Last Sunday morning we decided to get some exercise. Having really enjoyed the Grenadian Walking Hashes and some walks in even hotter steamier Trinidad, one of the Singapore National Park trails appealed. Actually we originally planned to go for a walk on Satruday morning but a night out at the pub with the British Association on Friday and a wet Saturday morning put paid to that plan.
The Tree Tops walk had been recommended to us so we set off mid-morning for the short trip to Venus Drive in the centre of the island close to the eastern tip of MacRitchie Reservoir. From the car park the path to the Tree Tops Walk is slightly muddy but becomes more firm as it climbs the hillside. Despite being fairly close to a road you feel you are deep in the rainforest which is amazing considering how densely populated this island is compared to Grenada or Trinidad. A family ahead of us spotted a large lizard sunning itself – probably a Clouded Monitor as it was smaller than the Malaysian Monitor we spotted much later. We stopped and the monitor obligingly posed for photos before being startled by another group’s approach. It pays to do this walk quietly!
Cloud Monitor Lizard
You don’t get signs like this in Grenada!
Pleasant walkways – but lots and lots of steps!
Manicured views – this is primarily a water collection area
More odd signs…
It being Sunday morning there were lots of people with the same idea as us, some even in running kit which seemed like madness. The climb up the hill to the start of the circular Tree Tops Walk was a couple of kilometres. Then it is pure rainforest – ferns, palms and tall spindly trees, though well signposted. Suddenly we were at the bridge over the trees; the suspension bridge spans a valley at heights of up to 25m above the ground meaning only the tallest trees were on a level with us, most of the canopy was spread below. It was amazing to be walking so high up on this single track slightly swaying bridge – not for the faint hearted and not somewhere you’d want to be in one of Singapore’s infamous thunderstorms.
Tree Tops Bridge
Tree top views
Its a long way down!
Glimpses of the upper and lower reservoirs could be had as we traversed but only in one direction could you see the faint distant outline of a highrise block. The bridge is narrow so only one way pedestrian traffic is permitted. Only 30 people are permitted on the bridge at one time but there is plenty of time to stop and take in the views. At the far end the path climbs many wooden steps before descending down a lengthy board walk; the next day our calves really felt all those steps up and down. Information boards identified plants and animals of the area – apparently there are terrapins in the shallow stream but we saw only a few tiny fish and some dragon flies with solid dark red wings.
A local Chinese lady pointed out our second monitor of the walk which obligingly posed on a fallen log for the cameras. Then a few yards further on we came upon a troop of monkeys, Long Tailed Macaques. They were quite fearless, obviously used to humans; the younger ones came and played at Kevin’s feet, another with a tiny tiny baby seemed immune to our presence a few feet away whilst the elder of the troop sat a little further off aloof but watchful.
Red winged dragon fly
A wilder view – the stream
Fungus on a fallen log
Spot the baby!
The circular walk taking in the bridge is around 3 or 4 km eventually we were back on our outward path heading towards the car park. There were several “huts” offering shade and seating to rest in enroute making it a pleasantly enjoyable three hour or so walk. And as the National Parks website offers many more such walks in the green corridors of Singapore we intend to exploit this resource a lot during our stay.
Next up we think is an expedition along some or all of the old railway running through Bukit Timah known as the Green Corridor which is just a few minutes walk from our current apartment although exploring the Botanic Gardens also appeals.