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A Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure starts here along the lake

Singapore – the most densely populated country

Staying in Singapore, perhaps the most densely populated country in the world, is no place for an outdoor adventure. In my three days in Singapore, I found this to be untrue. My first night started with a pleasant river cruise. The next two days were spent exploring Singapore jungles.

My first morning I woke up and was dropped off by my high school friend Lael, with whom I was staying with along with her husband and another high school classmate, Jim. Only a couple of blocks from their beautiful home, I was dropped off at the corner of MacRitchie Reservoir.

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

Not often you can have a meal at a cafe before jungle trekking

Before I got started I had a tasty soup with egg and noodles and bought some fruit juices at the cafe in the park. I also discovered I was a little short on batteries. I walked about a block out of the park and found a Shell station. The nice thing about city jungle trekking is you don’t have to look far for provisions, food, and water.

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

A Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure signpost

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

Back in the park I began hiking towards the tree top canopy walkway. To my chagrin, I found this to be closed on Mondays. This kind of sucked a little bit, but I still had an amazing day in the jungle. In fact, it may have lead to a more peaceful hike as less people I am sure hike the trails when the canopy walkway is closed.

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

A MacRitchie monkey is the official welcomer

I walked along the reservoir and immediately saw some monkeys in the grass. It was not be the last I would see. They were along the trail and also in the trees. You are pretty much guaranteed to see a monkey at MacRitchie Reservoir.

The trail is nice and wide and gravel unlike jungle trails in Borneo. Immediately, I was by myself with only an occasional jogger or other hiker coming from the other direction. In between seeing people it was me, the birds, monkeys, and the insects. I could not believe I was in Singapore. All I could see was green. Only occasionally did I see a glimpse of distant buildings when I climbed a tower and also when the trail emerged out of the jungle towards the end along the reservoir.

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

A MacRitchie Trail through the Singapore jungle

Jelutong Tower

The highlight was Jelutong Tower since the canopy walkway was closed. From here I saw a couple flocks of parakeets as well as monkeys in the trees. It was interesting being above the monkeys and watching them act like monkeys in the tree tops below. The tower also gave a gorgeous vista over the rest of the jungle, the reservoir, and the city in the distance.

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

A solitary coconut tree rises above the jungle canopy at MacRitchie Reservoir

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

Enormous trees hide the even bigger city of Singapore in the distance

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

Trees with huge leaves down below make MacRitchie almost Avatar like

Looking down on the fauna was quite fascinating. Coconut trees spiraled out of the jungle, enormous trees blocked the view of the city, and trees with huge leaves below created an almost Avatar environment. I almost felt like jumping off the tower and let the thick jungle cushion my fall. Instead, I took the stairs down. Again, I was amazed I was in the heart of Singapore.

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

I know it is getting cliche, but hard to believe this is Singapore

Jelutong Tower MacRitchie Reservoir

The jungle, reservoir, and the buildings of the city from Jelutong Tower

MacRitchie Reservoir monkey

Interesting to see monkey business in action from the Jelutong Tower

Singapore nature

Besides monkeys, I also saw a few kingfishers, monitor lizards, a few other lizards, some interesting birds I could not identify, and the biggest bad ass ant I have ever seen. This ant was the Arnold Schwarzenegger, the elephant, or perhaps the whale of ants.

Monitor lizard singapore

Monitor lizard spotted in the jungle

giant ant Singapore

Giant ant along the trail at MacRitchie Reservoir

I figured I walked between 6 and 10 miles. I headed toward Bukit Timah Reserve and never reached there as I explored other trails along the way before ending the loop back at the reservoir and walking back to my friend’s house. Bukit Timah is right next to MacRitchie, so there is another large green area right next door to explore.

Most of the trails are wide and gravel, but there are various smaller trails that intersect that are fun to explore.

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

The end of the loop brings you around the Reservoir

Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

Boardwalk trail along MacRitchie Reservoir

Tips for exploring MacRitchie
  • Bring enough water for a full day – Even though MacRitchie is in a huge city, once you are in the jungle you will not want to come out until you have had your fill of adventure
  • Hike during the day during the week. The park is more crowded on the weekends as many Singaporeans flock to the park to run and hike.
  • The Treetop Walk is closed all day Monday
  • Take Bus I57 from Toa Payoh MRT Station
  • Although much of the trails here are either gravel or boardwalk, it can get kind of rough and rocky in certain stretches. I wore vibrams, and I regretted it. Bring good hiking boots.


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12 Responses to A Singapore MacRitchie Reservoir adventure

  1. Erin at The World Wanderer March 22, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    How cool! I had no idea there were jungles in Singapore. This is absolutely up my alley. Such beautiful photos you have!
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..Around the World in One Summer.

    • Ted Nelson March 22, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

      Thanks Erin,

      I could not believe I was in a metropolis at times. I felt like I was back in Borneo.

  2. ben March 25, 2014 at 1:30 am #

    It is really cool. Who expects that Singapore do have jungle! 😀 I love Boardwalk trail, I think there’s a crocodile over there. LOL
    ben recently posted..Havasu Falls – An Uplifting Experience

    • Ted Nelson March 29, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

      No crocodiles here Ben, at least I don’t think there is.

  3. @mrsoaroundworld March 26, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    How interesting, I thought Singapore was just a city! Very surprising indeed!
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..A lux weekend in New York City

    • Ted Nelson March 29, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

      I could not believe this place was within walking distance to the family I was staying with.

  4. Leigh March 27, 2014 at 2:10 am #

    What a great find and what I would consider the perfect way to spend a day in a big city. I think Singapore is also supposed to have some very pleasant gardens to walk in. I can’t imagine living is a place like this but a three day visit sounds about right.
    Leigh recently posted..A Kayaking Trip on the Georgian Bay, Ontario

    • Ted Nelson March 29, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

      I feel the same way about Las Vegas. I like the city, but I cannot handle it for too long and have to get out and see some of the surrounding desert.

  5. Bob March 27, 2014 at 6:40 am #

    I walk around Macritchie most weekends. It is still generally pretty uncrowded so don’t let this put anyone off from visiting at the weekend. If you find it too busy then head towards Bukit Timah via Rifle Range link where you will rarely pass anyone. This follows down a very quiet road called Rifle Range Road with rainforest on either side before you reach Bukit Timah nature area. Loads of monkeys along the route here.

    There are more trails further North around the Lower and Upper Peirce which are more ‘wild’ and less popular than Macritchie which are also worth checking out. Also worth exploring if you want greenery and you have a day in Singapore is Pulau Ubin (Ubin Island) which is a 10minute and S$2.50 boat route from Changi Village ferry terminal.

    • Ted Nelson March 29, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

      My most recent post is from Pulau Ubin. Beautiful island. I walked almost all day in MacRitchie. I can’t believe there is more to this park that I did not get to. I came close to Bukit Timah, but I needed a few more hours to head in that direction. Thanks for the tip about the weekend. I was there on Monday and had the place to myself. My friend I was staying with said it was more crowded on the weekends, but most people probably stick to the Reservoir. If you do some hardcore hiking, you always leave the masses behind no matter where in the world you are at.

  6. Charles Higgins March 30, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    Gorgeous tropical location…you’ve increased my knowledge of this area 10-fold..

    Charles Higgins recently posted..Vegas named top US trade show destination for 20th consecutive year

    • Ted Nelson April 15, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

      I am hoping the next post will do that 11 fold 🙂

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