MacRitchie Reservoir and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve may have their well-worn trails, but for an adventure like no other, we ask avid trekker Ho Ee Kid for some recommendations.
I think it’s pretty much been established that Singapore is not a boring place. Within our relatively small space are a myriad of activities and areas to explore. And if you’re someone who’s game for anything, you’ll love the off-the-beaten-track treks organised by Ho Ee Kid (better known as Kid), founder of Luv@Adventure, a homegrown group that organises treks across various parts of the island. While these treks are fun and educational, they’re far from your typical hikes. Picture sloshing through muddy water, trudging across creaky bridges, and bashing through tall, prickly grass … and you can get some idea of the types of treks Kid has in mind.
Still raring to go? Read on!
1. Choo Choo Trek
Many know the defunct railway from Tanjong Pagar to Bukit Timah but few have explored the Jurong Railway Line. It originally branched off from the former Bukit Timah Railway Station near King Albert Park and runs all the way to the Jurong Industrial Estate. The interesting part of this trek starts from the rusty truss bridge located a stone’s throw away from Sunset Way and Clementi Street 14. You can follow the railway tracks from here till you eventually emerge at the Railway Corridor. What awaits you includes a cool walk under a canopy of shady tree ferns; walk on to explore a darkened train tunnel while wading in ankle-deep mud. This is a nostalgic route as you’re literally re-tracing the routes that the trains used to take in the old days when they were still in operation.
2. Serapong Trail
Fort Serapong was built by the British army in 1879 and sits atop a hillock called Mt Serapong. Many people are unaware that there is actually a wild, abandoned trail that starts at the foothills. The foliage is so wild and overgrown now that it would require extensive bashing before you finally reach the top of the hill where the old war bunkers can still be seen. This is also a favourite spot for paranormal seekers.
3. Woodneuk Trail
Istana Woodneuk lies hidden in the mass of vegetation between Holland Road and Tyersall Avenue, and is an abandoned mansion that once belonged to Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor. It was even used as a military hospital during the war. The well-hidden trail leading up to this mansion is situated behind the bus stop opposite Peirce Road. It is not a “sanctioned” trek but for those who dare take on the challenge, be prepared for a rough time battling the vegetation and mozzie squads. After your hard work, you’ll be rewarded with a wide open space where you can explore this grand ol’ dame.
4. Keppel Hill Reservoir Trek
This reservoir dates back to 1905 and was largely forgotten until it was recently rediscovered. Located near to Mt Faber, you can still see traces of the past, including old concrete steps and an old diving board. What many people are not aware of is, besides trekking around the reservoir, you can also brave the jungle and trek all the way up to Mt Faber via a long-lost trail. It is a great opportunity to walk on the wilder side of Mt Faber.
5. Lorong Halus Trek
Although many have visited the headquarters of the Lorong Halus Wetlands, many have not ventured to explore the secondary forest of this former dumping ground. The vegetation is thick and verdant, and seems to transport you to a world far from the modern hubbub that is Singapore city. Look out for Baya weavers making their landmark hanging nests, the yummy ivy gourds that abound in this green wasteland, and the wide variety of freshwater fish in the scenic pools.
6. Bukit Brown Trek
This is not a trek for the squeamish; this trail will transport you into a world you barely knew existed. Located close to Sime Road, Bukit Brown houses many famous pioneers of Singapore, from Gan Eng Seng to Cheang Hong Lim. Trekking trails up and down the hills and weaving your way through cemetery stones is an experience that is equal parts eerie and fascinating. Even as you marvel at the grandeur of some of the tombstones, be sure to keep an eye out for the variety of wildlife that have made a home in this little oasis of green.
7. Syonan Trail
This “not-so-legal” trek is also one of the more interesting ones as it takes you to the old Syonan Jinja shrines hidden in the forest of MacRitchie. The trail leading to it is located along the Terentang Trail. The views along the way are pretty spectacular, especially when you emerge from the foliage and walk along the water’s edge. If you manage to locate the shrine near the water’s edge, you will be greeted by massive granite staircases, water basins, and structures overgrown with tree roots, which may you of Borobudur, the world-famous temple complex in Indonesia.
For more information on Luv@Adventure, click here.