag steel bridge, Hilltop Walk. Along the way, observe the trees that tower up to 80m above the forest canopy. Branded as Forest of Giants, some carefully selected species, Tualang, Kempas and Jelutong, are planted deep in the wilds as part of a forest conservation effort, sponsored by a local marine company.

Moving on, is Henderson Waves, a pedestrian connector to Mount Faber Park rated for its unique design. A wave-form structure, a timber walking platform and sheltered alcoves with seats built into its curved ribs. The bridge, 36m high and 274m long, looks its best when lit up by LED lights at night.

You have seen the Singapore Straits and Keppel Wharves en route the trail that heads south. At the observation deck at Mt Faber Park, the sights get nearer. The park is accessible by car and cable car. Breezy night air, koi pond, and copper-tooled murals of Singapore's history are its attractions - and the Jewel Box restaurant/bar crowns the experience.

On the home stretch, instead of Faber Road, descend by the hilly steps, Marang Trail, that meanders down to Harbourfront MRT. Amid the mostly fern undergrowth, search for herb plants used to flavour local dishes: Torch Ginger Bud in rojak (fruit-vegetable salad), Curry leaves and Pandan leaves in cakes/deserts. Or Simpoh Air, whose leaves are large enough as food wrappers for fermented beans (a Malay delicacy).

To cut the walk short, simply take one of the many pathways downhill to the road level for buses/taxis/MRT.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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