Enjoy walking along the lake? Hiking in the forest? Sweating 50% of your body weight out in seconds? Then look no further than Singapore’s own MacRitchie Reservoir and the surrounding trails.
A lovely sunny Singapore day dawns and we are on our way for some local hiking. We made a detour for food before getting there, but roughly the MRT to Marymount station (circle line) and then 1 bus further gets you to the standard starting position. Now there are a few variations and options to choose from, so do take a look at what specifically you would enjoy. Here I’ll just do a quick rundown of the route we followed.
Starting from the eastern edge you enjoy a few hundred meters along the reservoir’s edge going counter-clockwise. You see people canoeing, you dodge your first sweaty joggers and generally laugh at the children screaming due to some delight or other. So far so good.
It gets even better as you get to the 0km marker of the hiking trail into the forest. The trail is wide enough to avoid unnecessarily rubbing against said joggers, the trees and other foliage are grown and mature, shedding lovely shade across the path. Things are really looking up so far.
A few kilometers in, perhaps 1km, the evidence starts to turn a little. While everything feels good and the sun isn’t beating down on you, the sweat trickles have started to resemble torrents. Hydration is always important, especially in situations where you may not realise how much water you are shedding.
The rhythm is in, the miles are slowly creeping past and you even avoided stepping on that child that decided to tuck-and-roll across your path. Section 2 is short but unforgiving. You emerge from the trail at the corner of a golf estate, where you will be reminded you aren’t good enough to be entering said estate by a friendly security guard. No, you will head to your left on the now paved road, nice and wide and ever more thinly veiled by shade.
The actual distance of this patch on the paved road isn’t that long, but the intensity of straight sunlight after a few kilometers are done is not to be underestimated.
Back in the shade! We’ll soon reach a ranger hut where some water fountains and toilets are made available for those in need. It’s also not much further to the Treetop Walk, a key feature of the trails in this area. Try not to mistakenly visit along with the rest of Singapore however, or you’ll spend upwards of 40 minutes waiting in a slippery and sticky queue, for your turn to walk across the 250 meter suspension bridge.
The bridge itself is quite an experience however, it takes a bit of time to realise just how high you are at this point (about 8 stories or so). The view is quite striking as well, although ironically some trees do get a little in the way. And lastly, you guessed it, direct sunlight is back. Time on the suspension bridge is seriously baking if you’re there midday.
The last section starts where you leave the suspension bridge and stare into the face of a never-ending set of wooden stairs that lead upwards. They do end at some point, it is in fact the stairs that follow (going down) that are much longer. There are one or two huts along the way if you need to take a breath or rest your knees.
You’ll hit one of the tracks again soon after and be back at the ranger hut from before in a few minutes. From there it’s a last bit of climbing, one more crossing of the horrid ‘section 2’ area and then a slow skip through the changing plant life as you head outwards to the nearest section of modern road.
Including our wait time at the suspension bridge, we covered about 11 kilometers in 2h 20min. The saving grace at the end of the walk, dehydrated and tired as we were, was a nearby hawker centre where we found a large platter of freshly cut fruit.
Personally I’m most definitely going there again, ideally much earlier in the day and probably for a jog rather than a hike. The trails are gorgeous and certainly would be well worth the early start time to avoid some of the crowding that may happen.
This is part of my A to Z Challenge 2016, click the button at the bottom of the site for more information if you like.