There is a certain rivalry between Hong Kong and Singapore. At least, these two cities are often compared against each other. Which one is more expensive? Which one is the better expat destination? Which one has the better airport? Now, when it comes to hiking options, it is really hard to beat Hong Kong which has some of the best urban hiking trails in the world. However, I was surprised to read that Singapore features an urban trail of about 9km length, too: the Southern Ridges. Of course, I had to try this - and so I laced my shoes for the walk.
Getting there: Start at Mount Faber Park
You can access the Southern Ridges from Vivo City near MRT Station Harbourfront. Take Exit D and walk the Marang Trail in the direction of Mount Faber Park, one of the oldest parks in Singapore. You will pass the Jewel Box at Mount Faber Station, from where the Singapore Cable Car is leaving for Sentosa.
A few minutes further uphill, you will reach Faber Point (Singapore’s second highest elevation at 105m above sea level) which has a miniature Merlion statue, nice views on Singapore to all directions, a mural gallery about the history of Singapore at its bottom, and – if you’re unlucky – bus loads of tourists that are regularly carried up here. Hence why you should continue your walk until you reach the next highlight: Henderson Waves.
The Henderson Waves
The Henderson Waves are literally the highlight of the whole walk: spanning Henderson Road at a height of 36 meters and connecting Mount Faber Park with Telok Blangah Hill Park over 274 meters in length, this is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. And, with its seven undulating curved steel “ribs”, it features a unique architectural structure, too.
At nighttime, the 2008-built bridge is nicely illuminated. To the south, you can see the towers of the “Reflections” buildings, an estate designed by star architect Daniel Libeskind.
Telok Blangah Hill Park
On the other side of the Henderson Waves, you enter into Telok Blangah Hill Park. Here, the 1km-long Hilltop Walk leads you to the beginning of Forest Walk. Don’t miss, however, the “Terrace Garden” on the way. It is a series of flower-filled semi-circle terraces up a small hill that offer beautiful panoramic views of the city, Singapore harbor and the Southern Islands.
Next, you will enter the impressive Forest Walk, an 1.3-kilometre-long elevated metal walkway which rises up to 18 metres high above the ground and offers eye-level views with the secondary forest canopy covering Telok Blangah Hill. Nature lovers will enjoy the variety of wild flowers and birds that can be seen along the walk, while the skyscrapers in the background offer an interesting, often surreal contrast.
Those who are afraid of heights might want to think twice before entering this part of the trail. However, there’s another trail on the ground below, too. At the end of Forest Walk you will eventually reach Alexandra Arch, an 80-metre-long leave-like curved bridge leading over Alexandra Road to HortPark.
The 300-metre Floral Walk trail marks the gateway to the “Gardening Hub” of HortPark, a 23-hectare park that surprises with interesting gardening experiments, prototype glass houses, exhibitions and retail activities. Hearts of passionate gardeners will leap for joy while walking through these gardens that also feature educational exhibits and recreational facilities.
From HortPark, you will eventually get to Canopy Walk, another elevated walkway that stretches 280 meters long through the upper layers of secondary forest, linking HortPark and Kent Ridge Park.
Kent Ridge Park
The last park connected by the Southern Ridges is Kent Ridge Park, a 47-hectare public park close to the National University of Singapore and Singapore Science Park, where the trail is coming to an end.
Highlights in this park are the Kent Ridge Park Pond and the Bukit Chandu War Memorial.
The Southern Ridges connects some of Singapore’s most picturesque parks and gardens (i. e. Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve) via convenient paths which are entirely paved or otherwise surfaced. So, don’t expect any crazy hiking activities, rather a nice urban walk through Singapore’s green spaces which makes the Southern Ridges a suitable weekend getaway for the whole family. The trail is easily accessible and often offers opportunities for an early exit. You will never leave civilization and there will be frequent options to stock up on supplies or stop for a coffee.
For passionate hikers who seek thrilling challenges and want to climb a few mountain peaks, it might be a bit disappointing, though. In the end, it is still Singapore and there’s nothing unjustifiably dangerous to do here
Have you been to Singapore and walked the Southern Ridges? Or would you consider it for next time? Please, let me know and leave a comment below. Thank you very much!