Singapore’s Southern Ridges
In Singapore, I’ve developed a new passion that is rather untypical for me: visiting nature and recreation parks. Wearing sports clothes and equipped with a bottle of water (always!), you can spend nice afternoons in the shade of the palms and trees. Besides interesting insights into the flora and fauna, you can get unique views of the city. For instance, I like the Southern Ridges. Those connect three parks on 9 kilometers of hiking trails: Kent Ridge Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, and Mount Faber Park. With a running time of 1.5 to 2 hours, the trail is ideal for a walk on Sunday afternoon or after work.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been to Kent Ridge Park yet. Instead, I always walked the route from Mount Faber over the Henderson Wave Bridge to Telok Blangah Hill Park or the other way around. The latter I would rather recommend as I find it more fun to ascend the metal-supported high trail in Telok Blangah Hill Park rather than descend it. However, if you prefer a kick start, you should consider taking a hundred steps at Mount Faber at first. Starting a high ascend with a hundred steps is quite challenging and probably counts as an exercise on its own. Compared to that, the rest of the way will be very easy and enjoyable…. but either way – it’s fun!
TELOK BLANGAH HILL PARK
The Alexandra Road is crossed by the Alexandra Arch Bridge, which leads directly to the “Forest Walk” – one of the most impressive sections of the Southern Ridges. The name is a bit irritating, because the path doesn’t run on forest ground as expected, but on a metal path, which rises about 18 meters above the ground. The Forest Walk runs for about 1.3 km with a steady ascent to the height of the palm tips and treetops, which results in a very special sight.
After about half of the way, the metal trail goes back to ground level again. Parallel to Preston Road, you’ll see the former officers’ houses of the British Army, which apparently are very popular among wealthy Expats. Finally, the Metal Trail zigzags up a steep hill.
At the top of the hill is The Alkaff Mansion – one of the most beautiful mansions in Singapore, open to the public. Here you will find, among other things, the TXA Pintxo Bar and the Wildseed Café, which I would like to visit as soon as I can!
HENDERSON WAVE BRIDGE
The Henderson Wave Bridge to me is the highlight of the track. It connects Telok Blangah Hill Park with Mount Faber at approx. 36 meters up. Up there, on Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge, you get a stunning view over the entire city, the harbor, and the Southern Islands. I can highly recommend visiting the bridge in the evening when the sun slowly sets and the city turns in a golden light.
Mount Faber is a 94 m (308 ft.) high mountain and functions either as start or as the endpoint of the hike over the Southern Ridges. Coming from the Henderson Wave Bridge, you will unfortunately first walk on concrete paved roads to get there. However, as soon as you reach Mount Faber, you will love the breeze and again, the view over the city. On the way, there is also the Danish Seamen’s Church.
The main attraction in Mount Faber Park is certainly the Faber Point. At 106m above sea level, Mount Faber is Singapore’s third-highest hill and a popular tourist destination. From there you have a beautiful view of the city. At the end of the road, you’ll find the so-called Jewel Box that houses a retail shop, cable car attraction rides, and 4 F&B establishments, each supposed to offer a distinct dining experience. However, after a hike in the heat, these chic restaurants are rather less suitable, which is why I haven’t tried any of those yet. But I bet the view is unique so I will certainly do soon. One of the restaurants even rents gondolas of the cable car for a very special and unique moonlight dinner.
The trail is recommended for a 5 hours walk that I can’t quite understand frankly. For me, it had never taken more than 1.5 hours (including stops for photos, views, and nature) which seems like a perfect time for a walk out in the parks of Singapore.