Hiking in Singapore - 21 Hiking Trails For That Little Dose of Adventure
With a sheer number of parks and nature reserves located far from the cityscape, Singapore has something in-store for adventure enthusiasts too in addition to its year-round attractions and a stunning Skyline. Spare a day and branch off the line of tourist's attractions, hiking in Singapore along these trails.
Located on the Sentosa Island, this 'Cement Hill' commands over wartime relic 'Serapong Fort' built by the British army in late 19th Century serves as one of the best hiking trails in Singapore. This colossal fort, despite being an ancient historic building, has remains of two gun batteries constructed in the early 1800s including the mysterious tunnels and an underground room which the place is still known to have definitely makes it worth the tour. This place serves as a treat for both, history and nature lovers.
Difficulty level: Easy Time Required: Less than 1 hour Altitude: 85 meters
Far from the hustle and bustle that Singapore is, and to take a nice break from pavement beating the traffic and heat, MacRitchie Reservoir is the perfect blend of cocktail for nature lovers as well as hiking enthusiasts. The 'tree top walk' is scenic; an escape to nature in the middle of a busy city and the trail is facilitated by a water ranger station, where people can refill drinkable water in their water bottles and appropriate mobile network which proves to be a comfort to the tourists. On the way, the tourists experience a panoramic view of the impressive MacRitchie reservoir surrounded by rubber trees and remnants of the plantations from 19th Century.
Difficulty level: Beginner Time Required: 3-4 Hours Distance: 3-5 kilometres depending on the trail to Reservoir
This trail is perfect for an adventurous soul looking for a jungle hiking experience in Singapore. The park is isolated from the busy city life and its annoyances and makes anyone feel like an experienced hiker because of the moderate difficulty and inconsistency in paths. A trip to Dairy Farm without visiting the 'Wallace Trail' is certainly incomplete and one can definitely feel a sense of tranquillity at the end of the park where lies 'Singapore Quarry Park' - an ideal spot for the rock-climbing enthusiasts and photographers.
Difficulty Level: Easy-Moderate Time Required: 2-3 Hours
This hiking trail in Singapore consists of bridges connecting parks along the southern ridge of the city. The various trails at Southern Ridges offer panoramic views of the southern part of Singapore and the Southern Islands. The 'Henderson Waves' trail being the highest pedestrian bridge with its impressive architecture is connected to 'Alexandra Arch' through a 1km trail generally known as 'Hilltop Walk'. Southern Ridges are also known to offer stark beauty - a path lined with flowering plants forming a gateway to the gardening hub known as 'Hort Park'. Southern Ridges, with its dynamically changing surroundings as one proceeds, are known for recreation purpose and an ideal venue for bird-watchers and eco-tourists.
Difficulty Level: Moderate-Hard Time Required: 4-5 Hours
A perfect blend of cocktail for historical and recreational experience, Fort Canning Park is an iconic hilltop landmark said to have witnessed Singapore's history to where it stands today. One of the most sought-after venue for concerts and musical evenings for tourists, it is situated in the southeast portion of the Island. The place has an interesting wartime history with an underground bunker known as 'The Battle Box' and 'Sally Port' as major attractions. The place is always lined up with various recreational activities including historical, educational and cultural events covering all age groups. It is also known to have 'Spice Garden', made with the sole purpose of Singapore's agricultural development with spices like clove and nutmeg and is a popular trail for hiking in Singapore.
Difficulty Level: Easy Altitude: 48 meters Park Lighting Hours: 7:00 PM - 7:00 AM
A natural area where six interdependent ecosystems are known to meet and mix, Chek Jawa is among the rare places with a natural rocky shore in Singapore and is situated on the Pulau Ubin island between Singapore and Malaysia. The recent development in the area enables the visitors to get close to the biodiversity including botanical and marine life with the pleasant boardwalk along the coast into the Mangrove area, including a viewing tower meant for observing birdlife and Canopies. The place is known to have abundant natural creatures, rare plants and migratory birds, the reason why it proves to be irresistible to any photographer and nature lover, and a much-visited hiking trail in Singapore.
Difficulty Level: Moderate Time Required: 2-3 Hours
Bukit Timah Summit, known to be the highest natural point in Singapore, is a hilly region with a temperature cooler than rest of the City-state, probably the reason why Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has proved to be the most sought-after place amongst Singaporean hikers. The trail consists of steep slopes which can prove to be challenging for few.
