Spending a few months at home, I’m glad to be able to go out and try to do hiking for the first time here in Singapore. My first on the list is, MacRitchie Reservoir Park. This is to see the other side of Singapore aside from it being the modern and corporate city we always have known the country for.
About MacRitchie Reservoir Park
MacRitchie Reservoir Park is one of the go-to destinations of every nature lover and sports enthusiast in Singapore. It’s located at the heart of Singapore and was constructed in the year 1867 making it the oldest reservoir in the country. MacRitchie Reservoir Park is also the home of Singapore’s wildlife like long-tailed macaque monkeys (lots of them!), monitor lizards, squirrels, birds and many more. So, expect to see some of them there! Going to the park is absolutely free and no tour guide is needed.
MacRitchie Hiking Map
Here’s an easy to follow map where you may choose from 6 different routes to follow for your hiking activity. For this hike, we chose Route 4, the 11-km trail finishing in approximately 4 hours and with moderate difficulty. You will be able to see this map scattered around the whole trail to mark where you are currently at and to what direction you are heading next. So don’t bother about getting lost cos, you’ll not!
Our Hiking Experience
We started the hike a bit late in the morning and good thing that there weren’t that many people when we visited the place. The park is abundant with greens and tall trees. Hopping into this wilderness took us in a different perspective of Singapore, very much away from the fast-moving city life. Unfortunately, TreeTop Walk was temporarily closed at that time due to social distancing measures.
Update: TreeTop Walk, Peirce Track, and part of Petaling Boardwalk are closed for maintenance works from 11 August 2020 to May 2020.www.nparks.gov.sg
Most of the trail is shady because of all the trees covering the area. There is signage everywhere which indicates the places and directions. At some point, we were the only ones walking in the trail which is quite scary if you’re alone. So better ask your friends to join you.
Long-Tailed Macaque Monkey
Once in a while, you will meet different kinds of wildlife along the trail but fret not cos they are harmless unless you bother them. Here a quick do’s and don’ts to follow for monkey encounter.
Monkey Encounter: Do’s
- Keep 2-3m distance from the monkeys
- Hide all your food
- Move away slowly if they become agitated
- Avoid confrontation
Monkey Encounter: Don’ts
- Don’t stare at the monkeys. They may feel threatened and attack you.
- Don’t feed the monkeys. They will become lazy and stop finding food for themselves.
- Don’t flash shiny objects.
- Don’t perform sudden movements like running.
Jelutong Tower is a 7-deck observation tower that allows you to be at the highest point and gives a panoramic view of the terrain of the MacRitchie Reservoir. We made an extra effort to climb this 20-m high tower to see what’s up there. It was windy and a bit shaky at the top. It did challenge our legs but, I still suggest you try and see it yourself too. It’s worth it. We didn’t stay too long, just a few photo op and we went back down to continue the trail.
The next part of the route was so hot! There weren’t that many trees to cover us from the heat of the sun. I hated that we started the trail a bit late. We reached this part of the route at 1:00 PM so just imagine being out there at that time of the day. So I still recommend starting your hike early in the morning if possible. Anyway, the view was lovely – a good compensation for the discomfort we were feeling. You see how quiet and peaceful this photo is?
Activities to do at MacRitchie Reservoir Park
- Bird watching
- Hiking/walking trails
- Visit TreeTop Walk
- Visit Jelutong Tower
Note: Due to strict measures brought by Covid-19, please check official government websites for any announcement before planning your activity.
How to go to MacRitchie Reservoir Park?
MacRitchie Reservoir Park is very accessible by public transportation via bus 166, 52, 852, 855, 93.
Nearest bus stations are the following:
- Thomson Rd – Macritchie Reservoir (51071) is 426 meters away, 7 min walk.
- Thomson Rd – Mt Alvernia Hosp (51069) is 607 meters away, 10 min walk.
- Mount Alvernia Hospital is 859 meters away, 13 min walk.
- Upp Thomson Rd – St. Theresa’s Home (53011) is 958 meters away, 14 min walk.
- Thomson Rd – Aft Toa Payoh Rise (51059) is 978 meters away, 14 min walk.
Opening Hours: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm (entering or remaining in the nature reserve after 7:00 pm is not allowed)
We finished the 11-km trail strong! Time to change clothes and freshen up a bit, but there were three monkeys playfully hanging and jumping at the women’s toilet. I freaked out!
Overall, I did enjoy the whole hiking experience at MacRitchie Reservoir Park. The place is well-maintained and the trail is easy to follow. The trail is somehow developed, so if you are looking for a challenging mountain hiking kind of thing, this isn’t for you. But if you are just up to a weekend outdoor activity with your friends and family, then this is a nice place to go to. Happy trailing!