Exploring A Different Side of Singapore
Updated: Jan 4, 2020
You'll probably take a long haul flight with a stop over in Singapore at least once. We've been to Singapore more times than we can count and it's one of my most favorite places on earth. So when we decided to spend another few days there last year we were looking for something new to do. Well we found it!
The Southern Ridges is a 10-kilometre trail that connects parks along the southern ridge of Singapore. Some of the attractions along this trail include lush parks and iconic pedestrian bridges. The route links Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve.
The trail is one of the best spots in Singapore to enjoy panoramic views of the city, the harbour and the Southern Islands, and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
We hiked the trail from west to east, and each of the seven distinctly different areas we walked through along the route are detailed in sequence below.
We took a taxi from our hotel in Chinatown to Kent Ridge Park (less than 10 mins) and walked eastward along the paths and canopy walkways to the Mount Faber Park cable car terminal. The entire walk took us about 3.5 hours with regular stops to take in views and take photos. It's a bit confusing at the start so enter the Canopy Walk at the entrance to the path which you can see in the photo above.
Canopy Walk on the Southern Ridges is a 280m-long boardwalk through a secondary forest, at eye-level with the forest canopy. We were lucky enough to see monkeys as well as plenty of birds along this part of the walk.
One of the last battles for Singapore was fought on this hill, which overlooks the harbour and the British military depots in the Ayer Rajah area. There are views of the harbour to the south, and views of the suburbs to the north along the boardwalk.
After coming off the boardwalk, you'll enter this really interesting 23-hectare park with a variety of themed gardens and gorgeous array of plants and flowers. There's an abundance of well tended gardens, as well as a children's garden and playground where kids can learn about various plants and how they grow. We spent some time exploring the different areas, and especially liked the modern art installations and manicured lawns.
Hort Park has a fine dining restaurant, plenty of places to take a shaded rest outdoors, as well as drink vending machines and really clean toilet facilities.
You'll next come to Alexandra Arch which links Hort Park to the Forest Walk. The 80m-long bridge opens like a leaf over Alexandra Road. Apparently each evening the bridge lights with colour-changing LED lights, although we didn't get to see this during the day. There's no shade on the bridge and we were grateful for a cloudy day.
We competed with a multitude of visitors taking photo's on the bridge so if you're after that perfect Insta shot void of strangers, be prepared for a long wait.
Forest Walk & Singing Forest
The magnificent Forest Walk is a 1.3km step-free elevated walkways winding it's way high above the forest canopy of Telok Blangah Hill Park. It's not a difficult walk but there are some sections which are a little steep.
Midway along the Forest Walk, is the Singing Forest, an area with more than 200 trees native to the region, plante4d specifically to attract birds. Take the time to stop and just listen - you'll hear a variety of bird song - a lovely sound so close to the bustling metropolis of Singapore.
At the end of this walkway there is a shelter and seating where you can take a rest - by this point you'll need it.
Sembcorp Forest of Giants
After walking alongside some suburban houses for a bit, you'll come to the Sembcorp Forest of Giants which is a living gallery of giant tree species that are threatened in the region. The forest has over 600 trees which were planted to educate people about the species and raise awareness for the importance of reforestation.
Hendersn Waves (bridge)
Next along the trail is this eye-catching 274m-long wood panel pedestrian bridge which is shaped like a wave. It has seven undulating “ribs” which double as alcoves and provide seating and shelter. The bridge is lit up at night, highlighting the wave form.
We had a great time photographing the Henderson Waves, although it's difficult to find a position which allows you to get the entire length of the bridge in the frame.
This bridge stands 36m above Henderson Road connecting Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park and is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. There are great views of the harbour to the south from the bridge.
Leaving the Henderson Waves you'll encounter one of the hardest sections of the walk. There is a stretch of shaded forest and then a steep incline along the side of the road to Faber Walk.
Once there, the mostly sheltered Faber Walk takes you on a loop around the peak of Mount Faber. You can follow the paved walkways to enjoy views of southern Singapore and the Southern Islands.
Cable Car Station
The last stretch takes you to the Cable Car Station connecting the Singapore to Sentosa Island. This is a good place to wait for a taxi as there are lots of people getting out of taxis on their way to ride the cable car.
We walked the trail from west to east, ending up with a short taxi ride back to our hotel for a well deserved dip in the pool.
You can download a great PDF brochure a and map of the trail from the Singapore National Parks website.
TIP: It's hot and humid all year in Singapore. We were lucky to have an overcast day with sprinklings of rain, but it was still hot and sticky. Take a hat, wear sneakers or comfortable walking shoes and and take plenty of water.
Specific park and bridge dimension information thanks to https://www.nparks.gov.sg