Alternatively known as 'Pulau Serangoon', this Island is located off the north-eastern coast of Singapore and is among the popular places for Jet skiing and camping, which has however led to severe water pollution. Coney Island Park is home to a wide range of habitats including coastal areas, mangrove swamps as well as grasslands. The land here is undeveloped with a rustic environment offering a stark beauty making the experience one of a kind for any visitor. This place is a perfect example of the phrase-'Hiking isn't for everyone', with no water points, sand flies everywhere, the inner path quite rocky covered with gravel and dirt terrain, and a single toilet on the whole island but has got a lot more to offer the visitors for that perfect hike in Singapore.
Difficulty Level: Easy-Moderate Park Opening Hours: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
An ecological site renowned worldwide, Sungei Buloh Wetland place serves to be a retreat for nature lovers. Experience the stunning natural wildlife and an increased chance of bird sightings, watching them migrating to Australia during the peak seasons if you can take a day off from the chaotic life and want to know what the age-old method of harvesting prawns in the tide seems like. The natural beauty of Sungei Buloh, coupled with the serene environment, makes it a good trail for hiking in Singapore.
Mount Faber, formerly 'Telok Blangah Hill', is located in the Central region of Singapore and is one of the parks connected through the Southern Ridges. The tower on the Mount Faber forms a part of the cable car system connecting HarbourFront and Sentosa, offering a panoramic view of HarbourFront. The highlight includes the reservoir which was known to be a source of water provision for Singapore city back in 1905, presently with its surrounding rustic-raw landscape, slippery tracks covered with overgrown bushes which definitely adds fun to hiking here.
Difficulty Level: Easy Elevation: 105 meters
11. Bukit Batok Hill
Lining the western region of Singapore, Bukit Batok Hill is a constant on the to-do list of hikers and adventure junkies. With lush greenery and refreshing trekking trails, it is the 3rd highest hill with some parts of it completely lost to vegetation. Vines and trees form natural tunnels throughout the trail which offers sights of various reptiles and small animals, monitor lizards, white-crested laughing thrushes and monkeys. Suitable for beginners, the trek trail that Bukit Batok hill offers is of 36 hectares that goes through jungles and connects to a forest which is a haven for hikers and bird watchers.
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate Altitude: 120 metres
12. Keppel Hill Reservoir Trek
Ever since the newspapers published the rediscovery of an abandoned reservoir, Keppel Hill Reservoir became the talk of the city and also a popular trail for hiking in Singapore. Located off Telok Blangah Road, the Keppel Hill Reservoir Trek is one of those less commercialized walking trails, with limited signages and directions. It is an abandoned and haunted reservoir which is just a remnant of a large, old swimming pool. The man-made trail has narrow steps, decrepit structure, partial diving boards, concrete steps, shower area and leads into tall grasses and banana trees all of which makes for an eerie experience.
Difficulty Level: Moderate to high Time Required: 4 hours
Along the southern coast of Singapore is the Labrador Natural Reserve featuring nature trails, natural habitats and a seafront promenade which provides a perfect package for hiking in Singapore. This natural, paved and forested trail is a paradise for bird watchers and wildlife lovers. History buffs can be on the lookout to find historical artefacts such as the series of tunnels built by the British army during the war. The hike is beginner-friendly and popular among avid photographers and fitness enthusiasts too.
The Green Corridor is a newly found hiking trail in Singapore, which was formerly a railway track and now serves as a connection between Bukit Timah and Kranji Wetlands parks. Replete with lush grasslands, calming streams, marshy areas and a lot of buses and lovely flowers, this uninterrupted stretch of greenery runs the entire length of Singapore and is so ecologically and culturally significant that it piques the interest of nature lovers and history buffs alike. The terrain is muddy, rugged and rocky, but the tranquillity it offers is incredible even with all the schools and office buildings nearby.
Difficulty Level: Easy Time Required: 2-4 hours Distance: 24 km
15. Upper Peirce Reservoir
An easy hike for everyone who is a nature lover or just seeking an escape from the monotony of life, Upper Peirce Reservoir is the one-stop to relax in the lap of nature. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city along Old Upper Thomson Road, the Upper Peirce Reservoir offers tranquil lake-side trails and forested areas. One can enjoy strolling along the lake and encounter monkeys and long-tailed macaques lazing around. A must-visit for history buffs too, the Reservoir is the fourth oldest in Singapore and has significant and intriguing history relevant to it.
