Written by Kartini Susaini, Decathlon Singapore
The Southern Ridges which includes 5 parks, Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Hort Park, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve is not only full of nature but trails that lead to refreshing sights.
The trails are connected to one another making it easier to hike and so here’s how we made our journey from start to finish.
Next to a carpark situated at Harbourfront MRT station Exit D, the Marang Trail starts off with narrow stairs and tall trees.
Going uphill for 70m is rewarded with the view of cable cars passing through blue skies and the ascend in the midst of a peaceful secondary forest could not be more pleasant and calming.
With sun rays seeping through tiny spaces, shade is provided from the trees so we still remain fresh for our next trail.
Best Time: 7am to 5pm
Hiking tips: If you are descending instead of ascending, be cautious of your footing on the small steps. Make sure to hold on the railing whenever possible.
Mount Faber itself is a huge area with the Jewel Box and a Wishing bell but it’s riveting trail is tucked away in the secondary rainforest with many entrances accessible beside a winding road which is the Mount Faber Loop.
The thickness and density of the rainforest make it less humid than other rainforests in Singapore but the high slopes still make it a good workout and leave you perspiring.
Best Time: 7am to 5pm
Hiking tips: With a few sheltered resting places on rather high points, do take a breather and let the serenity of the thick forest sink in before heading downhill.
The view and open air at the Henderson Wave bridge at 36 metres above ground is a treat for completing nearly half of the trail.
Despite being a short walk on a wooden ground made of Balau, it prepares you for more bridges in the middle of greenery by letting you refresh with a breeze.
Best Time: 7am to 6pm, 7pm to 2am (Waveforms light up throughout the night)
Hiking tips: There will be usually a lot of visitors hence it will not be that peaceful but still do sit and drink up before heading on because the bridges after this one will not have such a comfortable resting place.
Walk amongst beautiful trees and feel as tall with a path that goes on for a good 2.3km through Adinandra Belukar, which is a rather different type of secondary forest with characteristics such as fluctuating humidity and temperature.
It is much cooler in the night than in the morning and has lesser floristic diversity hence it is better to enjoy it from above.
The Forest Walk leads to Labrador Nature Reserve however, another route takes you to Alexandra Arch.
Best Time: 7am – 6pm
Hiking tips: For those who are scared of heights, the structure provides you with a security as the path is rather straightforward with no stairs, steep slopes or sudden sharp turns.
Close to a former British military camp, Gillman Barracks, Alexandra Arch is a bridge much like Henderson Waves but with a tilted arch which is crafted to look like an opened leaf.
No seats can be found here hence it is less popular with tourists and is much closer to the ground.
It is also lit with LED lamps at night and leads you to a wonderful floral display right at the end of the bridge.
Best Time: 7am to 6pm, 7pm to 12pm (LED lights up with interchanging colours)
Hiking tip: The Arch is a curved path elongating the journey which is part of the thrill but nonetheless, a little unexpected so do not go with speed and pace yourselves.
An array of beautiful little stations highlighting the importance and joy of gardening makes an enriching walk.
After the greenery, enjoy popping vibrant colours from flowers and certain structures that make you stop and ponder.
Such structure includes the Therapeutic Garden, Lifestyle Corner and other playgrounds making it very popular amongst youngsters and entertaining for kids.
Best Time: 7am – 8pm
Hiking tips: After the long walk on bridges, make sure you fill up water here and visit the restrooms before heading on.
A wide road followed by strips of meandering paths higher and higher gradually leads up to a museum standing tall at the top of a hill.
Reflections of Bukit Chandu which translates to Opium Hill where 1,500 soldiers of Malay Regiment led by none other than Lieutenant Adnan Saidi himself fought off 13,000 from the Japanese Army is a destination worth the long walk and uphill battle.
The Canopy Walk continues to Kent Ridge Park which truly brings you to a stillness in time.
Almost soundless, the park lets you end your hiking trip peacefully as the enormity of the park huddles you and yet the wide path leaves refreshing air to not leave you too hot and after 6 hours of going through the entire trail, a quiet ambience lets you finish the last lap with ease.
Best Time: 7am – 5pm
Hiking Tip: Do not take shortcuts and follow the winding paths even though they seem much longer because going uphill can be dangerous and you do not want to limp back home.