Never heard of the Southern Ridges Walk before? I hadn’t either until I started my research on things to do in Singapore. It’s a recommended itinerary on WikiTravel, but otherwise there was surprisingly little information that I could find on what exactly this walk entails. Though I feel like there’s quite a bit more information in that link that nicely explains each section now than before I left. So allow me to elaborate further with pictures in case you ever find yourself in this part of world and desire a walk in the jungle.
For a basic overview, the Southern Ridges Walk is a paved 9km stroll through the jungles along the western end of Singapore. It is mostly flat, and you often see families pushing strollers. Due to the heat and humidity, it’s best to do this walk either first thing in the morning or later in the evening. If you are a tourist staying in the city and taking public transportation to get here, the easiest place to start is to take the metro to Kent Ridge Park station and walk your way southeast to Harbor Front station. This will eliminate most of the need to walk uphill, however, this is the opposite of the route I took as I apparently like to make things harder for myself.
Early Sunday morning, I hop on the metro to the Harbor Front station. Thankfully I have my phone to help guide me to the start of the trail because it’s not immediately apparent. WikiTravel says to take Exit D to come out right at the start, so maybe try to do that if you can (again, where was this information when I was there?). It should save you a bit of confusion. Fortunately, once you find the trail, it’s well marked and easy to follow.
Monkeys you say? I hope I see monkeys! There are few things I enjoy more than experience animals in their natural habitat.
As the picture above states, the first part of the walk is the Marang Trail, and it’s probably the “hardest” part. You have to climb to the top of Mount Faber, which I suppose is a mountain in Singapore, but really is more of a large hill. In normal weather, this would be pretty easy for most people, however after only a few steps, I’m questioning my sanity, and I consider myself to be fairly fit! The humidity in the jungle here is worse than the city, and I’m already covered in sweat. “Is this really going to be worth it?” I ask myself this the entire way up.
At the top, the views of the city are pretty great. And with the hardest part behind me, I decide it’s worth continuing on.
I love these brightly colored stairs. I’m not sure where they lead and I don’t really want to spend more energy climbing more stairs, but maybe the views would be even better above?
If stairs aren’t your thing, you can also elect to take the cable car from Harbor Front station to the top. The cost is about $25 round trip, and you can also include a visit to Sentosa Island. But I didn’t come here to ride the cable car, I came here to walk!
The Marang Trail ends at the top of Mt Faber, and the Henderson Waves section begins next. From here, the trail more or less follows the road with a few architecturally interesting bridges crossing the busier streets, so if at any point, you’re over it, you can easily catch a cab back to the city (like I contemplate doing several times). But there are plenty of resting places, bathrooms and restaurants along the way if you need a quick respite. Plus, it’s either fairly flat or downhill from here on out.
The Henderson Waves are one of those bridges offering a very different take on the normal bridge functionality. Here you can find shade and plenty of seating to escape the heat and relax, maybe read a book for awhile, whatever strikes your fancy.
The next part of the trail is the Hilltop Walk followed by the Forest Walk, each about 1km long.
The Hilltop Walk doesn’t provide much to see, but there is this random terrace that wouldn’t look out of place in a palace in England, and it does provide some nice views.
The Forest Walk is definitely the best part of the entire Southern Ridges Walk, in my opinion. The elevated pathways put you eye-level to the tree tops and signs along the way provide information on the flora and fauna around you. I actively search for monkeys here, but alas, I’m out of luck.
It’s so weird to be walking through the jungle and suddenly see tall buildings behind the trees. It’s an interesting reminder that no matter where you are on this island, civilization is always right around the corner.
Eventually I come to the Alexandra Arch Bridge. It looks a bit like an inside out version of the Henderson Waves.
After the bridge the trail drops back down to the road and continues into Hort Park.
There’s a resource center here, a restaurant, and a whole host of activities available. I stop and have a rest here in the shade. I’ve pretty much reached my limit at this point, am out of water and starting to get hungry. I consider calling an Uber to come get me, but realize there’s a metro stop around the corner. I hate to say it, but I think I’m going to have to call it a day here. I’ve covered most of the walk and feel OK with this decision.
Overall, I’m glad I did the walk. It was hot and humid, but everywhere is in this city is. It was fun to get out into the jungle for the morning and do something a little different. I wish I had been able to see monkeys, but I guess you can’t win them all!