Difficulty Level: Easy Time: 2-3 hours
16. Lower Peirce Reservoir
The wondrous trail from Upper Peirce Reservoir to the Lower Peirce Reservoir is a 900 metres Broadwalk winding into a forest and offering some excellent views of the tall green trees. This hiking trail in Singapore runs along the water's edge and one can spot the remnants of rubber trees and oil palms as they walk along. One may encounter a lot of small animals such as monitor lizards, squirrels, White-bellied fish eagles or long-tailed macaques along the trail.
Difficulty Level: Easy Time Required: 1 hour Distance: 900 metres
17. Coast-to-Coast (C2C) Trail
Coast-to-Coast trail, a 36 km long trail stretching from Jurong Lake Gardens to Coney Island Park is curated to offer a close view of the various beautiful nature parks of Singapore. It serves as a connector between the various 18 green natural parks with over 10 checkpoints spaced out along the trail. There is a mobile app for C2C to ease the experience for the park goers as it helps them navigate between the checkpoints easily as well as look for park amenities.
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate Time Required: 1 day Distance: 36 km
18. Changi East Boardwalk
A 2.2 km long trail stretching along the coastline, the Changi East Boardwalk is a must-visit for a nice stroll during the sunset. With six unique sections - Creek Walk, Beach Walk, Sailing Point Walk, Cliff Walk, Kelong Walk and Sunset Walk all of which offer scenic views, this is one of the best trails for hiking in Singapore. Besides the rustic terrain and ambience, there are an immense variety of flora and fauna to explore too. Ideal for an early morning or a romantic evening leisurely stroll, it is a must-visit for nature lovers who wish to just soak in the natural greenery and breathe in the salty sea air.
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate Time Required: 2-3 hours Distance: 2.2 km
An amalgamation of jungle terrains, steep slopes and varied flora and fauna, Chestnut Park located at the eastern end of Chestnut Avenue near Bukit Timah and Bukit Panjang provides for an adventurous hike. This hiking trail in Singapore winds into densely forested areas, filled with exotic flora and fauna. Also, there are markers at every 100 metres which lets the hikers keep a track of how much they have walked so far. While the Northern loop of the trail is an easy walk with little slopes and rugged pathways, the Southern loop is a challenging one with varying terrains and winding slopes.
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult Time Required: 1-3 hours Distance: 3.5 km
20. Windsor Nature Park
A combination of three different trails amounting to a distance of 3.85 kilometres, Windsor Nature Park provides a hiking experience filled with greenery, boardwalks, cobblestones and freshwater streams. The Hanguana, Squirrel and Drongo trail provide leisurely walks through the dense vegetation, wildlife and rare plants and trees. Also, hikers can trek to the Treetop walk, which is a 250 metres suspension bridge offering a panoramic view of the forest.
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate Time Required: 2-3 hours Distance: 2.85 kms
21. Pulau Ubin's Puaka Hill
Pulau Ubin's Puaka trail is a short hike to the Puaka Hill, overlooking the Ubin Quarry and the west side of Pulau Ubin. The hike provides a perfect getaway from the busy urban life, as it is set in a quiet, beautiful island covered in dense forests, untouched by urbanization and commercialization. The narrow trail leads to a forest and there are wild ferns along the entire length of the trail. Serving as viewpoints there are 4 stations along the trail, each offering a unique view of the quarry and the area.
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult Time Required: 40 minutes Altitude: 74 metres high
Tips for Hiking in Singapore
Planning on a location: There are numerous trails for hiking in Singapore and the two factors one must consider before picking on a location are the difficulty level and the ability of the hiker.
Clothing: Hiking requires one to choose the right clothes, which are not just suited to the weather but also offer maximum comfort. The minimal requirement which goes for every hike is opting for waterproof, sun protecting and comfortable clothing.
Shoes: Hiking is all about footwear. Support, material, fit and comfort are the key factors that one must look for before selecting their trekking shoes. For long hikes or multi-day expeditions such as the C2C trail, hiking boots are suited. Also, opting for waterproof shoes are a bonus.
Pre-hike training: Beginners at hiking can go through pre-hike training to check their physical strength and abilities.
Keep the backpack light and carry only essentials.
Hydration: It is important to stay hydrated, so note down the points for refilling their bottles along the trails.
Gears: Carrying navigation devices, torch, sun protection gear, first aid, pocket knife, matches, sleeping bag etc are some basics in the checklist for hiking.
Set yourself free, far from the hustle and bustle of the city and head to these hiking trails in Singapore as the journey never ceases to amaze anyone and has got something for everyone. Happy Hiking!
~This article is written by Neha Nagpal and CR Anjali~