If you are looking for a day out in nature in Singapore, MacRitchie might be just the ticket. Slightly outside of the city center lies this nature reserve that will help any city dweller retreat the chaos of Orchard Road for an escape into nature.
Paul and I went one Saturday with Allexia and Caroline. The thought was to explore the nature reserves of Singapore and get a little exercise. Plus, we were curious about the Tree Top Walk that is featured in so much of the Singapore Tourism Board’s literature. The Tree Top Walk is free standing suspension bridge 25m high with a view of the forest floor.
Overall, I was a bit surprised that the park was so manicured… a lot of paved trails and dirt road trails. When I heard “rainforest” I expected it to be a bit more rustic – say, trails worn into the hills by hikers. But in typical Singapore fashion, nothing was left to chance. The trails are definitely man-made and also well maintained. So in other words, it’s a little light hiking, not necessarily hard work. But it is long if you do the Tree Top Walk hike, it’s deep inside the park… approximately 4.5 km (a 1.5 – 2 hour walk) from the MacRitchie Park entrance and about 2.5 km (45 mins – 1 hr walk) from the carpark at Venus Drive. So at 7 to 10 km (3-5 hours depending on your walking pace), a round trip to the Tree Top Walk is not a short journey.
We set out early in the morning, at 9am, to avoid the midday sun. While the park is fairly shady, you should definitely come prepared with sunscreen. With Singapore being so close to the equator, the sun can be blistering hot. And while on the topic, bring plenty of water too. While there are a couple of drinking fountains to refill at, these are few and far between.
In our hike, we followed the long trail to the Tree Top Walk for about 2 hours. It is a rather spectacular thing to stand on. I am a little scared of heights, so struggled to look down for a bit. But the bridge is short at 250m in length..so after noticing I could easily dart across, I hazarded a few looks over the side. It is quite high and certainly a bird’s eye view, but I must say I was hoping for a little more. It was over and done with in a flash.
On our way down from the Tree Top Walk we covered the back half of the hike. We came across a few monkeys in the jungle which was a nice way to end the hike and gave us more the feeling that we were in a rainforest. Although one of the monkeys hissed at Paul when he was taking their photo 😉
After 4 hours of hoofing it through the park, we decided it was time for an ice tea and some lunch, so we headed off to CA California Deli on Dempsey Hill.
MacRitchie Park is a lovely way to start or end your day with a bit of nature in Singapore. Not just for hikers, we saw lots of runners, people doing Tai Chi and working out at the exercise stations. Try it for yourself sometime.
MacRitchie Reservoir Park & HSBC Tree Top Walk
Tue to Fri – 9am to 5pm, Weekends and Public Holidays – 8.30am to 5pm. Closed on Monday