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Southern Ridges - The best urban hiking trail in Singapore

Walking the Southern Ridges in Singapore

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.

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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.

Henderson Waves - highest pedestrian footbridge in Singapore

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.

Terrace Garden at Telok Blangah Hill Park

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.

Forest Walk, an 1.3-kilometer long elevated walkway through secondary rainforest in the Southern Ridges of Singapore

Forest Walk

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.

HortPark, the gardening hub of Singapore on the Southern Ridges

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.

View on the Singapore harbour from Kent Ridge Park along the Southern Ridges

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.

Conclusion

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!

20 comments on “Walking the Southern Ridges in Singapore”

  1. I went to Singapore last August and I was able to see many sites, but I never got to the places that you mentioned here. I learned about the Henderson Waves bridge when I was already back in the Philippines and I was like, damn, why did I miss that. That bridge is unlike anything I’ve seen. I gotta go back there for sure and check out the bridge as well as the other spots mentioned here.

    1. Hi Marge,

      I‘m pretty sure there will be a next time where you can explore these spots. Singapore is always worth a journey (or a stopover)!

      Regards,
      Dennis

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Looks like a neat way to spend a day with kids amidst some excitement and a lot of walking. I will look this up when I am in Singapore next

    1. Hi Swati,
      the Southern Ridges are definitely an activity suitable for the whole family! And there’s no need to do the whole trail to the very end as there are plenty options to enter and exit the trail.

      Cheers,
      Dennis

  3. I am always amazed at how Singapore has been the epitome of development and yet managed to retain such beautiful green spaces within its heart. It is such a fine example of how nature and man-made wonders can complement each other. The southern ridge trail definitely seems like an amazing way to explore all the green spaces in Singapore and I wonder why this does not show up in the popular itineraries for Singapore. I m curious, do they allow night treks on this trail?

    1. Hi Sindhu,

      as the access to this trail cannot be shut, night treks should be possible. And I can definitely agree that Singapore did a great job in creating this trail in such harmony with the green nature around. You should try when you get to Singapore, it’s worth it and still something different.

      Cheers,
      Dennis

  4. This is useful stuff. Would love to go on a hike like this in SG. Good to see dense green cover within the city in the forest that you walk through. The last time i went there, I did a hike from Ubi Avenue to China Town to the place where you have a lake flanked by bars, and then to Sentosa. This seems a nice addition to travel on your own.

    1. Hi Gareth,

      indeed, it was fun and something nicely different from the plethora of luxury shopping malls. If you want to get out of the city, the Southern Ridges are the place to go!

      Cheers,
      Dennis

  5. Nice! I’ve been to SG early this year and did a thorough research of where to go however I seem to have missed out this beautiful place.

    Thank you for sharing. I will add this to my bucketlist.

    1. Hi Neil,

      yes, it seems that this trail is still somehow off the beaten track and the guides still focus on the popular sights around Marina Bay and the Quays etc. The more worthwhile to check out this trail!

      Best regards,
      Dennis

  6. It seems that you climbed the Southern Ridges all by yourself, and it made for a contemplative walk under Singapore’s sun. I, too, have observed that travelers often pitch Hong Kong and Singapore against each other. We can love both, can’t we?

    All the best with being a global citizen, Dennis!

    1. Hi Rye,

      I definitely agree with you! I like being in Singapore, although I prefer living in Hong Kong. However, there are so many interesting things about both places that it should be easily possible to love both. I’m already looking forward to my next trip to Singapore.

      Cheers,
      Dennis

    1. Hi Agnes,

      it might not be the first go-to place when in Singapore for the first time, but it is definitely a trail worth exploring. Indeed, I had a lot of fun walking it all the way, as there so many different interesting sections that it never gets boring.

      Best regards,
      Dennis

  7. The walk looks so impressive amidst all the greenery. I have a rough itinerary for Singapore for the next year. But Southern ridge was not a part of that. I am going back now to change it and include this walk 🙂 Thanks to you for the wonderful virtual walk that made me do so

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Sumit!

      Yes, Singapore did a great job in creating this huge recreational space in the middle of the city. I appreciate their efforts, and I guess so do a lot of Singaporeans.

      Cheers,
      Dennis

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